Keeping My Clothes Clean and Green

Recently my dad became really sensitive to laundry soaps. The kind my mom had usually been buying started to irritate his skin so she ended up switching to a non-scented soap. This situation got me thinking about how many harsh chemicals are in laundry soaps and how they affect our bodies and our environment. So what are the best ways to keep your clothes clean without making your body feel dirty?

Seventh Generation

Seventh Generation is one of my favorite brands! They have a lot of cleaning products that I love and have talked about in another post, but this is one of the few products from them I have not tried. Seventh Generation laundry soap is amazing since it contains no fragrances, dyes, or brighteners. Their product is also cruelty and gluten free, which are some extra perks! I also trust this brand as a whole, they have been creating sustainable products for over 20 years and are very transparent about what is in their products. This will probably be the next laundry soap I buy!

Honest Company

Everything you are looking for in a sustainable product, the Honest company has! Not only is their laundry soap hypoallergenic and compatible with HE washers, but there are no ingredients in the laundry soap that you can not pronounce. But my favorite part? There’s more than just liquid laundry soap. They have pods, dryer clothes, stain removers and more. That way your load stays as green as possible from start to finish!

Is Your Laundry Soap Clean?

While I researching products for this article, I came across the Environmental Working Group’s website. The website has a guide to healthy cleaning where they grade the environmental quality of different products. I searched the laundry soap I use now, and I was able to find the overall grade for the product plus the grade for individual ingredients. Although my soap didn’t score an “A”, I really enjoyed learning more about my product. It’s also easy to search which products are in their database since you can search by brand, company, etc.

What kind of laundry soap do you use? Do you think you’ll want to make the switch after reading this? Join me, and let’s explore our options of green laundry soap!

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Texas A&M Traditions – Somber Edition

From the Aggie Spirit to Aggie football, even to the Corps of Cadets, Aggie traditions are usually based around being fun and rowdy! But there are other events that express Aggie pride in a more somber way.

Silver Taps

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When a Silver Taps is set to take place, many people put this picture on social media to spread the word.

Silver Taps is a tradition that takes place on the first Tuesday of the month if it’s necessary, and it is usually good news when the event does not occur. This is because Silver Taps is performed to honor any current students that have passed away the previous month. It is a beautiful ceremony to honor the Aggies and friends that we have lost. During a Silver Taps ceremony a firing squad from the Ross Volunteers performs a 21 gun salute, and a small team performs a special rendition of Taps. The families of the students that have passed are invited to attend to honor their family members life, and they are surrounded by the Aggie family as well.

Muster

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Softly call the muster, let comrade answer, “Here!” – Roll Call for the Absent

Muster is an event that takes place on April 21st of every year, and while it is somber it is also filled with a quiet joy. Muster is similar to Silver Taps in that we honor those we have lost, but it includes former students as well. It’s also an event that can take place off campus – it is said that if you are near another Aggie on April 21st, you should get together, reminisce about your time at Texas A&M, and honor those we have lost. I love this tradition because it reinforces the idea of Aggie family. Whether you are on or off campus, young or old, Muster is a day that all Aggies come together to celebrate each other and our university. During the actual Muster ceremony, silver taps is played and the firing squad performs the 21 gun salute. But before that a candle is lit for each Aggie lost, and one person or all people call “Here”, to show that even though a person is absent we will always remember them.

Texas A&M Traditions – Corps of Cadets Edition

HOWDY!

I’ve already discussed the Aggie Spirit in one post and Aggie football in another. Each of these things are very unique to Texas A&M, but there is one thing that Texas A&M has that other schools don’t….

The Corps of Cadets

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The Corps of Cadets is a student organization that teaches students leadership skills while they live, work, and study in units. Many people think that students in the Corps will join the military or are currently serving in the military, but this is not the case. It is a students choice whether they join the military after spending time in the Corps, and I know many people that do or do not join the military after being in the Corps. The one similarity though is that the leave with strong leadership qualities and high moral character!

Texas A&M originally started as an all male military school in 1876! A lot has changed since then, but Texas A&M is still considered one of the the top schools for producing military officers. Similar to Aggie football, there are many traditions within the Corps itself.

Fish Drill Team

The Fish Drill Team is a competitive drill team made up entirely of freshmen – otherwise known as fish! The fish are trained by upperclassmen and perform military drill. Every year the team goes to a national competition and every year they win, making them one of the best drill teams in the country.

Ross Volunteers

The Ross Volunteers are another drill team, but they are structured a little differently. The RV’s are composed of juniors and seniors, and while they perform military drill they do not compete. The Ross Volunteers primary mission is service. They perform a lot of community service and volunteer at a lot of university events. This doesn’t mean they don’t have time for fun though! Although they do not perform competitively, every year they march in the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans and have a chance to party too!

Senior Boots

The one tradition all cadets get to participate in is wearing senior boots! Senior boots are not given, they are earned after participating in the Corps for three years. My sister participated in the Corps and wore senior boots her senior year, and it was one of the most visible signs of being a senior in the corps. It’s also one the biggest events for cadets in the Corps – it is as big if not bigger than actually graduating! Family and friends and former cadets all come out to watch rising seniors put on their boots for the first time.

 

Texas A&M Traditions – Football Edition

HOWDY!

In my previous blog post I talked about some traditions that honor the Aggie Spirit! And today I’m going to talk about an Aggies favorite thing… FOOTBALL! Every fall current and former students, families and friends, come to Texas A&M to spend a Saturday in Kyle Field watching our Fightin’ Texas Aggies beat the hell outta our opponents! But there is a lot more to A&M football than the actual game…

Midnight Yell

The Friday might before a home game, Aggies get together in the stadium for Midnight Yell! Midnight Yell starts at midnight and for thirty minutes the yell leaders (more on them later) lead the students in practice yells and tell jokes about the other team. At the end of Midnight Yell, all the stadium lights go off for mug down! Mug Down is when you have a chance to kiss your date! And if you don’t have a date, you have a chance to take out your lighter in hopes that someone nearby will give you a kiss!

12th Man

In the early 1900s, the Aggie team ran out of players due to injuries and were facing having to forfeit the game. But the coach called down a student, E King Gill, to stand on the field and be the 12th man for the team so the Aggies could go on to finish, and ultimately win the game. In honor of E King Gill standing as the 12th man that day, all students stand during the whole football game to show their support for the team!

Yells and Yell Leaders

During the football game the Aggies are led in yells by the yell leaders! Instead of having cheer leaders, Texas A&M has five yell leaders that tell the students when and what to yell! When the students yell they “hump it” (or bend their knees), and after they yell students do their wildcat! Wildcats are the yells for each class. For example, seniors yell “A-Whoop!”. And there are multiple different yells! There’s the Gig ’em yell, Locomotive yell, Farmer’s Fight yell, and a LOT more! The best way to learn about this is to come on down to A&M and experience it for yourself!

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The 2016 Yell Leaders

Does your school have traditions for football games? Do you think these are traditions you’d want to try? Join me and let’s explore Aggie Football!

Texas A&M Traditions – Aggie Spirit Edition

HOWDY!

I realized when I was writing my Senior Year Bucket List post that I had never written about my university before! I attend Texas A&M University, one of the best and largest schools in the state of Texas! Many Texas schools are known for football (which I’ll talk about in another post) but Texas A&M is much more than that! In this post I want to share the most essential traditions that anyone should know about Texas Aggies!

Howdy

Texas A&M has been named as one of the friendliest college campuses in the US! Why is that? One of the many traditions on campus is to greet your friends or a stranger that is walking by with a smile and a “Howdy!”. It’s also the most common way to grab people’s attention. In a class or a club meeting, saying “Howdy” lets everyone know that something is about to start.

Gig ’em

The Gig ’em tradition began all the way back in 1930! Before a football game against Texas Christian University, Aggies were encouraged to “gig” the horned frogs. Thus, “Gig ’em Aggies!” was born! Gig ’em is also associated with our school’s hand sign, a thumbs up. So when students are told to put their thumbs up in pictures, they are told to gig ’em!

Aggie Ring

The Aggie Ring is one of the most visible symbols of the Aggie Spirit. Once an Aggie earns 90 hours, they are able to receive their Aggie Ring. The Aggie Ring itself is adorned with symbolism – an eagle, a shield, the American flag, the Texan flag, and much much more! A student’s ring also has the year they are going to graduate on it. For example, since I am class of 2018, there is an 18 underneath the eagle on my ring. This way when I meet other Aggies out in the world they know when I graduated! Being given your ring is also a big deal. Once a semester is Aggie Ring Day, when friends and family come together to see their Aggie receive their ring! Another tradition that goes with this is that a former Aggie usually puts the ring on the student for the first time. When I received my ring in April my aunt, class of 1988, came all the way from Illinois to present my ring to me! The last tradition is how one wears the Aggie Ring. Current students face their class year towards their hand, and after they graduate they face their class year towards the end of their finger. This means they are ready to face the world!

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Does your university have any awesome traditions? Is there anything else you’d like to learn about A&M? Join me, and let me guide you through the world that is Texas A&M University!

Hurricane Harvey

Howdy y’all!

