21 Things To Do While 21

There are plenty of lists telling you of things to do before you’re 21, or on your 21st birthday, but what about the 12 months during it? Well as I recently celebrated my 22nd birthday, I put together a list of things I have and would have liked to have done during that milestone year. Believe it or not, you’re not going to be forever 21, so might as well make the most of it. Truth be told, you can do these things at 22, 30, 46, 67 and 99 and if you’re a trust fund kid living in Montreal even 18, but 21 things to do at 55 just doesn’t ring as a title.

1. Buy yourself a drink you’ve never had.
You’re legal all over the world dammit, so flash that ID like you mean it. Step out of your comfort zone and steer clear of the words “cranberry” and “vodka”, especially together. Try that weird looking name like the Freddy Fudpucker or Dirty Diaper, or that concoction that couldn’t possibly taste good with all the random ingredients in it. It just might win the title of your new favorite drink… or may end up spit on the floor, but you’ll never know the outcome unless you try!

New Orleans French Quarter2. Visit a place you’ve never been.
A new country would be nice. But hey, by the look of your dinner menu that consisted of mac and cheese and ramen noodles for the past oh I don’t know five months, I understand cash is low. So let’s settle for a new city. Somewhere you can get to if you just jump into a car or a bus.

3. Update your wardrobe.
It’s about time those Hollister and Abercrombie graphic tees are thrown into a trash can Salvation Army donation box. When shopping, instead of going for straight for the sweatpants, opt for something more dressy. You’ll soon be making the transition from classroom to office and it’ll be nice to have some staples already waiting for you in the closet. Sweatpants will soon be a thing for inside your house/apartment.

4. Show appreciation towards your parents/guardians.
If you’re lucky, you still live with them which means home cooked meals are the norm, you have an endless amount of fresh underwear (thanks to a mother who’s gracious enough to do your laundry), the words “electricity” and “bills” are non-existent and you get a goodnight kiss before bed. Your parents, whether you live with them or not, have taken care of you for a long time and now is a good time to let them know how thankful you are. Apparently folks also appreciate a nice dinner out, flowers or a monetary gift. They’ve spoiled you for 21 years, maybe instead of opting for that keg, you can use your spare change to give back.

5. Write a letter to yourself in ten years.
Your life is going to be drastically different when you’re 31. If life goes the way society expects it to, you’ll probably be married maybe even with a kid or two. Tell yourself the hopes and dreams you have at 21 and what you wish you’ve accomplished by 31. Spill your problems and decisions that you’re currently dealing with, which when you read this in the future will all end up seeming trivial.

6. Invest your money.
If you have money to spare, take a risk and invest it whether in a stock, a bond or a thing. You may be rewarded financially greatly in the future.

firend7. Get in touch with a long lost friend from high school.
Can you believe it’s been four years since you’ve left the comforting (or constraining depending how your experience was) walls of high school? The supposedly second best four years of your life (first is college, again depending how your experience was). I’m sure if you pull up that dusty yearbook and take a look through, you’ll come across some not-so-familiar faces that you saw every day. Look up your friends on Facebook and shoot them a simple, “hey how’s it going” message. You may get R-bombed, you will may get a “who is this?” response but with some people you’ll go back to talking as if nothing has changed. You can thank Mark Zuckerberg later.

8. Delete all your exes on social media.
If you still talk to them and are friends, cool. If not, unfriend and unfollow and make moving on Facebook official. There’s no need to be reminded of what you missed out on every time you scroll through your newsfeed or dashboard.

9. Quit something.
Whether it’s a bad habit, a job that you hate, or even a deadly relationship. Now is as good a time as any to say goodbye to the things or people in your life that are bringing you down. Obviously, go through the pros and cons first and make sure it’s a good decision.

10. Start something.
Honestly you’ve never know how good you are at something until you try. You may have not had parents who you signed up for every single sport or class as a child, but that doesn’t have to stop you from ever trying tennis or cricket or ballet. You may have passed your prime age to take the sport to the competitive level and become a professional, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be the star player on your house league team. Convinced you have not a single athletic bone in your body? That’s cool, embrace what you were gifted with and start something using that. Writers can start a blog, leaders/go-getters can start a business. The possibilities are truly endless.

