Self-Care for the Soul with Mala and Me

This year, I’ve decided to dedicate the entire month of March to self-care on my blog. Each week, I’ll be talking all about how you can take better care of your mind, body, and soul.

This week, I’ll be focussing on self-care ideas for the soul with help from Mala and Me! Mala and Me is a local Edmonton-based gemstone company specializing in the creation of Malas and other vibrational jewellery. All Mala and Me jewelry is rooted in beauty and creating a spiritual practice.

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If you’re unsure of what a Mala is, they are generally known as pieces of jewelry used for keeping count while reciting prayers, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra or affirmation. Most Malas are typically made with 21, 24, 27, 54 or 108 beads, and each bead represents one repetition of your mantra.

I recently got to check out the Sweet Soul Mala and Matte Howlite Bracelet from Mala and Me and was floored by how beautiful both of the pieces were!

The Sweet Soul Mala is known to help wearers draw in more love, of any kind. Rose Quartz is known as the stone of unconditional love. It strengthens your sense of beauty and opens your heart for inner peace, positive self-love, and self-esteem.

The Matte Howlite Bracelet is known to help wearers heighten creativity and expand self-expression. Howlite, also known as white marble, is a wonderful stone for calming states of mind and emotion. It helps to decrease an overly critical state of mind, selfishness, stress, and anxiety to bring calm and relaxation to the wearer. Its specific energy aids in communication and eases confrontations.

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To be honest, I have never thought of myself as a “spiritual” person. I don’t wake up every morning and meditate, talk to my crystals, or do yoga – but I do believe that setting an intention or mantra for yourself every single day is extremely beneficial for your soul. That’s why I love the idea of a Mala.

If you are someone that wants to start utilizing prayers, affirmations, or meditations as a means to help solidify a positive outlook and to embolden the law of attraction in your life, I highly recommend investing in a Mala and using it as a daily self-care tool for your soul.

A huge thank you goes out to Mala and Me for partnering with me this month to promote self-care for the soul through daily mindfulness and mantra! If you’d like to check out more products from Essentials by Nature, click here to visit their website.

I encourage you to join me in practicing self-care at least once a week during the month of March. To help document your weekly self-care and inspire others to do the same, I’ve created an Instagram Story template that you can use, which can be found in the @paigesimpsonyeg story highlights!




Until next time,

Paige Simpson.png


Self-Care for the Body with Essentials By Nature

This year, I’ve decided to dedicate the entire month of March to self-care on my blog. Each week, I’ll be talking all about how you can take better care of your mind, body, and soul.

This week, I’ll be focussing on self-care for the body with help from Essentials By Nature! For those who don’t know, Essentials By Nature is a local Edmonton skin & body care brand that believes in promoting wellness through the power of nature. All of their products are made from natural essential oils and other plant-based, all-natural ingredients and are free of chemicals, parabens, dyes, synthetic fragrances, sulphates, and formaldehyde. AMAZING, I know.

I recently got to try out three different Essentials By Nature products and have been using them religiously ever since. So, I thought I’d share a bit about how I incorporate these products into my own self-care routine!

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I’m the type of person that takes on WAY too many things, and this can often leave my body feeling incredibly tense and stressed. This essential oil blend of lavender, sweet orange, bergamot, and cedar wood is the perfect way to soothe my body after a stressful day. Usually, when I’m getting ready for bed, I’ll roll a bit of the Calm Roll On on my temples, back of my neck, and my wrists. The scents help me to relax, stay calm, and drift off to sleep.

I struggle with anxiety, and it has always been heightened at bedtime. Before bed, I’ll spray the Calm Body & Air Mist in my room to aid in relieving any anxiety that I may be feeling. This mist is also a great product to bring to the gym! I often spray some on myself post-workout to help my body relax and unwind.

If you live in Edmonton, you understand how dry our skin gets in the winter. For me, hand cream is a necessity during the winter months, but it’s often difficult to find an all-natural cream that does the job. That’s why I was blown away by how well this hand Cream worked for my dry skin! I usually apply a small amount on my hands, knees, and elbows before bed and always wake up to more nourished, softer skin in the morning!

A huge thank you goes out to Essentials by Nature for partnering with me this month to promote self-care through all-natural, locally-made products! If you’d like to check out more products from Essentials by Nature, click here to visit their website!

I encourage you to join me in practicing self-care at least once a week during the month of March. To help document your weekly self-care and inspire others to do the same, I’ve created an Instagram Story template that you can use, which can be found in the @paigesimpsonyeg story highlights!



Until next time,

Paige Simpson.png


YEG LOCAL Gift Guide – 50 Local Gifts Under $50 (2018)

The holiday season is upon us! The eggnog is poured, the Christmas tree is up, the holiday fireplace channel is on, and many of us are starting to shop for the perfect Christmas gifts to give to our friends and family!

This year, many Edmontonians (including myself) are making a conscious effort to support more local businesses, makers, and artists by purchasing locally-made and locally-sourced products!