I hope everyone is doing well! I have been having a hectic ten days but they have been filled with joy. Friday the 18th I returned to the U.S. from Chile, and I immediately returned to my college town! I had the weekend to decompress, but on Monday I went back to work for most of the week to work on training new and old tutors for the semester! I didn’t have work on Friday, but my family did come to town to see me and my younger cousin that is a freshmen at my school! We all had a blast, but most importantly we were safe. Friday night Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, and my university is only about an hour or so away from Houston. Houston is truly experiencing a catastrophe at this time, but luckily my college town has not been hit as hard. My family was able to leave and get home before any important roads flooded, and thankfully my university has cancelled classes until Wednesday for the safety of the students. This is the first time the university has cancelled classes since I have been attending and I am really happy they put student’s safety first since the roads and campus will not be navigable the next couple of days. Although it’s an awful situation for many, the silver lining is that I finally have a couple days since July to relax! Hopefully this means that I’ll be able to binge write and get back on my blogging wagon! 🙂

I hope that everyone is staying safe and is ready for another week! Please keep Texas, and Houston especially, in your thoughts and prayers. This is very meaningful to me because now it isn’t just people being effected, but many friends and family. Happy Sunday night everyone! 🙂

Keeping My Body Clean and Green

My favorite feeling in the world is stepping out of the shower feeling squeaky clean! But I don’t enjoy this feeling as much when I know that what made me feel clean in the shower is hurting  my body inside and the environment outside. One example of this is triclosan, a common ingredient in shampoo, furniture, and pesticide. Yes. What is in your shampoo is also in furniture and pesticide. This chemical and many others can have harmful effects on your body and the environment after it goes down the drain. So, what kind of products can you use to avoid this? I’ll share what products I use in the shower to make sure my body is as clean as possible!

Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap

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The first thing I do when I step in the shower is use body wash, and this one is my favorite! Dr. Bronner’s soap is totally organic, made with no synthetic preservatives, detergents, or foaming agents. It also leaves my skin feeling soft and all the scents smell AMAZING! I am currently using the citrus scent and it wakes me up every time I open the bottle. It can also be used for more than just body wash. If you’re out of face wash or shampoo, this soap will do the trick! And it’s potential isn’t limited to the shower. There are also instructions to help you use it as a dish soap and laundry soap! I can’t wait to use it around the house, but for now I love using it for my body!

Shea Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner

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Shea Moisture is another amazing organic product! They are certified organic, cruelty free, and are even ethically produced! Their shampoos and conditioners do not contain any parabens, phthalates, parafins, petroleums, formaldehydes, or propylenes! I can’t even pronounce half of those words!!! Shea Moisture shampoos are also an organic product that works. Shea Moisture labels each shampoo and conditioner with the type of hair that it’s best for, like thick or fine or curly or straight, so you know what you’re getting will work with your hair. All the scents are wonderful too, the scent that I use smells like dragon fruit, green apples, and lychee berry and I am absolutely addicted to it! This is a product I’ll be sticking with for a long time!

Do you use organic soaps and shampoos? Organic face wash? Join me and let’s explore how to make our bodies as clean as they can be!

 

My Senior Year Bucket List

At the end of the month I will be starting my senior year of college! AH! I felt like this day would never come as a freshmen, but it has arrived. I’ve done a lot during my time at my univeristy (such as joining clubs, starting a job, hanging out with friends, and studying abroad twice) but there is still SO much I want to experience! Here are 18 things I want to do before I graduate in 2018!

My Senior Year Bucket List

  1.  Go to as many football games as possible! Football is a big deal at my university and I usually only go to a couple each season. So this year I want to go to as many as I can!
  2. Go to a swimming event! I have never been to one and would love to see one!
  3. Go to a gymnastics event! I have never been to one and would love to see one!
  4. Go to as many baseball games as I can! I LOVE my univeristy’s baseball games, and I never go to as many as I say I will. This year is going to be different since it will be the last year I can go as a student!
  5. Go Pond Hopping! This is a weird univeristy tradition where you get your feet wet in every pond on campus! I haven’t done it yet and I would love to before I graduate.
  6. Celebrate Halloween all October long! This one may seem silly, but this is my last year of living with my roommates. Before we lived together a couple years ago we all got together on Halloween and spent the whole day watching scary movies. While we said we would do the same once we all lived together, our schedules kept us from doing this. Now I am determined to celebrate all month long with them watching movies and tv shows!
  7. Get accepted into Grad School! This is probably the most serious one on the list. Beginning in September I’ll start the process of writing personal statements, applications, and taking the GRE to apply to grad school. I am nervous about this but I am confident that I have the help and support I need to do well!
  8. Go to church more! Since middle school and high school I really haven’t gone to church. I still believe in God and everything, I have just gotten lazy about participating. But since coming to Chile I have started to feel reconnected to God, especially since my roommate invited me to so many church events. Now I feel reinvigorated about attending church and maybe giving a bible study a try!
  9. Try new hobbies! Lately I have been thinking a lot about trying bird watching and bullet journaling (kind of random, I know, haha). Although it might be hard to find time for things like this between school and work and blogging, I really like the idea of doing something different in my daily routine and to relax.
  10. Read before bed! I’ve always loved reading but since college I haven’t read very much. There are so many books that I want to read, I just need to be more disciplined about it! It’s also bad to be on your phone before bed, and with an 8 am in the fall I can’t risk a bad nights sleep!
  11. Have an exercise schedule! This is also that might be hard with class, work, and anything else I am trying to do on this list but it is definitely a priority! In the past when I have exercised daily I noticed better focus, a better mood, and a lot of other improvements! I have even missed working out while I have been in Chile, so I am excited to start again when I get home!
  12. Attend the Bonfire Memorial! This is one of the more somber traditions. On November 18th, 1999 the bonfire collapsed and killed 12 students. Now every year students attend the Bonfire Memorial to remember those we have lost. I haven’t gone before because the memorial is held at 2:42 in the morning (when the bonfire collapsed in 1999), but this year it is taking place on a Saturday so I will be there!
  13. Go on the Elephant Walk! This is a happier tradition! Every year seniors get together and take an “elephant walk” around campus to remember all of the good times they have had there! I am really excited for this one!
  14. Continue to get a better handle on my anxiety! While my anxiety is leaps and bounds better than it was two years ago, I still have a ways to go. I do not do well with changes and it is easy for me to feel stressed. It is important for to have this under control so I don’t worry about it as often and so I can face any changes life brings me with confidence.
  15. BLOG MORE! Obviously! I really enjoyed doing the challenge back in June and continue to want to blog more. The more I blog the more I love it and the more blogging ideas I have! I have so many ideas and cannot wait to share them with the blogging community!
  16. Spend quality time with my friends! This is my last year at my univeristy, and it may be my last year in Texas! Because of this I want to spend as much time with my friends and family as possible!
  17. Try new recipes! Last year I started cooking more and I am excited to keep cooking and trying new things! I may even share what I cook on the blog!
  18. HAVE A GREAT SENIOR YEAR!

Do you have a bucket list or big goals for this school year? For the semester? For the month? Join me and let’s explore our goals!

Keeping My Apartment Clean and Green

Now that I’m back from Chile and about to start school again, I am back in my apartment! YAY! I have the best apartment in the world. The furniture and layout are awesome, my room feels like my room, and I get to live with my best friends! What more could a girl ask for? Probably a clean apartment! Haha! Having a clean apartment is so important for me and my roommate’s comfort. But I hate using anything with harsh chemicals that aren’t necessarily great for me or for the environment. So how do I keep my apartment clean and green?

Seventh Generation products! Seventh Generation is a certified B corporation – B corporations have a better working environment, provide more for the working community, and have better standards for how they treat the environment. They list ALL the ingridients for a product on the label and the majority of their products are USDA Certified Biobased Product, meaning that the product contains a verified amount of renewable biological ingredients. I feel very safe using these products knowing that I’m not surronded by a lot of synthetic chemicals and that my apartment will feel clean and fresh afterwards! So which products are my favorites?

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Disinfecting wipes. I feel like these are a must for basically everyone! And these disinfecting wipes work just as well as any other! They kill 99.9% of germs and get rid of cold and flu viruses with a refreshing feeling afterward.

Narural dish liquid. Again, it works just as well as any other product, but you can feel assured that no harmful chemicals will be going down your drain. I also love the citrus scent, it smells amazing!

Toilet bowl cleaner. No one likes cleaning their toilet. I still don’t! But this product doesn’t have and strong fumes, so cleaning the toilet isn’t as bad anymore.

All purpose natural cleaner. I usually use this one for the shower and the shower in my apartment is a plastic tub and plastic walls since it is intended for students. The plastic doesn’t bother me, but I feel like it’s easy to see when it gets dirty. This product does the trick of removing all the grim so I can feel clean while getting clean!

Do you have some favorite green products? What are they? Join me and let’s explore how to make our homes a little greener!

Santiago Part 3: Neighborhoods and Districts

Santiago is a HUGE city, which means that there a lot of different neighborhoods with a lot of different styles! These were some of my favorites that I found from my time here in Chile!

Los Condes

Los Condes is sometimes called Sanhattan, since this district looks so similar to Manhattan! The area is full of high rises and banks, and they are all lined up on wide, clean streets. This area also has a lot of shopping with Mall Parque Aruaco. And because it is the nicest neighborhood in the city, you can see people making their way to the large golf course, Club de Golf los Leones, and others in very important looking suits. Because of the ritz and the glam Los Condes is able to stand out very easily from the rest of the city!

Providencia

I actually lived and worked in Providencia during my time in Chile! While Providencia may not look as fancy as Los Condes, it is still where a lot of people work and live. One of the tallest buildings in Providencia is the Costanera, the tallest building in Latin America! This skyscraper has a huge five story mall at the base, so there is a lot to do in the Costanera center. There’s a lot to see besides that though, with many local restaurants and bars around every corner. My favoorite part of Providencia is all of the cafés! My favorite thing to do on my way home from work is try a new café and have a pastry and hot drink! It is the perfect way to end the work day!

Bellavista

Bellavista is a neighborhood within the Providencia district, but it has its own distinct flare! Bellavista is separated from the rest of the district since it is across the Mapocho river. Once you cross the river, you are basically in Bellavista! This neighborhood is so distinct since it’s the part of the city where all of the clubs and bars are! But if you want to go during the day there is still a lot to do. You can grab a bite to eat at Patio Bellavista, an outdoor mall, visit one of the many lapis lazuli stores, take a tour of the Pablo Neruda house, stop by the zoo, or go to the top of Cerro San Cristobal!

