How to Make Small Talk More Meaningful

I’ve never been good at talking to other people, and I find it very awkward sometimes – especially after I say something weird. Over the past few years, I’ve talked to many people and learned how to survive making small talk and how to have more meaningful conversations. Here are some of the things I’ve learned:

Share some things about yourself and elaborate on those things. Ask the other person questions, and pay attention to what they have to say. By doing so, you might encourage the other person to open up and share some things as well. One of the purposes of having a conversation is to learn about other people. By learning about other people, I am often reminded that the person I’m talking to is just a human being. They have their own unique experiences, opinions about things going on, and they’re just trying to get through life like me.

The other person might be feeling awkward too. Many people I’ve talked to have admitted that they’re not good at making conversation with others and prefer to spend time alone, which usually makes me relieved. It’s a reminder that yes, there are introverts and people that feel shy and awkward out there.

If it doesn’t go well, it’s not the end of the world. Life goes on. This is something I’ve learned over the past few years, and it’s actually made me less stressed during a conversation. If I feel as though something hasn’t gone well, I usually end up dwelling on it for a very long time. And honestly, if you get the feeling that someone doesn’t really like you after a conversation, it’s fine – not everyone will like you, and you won’t like everyone either.

Be yourself. I’ve heard so many people say this before and thought it was overrated and cheesy, until I realized how true it was. Often, I felt like I had to pretend to be extroverted and a people-person, so in conversations, I would try to portray myself as an outgoing person. This eventually became a bit exhausting for me, because deep down, I knew that talking to others for long periods of time was actually physically tiring me. Eventually, in more recent conversations, I started talking about the emotions I actually felt and the things I actually enjoyed – and those were things I could actually go on about, since it was honest and 100% true. By being myself, I was able to make friends that I could relate to very easily, and who shared the same mindset as me. The lesson I learned was that if you pretend to be someone you’re not, you will eventually find it exhausting to keep up this facade.

Over the years, these tips have made small talk a bit more enjoyable for me. I’ve come to learn that socializing isn’t something I can avoid all the time (unfortunately), but it can be beneficial in getting to know people and strengthening relationships.

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Places to Visit in Vancouver


Last week, I went on a five day trip to Vancouver. Throughout those five days, I was tired, but I still enjoyed many of the places I visited, especially the mountains.

After I arrived in Vancouver, I went to Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium. The weather that day was extremely beautiful, and I took many pictures of the Vancouver skyline. There was a variety of sea creatures, reptiles, and amphibians at the aquarium. Outside the building, there was a dolphin being trained, and sea lions being fed.

On the second day, I visited the Capilano Suspension Bridge. The few minutes I spent walking on the bridge were terrifying, since the bridge was shaking so much and I was scared of accidentally dropping my phone into the river below. The scenery was amazing, and I enjoyed walking on the trails throughout the park.

On the third day, I went up Grouse Mountain. There was still a lot of snow on top of the mountain, and I was only wearing my running shoes, which ended up getting soaked. It was very foggy later that evening so I couldn’t get a good view from the top of the mountain.

The two bears at the top of the mountain, Coola and Grinder!

On the fourth day, I went to the Richmond Olympic Oval, and toured the building. There were virtual sport simulators, and a collection of Olympic medals over the years.

Later that afternoon, I went on the Vancouver Harbour Cruise, which sailed around Vancouver’s Inner Harbour. It was raining that day, so I stayed on the deck for a few minutes just to take photos. The view from the cruise is extremely beautiful, and it’s a great opportunity to take some photos of the city’s skyline.

Overall, I enjoyed my trip, although I wish I could’ve spent more time in the mountains. Vancouver is a city that you should definitely visit if you ever get the chance one day!

My After School Routine

my after school routine

School started last week for me, but it feels like I’ve been going to school for the past few months – does anyone else feel that way? However, the fact that I’m always happy to be home after a long day of school definitely isn’t going to change.

Sometimes, I go to Starbucks after school, where I usually get one of their shaken teas. If it’s a bit cold, I’ll get a mocha. I get home half an hour after school ends, and when I get home, I grab a snack – actually, more like a second lunch, because I don’t really eat at school. The type of snack I get varies – sometimes I’ll make myself an omelette, or I’ll go to the snack cupboard and find a bunch of snacks.

