Thursday, November 12, 2015

How To: Stay Positive in College

When I first heard of "Sophomore Slump," I didn't think it would affect me that much. At the end of freshman year I felt like I had a pretty solid plan of what I would be studying after struggling with it so much for the whole year. As I am about halfway through my first quarter of sophomore year, I am definitely in a slump. Honestly, it really isn't a bad one, rather just a stressful speed bump in my motivation. I love most of my classes, so I am very motivated to do all of the work for them, but I really cannot stand Economics, so it's so much harder to actually sit down and force myself to study and do all of my homework. I do in fact get around to it, it just takes a lot longer.
Now that I've decided what I'm going to study and most likely major in (International Relations), I now have to think about what kind of a job I'll want in the future. It's really stressful, and all I want to do is avoid it all, lie down on my bed, and watch Gilmore Girls all day. Alas, that is not an option if I want to actually succeed in college, so I've been having to find ways to motivate myself and feel positive about my future. Since I've been thinking about it so much lately, I thought I should do a round up post of all of the things I've been doing! So, here goes; my guide to staying positive in college, and especially throughout the infamous "Sophomore Slump!"

1. Don't worry too much.
This is so easy to say, because if you are a gold medal stressor just like me, then you know how difficult it is to not worry about every little thing. I worry about how I'm doing in my classes, what classes I should be taking, what kind of a job I'll be able to get in the future, if my major is going to work out...the list goes on and on. Every college student can relate to this, because I'm sure these questions cross all of our minds about fifty times a day. At least. That's all well and good, but you can't let all of these things take over your life completely! when you find your mind circling back to the never ending cycle of "stress questions" think about something else, listen to some music, go work out, or just talk to your friends! Anything to get your mind off of stress that isn't needed is just fine. Unfortunately, we do have to think about these things quite a lot, but it isn't healthy when they start to take up all of our time.

2. Immerse yourself into the things you love.
In order to fill up your time with other things besides stressing, find something you love to do! That could be anything from joining a club, making new friends, reading a good book, exercising more, or picking up a new hobby. There really are a lot of options for finding things to do with your time, so just make a list! You don't have to go overboard and join five different clubs - just start out with little things so you get your schedule figured out.

3. Make a plan.
This could be anything from a life plan, to just planning out your week. I find when I have more structure in my life, I feel like I am in control, and that everything will be okay. It's when I'm sitting around wondering what I need to be doing that stress creeps up on me the worst, so when I have my whole week planned out, I feel so much better. It makes you feel more put together, which really helps out a lot. When you are on top of your homework for classes, you also know that you are most likely doing well in classes, which in turn makes you feel more secure about your future!

4. When it all gets to be too much, call loved ones.
We all have those days where the world seems like it's just pressing in and suffocating us, and when it gets to that point, call someone you can talk to anything about. I usually call my parents or talk to my best friends, because they will just sit there and listen to me, and offer advice when I am finally done talking about all of the things that are stressing me out. Oftentimes, just talking to someone about your worries helps, because your stress somehow feels more validated and under control. Talking through things has always helped me since I like to come up with solutions to problems as I'm talking them over with someone.

5. Look at the bigger picture.
You are at college, getting a higher education that not everyone has access to. That's pretty cool that you made it there! You are pursuing an education that will help you have a great career in whatever field you choose to go into. Sure, the stress seems like a lot now, but just think of how happy you'll be in the end! Graduation will be so rewarding, and when you get your dream job, it will all be worth it. Your hard work will pay off, and you will be so thankful you survived all of those all-nighters, early mornings, and dreaded finals to get you where you are supposed to be.

Alright, well there are all of the things that have been helping me to stay positive this year! I'm glad I'm not struggling with sophomore slump too much since I'm actually pretty busy this year, but it definitely hits me when I have too much free time on my hands!

How do you stay positive?