Central Santiago

Central Santiago is filled with history! In this district you can find La Moneda, Plaza de la Constitucion, Plaza de Armas, the Metropolitan Cathedral, museums, and more! I took an hour tour around the area and learned a lot about the history behind many buildings, statues, and plazas. It was an amazing experience! I have also talked to others that have taken a four hour tour for tips around the area and they loved that as well! Did I mention that the architecture in this area is absolutely beautiful? I would say that this area is a must for anyone visiting!

Do you like exploring different parts of a city? What has been your favorite neighborhood that you have found? Join me and let’s look at the different parts that make up a whole city!

Santiago Part 2: Views

In Santiago you can see some pretty great views from the streets or from your room: Cerro San Cristobal and the Andes are always in view! But there a few places you have to go to get a view of the city itself.

The Costanera Center

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In the Costanera Center is an elevator that will take you to the top of highest observatory in Latin America, Sky Costanera! The observatory is 300 meters above the city, so you’re able to see everything! That isn’t all though. There are two observation decks. The first one is a typical observation deck. But if you go up an escalator, you’ll go to the second observation deck. This deck is special because there’s no roof! That’s rihgt! The glass goes up into the open air! I love this effect and on a warm sunny day the second floor of the observation deck is the perfect place to be.

Cerro San Cristobal

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If you can see Cerro San Cristobal from the city, you can definitely see the city from Cerro San Cristobal! But there is so much more than the view. My roommate and I got lucky and went to the top at sunset, which made for some of the best views! To get to the top you can take the funicular or the cable cars. We took the cable cars, and were able to see the city as the sun began to set! Once we were at Cerro San Cristobal we had an incredible 180° view of the city! We also had the chance to walk around the statue of the Virgin Mary, which was absolutely beautiful. Cerro San Cristobal was awesome!

Santa Lucia

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Another magical hill in town is Santa Lucia! The hill is made up of old castles and beautiful gardens, so walking up the hill to the top is a feast for the eyes. Unlike Cerro San Cristobal, the only way to the top of this hill is to walk! The walk is also very steep, with a lot of narrow stairs. But the top makes every step worth it! Not only do you get a view of the city, you get the view by standing on top of a castle tower! There are a lot of other views that you can see from different gardens, so there is more to Santa Lucia than just the very top!

Do you like getting a view of a city? Where has you forite view been? Join me and let’s explore the best way to get a view!

Santiago Part 1: Museums

When I arrived to Santiago I knew I would be working 9 to 5, Monday through Friday for my internship. This didn’t bother me because I thought I could see the whole city in one weekend. Boy, was I wrong! Santiago is a huge metropolis with so much more than a weekends worth of things to do! So how could I write about everything in one blog post? This first post about Santiago is dedicated to the many museums of the city!

Chilean National Museum of Natural History


Do you not have time explore all of Chile’s natural beauty? No problem! The Natural History Museum will walk you through all of Chile’s climates and ecosystems from the most northern desert to the most southern tundra. You’ll also get to see examples of the different plants and animals that live in each climate. Halfway through learning about Chile’s biogeography, you can take a break to see a massive skeleton of a blue whale! How cool is that? After seeing all the different climates, they also have exhibits about the anthropology and archeaology of the country’s indigenous tribes. All in all it was an amazing experience that everyone can enjoy!

Museum of Memory and Human Rights


This museum focuses on a darker side of Chile’s history. In 1973, there was a military coupe against president Salvador Allende, putting Augusto Pinochet in power. Although Pinochet enforced economic policies that have helped the country, these accomplishments stand in the shadows of the human rights violations commited during the same time. Thousands of people were forcibly prisoned due to their political beliefs and thousands were also killed for the same reason. This museum walks you through the events that led to the tragedy and what Chileans experienced during the Pinochet regime from 1973 to 1990.

La Moneda Cultural Center

The Cultural Center is actually underground! It is situated underneath La Moneda.

La Moneda Cultural Center is the art and culture museum of Santiago. It opened very recently in 2006, and when I asked a tour guide why it was built she replied “Well, Chileans aren’t necessarily the most cultured people.” This worked out well in my favor though because when I went to visit they had an Andy Warhol exhibit! SCORE! They also had other smaller exhibits from Chilean artists. But my two favorite things besides the Warhol exhibit were the fair and the bread exhibit. By the time we finished the Andy Warhol exhibit, there were local pop artists setting up booths with jewelry, notebooks, tee shirts and prints! And before my roommate and I left we came across an exhibit about bread! Who doesn’t love bread? And in Chile they have types of bread that I have never seen anywhere else! Getting to learn about Chile’s history with bread and how some of it is made was very special!

Do you like going to museums? What kind? Jin me and let’s explore the museums in our world!

Valparaíso

Before I came to Chile, there was one thing I knew I wanted to do: explore Valparaíso! Commonly called Valpo, it is a beautiful port town filled with art and color! While it is a small area, there are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore!

Walking Tour

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I was super fortunate when I went to Valpo: a friend of a friend of a friend is a tour guide in the city, so he gave my roommate and I a free tour of the city! I really enjoyed it because it was very easy to talk with him if we ever had any questions or observations, and he was able to show us what locals actually see. On our walk we saw sites like the Paseo YugoslavoPaseo GervasoniPaseo Atkinsonthe Anglican Church of St. Paul, and so much more! All of the paseos are pedestrian walkways that give you beautiful views of the port and the city. Each paseo is also very unique! Paseo Yugoslavo has the Palacio Baburizza, which was built with an eastern European influence and now houses the city’s fine art museum. Paseo Atkinson has a British feel, with the flat house fronts and small gardens in front. And the Anglican Church looks… Catholic? The reason for this is because at the time of its construction, only Catholicism was allowed in Chile so they had to practice their religion in secret! Getting to see and hear the stories of these buildings made the walking tour one of the highlights of the trip.

Street Art


Everywhere you look, there is street art in Valpo! I was lucky enough to see some of the most internet famous pieces of art in the city, each one on accident! The first one we walked across say “We are not hippies, we are happies”. We got to snap a picture right before a number of tourists descended upon it! Later on walking back to our Airbnb, we found the piano stairs! They are actually right next to the Anglican Church, and knowing they were nect to such an important landmark made it easy to come back to later! There is also a lot more art than what people usually post on the ‘gram, so I definitely recommend walking around to see what art inspires you!

Piers and Docks


Valpo is a port town, so I recommend walking by the piers and docks! Close to Plaza Sotomayer is a market by the docks, and a lot of little boats that will take you around the docks to see the ships up close and personal! I did not do one of the boat tours, but I personally don’t feel like I missed out on the experience. One thing I definitely recommend is going to the pier to watch the sunset! The pier we went to had a place to rent kayaks during the day, but my friend and I opted to sit on the dock. (I was too scared of getting wet in the cold weather! Haha!) This simple activity was super fun: the pier was the perfect place for people watching, we could watch some people casting lines out into the sea, see the city change colors as the sun set, and get a look at some sea lions swimming near by! I was really happy we had the chance to go and enjoy relaxing by the ocean.

I barely scratched the surface of Valparaíso in this post. There are so many little cafés, restaurants, and art shops scattered throughout the city! Even while we were walkig around we only saw a portion of the city! Do you think you might want to go to Valparaíso? Have you visited other artsy cities in the world? Join me and let’s explore our world!

The Atacama Desert

My very first weekend in Chile was spent exploring the wonders of the Atacama Desert! Before I went, I thought to myself “It’s a desert? What’s the big deal?” But after experiencing it for myself, it is a very, very big deal!

San Pedro de Atacama

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The most popular tourist town in the desert is San Pedro, and it is easy to see why! The charming town is made up of dirt roads and adobe walls and buildings, making you feel at home in the desert. Although the town has a rustic feel, it has a variety of upscale restaurants and shops. This came in handy when I needed to buy a windbreaker from the North Face store! But off of the main street is where you can find the artisanal market, filled with copper jewelry and llama figurines. San Pedro is a cozy town with a lot to offer, but there is so much more beyond the walls of the village.

El Valle de la Luna


One of the very first areas we saw after arriving was El Valle de la Luna, or the Valley of the Moon! The tour of the protected area began with walking through salt caverns! Yes. Salt caverns. While it was all above ground it was still an incredible area to walk through, especially getting to see and touch all the salt still in the earth. And at the end of the walk we ended up on top of a hill! The hill gave us spectacular views of the red rocks covered in gypsum, making it look like it had just snowed. Afterwards we had the chance to see the Ampitheater and the Three Marys, both of which were extremely beautiful. But my favorite part wasn’t necessarily in the park…

Closer to sunset the tour took us out of the park and up to a large cliff. From the we could see the entire park and the Andes and watch them change colors during sunset! It was magnificent! El Valle de la Luna turned bright orange and gold, and eventually the Andes turned a rosie pink. It was the perfect way to end the day.

Las Piedras Rojas y Salar de Atacama


Saturday morning we woke up bright and early to go see Las Piedras Rojas! While it was too cold and windy to take a picture of the red rocks on top of the mountain, there were plenty of photo ops on the way to the top! We passed by the Tropic of Capricon going south from San Pedro to the mountains and got to watch the sun rise over the mountains. But my personal favorite photo from the drive was of the vicuña! Vicuñas are relatives of the llama and a camelid, meaning they can store water! They are also small in size and very fluffy, so they are now one of my favorite animals! Haha!

