Tuesday, February 21, 2017

How to Succeed in College: Balancing Work, Classes, and Fun

As I'm sure you know, I am a junior in college, and lately it feels like it's flying by. This year I have felt a definite shift in how busy I am and the work load I have for classes; things are starting to get serious, and while it's very scary, it's also pretty exciting. I'm starting to figure out what I want in life, and I feel like I'm finally getting a feel for balancing my life with everything that is in it - classes, work, clubs, and a social life. Because of this, I thought it would be fun to do a whole series about it on my blog, especially since there are a lot of people starting to think about their first year in college in September!

For the first post I'll be talking about how to balance your schedule, especially if you have a part-time job and want to have time for studying and having fun. It can be difficult, but it can definitely be done. Here's a couple of tips on how to get done, and what I do to keep my schedule balanced!

1. Get a planner and write in it religiously.
I'm sure you've seen those people in your classes who whip out their planners anytime the professor mentions any sort of date, but let me tell you, those people are ahead of the game. During my junior year of high school I started using my planner more, and once I got to college I made it a point to write everything down in it, because it helped me figure out the times I would be working, studying, going to class, or hanging out with friends. It can be difficult to remember to write everything down in your planner, but once it becomes a habit, you won't think twice about writing all your important dates down in it. I also like to sit down on Sunday or Monday and write down my work schedule and any other time commitments in my planner so I already have those dates in my head and I don't forget anything. This also makes it a lot easier to figure out the free time I have to have fun!

2. Additionally, make a to-do list for the week in your planner, or another notebook.
Whether those involve homework goals, errands you have needed to run for weeks now, or groceries you need to buy, this is super helpful for getting things done. It can be so easy to forget to get tasks done in college because you're extremely busy, but I find doing this helps to make sure I don't accidentally miss a due date for a class, or get swamped in random things I've needed to get done for weeks. This is also great to write down anything you need to get done for work, or anything you can do in advance to help clear up your schedule later.

3. Dedicate a certain amount of time to each part of your life.
Blocking off time for things like studying, doing homework, or having fun can be extremely helpful for balancing all areas of your life. This helps break your life up into a routine that will get more and more natural over time, so you're able to do all of the things that you want to do, while still getting the things you need to do, done. For me, I make sure I spend the time I have between classes doing homework, and if I don't have any to do, I will usually call my parents to make sure they know I am alive and well. I also usually have a lot of time during work to study (it's a campus job, so it's more geared towards students, which is really nice!), so I know that I'll get a lot of that done during my shifts throughout the week. After work I give myself some de-stressing time, and will usually watch something like Friends or Parks and Rec - something that doesn't need a lot of attention. It's so important to give yourself these structured times to get things done, that way you know you'll have time to give yourself a break both mentally and physically.

4. If you're looking to get a job, try and find a campus job.
Getting a campus job is super helpful for students, because oftentimes your boss understands that sometimes you'll have to have a shift covered due to class conflicts, midterms, or just needing more time for studying. My boss gives us all dead week off in order to have ample time to study, and so we don't have to worry about devoting too much time to work rather than doing homework and such. This really helps alleviate stress during a usually high-stress time, and it's great to be surrounded by other students who also understand, and can cover a shift when you need it. Also with campus jobs, usually you have lots of time to do homework and study during the shifts, because they're usually desk jobs, secretary work, or front desk/welcoming positions. This makes it easy to get two things done at once - you're able to work and earn money while also getting work done for classes.

5. Communicate your class schedule to your boss clearly and early - school comes first!
Around the time of registration, my boss asks for all of the class schedules of the student employees in order to make sure there are no time conflicts. She understands that school comes first for all of us, so she wants to help us have the time to not only have time for classes, but work and still be able to finish all of our homework. It's really important to communicate to your boss the time that you know you will not be able to work, rather than telling him or her later on that you can't come in for a shift. No one likes it when a person cancels suddenly, because all of your coworkers have to scramble in order to get the shift covered, and there isn't always someone who can cover the shift. If you have any other time commitments, like club meetings, make sure to also tell your boss so you know you'll be able to go to those.