11. Create a blog.
Maybe you’re not super talented when it comes to writing or photography, but that shouldn’t stop you from blogging, even if it’s just for yourself. Creating a blog gives you a free platform to express yourself and share your interests. I understand that WordPress can be daunting for beginners, so just sign up for tumblr and join the simple world of reblogging.

Nasty Gal #Girlboss book by Sophia Amoruso12. Read a self-help book.
Enough of that unrealistic fiction, try reading something that will help you become a better person, achieve your goals and motivate you. Okay so maybe unrealistic fiction can in fact do all of the above, but maybe try something that’s sole purpose is that.

13. Spend some time volunteering.
During this time in your life, a time when your wallet is usually starving, and your drowning in debt, working for free is probably the last thing on your to-do list. However, there are many rewards that come with helping out, though they aren’t financial. Just one hour a week can make a difference in your community, a person’s life or in the larger spectrum, the world. Volunteering also gives you one extra thing to add to that oh-so-important resume.

14. Edit your resume.
Think about the last time you opened up your resume. Was it three years ago when you walked through the entire mall handing one to every store? Regardless, you’ve gained many more skills and experiences since then and now is a good time to update the piece of paper that’s going to sell you to employers. You may have already graduated college or will be soon, and it’s nice to have a more recent document to work off of instead of trying to desperately remember what you did during the past three years as a sales associate.

Business Card Design for writers and journalists15. Create a business card for yourself.
They say networking is key to landing a job. Who is they and is what they’re saying true? I have no clue. But it doesn’t hurt to have some professional cards in your wallet at all times, if you do run into someone important or helpful.

16. Recreate an old photograph.
You’ve probably seen them take over the internet. Those brilliant two pictures, one from 1999 and one from 2014, where its subjects are in the relatively same location wearing the relatively same clothes in the relatively same pose. Why not go ahead and follow this fabulous trend yourself, whether it’s with family members, friends or solo? When you look at that photograph, every time you do it’ll make you laugh. (Get my Nickelback reference? No? I don’t blame you.)

17. Clean out your computer.
Our mothers and roommates constantly nag us to clean up after ourselves. We take the time to clean our rooms, clean our closets, clean every inch of our homes but when do we really set aside time to clean our computer. From the documents to the downloads, I’m sure there’s hundreds of unwanted files taking up space. You know it’s about time for a cleanup when you can’t even see what your desktop background is any more.

18. Film a vlog.
Whether it’s while you’re at an event, or on vacation or just sitting at home, a vlog is basically a fancy modern way of saying home video. Keep it for yourself to view in the future or share it with others. It’s just a great way to capture memories.

Filming on camera19. Post a video on YouTube.
Whether you do so with the intention of becoming the next big YouTube guru with your DIY tutorials, to make that home video of your hilarious baby cousin go viral or so you can look back on how you talked twenty years from now, it doesn’t really matter. From vlogs to channelling your inner Steven Spielberg by creating a short film, YouTube is the perfect outlet to post your stuff. And you don’t even have to make your video public!

20. Sign up for a community class.
It’s the perfect way to start something new, or refine and practice a skill you already have. And you get to make new friends doing so! When you commit to signing up for a class you actually paid money for like Kickboxing, you’re more motivated to actually go and do something, rather than saying, oh I’ll just exercise at home.

21. Set some goals for the future.
Think about your future. For the first time in a long time it’s probably unplanned, and unexpected. You’ve most likely been a student for the past 16 years of your life and now it’s time to move on. Few of you will know exactly where you will be in one or two years, let alone an entire decade from now. This is the time to plan out exactly what you want to do, where you want to be and how you’re going to get there. Time to go HAM on life! (No one says that any more do they…)

…and if you think you’re going to be forever 21, then repeat every year.

As published on Thought Catalog.

5 Things Parents Say After College (That You Don’t Need To Hear)

giphyPostgrad life is tough enough and a lot of the time, parents don’t make things any easier. While all of a sudden you find yourself with a lot of free time (sometimes too much to handle), you’re also facing pressure from family and even friends to get the next chapter of your life (or more like the rest of your life) started. It’s a confusing and lonely time full of many changes.

