Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sweater Weather

Surprise, I love sweaters. There are so many great outfits that can be paired with a sweater. They can be dressed up or down depending on what your day's plans are. Not only are they fashionable and warm but they can also be incredibly comfortable too.  Who doesn't love looking cute, but feeling like you are wrapped up in a big blanket? Here are a few that I would love to add to my collection.

What's your favorite sweater look like?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Studying Off Campus

Part of being in college means you have to spend a decent amount of time each week studying. I think everyone has their own definition of what it means to study.  To me studying is completing any assignments, readings, writing papers, making flash cards, reviewing material, etc.  Basically any time you are interacting with content from a class you are studying.  Pretty much the only time you will catch me studying in the library is in between classes when I need to kill some time on campus or if I'm working on a group project/studying with a group for an exam.  The library usually becomes more of a social time for me.  I seem to always find people I know while I'm there and we spend more chatting or being silly than we do studying.  It's pretty much a guarantee that anytime I go to the library, I'll be able to find at least one of my sisters there. 

So I'm sure you are probably wondering if I don't study in the library, where do I go.. 
Well, there are several spots I like to go.  When I'm on campus studying diligently, you can usually find me in the math building or on the quiet floor of our student union. These two on-campus locations seem to be pretty distraction free for me, which allows me to have productive time to get work done.  If I'm at my apartment studying then you can find me sitting at the kitchen table, on my bed, or sitting at my desk.  My room doesn't have great wifi, so I spend a lot more time at the kitchen table than I do in my room.  

My favorite study spots are off-campus in town.  Most places in town offer free wifi, which is great.  There are so many great spots including dessert bars, coffee shops, and restaurants.  Right now my go to is a coffee and ice-cream bar.  They have homemade products and comfy seating.  I discovered this location during finals week fall semester.  I have yet to go back this semester, but I'm sure as the assignments begin to increase I'll be visiting there soon. I think it's good to study off campus because it gives you a change of scenery, there are less distractions, and it being out of the house forces you to get your work done. 

Where is your favorite study spot?

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Birthday Lust List

My birthday is just two weeks away.  One of the nice things about my birthday is that I get to ask for whatever I didn't get for Christmas.  Last week I shared with y'all how my parents generously gave me my birthday present a few weeks early this year (thank goodness because we got a foot and a half of snow this past weekend). There are currently only a few items on my wish list. 


Monday, January 25, 2016

The Organized Student: In Class Note Taking

My Advice today is on College Note taking:

Spring semester has arrived, which means it's time to start taking notes in class again.  I take a lot of notes in class.  I'd imagine all of you have done the same, if not recently then definitely at some point in your life.  Well, in case you didn't know I am an organization freak!  Needless to say my notes are pretty organized, and yes they are color coordinated too.  Everyone has their own method of note taking that works for them, so today I am going to share what works for me. 

I take notes in class,after class, and while I do my outside reading (depending on the class).  However, my approach to them is about the same.

In Class Notes:
This is what my in class notes look like.

I prefer to take these notes on my computer, then after class I go back and re-write them.  Re-writing your notes can be time consuming, but it is a great method for studying.  
  • The key to good note-taking is paying attention!
  • Use at least 2 different colored pens or pencils- I like paper mate marker pens and plain black pens.
  • Highlighters! Use them, they are really helpful!
  • Color Coordinating- I color coordinate headings, sub headings, equations, examples, and key terms. This really helps with the organization of your notes.
  • Make your notes attractive. The more attractive they are the more likely you are to look at them again.  I know this sounds really silly, but believe me it is true! (This is where colored pens and highlighters come into play)
  • If there are PowerPoints online: print them out and read them prior to class.  This will help you follow along with the lecture much easier.  With power points, I tend to take notes on the handouts in class, and then I rewrite them in my own words after class.  This provides as a nice built in review too. 
  • Use Post It notes: I use these when I have questions or to draw my attention to important things that the professor hints at, will most likely be on the exams.
  • Lined paper is perfect for classes where outlining is needed, but don't be afraid to use blank paper too this allows you to make your notes the way you want them to be, visually.
  • Date things: I always put the date at the top of my paper and if handouts are ever given in class, date them too.  This helps when you go back through everything when exam time comes.

These are my reading notes for Science.

Good luck!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday's Thoughts 1/22

Happy Friday! I hope you were able to stay safe and warm this week.  I cannot believe my first week of the spring semester has already come to an end.  I think I'm really going to love my schedule for the semester.  I still have yet to establish my routines, but I think they will start to fall in place in the next few weeks. 

