We are WELL at the end of December and by this time, I am WELL into getting ready for the winter quarter in a week. I mean, nobody EVER enjoys returning to the academic stress and crazy workload, right? However, we can all use some more time to lay back and simply enjoy the rest of the holiday vacation, grab a little (or a lot) of tea and coffee and chit-chat with some good friends!
Today I am BEYOND excited to introduce my good friend Cindy of the phenomenal blog Cookies and Chemistry. A student, creative chef and talented yogi, Cindy has been one of my biggest inspirations and closest friends since I’ve started blogging myself, whether through her stunningly presented food photos, her motivational words, her beautiful smile and her infinite positivity. So without further ado, I present my interview with her right here!
- Okay, here is an icebreaker: summarize yourself in only one sentence!
Oatmeal-loving nerd who loves exploring both the world (through travelling) and the limits of the human body (through yoga)… and loves baking… and is slightly addicted to social media.
- What is ultimately your story behind CookiesnChem, both in the name and the blog itself?
CookiesnChem blossomed out of a love of reading other blogs. Iowa Girl Eats and Kath Eats Real Food were some of the first healthy-living blogs I discovered, and I realized what a big impact the two lovely ladies had on my life. Their words, photographs, and creative recipes sparked an interest and curiosity for blogging. Since I’ve always loved to write and take photos, the only tricky part was figuring things out from the technological side! Fortunately, WordPress made it pretty easy for me. As for the name, I like alliteration (as you can probably see from some of my blog posts as well). Aside from the similar “c” sound, Cookies and Chem sounds kind of like “cookies and cream”, which, without a doubt, is one of the best ice cream flavours of all time. Finally, “cookies” represents my love for baking while the “chemistry” component symbolizes my passion for science. I’m not actually the biggest fan of cookies, nor am I a big chemistry geek – perhaps “Croissants and Kinesiology” would have been a better name for my blog!
- One of the biggest mistakes I find my classmates make is only sticking to their niches. However, you are the COMPLETE 180 and have even inspired me to try new things at my own school! What would you recommend to anyone who doesn’t really know where to find where they belong and what they want to go in school?
Great question. I think it all starts with finding what you like. What you’re interested in. If that is still baffling, I’d recommend NOT going for something you DON’T like. You’d be surprised how many of the homestay students living at our house (international students from China) have pursued a business degree and have zero interest in business. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. Eventually, you’ll hone in on what you really like.
- You’ve recently been named one of the fifty recipients of the $60,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship Program. First of all, congratulations on this amazing accomplishment! What is the best advice you can give for anybody who wants to pursue such a big goal?
It sounds super cliche, but be yourself, and try your best. Give everything 110%, because anything worth doing is worth doing well. Take anything that you do and bring it up to the next level. If you love graphic design, make and SELL your own t-shirts! Interested in social media? Create your own app! Know everything about dog-sitting? Start your own business! Take full advantage of your hobbies and skills without overwhelming yourself and always give yourself breaks.
- Like most readers, I CANNOT get enough of your amazing food photography that captures your gorgeous oatmeal bowls, stir-fries, baked goods and more! But most college students don’t make the best choices when it comes to eating healthily. Have you ever had difficulty maintaining a relatively clean diet while studying and if so, how do you balance the two together?
I’ve actually never had much of a problem eating healthy while studying because I always prioritize food. I like to have food prepared in the freezer, like lasagna and curry. I make a lot of stews and curries that I can serve over quinoa or rice for several meals. Eggs and toast are another one of my favourite meals. I certainly place eating/cooking above studying!
- Another part of your blog I can’t get enough of are your restaurant features (talk about FOOD PORN)! Here’s a fun question: describe your dream four-course meal with an appetizer, an entree, a dessert and a beverage!
Thank you! I’m lucky to have grown up in BC, where some of the greatest seafood comes from (though I’m a bit biased) 😉 Also, this is an amazing question.
- Appetizer: Puff pastry filled with brie cheese, candied walnuts, and sour jam
- Entree: fried polenta, roasted vegetables and sweet potatoes, baked butter and dill salmon, cheesy pasta, vegetable flan, and a side of creamy vegetable soup. I know, I totally cheated. But side dishes count… right? (though, let’s be honest, some of the best meals I’ve ever had were in France: https://cookiesnchem.com/2015/09/04/lunches-of-paris/)
- Dessert: sizzling chocolate fudge brownie pudding with vanilla ice cream and raspberries (though NY cheesecake was a close second)
- Drink: hot lemon water. Or possibly a London Fog tea latte or hot chocolate, depending on how I feel.
- As college students, we both deal with a LOT of stressors: work overload, limited budgets and time shortages galore! How do you cope when things get too overwhelming?
Talking with my family and friends helps. I also love warm showers and washing my hair with a special coconut shampoo. Reading (recreationally, not textbooks!) has also been helpful for me. When things get stressful, I tend to nurture my artistic side by cooking, doing aerial silks, or drawing a picture (which I suck at, but it’s fun). I try to manage my workload and budget by staying on top of things and doing a little each day.
- In your blog posts, you also show your journey in practicing aerial and yoga (which are both INSANE in my book–I can’t even perform a handstand)! What stemmed your passions for the two, and how have they affected your life?
I think my passion for the two sports came out of wanting to do something challenging and creative. I really crave the sense of accomplishment. Growing up as a competitive figure skater, I’ve always been involved in a sport that makes me feel beautiful, graceful, and empowered. I certainly don’t feel beautiful, graceful, or empowered in my daily life. Being on the ice gave me the confidence that most other girls get with a swipe of eyeliner or a new pair of shoes. When I came to university, skating was no longer an option, so I was fortunate to discover yoga and aerial silks. Both of these have helped to fill that empty spot and allow me to feel strong and elegant, even if I look like I’m struggling. 🙂
- The travel recaps are also so enthralling! It is honestly so amazing to see someone your age already making such a big difference and giving back to the world. Do you also recommend that college students should go abroad?
100%. A lot of people say that they can’t, because they have to do school, they have to do this, they have to do that. I think that’s all an excuse. The only thing humans have to do is DIE. Sure, there are consequences if you decide not to go to school or work, but if you make way for what is truly important (i.e. travel), it will be worth it. After all, what is life aside from school for 15 years, work for 50 years, and then waiting for death? We are only young + mature from about 15 to 35, and within that 20-year frame, I believe we should do anything possible to make lasting memories.
- Lastly, what are your future ambitions as you progress further in your college experience?
Medical school is the big goal, because I’ve always been interested in healthcare. If not, I would go to physiotherapy school and perhaps open my own clinic (with a yoga studio and a bakery attached)! But, to be honest, I have no idea… and I think that’s the fun of being young!
In conclusion, I would like to thank Cindy once again for allowing me to share her incredible life journey in this interview! If you are also a fan of college life, deliciously healthy recipes, travel diaries, yoga, aerial and enjoying the simplest things in life, don’t forget to check out her blog at the link below!
Cindy’s blog: Cookies and Chemistry