6. Hold yourself accountable.
Don't slack off on homework time, or sacrifice it constantly for hanging out with friends. Yes, being social is important for your mental health, but if you find yourself always having fun and slacking off on classes, you have a problem. It's important to always put school first because you're there to get an education, and are most likely paying a lot of money for it. If you want to spend more time with friends but still get work done, you can have study dates, go to the library with friends, hang out at a coffee shop while studying, or hang out at one another's houses/apartments in order to do homework together. Doing this can actually motivate you to actually do homework, especially if you're surrounded by people who are getting work done as well.

7. But also understand that sometimes you just need a break.
At the end of the day, it's really important to check in with yourself and see how you're doing. If you feel like you're absolutely drowning in tasks, or are feeling extremely overwhelmed take a break. This can be hard to do when you're super busy, but it can make you feel better mentally and physically, so in the long run it's highly beneficial. When you feel good, you can do good. Take a nap, take a bath, read a good book, or watch some Netflix in order to de-stress; give yourself the time you need to recuperate, so that you're able to go back and tackle homework and other tasks with full energy.

Alright, those are my tips on how to balance your work, classes, and fun! It's important to do this to stay both happy and healthy, but it can be so hard in college. I hope these tips helped, and that you're able to figure your schedule out!

How do you balance your life?

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful day! :)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Last Minute Valentine's Day Outfit Ideas!

This is the first Valentine's Day that I'll actually be going on a date, and figuring out what to wear can seriously be so difficult, as is true with a lot of other occasions. I'm the type of person who constantly worries about being over or underdressed, so I put together a couple of different options for myself. Since I had them laying out, I decided to make a post about it to give you a little inspiration, too!

Comfy and casual

Shirt: Pacsun (similar one here)
Jeans: Bershka (similar ones here)
Booties: Nordstrom Rack (similar ones here)

This look is super casual, but still really cute and perfect for Valentine's Day! This wine-colored bodysuit has been one of my favorites for the winter, because it's so easy to dress up or down. I've always been wearing these jeans a lot because they're so comfy! I got them in a little shop in Spain, but they're super popular right now and could easily be found in most stores.

The pattern on the side of the sweater is also really cool and gives it a nice pop!

Girly and romantic

Jacket: Forever21 (similar one here)
Dress: Tobi (link here)
Shoes: Nordstrom (similar ones here)

This look is great for a romantic date! The sweetheart neckline is flattering on everyone, and the flowy bottom adds a feminine touch. This tweed jacket is also extremely warm and perfect for cooler winter nights, since it's still getting pretty cold in Seattle!

Booties are usually my goto shoes when I don't want to wear actual heels! These ones are comfortable and I can easily wear them for the whole night.

But can we talk about the back of this dress...

I was immediately drawn to this dress when I saw the back, because I knew it would show off my tattoo! This is great to surprise your date when you take off your jacket, and it's always just great to have a little surprise to a seemingly simple look.

Bold and surprising

Jacket: Primark (similar one here)
Dress: Tobi (link here

This type of dress isn't something I would usually buy, but the slits in the front (and back!) really drew me in. Ever since I got my back tattoo, any dress that can show it off is a winner in my book! I'm so excited to wear this dress out, and I'll definitely be bringing it to Vegas when I go later this year with my friends!

Dressy Casual

Dress: Tobi (link here)

Interesting necklines definitely seem to be making a huge appearance lately, and I'm loving it! This dress has a combined chocker basically, and the large keyhole opening on the chest really makes the well-loved LBD a lot more interesting. Something like this would be great for a night out on the town, or a cute bar!

Alright, there are four different looks for last minute Valentine's Day outfits! I hope this was helpful, and finding what you're going to wear is a little bit easier! If you're looking for some great dresses check out Tobi, they have some great options for both cold and warm weather!

What has been your favorite Valentine's date?

Thank you so much for reading and have a wonderful day (and Valentine's Day)! :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

6 Ways to Stay Out of the January Slump!

I was sitting in class today and realized that it's already week four of my university's quarter. Being on the quarter system means that everything moves so quickly, but the fact that it's already week four is so scary. Surprisingly, I have found myself to be really motivated this term, which can be hard during winter quarter since it starts out in January, the low point after the high of the holiday season. I'm actually really enjoying my classes so far, so that's probably a huge part of it.

