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! :)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Pumpkin Oatmeal (With a Twist!)

It is the end of August, and I am already looking forward to fall. Crisp, cool mornings, pumpkin everything, huge sweaters, crocheting scarves for winter, Halloween...I could seriously go on and on! I grew up with a mother who absolutely lives for the fall, and as I get older I find that I fall in love with fall (ha ha ha get it) more and more each year. It's the start of the two coziest seasons, and I love watching all of the leaves turn towards the more golden side of the color spectrum. 
Since I'm so very excited for the fall, I decided to make pumpkin oatmeal! I love pumpkin pie, so I thought it would be fun to experiment with pumpkin oatmeal! I'm always looking for ways to spice up my morning oatmeal, since I tend to get bored with the oats pretty quickly. After a couple of tries, I have found the perfect recipe, and the secret ingredient that ties it all together: peanut butter! I know you're thinking that I just added it in because I'm obsessed with peanut butter, and while that is probably true, I feel like it really ties the whole bowl together! It makes the oatmeal so creamy, and it compliments the pumpkin really well. You wouldn't think the two would go together, but they make a wonderful fall duo! And this is a wonderful gluten free recipe!

 I have been using almond milk lately since I have a slight sensitivity to milk (I'm just not supposed to have it on an empty stomach), and I really like it! I tried it a couple of years ago and really didn't like it because of it's nutty flavor, but now that I've been eating more nuts, I don't mind it at all! I love the flavor it gives oatmeal as well.

 You can't have pumpkin oatmeal without the classic spices that always go into pumpkin pie! I found this really helps give the flavor more depth, and who doesn't love cinnamon in oatmeal?

 Quick oats really don't take long to make (obviously), but I find I like them best when they are super mushy. It doesn't sound the most appetizing, but I love gooey foods like undercooked cookies! Super weird of me, I know.

My dad thinks he's hilarious with his labels on my gluten free foods.

 Peanut butter is the secret ingredient here that really finishes this oatmeal! I actually always add peanut butter to my oatmeal, even if only a little bit, because I love how it makes the oats taste! I get tired of bland oatmeal really easily, so it helps to keep it flavorful. And I'm just addicted to peanut butter.

 Ahhhh Libby's pumpkin! I love this stuff, and I'm so excited to be using it more and more in fall-inspired recipes! Pumpkin is also really good for you, folks.

 Look at that orange-y goodness. You can add in more pumpkin than this, or less! It just all depends on your own personal pumpkin pallet.

 This is after I added the honey, and boy is it pretty! I love using honey to make things sweeter, and to avoid sugar. You can definitely add some brown sugar, though, to sweeten this up! It's really up to you.

Look at this cute little recipe card I made on Skip to My Lou! I really love doing this because you can print them out, too! (This post isn't sponsored by them - I just love adorable little internet finds)

Well, there you have it - pumpkin oatmeal! I love the slight peanut butter flavor in this recipe, and I'm so excited to be eating this more and more in the coming fall months. I went to Michael's yesterday and they have all of their fall and halloween stuff out already - crazy, yes, but it was also fun to look at!

Are you excited for fall?

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

Monday, August 24, 2015

5 Ways to Stay Organized in College

If you're anything like me, organization is key to success in school. It took me a little while to figure out how to stay organized in college, so I thought it would be nice to share my tips on how to keep up with your crazy schedule while in school!

1. Have a planner, and actually use it

I have really been loving my Lilly Pulitzer planner!

Writing your schedule down in a planner is the number one tip I could give you about staying organized. It's so important to keep all of your important dates in one place, and to write down what you'll be doing for the coming week. I like mapping out my schedule on Sunday evenings, just so I have a rough idea of what my week will look like. You of course don't have to put every tiny detail in for the week when you aren't too sure quite yet, but it'll help to have an idea of how you're week is going to go. Plus, it'll be easier planning things during the week because you already kind of know what you are doing each day.
Using a planner to write down assignment due dates is also very important. As soon as you get your syllabus in the beginning of the term, write down all of the huge due dates for each of your classes because your professors will most likely only remind you the week before an assignment is due. It's definitely your job now to keep track of due dates and to keep yourself accountable for everything. Plus, you can get a super cute planner from brands like Lilly Pulitzer, Kate Spade, list goes on and on! Target also has some really cute ones that won't break your bank.