Wearing: Tuesday was my first day of the semester and the first day I was meeting my co-op teacher for my year long student teaching placement. Needless to say, it was important that I make a great first impression. I wore a black and white wool skirt from J.Crew, with a white Oxford Polo from Ralph Lauren, a teal sweater from GAP, and black/brown Enzo Angiolini boots.

Sharing: The link to a sorority chapter at Ohio University working to defy the nationwide negativity towards Greek Life.  Check it out here! The Delta Gamma chapter at this school launched a campaign on social media that portrayed a realistic depiction of sorority women. As a sorority woman, I see all of the good that Greek men and women do on a daily basis, but unfortunately the media likes to place emphasis on some of the bad choices we make.  I love the fact that this campaign is shedding some positivity on our community.  Snaps to these women for taking a stand! A little fun fact- my mom is a sister of Delta Gamma.

Reading: The syllabus for each of my classes. This is basically the manual for each class. It is important to read these as it provides you with all of the information you will ever need to excel in each of your classes.

Drinking: Hot Water + Lemon
It is the perfect detox combination.  I like to have at least one cup of it a day.

Listening: During winter break I began listening to podcasts.  I'm almost done season one of Serial. It's a little bit intense, but if you haven't heard it before then I highly recommend checking it out.

Loving: My new coat- North Face Metropolis in black. For several years now I have been wanting a long black winter parka.  They are pretty pricy, so I never got around to buying one. Now that I live closer to my campus I am able to walk there rather than drive.  The ten minute walk in cold temperatures is less than desirable, if you are not dressed appropriately. This week a local store that sells outdoor attire held a winter sale.  The coat I have been wanting for years was marked down to a reasonable price. My parents were nice enough to give me my birthday money a few weeks early, so that I was able to purchase the coat. I have hardly taken it off since it was purchased. It's so warm and comfortable! Thanks mom and dad!

Watching: A TV series on Netflix called Madam Secretary.  The first two seasons can be found on Netflix. I started watching this show, thanks to my mom.  It's about a woman who retires from the CIA, becomes a professor, and is then asked to be the Secretary of State.  It's quite interesting and really makes me wonder what Washington is really like behind the scenes.

Looking forward to: The snow that we are supposed to be getting this weekend. They are calling for a snowstorm/ potential blizzard for my area. I'll be enjoying the weekend with my roommates. I went to the store this morning  to stock up on beverages and food.

I hope all of you have a warm, fun, and safe weekend!


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Kitchen Adventures: Cupcakes from Scratch

Last week The Shore Life According to M turned three! To celebrate, I decided to have another kitchen adventure by making homemade cupcakes.  I've made cupcakes in the past, but I have never made homemade ones. I usually make them from a box of cake mix. Last week I was still on break so I had a little free time to whip these up.  I searched for a Georgetown Cupcake recipe because they are the best cupcakes I have ever had. 
I modified this recipe to create the cupcakes.

Ingredients for cupcake batter:
2 1/2 cups Flour
1/2 tsp. Baking powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
8 tbsp. Unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups Sugar
2 Eggs
3 tsp. Vanilla
1 1/4 cups Whole Milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with liners. 

Combine flour, baking power, and salt.

Put the butter and sugar into an electric mixer. Mix the two ingredients until they are well combined. 

Add the eggs to the mixture. 

In a small bowl combine the milk and vanilla. 

Add a third of the flour to the butter mixture as well as a third of the milk mixture. Continue to do so until all ingredients are combined.

Scoop the batter into the cupcake tin, so that each cup is filled two thirds of the way full. 

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown. 

Once all of the cupcakes have cooled, you can create the icing for them. 
8 tbsp. Butter
2 cups Confectioners sugar
2 tsp Whole milk
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/8 tsp. Salt

Combine all of the ingredients and mix them in an electric mixer. You might have to add more milk if the icing is too thick.  

Ice the cupcakes and then they are read to eat! 



Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What's in my Bag- First Week of Classes Edition

For me, today is the second day of Spring Semester and my last day of classes for the week. One of the many perks of no Thursday or Friday classes is only having two day weeks when a holiday falls on a Monday.  Yesterday was filled with lots of friends saying, "It's my last first day of undergrad!" Unfortunately or fortunately (depends how you view it), I didn't join them in saying these words since I will be graduating next December.  

