Activities · Favorites · Lifestyle

Distractions from Blogging: A Guilt-Ridden List

Hi. Yep it’s me coming back to blogging with my tail between my legs. This past month has been busy. Like SUPER busy. I’ve been bouncing from school to home to Florida for Spring Break, and along the ride I managed to take quite the hiatus from this blog. So, instead of apologizing for my lack of posts, I give you a list of what has been keeping me from getting in front of my screen and writing. Enjoy, I hope I can promise that the next post will not take a month for me to write!

4214199 (1)(A room at the Hotel la Zorza in Riomaggiore, Italy where Connor and I will be staying for a few nights.)

IMG_6337(Frozen mango margaritas the size of my head in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.)

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-West Regional-Gonzaga vs West Virginia(The Gonzaga Bulldogs slowly making their way to becoming NCAA champions, and in turn letting me defeat my family in our bracket challenge.)

IMG_6353(Senioritis (noun): A condition that forces you to bribe yourself with candy to finish a reading, but even this doesn’t work because you have no self control and eat the candy right away anyways.)

unnamed(The search for the perfect inexpensive, faux leather jacket finally came to an end with this little number.)

IMG_6101(A weekend visit from my favorite guy, complete with a pre-spring break trip for fries and a shamrock shake.)

59704fc8970af2cb2c20345794c1fa4b-shameless-season-7-1474737516(And finally, Shameless. Addicted would most definitely be an understatement.)

Activities · Lifestyle

Study Break

Hey there, long time no see! My semester has really kicked into high gear, and I’ve been bouncing from visiting my parents in NY to old of my oldest friends in Boston so I do apologize for the lack of posts. For today I wanted to do something a little more fun than just my normal “advice-esque” posts. So if you’re struggling through some type of work, whether job or school related, as the title suggests I have a little break for you! And it’s in the form of my favorite online quizzes, because honestly who can resist finding out if their pizza choices makes them a dog or a cat person??

Spirit Animal Quiz

This online quiz is one of the best spirit animal ones I have found. While you do have to bear (heh, animal puns) with some pretty funky questions/answers, I like how the answers correspond to pictures, so even if you don’t really understand the question it isn’t impossible to choose an answer. I took this and got the panda bear as my spirit animal, as seen below.

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We Know If You’re A Dog Or Cat Person Based On How You Like Your Pizza

As prefaced above, this was a quiz I just had to take for my own sanity. I am a self-proclaimed dog person through and through, so the answer to this was undoubtedly going to send me into an existential crisis if it didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear. Sure enough, I was a dog person!!! Don’t ask me how Buzzfeed designs these things but if somehow my love of excessive condiments on pizza makes me a dog person, so be it.

Sorting Hat Quiz

This quiz was adapted from the one on J.K. Rowlings’ site Pottermore. It was designed for you to take as quickly as possible, so try not to think about the answers too much and just go with your gut! For reference, I was sorted into Ravenclaw.

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Personality Test

This is a psych quiz that isn’t as long as the infamous Myer-Briggs Type Indicator test. It has fifty questions but doesn’t take very long to complete if you go with your gut, like I had said above. My traits included extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness,neuroticism, and openness to experience. I like this quiz because if you answer it honestly, chances are you will dislike one of your traits (looking at you neuroticism), but it’s more realistic as you are never bound to like every little thing about yourself!

Star Wars Character

And finally, this quiz will tell you which character from the Star Wars saga you are! In case it wasn’t obvious yet, I have a thing for more personality-driven quizzes 🙂 I am Queen Amildala based off the results, I liked how the questions actually pertained to Star Wars as opposed to being utterly and completely random.

I hope you take it upon yourself to try out any of these quizzes and that you like the results! Until next time,

-Sarah

Activities · College · Lifestyle

What to do with a Snow Day

It’s that time of year! Living in a location on the coast in New England has its perks, and one major one is the amount of snow we manage to accumulate each year. My semester has only been three weeks long so far and we have already had three snow days (including today)! Aside from the fact that you get to sleep in, there is something so magical about cozying up inside and watching the snow build up all around you outside.

Now, I as much as anyone understand how easy it is to fall into the slump of staying in bed all day and only moving to heat up your tea or take a bathroom break. While that can be a great way to spend a few hours of your day, there is nothing stopping you from still continuing to be productive! Here are a few things I like to fill my snow day with to balance out relaxation with still checking things off my to-do list.