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

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How to: Survive Being Sick in College

Just as I say I am back and ready to do more posts, I have come down with the flu! Such is the luck of my life, as I get sick pretty regularly. No one in my family has a good immune system (except for my mom, but I'm convinced she's not human due to her impeccable healthiness and ability to make everything perfect), and of course I inherited that as well. Instead of just taking this week off from posting, I thought I would give you all some tips on how to survive being sick in college, as I have done so many times (and I'm sure you will, too!)

1. Have one solid day of rest.
This can be so hard to do, especially when you are worried about missing classes. If it won't be the absolute end of the world to miss some of your classes, stay in bed for the day! A lot of my classes are recorded, so it's fine to miss a couple and just catch up online. Having one day of full rest can give you a head start on the whole getting better process. If you absolutely can't miss class - I definitely have some of those classes - just try and rest in between, and make sure to go to sleep early and take some naps during the day. This leads me to my next tip...

2. Make sure to get lots of rest!
Go to sleep early. Take a nap after classes. Whatever you have to do to get enough rest is worth it! Sleeping allows your body to heal and get better, so make sure you give it enough time to do so. It's so important to get at least eight hours a night, especially when you are sick. Trust me on this one, sleeping for longer than usual when you're sick can really help you get better quicker. Gone are the days where you yearned to be sick in order to miss a couple of days of school; in college, it's so much harder to take a sick day! Getting better faster will be your best option for not falling behind.

3. Try and get your homework done early in the day.
If you get your homework done before nighttime, you will be more focused, not worried about falling behind, and again, you will be able to sleep more! Once all of the work you need to do gets out of the way, you will be able to relax a lot better, which will also help your body heal. Sitting around worrying about all of the work piling up will help no one, so make sure and get it done before you are too far behind. If it is work that can wait a day or two, don't worry so much, but try your hardest to not fall behind.

4. Drink lots of fluids.
I know your mom and doctor have told you this before, but it really is important. I carry my water bottle around with me pretty much everywhere I go, and even more so when I'm sick. Drinking more fluids truly does help you get better faster, which is what we're working for here, if you haven't noticed. Emergen-C is also a great thing to add to your water, because it loads your body up with the vitamins it needs to get better.

5. If your throat is killing you, invest in some sore throat tea.
Having the flu right now, my throat has been extremely sore. I couldn't eat anything without my throat hurting the first day I got sick, so I got some sore throat tea, and it helped immensely. If you can't find a tea specifically for sore throats, peppermint tea is really good as well as lemon-ginger tea. I'm not the biggest peppermint fan, so I usually go the lemon-ginger route, and it really works wonders!

6. Get cough drops before you start coughing.
You know when you get to the coughing stage of being sick, and you become that person coughing during lecture? Make sure to avoid this whole situation, and get some cough drops before this stage occurs. Having mild asthma, I usually get a pretty bad cough while I'm sick, and I won't be caught dead without my honey cough drops. They help a lot, and also relieve sore throats, so really you can't go wrong with them. Try to avoid the super sugary one, because they really aren't that great for you and are basically candy.

7. Take cold medicine during the day, and at night if need be.
I get to worst sleep while I'm sick, so I always take some kind of nighttime cold medicine. This helps a lot, because you are actually able to sleep, instead of just toss and turn all night. Cold medicine also helps a lot with body aches, which I have been suffering from with this flu. They are pretty miserable and make walking to class even more difficult! I don't really like to take a lot of medicine, but when it really comes down to it, cold medicine can help out a lot if you are feeling really under the weather.

8. Eat food that will sit well with your stomach.
Generally, I don't have much of an appetite when I'm sick, so I like to stick with things that won't upset it. Toast, eggs, oatmeal, crackers, and soup are all really great options. I don't know why, but every time I'm sick, my mom fixes me boiled eggs and toast, and it does wonders. Being at college, however, I don't have my mom to take care of me, so I just stick with really simple and easy to make food, like microwavable soup.

Well, those are all of the tips I have, and how I survive being sick in college! Getting sick for the first time away from home can be pretty brutal, but if you follow this guide, I'm sure you will make it through. You can always give your parents a call, and beg them for a care package to help you make it through. Flu season truly is the worst, and with all of the germs in college, it makes catching a cold that much easier. Hopefully I get over this one soon!