So, this holiday season, I challenge you to purchase as many locally-made products for your loved ones as you can.

And in the spirit of local love, I’ve come up with a list of 50 locally-made gifts under $50.00 (for anyone and everyone on your Christmas list).

Enjoy!









And there you have it! 50 local Edmonton-made gift ideas under $50.00 for anyone and everyone on your list this year.

I hope you enjoyed browsing through this local #yeg gift guide as much as I enjoyed making it! Be sure to show some love to the companies mentioned above on social media and at upcoming holiday markets in the city.

Until next time,

Paige Simpson.png

My Favourite Shops on 124th Street

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Edmonton's 124th Street is one of my favourite streets in Edmonton because of all the amazing local shops and restaurants located there. So, I thought I'd make a list of my favourites! 

Here are 6 Edmonton local shops and restaurants on 124th street that are killing it: 

1. Zwicks Pretzels

I swear, these are the best pretzels in the city (and don't even get me started on their McZwick Sandwich!). If you're looking for a delicious soft pretzel with the perfect amount of salt and butter, you've gotta check this place out! 

2. Lipstick Empire

I've been getting laser hair removal treatments at Lipstick empire for almost a year now, and every time I come into their shop, I feel so welcomed and comfortable. Not to mention, their employees are second-to-none! If you're looking for any kind of medispa treatment, Lipstick Empire is the place to go. 

3. Tiramisu Bistro

The fact that Tiramisu Bistro has an entire menu specifically dedicated to spaghetti makes my heart happy. Also, Jenny and I shared two phenomenal desserts here a couple of weeks ago (and I'm still drooling).   

4. Salgado Fenwick & The Barking Buffalo Café

You can't go wrong with locally made garments and coffee! Every time I'm on 124th Street, I make sure to stop by and order an iced chai latte. 

5. Duchess Bake Shop 

This one speaks for itself. If you're looking for delicious gourmet French pastries, this is the place to be. All of their pastries are made daily in-house from scratch. Not to mention, their space is adorable! 

6. Acquired Taste Tea Company 

I'm a tea-aholic and the Acquired Taste Tea Company feeds my addition. But seriously, this tea shop is one of the best out there and has any tea you could possibly need (and even some you didn't know you needed). If you love tea, this is a must-stop shop! 

 

I hope you enjoyed this list of my favourite local shops on 124th street. Make sure to go show these local businesses some love! 

 

 

Until next time, 

Paige Simpson.png

8 Must-Watch Halloween Movies

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Is it just me, or does everyone love old-school Disney Channel Halloween movies? Every single year, I browse the channel guide and patiently wait for Halloween movie marathons.  

So, here are 8 must-watch Halloween movies that you should probably (definitely) watch this year if you're into really bad Disney Channel Halloween movies like I am: 

1. Halloween Town 

Listen — we all know that the first Halloweentown was the best one (don't @ me!). 

2. Hocus Pocus 

Who else had a huge crush on Max (the big brother) and also wanted to own a talking black cat like Thackery Binx? Just me? Okay. 

3. The Nightmare Before Christmas

Do I even need to explain this one? It's a classic. 

4. Phantom of the Megaplex 

This super cheesy movie based in a movie theatre brings me life EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. 

5. Twitches

Twin sisters with magical powers? Yes, please!  

6. The Addams Family

The sass of Wednesday Addams is all you need this Halloween. 

7. Corpse Bride

There's nothing like snuggling up to a great Tim Burton movie on Halloween. 

8.  Monster House 

I still can't get over the "Oh, so it's a girl house" comment. 

 

It's time to start binging Halloween movies! What is your favourite Halloween movie? Let me know in the comments below! 

 

Until next time, 

Paige Simpson.png

I'm a published Author!

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I'm officially a published author!! Yes, you read that right. 

One of my short stories titled Withered Petunias was chosen to be published in an anthology called the Bolo Tie Collective (Volume 3). The book is published, printed, and finally in my hands! 

It is so surreal to see one of my short stories printed in a real anthology. I never thought my creative writing would be published this soon — especially while still attending University. 

I want to thank the entire Bolo Tie Collective team and my two volunteer editors for tirelessly working with me and supporting me throughout the writing process. 

Here is a super short synopsis for my short story titled Withered Petunias

"After his wife dies of a heart attack in her late thirties, Dr. Raymond Mitchell looks for love again by attending a local speed-dating event."

If you'd like to pick up a copy of the Bolo Tie Collective (Volume 3), you can purchase a copy at the MacEwan Bookstore. By purchasing an anthology, you are supporting myself and many other talented writers who have poured their souls into the poems and short stories printed in its pages.  

 

Until next time, 

Paige Simpson.png

My 9 Favourite Books Of All Time

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If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I'm a total book nerd. I even run my own book club with over 20 members! So, needless to say, I've read my fair share of fantastic books. 

Listed below are my 9 favourite books of all time (in no particular order). I'll warn you — I'm a big fan of the classics.

