Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Year I Learned How to Love Myself

2015 was a very important year for me, and I've been working on a special project for a while now. Today, the last day of 2015, is the day I decided to post this video and blog post, and I can't believe it's finally here. I have really poured my heart and soul into this project, and I'm so proud of how it came out. I made a video, and wrote a longer explanation post, so check both out, and let me know what you think! I hope you like it!

            Loving yourself does not come easy. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, but have never felt like I had the ability to. Because of this, one of my goals for 2015 was to learn how to love myself. I knew it would be hard, but I at least wanted to try.
            I have never felt comfortable in my own skin, and I always compare myself to others about everything: thoughts like “that girl has tanner skin than me”, “look at her tiny waist”, or “my arms will never look like hers,” constantly fill my head. I’ve always been insecure about my body, and myself in general. My body image has also never been good, and I especially struggled with it while growing up.
When I was 12 years old, I was bullied by a boy in my class. He called me fat each and everyday, which was one of my biggest insecurities. I wasn’t fat by any means – I was a dancer who had muscles in order to enable my body to do the sport that I loved. I mean sure, I wasn’t the tallest or thinnest girl in my class, but I come from a short family, so long and model thin legs were never going to be in my future. That was okay, but as a young girl going to school, being told that I was fat by a boy in my class hit home, and I started to truly believe it. He didn’t know that I spent hours each day at my dance studio to improve my dancing, all he saw was that I was different from the other girls. I also read too much according to him, and he thought it was strange that I was so much quieter than everyone else. I was never the loud one in my friend group, and they all had no idea just how much I hated myself and my body.
            I started wearing sweatshirts to school every single day in order to cover up my insecurities. The sweatshirts to me were like a shield against everyone else; they cocooned my body so no one could really see it, and they made it easier for me to not stick out in class. If I could just hide myself from that boy and everyone else, I thought, eventually the voice inside my head constantly putting me down would stop. It didn’t, and if anything it made it worse. With the extra baggage over myself, the boy realized his words had an impact, which to bullies, realizing they are actually hurting someone is like striking gold. His remarks only got meaner, and he put me down every chance he got.
            I never told anyone, even my family who was extremely close and supportive of me, that I was getting bullied, or that I hated myself. I wouldn’t even look in the mirror because I was afraid of what I would see, and I avoided the camera at all costs. My mom and I would pick the cutest outfits out for school, but I would always put a sweatshirt over them and tell her I’d just take it off when the day warmed up. That time never came, of course, and I kept the sweatshirts on the whole day, no matter how warm I was. They were my security blanket, and they hid me from everyone else. I don’t think anyone realized just how insecure I was about my body, or how inadequate I felt. It didn’t help that I had the meanest teacher in our grade, whom was sexist against girls and constantly put us down while praising the boys in the class. This only empowered my bully because he felt so untouchable.
            My struggle with my insecurities continued on for the whole year, but between the summer of sixth and seventh grade, I took off my sweatshirt in front of my friends because it was so warm. They were so shocked at seeing me without my second skin, and it was in that moment that I realized just how crazy it was that I had been wearing them every single day for a year and a half.
I went into middle school and discovered makeup, which I loved to play around with. I probably wore way too much to school, but it was something that I loved and made me feel more confident. I started wearing those cute clothes my mom and I picked out, without covering up with a sweatshirt everyday. I switched from dance to cheer (a decision I now regret), and ended up finding a best friend. I had also met two girls in orchestra, who would later become two of my closest friends in the entire world. My confidence kept getting better and better, and by the time I was a freshman in high school, it had vastly improved from when I was 12.
            Freshman year arrived quickly, and with it came many ups and downs. I quit cheer, a decision I am very happy with, and decided to join the swim team full time (I had swam on and off my whole life). It was something I was good at and something that I absolutely loved. I found wonderful friends who were fun and exactly what I needed at the time. They were accepting and supportive, and I’ll always be grateful to them for letting me into their close-knit group. For the most part, the year was great, and I started liking myself more.
The end of the year was where the down started. My best friend at the time, the girl I met cheerleading, started acting like a completely different person from the one I got so close to. Our friendship ended, not horribly, but not on a good note either, and I spent the summer being pretty lost. I’m grateful to her for being there with me in middle school, and we truly did have great memories from that time. I was able to go through those two years with someone who accepted me, and no matter who the person she is today, the girl I was best friends with was wonderful.
That summer was hard for me because I had just lost my best friend, and I felt so lonely. I started hanging out with two other girls, however, and found the best friendships I’ve ever had. Joycie and Rachel were there for me in a way they probably don’t realize; I could literally be the weirdest person in the world and there was never any hesitation on their part that we were sisters in all but blood. They were my best friends then, now, and will be always, and I can’t thank them enough. Because of their total acceptance of all my weird quirks (trust me, there’s a lot), I was able to start accepting myself as well. I thought if these two girls don’t care about my faults, why should I? With them, my supportive family, my friends from swim, and swim itself, I was in the best place I had ever been.
The rest of high school was both good and bad – as all experiences with high school are – and my confidence varied from time to time. I took hard classes with incredible teachers, and my love for English, Spanish, and learning about different places across the globe solidified. I got my first serious boyfriend at the end of junior year, but it wasn’t the best relationship. He made me feel lesser in every way; less beautiful, less smart, and less of a person in general. I don’t think he called me beautiful once, but I also learned that our relationship was not what healthy ones were like. It was short-lived, luckily, and I actually learned a lot about myself through the mistakes that we both made. Ending the relationship made me stronger and more confident because I learned how to stick up for myself.