Anyways,  I always love reading posts where bloggers share what's in their bag. For some reason I just find it interesting to see what people won't leave the house without.  I also enjoy reading about the many different organizational systems people have. Which is why I thought it would be fun to share with y'all my own rendition of this featuring the first week of classes. 

The bag I like to carry with me to classes is my gray Longhchamp or my monogrammed north face backpack.  I use my Longchamp when I don't have to carry much with me, and I use my backpack when I am planning to spend a long day on campus that requires lots of books. This week is a light week, so I have been using my tote.  

Tote Bag
I got this bag for Christmas two years ago and it has certainly gotten a ton of use, which is good because of how much they cost!  This bag is large enough for a school day, a night at a friend's, a shopping spree (great for putting your purchases in it), or a day trip somewhere. I love how versatile it is and the fact that it can pass in a professional setting like when I go to field/student teaching. 

So enough of the bag, what's inside...

This is pretty self explanatory, but you need something to write on for note taking.  The first week usually requires minimal note taking, however it is good to be prepared.

I can't leave the house without this. I love technology, but I have yet to convert my entire calendar to a digital version.  There is something about being able to write with colored pens and actually cross things off that I think I will always love.

Perfect for holding the syllabus and handouts that professors give you.

Glasses and Sunglasses
Although it is really cold this week, the sun is still shining bright, which

Emergency Kit
I bring this in all of my bags. You never know what you're going to need. I usually keep lotion, hair ties, a hair clip, bobby pins, lipstick, chapstick, feminine products, hand sanitizer, gum,cough drops, and tissues.

Other things I keep in my bag: hairbrush, house keys, headphones, pepper spray, my wallet, portable phone charger, 

Pencil Case
I also carry this pretty much everywhere I go.  Inside of it you will find paperclips, sticky notes, colored pens, highlighters, pencils, washi tape, and an eraser. 

I like to use my iPad to read the syllabus and other handouts that professors don't have printed for us. I usually opt for this over my laptop when possible, except when I have to type an excessive amount of notes.

This girl gets hangry, so I always have a snack with me.  This week my choice of snacks have been chocolate covered almonds and Boom Chicka Pop popcorn.

Camelback Water Bottle  
I always carry water around with me. It's important to stay hydrated! If I have my water bottle, then I'm more  likely to drink water.

What's in your bag this week?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

My Life as Sister President

Many of you probably know that I spent the past year serving as my sorority's Chapter President.  My term ended a little over a month ago, and it was an experience that I will forever cherish.  I decided it would be fun to share with y'all an overview from my term, some things I learned, and some tips for those of you who are currently serving your chapter or have dreams to. So where do I begin?  It is difficult to put the past year and what I learned into a few short paragraphs, but I'll do my best.  The year was filled with a roller coaster of emotions and events that are unforgettable.

If you told me two years ago that I would eventually serve my newly founded chapter as President, I would have laughed. When I transferred schools sophomore year, I had a negative first impression of what Greek life was like here, but with a little convincing from my mom I decided to give it a chance. Upon joining my chapter of Alpha Delta Pi, I immediately got involved by serving as one of the Vice Presidents on our first ever Executive Board.  This task was a daunting one as there was nobody, in the chapter that had previously served in this role. This meant that there was nobody I could base my decisions off of.  After the first semester,  I realized how passionate I became about my sorority.  In the summer of 2014 I attended Alpha Delta Pi's leadership conference for emerging leaders where I realized how dedicated I actually was to helping my chapter continue to succeed. It was during this summer that I knew I wanted to run for President in the upcoming elections.

Initially after being elected I was equally nervous and excited to see what the next year would have in store for me. I spent all of winter break educating myself on the policies and procedures, so that I would know what to do in all situations.  Well, it turns out the Chapter Operations Book and Officer manuals don't prepare you for every situation you will encounter...

It gets a little lonely at the top. You go from being part of a large group to being the one that everyone looks to in all situations (both the good and the bad ones). You are the one that has to enforce the rules and live with the consequences when something goes wrong. It's kind of like going from the student who sits towards the back of the classroom to being the teacher.  While your Executive Board becomes your support system, they aren't viewed by the rest of the chapter the same way that you are.  

I like to say being Chapter President is a blessing and curse all wrapped up into one bundle. You get to be the one that everyone loves when things are going well and the one they hate when something goes wrong.  You are under the firing squad 24/7.  You can pretty much count on someone always having something to say about your every action.  However, it's how you react to these situations that makes you an okay President or a great one.  It's up to you to decide how you let these people make you feel. If you allow others to make you feel inferior, then your term is going to be a long one.  From my personal experiences, I  think it is best to compromise while staying true to who you are and what you think is best. Despite the challenges, I still love my sisters and am grateful that they helped make me a better person than I was prior to my term.