After I’m done finding food to eat, I like to watch a bit of Netflix. Last year, I spent up to an hour and a half watching Netflix after school, and this year, I’m trying to change that, since marks are more important and I’ll be getting more homework and tests.

Once that’s done, I start doing my homework – this could take either an hour or a few hours, depending on the amount of homework I have, and how fast I work. If I have the time, I’ll make notes about what I learned today, so that I can go back and study from them for tests and exams. I like listening to music as I study, and two of my favourite songs are “Here We Go” and “Monster”.

I eat dinner, and then I wash all the dishes. If I’m not done my homework, I’ll finish it, and then I grab some fruit to eat. If I’m done everything, I’ll pack my school bag, and watch some Youtube videos, go on Pinterest, Twitter, etc. If I have the time, I might work on a blog post or find new things to write about.

Going to bed earlier is something I’m trying to do, because sleep is very important, and I learned from last year that I can’t function that well on 6 or less hours of sleep. My goal for this year is to have at least 7 – 8 hours of sleep, and be in bed by 10:30 (let’s see how well that goes).

How are you guys doing? Feel free to leave a comment down below!

A Typical School Day – First Semester

School started not too long ago for me, so I thought I’d share with you what life at school is like for me.

*secretly hopes no one from my school sees this*

Currently, we’re in the first semester (September – January) of the school year. These are the first four subjects I’m taking.

First period – Visual Arts 

The class is actually a split class – half the kids in the class are in the same grade as me, the other half of the class is actually a grade above me. Our first unit is drawing, which is one of my favourite units. I don’t know anyone in this class (also I’m too scared to talk to the people sitting near me), so I’m usually on my phone and texting my friends if I have time.

Second period – Math 

I’ve been trying to focus more in math, since my math skills are horrifying and marks are more important this year. Currently, we’re doing basic algebra review (which I’m struggling with), and we have a test coming up next week. All our homework is assigned at the beginning of a new unit, and our teacher doesn’t do homework checks. I have a few friends in this class, which is nice, although one of them is trying to switch into another math class.

Third period – English

My English teacher is incredibly passionate about English, and is also soft spoken – there’s actually no way you can dislike her. We’re currently reading a poem for a poetry unit, and we did a vocab quiz today (I don’t think I got a perfect score on it though). I love my English teacher, and all of my friends are in this class, which is also great.

Fourth period – Lunch

Having lunch during fourth period is honestly great for me, since the period starts a bit after 12pm, and that’s usually around the time I start getting hungry. Typically, I head to the cafeteria to eat lunch with the friends that have the same lunch period as me. It doesn’t take us too long to eat lunch, so after we eat, we still have another hour before the next period starts. Sometimes, I’ll head to the library to do a bit of studying, or we’ll go to the music room and do some practicing.

Fifth period – Music

I love music. The teacher, on the other hand, is another story – I haven’t heard that many great things about my teacher. We spend each day working hard and practicing our music, since the senior wind symphony (made up of more than 100 people!) has a performance towards the end of the month. We also do some music theory review, going over the theory we’ve learned last year.

The homework load for this semester doesn’t seem to be too bad – I don’t get any homework for art and music, there honestly isn’t that much for English, and for math, I get a set of textbook questions (which I struggle with, but I’m getting there). However, I’m pretty sure the homework load will get worse as the semester progresses.

If you’re still in school, how’s school going?

Back to School Haul

I did some back to school shopping  last week – honestly, that’s the only thing I love about August – all the supplies are on sale and there’s so much stationery to look at.

I bought three binders – I only need two this semester (one for math and one for English). The Hilroy binder is a 1.5 inch one, which I’ll be using for math, and I’ll use either the blue or red binder for English – they’re both 1 inch binders.

I bought two report covers mostly because they were on sale, but also in case I need them for English.

I also got these two composition books, one for math, and the other for physics, which I’ll be taking later in the year.