After seeing Las Piedras Rojas we went all the way back down the mountain to Salar de Atacama! Salar de Atacama is the largest salt flat in Chile and also has a salt lake. Due to the salt and other elements the area has a rugged landscape, which has a very different look and feel compared to the mountains. And there aren’t any vicuñas near the salt flat, but flamingos instead! Many flamingos come to the salt flat during migration and we were lucky enough to see a few flamingos even though they were very far away. All in all, it was a fantastic day seeing the natural landscape and wildlife. Lucky for me, the weekend wasn’t over yet!

Los Géiseres


Our last adventure in the desert was spectacular! We woke up before sunrise and went back up the mountains, but this time to see the geysers! Chile has the third largest geyser field in the world, and in order to get the best view of the steam without the crowds we arrived at the crack of dawn. As the sun rised we had the chance to walk around geysers and admire the moutains. One of the mountains overlooking the geysers is called El Tatio, which means the crying grandfather. The indigenous people called the mountain that since a stream flowed down the mountain, making it look like the mountain was crying. The geysers were absolutely beautiful, and are protected by the local communities. To me it was very meaningful that the community cares for such a fragile and wonderful area.

We also got to see some amazing things on the way down the mountain! We were able to see a wetland area, a small town and church, and try llama meat! (Which came from a farm, not from the wild.)

All in all the desert was more than I ever thought I would be! I discovered so much natural beauty there and I will never forget it. Has this post inspired you to come to Chile? Have you ever been on a trip that was more fun then expected? Join me and let’s explore our world of travel!

 

Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

”Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them all by ourselves.” Like Water For Chocolate

About a week ago I FINALLY finished Like Water For Chocolate. Why FINALLY? Because the first time I picked up the book was almost a year ago for an english class, but I wasn’t able to finish it before moving on to the next reading assignment. However I returned to it, finished it, and absolutely loved it.

Like Water For Chocolate is a book to devour. From the beginning it is obvious that Laura Esquivel is writing from the heart, with a smooth and simple style that enters the heart of the reader effortlessly. It is almost as if she is telling you the story herself in person.

Esquivel also enters the heart of readers through the emotions she invokes in the story. The story shows the powerful effects of magical food on characters, and the book’s enchanted writing had the same effect on me. The story pulled out every emotion – happiness, anger, sadness with a natural story.

The story of Like Water For Chocolate isn’t necessarily a happy one: Tita is forbidden to see her soulmate, Pedro, and her mother acts malevonlently towards her. While this may come across as melodramatic, Esquivels writing prevents the story from sounding forced and turns it into a hopeful story searching for love and assurance.

I don’t want to give too much away about this book because I want everyone to READ IT! I promise it’ll be worth your while! Have you alreadyread this book? Do you agree or disagree with anything I’ve said? Did I leave anything out? Join me a nd let’s explore the world of Like Water For Chocolate!

 

My First 10 Days in Chile

Hello friends!!!

Long time, no see! Unfortunately, I have not been active in the blogosphere lately but it is fortunately because I HAVE BEEN IN CHILE!

Yes, the trip that I have been talking about since forever has finally arrived and I am here to tell you about the emotional rollercoaster that has been my first 10 days.

Days 1-3

My first three days were like a dream. I arrived and I was immediately welcomed by two roommates! Being able to talk with them and join them on adventures made these three days surprisingly easy. The first night we went to the top of the Costanera Center, the tallest building in all of South America! Afterwards we saw Spider Man and grabbed dinner. The next day was spent going to a museum, attending a coffee fair, and spending the night dancing. On the third day one of my roommates left to go to school in a different city, so my other roommate and I spent the day relaxing, watching netflix, and attending church.

Days 4-7

The next four days were a little more stressful. On the fourth day I went and started my internship! Yep, I am here to work from 9-5! I was introduced to the office and the people I would be working with and my supervisor let me go home early. On Day 5 is when I started doing real work. Most of the time I help do research for a green highway project they are doing. While I am getting used to doing research and writing reports now, the first few days were very difficult to get used to. I have never worked a full length work day in an office and understanding a different language on top of that made it very tiring and stressful. Although I was stressed my supervisor said I was providing good research and reports, so I have that going for me!

Days 8-10

The first week of work I only really spent three whole days in the office. My first ¨day¨ was a half day, and I didn’t go to work on Friday because I had an excursion! My excursion was with my roommate (who is from the same university as me) and the director of the program from our univeristy. And we went to… THE ATACAMA DESERT! I know, going to the desert may not sound like the most fun thing to do but it was seriously one of the most beautiful and interesting places I’ve ever been. While we did a lot (I’ll safe that for another post) it was also a stressful weekend. My roommate was sick the first day and a half, so I was left alone with the director. While I admire her, I was very stressed because it was the first time I had ever really spent any time with her and I wanted to make a good first impression. Another very stressful factor for me was that my roommate and director know each other very well, so I was intimidated by their close relationship. All of this caused me so much anxiety that I basically called my mom crying Saturday night. And as if my social anxiety weren’t enough, I was waking up at 5 AM everyday that weekend for tours so I didn’t get much sleep.

Day 11

On Day 11, Monday, everything that had been bottling up from the previous 10 days exploded. While work went very well and I finally started having a good attitude about my work days, the evening went downhill a lot from there. I was texting my sister, telling her how tired I was from the weekend (remember I was waking up at 5 every morning) and how I just wanted to relax. Well, she called me a potato. And, well, I took that comment to heart and it basically caused all the stress I was bottling up to explode. All the emotions I had been having about getting used to a real job, feeling homesick, having culture shock, and more just came rushing out. In all seriousness, I cried for hours. I was just overwhelmed by everything that had happened the last 10 days, the good and the bad.

While I was crying I called my mom to talk about how I was feeling and how I was dealing with it. It was also during this conversation that we decided it would be best for me to see a therapist when I return to school. In the past I had used student counseling services, but my mom and I agree that it is time for some long term professional help instead.

The good news is that after getting some good rest I felt 100% myself again yesterday. I enjoyed work and I had a good evening of relaxing! And today my supervisor has no work for me to do in this morning, so I FINALLY have time to write on my blog and catch up on what I have missed.

I hope that now I am in a better groove and schedule that I’ll be able to stay updated on things going on the blogging world on the daily like I was able to before my trip began. I also can NOT wait to share everything I experience and learn as I explore our world!

 

The Self Esteem Tag

Thanks so so SO much to Bea for being an amazing blogger and always nominating all of her readers! I love this because I feel like it includes so many more bloggers in tags they may not normally get to do. So again, thank you!

The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Answer the 10 questions
  • Nominate and tag however many people you’d like

The Questions

  1. What is one facial or physical feature you like most about yourself? My favorite feature is my eyes. I’ve always received compliments on my eye color since I can remember and I feel like it’s the easiest feature to accentuate.
  2. What values are most important to you? Kindness and having an open mind. I fell like these two go hand in hand. While one can act kind, also keeping an open mind can help ones kindness grow.
  3. What is one personality trait you like most about yourself? That I am sweet! I have a natural disposition to say please and thank you and smile at everyone I meet.
  4. What is your definition of beautiful? Feeling confident with yourself inside and out.
  5. What is the last thing you did that made you smile or laugh? Watching Brooklyn Nine Nine with a friend!
  6. When do you feel the most attractive? When I’m having a good hair day.
  7. What are you passionate about? Doing what I can to make the world a better place.
  8. Who is the most supportive figure in your life? My mom. Sometimes we bicker at one another but I know she will always have my back.
  9. What are you most proud of about yourself? My willingness to work hard.
  10. Do you feel good about yourself today? I do! Unfortunately it took me too long to get ready (I am currently figuring out my routine for my time in Chile) but I am very happy with the end result!

The Nominee

While I love that Bea nominates everyone, there is one particular blog I would love for everyone to check out! My friend Sarah has a blog that is about her reflections on daily life and I would appreciate it if everyone would give her some love and encouragement!

A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway

“Why, darling, I don’t live at all when I’m not with you.” A Farewell To Arms

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Just last night I finished A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway, and I am relieved to have finished!

The book moved very slowly, going between scenes at the war and at the hospital with the main characters lover. While the book went into great detail about the settings and the landscapes, there was very little character development or interesting dialogue between characters. Because of this the main character, Frederic Henry, really didn’t seem to come alive at all in my mind.

I was not expecting the understated style in the beginning. While there is nothing wrong with that style, the way Hemingway used it made it difficult to develop an idea of the characters and tone. In the first half of the novel some of the most exciting scenes to me were when the main character became wounded and a few of the events from while he was at the hospital. But these exciting scenes were few and far between.

It wasn’t until that last third of the novel that I felt excited by what was happening in the book. When Henry and the Italian army began to retreat and when Henry ran away to see his lover is when I felt the most emotion coming off the page. It was during these scenes that Hemingway described the feelings of war and love best.

Unfortunately that wasn’t enough. The end of the book continued showing emotions similar to earlier scenes, but the end was too understated to be satisfying. What’s worse is that the edition I bought included other endings that Hemingway had written, and I would have preferred that any of those be the actual ending than what really was.

The only thing more disappointing than the ending? The characters and dialogue. Catherine, Henry’s lover, was unbearable, her childishness being more annoying then charming. The dialogue was clogged with characters speaking without any indication of who was speaking, making it confusing. The way the characters spoke didn’t help either. Frederic Henry and Catherine never had a conversation outside of telling each other they loved one another, making it difficult to have a deeper understanding or empathy for their relationship.

Have you read this book? Do you agree or disagree with my ideas? Do you still want to read it after seeing my personal review? Join me and let’s explore the world of A Farewell To Arms!

When To Pack – Packing Part 3

I pack certain things in a certain way, but when do I pack all of this??? In the final part of my packing series, I’m going to look at how I slowly collect things then pack them all at once!

