How to go ‘back-to-school’ without actually having to go back to school

13249733_193929321001346_1531618941_n(1)I have always loved the transition period between summers and fall, as the leaves begin to change, the air gets cool and crisp in the morning, and all things #pumpkin flavoured start popping up everywhere.  I think I have always associated this time of year with back to school shopping, seeing friends after the summer hiatus, my extra-curricular activities starting up again – September has always felt like a fresh start with new classes, new teachers, and most importantly, new clothes.


This September will be the first in 22 years that I haven’t been a student heading back to school. I already miss that feeling of shopping for a new batch of school supplies, finding out who my new teachers are, and what friends are going to be in my classes – a fresh start. Although my days of going back to school are over, no one says you still have to be a student to get that ‘fresh start’ feeling.

Here are 6 steps to take this September to get that ‘back-to-school’ feeling without actually having to study, write papers, attend group meetings, take notes, and stress about finals.

  1. Buy one outfit that makes you feel fabulous.

It might not be the new back-to-school wardrobe we got when we were younger but according to science, buying one outfit you feel great in will instantly boost your mood, make you feel empowered, and is a way of reminding you of what you want and what you deserve.


  1. Stop hitting snooze.

I am the worst for this because nothing feels better than getting an extra 10, 20, or even 30 extra minutes of shut-eye but in reality,  hitting snooze leaves you feeling sleep deprived, foggy throughout the day, and your productivity takes a major dive. Maximize your productivity and squash your habit of procrastinating first thing in the morning by setting your alarm for the actual time you need to wake up, and actually GET THE F*$K UP.

  1. Give yourself a compliment.

While we were in school we got validation from everywhere and everyone – our teachers, friends, or coaches, through grades, compliments, or playing time. Now, let’s be honest, a lot of external validation comes in the form of a ‘like’ on social media or a right swipe on a dating app.  Take the time to give yourself a compliment, once a day, whether you killed it at the gym, look great in your new jeans, or penned a really awesome email at work.


  1. Connect with friends.

We may be past the days of reuniting with friends for a gossip session at our gym lockers discussing who kissed who at summer camp but that doesn’t mean we can’t connect with friends we haven’t seen in a while. Call up a few friends and get together for coffee or a drink, and by coffee in September I obviously mean a #PumpkinSpicedLatte, and by a drink I mean an adult apple cider.

  1. Pack a lunch.

Long gone are the days of my mom packing my lunch in my pink Winnie-the-pooh lunch box that I had until I was like fifteen and to be honest I have totally fallen into a habit of buying my lunch every day from the convenient salad bar around the corner from my office.  Packing a lunch not only saves you time, money, and calories, but studies show that eating in the lunch room with co-workers can result in a happier work environment, and “happy people just don’t shoot their husbands” (Elle Woods).


  1. Join a league.

When I was in school I participated in all sorts of extra-curricular activities from the volleyball team, to chess club (so I didn’t have to go outside for recess obviously), to the school band (I played the oboe and then was asked to switch to the clarinet when I was still sounding like a dying cow in November), and these team and activities are where I made most of my friends.  Joining an adult recreation league will reignite your passion for sport, is a great way to meet new people, learn a new skill, practice your teamwork and communication skills, and change-up your normal working routine.

What I Know For Sure

It seems like just yesterday that I started Chapter Three, as a salute to the sentiments that I was embarking on a new a third chapter of my life.  I had just graduated from University, moved to a new city, and at 22 it felt like I had everything figured out.  Well three years, another degree and a new career later, and just days away from turning 25, I can tell you I don’t have much figured out (other than how to pretend I’m an adult, the do’s and don’ts of Instagram, that tanned fat looks better than white fat, and that trends really do go out of style)  but I am learning valuable lessons along the way.


Here is what I know now, that I didn’t know back then… let’s call this Chapter 25:

  1. I mean I’ve always known money doesn’t grow on trees (or magically appear in my account from the ‘Bank of D.A.D.’ anymore) but did you know you actually have to get up at 7am every day and go to work for 8 hours and earn it. Every single day. Five days a week. Then you only get two days off and have to do it all over again. Who came up with this schedule, Satan? I’m seriously one Monday morning away from packing up and moving to the Netherlands.


  1. Surrounding yourself with great friends, especially girlfriends, is extremely important and only becomes more so as we get older and life becomes more and more complicated, but did you know you actually don’t have to be friends with people you don’t like? #shocking
  2. I’ve learned to accept my body and all its curves and imperfections by now, but at this age to even maintain this mediocracy takes a lot of work, a lot of spin classes, and a lot of kale and quinoa, and unfortunately, very few carbs.


  1. Wrinkles are no joke and if you haven’t started using a Retinol cream by the time you cross the mid-twenties mark you’re pretty much screwed. If you’re like me, still getting teenage pimples and already getting adult wrinkles, well then basically you’re f#cked.
  2. It’s important to set standards for yourself and know what you deserve, whether it’s in terms of a relationship, career, or something more trivial, but then when you actually get that raise, land your dream job, or find an amazing boyfriend it’s okay to embrace it and not feel like you’re not good enough to deserve those great things.Snooki-crying-saying-I-dont-deserve-this-right-now-GIF.gif
  1. Investing in quality, timeless, and classic pieces for your home and your wardrobe instead of dropping cash on cheap, trendy items will save you money in the long run, but obviously you still need to swing by Forever21 for a cute new dress for a GNO.
  2. The value of our minds, bravery, senses of humour, courage, and kindness will always trump a thigh gap. Complement each other on things that actually matter, because beauty fades (see #4) but your brain and your character are forever.