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Via: Pinterest

Organizing Your Home

I love taking a chunk of time on snow days to do some organization. This morning I pulled out all of the food in my cabinets and organized it in a more cohesive way. It was very cathartic to see it go from a crammed and chaotic mess to something that will help make mealtime a little easier. Plus it allowed me to see the food that I didn’t even know was there (looking at you, year old ramen packets), and finally get rid of it.

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Via: Google

Exercising Without Leaving Your House

Snow days give you a super legit reason for skipping out on the gym: the roads are genuinely dangerous and definitely not worth driving on just to squeeze in a workout. HOWEVER this doesn’t mean you have to skip out entirely, there are plenty of things you can do in the comfort of your own home! I went to a Zumba class last night and woke up with a very sore body, so I started off my day with some stretching. I’m a big fan of doing yoga in my room as well, since you don’t need a large amount of space or equipment to do it. Do Yoga With Me is my favorite online yoga resource, and Fiji is my favorite instructor. Her vinyasa flows are great for relaxation, strength, and getting sweaty.

Chores

Okay, bear with me on this one. I know these aren’t exactly a favorite to do on a day designed for relaxation, but I love doing chores on a snow day for a few reasons. First, it allows me to get things like laundry, vacuuming, and changing my sheets out of the way when I actually have time to do them. There is nothing worse than having no time to do laundry, but also no clean socks to wear as you’re racing out the door. It also acts as a sneaky form of exercise, since you are on your feet cleaning instead of just laying down and being a potato. Also, I sometimes need to feel like I’ve earned my relaxation time, and if I know I have it makes that TV show or book that much more satisfying to dig into.

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Via: Brown Eyed Baker

Pick an Activity You Have Been Meaning to Do

Trying out a new recipe? Making a DIY craft? Picking out a killer new workout playlist? Having free time on a snow day gives you a glorious opportunity to finally have no excuses about doing something you have been meaning to. Granted, I have been dying to try out the broccoli cheddar soup recipe from the image above, but since I cannot get to the grocery store (hi 8 inches of snow) I think I’ll have to hold off on it for now.

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Via: Google (Donna Meagle everybody)

Giving Yourself Some Me Time

Since I’ve told you to organize, exercise, and do chores, it’s only fair I let you treat yourself a bit! Draw a bath, make some hot coco, dance around in your underwear; whatever makes you happy! I’m thinking a face mask, lighting a candle, and dipping my head into a Europe guide book once I’m ready to go into relaxation mode. Snow days are fundamentally lazy, so I could never expect you to be running at 100% all day when I definitely don’t do that myself!

I hope this has given you some inspiration on what to do when you’re hit with a snow day next. I hope you’re having a wonderful Thursday, see you in my next post!

-Sarah

Activities · Lifestyle

What to Know Before Going to a Music Festival

In honor of the lineup for the 2017 Firefly Music Festival dropping tomorrow, I felt it was appropriate to write a post about my experience going to this specific festival in 2015.

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Via: Firefly

This poster. I have a copy plastered on the wall in my apartment, and every time I look at it I get hit with oodles of great memories from that fateful weekend two years ago. First, let me start off by saying that if you ever have the chance to go to a festival, DO IT. Do it with no questions asked, don’t worry about the money or the exhaustion you will encounter or the crowds, just buy those tickets and get excited for one of the best experiences you can have (in my opinion). I wasn’t too sure how I wanted to format this post, but I have come up with a list of what I would assume to be FAQs regarding festivals, so I think that’s going to be the game plan. Oh and of course I will throw in a few pictures from my festival experience, along with a few stories you have to hear to believe.

How much do festivals usually cost?

So this varies between the different festivals, but my 4-day pass to Firefly ended up being ~$350 (I don’t remember the exact amount, but for reference the 2017 passes are starting at $290). The reason I paid more is that the tickets for Firefly are sold in tiers. Keep this in mind, the first round of tickets went on sale for me at a specific time in the day, so if you track the festival’s website I’m sure you can find when that time is. What I failed to predict, though, was my computer totally crashing as I tried to buy my ticket. I think the issue was the amount of people attempting to do the same thing as me, and the website crashing because of the insane amount of traffic it was receiving. So, once I finally sorted my computer out again, the lowest tier tickets (under $300) had sold out. I was super bummed, only to see my Firefly group message blowing up about how the same exact thing happened to pretty much all of my friends that were going. So if this happens, it’s not the end of the world! Another thing to expect are *fees* that go along with your ticket. Who even knows what they are for, but they can be anywhere from $20-$40, so expect that to add on to your total at checkout.