Serving in this position gave me the best leadership experience I have ever had.  I was able to grow as an individual and as a leader through the challenging/rewarding experiences. I also enjoyed all of the positives that came with the role too. Like when the chapter survived our first night of formal recruitment, nailed our Preference round ceremony, won awards,  when younger members stepped up into larger roles, or being able to have watched sisters grow as passionate as I am about our organization.  My favorite part of the position was having the ability to empower women to become more involved and develop more leaders.

 I gained some awesome mentors who helped coach me through every step of my term.  I definitely owe my advisors and close friends for keeping me sane at times. If it weren't for them, I honestly don't know if I would have been able to have such a successful Presidency.  

Overall, serving in the role as Chapter President was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life thus far.  I had more meetings, met so many accomplished people, received more emails on a daily basis, and dealt with more difficult situations than ever before in my life. However, I enjoyed the roller coaster ride and enjoy sharing the knowledge I gained along the way.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Spring Semester Goals {Senior Year}

I love this phrase, "Goal digger".  I think it definitely is a great way to describe me. I am 90% goal oriented. I enjoy creating challenges for myself, working to achieve them, and celebrating my successes (small or large).  Within the first week of every semester, I like to set goals for myself. These help keep me motivated and push me to become better than I was the semester before.  I like to set a combination of goals that are easy and difficult to achieve.  
So what are my goals for this semester?

One: Get 8 hours of sleep every night
During the fall semester I wasn't great about this and eventually it caught up with me.  I am a person who needs their sleep.  Last semester I didn't do this and then during my breaks I would sleep for long amounts of time (15+ hours) trying to catch up on the rest I deprived myself of while at school. 

Two: Eat breakfast every day. 
Everyone knows breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Although I know this, it tends to be the meal of the day that I skip.  I found some great mason jar breakfast recipes, so I am looking forward to trying some of them out this semester.

Three: Workout 3-5 times a week. 
My university has a beautiful gym, and last semester I did not take advantage of it as much as I should have. I am working on developing healthy habits and being healthy is part of that.  Working out helps me stay focused and sane. 

Four: Get a 4.0 or at least make Dean's List. 
I have yet to get a 4.0, so yet again it's included in my list of semester goals. I have made Dean's List twice, so I would love to add a third semester to the list. 

Five: Pass the Praxis II
As an education major, the Praxis is the exam that helps certify me to be a teacher.  Since I am a Middle Grades Education Major I have to pass six parts in total. Last semester, I passed one section so I have five to go. 

Six: Blog five times a week. 
Time and time again I have talked about not being a good blogger. I blog inconsistently, but this semester I am taking a vow to be a reliable blogger. Blogging five times a week sounds like a lofty goal, but I have faith that I can achieve it. 

Seven: Create a morning routine. 
I am not quite a morning person, but I am definitely not a night owl either. This semester I would like to develop a morning routine that helps me become more of a morning person. This semester I only have classes three out of the five days, but I would still like to wake up early and be productive on my days off. I think establishing a routine this semester will help me transition into my final semester of college where I will be student teaching (#adulting).

Eight: Meal prep on Sundays. 
I love food and I enjoy cooking it too.  Just like every college student I am busy during the week.  By meal prepping on Sundays it will ensure that I am eating three healthy meals a day. 

Nine: Make time for me. 
I am slowly but surely getting better at this, but there is always room for improvement.  This is my last semester living on campus, so I am looking forward to making the most of it by having as much fun as possible. 

Ten: Create a budget and stick to it. 
Living in a town with many bars, great food, cute coffee shops, and numerous places to shop can make it easy to spend a lot of money.  This semester I am going to be more disciplined when it comes to spending money.

Good luck to those of you beginning a new semester! 

Friday, January 15, 2016

A Walk in My Week

Hey y'all! Congratulations you made it through your second full week of 2016.  This week was filled with back to school preparations and soaking up the last little bit of time at home for me. This is my first edition of A Walk in my Week. It is a time for y'all to get a glimpse into my life and see what my week is like.

So let's start with the weekend. Last weekend was a pretty good one for me.  On Saturday I went with my family to visit my cousins. We had dinner and drinks to start off.  I have loved my Aunt's mac and cheese since I was little and thankfully she remembered to make it since it's my favorite! Afterwards, all ten of us gathered around the kitchen table to play some games. Sadly, the female team lost when we played Battle of the Sexes.  