About one week before I leave on any trip, I look at which clothes and items I want to take on my trip. This is so I can make a list to ensure that the clothes I want to take are clean and that the things I want to take are ready to go. In the case that anything doesn’t seem ready to pack…

few days before I leave I wash the clothes I want to take and make sure the things I want and need to take are ready to go. For example, I make sure I have enough toothpaste and soap for the length of the trip. If I do, great! If not, I run to the store to get what I need and everything is still great!

It isn’t until the day before  I leave that I actually start packing. Today I’m very fortunate because I do not need to go to work or run errands, so I can spend the whole day taking my time to pack. This is especially easy since I have done the things above, having already decided and preparing what I want to pack far in advance. While I’m almost done packing the majority of things today, there are some things that’ll have to wait until tomorrow…

This is because the day of the trip is usually when I pack my toiletries. This is because I use my face wash and toothpaste when I get up in the morning. And since I don’t have to be at the airport until tomorrow evening, I want to take the chance to shower and get cleaned up before leaving on my adventure! So while I’ll have some last minute packing, it won’t be very much at all or very difficult if I make a list of all the toiletries I’m going to pack.

When do you pack for a trip? The night before you leave? An hour before you leave? How long does it take for you to unpack once you get home??? Join me and discuss the kind of packer and traveler you are!

Click here for Packing Part 2.

Click here for Packing Part 1.

How To Pack – Packing Part 2

In my previous post I talked about what I am packing for my six week trip to Chile. Today, I’m excited to share my favorite tips and tricks for how to pack certain items!

Packing Cubes

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Packing cubes are an absolute LIFESAVER! I love them so much! Whether I am going away for weeks or a weekend these making organizing, packing, and unpacking my suitcase a thousand times easier. For my upcoming trip to Chile I am packing a lot of bulky, winter clothing. These packing cubes have helped compress the bulkier sweaters while keeping them looking nice so I can pack other clothes and toiletries. I have room for everything I need and it is organized so once I arrive to my destination it is easy to unpack and settle in.

Pill Box

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Personally, when i think of a pill box I usually think of my grandparents taking their medication. But I have learned that it has an even better use for travelers! I didn’t get my ears pierced until college, but since then I have learned that pill boxes are amazing for packing earrings. Each pair or two can have their own compartment, and it is easy to fit some necklaces and rings in the compartments as well. I love this because I know where I’m putting my earrings when I take them off, and I know that the lids will keep them safe inside.

Backpack, Carry On, or Checked Baggage

This is probably one of the most important strategies I use. Depending on the size of an item and when I’ll be using it after I arrive, I put an item in my backpack, my carry on, or my checked baggage. For example, I always put a sweater and a book in my backpack or purse so I have easy access to those things during my flight. For my carry on that goes in the overhead storage bin I put something I may need immediately once I arrive to my destination or that I can’t go without for long. These are items like pajamas, clean underwear, and medication.  Finally, my checked baggage has the majority of my things such as my wardrobe, large liquid toiletries, and things I may not need until I have settled in to my destination. Another strategy for checked baggage is to fill it with items that are a little easier to replace. One example of this are my hair styling tools. I love my hair straightener and would be devastated if it became lost with my checked baggage. But my blow dryer can be easily replaced once I arrive, so I packed it with my checked baggage suitcase.

What are some strategies you use to pack your things? Do you fold things a certain way? Pack like colors with one another? Please share and let’s think about the best way for each of us to pack!

 

What To Pack – Packing Part 1

Hello Friends!

I have some exciting news! I LEAVE FOR CHILE IN 3 DAYS! That’s right. It’s time to get everything together for my big trip!

I wanted to commemorate my pre-departure excitement by talking about packing! When I was thinking of this post I started looking at Pinterest and other blog posts about packing. A lot of the things I saw were very specific – which style of clothes to pack and how many of each item. While I don’t want to write about what I am packing specifically, I do want to write about the strategies I used to decide what to put in my luggage!

Mix & Match

The one strategy that anyone should use while packing whether they are packing for 6 weeks or 6 days is to bring clothes that you can mix and match! This will make deciding on an outfit each day easier. For each shirt I’m packing I have two or three cardigans to wear with it and three or four pairs of pants that match a shirt! This will make it easy to plan outfits the day before or throw something on in the morning. And since I’ll be in Chile for 6 weeks I can wear a variety of outfits without repeating the same one more than twice!

Layers

Another strategy that ties in with the idea of mixing and matching is to pack clothes that are easy to wear as layers! For example, I am taking many cardigans and pullovers that are easy and cute to wear with a button down or long sleeve shirt. This is especially important to me since I am traveling to a place where it is winter right now. But even on spring break or summer vacation when I’m going somewhere warm, I try to pack a cardigan that matches with the other clothes I packed.

The Right Amount

It’s important to have the right amount of clothes for your trip as well as the right amount of toiletries! While I was researching for this post, the idea of packing toiletries or buying them at your destination seemed like a commonly debated topic. But for me, I prefer to pack my toiletries before I leave on any trip. This is so I have my favorite products and the right amount for the length of my trip. Again, I’m going to be abroad for 6 weeks so I want some products that I know work for me (such as shampoo), so I went ahead and bought some brand new toiletries as to not run out while I’m away. I may not be able to buy my favorite brand in Chile, and it will make me comfortable and remind me of home too!

What are some rules you have for packing? Is there something you always take or leave at home? Join me as we look at how we prepare before we explore the world!

The Person You Are Currently Grateful For – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

As of late, the person I am the most grateful for is my Dad! There has been a lot going on the last few weeks that has made me especially grateful for having a dad like him in my life.

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A picture of Dad and me on family vacation in Key West. Aren’t my dad and I cute?!

My dad is always there for me. In one of my last posts I talked about how my car broke down and how my family was there to help me out of a bad situation. My dad dropped everything to drive two hours to where my car was broken down, drive my car another hour to my apartment, then spent the whole next day trying to fix the problem himself! My dad has always been there to help me when I need it, even if it is difficult for him, and I am super grateful for that.

My dad has also been extremely supportive of me. When I told him I wanted to go to Chile, he supported me in wanting to go and travel the world. When I told him I wanted to go to graduate school, he supported me in wanting to go and further my education. My path has been a little different from my family’s. Both my parents served or are serving in the military and my sister just entered active duty, while I have never desired to join the military. In response to this, my dad supports me. He tells me that I should follow my passions and do what makes me happy. And I am so, so grateful for that.

He has done more than these things, too. He has always been making me laugh, teaching me about cars and finances (sometimes against my will), and showing me how to help others. And for that, I am grateful.

Who are you currently grateful for? A family member? A friend? A stranger even? Join me and let’s explore how these people have made an impact on our lives.

A Way You Relax – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

For me to relax there are a few things I need!

The first thing I need is a relaxing space. Usually this is in my bedroom or in my living room. I feel the most relaxed at home so it is always a relief to come back to my apartment at the end of the day after going to school and work.

Then depending on my mood I hang out with my roommates or go to my room to decompress. It’s hard to say what part of my mood is the deciding factor for this, because sometimes laughing and talking with my roommates is the perfect antidote for a bad day. But there are other times, probably when I’m particularly anxious or overwhelmed, that I would rather be by myself for an hour or so to just play on my phone or watch Netflix.

The third ingredient for me to relax is something to take my mind off my day! Even if I had a great day, sometimes it’s nice to escape the world for a little while through a book, a good TV show, or maybe even some cooking! This break is especially important after a busy day of school and work to give my mind a rest before doing any homework or studying I may have that night.

What are some essential elements you need to relax? A video game? Blogging? Exercising? Join me and let’s explore our favorite ways to relax!

What Do You Need? – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

When people are talking, they tend to overuse the word “need” in place of the word “want.” I know I tend to do this when I speak, saying things like “I need a piece of that cake!”

While I am very well off and am not in an urgent need of much, there are a couple things I think I need…

need to get on a better sleep schedule! Basically the whole month of June I haven’t been going to bed or waking up at the same time each day. I have also done a bad job of winding down before I go to bed. This is aggravating because I usually end up sleeping in until who knows when and staying in my pj’s all day. My work and class schedule doesn’t help either because I work in the evenings and my astronomy class is after work. I need to practice a better sleep schedule and better sleep habits so I know when I’m going to bed, when I’m going to wake up, and that I’m going to be rested for the day.

need to practice my Spanish! Believe it or not I leave for Chile in less than 10 days. (I am mostly saying that to myself, haha!) This means that I will be eating, breathing, working, and living in a country where they only speak Spanish. I need to prepare for that by studying the language and by practicing using it so when I arrive there I am not completely hopeless. The last thing I want is to be completing dependent on someone who can speak English to me and seeming rude and unaware. I want to be able to hold conversations and understand what is going on around me, and for that to happen I need to practice Spanish!

I also need to eat a healthy diet! This can hard for a college student because some days I don’t feel like cooking, some days I eat three pieces of pizza and a Coca Cola (like yesterday…), and some days when I eat because I’m bored. This isn’t healthy for my body and I want to treat it with the utmost respect. While I am trying to do this by having salad and sweet potatoes for my meals this week, I still feel tempted by soda and sweet treats. Despite this, I need to resist that temptation so I can have a healthy mind and body to live life to the fullest!

What is something you need? Do you need to run an errand? Do you need to do something for yourself? Let’s explore what we need to do to make ourselves better people and the world a better place!

What Motivates You? – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

When you feel like quitting, think about why you started.

Whether I’m studying, exercising, doing crafts, or even blogging I always think of why I started!

I start something because I believe I can do it successfully and enjoy doing it too! Don’t get me wrong, there are some things that I have to do for school or for work. But just because I have to do it doesn’t mean I’m not motivated to do it well.

