Christmas Market

If you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a place to have a girls night in the city, Shop.Ca’s Christmas Market located at the Distillery District is a place I highly recommend. The historic precinct is transformed into a beautiful market filled with a huge Christmas tree and gorgeous decorations, rides for the kids, joyful vendors and  simply fun all around.

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If you’re trying to avoid the crowd, try to not go during the weekends. But then again, that’s the fun of a market right? Especially if it’s Christmas themed! Definitely dress warm! But if you need a little pick me up, they sell hot chocolate and hot apple cider for those of you with a sweet tooth. There’s even beer available if you’re feeling a little spontaneous. If you have an empty stomach there is street food available if you want to avoid the long wait lists for the restaurants.

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Personally, my favourite part of the Christmas Market by far were the beautiful lights that lit up the pathways. It was a picture perfect moment, to say the least. There is an abundance of activities to do, from sitting by the fire-pits to keeping warm while looking at the unique art pieces and to even just taking a bunch of selfies with your loved ones, the Christmas Market is definitely a place you want to visit to get yourself in the Christmas spirit!

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Happy Holidays Everyone!

Sincerely,

Anna Sky x

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University Rut

This has been something that I’ve really been bottling up lately. I feel like post secondary schooling could go two totally different ways for people. It could either be the highlight of of your short lived life or it could be the most depressing years that you try to forget the minute you receive that diploma. I am currently in second year university and I am in the group where I every day I go to school, I am unhappy and depressed.

Back when I was applying to the program that I am currently in, I was totally stoked to be part of the program, hoping every day that I would get accepted. I remember the day I received the email with my acceptance letter, I was on break at work in the change room, and I was so excited that I immediately called my mom and started yelling on the phone, not even thinking about what my coworkers might be thinking about what was going on with me. It was such an exciting moment for me, and in a sense it was sort of a relief as well because this was the program that my parents have been talking about since I decided what route I was going to follow. I really wanted to make them proud and it seemed like I did at the time. Things weren’t going so well for me in the friend department during my final year of high school, so being accepted to this program made it seem like things were finally going to turn around.

Now fast forward to the beginning of freshman year. I was in a total daze because I just started dating my boyfriend at the time. Everything seemed perfect. I was putting my high school years behind me and university was supposed to be a chance for me to start over completely. And I thought that would be the case until I attended my so called “frosh week”. I think I might have set the bar too high with my expectations because I heard from many people that frosh week is supposed to be amazing and you meet your best friends there. But when it happened, I was totally disappointed. Maybe it was my fault also because during frosh week I blocked people out. I just didn’t really like the vibe that I was receiving from the people there. In fact, I was a bit uncomfortable. People were just very intimidating and I wasn’t able to really find a connection with someone. At the time, I just brushed it off and made an excuse that maybe frosh just wasn’t my thing and maybe when classes began, then things would change. But unfortunately they didn’t. In fact, I started to hate school. I hated the program, I hate my courses, and most importantly I hate the people. I felt left out, like I didn’t belong. So I just kept to myself in every single on of my classes. In freshman year, I also took elective courses that didn’t relate directly to my program so I got to meet people from within my university. And let me just tell you that I had much more fun in these courses than the ones that I had to take in my actual program.

I don’t know why things happened the way they did. I ended up dragging myself through first year, barely passing some of my courses. I was so unhappy. I was on the verge of depression. At the back of my head all I was thinking about were my parents. I’m in this specialized program for them. I will earn my diploma for them. And that’s what helped me finish first year.

Things started to turn around when summer arrived. I got a new job, that I love and am still working there. I went on a much need vacation with my entire family which was absolutely amazing. Needless to say, I seemed happier. I even became excited to start school again. I put myself in a mind set that my sophomore year would be different. I would make more friends at school, do well in all my courses and be able to work part-time. That mind set took a 180 degree turn when I received horrible news that I don’t want to mention because it brings back extremely bad memories to this day. But let’s just say that my mindset and all the excitement that came with it was torn apart. When I received these news, I thought that my life was destroyed. I felt lost and most certainly alone. By the way, just to be clear, the news I received had nothing to do with pregnancy. Luckily, my parents were very accepting of the news and just told me to keep my head high and that this wasn’t the end of the world. And they were right, things turned around and I was able to put that aside so I could focus on school. I tried to get back into the mindset, but the news rattled me a little too much that I was unable to bounce back. The first week of school was okay. But I soon realized that friendships were already made last year. So I was already on the outside right during the first week. That’s the problem with my program being so small. It’s similar to a high school setting. In high school, you have cliques, small classrooms, everyone knowing everyone. And in my program, it’s the same, except the cliques are cultural based. It seems like students from the same cultural background only hang out with one another. Everyone already had their group of friends, and then there’s me stuck on the outside. I started to get back into the routine I was in during my freshman year. I tried really hard to escape it, but I just couldn’t force myself to be happy in an environment where I couldn’t be myself. The only thing that I am currently excited about is the possibility of going on exchange next year. However the only thing holding me back is that my GPA might not be good enough.