The summer before college was spent making memories with my best friends, and we had a blast. I was nervous going into college because I was afraid I would be homesick every day, not be able to do well in my classes, or that I wouldn’t find a solid group of friends. None of these things happened, and though freshman year wasn’t everything that I expected it or wanted it to be, it was everything that I needed, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I made awesome friends, and ended up absolutely loving it there (and I still do today!).
 I came out of winter break and into the new year, 2015, worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up this track of being happy with myself. So, that’s why one of my goals was to learn how to truly love myself. I have always loved the idea of self-love, and thought I would achieve that when I looked or felt a certain way. I thought that when or if I got a gorgeous guy’s attention by looking the way I had always wanted, it would all just click for me, and bam I would love myself. Well, ladies and gents that is not how it works. Like any relationship, loving yourself takes time and effort, and you have to love yourself before you can love others.
You would think it’d be easy to get to know yourself because, hello, it’s not like you haven’t met yourself, but it is hard work. Loving every single part is hard, hard work. You have to love the quirks and “faults” as well as your best qualities. Let me just say, though, your quirks and shortcomings can be some of the most beautiful parts of you. They are what set you apart from everyone, so make sure to give those parts some extra lovin’.
Body image is also a huge part of self-love. I have always had horrible body image; I’ll be the first to admit it. I saw my body as a failure because I wasn’t the tallest and thinnest girl out there. Again, comparison comes into play here big time. I compared my body to probably everyone I met, which was not a healthy thing to do at all. No, I don’t have model long legs, or world-class abs like Olympic stars; however, instead of thinking of these things as failures, I choose to love my body as it is. Sure, I work out everyday to stay in shape, and simply because I enjoy working out, but I no longer think “I’ll love my body when…” because that isn’t how anyone should think. I work out and eat right because I love my body. It does amazing things for me, and allows me to pursue the crazy dreams and goals I have. It lets me see the people I love, and go on adventures with. I can see all of the incredible sights this world has to offer because of my body, whether or not I have the “perfect” one, if there is such a thing. Our bodies do some pretty crazy things, and allow us to live this life we’re given. To not love it is a half-life; doing awesome things, but not appreciating the vessel we can do them in. I know I’m not the prettiest girl in the world, but there’s no one else out there like me, and there’s no one else out there like you. You are the only person who can be you, so never compare yourself to others. They are living out a completely different story to yours, so of course they’re going to be different.
My journey to self-love was a long and hard one, as they so often are. It’s hard to love yourself when there are people telling you that you won’t amount to anything, that you aren’t anything special, or that you’re ugly. We’re all special in our own ways, and you get to decide how far you go in life, not other people. Yes, there are going to be hard things for you to go through, but you react in the way that you want to, ultimately. You can let those people knock you down, or you can try your hardest to prove them wrong. I hope one day I can simply tell that boy from grade school that I made my dreams come true, despite how hard he tried to crush them, and that I love my body now. Please, please, please, don’t ever let anyone stop you from doing what you love. Regardless of whether or not your dreams are the “right” ones, or if they’re “too big” for you to reach, at least try. Honestly, what is the hurt in trying? You will truly never know if you can make it, if you don’t ever try. And don’t just give half the effort – fully and truly go for your dreams with all you’ve got. We get to decide what we do with this life, so you might as well do as much as you can.
So, the reason for this long, long rant is for you to realize that loving yourself is one of the best things that could happen to you. It takes a lot of time and effort, but the best relationships do. Start with small things, and work up to the bigger and harder things. And please also realize your body is beautiful – flaws included. They are what make you unique and interesting, and what set you apart from others. Never compare your body to others, or feel like it isn’t good enough. I mean really, just ask yourself, what is it not good enough for?