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Life Lately

Wow, well it's been about two weeks since I've put a blog post up. I've been so busy with moving into my dorm, starting school, and on top of that have been dealing with some family things lately. I hate making excuses for not getting posts up, because my blog is so important to me and I like to put a lot of work into it. Sometimes, though, you just have to take some time for yourself, and take a step back for a little bit. I've just been in a bit of a funk recently, but it is time to get out of it.

Do you ever just get those random times when you get so overwhelmed with everything, and every little thing you need to do seems so daunting? I guess that's what I've been dealing with lately, and unfortunately my blog got put on the back burner. You can't stop life, though, so I just need to start getting back into the swing of things. This weekend was spent organizing my life, and getting my schedule figured out again for the school year. 
I didn't realize just how stressed out I was until Sunday, when all I wanted to do was stay in bed all day. Anxiety can be a nasty little beast sometimes, but I feel like I have a handle back on my life again. It's so nice when you have supportive friends and a wonderful family to lean on when things get a little crazy. I just talked to my parents for a while, organized my living space, and got a handle on my schedule. Making sure my life is organized and clean is one of the ways I get my anxiety under control. When I feel like I have control over some of the things in my life (I have realized you can't actually control everything about life), I feel much more at ease. I know that's true for a lot of people, but sometimes it can be hard to get out of weird funks.
I just wanted to do a quick little life update and let you guys know that I'm still alive. I have a lot of ideas for more fall-related posts, and just blog posts in general, so I'm really excited to resume with regular posts!

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

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Healthy Gluten Free Pumpkin Banana Bread!

Year after year, I start getting excited about fall more and more. It reminds me of when I was a kid, and the afternoons after the first days of school spent lighting candles with my mom and telling her about my new classes. Fall is also the time of sweaters, warm drinks, and yummy pumpkin flavors. Pumpkin pie, as you all know, is one of my favorite things, so this year I am trying to find new recipes to add pumpkin to.
The back story to this banana bread is a funny one; my dad and I both like to eat bananas when they are still green, but we had a couple that were too brown for us, and my mom just doesn't really care for bananas in general. My dad always gives me a hard time about not eating the bananas before they get too brown, so I bet him (we're a slightly competitive family) I would eat them before we ended up throwing them into the yard for the raccoons to eat. 
I was just about to suck it up and eat one of the too-ripe bananas when I realized I could use them to make a really yummy banana bread. I started looking up recipes for healthy and gluten-free banana bread, and found a couple that looked promising. Applesauce was used in a lot of them to make sure the loaves were moist, and I thought, why not replace the applesauce with pumpkin and make pumpkin-banana bread?! I was skeptic of how it would turn out since pumpkin is a lot thicker than applesauce, so I used less pumpkin than applesauce was called for, and added some water to thin it out a bit. This worked really well, and the batter ended up really smooth!

I used the one-to-one baking flour from Bob's Red Mill, and it is my favorite gluten-free flour! You literally just substitute it with the exact measurements as regular flour in recipes, and they turn out great. I would definitely recommend buying this for gluten-free recipes! My mom uses it to make our family-favorite cheese sauce, and you can't tell a difference in taste. 

The whole process of putting the bread together is really simple: you just mix the dry ingredients separately from the wet, and once they are ready, you mix the two together in one bowl!

 I used about 3/4 cup of pumpkin and added in 1/4 of water to make a full cup!

 Mash the bananas until they look about like this!

 All of the wet ingredients mixed up should look like this!

The batter should be really smooth once you combine the wet an dry ingredients.

You can totally add in some chocolate chips, too, because why not...

 I made muffins as well as a loaf of bread since I had enough batter!

 Just look at that pumpkin-chocolate-banana-y goodness!

Healthy Gluten Free Pumpkin Banana Bread
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (plus 1/4 water)
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey (or sugar if you would like!)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill One-to-One Gluten Free Baking Flour (or any other gluten free flour!)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 mashed rip bananas (or about 1 1/4-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup chocolate chips if you would like!