1. The Alchemist — Paulo Coelho 

"Paulo Coelho's masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined." 

2. The Great Gatsby — F. Scott Fitzgerald 

"The story of the mysteriously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s."

3. The Bell Jar — Sylvia Plath 

"Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies."

4. Murder on the Orient Express — Agatha Christie 

"What more can a mystery addict desire than a much-loathed murder victim found aboard the luxurious Orient Express with multiple stab wounds, thirteen likely suspects, an incomparably brilliant detective in Hercule Poirot, and the most ingenious crime ever conceived?"

5. The Lovely Bones — Alice Sebold 

"The Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder — a murder recounted by the teenage victim. Upsetting, you say? Remarkably, first-time novelist Alice Sebold takes this difficult material and delivers a compelling and accomplished exploration of a fractured family's need for peace and closure."

6. Of Mice and Men — John Steinbeck 

"The compelling story of two outsiders striving to find their place in an unforgiving world. Drifters in search of work, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other and a dream — a dream that one day they will have some land of their own."

7. Eat, Pray, Love — Elizabeth Gilbert 

"An intensely articulate and moving memoir of self-discovery, Eat, Pray, Love is about what can happen when you claim responsibility for your own contentment and stop trying to live in imitation of society’s ideals. It is certain to touch anyone who has ever woken up to the unrelenting need for change."

8. The Old Man and the Sea — Ernest Hemmingway

"It is the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway takes the timeless themes of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph won from loss and transforms them into a magnificent twentieth-century classic."

9. The Life of Pi —Yann Martel

"Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel published in 2001. The protagonist, Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel, a Tamil boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of spirituality and practicality from an early age. He survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a boat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker."

 

I hope you enjoyed this blog post featuring 9 of my favourite books of all time! If you're looking for a new book to read, you may want to consider reading one on this list. ;)

(PS: The book I'm currently reading and LOVING is the one pictured above: Less by Andrew Sean Greer) 

What's your favourite book of all time? Leave it in the comments below! 

 

Until next time,   

Paige Simpson.png

7 Date Ideas For Fall in Edmonton

The leaves are changing colour, the air is crisp, and the pumpkin spice latte is back. Dust off your brown leather boots and plaid scarves — It's finally time for cute Fall dates! 

Below are 7, "Paige-approved" Edmonton date ideas for fall! 

1. Pick a Pumpkin at Somerset Farms 

You two can spend the day picking pumpkins at the picturesque Somerset Farms, located just 45 minutes outside of Edmonton. Once you've picked the perfect pumpkins, take them home to carve them together for Halloween (and don't forget to season and roast the seeds!).   

2. Find Your Way Through the Edmonton Corn Maze 

What's more romantic than getting lost in a maze together? Nothing. The Edmonton Corn Maze is open from September 4 to October 21, 2018. 

3. Go Apple-Picking Using the Edmonton Edible Fruit Tree Map

Want to know where to pick fresh apples in the city? Use the City of Edmonton Edible Fruit Trees Map! This map will help you find apple, cherry, and plum trees throughout the entire city so that you can get your picking on! 

4. Bake a Pie Together with Fresh Local Produce 

After you've bought some fresh local produce, or picked some apples yourself, you and your significant other can bake a delicious pie together! Here is one of my favourite apple pie recipes. 

5. Visit the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival 

Calling all Edmonton foodies! The Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival is returning to Edmonton October 19-20, 2018. Sample wine and gourmet food samples with your significant other at this must-attend fall festival! 

6. Take a Fall Segway Tour in the River Valley 

Segway past the colourful leaves of the Edmonton River Valley, feeling the crisp autumn air on your face. Make sure to book an Urban Segway Tour with River Valley Adventure Co. — you won't be disappointed.  

7. Go for a Walk in the Mill Creek Ravine

Before the trails are covered with snow, take a stroll in the beautiful Mill Creek Ravine with your significant other! Not only will you both be getting your steps in, but you might also see some cute dogs on the trails (and, who doesn't like cute dogs?).  

 

I hope you enjoyed this list of super cute Edmonton fall dates! In the comments below, tell me one thing you love about your significant other. 

 

Until next time, 

Paige Simpson.png

5 Things To Do In Edmonton With Friends Instead of Going To The Bar

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Don't get me wrong, a weekend on Whyte Ave drinking with your best friends is always a good time, but sometimes it's fun to try some new weekend activities that don't involve a hangover.  

Here's a list of 5 of my favourite things to do in Edmonton with friends, instead of going to the bar: 

1. Board Game Cafe 

If you know me, you know I love board games. So, adding a board game cafe to the list was an obvious must. My favourite board game cafe in Edmonton is Table Top Cafe on 124th Street, but there are a couple of others in the city as well. At Table Top, it's only $5.00 per person to play as many games as you want for as long as you want! Not going to lie, my friends and I usually stay until closing time (cue Semisonic song here). If you like board games, I guarantee you'll have an amazing time! 