Happy learning everyone!

xo Em




The Authenticity of Social Inauthenticity

 Last week the internet blew up with support for Essena O’Neill, an Australian teen who had built a “career” for herself by posting photos in bikinis, on beautiful beaches, and sponsored outfit of the day posts. The 18 year-old Instagram “celebrity” announced to her 500,000 followers that she was quitting social media because of the negative impact it was having on her life, declaring that “social media is not real life”. Elle magazine called O’Neill’s enlightenment “captivating and thought-provoking” and CBC News referred to her as “revolutionary” while I’m sitting here thinking: didn’t we already know that?


For as long as I can remember I have been using social media as an outlet to be a smarter, prettier, more organized, more confident, funnier an enhanced version of myself. From talking to boys on MSN I would have never had the courage to talk to, to watching concerts I couldn’t afford to go to, to engaging in online conversations on topics my friends had no idea I even cared about; social media has opened conversations and experiences I otherwise never would have engaged in.

The truth is I think there is an authenticity to social inauthenticity. Posting a photo of the delicious lunch I ate today instead of the granola bar I shoved in my mouth between meetings yesterday doesn’t make me an inauthentic person. It is human nature to focus in on the interesting, beautiful, and impressive, and let the rest blur together and fade into memory. Wanting to show off your favourite version of yourself to the world (or 198 followers) and posting the photo where you and your friends look happiest, your house looks cleanest, or your meal looks healthiest, isn’t inauthentic, it’s authentically human.

Social media isn’t real life, but that’s not the point.

The point is to stop allowing “likes” and the interactions you have on social media define your self-worth. Self-love doesn’t come from the affirmation of others and your personal validation shouldn’t come from the number of likes you get on a #selfie.

If you get up at 5am every morning to work out because it makes you feel healthy and happy, and you want to show off your killer #beachbod on Instagram, I think you should. If you love fashion or saved up to buy a killer outfit and want to show off your #OOTD, post it. If styling and shooting pretty vignettes makes you happy, do it. Just remember you are still the same smart, thoughtful, special, beautiful, important person you were when you posted the photo, as you are at zero likes, at eleven likes, or at a thousand.

Social media isn’t real life, so don’t let it define yours.

“Instaquette”: The Do’s and Please, Just Don’ts of Instagram

For anyone who follows me on social media, you know that I was on a whirlwind European vacation a couple weeks ago with two of my besties. If you did not already know this fun fact it means you have either been living in a hole or don’t follow me on Instagram (both of these thoughts are equally as troubling to me). If you are part of the latter group, do us both a favour and put down your iced coffee and go follow me (@emennett), I promise you won’t regret it.

What I learned on my travels, besides that I hate crowds and find all most museums incredibly dull, is that Instagram has become the most important an extremely important and integral part of our social lives. When you finally find a café and spend eight bucks on a miniature European cup of coffee to use the free Wi-Fi and have to choose between checking in with family and friends back home or instagramming the perfect selfie in London with Big Ben, Instagram wins. Every time.

As the go-to filter consultant, caption advisor and photo editor for my group of followers friends, I have taken it upon myself to help @laurmeis ( fight the battle against bad instagramming and break down the do’s and don’ts of Instagram etiquette, also known as “instaquette” (Oxford Dictonary’s Word of the Year for 2015? #justsayin).

The Do’s and Please, Just Don’ts of Instagram

Do: Socialize

I mean, it’s called social media for a reason. Follow friends, celebrities, brands, photographers, special interest groups – whatever inspires you. “Like” and comment on photos you enjoy and admire, and don’t be afraid to generate a conversation.  Some great partnerships, collaborations and even friendships have resulted from engaging on social media platforms.  Oh and if it’s funny or one of those “OMG that’s soooo true”posts, tag me!

Please, Just Don’t: Get Confrontational

Nothing scares me more about our society than the fact that there are people in this world who get in fights with other people on celebrity’s IG posts.  Also, just because it needs to be said, if you comment “first” on a Kardashian’s photo you are a loser and we can’t be friends.


Do: Take High Quality Photos

Post high quality photos and don’t be afraid to edit or enhance them.  My favourite photo editing apps are Afterlight and Faded. Using a consistent filter makes it easier to maintain a consistent aesthetic and continuity throughout your feed, which according to this study will ultimately lead to more followers and more likes!

Please, Just Don’t: Be an Instagroupie

Don’t like every single photo you see while scrolling through your feed.  Likes have value and giving them away to blurry photos with a Hefe filter diminishes this value.  No one wants to be the skank of Instagram, or worse, an instagroupie.

Do: Be Authentic*

If you aren’t in Vegas don’t post a pic from last spring break and pretend that you are, that’s what #TBTs are for.  Imagine how awkward it would be if you ran into that bitchy girl from your psych class at the mall when you just posted a bikini shot of you on vacation #embarrassing.  Keep it real ladies (and lads)!


*By all means fix red eye, blur annoying blemishes and up that saturation to fake a faux-glow but girls stop using apps that fake a thigh gap or make you look scary and fake like a porcelain doll.  Nobody is perfect (except Gigi Hadid of course) and our imperfections are what makes us beautiful and unique (so lame but it’s a #fact).

Please, Just Don’t: Flood the Feed

Don’t post multiple pictures in a row, wait at least three hours between posts and NEVER post more than three photos in one day. Don’t use more than three hashtags (10 MAX) and for the love of God, do not ask people to follow you back #desperate.

Hope you find these tips helpful, happy instagramming!