On Sunday, my mom and I woke up early to head to Lancaster for the day.  We began the day's adventure by going to our favorite creperie around. I mentioned this place in one of my first posts back in 2013.  Since then, the restaurant has moved to a bigger location due to it's popularity.  We have yet to go and not have to wait at all.  Last weekend we had a fifteen minute wait, which was enough time to narrow down our possible crepe options to about three each.  We both got tea since it was a dreary rainy day.

Coincidentally, we ended up both getting the lox and cream cheese crepe infused with tarragon.  This was the perfect amount of food to prep us for a day filled with shopping.  After brunch, we walked around downtown Lancaster and shopped at some of the consignment shops.  

We then left downtown and headed to the outlets where we found some great sales.  I went with two objectives: one- not to buy anything striped and two- to find a good pair of jeans. If you haven't noticed I am #obsessed with anything and everything striped, especially navy stripes.  If you didn't see my tweet, I managed to resist the few striped tops I saw.  The other objective was to get jeans because I haven't bought new jeans in at least three years. My favorite jeans are the ones I still wear from high school, but they are getting worn out with their old age.  I managed to find two cute pairs at GAP.  I even branched out of my comfort zone and purchased a pair of boyfriend jeans! 

A view of the beautiful Lancaster County sunset on our way home. 

Tuesday I helped my mom out by making dinner. My younger brother had a basketball game and everyone had a busy schedule, so I made dinner early in the afternoon to accommodate everyone's schedules.  I made meat to create wraps, salads, or sandwiches to everyone's liking. I turned mine into a wrap with lettuce, pickles, thousand island dressing, and a pinch of cheddar cheese. You can find the recipe here.

I also went on a little adventure with my brother and dog earlier in the day.  Fun fact: Riley is obsessed with car rides. I swear he's more human than dog sometimes.  You can find him on instagram (@RileytheyorkieQ).

Wednesday I discovered my new favorite breakfast to make.  Kale and mozzarella omelet, lemon water, half a grape fruit, and chocolate mousse greek yogurt made with whole milk

Thursday was filled with lots of exciting things: The Shore Life According to M turned 3, I passed one of my praxis exams, and I found out that I was accepted into a year long student teaching program.

I'd love to hear your feedback on this new Friday post.
I'm off to enjoy my last weekend before spring semester starts. I hope y'all have a fabulous weekend!

Keep up with me throughout the week on social media:

Facebook: The shore Life According to M 
Twitter: @mich_quigley
Instagram: Mich_quigley
Pinterest: Shore Life of M 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Cheers to Three Years

Happy Birthday to The Shore Life According to M!  Today this little blog of mine turns three.  It was three years ago that I sat in my kitchen during winter break of my freshman year chatting with my mom about how college doesn't allow for my creative juices to flow.  This conversation and some other things were what sparked me to create my own blog.  To say that blogging has been flawlessly easy over the past few years would be telling y'all a lie. Initially, I had no idea what I was doing, what I should or shouldn't post, or what my brand would be.  However, here I am three years later still not sure of things most of the time, but yet I continue to write and become more passionate about it with everyday that passes.  My posting consistency has been quite the roller coaster, but somehow I still manage to have people who enjoy reading.  

I wanted to share a quick thank you to anyone and everyone who reads or has read my blog.  Thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing my posts.  Thank you to my blogging friends who inspire me continuously to be a better blogger.  Thank you all for reading my ramblings and joining me on the crazy adventures of life. 

Over the course of the past three years, I have learned a lot about blogging. I am definitely not the expert blogger and still have lot to learn. I do know one thing. It has been a great experience for me. Blogging has consistently provided me with an outlet to relieve stress since spring semester of freshman year of college.  Though college has brought a lot of changes, blogging has stayed consistent for me.  I'm looking forward to where 2016 will bring me in the world of blogging. I"m hoping to post more consistently, participate in more link ups, host a link up, and be more engaging on social media. 
To celebrate I made double vanilla cupcakes with a recipe brought to you by Geogetown Cupcake.  The recipe I used definitely wasn't perfect, but I'll be sharing it with y'all in the near future!  The cupcakes are dense and very sweet. The perfect treat for a cold winter afternoon!

Thanks for all of your support over the years!