2. Art Gallery 

Okay, I know what you're thinking — art galleries are BORING. But, hear me out! Visiting an art gallery with friends can be a super entertaining experience! It's exciting to walk around the gallery and see how the people in your friend group interpret art pieces differently. Sometimes there are even interactive art installations which are always fun to participate in. Better yet, the Art Gallery of Alberta hosts free admission nights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5-8pm. Also, If you're a registered Alberta Post-Secondary Student, you get in for free all the time! 

3. Escape Room

There's no better bonding between friends than when you're all stuck in a room and have to put your minds together to try and escape! There are tons of different escape rooms around Edmonton to try out, so what are you waiting for?! 

4. Elk Island National Park 

Okay, so this suggestion involves a little bit of a trek outside of the city, but trust me, it's worth the drive. Elk Island National Park is one of my favourite places on earth. If you and your friends are into hiking, canoeing, or kayaking, Elk Island is the place for you! You can rent canoes and kayaks at the Astotin Lake Recreation Area. 

5. Tour a Craft Brewery 

Edmonton has a thriving craft beer scene with tons of diverse craft breweries spread around the city. Who wouldn't want to tour a brewery and learn how they make the beer that we love so much. Not to mention, you'll get to sample a ton of delicious, locally-made beer! For example, Alley Kat offers brewery tours for just $15.00 per person! 

 

I hope this little list gave you and your friends some ideas for future outings! Let me know which one was your favourite in the comments below. 

 

Until next time, 

Paige Simpson.png

My Everyday Green Breakfast Smoothie

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I'm generally a healthy-ish person when it comes to my eating habits. Obviously, I don't follow an Instagram model diet or anything, but I'm always conscious of the nutrients and macros that I'm putting into my body (thanks to my trainer — before him, I was a mess). 

So, I thought I'd share the smoothie that I drink every single morning! Not only is this smoothie super fast and easy to make, but it's also nutritious and tastes delicious! 

Here's the recipe: 

Ingredients: 

  • Frozen Peaches

  • Banana

  • Fresh Spinach

  • Hemp Hearts

  • Organic Almond Milk

  • Water

I purposely didn't put specific measurements here because the measurements rely a lot on what type of blender you use and your personal taste preferences. Feel free to play around with these ingredients to find the perfect mix for you! 

I use a Magic Bullet to blend up my smoothies in the morning, but feel free to use whatever blender you own. Also, I like my smoothies to be pretty thick — so, if you like yours a bit thinner, play around with the amount of water and almond milk you add in. 

Try it out yourself, take photos of your renditions of this recipe, and tag me on Instagram (@paigesimpsonyeg)! 

 

Until next time, 

Paige Simpson.png

Living With Synesthesia

Mondays are red, Friday's are purple, and the months of the year orbit around me in the shape of a banana. 

This is what my life is like living with Synesthesia. 

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So, what the heck is Synesthesia? 

For those who don't know what Synesthesia is, it's defined by Synesthesia.com as "a condition where one sense co-activates other senses". Basically, those who have synesthesia perceive the world with blended senses. They can taste words, feel sounds, etc. 

Approximately 1% to 25% of the world's general population experiences synesthesia. As you can see, the range between these two numbers is quite large — this is because it is extremely difficult to test for synesthesia. 

The types of Synesthesia that I experience 

The two types of synesthesia that I personally experience in my day-to-day life are grapheme-colour synesthesia (perceiving letters and numbers in colours), and spatiotemporal synesthesia (perceiving calendar units such as the year or a week as shapes in space).

So, as I said above, I experience words as specific colours. "Monday" is always red. "Friday" is always purple. "Dog" is always brown. "That" is always green. "Seven" is always orange. I could go on and on. I also experience the months of the year in the shape of a banana, or crescent moon (if you're classy like that), that orbits around my body and shifts as each month passes. Weird, I know

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I know it probably sounds crazy to most people, but it has always been my normal. To be honest, up until a couple of years ago, I thought that everyone experienced life this way. It wasn't until I stumbled upon a video of a woman talking about her own Synesthesia that I realized I was experiencing the world differently than most people were. 

Why am I telling you this? 

So, why am I telling you this insanely weird fact about me? Well, the only reason I found out that I was experiencing synesthesia was through someone else explaining their experience, so I thought that explaining my own experiences might enlighten others to their own synesthesia! Also, I just genuinely want to know if there is anyone else out there who reads my blog that experiences synesthesia (because that would be really cool)!  

 

 

Until next time, 

Paige Simpson.png

What Type of Learner are You? *QUIZ* (Plus, Study Tips Based on Your Learning Style)

It's that time of the year again — final's season is among us. (Insert dramatic "dun dun duuuun" here). Final's season is one of the most stressful times in any University student's life, and a lot of that stress comes from studying.

Have you ever studied for days, but just couldn't retain any information? This could be because you are studying in a way that conflicts with your learning type! There are three main types of learners out there: Visual learners, Auditory learners, and Kinesthetic learners. Although many people operate as a mix of these three types, it's still nice to know which learning style takes centre stage in your brain. 