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a small bowl, and in another small bowl, mix the pumpkin and water together until it has an applesauce consistency. Add the other wet ingredients together, and mix until everything is combined. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together in a large bowl, and add in chocolate chips if you prefer - if not, you could add in some nuts, or nothing at all! Melt some coconut oil and soak a paper towel in it to coat your muffin tin and/or bread pan with. Pour the batter into the pans, and put the muffins in the oven for about 16-18 minutes, or until golden brown, and put the bread in for 45 minutes. Check on them regularly if there isn't as much batter in the pan. Let your yummy gluten-free goodies cool and enjoy the wonderful taste that is pumpkin!

I think I could eat pumpkin year-round and be perfectly happy, but there's something so special about getting to enjoy it as soon as it turns to fall! I'm so happy I decided to use those pesky brown bananas instead of throwing them away, because now I get to enjoy these gluten-free muffins and bread! The Bob's Red Mill flour really does make gluten-free baked goods taste just as good as regular goodies, and it's so easy to work with. I would definitely try it out if you haven't already!

What is your favorite fall flavor?

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

Monday, September 7, 2015

How To: Survive Your Freshman Year of College!

Ahhh September, the month filled with all things back to school. This term used to absolutely fill me with dread, but now it makes me so excited because I can't wait to get back to college. Decorating my dorm room, seeing all of my friends, wearing my cozy fall sweaters, pumpkin patches...I can't wait for it all!
A year ago, however, I was so nervous to start college because it was my freshman year! I was terrified I would hate it, or that I wouldn't be able to stomach the homesickness. Your first year of college is a big undertaking; you're leaving home for the first time, and it's on a whole different level when compared to high school. Since it can seem so overwhelming, I thought I would do a post all about how to survive your first year! I read so many last year to try and get caught up on all the things I needed to know for freshman year, so I knew I had to do one of my own now that I've been through it.

1. Don't get too overwhelmed on move-in day.
This can be a very hard day, because you're unpacking all of the boxes you overfilled, you have to say goodbye to your family, and you're living in a completely foreign place. Don't let it get to you too much! Just stay calm, get your boxes (or bags as I did last year) to your room, and just start unpacking. It only gets overwhelming if you let it, so just try and stay calm and excited.

2. Unpack right away.
Don't let your boxes just sit in your room forever! This gets annoying really quickly, and it's best to unpack right away while you still have help from your family, and while you still have the energy. If you don't unpack right away, chances are you will just leave for the next day, and the next day, and the next get it! Unpacking also makes your dorm feel more like home, which really helps when you start to feel homesick in the coming days. So get your closet done, your decorations up, and your supplies out!

3. Wear a comfy outfit with layers.
You will get very warm while lugging up boxes to your dorm, and then unpacking them. I suggest you wear something that is first, comfy, and also an outfit with layers so you can take them off as you get warmer. I did this last year and it really helped! I definitely broke a sweat moving all of my stuff in, so it was nice to just take off some of my layers when it got to be too much. Make sure all of your layers are comfortable and easy to move in as well!

4. It's okay to be a little sad.
Once your family leaves, it's totally normal to be sad and to cry a little bit. Everyone is saying goodbye to their loved ones, so you're all going to be in the same boat! It can be hard saying goodbye to the people who you've lived with for 18 years, but try and remember this is an exciting, new adventure. It will get easier as the days go on, but it's natural to be a little sad at first!

5. Get to know your roommate ASAP.
You are going to be living with this person for the next year, so make sure to get to know her! This will help break the ice, and help you feel more at home once you know the person you're going to be living with. You both are going to be really nervous, so just talk to her about what all you're excited for, scared about, etc., and you'll start to feel better! I talked a lot to my roommate while we were unpacking, which made the whole process go by a lot quicker, and made it easier to not focus on home.