I think since I started university, I’ve created this mindset for myself of not being good enough. This is terrible considering my self esteem level was already close to zero. At the moment, it’s in the negative range. And I don’t know what to do! The only places I feel comfortable are at work, when I’m with family and my tight knit group of friends and of course at the gym. Maybe you guys have some suggestions as to what I should do and how I could get myself out of this rut? Have you guys experienced anything similar to what I’m currently going through? If so, please give me some suggestions or let me know how you got through it. I don’t know how I could survive another two years and a half in this place! Sometimes I wish I lived in a world where I went to a school like Hogwarts, where you mainly had to worry about tricks and spells. Now that would be awesome!

Thanks for listening!

Sincerely,

Anna Sky x

Lovestruck

Go back to the very beginning of your relationship. Do you remember that first day you fell for this person?  How were things like? Did it feel like you were living a fairytale? Like this individual was the only person you could think about? It seemed like everything you did and everyone you saw, somehow reminded you of this person. That my friends is what you called being lovestruck.

We’ve all been down that road. I know I definitely have. For some it can last longer than others. Some may still be in that phase and to those individuals; I say, enjoy it. It’s an amazing feeling to be in love. It’s like you’re on cloud nine and everything seems to be absolutely perfect. Nothing seems to go wrong, and you go about living your life in such a happy mood. I don’t know what it is about love that makes people so crazy (a good kind of crazy though).

But I honestly feel like it’s so hard to be in a relationship in today’s society. You go on social media and see twitter accounts dedicated to couples. Pictures and quotes everywhere showing what a perfect relationship would be like. It sucks because when individuals (mostly girls) see these things, in their minds they have these expectations of what they want in relationships. You see all these posts of couples and you can’t help but feel happy for them, but at the same time you envy them for what they have and you don’t. You see, that’s the problem. We tend to always want more. Wanting more isn’t a bad thing because it shows that you want to grow, but comparing what you have to what others have and not being satisfied with what’s in front of you, then that’s when you’re being selfish. Every relationship is different just like every person on this planet is different. That’s why we are called individuals. You can’t expect your relationship to be just like ones out of fairy tales or movies, although I think everyone can agree that it would be nice to have our very own Noah Calhoun. But that’s totally besides the point. What I’m trying to say is that when you’re in a relationship, you shouldn’t be comparing. You should be grateful that you’ve found this amazing individual who you loves you just as much as you love them. Finding that special someone can be the most beautiful experience ever.

Embrace relationships, but don’t underestimate them. No relationship is perfect. That lovestruck phase you were once in will eventually fade once you get deeper into the relationship. Don’t get me wrong, the lovestruck feeling will creep back and there will be times when out of the blue you fall even more in love with this individual which is a good thing. But you will have break ups and make ups, or maybe not the make up part. Like I said every relationship is different. Some aren’t just meant to be and that’s just part of life. Don’t take breakups as if they are the end of the world and especially don’t blame yourself if things didn’t turn out they you expected. That’s the beauty of relationships; anything can happen… If you go into a relationship with an open mind instead of being biased and thinking that this individual will be like those characters in love stories, then you’ll be able to embrace the relationship so much more for what it is and what it has to offer you.

So my lovely readers, remember that being in love is a blessing that life offers us. Don’t be afraid of it, embrace everything that comes with love, from the good to the bad because it truly is a wonderful thing. And also remember to tell your significant other how much you love them every once in a while. I promise you it will put an automatic smile on both of your faces!

Sincerely,

Anna Sky x

If your dreams could become reality, would you let them?

Everyone has a ‘bucket list’ of some sort. A list of things that they want to do before they die. A list of things they want to accomplish in their lifetime. They dream of accomplishing these things on the list. The list that constantly builds. As you get older, these things on the list seem almost impossible to accomplish because there is too much going on in your life, there is no time for these things anymore.

In this society, it seems that people tend to become so career focused that they forget about these things that they wish they could do if they had the time. Now I’m not saying that you should drop everything that you’re doing, because from personal experience I know that having a career is most certainly important in my family. However, I never forget about my ‘bucket list’. This list is constantly in my head and it’s always growing. I use it as a way for me to push myself so that one day these dreams could become my reality. Because I know that I don’t want to wake up one day after my life has suddenly passed by and regret not being able to do anything on my list because I was so focused on ‘living’.

