Thursday, 12 April 2018

Buttercream Frosting

Vancouver, BC, Canada



Hi everyone!
My classes have finished now, and I have a few weeks of absolutely no plans. So, I have been spending my days binge-watching The Mindy Project.

You know, shows like Friends and The Mindy Project really make me want to live in New York. And have a really nice apartment. But I'd literally need to be the CEO of Goldman Sachs to afford a house like that.

Anyway, yesterday I was watching the episode with Mindy and Casey's engagement party (not a spoiler, its season one and it was released like 5 years ago), and there's one scene with a huge cake, which made me crave cake, so I made cupcakes along with my own frosting.

The frosting is simple, actually, but I wanted to post it here anyway, in case anyone wants to use it and also so it's somewhere for me to find in the future.

Heads up, if you do make this it is really sweet and like one cupcake with this frosting will be enough sugar for a whole week. 
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Ingredients
2 sticks of butter
4 cups of icing sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk

Method
In a stand-up mixer, or with a hand-mixer, soften the butter before adding the icing sugar. It should be dry when it's mixed properly. Once the two are mixed, add in the vanilla extract, and add a little bit of milk until it's the right consistency.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Using Essential Oils in Your Bath

Coquitlam, BC, Canada

Hi everyone!

My semester is aaalmost over, thank god. This has been my best semester yet grade-wise. However, the downside is that I only have like 20 head hairs left (because the rest have pretty much all fallen out due to the stress)

So, now I'm in de-stress mode. Which for me means having a bath.

I love having baths to de-stress, and I've already had two in the past three days. I've been experimenting with essential oils too because I thought they would further help in the de-stressing process.

Although that proved to be a bit stressful in and of itself.

I thought I could just dump some oils in the bathtub, but that doesn't really work. It's actually the *wrong* way to do it, according to the internet. So, tonight, I wanted to put together a little list of tips, in case any of you out there that want to try putting essential oils in your bathtub (without the trial and error session that I had to go through).

---

1/ Add baking soda to the tub as the water is running
I found that baking soda needed to be added into the bath under the running tap, because that way it actually dissolved and dispersed evenly. Using baking soda will help you in 2 ways because:
1) it makes the bathtub less slippy for when you get out later (you know, with the oils and all) and
2) it actually exfoliates your skin.

2/ Make sure to dilute your essential oils before
Around a tablespoon of oil for 10 drops of whatever essential oil you're using should be enough.
You can use lots of different oils, but I have multiple jars of coconut oil, so I use that.
If you don't dilute your essential oil, your skin can get irritated... and so can other certain parts of your body (which you don't really want).
Oh and, as a bonus, this extra bit of oil will help soften your skin.

3/ Add your oils after you turn off the water. 
This way, the oil aromas fill the room, instead of just evaporating under the heat of the running water. Which is what you want because, hello, is there even any point in using oils if you can't smell them??

---

So, the list isn't very long and maybe these tips were common sense... but I didn't know them until like yesterday. I also wanted to share two of the "recipes" I have used in the past week, to give you all somewhere to start!

(FYI: you don't need to use as much coconut oil as I did, but I have super dry skin and this much worked best for me)

Calming bath recipe:
a bathtub full of water (of course)
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup of coconut oil 
10 drops of lavender essential oil
10 drops of jasmine essential oil

Detoxing bath recipe:
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup of coconut oil
10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
5 drops of peppermint essential oil (otherwise the smell is too strong)

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Sick

Vancouver, BC, Canada


 *this post will be talking about depression in detail and may be triggering/unpleasant
----

i never liked calling people with mental illnesses “sick”. it doesnt feel right to me. 

“sick” has such a negative connotation.  to call someone with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder “sick” kinda seems like an insult. they’re not “sick”. drinking lemon tea and taking it easy for a couple days wont cure them. 

and there is always a cure for sickness. there’s antibiotics or chemotherapy or other things depending on what’s wrong. sickness can be fixed. 

mental illness cant be fixed like that. you can take medication to make your anxiety easier to deal with - but you’ll always have it. it won’t shrink, and it wont go away. 

it’s always gonna be there. there isn’t a cure. taking your pills wont necessarily make you better. 

i’ve done everything right for the past 2 years. 

i’ve taken the meds, i’ve done the counselling, i’ve slept and eat properly. i’ve talked about it. i’ve wrote about it. i’ve exercised, i’ve meditated.

i’ve done all the things the doctors tell you to do. and i’m still depressed. 

i still want to disappear. 
i still cry uncontrollably for no reason. 
i still feel like a complete waste of space, who’s only making life difficult for my friends and family. 
i still cant focus on anything because i dont see the point in doing anything at all. 

so, i pretend. i pretend i am good, and happy, and excited about the future. 

the funny thing is that pretending actually gets easier when i feel worse. no one knows when i’m at my lowest - they think i’m finally getting better. 

but my doctors know. i suppose thats the plus side to all this - i never lie to them. 

despite feeling the way i do, i still know its possible to actually be happy. 


i know it’s possible to not be depressed. and that’s why i dont lie to my doctors, because they’re the only ones that can help me get better. they’re the ones that know what to do when i dont. 

Friday, 5 January 2018

Back in Canada

Vancouver, BC, Canada


Hi everyone!

I am now back in Canada. I left France on the 29th of January. This was the first time I travelled alone. I got lost a couple times, and cried in the middle of Charles de Gaulle airport but hey what can you do.