Every year, though, it seems like I find it harder to stay organized and motivated as January is coming to an end. The month starts out great after relaxing during the holidays, and you feel the freshness of the new year. Towards the end of the month, however, you start to feel yourself tire out from all of the hard work of staying motivated, and it's super easy to fall into the trap of letting yourself slide back into old habits, and not stay as organized. I hope that isn't happening for you, but if it is, I thought I would put together a little guide on how to stay out of the "January Slump," or get out of it if you find yourself there!

1. Exercise at least 3-5 times a week, or make sure to move a little extra each day.
I find that when I stick to my exercise routine, I'm more motivated in the rest of my life. Getting tasks done is easier because I have more energy, and the endorphins from working out really do help. If exercising isn't really your thing, that's totally fine! Do lighter activities like stretching-based yoga, walking, biking, or light swimming. You can even just make sure that you stand up throughout the day if you're stuck at a desk, and do some simple stretches. This helps your blood to keep flowing, which is what you want in order to stay energized and motivated.

2. Fuel your body with healthy foods.
After the holidays, it's easy to crave healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, but after a couple of weeks of an especially green diet, your body can go back to wanting sweet things. Moderation is key here, and it's important to not slack off and fill your body with junk again. Sure, you can definitely have a small bowl of ice cream a couple of times a week, but make sure you're giving your body lots of healthy food to keep energy levels high! There's so many healthy recipes out there that are also really yummy, so if you need some inspiration, go to Pinterest! Macro-bowls are a huge trend right now, and they're so great because not only are they super healthy and filled with great nutritional value, but they're also really hearty and use things like sweet potatoes, brown rice, and quinoa to fill you up.

3. Make sure to use your planner.
This is a great tip if you're in school, and tend to forget about assignments as soon as you leave the classroom (ahem, I'm pointing a big finger at myself on this one). Whenever my professors or TA's mention an assignment in class, I make a point to take out my planner and write it down then and there. This gives me no excuse to forget about it later, and helps me get everything done on time. I also like to write down any big assignments I know will be due throughout the quarter, like huge papers, at the beginning of the term, so I have a heads up weeks in advance.

4. Write down your goals for every week.
I got into the habit of doing this last year, and it helps so much. I didn't know how useful it would be, but it forces me to look at the week in a more wholesome way, and helps me get into the mindset of getting tasks done. Creating little boxes to tick off is also a super easy way to motivate yourself if you're anything like me, because the satisfaction of marking something off is ridiculously pleasing. Doing this in the beginning of the week is also a really great way to start it out by knowing the things you need to get done, so you aren't rushed on Friday trying to scramble a ton of assignments and other miscellaneous tasks together.

5. Change up your living space.
This can be as simple as moving your bed into a different part of your room, or putting up some new artwork on the walls. Changing up the spaces your in everyday and see multiple times a day can be a really great way to inspire yourself. I don't know what it is about moving things around, but I'm always so satisfied afterwards. It keeps my creative juices flowing and motivates me to get other things done in my life. It's also exciting to come home to a different space, and see how it inspires you in different ways.

6. Clean and organize your living space.
This sounds stupidly simple, but cleaning up your space can de-stress and motivate yourself at the same time. Whenever I'm super stressed and feel like I'm in a slump, cleaning perks me up and motivates me to get other tasks done. There's just something super refreshing about cleaning up your living space that motivates you in other aspects of your life. I also just feel better when I know my apartment is clean, and it's super relaxing to come home and be able to unwind in an organized space. Maybe I'm just crazy, but cleaning is one of the best forms of therapy for me.

Alright, well there are six different ways of staying out of the January slump, and how to motivate yourself if you're already there! Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm definitely going to go and clean my bathroom and organize my desk, which will hopefully motivate me to get all of my class readings done for the week...

How do you stay motivated?

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful day! :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How to Achieve Your 2017 Goals!

Happy 2017!

With all New Years come goals and resolutions that we try our hardest to achieve, but might forget about them after about a month. I'm so guilty of this, as I've tried to set goals for myself in the past, and easily forgotten about them once I start getting busy with the new year.