Keep up with my social media:

Facebook: The shore Life According to M 
Twitter: @mich_quigley
Instagram: Mich_quigley
Pinterest: Shore Life of M 


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Preparing for "Back to school"

 I cannot believe that there is less than a week until I begin my spring semester classes.  It seems like just a week ago the picture below was taken, but in reality it was taken over a month ago during one of my study breaks in the midst of finals week.  This will be my last spring semester as an undergraduate.  It is crazy how quickly the time goes. It seems like just a few weeks ago I was beginning spring semester of my freshman year. My preparation for spring semester is a little different than that of fall semester. I think after experiencing seven semesters of college plus two summer semesters, I am an expert when it comes to having a successful start to the semester.  The more prepared you are the easier the beginning of the semester will be. Here are some things to do to prepare for a great start to spring semester. 

Print your syllabus. 
It is helpful to print your syllabus for each of your classes. Although you can access it online at any time, I prefer to have a hard copy.  Having a hard copy allows me to write on it and make changes as they are announced.  In addition to printing the syllabus actually take time to read it.  You don't want to be surprised by any of your courses. Reading it ahead of time will also allow you to bring any questions you may have to your first class of the semester. 

Price out textbooks
Don't wait to buy your textbooks on the first day of classes from the school bookstore.  It will be too crowded and you will spend so much more money than necessary.  Write down what books you will need and then head over to slug books to see where you can purchase or rent it for the cheapest rate possible.  You'll want to purchase your books ahead of time to ensure that you have them in time for your first assignment.  There's nothing worse than starting the semester behind because you didn't get your textbook three weeks into the semester. 

Purchase school supplies. 
This is probably my favorite thing about the start of a new semester. As you probably know by now, I'm a sucker for school supplies.  Since you most likely have things left over from the Fall semester you won't have to buy as much. Personally, I have to purchase a notebook, some pens, and a new binder.  My favorite places to purchase school supplies are Target, TJ Maxx/Mashalls, and Staples.  You can even find some great deals on Amazon sometimes too.

Get back to a routine
If your winter break was anything like mine, then you had absolutely no schedule to adhere to.  This means late nights and sleeping in until I please, which might make a rough start to the semester.  It's a good idea to get back into a normal routine prior to classes starting to have a smooth transition from winter break to the first week of classes. Going to bed at a decent hour and waking up early(ish) are great steps to put you back in a somewhat normal routine.

Create a schedule for yourself
With the extra time you  have this week start creating a schedule for the semester. A schedule for success that includes how you will spend time in between classes, study, workout, make dinner, socialize, be involved, etc.  This will get you mentally prepared for the semester.

Plan out your meals
New semester new habits.  Many people are working to save money or eat healthier.  Planning out your meals for the next few weeks saves you time, money, and will allow you to eat healthier.  Chances are if you have food made, then it will save you from eating out.

Treat yourself
Do something to treat yourself one last time before the stress begins again.  This is probably the most relaxed you will be fore the next three months or so. Take advantage of the last little bit of free time you have by getting your nails done, going shopping, dining out with a friend, or get a massage.

If your spring semester has already started, then check out this post- Organize Me, Start of Spring Semester.

I hope you enjoy your last bit of time before Spring semester starts or your first week of classes!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Styling Bean Boots

It seems like the colder winter weather has arrived in Pennsylvania.  Last year I received Bean Boots as a gift and have loved styling them since then.  They are great to wear around campus, especially when there is rain or snow, or on the weekend when you're running errands.  They are perfect for keeping your feet warm and dry. Additionally, they are cute and incredibly comfortable to. 

There are so many different pieces you can mix and match them with, which is what qualifies them to be an essential shoe in my winter wardrobe.   They are perfect for a day out in the woods, a morning filled with running errands, or even for a full day spent on campus. I usually pair these with leggings and thicker socks and vary the top depending on the occasion.  To dress these boots up you can even pair them with jeans.  

 I have the 8 inch ones and would recommend them to anyone even remotely considering getting a pair.  If you live further up north you might consider getting the thinsulate ones to keep your feet warmer, but for where I live the ones that aren't lined do the job just fine. The boots run large, so it is best to order a size smaller than what you would normally wear.  I always wear a size 8, but in bean boots I am a size 7. Even with a pair that are a size smaller, I am still able to wear thick socks without the boots being too snug. 

These are some of the outfits I have created in the past when wearing my bean boots.  The first option is a flannel shirt from L.L. Bean, a J.Crew vest, and a faux fur scarf.  This outfit was my go to for running errands during winter break.  The second outfit include an oversized sweater from j.Crew, a KJP bow bracelets, and pearls.  This outfit was perfect for a day spent on campus last winter. 