As cliche as it may sound, use your dreams and aspirations as a tool to drive you to get to where you want to be in life. You may not get there right away and you might even get side tracked. Life will take its toll, but you should never about that list of things that drove you to get to where you are now.

So to all those dreamers out there; take some time off of your busy schedules to write a list of your own. If you already have one, continue to add to it, but don’t forget to cross some things off while your at it. Because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a dreamer, but turning those dreams into a reality, now that’s the ultimate task in anyone’s life.

Now if you don’t mind, I’d like to share part of my list with you all:

Run a triathlon

Climb a mountain

Go bungee jumping

Go water rafting

Go surfing in Hawaii

Ride a donkey in Greece

Pet a koala in Australia

Explore the Grand Canyon

Walk across the Shibuya crossing

Go to IMATS in LA and NYC

Ride an air balloon

Climb the CN tower

Zip lining over the Amazon Rainforest

Swim with dolphins

Visit the Lago de Luz

Walk across the Great Wall of China

Visit Grand Central Station

Watch the Cirque du Soleil

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Write my own book or series of books

Get married on a beach

Own my own cottage

Have a home in more than two countries

Move into a loft

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Have stars named after my parents

Send my mom to culinary school

Send my sister to school without her having to worry about being in debt

Build homes and schools in developing countries all over the world

Change someone’s life

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Sincerely,

Anna Sky x


Flashback

As I sit here, cramming for exams, I can’t help but stop and think, “What was I doing at this time last year?” Okay, I admit that with all that’s going on with school right now, this isn’t exactly what randomly popped into my head. However, the other day I saw a post on Facebook from a colleague from my high school saying that if we, meaning the graduates from my school last year  had the chance, then we should take a moment and watch the graduation video again. And that’s when all these high school memories came up.

For some, high school is considered the best four years of their lives. While others may disagree completely, but it really depends on how you look at things. High school is literally a highway to the rest of your life. After high school, it’s all go go go! University, college or whatever you end up pursuing when you leave the safety net of high school is no joke. You’re faced with reality and it’s time to start competing with the big leagues. It’s like stepping into the jungle all alone for the first time. No one is there to watch over you and protect you. It’s you against the jungle, or at least that’s how I felt when I left high school and started university.

Approximately one year ago, I was in the midst of completing my senior year. The year filled with the most drama, heartache and most definitely stress. In my last year of high school, I went from having a group of best friends, to barely no friends at all. I mistook lust for love. I cried, A LOT. Because of certain actions and things being said by people, students who I barely knew or spoke to were perceiving me to be someone I was not without getting to know who I was. There are a lot of things that happened in my senior year that I wish didn’t happen. At the time I was so angry because things were so overwhelming and the negativity just kept piling up, one after the other. I didn’t know how to deal with it all. In the midst of all the drama that was going on at the time, I tried to convince myself that eventually I would get through it. However things became even worse towards the end of the school year. I dreaded going to school each day. I was counting down the days till graduation. I just wanted it all to be over. I didn’t want to have to deal with the drama, the people and just high school in general. I was so excited to be able to completely start over in university. Little did I know how much “starting over” really meant.

But there were pretty awesome things that came with senior year as well. My graduating class was able to pull off one of the best high school musical flash mobs that the school has seen. With the hard work from the Multicultural Night Committee along side the numerous multicultural clubs, we were able to raise over eight thousand dollars for Haiti. I was surrounded by individuals who were outgoing, determined and passionate leaders. And to top it all off, the best part of my senior year was that I met my best friend and my soul mate.

So to all those who had an impact on me throughout my four years of high school, thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing the things you did and saying the things you said. Because if you hadn’t done these things, whether good or bad, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. To those individuals, whom I called my best friends, thank you as well. To this day, I never actually got closure from you. I think that was the main reason why I wasn’t able to really connect with people that I met in first year of university and open up. I was skeptical to let people in because I was afraid of being hurt, I mean really hurt again. The fact that I lost my friends, whom I was really close with for a big duration of high school, was a huge draw back for me. It was like a big piece of me was torn out and was never replaced. However, this is my chance to get closure and to finally move on. It’s about time don’t you think? So, thank you, from the bottom of my heart for all the memories we had together. All the laughs, the cries, the drama… everything. You taught me one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learnt in high school. Which is, no matter how far you’ve gone in the cave, and you feel lost and alone; there is always a light at the end of that cave waiting for you to escape. I’ve finally found that light, and I can now move on without looking back.