Last year I felt like I did a pretty good job about actually achieve my goals and holding myself accountable to them, so I thought I would share some tips with you on how to do the same! I'm no life expert - no one is except maybe Oprah - so of course take these tips and apply them how they would best fit your life. No one is the same so different things work for different people! These are just some things that really seemed to work for me.

Also, if you would like, here is the video I made about this same thing on my channel!

1. Write down your goals.
This may seem obvious, but writing down your goals in a place that you'll see them often (i.e. a planner, or journal you use a lot) will keep reminding you of them. Constant exposure to them will also inspire you to actually achieve them, since it's so satisfying to check them off! I don't know about you, but that is seriously one of the best feelings for me. Whenever I make a to-do list, I live for getting all of the tasks done so I can check them all off. The same feeling definitely applies to bigger goals for the year, especially because you'll feel even more satisfied once you achieve something greater than getting done a chore list you made for yourself. I usually try and write down my goals in my general goal journal, just on a page of their own that is highlighted and definitely distinct from the other pages. This helps me so much because I'm constantly reminded of them, and there's no way that I could forget them!

2. Visualize your goals.
Once you have figured out and written down your goals, visualize yourself achieving them. Visualization is something that has been proven to work, because you feel that much more comfortable and confident in doing something or getting it done. I started doing this when I swam and danced, and it helped me immensely. I knew I could do the action because I had imagined myself succeeding it over and over - when the time came to do it in real life, I knew I could get it done! The same really goes for goals, especially larger ones. If you think about yourself having gotten all of these goals done at the end of the year, you'll be really motivated to make that possibility a reality. If you have a goal that has to do with changing something about yourself, like being more outgoing, visualize yourself talking to more people in situations that usually make you uncomfortable. When the time comes to actually do it, you'll feel a lot better a out the whole situation, and achieving that goal will be that much easier.

3. Start with small goals.
It can be really easy to want to set huge goals right at the beginning of the new year if you are really hoping for a change, but be careful not to get too ahead of yourself. I'm not saying to limit yourself - if you want to set those goals then go for it! But if you know they'll end up being too big for you to achieve all at once, start smaller in the beginning of the year and work your way up throughout the rest of the year. If you're wanting to get in better shape, don't start by making a goal to workout every single day for an hour if you haven't been doing so. Start by motivating yourself to workout one more day a week, or maybe 15 minutes longer a day. Starting with these smaller goals will help you build on them throughout the year, and you also won't get disappointed when you can't get these unrealistic goals done, or are really struggling with them. This isn't an excuse to not push yourself, though; on the contrary, this will help you actually achieve more because the small goals will snowball on themselves, and by the end of the year, you'll realize just how much you've gotten done!

4. Check in with yourself.
This is something that is super important for goals. I remember in elementary schools my teachers would have the class set individual goals, write them down on paper, and a couple of months later we would have to read the goals again and see how we were doing. At the time we all thought it was extremely pointless, but looking back, I realized that this just motivated us further to get these goals done. Had we not been shown them again, we probably wouldn't have been so inspired to get them done, or make a change. Checking in with your 2017 goals about halfway through the year in June will help you see how they're going, if you need to adjust goals, if you need to work harder, or just simply remind you of what they were in the first place. A halfway point check in is great timing, because you still have six months to achieve your goals.

5. Keep yourself accountable.
Keeping yourself accountable is really similar to checking in with yourself, but it also has to do with keeping yourself motivated throughout the year. Don't let yourself slack off if a goal is hard, instead try your hardest to get it done. That can be easy to say, but your mind is a really powerful thing. Keep thinking of the end result, and the effort you're putting in won't seem as difficult. It can be so easy to forget about a goal or give up, but you'll be so much happier in the end if you stick it out.

Alright, well there are five tips on how to achieve your 2017 goals! I'm so excited to see what this new year has to offer, and let's hope that it's a lot better than 2016!

I wish you the best of luck!

Friday, December 16, 2016

College Apartment Tour! | Christmas Edition

A lot of you probably know that I moved into an apartment this year for my junior year of college. I couldn't be happy, especially since I was pretty much done living in the dorms! Don't get me wrong, they were super nice to be in for my first two years of college, and I ended up meeting some of my best friends, but I really missed having my own kitchen and all of the other benefits that come along with living in an apartment (like actual rooms...). 