So far, things seem sorta normal. I am staying with my boyfriend, so sometimes its easy to imagine we're just having a sleepover, and my family is just a 30 minute drive away and not half way across the globe.

I have skyped home everyday, and it's helping a lot with the distance. When I call, I'm just starting my day and they're having dinner -- it's a pretty good time, we always have things to talk about.

I have also been looking for an apartment so hard. My friend and I have visited 4 so far, with no luck. Moving out of home is so expensive. I gotta find a job too, but I didn't want to do that before I had a place to live, because I don't know where I will be living.

My classes have started too. I've been to one seminar already. And can you believe that after 3 years of university, I am still too scared to talk in class? Terrified. I had to do it today and I was almost peeing my pants.

These pictures above are from Scotland. I visited just before Christmas to say goodbye to everyone over there. I love the UK at Christmas time. I don't know how to explain it, Christmas is just all over. Like, here in Canada, there aren't decorations in every shop and there isn't Christmas music playing everywhere. Plus, the UK has Christmas specials of everything.

So, yeah, my life has been a bit busy lately but I'm doing good. Everything seems to be going preeeetty smoothly right now, so I'm not complaining.

I hope you're all doing well and enjoying the first week of the year!

- Iona

Monday, 1 January 2018

2018 Resolutions

Cruzy, France

Happy 2018, everyone!

I hope you had a good New Years. I spent mine sleeping. I slept from 9pm to 11:55pm - woke up and had a glass of Prosseco, then went back to bed 20 minutes later.

This will be the third year I have posted my resolutions on this blog, but I wanted to do it differently this time. It's an open letter to myself. I thought it worked better with these resolutions, because they're pretty much all related to mental well-being.

-

Iona, in 2018, you need to change some habits that have formed. I don't know when you developed such a low opinion of yourself, but this year, you are going to change that.

You have got to stop criticizing yourself. You are not fat and you are not ugly.

And stop doubting how smart you are. You're in university, goddammit. It isn't easy to get into university, let alone last 3 years. This is your last year and you can do it.

You gotta start loving yourself, too, and give yourself the same pep talks you give to your friends. You are worthy, and you need to start believing it.

... Oh, also, try to take pictures of yourself. You don't have many of those and it's sorta weird.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Homemade Hot Chocolate

Cruzy, France


Hi everyone, happy Friday!

Tomorrow, I am flying to Edinburgh, where I will be until Tuesday. I'm going over to Scotland to see my family one last time before I leave Europe and return to Canada.

Only 14 more days until I leave! I'm so nervous, it will be the first time I'm not living at home. But I am 21 so I guess I'm a bit behind other people my age?

So, since we are leaving the house, we are trying to use up all the stuff we have in the fridge. And of the stuff in the fridge, there is 2 pints of milk. I wanted to make some hot chocolate, but we don't have hot chocolate powder... so I decided to make some from scratch and WHAT THE HECK IT'S SO GOOD


Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe
Ingredients (makes 4 cups)
3 cups milk
grated chocolate (I used 2 squares of a Cadbury's bar)
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoon icing sugar

Method
Put everything in a pot (over a medium heat) and whisk to combine everything. Keep watching the milk so it doesn't burn. It should take about 5 minutes for it to be ready, you'll know when because bubbles form on top.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Do I Have Anxiety or Is This Just Me?

Montpellier, France
Hey

This post is gonna be very depressing. SO, heads up. The next post will be lighter - I promise, okay. I'll make cookies tomorrow and write the recipe or something.

With that out the way, I'm just gonna get right into talking about my thoughts and stuff.


I've always been a worrier, and I was always fidgety. That was just me, I was constantly worrying about everything from schoolwork to my mum dying. Every time I see an ambulance, I still think it's going to someone in my family. Obviously it's not - they're all fine, even when I can't see them. I know that... but I also don't.

I know my little brother is healthy, but what if he chokes on a carrot or something and he can't breath, and I wasn't there to get it out his mouth? I know my boyfriend will be fine driving home in the cold weather, but what if he slips on black ice and gets hurt?

When I was younger, I never slept in the car. I would look out the window because I was terrified a car would crash into us, and I would keep tabs on the petrol dial in case we ran out. My dad still jokes about the petrol thing. I never let him drive if it was below 1/3 full - I would make him fill up.

Damn, talking about all this is making me feel uneasy lol.

So... it's normal for me to worry. I didn't think this was anxiety - I still wouldn't say I have anxiety, even though about 3 doctors and 2 psychologists have said I probably do. Everybody has anxiety, right? How can you "have" something everyone experiences? I just happen to worry a little more often than some other people.


Anxiety and depression go hand-in-hand.

I'm on anti-depressants, but they're also prescribed to people with anxiety. So they're supposed to help both of my issues.

I've been on my anti-depressants for a year now. They've sorta helped. I don't feel hopeless and blue all the time, just most of the time. Lol... I want to be able to say that was a joke but it kinda wasn't.

It's annoying, to be honest. I do what the doctors say. I eat a balanced diet, I try to sleep only at night, I exercise, I write my thoughts... and I still feel the same way. I felt generally like a piece of shit for the past three years - since leaving high school.

Which makes me question whether I can be "cured". Am I just destined to be like this forever? Permanently sad, crying for no particular reason, feeling worthless? Cool. It sounds like a super fun time.

Don't worry, though, the one symptom I don't experience is suicidal thoughts. So at least there's that!!

-

This was super umm disjointed. Sorry for that. Thank you if you actually read this, you must really have some time to kill, lol.

Like I said, the next post will be happier. 
OLD
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