How much should I budget for things once I am actually there?

There are a handful of things that you will need to be prepared to buy before entering the festival grounds. Food, alcohol, LOTS of water, ect. You will also need a camping pass ($170 for six people and one car), and a car pass ($40) if you expect to have more than one car. I tried to be good about eating at our campsite since the food is insanely overpriced, but I must say I don’t regret the $10 pulled pork mac and cheese I bought one day. They have the most insane kinds of food at festivals, even if you don’t buy any I still think it’s fun to explore and see all the options.

What are the necessities to bring with you to the actual stage site?

For Firefly, the campsites are about a 25 minute walk from the actual venue, so you have to pack a small bag each day when you are ready to go to the actual festival. They don’t let you bring outside food/beverage in, but there are totally ways to sneak in alcohol if that’s what you’re into (think empty sunscreen bottle filled with vodka). You will need your wristband, to be worn at all times, ID, cash/credit card, sunscreen, sunglasses, and your cell phone. I got burned so badly one day from forgetting sunscreen that I had to sit in complete shade the next day, quite literally feeling my skin peel off. So listen to that nagging voice inside your head (aka your mother) and wear your sunscreen!

If there was something you would do differently next time, what would it be?

Ah, if only I could have asked my future post-festival self this question before I went to Firefly. Yes, there are definitely a few major pointers I can give as far as things to bring, and general first-hand-experience knowledge for what I would have done differently. First off, I would have brought a pair of rain boots as my main source of footwear, or really any waterproof shoes for that matter. I made the mistake of bringing only flip-flops, and vans. As shown in the picture below, this didn’t work out too well.

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Why yes, those mud covered little feet belong to me!

Regardless of the weather: festivals will always be muddy. There is no logical explanation as to why this is, but it’s a fact, and you should prepare for it in advance. It also didn’t help that there was a quasi-monsoon while we were there, but that’s a whole other story(peep this news article)…anyway back to tips!

I would also stock up on a bunch of those big multiple-gallon containers of water. While there are water stations available, I sincerely question their sanitation levels, so just save yourself the concern and stick to your own water. Plus, you will be using this water to “shower” with, so buy a lot more than you think you need. You will use it all, I promise.

One last thing I would recommend having is a large tarp with grommets in it, and some bungee cords. We brought a tarp, but failed to have the cords, so when it was pouring rain and the sunroof of my car was stuck open, we were forced to physically hold the tarp over it throughout the night. Not exactly fun but a great story to be told after the fact! Speaking of my sunroof being stuck open, maybe don’t let your friends try to charge their phones using your car because your battery WILL die and you WILL be very sad. Also make friends with your awesome neighbors so that they can jump-start your car for you on the last day 🙂

Phew, sorry for the lengthy answers! To wrap up this post in a more visual style, here are a few pictures from 2015 (most taken on a disposable camera because we were so cool like that). I hope you enjoy!

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Had to caption this: my friend T and the stray kitten we found at our campsite. We named her Jude because we saw Sir Paul McCartney perform, and fed her water out of a frisbee.

I may write a few follow-up posts about my own personal experience, some tips while you are actually at the festival, and the best gear to bring to have a seamless stay on the campsites. Until next time!

-Sarah

Activities

Gaming in a Guys World: A Girl’s Perspective

When I created the “Activities” category on this blog, I had anticipated using it for things that were fitness-related. However, the topic of this post does fall under the activity category, albeit in a less traditional sense. Today I will be discussing my take on video games; the culture behind playing them, a few favorites, and how they can be a much needed change from the monotony of watching TV/movies!

This may seem like an odd topic to discuss, but I think it’s pretty interesting. Growing up with an older brother, I spent far more time picking a line-up in Backyard Baseball than I did dressing up American Girl dolls. No offense to the dolls, but I wouldn’t trade that for anything based on how that tomboy side has shaped who I am today. I would also be lying if I said that my small amount of video game knowledge didn’t help me impress at least a few hotties in my lifetime 😉

I was a PC/Xbox person in high school; I loved The Sims like everyone else, but was also a closet Need for Speed junkie. I enjoyed the games that weren’t quite as popular as the classics like Halo and Call of Duty. One distinct favorite I can remember is the Star Wars Battlefront game for Xbox 360. I spent countless hours fighting battles on Tatooine and getting destroyed by my brother in multiplayer mode.