Below, you will find a super fast and easy quiz that will let you know what type of learner you are. I've also included some study tips that correlate with your learning type further down in this blog post! 

↓ Take the quiz ↓

Study Tips For Visual Learners

Take notes while in your lectures. 

As a visual learner, you probably won't retain a lot of what you hear your professor say during a lecture. That's why it's so important for visual learners to write detailed notes while in class. When your studying, the process of reading and seeing the words that you have written down will help you commit them to memory. 

Draw diagrams and charts to help you understand concepts. 

Putting your notes in a visual context, such as diagrams, charts, flow-graphs, etc. will help you commit them to memory. When studying, use these visuals as your main study material.

Use colour to help you learn. 

Multi-coloured highlighters are a visual learner's best friend! Assigning colours to common themes in your study materials. Because you are associating the colours with certain terms, you are more likely to remember them. Your brain loves colour, so use it to your advantage! 

Study Tips For Auditory Learners 

Listen to the lecturer while in class and take minimal notes.

Since auditory learners are most likely to retain information that they hear, it is important to focus your energy on listening to your professor, rather than taking down notes. Only take down the notes that are necessary so that your note-taking doesn't distract you from hearing the lecture. 

Ask your professor if you can use a recording device to record your lectures, to refer back to as auditory notes.

If you are allowed, record your lectures so that you have all of the information in an audio format. Then, listen to these audio notes as a form of studying!  

Listen to your textbook as an audiobook.

If your textbook comes in an audiobook format, you're in luck! Instead of buying the physical textbook, spend your money on the audiobook. Not only is it usually way cheaper, but auditory learners will retain more information by listening to the textbook rather than reading it. If your textbook isn't available in an audio format, you can also read the textbook out loud to yourself to incorporate an auditory aspect.

Study Tips For Kinesthetic Learners 

Combine an activity with studying.

Kinesthetic learners learn best when moving their bodies. Next time you're at the gym, just workin' on your fitness, skip the tunes and listen to your textbook as an audiobook! Or, the next time you're on a walk, take some flashcards with you to flip through.  

Use flashcards to study. 

The physical act of writing out information on flashcards, as well as flipping each card over, engages the hands-on learning style of kinesthetic learners! 

Use Your Fingers 

Even though your teachers told you not to count on your fingers, they'll let it slide this time. One way that kinesthetic learners thrive is by using their fingers to help them study! This can be done by tracing words, or re-writing sentences to memorize key facts.  

 

I hope this blog post helped you, at least a little bit, with your studying this semester. I wish you the best of luck with your finals! (But who am I kidding, you don't need luck. You'll do great)! 

 

Until next time, 

Paige Simpson.png

I Hate My Body and I'm Sorry

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Just so you know, I hate my body. 

I hate the rolls on my stomach and the stretch marks on my hips. I hate the cellulite on my legs and the fat on my arms. I hate that the fat on my back and the stretch marks on my sides. I hate the acne on my face, and my pale, rosacea covered skin. I hate my bushy eyebrows and cleft chin. I hate my boobs and the way that they turn outwards. I hate my greasy hair. I hate my crooked nose. 

I could go on and on...

I've carried this hatred for my body since the age of 12. It all started when I hit puberty. Unlike the majority of my classmates, I experienced puberty at a very young age, and with puberty came many unwanted changes to my body. 

Fat congregated to my breasts, stomach, and hips. Acne started to form on my face. Hair grew rampant on my legs and underarms. 

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I remember looking around at my friends who had not yet gone through these changes and wishing that I could look like them again. 

Even though I was a healthy and active kid, I was still ashamed of my body. I cringed at my jean size. But, the truth is, I was never going to be a size 2. My body just isn't meant to look like Selena Gomez or Jessica Alba. Still, my stubborn mind did it's best to belittle my less-than-picturesque body. 

A majority of my time during school was spent thinking about my weight, or if my fat rolls were showing. During class, I would suck my stomach in, to the point where I had difficulties breathing, just to look skinnier in front of my classmates. I remember skipping gym class for fear of somebody noticing the extra fat my body was carrying. I remember pretending to be sick on days that my class visited the swimming pool because I was ashamed of how I would look in a bathing suit. 

But this anxiety about my body didn't just come from me; it also came from my classmates. I distinctly remember a time in 6th grade where one of my female classmates pointed at the rolls on my stomach and started laughing. I remember a friend of mine telling me that I'd actually be pretty if I wore makeup to school. And I remember that same friend pointing out my red, swollen stretch marks and saying that she was thankful her stretch marks were white instead of "red and gross-looking" like mine. 

Yes, girls can be mean. But my own mind is still the harshest critic of them all. 

I still continue to struggle with my body image today. I still look in the mirror and judge myself profusely. I still refuse to wear a bathing suit or show my stomach at all, for that matter. 

And, I'm sorry.  