Bean boots are also cute when worn with plaid shirts, blanket scarves, a crew neck sweatshirt, or even your warm winter coat. 


Monday, January 11, 2016

Motivational Monday January 2016

Welcome to the second full week of 2016! I hope your first week was filled with healthy habits, steps to conquer your 2016 resolutions, and prosperity.  My first week wasn't quite that, but here's to hoping week two can be filled with all those great things.  I'm back to writing a Motivational Monday post once a month.  Today I'm here to share with you January's motivation. 

This month is typically filled with people making their resolutions for the new year. It's a time that many people view as a "fresh start".  A time when they can take the first steps to achieving the one thing they have always dreamed about.  So why don't we always achieve these goals?  According to this video the answer is fear.  Fear comes in many different shapes and sizes, and this fear looks a little different to each individual.  Today I want to challenge you to remove the fear from your life and really inspire you to not just achieve your goals but surpass them.  Now is the time for you to decide you can and that it's time to  ignore that little voice in your head giving you a million reasons why you shouldn't or can't conquer your resolutions. 


Friday, January 8, 2016

Friday's Thoughts 1/8

Happy Fri(YAY)day! Today is the fifth installment of Friday's Thoughts. You can check out the other ones here, here, here, or here. This week has been pretty laid back for me.  My parents went back to work and my brother went back to school this week, so I have been enjoying the quiet house with my dog by my side.  I was sick for a few days this week, but I am feeling much better now. It's been nice relaxing and enjoying the free time I have.  I spent a lot of time sleeping and watching Gossip Girl this week.  I ended up watching 20 episodes since Monday. Today I'm sharing with you some of my thoughts. I hope you enjoy them! 

Sharing: Why I didn't buy any clothes at the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale this week.  I posted on instagram and twitter that I chose not to buy any clothes during this week's coveted sale.  As many of you know Lilly Pulitzer rarely has sales and when they do it is a big freaking deal.  Well Monday morning I woke up, worked out, made my tea, and sat down to get in the virtual line to shop.  After waiting nearly fifty minutes I was given access to enter the sale. I searched around first for the items my mom and I knew we wanted, but after having no luck finding them in the correct sizes I pursued the rest of the sale. I was not thrilled with the options and didn't love the prints that were for sale. After about thirty minutes of browsing I put my debit card back in my wallet and closed the tab that had the sale open.  I decided it would be better to save my money rather than settle for something I didn't really love, especially when it's not even the right temperature of season to be wearing anything Lilly. When I told my boyfriend, Todd, that I didn't buy anything he was shocked! It's not like me to pass up a Lilly sale...Later in the day I did log back on and purchase the jumbo agenda, which I intend to use for lesson planning during student teacher in the Fall.  

Reading: This article about an inspiring teacher. He has created his own school in Atlanta where he redefines the education system. His innovative school is top tier and educates children in non traditional ways.  The Ron Clark school has been getting a ton of publicity lately for Ron taking the bet you can't do it like me challenge with his students and for having his students go through a series of tasks to be crowned the handshake MVP.  Stories like these are what inspire me to be an educator and motivate me to be the best I can possibly be. 

Drinking: Lots and lots of water. I have been working on staying hydrated. Earlier this week I got sick with a fever, aches, congestion, and all that fun stuff, so I am working to become healthier again.  I drink a ton of water during the summer, but I seem to have trouble drinking enough water during the colder winter months.  

Listening: Adele's album 25. I've had it for several months now and I'm still not tired of it. She had the #1 selling album in 2015 and it didn't come out until mid November..pretty crazy.  Her voice is beautiful and her lyrics are pretty powerful. 

Loving: The Yankee Candle Balsam and Cedar candle my brother got me for Christmas. The scent is amazing and unlike any cedar candle I have ever smelled before.  Even when this candle is not lit my room is somehow still filled with the scent. 

Looking forward to:Enjoying my last week of Winter Break. I go back to school next weekend and classes start on the 19th, so this is my last full week to enjoy sleeping in, not waking up to an alarm, and not stressing about any school work. 

Laughing at: How everyone in southeastern PA is complaining about the cold weather.  We've been spoiled with warm weather this year and suddenly the temperatures fall to what they normally are in winter and we think it's too cold.  I think if everyone dressed a little warmer then they wouldn't complain as much. 