Thank you SO much for reading and watching, and I hope you have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My Grown Up Christmas Wish List

Merry Christmas Eve, Eve!
Every year, my parents ask me for a Christmas list, and in recent years they have changed a lot! There are a lot less toys, and receiving socks is now one of the highlights of my Christmas mornings. Whereas getting clothes as a kid was not cool at all, I love it now. Since Christmas is only a couple of days away (what?!) I thought I would share what's on my list this year!

1. Gray socks
Is it weird that gray socks are seriously my favorite thing in the world? There is something about them that I absolutely love, and I am always in need of cozy socks!
2. Nike Frees
I've had my trusty Nike's for a couple of years now, so I think it's due time to get a new pair! I'm running a whole lot more lately, so I desperately need another pair to switch around with.
3. The illustrated copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
I was thumbing through a copy the other day, and ohmygosh is it gorgeous! I'm a total Harry Potter fanatic, so I've been dying to get my hands on it!
4. Ecosphere
These things are so cool!
They are an enclosed glass bowl (or in this case, oval), and contain microorganisms and shrimp that don't need anything from the outside! I love the environment, so this thing is so fascinating to me.
5. Booties
My favorite pair of flat booties have finally bit the dust, so it's time to get a new pair, as much as it pains me. I have a pair with heels, but I like flat ones for day-to-day wear since they're a lot more comfortable.
6. Pink Sugar Perfume
This is my all-time favorite scent, and I've been out of it for a couple of years, so I really wanted another bottle. I smelled it somewhere a little while back, and now I've really been missing it!
7. Bralettes
I have been wearing bralettes non-stop because they're so comfortable - it seriously feels like you're not wearing a bra!
8. DSLR Camera Stabilizer
These guys are great for filming, because they create a much smother and stable image for things like landscape shots.
9. Over-sized turtleneck sweater
I have seen so many celebrities wearing these lately, and I think they are so cute! They are so easy to make an outfit out of, and are super comfy for the winter.
10. Tickets to the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Los Angeles
I am so excited for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to open in Los Angeles, because it's much closer than Orlando! It would be so incredible to go for the opening weekend, but I figure that's probably not going to happen. A girl can dream, though!

Well, that is everything that is on my grown up Christmas list! I'm so excited for Christmas, and I can't wait to give my family and friends what they want for Christmas! Seeing my loved ones' faces light up when they open up their presents on Christmas is truly my favorite part of the day. We're getting so close! Looking at Spring also really helped me to create my Christmas list this year!

What's on your Christmas list this year?

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

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

How To: Decorate a Small Space for Christmas!

Decorating for Christmas is one of my favorite things to do, so I thought I would share how I decorated my dorm for Christmas! I'm back home now for winter break, but I'm so glad I decorated my dorm for Christmas, because it really got me into the holiday spirit, and allowed me to get through finals sanely!

1. Get festive pillows and put them on your bed, couch, etc.
Christmas pillows are always so pretty, and there are so many to choose from! I love to go to Michaels to get them because they have a lot, and they also have a lot of coupons you can use! This makes the cost of the pillows go down a lot, and also allows you to get a lot!

2. Get a mini-Christmas tree
I found my little Christmas tree in the dollar section of Target (it was $3), and later found the little ornaments for $3 as well! I had the little firefly lights already, but I know Target has some for super cheap as well. It's super easy to find really cute and small Christmas trees that don't cost a lot, and also won't take up a lot of room in your small space! It was also super fun decorating it, even though it didn't take that long at all.

3. Make a cute Christmas banner
I found a little kit at Target (I promise this isn't sponsored by Target!) with gift tags and a bunch of twine. Instead of using the trees as gift tags, I decided to make a little banner out of them and put them by my desk! It was super easy to do, the kit was $3, and it looked so cute once I hung it up! This would also be really simple to do with simple construction paper and twine if you can't find a kit like the one from Target!