I'm sorry because I am a hypocrite.

For as long as I remember, I have been an advocate for positive body image. I have continuously encouraged the younger individuals in my life to look in the mirror and love every little bit of themselves. But, how can I be an advocate for positive body image, if I continue living the way I do? How can I tell the younger generation to love themselves when I can't do the same? 

So, I have decided to make a change.

Today marks the first day of my road trip to body positivity.

Starting today, I will be documenting my journey to body positivity on my Instagram Stories (@paigesimpsonyeg). And I encourage you all to follow along. Each week, I will step outside of my comfort zone, and talk about my struggles with body image as well as the different steps that I am taking to overcome those struggles. 

I hope that my road trip to body positivity will resonate with at least one of you. And I hope that you, too, can learn to love every bit of yourself. 

 

Until next time, 

Paige Simpson.png

MacEwan Bachelor Of Communication Studies Students Give Advice To Newcomers Entering The Program

In 2015, after applying for the Bachelor of Communication Studies program at MacEwan University, I realized that there wasn't much information out there about what the program was like apart from the information on MacEwan's official website. Since MacEwan's Bachelor of Communication Studies program is still a considrably small program compared to others at the university, it is often difficult to find information or advice about the program from students or alumni when searching for it. 

As a prospective student, I wanted to know what the current students of the program thought about it. I wanted to know what to expect and to hear their advice and expertise about the program. So, I asked 11 current students in the program to answer one question: "If you could give one piece of advice to a new student entering the Bachelor of Communication Studies Program at MacEwan, what would it be?" 

 

Below, you will find their answers! 


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Kristine Mckay

Love writing. This is my one piece of advice. I know it seems simple, but this degree revolves around writing. If you didn't enjoy writing essays in high school chances are you won't like it in university. For those of you that do love to write, a communications degree will teach you how to express yourself through the written word...with proper grammar.

Instagram: @kristinemckay


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Marina Khonaisser

If I had to give one piece of advice to someone who was entering the Communications program, it would be to start expanding your network and your experience outside of school as early as you can, while you’re still in the program. 

When I started in my first year, I had no idea what my “job title” would be coming out of it; I just knew I loved to write, and that I was going to make a career out of it. I started writing for a Toronto-based blog, Student Life Network, while I was still in school, and eventually secured an internship in my last year at Social Lite Communications (where I got a full-time job right after graduation!). 

So, learn lots from the program, and start applying your skills as early as possible. Look for opportunities outside of the university as much as you can, and start building your credibility as much as you can. You want to be able to graduate with your degree, as well as other experience to back you up, because the job market is extremely competitive, and you want to make sure you’re the one that stands out. 

Another piece of advice I would give is to plan ahead as much as you can. Start looking for your internship a year in advance. Find out what you love, or want to learn more of, and plan your schedule ahead of time so that you can have your pick of classes before they get full. Being ahead of the game ensures that you can get on track and graduate when you want. 

Instagram: @mkhon // LinkedIn: Marina Khonaisser


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Sushami Pomerleau-Piquette

If I had one piece of advice for the new kids on the block in MacEwan's communications program, it would be to try and understand what stresses you out and how to combat that stress, so that you have time to relax and feel comfortable in the new world of University. It’s easy to get caught up in your studies and forget about yourself, but I always found that taking some time for myself made my studies feel less heavy. Everybody deals with stress and anxiety differently, but we all have something that grounds us. There will be times when you’ll be overwhelmed, and when that happens just recall that thing that keeps you grounded. Always remember who you are and stay true to what you initially set out to do when entering the program. During your studies, your life will change — sometimes positively and sometimes negatively — but you’ve just got to remember that everything happens for a reason. Take chances, be bold, be brave, be yourself, and most importantly, be comfortable. Also, remember that everybody in our program will be experiencing similar things as you, so don’t be afraid to look to your peers for support. Overall, your time as a university student is what you make of it, and these really are the best years of your life — this time it’s for real, not like when the adults lied to us about high-school. 

Instagram: @almandphotography 


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Bronte Collett

If I was to give one piece of advice to someone entering the Bachelors of Communication Studies at MacEwan, I would say: the program is what you make it. Many of our projects at school have very little guidelines; this is a chance for you to delve into a route that really interests you. However, the most important thing to remember is that this program, this school, and academia as a whole are not where you will be doing most of your learning—that will happen out in the real world. The communications studies program attempts to prepare you for some real-life situations, but the reality is it would be impossible to cover everything—especially in a program as vast as ours.

Instagram: @brontelaurel 


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Aleksander (AJ) Dimas-Lehndorf 

Write about whatever the hell you want. Many of your assignments and term papers will be relatively broad ("something related to communication" could encompass almost anything). Pick a topic that you find fascinating, no matter how esoteric it seems. Because I am strange, have written on minivan marketing, airline rebranding, pickup trucks, and pasta; your interests are probably in the realm of acceptable topics for most assignments. When I stopped worrying about whether or not my instructors thought my interests were strange, I had more fun writing my papers and my grades improved. Just make sure you can find peer-reviewed research that pertains to your topic. 