As soon as I knew I was definitely going to be living in an apartment, I made a board on my Pinterest so I could keep track of all of the decorations I wanted to put up, and other organization tips. Moving in was stressful, and it took way too long to decorate - procrastination on my part - but I finally have up all of the decorations I want, so I thought it would be fun to show you all how it turned out!

I thought the most simple way of doing that would be to post the video I made about it on my channel, since I basically walk you through it! Here are some highlighting photos, though, of some of my favorite things!

I'm so happy with how my apartment came out! It's really nice being able to have my own space - shared with roommates - that we can just come home to at the end of a long day filled with classes and work. My roommates and I honestly don't really want to take down all of the lights even after Christmas is over because they make it so cozy in the apartment! Maybe we'll swap them out for white lights, but for now the colors are super festive and give it such a warm feeling.

Thank you so much for reading and have a wonderful day! :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

London Travel Guide + MUST SEE Places!

Since I've been back from studying abroad, it's been so hard to find motivation for blogging, especially since I've been so busy with school and work this quarter. I feel super overwhelmed, but as I'm taking a study break during dead week (ugh), I thought I would sit down and write a blog post. I'm feeling really inspired this month, so I hope that means that I'll again find my motivation for everything and anything since I've been so consumed with school this quarter. I have seriously written ten papers this quarter, and still have two more to go, so needless to say, I've been feeling a little burnt out lately.

As most of you probably know, I spent part of my summer studying abroad in London before I did another program in Spain. For that reason, and also the fact that one of my best friends will be heading there in about a week (wowow Rachel!) and has been asking for a travel guide, that's exactly what I decided to do today! I've looked through all of my photos, and while they make me extremely homesick for London (I WANT TO LIVE THERE ONE DAY), I picked my favorite places that I visited, and have some tips for getting around the city!

Places you have to see

The British Museum

This one is a bit obvious, since the British Museum is well-known, but even if you aren't a usual museum junkie, you should definitely stop by! It is a huge museum and has an exhibit that will at least appeal to everyone, so there's most likely something for you to see there. I split up the museum by spending a day on each floor, because if you try and do it all in one day, you'll definitely be overwhelmed. There's a lot of coffeeshops and lunch spots around, though, so if you need a break to re-charge, that's definitely an option!

Oxford Street

This is arguably one of the best places to go shopping in London, especially if you aren't looking for designer shops. There is a huge Primark (think, giant Forever21 with even cuter clothes) on Oxford Street, as well as Topshop, and all of your other favorite places to shop. My friends and I spent way too much time and money here, but hey, when in London...

The West End

I didn't actually realize just how much I love theater until I studied in London. I had been to plays before and really enjoyed them, but I went to so many in London and enjoyed them all. The West End is honestly just fun to visit in general, since there's so much going on, and there's usually a lot of street performers who are all so talented. It's at least worth it to stroll through on an afternoon!

Trafalgar Square/Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is actually really close to the West End as well as Trafalgar Square, so you should just generally go to that area. Trafalgar Square is so cool to see - it's huge in person! - and also a great place to sit outside and have lunch. When I was there a ton of people just hung out in the area, especially since it was summer, and the atmosphere is just a lot of fun to be in. The fountain is also really pretty, and the lions are also really impressive to see, so it's definitely worth the visit!

Buckingham Palace and the Surrounding Garden

Chances are, if you're in London, you're probably going to visit Buckingham Palace. I visited the actual palace one day, and then another day my friend and I were walking to class, and we stumbled upon the surrounding garden (probably the most posh sentence I've ever said), and got to see little goslings, a ton of other wildlife, and also some beautiful sights of London, like the London Eye in the distance. That's probably one of my favorite memories of London, since we didn't mean to go there at all, and just kind of ended up there. We ended up late to class because we were taking so many photos and walking around the garden, but honestly I'm going to remember that garden far longer than what I learned in class that day.

The Various Churches by Christopher Wren (or any church in London tbh)

Christopher Wren was an architect who built a lot of churches around England. We saw a lot while we were in London, and they were all so beautiful, and had so many intricate designs on the inside. The architecture in even one of the churches makes everything in America look so bland and boring!