Watching: The Bachelor featuring Ben Higgins! This week was the season premiere of The Bachelor.  The two hour premiere had lots of drama, humor, and some of the most interesting first impressions I have ever seen.  I am excited to see what happens this season and if the Bachelor will or will not find his wife to be. Apparently this is the 20th season of The Bachelor! Right not Caila has my vote to go all the way to the end of the season.  

Wanting: To go to the movies. There are so many great movies out right now.  The top movie I want to see is Joy. I've heard it's really good. 

Have a fabulous weekend!


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Best Friend Dates

Because what blogger doesn't love a bestie who secretly snaps pictures of her being a foodie?
Winter break is a span of several weeks when college students are able to catch up with their hometown friends.  Once you graduate high school the chances are great that you part ways with your friends. Parting ways can mean two things.  

The first option is that you grow to be different people and realize that your friendship was based on proximity.  College is a time when you tend to discover who you really are and what you want to do.  These discoveries sometimes highlight how different you are from those you were close to prior to leaving, and sometimes it is better to drift apart.  In my experiences the past few years, these are the types of people who you get together with and spend time reminiscing on times you spent together  and then the conversation will quickly come to a halt or turn into gossiping about peers.  When these types of conversations occur every time you see this person, it is a clear sign that this friendship might have only existed due to proximity.  

The second option is that you physically part ways.  Going to college hours apart from the people you spent elementary, middle, and high school with can be challenging.  The distance can be a true test of friendship.  The phrase "out of sight out of mind" comes into play here.  When people go away to school they usually make new friends and sometimes forget about those who they were once close to.  However, the distance does not have to mean a failed friendship. In fact, it can be quite the opposite.  Just because you don't see each other everyday and no longer share the exact same friends nor school doesn't mean that your friendship must end.  With today's technology and a little effort it is quite easy to stay in touch with the friends who mean something to you.  I have a few friends who we are arguably closer now that we don't go to school together, we seem to make more of an effort to check in. 

I have experienced both of the above options in the past few years.  The older I get the more I realize how drifting apart from those who I was close to in high school isn't necessarily a bad thing.  It actually makes me value the friendships I still have with hometown friends even more.  I love coming home to the friends who I can spend hours in a local coffee shop with chatting about times we had together,  learning about the ups and downs they experienced throughout the semester,  listening to the stories they accumulated, gossiping about where everyone from high school is and what they're doing with their lives, imagining what our future will look like X amount of years from now, getting to meet their new friends, and sharing my experiences too.  

This winter break I have been fortunate to do a lot of this. I've gone to several different coffee shops to catch up with friends I haven't seen in awhile. I may or may not have even gone to some of these places multiple times.  

My favorite spot at home is a locally owned place that is known on the Mainline for their handcrafted coffee.They were voted Best Coffee on the Mainline for 2013, 2014, and 2015!  Philter is a small coffee shop located in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.  They have delicious sandwiches, baked goods, coffee, and tea.  The interior has decor similar to the window of an Anthropologie store. The staff are some of the most friendly people and are definitely coffee connoisseurs, which helps people like me who are indecisive.  

During the second week of break I was able to catch up with my best friend, Maddie, at Philter.  Maddie has been my best friend since we were in fourth grade.  We met during softball tryouts and coincidentally hated each other immediately because we had the same number, played the same position, and both had dogs named Riley.  Looking back it's pretty crazy how our two worlds collided.  After getting over the drama of a ten year, we quickly became friends and after a few play dates we became inseparable.  The two of us have been through a ton of life experiences, both bad and good, together.  Throughout college we have stayed close thanks to FaceTime, texting, Snap Chat, Twitter, Facebook, iMessage on our laptops, etc.  Some semesters we have been better at staying in touch than others, but regardless of the frequency of our contact our friendship never really changes.  When we hangout we spend hours catching up.  

In December, when we decided that we would meet over coffee, it was a no brainer where we would be going. We ended up spending hours the morning of Christmas Eve chatting over coffee and breakfast.  This semester we were both incredibly busy so we didn't get to talk as much as we would've liked, but I was able to make it up to Penn State for a weekend of fun in September

So what did we get to eat and drink?

Since it was rather warm on Christmas eve, we each got iced Coffee with a little cream and sugar added.  The ice cubes they use for their iced drinks are small and perfect for cold beverages.  This iced coffee is my absolute better. It is hands down better than any chain's version of ice coffee that I've ever had. 

Maddie had her usual everything bagel with cream cheese and I had a sandwich.  It was egg with roasted red pepper, spinach, and a little cheese served on a baguette. The combination is my favorite! 

I hope you enjoyed the time you spent with friends this Winter Break!