When I start something, I always envision myself being proud of what I created at the end. I am ultimately motivated by making something that I can be proud of. And I know that if I do my best and am proud of the product that others will be too.

What motivates you? Is it yourself, your family, or a goal you ultimately hope to achieve? Let’s explore what motivates us to do our best!

An Exceptional Skill You Posses – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

What is an exceptional skill I posses?

Kindness.

While I have not always been kind to myself, I have always made it a priority to be kind to others.

I lend a helping hand to others when I can. I offer a friendly smile and lend an ear when I can. I listen to listen, I don’t listen to reply. I ask questions and talk to others with the intention of making them feel happy. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I also try to show kindness through my actions. Holding doors open, cleaning up after myself, I believe that even small gestures can make a difference.

What is your exceptional skill? Let’s explore what makes us all special!

 

An Area To Grow In – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

This concept is basically the antithesis of my last post! Haha! So instead of discussing traits and habits I want to kick to the curb, I’ll be talking about habits I want to pick up!

Cooking

I would love to have more time to cook! It’s hard to cook during the school year since I work in the evenings and have a lot to study, but I try to make time for it once or twice a week. So far my favorite things to prepare for the week are pretty simple: salads, homemade dressings, fruits, and veggies. But I would like to try cooking chicken or fish and making sauces to go on top! I want to try cooking different dishes to expand my skills and have fun!

Exercise

Now, I’m not that interested in high intensity workouts or building a large amount of muscle. But I would love to learn more about different exercises so I can do more than one workout when I go to the gym! I enjoy the time I spend exercising and want to keep my body in good shape for my health, so I might as well have fun doing it! I need to spend some time looking at magazines and online to find different activities outside of weight machines and cardio.

Language

Whether it’s English, Spanish, or something new I would love to learn more! Studying for the GRE I have learned a lot of new words, and I still look up words for Spanish often even though I am confident holding conversations.  I really enjoy that there is still more to learn in languages that I feel comfortable with! I’d also love to learn a new language. I have forgotten a lot of German since I studied it in high school and I would love to learn it again. And even though it isn’t used anymore, I think Latin is fascinating. And don’t even get me started on the history of languages… who knows, maybe I’m meant to be a linguist???

What is an area you want to grow in? Is it a skill you want to learn, or a more personal trait you wish to develop? Join me and let’s explore how we can grow!

Something To Give Up – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

I’ve heard that it takes 21 days to end a bad habit. While I’ve never tried this consciously, there are definitely some bad habits I’d like to kick!

Negative Thinking

This is something I definitely struggle with. Sometimes it’s easy for me to slump into a negative attitude. Sometimes it’s easy for me to bring myself down. Sometimes it’s too easy for me to worry. All of these are a waste of my time and energy, and I end up feeling anxious over being negative almost daily. Recently I have been telling myself that happiness is a choice and to find something good in every day. This has been helping me a lot, and hopefully if I keep it up I can replace my bad habit with an awesome one!

Procrastinating

I think this is something everyone has a problem with at times, haha! I let myself procrastinate on things I’m dreading and on things I’m excited to do. Cleaning, blogging, studying, exercising, errands, and goals I procrastinate. I’d much rather sit on the couch and play on my phone. I know that I should do my chores instead of procrastinating so that way I can do nothing guilt free! I’d like to give up procrastinating so I can get things done and feel accomplished and proud of myself!

 

What is something you want to give up? A habit? A food? Giving up isn’t always a bad thing. No matter what you want to give up, let’s talk about it in the comments below!

Words You Need To Share – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

Words to share. Hm. This is a little difficult for me, because there is nothing personal I feel I need to share on my blog, since I try my best to be as open and honest as I can on here. Instead of sharing my own words, I want to share some of my favorite quotes and sayings in hopes that they will resonate with those of you reading this.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

St. Augustine

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if only one remembers to turn on the light.”

Albus Dumbledore

What are your favorite quotes and sayings? Are there any words you need to share? Let’s explore our thoughts together!

 

 

Reasons To Feel Happy – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

This is not something I have been reflecting on as much as I should lately. In the last few days I have had a lot of car trouble so I’ve let a little cloud hang over my head. But now I am happy to think of reasons to be happy!

  1.  I have an incredibly supportive family. My car broke down when I was driving back to college from my hometown and my family dropped everything to come to my rescue. My sister came to pick me up from the gas station where I was stranded and my parents went to pick my car up from the gas station a few hours later. The next day my dad and I tried to fix the problem on our own. Although we didn’t fix the problem, I got to spend a lot of time with my dad and that was really awesome.
  2. I am getting new appliances tomorrow! The apartment where I live has been going through renovations slowly but surely. A few months ago they put in new hardwood floors, a month ago they replaced the old furniture with new furniture, and tomorrow they are putting in new appliances! This means they’ll be giving the apartment a new oven and oven top, refrigerator, and washer and dryer. I am very excited because this is the last stage of the renovation and my roommates and I don’t have to pay for any of it!
  3. I leave for Chile in 2 weeks! This is very surreal to me because my trip does not feel that close. I still have a couple things to do like order some of the currency and get some of my prescriptions but I am almost ready to go! Luckily I have a friend that is already down there and she has been giving me advice about clothes and money which I am very grateful for! I am so excited for this trip!
  4. I am about to be a senior in college! This is bittersweet, but I am excited nonetheless. I miss going to classes, I miss my on campus job, I miss my roommates, I miss my boyfriend, and I miss going to different fun events with them. I am working on a Senior Year Bucket List so I can have the best senior year possible!

Writing this post has put me in a super duper good mood! What are your reasons to be happy? Let’s explore these things and feel happier together!

Your Dream Job – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. What is my dream job??? I’m a year away from graduating college but after that I’m planning on going to grad school, so that should buy me some time! There are a few things I know I want out of my dream job though.

One thing I know for sure is that I want to help the environment. My very first summer job was giving cavern tours and working outside. I think this had a huge influence on me! Getting to spend time in nature and see others enjoy made a huge impact on me. I also grew up in a town with a river that many people come to tube and near a lake that my family and I would visit during the summers. While I never went camping or did anything very difficult outdoors, I spent a lot of time outside at home and on vacations. All of that time instilled a love of nature in me, and I would love a career where I work to protect nature for others.

I’ve also always been interested in politics and the government! I could never work as a politician because that would be too much stress but I think it would be interesting to work with the government. It has the potential to impact so many people and I would love to use that potential to make a positive impact and make lives better. Another way I would love to make a positive impact is through NGOs. NGOs also have a lot of potential to help others and enrich lives, and I would absolutely love to do that.

What is your dream job? Have you found it? Or are you still looking for it like me? Join me and let’s explore where our dreams can take us!

What Is Home? – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

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This meme basically sums up what home is as a college student, haha! You have more than one home and always feel confused on where you want to be.

While I’m in school my apartment is my home. This is where I study, where I eat, and where I live with my four best friends. This is where I go to have my spirits lifted, have a good laugh, and talk about life. This is where I go to know that I am not alone. There will always be someone to share my excitements and burdens with, and I am always there for my friends to share with me too.

Whenever school is out for winter or summer break I go to my home home. The home where I grew up. This is where my parents go to bed early and wake up even earlier. This is where my older sister bosses me around to do chores, then cracks a joke. This is where we all sit and eat dinner together and talk and watch TV together. This is where I share my hopes and dreams and fears and receive unconditional love in return.

Last summer in Costa Rica I had a home in San Jose. This summer is a little weirder though. I know I’ll have a home in Santiago when I go to Chile, but what about now? I lived in the house where I was pet sitting but I didn’t feel at home. I have my apartment but I’m the only one there this summer. So until I go to Chile, the library is the closest thing to a home I have. This is where I go to work as a tutor. This is where my coworkers and I talk about life and laugh. This is where I smile the most during the day. As the old saying goes…

…Home is where the heart is

Where Were You Five Years Ago? – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

Five years ago seems like a lifetime ago! I was 16, and it was the summer before my junior year of high school. I feel so old saying that, haha! A lot of things were different then…

First off, I did not have a drivers license. This automatically made my summer pretty boring. Since I couldn’t drive I couldn’t go run errands by myself or see friends by myself. This also meant I couldn’t drive myself to a job. So I was bored and broke…

I also only spent time with my then boyfriend. He was my first serious boyfriend and I was crazy in love with him. While it was the summer before my junior year of high school, it was the summer before his freshman year of college. So I spent as much time with him as I could before we entered a long distance relationship.

This was a weird time for me because 16 is an age when people start becoming independent and I felt like I wasn’t. I still depended on my parents to drive me around and only wanted to see my boyfriend. My junior year of high school was amazing, but the summer leading up to it was full of growing pains.

Where Were You A Year Ago? – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

A year ago I was spending my summer in Costa Rica! That’s right. 10 weeks in a beautiful paradise with wonderful people and even more wonderful experiences! It would be hard to detail all these experiences so I’ll just give some highlights…

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One of my very first excursions in Costa Rica was to Monteverde! It’s about five hours away from San Jose in the mountains and is absolutely gorgeous. Monteverde is a cloud forest, one of the rarest ecosystems on earth! Hiking through the forest is like visiting another world. The trees are humongous and the clouds pass through the mountains effortlessly. As well as hiking through the cloud forest, my friends and I took a night hike where our tour guide told us all about different plants, animals, and insects! I learned so much that night and loved it every minute of it.

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After spending time in the mountains, I visited the beach in Manual Antonio National Park! People come from all over the world to see the beaches in this park and its no wonder why. It has some of the bluest water I’ve ever seen. This is also where I saw some of my first sloths and monkeys! The sloths were what you’d expect – lazy, slow, and very fun to look at. The monkeys were very different. They would get close to bags in hopes of stealing food and swing right over people! Manual Antonio was an exciting trip for sure!

