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?

7gwd0130h.mov_.00_00_27_09.still001_0

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

French COLLECTION

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

French COLLECTION (1).jpg

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

French COLLECTION (2)

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

image
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

IMG_5359

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!