2. Keep a journal

I like to keep a journal to write down my goals - whether they are my yearly, monthly, or weekly goals, it really helps to keep me on track! I also love to write out organized to-do lists that are more longterm, and focused on my more creative projects. So lists pertaining to blog posts, video ideas, writing ideas, and other creative projects! This helps to keep my brain organized, if that makes any sense. Sometimes it feels like I get so overwhelmed with homework and tests, that I just have ideas swimming around and nowhere to put them! I decided to just write them all down in a journal, and that helped so much. It really helps to give you a creative outlet as well!

3. Use sticky notes

I am seriously a sticky note addict. Honestly, I probably over-use them, but it helps to remind me of important dates, or things that I need to do the next day. When you are finally going to sleep after a long night of homework, it's so easy to forget things the next morning. I like to hang sticky notes on my desk, or put them on my laptop to remind myself to get important things done, or remember to bring the homework I just finished to class the next day. I know, that sounds crazy, but when you are an exhausted college kid, it's easy to forget to print assignments, or just leave them in your dorm altogether! Sticky notes are really the best, and should not be underestimated in their importance on your college shopping list.

4. Set phone reminders

This is essentially the digital version of sticky notes, but they can be carried around with you, and remind you of things at certain times!  Phone reminders are really great for appointments that you might forget about during the day if you're super busy. You also most likely always have your phone with you, so you can easily set a reminder when you're out and about and need a digital sticky note pronto. I personally like sticky notes better because I like physical reminders, but phone reminders definitely have their uses too!

5. Schedule free time and homework time

This goes along with scheduling your week, but having dedicated and consistent time where you are doing homework or taking a break is really helpful for staying sane. I like to get to work on assignments right after I get back from classes, so I can have free time later at night, and not be worried about homework while I eat dinner. Getting to bed early is also a really good idea in college, so getting your homework done right after classes helps you get enough sleep too.

Well, there you have it! Those are my five tips to staying organized in college. If you are going to be a freshman next year, don't get scared about how crazy your schedule will be! You will find a balance after a couple of weeks of trial and error, and pretty soon you'll be a college pro!

I made a video about this on my channel as well, so give it a look!

Do you like to use planners?

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

Thursday, August 20, 2015

OOTD: Wicked Night

A couple of nights ago, I surprised my mom early for her birthday with tickets to go see the musical, Wicked! I missed her birthday last year because I was already moved into my dorm, so I wanted to make up for it this year. We have both always wanted to see the musical as well, so it was perfect!

Here's what I wore for the night:

 Top: Nordstrom
Skirt: Nordstrom
Necklace: Local marketplace
Watch: Fitbit

 Lipstick: Mac Retro

Bracelet: Alex and Ani

The show was so great and a really cool back story to the Wizard of Oz; overall, I'm so glad we went and saw it! It was a really fun night, and we got dessert afterwards at a really fancy restaurant! Both my mind and taste buds were very happy. I'm so glad I was able to surprise my mom, too! Now that I've been to a Broadway musical, I definitely want to go to more! They are a lot different from movies, obviously, but they are just as entertaining and have a different feel to them. I was also so impressed with all of their voices - they were truly amazing! 

Have you ever been to a broadway show?

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

Monday, August 10, 2015

5 Essential Dorm Room Appliances

I really can't believe that it's August, and time to start thinking about going back to school again. I'm sure we're all asking the same question: where did summer go?! While it's really sad to be entering the last full month of summer, the back-to-school excitement has began. It's strange how I'm looking forward to school this year rather than dreading it, but the truth is, I love college. Now that I have a year of college under my belt, I feel like I know what to expect for this next one, and I can't wait to see all of my friends. College truly is like nothing I've ever experienced, and it's so much better than high school.

Since I'm so excited for my sophomore year, I want to help incoming freshman be just as excited! I remember how terrified I was this time last year, so if I can at least help sooth one person's fears, than I'm glad! I'm going to be doing a back to school series (mainly focused more towards back to campus) on my blog and channel as well, so this will be the first post and it's going to be all about 5 essential appliances! That might seem strange and not super-duper exciting, but trust me, good appliances will make your life so much easier.

1. A mini-fridge with a separate freezer.

This is actually the exact mini-fridge that I have, and you can buy it from many different stores (Costco, Target, Walmart, etc.). Having a separate freezer will change your life! Okay, maybe that's a little overdramatic, but it seriously comes in handy. Mini-fridges have horrible freezers that don't even really work, but ones like these have really great freezers. You can have ice in these, ice cream that stays frozen, or my personal favorite, frozen gluten-free waffles that you can heat up in a couple of minutes on busy mornings. When you go out to get a fridge, make sure to get one with a separate freezer!