4. Hang up twinkle lights. Everywhere.
I have little fairy lights in my room year-round, but they definitely feel super festive around the holiday season! You could even get some red or green colored lights to layer on top of twinkle lights already there.

Alright, well those are four, simple ways to decorate a small space for Christmas!
I can't believe it is already time for Christmas - this year has seriously flown by. This is my favorite time of the year, though, so I'm trying to soak it all in as much as I can.

You can also check out the video I made down below, and you can see more of my Christmas-fied dorm room!

Do you like decorating for Christmas?

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

Monday, December 21, 2015

Home for the Holidays

Finals are finally over, and it is winter break at last! I've been home for about a week now and my parents just now got internet, since they live in the middle of nowhere. It has been killing me to not be able to post, but it gave me a lot of time to think about my blog and YouTube channel! I have big plans for next year, and I'm so excited to get started on them. I've realized just how important they are to me when I was stuck not being able to post anything.
I also have a big project I have been working on for a while now, and I am finally going to tell you guys about it! This past January I wrote a post entitled 2015 Will be the Year... in which I wrote out my goals for the year. They were more of just general things I wanted to work on, because I felt that would be better for me personally. The second goal of the list was "to celebrate myself, and learn to love the person I am. It might take the whole year, but this year I'll learn to love myself." A little bit into the year I decided to document the whole process, and think about how I was doing. I can honestly say that my self-confidence has never been better, and I'm in a wonderful spot right now! So, at the end of this year, I will be publishing a blog post and video called "The Year I Learned How to Love Myself." I'm so excited for you all to see it, because I've been working very hard on it!
I have a couple of Christmas-related posts going up this week, so look forward to those, as I am back in business with Internet! I can't tell you all how happy I am, because now I get to resume my daily Gilmore Girls binging. This girl has her dogs, cats, and Netflix, and I couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How To: Shine Hunter Boots!

It is now officially December, and I'm sure we are all thinking the same thing: WHAT?! I honestly don't know how December creeped up on all of us yet again, since last December doesn't even seem that long ago. Don't get me wrong, I am overwhelmingly excited for Christmas and the holiday season, I am just shocked that it's already here! Although, this cold weather we have been having in the Pacific Northwest has made winter seem very real and, well, here. I am currently wearing sweats and one of my coziest sweaters while lying on my bed because it is so cold. Glamorous, I know.
Along with the cold weather, rain has been very frequent in the forecast. My trusty Hunter boots have been a staple to my wardrobe as of late, and they were starting to show that fact a little while ago. There was a white film all over the boots that made them look dull and matte, something that I did not want. I searched all over online for ways to shine them, and found out Hunter actually has a shining sponge specifically for their boots. It's only $7 so I decided I would give it a try! There were a couple of other steps to the whole process, so I thought I would share with you guys exactly how I got my boots back to their former glory!

I got my Hunter boots a year ago, and they have definitely been one of my best purchases! They come in handy all the time since there is a lot of rain in the Pacific Northwest, and I can wear thick socks with them when it gets colder. This is what they looked like after one year of having them:

You can see there is a lot of oxidation on the rubber, making them appear slightly gray and matte.
The first thing I did to start the whole process was to simply wash them with a sponge and soap (I used Dawn). This took away some of the oxidation, but I still wasn't that satisfied.

I dried them off with a rag, and as I did so, I noticed that the rag itself was taking off a lot of the whiteness when I scrubbed pretty hard on them. I decided to wipe all of the surface down with the rag - I scrubbed really hard - and it worked wonders! The boots were a lot more shiny, and most of the whiteness was gone.

After wiping them down with the rag, I used the Hunter Boot Shine sponge all over the boots. This was a super fast process, and was the icing on the cake! My boots look so much better, and are really back to how they looked when I first got them.

There are still a couple of spots that look slightly discolored, but they look SO much better than before I cleaned them. I am really happy with how they came out! This has definitely taught me to stay more on top of keeping them shined, though! Although I love the shiny boots, I think the next pair I get might be the matte ones, because they are a lot less upkeep. Now I know how to keep them shiny, though, so I will be keeping these babies for a long time.

Do you have rain boots?

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

This is NOT a sponsored post.

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!

Also, check out the video I did on my channel about being sick in college!

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!