Instagram: @dimaslehndorf


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Reanna Pilkington

My word of advice? Make at least one friend in every class you take!

Not only is it a good practice for making sure you have all the class notes, but it’s also incredibly important in the communications field overall. Communications is all about the connections you make with other people, and I guarantee it’s impossible to do alone. We’re a small faculty and you’ll run into familiar faces wherever you go so being kind and introducing yourself to other people will make your degree easier and the vibe of classrooms infinitely better. I can guarantee in all ways possible that the moment I made my first university friend in the communications program, suddenly everything about university became a lot comfortable and effortless.

Essentially, making sure you even say hello to one person in every class helps in every aspect of your degree! You’re going to be responsible for countless group projects and abstract assignments, sticking together and conferring with each other in these situations is crucial! I can’t even start to comprehend how many times I messaged someone in my class to ask for their opinion on an assignment, more than once they have saved my grades. I’ve even met one of my best friends this way, as well as many others, have met their significant others, just by saying ‘hi’.

And we’re all really nice! I promise!

Website: carryonpilkington.weebly.com


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Riona Harriott

If I could give one piece of advice to someone entering the Bachelor of Communication Studies program at MacEwan, it would be to connect. I mean introduce yourself to other people in your classes. I know it may seem daunting, but it is the best thing I could’ve ever done. Not only have I gained lifetime friends, it’s awesome not worrying who you’re stuck doing a group project with because everyone is so welcoming and friendly. I love that our program is small enough that you take the same classes usually with many familiar faces. Also get to know your instructors. They are truly some of the best people you will ever meet, they are always willing to lend a helping hand, and they love to connect and build great relationships with the students! I truly wish you the best of luck and hope you enjoy the program as much as I do!

Instagram: @adoraball_


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Katrina Atkinson

The best piece of advice I have to give students entering the Communications Studies program at MacEwan (or really students pursuing any degree) is this: slow down. University is the prime example of an environment where people stress out and burn out. There will be days where you will forget to eat until the evening because you couldn’t step away from your paper. Nights where you feel pressured to stay up late because you think that a couple more hours of studying is the key to passing your exam. There will even be entire weeks where you make excuses not to exercise or have a social life because you think “there’s just not enough time.” Slow down. Your achievements will be just as great (if not greater) if you take care of yourself. The only difference is that you will actually be in a condition to enjoy them.


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Kaylee Cheladyn

The piece of advice I would give someone entering the Bachelor of Communications Studies Program is to take risks and try new things. Our program is very broad and allows us to explore our interests and play to our strengths. A degree in communications studies can be applied just about anywhere, so find a career path that inspires and challenges you and get lots of hands-on experience! I've been lucky enough to work on a contract-basis for charities and nonprofits; the opportunities that I've been given, in conjunction with my schooling, have made for excellent experiences. Also -- join a club, like the Promo Club, to get some practice with public speaking and networking.

LinkedIn: Kaylee Cheladyn


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Kyra Droog

Try something new! Though it may seem as there isn’t time for anything but studying, university is actually a great time and place to put yourself out there and try something new. There are lots of communications-related opportunities at MacEwan that will give you awesome experience and will look great on your resume. Check out the Bolo Tie Collective! They look for editors and contributors every year for their anthology, and run workshops that can help you improve your creative writing. Join a club! Most MacEwan clubs either have a communications position or are looking for a communications person, so that’s a great way to get some experience, meet some awesome people, and beef up your resume. Volunteer! Lots of places are looking for volunteers inside and outside the communications field, and volunteering will give you some great life experience, if not just experience in the field. University isn’t just about studying: it’s also about putting your feet on the ground and getting some experience in your field.

Instagram: @thehardybeatles // Twitter: @thehardybeatles // Website: thehardybeatles.wordpress.com


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Hamdi Issawi

If you're here just to get a good grade, or a piece of paper that says you’ve been to university, you're cutting yourself short. Think of your classes as jobs, and treat the instructors like employers. The people marking your assignments aren’t only teachers, they're industry professionals with a foot in the workforce, so you’d do well to impress them. Show them that you’re ready for real work, and they will open doors to give you the chance to prove it. Classroom work will get you the degree, but the work you do outside of it will make you a more appealing and competitive candidate – for whatever you want to do – after graduation.

Twitter: @hamdiissawi


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Paige Simpson 

Start your professional career early. Takes as many internships and small jobs in the field as possible while you're still a student. So many students go through university as just that — a student. But, it is so important to gain industry experience while you're completing your studies. I started taking on communications related internships in my second year of university, and it has turned out to be one of the best moves I could have taken for my professional career. Employers will see thousands of resumes from your program's classmates, but if you have extra professional experience, the employer will most likely pick you over someone else.