I prefer liquid paper over the tape white out, mostly because the tape one ends up getting stuck, and a lot of the time, it doesn’t even stick to the paper. Also, I like the smell of liquid paper (I know, I know, it’s bad!).

I got a pack of coloured pencils, since we’re expected to colour in our sketches for art, and I end up using them in a lot of the courses I take. And how cute are those MUJI pens?! I love how smooth they are, they don’t bleed into the other side of the page when you use them!

Question of the day: has school started for you? Let me know in the comments!

Ripley’s Aquarium

Yesterday, I had the chance to visit Ripley’s Aquarium. This was my second time visiting, my first time visiting the aquarium was two years ago for a school trip. I went in the early afternoon, and there was lots of people visiting the aquarium as well.

And of course, no aquarium trip would be complete if I hadn’t tried to find Dory or Nemo! I found Dory, as seen in the picture above. I saw Nemo as well, I just forgot to take pictures of him. 

In other news, I’ll be heading back to school in September, and I haven’t finished my back to school shopping yet. Hopefully I’ll finish it soon, since I plan on doing a back to school haul post next week. 

How are you guys doing? Feel free to leave a comment below!

Downtown Toronto 

Hey guys! Sorry for not posting in the past couple of months – I’ve been incredibly busy and I lost the motivation to keep this blog running. I plan on posting more often, so stay tuned for future posts from me!

Fortunately, I’m back with some photos from downtown Toronto. I had the chance to visit the harbourfront and the CN Tower, so I’m going to share those pictures with you!

The huge floating duck was from the Redpath festival, which was from July 1 – 3 (the only reason we went to the festival was for the huge floating duck). It takes less than a minute to go up the CN Tower, and the view from the tower is so beautiful.

How’s your summer going? Anyone back at school yet?


Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Note: This review may have a spoiler or two (or maybe even more), so read this at your own risk.

I pre-ordered Harry Potter and the Cursed Child online, and I ended up getting it three days after the book was released. I regretted it, since a lot of people I saw had already bought the book on release day and read it, while I was still waiting for the book to arrive.

Those were a hard three days of me waiting for the book.

And then it showed up in the mail after those three days. I finished the book in less than two hours.


It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

After I finished the book in two hours, I ended up re-reading the book over and over again…mostly because I read it in a hurry, but it was also because I didn’t understand what was going on.

So the book (or script, should I say? You know what, I’ll just call it a book), mainly focuses on Albus and Scorpius, Draco Malfoy’s son, on their journey as they do a lot of time travelling.

And it was because of all this time travelling, and alternate universes, and whatever that I didn’t understand what happened. So you might want to re read the book a couple of times so you actually know what’s going on.

Since the book wasn’t fully written by J.K. Rowling, it felt like the characters kind of lost their personalities from the other seven books. It feels like Ron is just there for comic relief and Ginny doesn’t play a major role in this play. However, Hermione is once again a strong character who knows what she’s doing.

There will be moments in the book that will leave you extremely surprised and go “WHAAAAAAAAAT????” Those moments will probably confuse you and make you question them so much (not telling you what these moments are). And some moments will make you go, “Did this really need to happen? I mean, this is completely pointless!!!” And some moments just don’t make sense.

So my overall rating? 3.5 out of 5 stars. Mostly because I just really love anything to do with Harry Potter, and there were a few amusing parts in the book. I found all this time travelling and alternate universe thing extremely confusing, and the book didn’t do that great of a job explaining it. Characters like Ron and Ginny could have had a bigger role in the play. But if you want more Harry Potter to read and have been waiting a long time for new content to read, then I’d recommend this book.

If you read the book, what did you think of it? Leave a comment below with your opinion on the book!





Cinder (by Marissa Meyer) Review

I finished reading Cinder last week, and I must say, it was really good.

Summary (from book cover):

Sixteen year old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of her society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interface has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts!),making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it “a matter of national security”, but Cinder suspects it’s more serious than he’s letting on. 

Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder’s intentioned are derailed when her younger sister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that’s been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter’s illness, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers her body for plague research an “honor”, that no one has survived. 

But it doesn’t take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for. 