By now you’ve either found yourself settled in on your own in a new city or, like the majority of us, moved back in with your parents. While the clean laundry and home cooked meals can be nice, you also have to deal with daily interactions with parents/guardians who only want the best for you and aren’t afraid to let you know. Every. Waking. Second.

While their words may have good intentions behind them, these phrases become all too familiar and you just don’t want to hear them any more. But don’t worry, you’re not the only one

1. “You’re so lazy.”

Just because you’re stuck at home with no job, doesn’t mean you’re lazy. In fact, anyone who’s seen your email’s outbox and the 20 messages sent to different companies with specifically tailored resumes and cover letters can attest to that fact. Being unemployed and looking for jobs is hard work, and a full-time job in itself that easily takes up to 40 hours a week if you’re dedicated enough.

2. “You know Barbara’s cousin’s neighbour’s daughter’s friend just got a full-time job and she had the same major as you.”

There’s nothing worse than comparisons. You’re already reminded of all the people and classmates who are more “successful” than you with every Facebook status and LinkedIn update. The real world isn’t like school when everyone enters sophomore year at the same time. Not everyone has the same career goals and is looking for the same job. It’s cool, take your time and don’t worry about how others are doing.

3. “You can’t live at home with us forever.”

The last thing a 22-year-old wants is to be living under their parent’s roof (with their parents rules). While your parents may have been hesitant to let you fly from the nest when leaving for college, after four years they’ve grown accustomed to focusing on themselves and not having to clean, feed and look after their child. Even though your life choices may say otherwise, in their eyes you are a grown up now. Your parents want what’s best for you. And that includes a place of your own. Moving out is probably a high priority for you but while your heart says yes, t your wallet is screaming no. Put some extra time in commuting to work from home and save, save, save while you still can.

4. “It’s been __ months since your graduation.”

Is there a ticking time bomb no one old us about that’s going to go off if we don’t get a job exactly six months after graduation? The worst thing that’ll happen is the increase of your student loan interest. But other than that  inevitable consequence, take your time. Grow up at your own pace and not one that society deems is right. You’re only young and free with no commitments for a short period of your life, so might as well embrace the freedom you have now. Take this time to explore both who you are and the world.

5. “You need to start acting like an adult and get your life together.” 

Your college roommate may have been okay with you stumbling in at 4am and running straight to the toilet but your parents probably aren’t as cool with it. In fact to them, this usually viewed as childish behaviour. But just because you’ve got a degree or diploma with your name on it, doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun. And just because you make a mistake every now and then doesn’t mean your life is in shambles. Eventually you will have to accept more responsibilities that are more important than doing this weekend’s liquor run, but that doesn’t have to happen right now.

As published on Thought Catalog.

Ireland Travel Tips From A Twenty-Something

So back in November I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Ireland, mostly to visit my sister who was spending the semester studying abroad there.
Before she packed her bags and left against my mother’s will, Ireland had never been on my radar as a travel destination.
I mean sure, it looked gorgeous in films like P.S. I Love You and Leap Year, and sure, I have a thing for Irish/British accents. But with so many more “popular” destinations in Europe, it wasn’t a top priority on my “Places To Travel To” list.

But hey, when you have a sister studying there who’s got an apartment you can crash in FO’ FREE and flights are reasonably priced because it’s low season, you really can’t say no. And so I (over)packed my bags and headed off in hopes of drinking many glasses of Guinness, finding leprechauns and running into a Gerard-Butler-Type like Hilary Swank did on the road. None of that happened. I realized I don’t even like Guinness after one heavy sip at their giant factory in Dublin.

Anyways, I went into the country with not a lot of expectations and with no plan. I took it day by day and winged all my adventures, which actually worked out for me. But I know there are people out there who NEED to know what they’re getting into and even, *shocker* have an itinerary planned.

So I thought I’d share some advice/helpful tips and a few pictures for anyone interested in visiting the land of the four leaf clover. If you want a little summary of my trip, I put together a vlog below that I’d LOVE for you to check out!


Though I stayed in Galway, obviously I had to check out the capital! I took a double decker hop-on/hop-off bus which cost me 16 euros (because the man in the tourist office was nice enough to give me the (struggling) student price. It was definitely the best decision. Like all tourist carrying vehicles it took me around all the hot spots and landmarks in the city. You don’t have to buy your ticket ahead of time, just walk into any of the many tourism offices, because you can probably then bargain for a cheaper price in person.