6. If you don't get along with your roomie, immediately talk it out.
The other side of living with someone for a whole year is the negative one; it's easy to get annoyed with someone whom you're sharing close quarters with, which makes dorm-life miserable. The second you start getting annoyed or angry with your roommate, just talk it out. Calmly explain what's bothering you, and maybe try and come with alternate solutions to problems. This can be really hard and awkward, but those couple minutes of a difficult talk can result in a much better year.

7. Find your way to classes before they start.
Once you are all settled into your dorm, get to know your new campus, and find your way to all of your classes! It's really important to do this before they start, because you don't want to get completely lost ten minutes before your 8:30 AM class, and end up missing it altogether. I was so glad I did this last year, because I ended up having some difficulty finding a couple of my classes. Instead of figuring this out right before class, I did it a couple of days ahead and found the best possible route to and from my classes. This can also be a chance to make a friend! Just ask someone on your floor to go with you, and chances are they will be totally down.

8. Print out pictures of home, and talk about it to combat homesickness.
The first couple of weeks are going to be the hardest. You'll probably be a little bit homesick, stressed about classes, and a little overwhelmed from living on your own for the first time. It really helps having pictures from home hanging up in your room, as well as simply talking about your home with your friends. I underestimated how much this would help, and how much it would allow you to bond with others. They will want to hear about your home, and also tell you about theirs. This kills two birds with one stone because you're able to make really good friends, and help keep homesickness at bay.

9. Leave your door open whenever you're in your room.
Leaving your door open to your dorm is kind of a single saying "Hey! I want to make friends so come say hi!" People will actually swing in and introduce themselves, and it makes it so much easier to get to know people! Your floor will become closer if you all meet each other through open doors, and you'll most likely meet some of your best friends this way. My first week was filled with awkward introductions that we all laughed about later, and most of these people became my closest group of friends.

10. Ask questions in class, and go to office hours.
Okay, this can be very scary, especially when you're in a lecture hall full of 500 students. I am a very shy person, so it took me a little while to fully become comfortable with asking questions or answering them. This can be really beneficial, though, because you don't want to be confused in any of your classes! That confusion can pile up very quickly, and make learning other concepts difficult. It's better to just clear the air as soon as possible, and your professors like being asked questions! It shows you are an engaged student who really wants to learn, and they get to know you better and put a name to one of the many faces they see. You can also go to your professor's office hours if asking questions during lecture scares you too much, or if you have a lot of questions.

11. Form study groups and actually study with them.
A great way to make friends in your classes is to ask people to study with you! Forming a solid study group you can meet with the whole term is a great way to do well on exams. Your first finals week can be really scary, so it helps you study with other people who are in the same situation as you. It's also a very collaborative process because you can all learn from each other, and it really helps when you teach someone a concept, because it solidifies the knowledge in your own brain.

12. Make good decisions....
You are on your own for the very first time, so it's important to make good decisions, because you will have a lot to make! You're now entering the real world (albeit a more sheltered one being in college), so you will have to make real life decisions. Just make sure you keep yourself safe, and that you don't put yourself into any dangerous situations. You can always call your parents when you need advice, because they will most likely gladly give you some!

13. ...but don't be afraid to make mistakes.
You will make mistakes, and that is okay! How else are you going to learn? I made my fair share of mistakes last year, and I know I have many more to make. We're young, so it is to be expected. Don't beat yourself up over these mistakes, though! Mistakes can be learned from, and the next time you are in the same situation, you know not to make the same decision as last time. Think of them as real-world-life-lessons, and also realize that all of the successful adults of today made the very same mistakes.

14. It's okay to change your major.
It's okay if you change your major three times within the same term, we all do it! I had a plan of what I was going to study in college, and it is not the same one I have now, or probably the one I'm going to have by winter quarter. Some people do stick with their original major, and total props to them, but plans can change very quickly in college. You are able to take classes about what you truly love for the first time, and it's okay to take a class and realize you actually hate it. Everyone does this, and it's better to figure it out your freshman year, rather than a couple of months before you graduate!