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You see the girl jumping off the cliff into the waterfall? Yeah. That’s me. One weekend my friends and I went to a small beach town on the Pacific coast named Montezuma. While we were there went off the beaten path to this amazing waterfall! Luckily this was one of many waterfalls I had the chance to visit. The water was fresh and cool, and it was a lot of fun to just swim and chat with friends. Before we left I went ahead and jumped off the cliff! It was terrifying, but I knew I would regret it if I didn’t make the leap!

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What else can there be to see after going to the mountains, the beach, and some waterfalls? A volcano apparently! Volcan Arenal is a beautiful volcano surrounded by a lake, a cozy town, and even some hot springs! We spent the morning hiking by the volcano and learning about it’s history and the ecosystem encircling it. Afterwards we spent a relaxing afternoon at Baldi Hot Springs! This weekend had the best of both worlds!

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This last photo was taken a day before I left my second home. In Downtown San Jose close to the government’s legislature is a sidewalk full of murals just like this! It was amazing to see such incredible art being encouraged in the city. A lot of the art dealt with social issues, but I absolutely adored this bubbly piece! It sums up how happy my time in Costa Rica really was.

Where were you a year ago? Where do you want to be a year from now? Let’s explore our past and future!

P.S. Looking at these pictures has made me seriously home sick for Costa Rica! I want to go back! 😦

A New Thing To Try – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

One of my FAVORITE things to try is new recipes! This is not something I have explored on my blog, but during the day I love to read about different recipes! Today I hope to share some of the recipes I’d like to try with you!

Maple Dijon Chicken

Blackberry-Babe-Headshot-2-768x512Two of my favorite toppings are dijon mustard and maple syrup. This recipe combines the two! I found the recipe on Pinterest but it come from blackberrybabe.com. The recipe only has five ingredients and takes thirty minutes to make! How great is that??? This is a recipe I am very excited to try!

Baked Parmesan Sweet Potatoes

baked-parmesan-sweet-potatoes-3This is another dish with two of my favorite foods! (If you couldn’t already tell, I have a lot of favorite foods.) This is a side dish from lilluna.com, and I can see it accompanying many different kinds of main dishes. This dish doesn’t have many ingredients either, but it takes a little bit longer since the recipe calls for cubed sweet potatoes and for the dish to be baked for about twenty minutes. Again, I’m excited to try this since it looks like it can go with almost any main dish!

Blueberry Arugula Salad

DSC_0019This recipe comes from broccoliandmuffins.com and has the quickest preparation time at five minutes! It’s another recipe with not many ingredients (Are you sensing a theme here?) and the most work is put into creating the dressing. It’s a sweet and earthy salad with the blueberry, oregano, arugula, and honey that I can not wait to try!

What new thing do you want to try? A recipe? A hobby? Let’s explore the world of options ahead of us!

Your Top Priorities – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

For this summer I have three top priorities…

Prepare To Apply To Grad School

In the fall applications to graduate schools open and I want to be ready when the day arrives! This means studying for the GRE, working on my purpose statement, finding mentors to write recommendation letters for me, and a lot more. I want to apply to competitive programs which makes me nervous, but if I’m able to give the applications my best I’ll be proud of myself!

Prepare For Chile

This next priority actually happens before previous one, so I should probably focus on this one more! Haha! At the beginning of July I will be leaving for Chile for 6 weeks so I need to make sure I have everything I need for the trip! I ordered a 2 in 1 adapter and converter today so I can use my electronic devices. I also have a lot of winter clothes picked out to take with me. Since it’s summer in Texas and winter in Chile, my family is letting me borrow some of their winter clothes! Yay! Now I just need to check on things like prescriptions and whatnot and I’ll be good to go!

Have An Amazing Senior Year

This upcoming school year will be my SENIOR YEAR. AH! I am not ready to leave college yet, so I want to make this year incredible! I even have a senior year bucket list. This includes things that I’ve never done before and things that I might not get to do again once I leave college. (Just writing this has given me the idea to write a post about this list!!!) Whether or not I complete everything on the list, I just want to enjoy the last year of my college experience.

What are your top priorities? Is there anything you’re looking forward to? Let’s explore the world that’s ahead of us!

Your Best Qualities – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

The last few days I had a cold so I spent most of the day sleeping! But now that I’m feeling better, I’m ready to tackle this challenge!

  1. I love learning. I have always enjoyed school and am always curious to understand more!
  2. I am kind. I like helping others and making them feel good about themselves!
  3. I am relaxed. I try not to take life to seriously and try my best to go with the flow!
  4. I am funny. I love making jokes and laughing with my friends!
  5. I am a good friend. I am a very loyal person and love my friends with all my heart!

What are your best qualities? What else would you like to know about me? Let’s explore our qualities!

The Best Thing About Your Day – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

Until I go to Chile, I’m not doing a lot this summer! Luckily what I am up to is pretty fun! Most nights I work at my university tutoring center. Not many students have come by for the subject I tutor (or in general), so usually the other tutors and I talk and hang out! It’s also the perfect time to study for the GRE. All in all, I’m basically getting paid to sit there and enjoy my evening.

The other thing that’s been fun is my astronomy class! It’s very relaxed and we’re learning fun things like how to use star charts and telescopes. Tonight we learned about where the seas on the moon are! The subject is really interesting and I always look forward to class.

One thing that is not fun is that I haven’t been feeling well the last couple of days. I think my sinuses are acting up because I’ve been petsitting! 😦 I didn’t grow up with pets and pet allergies run in my family, so I’m going to the doctor tomorrow to figure things out. Hopefully I can find some help! It also makes me sad because the pets I’m watching are very sweet and I would hate it if they were making me sick!

What’s the best (or worst) part of your day? Is there anything you look forward to? Let’s explore the little things that make us happy!

Something To Remember – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

Everyone has a mantra that they try to live by. Today, I’d like to share some of the mantras that I remember throughout the day that are important to me!

Choose happiness. About a year ago I struggled with anxiety, and while I am doing much better now I still have my bad days. So whenever I’m feeling down, and I’m feeling down because of things out of my control, I try to remind myself to choose happiness. I remind myself that I am in control of my happiness, not the things that happen to me. This brings me to my second mantra…

Keep things in perspective. The other day I locked my key in my car and it basically ruined my afternoon. When I called my dad to let him know what happened he told me about how my mom had locked her key, me, AND my sister in the car! Suddenly what had happened didn’t seem so bad. While some days are just bad days and it’s okay to feel upset over it, keeping things in perspective helps me choose happiness.

I think this Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them quote sums these two mantras up pretty well…

“My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.” – Newt Scamander

There are two other very important mantras I try to remember:

Getting started is the hardest part. This is SO important for me to remember as a student. There’s a lot I need to do even if I don’t want to, but once I start an assignment I become engrossed in it! So whenever there’s a project that needs to get done, I always think of how good it’ll feel when I’m finished once I’m getting started.

Discipline is a muscle to be exercised.  As is resilience, and creativity, and endurance. Once I saw a video on Facebook, and a man was saying that practicing discipline is the best way to improve it instead of trying to save it for special occasions. I’ve continued to hear the same thing about resilience, creativity, and endurance: that if you want more of it, you need to practice it instead of assuming it will always be there.

What are the mantras you live by? What is something you try to remember? Let’s explore the things that we remember!

 

The Books In Your To Read List – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

The title of today’s challenge is the books in my to read list, but a more accurate one would be which books are not in my to read list! According to my Goodreads account, I have over 100 books on my to read list! That is a lot of books! Instead of trying to list them all, I want to talk about a few of the books I am looking forward to reading this summer!

Room by Emma Donoghue

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Room is the story of Jack, Ma, and the Room they live in. I didn’t hear about the book until the movie starring Brie Larson was released but was immediately fascinated by the story when I heard of it. Growing up I avoided emotional stories like this. Now I am ready to dive into the story!

 

 

 

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

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The Nightingale is the about two sister’s separate journeys during World War II. It’s the newest book on this list since it was first published in 2015 but it is the one I have heard a lot about! I have read many reviews online but became really interested when one of my friends recommended it. I’m also drawn to the story of sisters. I myself have an older sister and we have a very strong bond, so I am very excited to learn about these sister’s paths and the relationship they share.

 

 

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

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The Paris Wife is based on Hadley Richardson, Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, and her time with him in Paris. Although it was published in 2011, I didn’t hear about it until I went to the Ernest Hemingway House over this last spring break. After learning about Hemingway and his many wives, this book seemed like a must read!

 

 

 

What books are in your to read list? What are you looking forward to reading this summer? Please share, and let’s explore the world of books!

 

 

A Really Good Idea – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

A really good idea… What is a really good idea?

It was a really good idea to visit my boyfriend this last weekend – he is doing an internship out of town and I missed him so much! We went out to eat, saw a movie, cooked dinner together, and spent time watching Parks and Rec. It was the perfect visit.

It was a really good idea to tutor this summer. I work in the evenings so my days are free to blog, exercise, and do anything else my heart desires! I also have not had any students ask for help from me yet, so as of now I am being paid to study for the GRE. Now THAT is a really, really good thing!

It was a really good idea to watch Aladdin and have some wine last night! Haha!

It’s a really good idea to go and exercise this afternoon. I did a good job of working out everyday last week and I want to keep the progress up!

It’s a really good idea to study my Spanish. I have not been doing any work towards this goal. The hardest part of any task is just starting it, so it would be a really good idea to start today!

Have you had any good ideas today? This month? The year? EVER?! Please share, and let’s explore our really good ideas!

A Time When You Were Frightened – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

When I was little I was afraid of losing my mom in the grocery store and scared of thunderstorms. When I was younger I was fearful of others judging me. But in the spring of last year, I became extremely frightened of things within myself.