Trinity College
I hopped off at Trinity College, which is a massive and old and beautiful and historic university. Did some walking around, gawked at some cute students, got strangers to take pictures of me in front of buildings, and then I found myself in a very long lineup to get inside their library. 30 minutes later I finally got inside only to find out there’s a $10 admission fee! As a former struggling student whose Canadian dollars were like nothing in Euros, I decided to skip out, so I scoped the gift shop and left.

Dublin Castle
If you don’t wanna travel to the countryside or northern Ireland, your chance to see a real life Medieval Castle is still possible in the middle of the bustling city of Dublin. It’s big, it’s beautiful and it’s free to walk around (going inside, I’m not entirely sure).
Dublin Castle


Temple Bar
This is where that infamous red bar is and where all the tourists go to have a drink. The Temple Bar area is a great atmosphere with cobblestone streets, pubs, and tons of gift shops. It’s a nice area to just walk through during the day, though I imagine it’s also where the partying happens at night (partying I never got to experience sadly).



Guinness Factory
Probably Dublin’s most tourist filled attraction, the Guinness factory was a huuuuge building that reminded me kind of like the Willy Wonka Factory from the movies, with its giant gates and smoke bellowing from the top. The tour cost around 18 euros and with it you also get a free pint of beer. Guinness beer, obviously. I don’t know if I could justify the price being worth it, but it was still interesting to see. Note that it’s a completely self guided tour, though they do have audio books available for purchase. My favourite part was where we learned to craft the perfect pint of beer in the Guinness Academy and then are able to enjoy it on their Gravity Bar, which gives the best CN Tower/Empire State Building type view of the city.




The “random” city my sister was studying in. I say random because as an uncultured Canadian I had never heard of this city prior to my sister moving there for four months. Let’s be honest, when you think Ireland, you think Dublin and that’s about it. However Galway is one beautiful gem that is definitely worth the 2.5 hour bus ride to visit. It costs around 16 euros for a two-way bus ride from City Link and there’s FREE WIFI on board! What’s in store for you in this town? The sea, awesome shopping (see: Shop Street), great pubs and just the taste of a beautiful quaint Irish town.




I visited this BEAUTIFUL picturesque part of the country through a day-tour offered by Galway tours. It cost 25 euros, 20 if you’re a student, and it was worth every damn cent. I was indifferent about going on this tour but it was probably the highlight of my trip. If you’re about seeing the countryside, jawdropping scenery and a giant mansion to boot, then this trip is for you. Take a look for yourself:







Since everything about this trip was a “just go and roll with it” type of thing, I obviously had no idea what the cool, hip, happening and let me stress, affordable places to shop were. Finding these places weren’t as hard as I thought, so here are my top 3 places, from cheapest to most expensive, cuz that’s how I browse online:

Penny’s (known as Poshmark in the UK)
If there was a retail heaven that shopaholics died and went to… I imagine this would be it. I was so overwhelmed when I first walked in, I probably resembled this meme right here. For a Canadian/American, shopping across is the pond is NOT cheap! While things may be reasonably priced for Europeans, like a sweater for 30 euros, that costs us around $45! And hey, I’m a recovering student who just paid off my debt. Which is why my eyes widened at the site of Penny’s prices. Scarves for 2.50?! A jacket for 30? And no way this sheer blouse is only 7 euros! Things weren’t just reasonably priced, they were dirt cheap. And so cute! From clothes to accessories to shoes to makeup to home goods, it’s basically like a Target meets Forever21 and it’s AWESOME! If you’re going to spend your money in one place, this is it my friend.

New Look
New Look is like the UK/Irish version of Urban Planet/Charlotte Russe/Forever21. And I’m saying that because I saw a lot of the same brands there that I’d find at UP or Charlotte. Prices are a step above Penny’s but that’s not to say you can’t find a good deal (they have plenty). If you’re going to buy just one thing make it a pair of jeans. Seriously the best fitting jeans I have ever tried, they’re soft to the touch and tight and fit like a dream.

River Island
The most expensive of all three, River Island is on Topshop’s level. Which means that the clothes look great and are probably of better quality. I recommend splurging your money on one of their cute bags/purses.