If you are looking for an internship while in university, I would highly recommend you check out a program called SCIP (Serving Communities Internship Program). SCIP connects Alberta's post-secondary students with non-profit organizations to make a difference in several communities across the province. As a bonus, each post-secondary student who completes a SCIP internship is offered a $1000 bursary for their work.

My first internship in the communications field was through SCIP as a social media coordinator for an Edmonton- based performing arts festival. From that internship, I gained new skills, networks, and experience in the field. I also received a $1000 bursary and a fantastic reference letter at the end of my internship! Since then, I have worked with several other organizations in communications related positions and now work part-time for a small public relations firm, as well as serve as an independent contractor completing further communications and marketing related work, as I finish my degree. 

Never think of yourself as "just a student". You are so much more than that. Your post-secondary education is the start of your professional career, so it is imperative that you do as much as you can while you are still a student to gain industry experience. 

Instagram: @paigesimpsonyeg // LinkedIn: Paige Simpson // Twitter: @paigesimpsonyeg


As a final note, I would like to thank these fantastic MacEwan communications students for agreeing to write a piece of advice to be featured on my blog. All of the students featured above are lovely individuals who have so much talent and knowledge to share with the world. I am lucky to be able to share a classroom with each of them.

If you are a prospective or new student of the Bachelor of Communication Studies Program at MacEwan and have any questions about the program or university in general, please feel free to email me via the email on my contact page. 

 

Until next time, 

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5 Life Lessons I Learned In 2017 — From Me, To Me, With Love.

With 2018 right around the corner, I thought it would be nice to reflect on some of the things I have learned this year that have allowed me to grow as a person. 2017 was a challenging year for me, but if I could go back, I wouldn't change a thing. After all, "We don't grow when things are easy; we grow when we face challenges" — Joyce Meyer. 

↓ Below, you will find the five most important life lessons that I learned in 2017. ↓


1. Paige, don't spread yourself too thin.

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You are a machine — its a proven fact. You can take on boatloads of work and get it all done in record timing. But sometimes, you need to say no. It is so easy to say yes to doing a little bit of work for someone; what's not so easy is trying to find the hours in a day to actually do the work. 

It's important to take time for yourself. You need to eat proper meals, and you need at least 6 hours of sleep a night to feel like a real human being in the morning. If your workload is prohibiting you from taking care of yourself, both mentally and physically, you need to step back from it and realize that you have taken on too much.  


2. Paige, not everyone is going to like you. 

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Not everyone is going to like you, and that's okay. It's not your job to please everyone, and you shouldn't have to change yourself in order for someone to like you as a person. The truth is, no matter how much good you are doing for the world, or how much kindness you expel to others, there will always be someone who still doesn't like you.

Once you stop constantly worrying about whether people like you or not, you will start to grow as a person and love yourself just as you are. You can't live your life based on other people's opinions of you, because, at the end of the day, the only opinion that matters is your own. 


3. Paige, sometimes you have to let go of friends. 

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Some friendships expire with time, and if you try to hold onto them — like spoiled milk — they will carry with them a sourness that will eventually seep into your life. Letting go of these friendships will allow you the freedom to grow. 

This year, you let go of an expired friendship with someone who had been a huge part of your childhood and young adult life. Although this was hard, I am so proud of you for doing what was right for you. I know that sometimes you find yourself reminiscing about the adventures you shared with this person — and it's okay that certain songs and places and movies remind you of them — but at the end of the day, you know that you made the right decision to let them go. 


4. Paige, lower your expectations when it comes to grades. 

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Throughout your entire school career, elementary included, you have held yourself to such a high degree of perfection when it comes to your grades. I distinctly remember you crying your eyes out because of a B+ you received in a high school English class. The expectation that you have for yourself to receive perfect grades all of the time isn't healthy. 

Your grades do not define your intellect, a B+ won't kill you, and when all is said and done, your school marks are just letters on a piece of paper. The only one holding you accountable for perfect grades is yourself. Once you lower your expectations, the stress and worry that surrounds your schooling will melt away, and you will be able to enjoy the content that you are learning that much more.


5. Paige, it's okay not to be okay.  

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This year has not been easy for you. This year, your mental health was the worst it's ever been. There were many tears, sleepless nights, missed classes, and self-destructive thoughts. You weren't okay ... and that's okay.

No one can be strong all of the time, and when you are feeling weak, it's okay to be vulnerable and to ask for help. You don't have to act like everything is okay when it's clearly not okay. When you open up to those around you about your struggles, you will feel like a weight has been lifted off of your chest. Not to mention, the relationships with those that you confide in will develop in ways that you have never experienced before. 


I hope you enjoyed this blog post highlighting the 5 most important life-lessons I've learned in 2017. I also hope that at least one of the lessons I have learned this year resonated with you in some way. I plan to continue the tradition of writing a "5 Life-Lessons I learned In" post every year, in hopes that one day I can look back on them and reflect on how much I have grown as a person. 

But, enough about me! I would like to wish you and your family a wonderful new year filled with happiness. Here's to 2018, folks! 

 

 

Until next time, 

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