To those ladies of St. Joseph’s College School’s Graduating Class of 2013, good luck to wherever you are now. Whether I bump into you within the next few months, or in ten years from now, I hope you chose the right path and you ladies are doing things that you love.

High school is a learning experience for everyone. Filled with screaming while you are cheering and supporting your team mates. Dancing at school dances till you can no longer feel your feet. Doing reckless things without your parents’ permission, just because everyone else is doing so. Falling in love, being dumped and then falling in love again. Getting your first jobs and spending every pay cheque right down to the last penny. Watching the sun rise as you cram to finish assignments because you spent all the time you had watching Netflix. Day dreaming in your English class as your teacher reads Shakespeare. And most of all discovering who you are…

When you look back at it, you may laugh, cry, get upset or just be filled with smiles. Nonetheless, every thing that happened during those four years of high school happened for a reason. And it’s simply because it’s part of growing up.

So for those of you who are in your final year of high school, eager for the next three months to pass by, just waiting for your name to be called up to the podium to receive your diploma, take a step back and relax for a bit. Because in a years time, when you’re doing exactly what many past high school graduates are doing, you will really begin to appreciate high school more than you are now. And that’s a promise!

Sincerely,

Anna Sky x

In the Darkness

Do you know what it’s like to wake up every single day with a fear that your loved one will leave? You no longer fear your own death. You feel obligated to always be with that person because you are afraid that one small thing may set them off. It’s scary to think that in a split second, there are individuals out there that decide to take their lives. They allow depression to take over their mind and body. They let depression win.

There is an individual in my life that suffers from chronic depression. At the beginning, it seemed like nothing was wrong with this individual. This individual seemed happy and full of life, which I believed was true until I became closer to this individual…

Imagine seeing someone you love in a depressive mood almost all the time. Maybe when you are with them, they put on an act, and they make you believe that everything is okay, when in fact, on the inside, they are hurting. On the inside, the depression is taking over their mind. But you can’t tell the difference because you may not know that your loved one suffers from depression since they haven’t told you or they haven’t even accepted the fact that they suffer from it. Imagine seeing your loved one give up on everything they used to love doing. You know that they have so much potential to do great things, but they just can’t seem to do it because they can’t even find the will power to wake up in the morning. Just imagine hearing your loved one say that they feel worthless, unloved and a burden to society. As much as it may hurt you to hear them say these things, you must stay strong, for their sake. Because as much as it hurts you, imagine how much it hurts your loved one. Depression has led them to believe that they are nothing. Seeing them suffer is one of the hardest things, but at the other end of the spectrum, being someone who suffers from it, is a whole lot worse. Imagine hearing them cry and say that they are weak and can no longer see the point of living. They just want it all to go away, and they believe that the easiest thing to do for it all to go away, is to take their life. 

As tough as it may sound, this is what this individual in my life has to go through every single day

Under many circumstances, many cases of depression go unnoticed. There are individuals that live with depression that don’t want to seek help. They live in the dark, and hide it from the world. But the fact of the matter is, whether it’s a minor or serious case of depression, it’s still an illness. It’s actually more than just an illness; it becomes a mind set. Depression takes over your thoughts, your actions, everything.

For many, they decide not to seek help because 1) they believe there isn’t anything wrong with them or 2) they believe that if they were to tell someone, they would be judged in one way or another. But depression is a very serious matter and many people die from it because they decide not to seek help and they allow the depression to win.

Now, mental illness in general is an illness that I feel many people are still in the dark about in comparison to other illnesses out there. However, mental illness is a very serious matter because there are so many cases that go unnoticed. More people should be aware of the symptoms of mental illnesses, especially depression, because even though you might not be suffering from it, someone you may know might be. If you know someone; a friend or family member that suffer from symptoms of depression, seek help before it’s too late.

Now, this individual in my life is thankfully still alive. Every day, this person is fighting to stay motivated to continue living. It’s scares me to think what my life would be like without this individual. And as much as it may hurt me to see this person suffering, I must stay strong. I fear that I will wake up and this individual will be gone forever and I couldn’t do anything to help. Which is why I decided to write this post. It is my first step to making people aware of the seriousness of depression. It’s my chance to help more people out there be aware, so that they too could save a life.

For those of you that are reading this that have depression or have depressive thoughts, just remember, you are NOT alone! And as much as you may think, there are people that care about you. You are worth it! Like everyone on this planet, you were meant to be here. To someone out there, you mean everything! Don’t let the depression win; please take the first step and get help.

BE AWARE AND SAVE A LIFE

Sincerely,

Anna Sky x


Who is Anna Sky?