College is the time to get to know yourself, find out what your dream and aspirations are, make mistakes, and to ultimately have the time of your life. You will have so many ups and downs, but at the end of the day, college is really incredible. You have to rely on yourself for the first time, and you make some of the best friends you've ever had. These people turn into your family, and you really will make memories to last a life time. So don't take yourself too seriously (although, take your classes seriously!), and enjoy the ride! Home is also always a phone call away, so when you're feeling too overwhelmed, take some time out and call your loved ones.
I also made a video all about this, so give a watch to hear me talk about all of these points a little bit more! :)

Are you excited for school?

Thank you so much for reading, have a wonderful day, and good luck on your freshman year! :)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

DIY Dorm Room Decor: Quote Canvas

With school coming right around the corner for some people, I thought it would be perfect to share with you guys a DIY that’s great for motivation. We all have those days where we feel inadequate for various reasons: a failed test, rejection of any kind, or you just feel down because of stress. I find that when I feel like this, motivational quotes, however cheesy, can really help to get me out of a slump. Making some kind of art piece with the quote is even better, since arts and crafts are so therapeutic. Does that make me sound ninety years old? Probably. But as long as it helps me stay motivated throughout the year, sign me up!
Here’s what you’ll need for this project:

Some sort of paint tray (cardboard will do just fine).

Either watercolor paints or acrylic paint. If you’re using acrylic paints like I did, you just have to water them down a ton, which is super easy to do!

A mug, cup, or bowl of some sort to hold water.

Paintbrushes of any kind.

And you’ll also need watercolor paper!

The fun part is next, because you can literally do any quote and any design you would like! I used my favorite quote, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” First I just used a white crayon to write the quote, and then I painted the background as a galaxy. It was really easy and I am so happy with how it turned out! Although I had to repaint the words with white paint, I’m glad I used the crayon first as a reference. Here’s how it looked before the white paint:

I also added some more point after this point to darken in some areas, and I also added the “stars.” After I did all of that, it looked like this:

I’m so pleased with how this came out! This is one of my favorite quotes because it really helps me when I’m feeling unmotivated. One of the scariest parts of college is the fact that your dreams may not pan out the way you thought they would; however, you should never let a “may not” or a “possibly so” keep you from trying your hardest and shooting for the biggest dream possible.

So go on and do this DIY and also achieve your dreams! This has been an nice DIY and life lesson all in one from Kendra! Let me know if you guys try this out by tagging me on social media (my handle is @stnkrbug on both Twitter and Instagram), and leave your favorite quote in the comments! 

Thanks for reading, have a wonderful day, and dream big!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Back to School Try-On Haul!

Since it is the last day of August, going back to school is looming nearer and nearer. I personally don't start until September 30th, so I have a month yet, but I am going to be busy with moving in September! My family is going to be moving mid-September, so we have been super busy with packing. You don't think you have a lot of stuff until you need to contain it all to little boxes! Because we will be really busy with packing, I got all of my back to school shopping done already. I'm so glad to have it all finished early this year, because without fail, I always have a reoccurring nightmare right before school that I have nothing for back to school! I couldn't tell you why I always have this dream, because I'm always prepared, but I always do and as a college kid, it still makes me nervous.

I got some really great things this year from Nordstrom, Pacsun, and Brandy Melville! I went to an actual Brandy store while I was in California, so I was super excited about that! I think my favorite place this year for back to school was Pacsun, though! It's probably my favorite store in general, so no surprise there, but they always have great deals for back to school! I also just love the clothes at Pacsun, so it was a win-win all around. I'm so excited to wear them all this fall!
I'm really looking forward to going back to school this year, since I've felt so inspired this summer. My schedule is going to be a lot of fun next quarter, and I think I'm finally starting to figure out what I'm going to major in, and a general plan for my life! I just hope I don't go through the "Sophomore Slump" this year, and stay on track with my classes.

You can check out all of the pieces down below in the video I posted on my channel! :) My cat, Perry, makes a surprise entrance, so keep your eyes out for that!

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