The spring of my sophomore year of college was an extremely difficult time for me. I had friends and I was enjoying my classes, but not everything felt right. Outside of class I spent a lot of time by myself. This was mostly because my best friends lived off campus while I lived in a dorm room by myself. I also wasn’t feeling very confident. I was constantly putting myself down and questioning myself.

I was unaware of the loneliness and anxiety accumulating until one day I broke down. I called my mom hyperventilating, about how I hated being alone. About how I couldn’t stop negative self talk. About how I would start a cycle of insecure thoughts and how I couldn’t stop them from going around my head.

After this situation I became very aware of how frightened I was of the loneliness and anxiety within myself.  I was getting the tools I needed to overcome it, but simply by being aware I was a thousand times more frightened.

A little over a year later and I am a THOUSAND times better. While there were times I felt like I might never get to this point, I am very proud of myself for conquering the fear within.

When was a time you were frightened? Is there anything that still scares you? By exploring these fears, we will be able to overcome them.

Something Good From Last Week – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

Last week, I had the chance to attend and present at my workplace’s conference! This was very exciting for me because it was the very first conference I have ever attended and really enjoyed it.

I work at my university’s academic success center, so the conference was full of other employees from other success center’s from around the country! And the best part? I was given free food and paid to attend!!!

I also had the chance to give a presentation about how to help students feel engaged with tutoring! At first I was really nervous, but I had an awesome presentation partner and the audience that attended was very attentive. When it was over I felt great! And I even received a few business cards!

What is something good that happened to you last week? Let’s explore the good in our lives and world!

A Step You Have Taken Towards Your Goals – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

This month I have a few personal goals: to exercise everyday, study for the GRE, blog more, and practice my Spanish. So, how have I been doing with my goals?

Exercise Everyday

For the last week, I have been doing a great job! I have gone to the gym every morning to have a good start to the day. I don’t do a very difficult workout each day just to give my body a break in between intenser workouts, but I do keep up with my butt and gut challenge! This challenge builds in difficulty throughout the moth and also has rest days, so it fits perfectly into my routine. If you would like to see what I’m doing for exercise and try out some moves yourself, you can checkout the butt and gut challenge too!

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Study The GRE

As of last night, I have taken the first steps to studying for the GRE! I have a 5 lb. study book and took the diagnostic tests yesterday. Now I have a better idea of what to study so when it is time to take the exam, I can earn high scores! I only have a year of college left and want to apply to excellent graduate programs, so I only have a limited time to make this goal a reality.

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Blog More

Having just started my blog challenge, this should not be too hard to accomplish! I am really looking forward to the prompts and writing about thing I would have never thought of on my own. I also have some other post ideas that I would love to write about in addition to this challenge. It should be a very successful month for this goal!

Practice My Spanish

This is a goal I have not been good about working towards. I have told myself everyday this week to set aside time for this, but I have not. This goal is very important for two reasons. One, I am going to Chile for 6 weeks in July and I want to be as prepared as possible! Two, I am not sure if I will be able to take anymore Spanish classes in college. I only have a year left before I graduate and I have already taken all the required Spanish courses for my degree. As one of my favorite Spanish phrases goes, “Vamos a ver…”

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Do you have any goals for this month? Have you made any progress towards accomplishing them? Join me and explore our goals today!

 

JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

I am so very excited to start a blog challenge this month! I found the following questions on Pinterest, and felt like they were very fun and creative so that the posts would challenge me as a blogger and provide insight on my life for you as a reader. So without further ado, here is my blog challenge for the month!

 

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I also want to give a shout out to BeaFree and Roxanne who are also doing challenges this month! Please check them out and give them some love!

Liebster Award

YAY! Another award! I am very very thankful to Beafree for always nominating everyone for awards, she has such a big heart! Please go look at her wonderful page!

Rules:

1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award.
2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.
3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 11 blogs.
5. Notify those blogs of the nomination.
6. Give them 11 questions to answer.

11 Questions:

1. Where would you like to visit?

EVERYWHERE! But if I only had to choose one place, I would choose Ireland since I have never been and it looks beautiful!

2. Other than English, can you speak any other languages?

I am conversational in Spanish! I also remember a few words of German from high school and would love to learn it again.

3. Do you prefer to bake or cook?

I prefer to cook since to me, it seems like it offers more variety.

4. Would you rather go out to eat or stay home and cook?

I think I would want to go out… it costs more but there is no prep or cleanup!

5. Are you good about answering your phone calls, texts and emails or do you often forget?

I always have my phone with me! Haha!

6. Are you a country person or a city person?

Definitely the city!

7. What kind of music do you prefer to list to?

At the moment I prefer blues style music.

8. What is one of your favorite childhood memories?

Going to the beach with my family!

9. Do you have a go to outfit?

Jeans and a striped long sleeved shirt! It’s always cute and casual.

10. Wild night out or stay home and chill?

Stay at home and chill! Especially with Netflix and pizza!

11. Are you good at bowling?

No siree! Haha!

Questions to You:

1. What is your guilty pleasure?

2. Who is your role model?

3. Red wine or white wine?

4. Hot weather or cold weather?

5. What is your favorite movie genre?

6. What are you watching on Netflix right now?

7. What is your preferred social media?

8. What is your favorite flower?

9. Who is your celebrity crush?

10. Do you like any sports?

11. How did you get interested in blogging?

Nominees:

I would like to nominate Sarah for this award! Sarah, do not feel pressured to do this but I would love to see your answers! She has an INCREDIBLE blog and I would love it if everyone would check her and give her some positive words!

 

 

Essential Oil Perfume

Summer is here and with it brings warmer nights and… stinky sweat? Ew. Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong advocate for showers and deodorant. But what if you want to smell noticeably good?

Here is my dilemma. I love the smell of perfume, but hate the ingredients in them. According to an eBay article, some perfumes may not disclose all the ingredients but instead just use the word fragrance. Usually all the ingredients used to make this fragrance are synthetic, and if you live in the US the FDA does not check if these synthetic ingredients are safe before they hit stores…

I know, I know. I sound paranoid. But since coming to college I have tried to be more conscious of what I use on my body and in my living space so my body, my spirit, and the earth can be cleaner. I believe that using essential oils to make perfume can help me and the earth feel (and smell) better!

Not only are many essential oils labeled as organic or natural, but it is much easier to access information on these types of products on websites like www.fda.gov. Essential oils can also be used as alternative medicine! I use lavender and peppermint oil often for headaches and congestion.

While I haven’t made essential oil perfume yet, I have made a guide for when I do! It has all the information you need in order to make a scent perfect for you!

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Have you made essential oil perfume before? Do you like or dislike essential oil? Please comment with your thoughts so we can explore the world of essential oils!

FINALLY FINISHED FINALS & STARTING SUMMER

Hello Friends!

Many of you probably do not know, but I am a university student in the US. And as of today I am FINISHED WITH SPRING CLASSES. Thank the Lord! Hallelujah! YAY!

I had exams until last Tuesday which were difficult and strenuous. The most difficult exam for me was my advanced Spanish grammar exam. I had to explain different grammar definitions in Spanish as well as use different grammar techniques. I think the definitions were the hardest part…

I had a quick break on Wednesday, but on Thursday and Friday I was with my family celebrating my sister! Thursday my sister graduated from college! YAY! And on Friday she was commissioned into the military! DOUBLE YAY! I am a very proud sister and excited to see what the next chapter of her life brings!

Now that the spring is over, the summer is starting. I will continue working as a tutor for the first six weeks of summer before going to Chile for a six week internship! YAY! I may also be starting a job as a writer at my university’s newspaper. DOUBLE YAY!

Despite the excitement that is coming up I am more determined than ever to devote time to blogging. I want to become more active by posting more often, maybe take part in a challenge, participate in awards, and reach out and get to know more of the blogging community!

Has anything exciting happened to anyone as of late? Is anyone looking forward to exciting things to come? Do you have any ideas on how else I can become more involved??? Please comment below and help me explore the blogging world!

Happy (Belated) World Book Day!

Happy (Belated) World Book Day! Even though every day should be book day, I didn’t realize there was an official day dedicated to celebrating books and reading! To me this is very exciting, and I would like to celebrate by celebrating what I’ve read, what I am reading, and what I hope to read soon!

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One of my favorite books of all time is To Kill A Mockingbird. I didn’t read it until I was in high school, but I have read it multiple times since and have also purchased a copy in Spanish to help me learn the language! There are so many things to love about this book. I love Scout’s spunk and every time I read the book I relate to her character in a new way. I relate to her growing pains the most: figuring out right from wrong, what kindness is, what unfairness is. It’s all these lessons that make this story so easy to come back to again and again.

I also read Hidden Figures earlier this year, and it was such an amazing story! I had the chance to meet the author and understand how she was inspired to write her book. She grew up in the town where the story takes place, and also grew up knowing the women she wrote about! She also takes a very holistic approach to the history in the book. It is not only black history. It is not only women’s history. It is not only the history of aerospace engineering. It is all three, and much much more.

The next book I am excited to read is A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway. I would have never imagined reading this book if it weren’t for the fact that I had the chance to visit the Ernest Hemingway House in Key West, Florida. There I had the chance to learn about Hemingway’s life, and specifically what influenced him to write A Farewell To Arms. As a young man he served the Red Cross in World War I, and eventually was seriously injured. During his time in a hospital he fell in love with, and had his heart broken, by a nurse that took care of him. One of the many stories loosely based on his life, the book is a dramatic story of love and war that I am excited to dive into.

What are your favorite books? Have you read anything interesting lately? Now? Is there anything you want to read or recommend?  As we explore the world of books, I want to share on of my favorite book quotes with you…

“The book to read is not the one that thinks for you, but the one which makes you think.” – Harper Lee