2. Panini grill
Why do you need a panini grill, if you don't even like panini's? Well, let me tell you that these things come in extremely handy. You are not allowed to have toasters in most dorms, but you are allowed a panini grill, or any other appliance with no exposed coils (the things inside toasters). I was able to "toast" my waffles with this bad boy, make grilled cheeses, cook my vegetarian meat (oxymoron anyone?), grill veggies...basically anything you can imagine! You can even cook eggs on them.

3. Rice cooker
Even if you don't eat rice, rice cookers come in really handy. Especially this particular one, or models similar to it. This definitely isn't a "traditional" rice cooker, which is what is really nice about it. You can cook spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, soup, and anything else that you usually cook on a stove-top. This is basically a pot that warms up without needing a stove; therefore, you can use it to cook most anything! I used this almost everyday last year, and was able to eat "home-cooked" meals because of it!

4. A water purifier of some sort

Okay, I say a water purifier of some sort because there are so many options out there. Most people have the Brita filter pitchers, but personally, I got this one from Drop. Instead of having to fill up a giant pitcher every couple of days, I just have to put this thing between the faucet and my cup (or in most cases, water bottle). My sink was actually too shallow to do what the picture is demonstrating, but I just put my fingers at the bottom, set the Drop in the bottle, and let it do it's thing. This takes all of thirty seconds, and I'm good to go! I never had to worry about walking down to the dorm kitchen where there were bigger sinks to fill up my pitcher, and my water was just as clean!

5. Electric tea kettle and/or a coffee maker

This choice really depends on whether you are a tea person, or coffee. Personally, I'm more of a coffee drinker, so I took my Keurig with me last year; however, next year I think I might just bring an electronic tea kettle. They boil water very quickly, and I'm actually trying to not drink as much coffee because I'm trying to avoid caffeine. Honestly, I'll probably use the kettle mainly for making instant oatmeal, but you never know when heated water will come in handy! It only takes a couple of minutes for the water to heat up, and bam your tea or oatmeal is steeping.

Alright, those are my 5 essential appliances for your dorm room! I mainly touched on the ones that will most likely be forgotten, but you'll definitely need things like a microwave. I figured that was pretty obvious, though, so I wanted to focus on things that people were more likely to forget about. I'm so excited to start planning out my dorm for next year, and to get moved in! It's so much fun living in a dorm and being so close to all of your friends, and I can't wait to get back. 

What is your dorm room essential?

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

Disclaimer: this is NOT a sponsored post, and none of these photos are mine.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Book Review: The Heir

I read the Selection series by Kiera Cass when it first came out, so I was really excited to see that she had come out with a spin-off series. The first book in the new series is called The Heir, and is about the daughter of King Mason and Queen America, who are the main characters from the original book. Eadlyn - the daughter - has to have her own Selection (where 35 young men enter to possibly woo the princess into marrying one of them...basically The Bachelorette for royalty) in order to distract the public from their growing discontent. I was glad there was a larger purpose to this Selection, but it soon became clear that that wouldn't be the main focus of the book.
It is unclear what Cass was wanting to achieve in this book; to try and get the message of the public's growing anger with the monarchy, or Eadlyn's anger about the selection. While at first it seemed like Cass would really focus on how angry the public was about the hard financial times the country seemed to be facing, she seemed more concerned with showing how bratty Eadlyn was, and how poorly she treated those around her. The first Selection series was about Mason and America - both very down to earth characters who I did not think could create a child like Eadlyn. She treats her maid, whom she claims to be very good friends with, horribly, and is very unhappy with having to go through the selection, even though it is to distract the public long enough for her poor father to find a way to help out his struggling subjects.
Cass seems to use Eadlyn's feminist mind set to excuse her poor behavior, and public shaming of the men in her selection, but it just ends up being way too forced. I totally support strong female leads in books fighting for women rights, but Eadlyn is simply portrayed as being a snobby princess used to getting her way, yet complaining about how hard her life is. She is a fraternal twin with her brother, Ahren, whom was born seven minutes after her. The laws of her country dictated that even though she was technically older, Ahren was to be king due to his gender. Because their parents were so revolutionary, and America was a big advocate of women's rights, they made it so the eldest child was to be the ruler, regardless of gender. Go them, right? Well, according to Eadlyn, very, very wrong. There is not a moment in the book when she isn't complaining about how she'll have to be queen one day, or how she is expected to get married soon. I get it, no one should be forced to marry young, but that doesn't mean she shouldn't make the best of her situation, and find a man she is actually happy with, and not some random person she's betrothed to. She has the choice between thirty-five different men who she never would have met, had the selection never happened. She could at least try and look on the bright side that she gets a choice - something that not all the royals before her had.
I love that Kiera Cass is trying to make feminism a big theme of the book. I think more and more support for women is needed, but I do not like how it was executed in this book. Instead of Eadlyn portraying a strong woman, she is petty and cruel to those around her, especially the young men partaking in the selection. I wanted so badly to root for her and her feminist ideals, but I just ending up staring at the book like this a lot:
 She questions why the public hates her, yet she gives them absolutely no reason for them to like her (i.e. at least having some sort of conscience). She insults the boys at every turn, and looks down upon people with "lower" statuses than herself. I found it hard to root for her at all, and instead was rejoicing when her brother tells her off at one point. I had such high hopes for this book since the first series had a strong woman lead, but I was deeply disappointed with this one. Eadlyn is not empathetic at all, and it was so hard to relate to her. Cass made it seem like women have to be completely rude and controlling in order to get anywhere in life. While we women have to be firm in many situations, we can also be human in order to be successful. I'm hoping Cass made us readers feel this way about Eadlyn for a reason, and maybe we will be able to see a drastic change in her for the next book, but for now I am simply disappointed. Feminism should not be portrayed as needing to be so independent to the point where women have to be cruel to anyone who tries to be remotely nice or helpful to them
All of the romance in the book is shadowed by Eadlyn's attitude towards the whole selection. She treats the selected horribly, which in turn makes the public dislike her even more. There is also the "issue" she has with literally anyone seeing the real her, or trying to get close to her. I didn't understand what the big deal was with people even asking her how her day was going, especially when she raves about how great and close her family is. The whole book was just a little bit off and forced to me, and it made me really sad. I had such higher expectations and I was definitely let down.
I hate giving bad reviews to books and movies, but honestly The Heir was not the greatest book in my opinion. It did have it's moments, and for those I just might read the next book, if only to keep up with America and Mason. But by the end of the book, I was definitely questioning why I ever picked it up in the first place. It was very disappointing that this book was a let down, because the first series was really great, and I believe Kiera Cass really is a good writer. Hopefully the next one is better!