After I made my blog, it took a whole month to decide what my first blog post should be about. I don’t know why it took so long, but I think it’s because I wanted my first post to be special. It’s the first post of mine that showcases my writing to the world, and to be honest, I was scared. I don’t usually share my writing with others even though I’ve always wanted to. I decided that one of my goals for 2014 would be to create a blog, because I felt like it was time for the world to know who I am. I’m not getting any younger, and it’s about time I start to put myself out there. Anyhow, after a month, I finally decided that it would obviously make sense for my first blogpost to be about myself. Not in a bragging type of way, because in all honestly, the one thing I absolutely despise is talking about myself, but I thought that my readers, if I had any, would want to get to know who Anna Sky is.

Well to start off, like many writers, Anna Sky, is not my real name. I always thought that having a pen name was pretty awesome. It’s like pretending to be someone else.  Some writers don’t prefer it, but I do. Not because I don’t want readers to know who I am, but because I want readers to focus on my writing without judging who I am, if they happen to personally know me.

Now, let’s get to the juicy; yet not so interesting story about me. I was born and raised in one of the most multicultural cities in the world, Toronto. I still currently live in Toronto, and I don’t mind it really, because I love my city, however, I have the biggest case of wanderlust. I dream about travelling the world and envy those who have the opportunity to do it so often. The two places I really want to travel to at the moment are Australia and England. The farthest I’ve traveled was to the Philippines, but that was over ten years ago. And the last place I’ve been to that required airplane travel was last summer, when my family and I took a family vacation to California. As far as my travel scrapbook goes, it’s not as filled as much as I’d like it to be, but I’m still young and have my whole life to travel. I think I could wait, but then again, who doesn’t love to go on vacation overseas to explore a beautiful country?

Time for the nitty, gritty, emotional stuff. I am an aspiring writer who is majoring in business, with a love for fashion and beauty. Typical isn’t it? However, I don’t see myself as a typical person. If you ever get to really know me, you’ll understand that I can be one of the weirdest individuals that you will ever meet. But I don’t showcase my weirdness to the world. In fact, when I first meet someone, I am so incredibly quiet. It’s sort of like I’m in my own little bubble and I really hate that about myself, because I know my communication skills is a quality that I’ve had to deal with for quite some time. For most of my life I find that I tend to break myself down because I convince myself that I’m not good enough to do anything. Of course, it’s not on purpose. It’s because of my mentality. Today’s society brainwashes individuals and convinces them that there will always be better. It’s like no matter what you have in life, people can never be one hundred percent satisfied because there will always be a better life. It’s obviously up to the individual to take what they have, be appreciative and always strive for maximum happiness. However, for me, this idea of a better life has stirred me in a different direction. You see, I’ve dealt with poor self confidence my whole life. At one point in my life, I was at a very low stage. I was very unhappy with my self image. I wasn’t overweight, but I was definitely chubbier than the average thirteen year old. I won’t go into too much detail but the fact of the matter is that my self esteem got so low that I started punishing myself in unhealthy ways. Luckily, family members started to realize that I was at a very low point of my life. They intervened and tried to help me with my problem. It took a lot of time for me to accept the fact that I did have a problem, but once I did, I started to get better and began to lead a healthier and happier life. My self esteem even grew when other family members told me that I was inspiring them to get healthier as well. To this day, I still have many ups and downs with my self esteem, and it always goes back to my weight. But I can gladly say that each time I am at my lowest, I always seem to find a way to find the motivation to keep living. And I have my family, friends and most importantly my lovely boyfriend to thank for that.

Some other facts about me is that my favourite colour is purple, but more than half my closet is filled with black. I really enjoy going on long walks and bike rides. I am a part time adventurer who spent the whole summer trying to visit every park in Toronto. For the past three years, I’ve volunteered for a major dance competition in Toronto, but have never thought of actually becoming a dancer myself. Never ask me about music or television shows because I will most likely be totally lost. I don’t do it on purpose, I mean I do have my preference of music and television series, but I never seem to be up to date with the latest and greatest thing. Like I said, I’ve been in my own little bubble almost my whole life, and even though it has gotten in the way of many things, like making new friends, I know at the end of the day, when the right people come along in my life, they’ll accept me for who I am and won’t ask me to change just to be the next “it” girl. I’m not afraid to be different. No one should be!

So like many stories, mine is far from over. In fact, I’m still writing the beginning chapters of my life. And I’d really like to share my stories with you.

Well, that’s that. You’ve got a sneak peak into who Anna Sky is. Hope you enjoyed this little introduction and continue to join me on this journey I call life.

Sincerely,

Anna Sky x