St. Paul's Cathedral

Pro-tip: if you don't want to pay for a tour, you can always go to a service! You don't have to pay for them, and you get to see the inside of the cathedral. The only catch is you can't take any photos, although I definitely snuck a few. I'm sure they get super annoyed by tourists trying to take photos, but it's definitely worth going to the service! The choir was so amazing, and seeing the inside was honestly breathtaking.

Warner Brother's Harry Potter Studio Tour

I made a whole post about the studio tour, which you can read here, but I just wanted to reiterate how cool it is! As soon as you know the dates you're going to be visiting the area, I'd suggest getting tickets for the tour because they go fast! I bought them at the beginning of the program, and had to go at the end of my program (like five weeks later!) because tickets were all sold out until then. It was so amazing to see, especially if you're a Potterhead like me, and definitely worth the money. Just a warning that you'll probably end up spending a lot of money at the gift shop afterwards!


If you're willing to take a train for about an hour to Brighton, it's definitely worth the visit! It's an adorable little beach town with some great shopping spots in the Lanes, and also a lot of cool historical places to see around town. The beach is also really nice to sit and just watch the ocean! Just know that the "sand" is little pebbles, which can hurt on bare feet, but with shoes you should be fine! The pier is also so adorable, and will live up to all of the arcade/ride/food dreams you had as a kid.

Best Places for Going Out
My favorite places to get drinks with friends is the London Bridge area, Covent Garden, and Camden! All of these places have really cute pubs and bars, especially London Bridge area. The younger crowd is definitely usually in Camden, so the night life there is a lot of fun! There are clubs that have themed nights, and I ended up going to a 90s night with friends, and it was probably one of the most fun nights we went out.

My Favorite Pubs
I went to a lot of pubs while in London - I totally fell in love with them - and I definitely had some favorites!
Ye Olde Chesire Cheese - Blackfriars. This pub has a lot of history since it's one of the oldest pubs in London. Since it's in Blackfriars there's a lot around it, too!
The Churchill Arms  - Notting Hill. Also a really cute pub because of the interesting look on the outside.
The White Hart - Waterloo. This one has really great food!
Wetherspoons - multiple locations, my favorite is in Victoria!
Honestly, you can find a good pub probably in any part of London you're in, I just recommend doing a quick search on Yelp and reading the reviews!

Tips on Getting Around the City
It's actually pretty easy to get around London, since the public transportation there is pretty straightforward. The tube goes all around the city, so it's super easy to go to all of the districts around the city! It can be really confusing at first since there's so many lines, and especially if you don't have a lot of experience with subways (like I did), but after a day or two you can start to get the gist of it. There's also apps you can download like Tube Map and CityMaps2Go that really help, or you can simply use Google Maps! That's what I did and never had a problem. There's also maps everywhere in the tube stations, so you can generally figure out how to get where you need to be.

It's important to know, though, that the tube stops running at midnight, so if you're out for a late night you have to take the bus, or use a taxi/Uber/Lyft. I never really had a huge problem with this since there's so many taxi's around, and you can always call an Uber, but it could get annoying sometimes since the tube gets you where you need to be pretty quickly, and obviously it costs money to use Uber or call a taxi. If you're splitting the cost with friends, though, it really isn't bad!

If you're going to be doing any travel by train, coach, or plane, book your tickets as soon as possible! Usually the most in advance you can get tickets is the best, so try to plan out all extra travel beforehand, rather than going to the train/bus station, or airport and buying a ticket there.

If you ever get lost in the city, it's best to just stay calm, and ask someone for directions. I found the people of London to be really nice (I mean I'm coming from Seattle, so you can only go up from there, right?), and they'd help me out if I just asked. The police officers there are also really nice, and you can easily find one to ask for directions, especially at night. My roommate and I ended up slightly intoxicated and lost one night, and a police officer helped us out by pointing us in the right direction, and we got home just fine, after only a couple of complications of finding the right bus.

Alright well there is my London travel guide, places you gotta see, and tips on getting around the city! If you are going to London, I am so jealous, but also hope that you have the best time! It's such a beautiful city with so much to see, and I can't wait to go back one day.

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful day! :)