What I like about Cinder is that she’s a relatable character. She is discriminated because she’s cyborg. And being cyborg means that she can’t cry, she can’t blush, and she’s half robot.

The story of Cinder is similar to the original story of Cinderella. You have your evil stepmother, the two stepsisters, the father that passed away, and the prince. There are several differences between the two stories. Cinder was adopted when she was 11 by the father, the younger stepsister, Peony, is friendly to Cinder, and of course, Cinder is set in the future.

Cinder’s relationship with Prince Kai is one that is clouded with so many secrets. Cinder doesn’t want to reveal that she’s cyborg, and she doesn’t want to tell him that she’s not allowed to go to the ball. And she has another secret that she can’t tell, or Prince Kai would never want to associate with her again…

Things are pretty bad in New Beijing. There is a deadly sickness called letumosis, and there is no cure for it. And in the middle of those, Queen Levana, the main antagonist of the story, is trying to take over Earth, with her large army rallying behind her. She is also a Lunar, and uses her gift to brainwash people into thinking that she is the most beautiful of them all. The way the story is written will make you dislike Levana intensely.

Overall, I loved this book, and I would give it 5 out of 5 stars. At the end of several chapters, I was scared to turn the pages to find out what had happened, because the scenes had been written so well that they made me feel scared for Cinder. The disease, letumosis, was also described so vividly. If you’re looking for a science fiction book with a twist on the original fairytales, then this is the book for you.


Siren (Tricia Rayburn) Review

Last week, I finally took the time to read Siren by Tricia Rayburn. Here’s what I thought of it.


Summary (from the book cover):

Vacationing in Winter Harbor, Maine, is a tradition for Vanessa and Justine Sands, and that means spending time with the Carmichael boys. This summer, Vanessa is determined to channel some of her older sister’s boldness, get over her fear of the ocean, and maybe turn her friendship with Simon Carmichael into something more. 

But when Justine goes cliff diving after a big family argument, and her body washes ashore the next day, Vanessa is sure that it was more than an accident. She is more certain of this, when she discovers that her sister was keeping some big secrets and Caleb Carmichael’s gone missing. Suddenly, the entire oceanfront town is abuzz when a series of grim, water related accidents occur, with the male victims washed ashore grinning from ear to ear. 

Vanessa and Simon team up to figure out if these creepy deaths have anything to do with Justine and Caleb. But will what Vanessa discovers mean the end of her summer romance, or even life as she knows it.

It’s pretty clear at the beginning of the book that Vanessa and Justine are opposites. Vanessa has low self esteem, and is scared of many things (e.g. the dark, the ocean). Justine, on the other hand, is eager to take risks just for attention, and is the more outgoing sibling.

Vanessa may indeed have low self esteem, but I like how she takes the initiative to find out what really happened to her sister. She is willing to drive back to Winter Harbor alone, even though she has no clue what lies ahead of her. She puts personal matters aside, and focuses on her sister.

Vanessa has a good relationship with her friends, and she befriends a local waitress named Paige, picking up a job at the same restaurant Paige works at. She also has a great relationship with her dad, who she calls “Big Poppa”. Vanessa’s relationship with her mom is a bit bumpy, as they don’t agree on many things. Her mom was opposed to her driving to Winter Harbor alone, and she also ended up going to Winter Harbor too to check on Vanessa. Vanessa’s family and friends help her uncover the truth about her and Justine’s relationship.
Simon, Vanessa’s love interest, is different from any other love interest. He’s a bit of a nerdy character, obsessed with weather patterns and meteorology. He also enjoys spending time with Vanessa and going with her on adventures. His and Vanessa’s romance is slow and steady – it takes then a while to finally admit their attraction to each other, and they take things slowly as their relationship progresses.

Overall, I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars. The book was written well, with lots of description that let you feel what the characters were going through, and visualize what was being described. There were some scenes that were unnecessarily long, and they made the book progress slowly at times.


P.S. Hey! Did you like the review? I actually haven’t written reviews in a while, so this one might be bad. Anyway, I’m reading Cinder by Marissa Meyer, and you can expect a book review about it! If you have any book recommendations for me, feel free to leave a comment for me! Thanks!