Have you read this book? What have you been reading lately?

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

Monday, August 3, 2015

California Outfit Diary

While in California for VidCon, I made sure to take pictures of my outfits everyday so I could show you an outfit diary! The weather was actually pretty mild, and not as hot as it has been in Oregon, so that was definitely weird for me. Although it wasn't as warm, it was definitely a lot more muggy! Walking to the convention center in the morning could get pretty warm just because of the humidity, but overall the weather was really great for being able to wear cute outfits. So without further ado, let's get into the pictures!

 Our first day was spent shopping a little bit, and just kind of relaxing around the hotel!
Crop top: Top Shop (please say that out loud because it's so fun)
Shorts: Old Levi's from my mom that I made into shorts
Blouse: This is actually my mom's as well, and I think she got it from JC Penny's!

I was SO excited about all of the palm trees, because I absolutely love them!

Shoes: Birkenstocks

Bag: Nordstrom

This was the first day of VidCon, and if you couldn't tell, I was ecstatic!
Dress: Free People
Shoes: Kohl's (for $10!!)

This dress also has pockets! That was seriously so nice and convenient to have all day.

I loved how my hair turned out this day!

This was day two of VidCon!
Romper: Pacsun
Shoes: Kohl's (again for $10!)

 Necklaces: The purple one is from a local farmer's market, and the other one was made by Joycie!

 I also really love how my hair turned out this day

 I think this was my favorite outfit! I wore this on the third and final day of VidCon, and I'm so happy with how the full look came together.
Dress: Free People
Necklace: A little independent jewelry maker

 The back of this dress is amazing!

 I decided to wear a couple of flash tattoos this day since the back was so open! Now I'm really tempted to get a real tattoo there...

 I also put another flash tattoo on my wrist! And ohmygosh it took about forty-five minutes to do my hair (you can ask Joycie who had to put up with me while I braided my mane...) but I'm so glad I took the time to do this hairstyle because it really completed the look!

 We went to Disneyland on the fifth day and found Tinkerbell's little garden, so of course we had to take OOTD's there!
Shirt: Nordstrom
Shorts: Nordstrom
Bag: Ted Baker

 Sunglasses: Forever 21

We were shopping and traveling the sixth day, so I didn't have a chance to take an OOTD, and I was just wearing one of my old tropical print dresses, so I didn't figure you all would want to see that. But overall, I had a blast in California! The trip was exhausting, but so, so, so incredible! I cannot wait to go back next year for VidCon! :)

What was your favorite outfit?

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