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Via: YouTube

The stereotype behind “gamers” is one that I by no means fit into, mostly because I really don’t play them that often and don’t have a console of my own (other than a Nintendo DS that I’ve managed to misplace). However, I think that consoles and the variety of games available are becoming less targeted towards that specific demographic, and more towards the average Joe. For example, the new Nintendo Switch is a gaming system that you can take on the go or play in your living room. It has a great multiplayer function that I can see appealing to a variety of different people. To me, this function seems almost like the board game of the 21st Century since it gets everyone at a gathering involved.

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Via: Here

 I think a lot of people brush video games off as childish these days, but really they are a lot more stimulating than zoning out on the 10th episode in a binge watching frenzy on Netflix. They improve hand-eye-coordination and keep your brain guessing. I also find that video games are great when you want to get a little lost in your own world. I was a pretty avid Runescape player (dorky, yes, but SO much fun) in middle/high school, and that is a perfect example of a game where you can just escape and instantly become someone else. There are also millions of ways that the game can go depending on what you choose, which makes it that much more exciting.

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Via: Photobucket

And now to another stereotype, that playing video games is a total guy thing. This is so false! There are games that are definitely more geared towards guys, but that can also be said about one’s for girls. Give me one person who doesn’t enjoy a good stroll around Kanto in search of the perfect Pokemon (you totally can’t).

I think there is something very universal about becoming invested in a game and spending hours working towards beating it. There is no advantage/disadvantage in being a specific gender while playing, so if you ever assume that video games are just something for guys, think again! There is bound to be a game you will fall in love with if you’re willing to hunt it down.

With how much the content and graphics of video games continues to improve, I can definitely see myself starting to play again sometime soon . I think my brothers Xbox 360 is still in my basement at home, I’m thinking of digging it up and giving it another go! Until next time,

-Sarah

Activities

The Non-Workout, Workout

Doing a workout that you deem as fun is something that seems self-explanatory; of course you are more likely to stick to something if you actually enjoy doing it. So, why does it seem that the term “working out” usually translates to spending mindless hours in a stuffy gym, doing repetitive exercises surrounded by people who seem just as unhappy as you? There isn’t a right answer to this question, but I think it’s about time that the stigma around working out is broken. People need to form their own definition; only then will they finally stick to it in order to start living a healthier lifestyle! So today, I am going to share one of my favorite non-gym activities that is not only tons of fun, but will also help you work up a sweat in a new and exciting way.

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At my local rock climbing gym in New Hampshire

Rock Climbing: So I know this is *technically* inside a gym, but hear me out! I think indoor rock climbing really intimidates people because it seems like a difficult and advanced activity. The truth is, you can make it as easy or hard as you want to. I am a fan of bouldering (shout out to Connor for introducing me to this!), which basically means you don’t have a harness or rope, and are only climbing on a wall that is 15-20 ft. high. There is a grading system for bouldering problems (routes) ranging from V0-V17, though most gyms will only go up to around a V11. They go from easiest to hardest, and all gyms will have a different idea of what one specific grading level is. So, don’t get discouraged if you fly through V3’s at one but can barely get up a V1 at another. I love bouldering because it’s challenging, fun, and you end up working up a sweat without even realizing it. There is a lot of room for improvement, and I have also found that there is a really positive community within these gyms.

From this article on Daily Burn, rock climbing can burn anywhere from 500-900 calories per hour depending on how intense you make it. It not only utilizes your entire body and its’ respective muscles, it’s also a great cardio workout that can sometimes leave you breathless. Take it from one who knows, you WILL be sweating on the wall, and you WILL be sore for days after you climb. Sometimes, I can barely even make a fist after an afternoon of bouldering, that’s how intense it can be (in the best way possible!). So, for those of you who were skeptical on how much of an actual workout rock climbing can be, I hope this information has made you a believer.

Most gyms will have memberships that you can purchase, and if you are planning on going regularly then this is the way to go. My local gym charges $14 per bouldering visit, which can really add up. A semester pass for a college student (aka me) is $155, so if I planned to go more than 12 times in one semester then it would be worth it. This may seem like a lot, but if you think about the fact that some ski lift tickets are over $100 for just one day, it’s not so bad! Gyms also have all of the equipment you will need for rental, but I would recommend investing in your own if you are really invested in climbing.

Speaking of equipment, bouldering is great because you really only need two things: shoes and chalk.

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Via: EMS

My shoe of choice is the EVOLV Women’s Elektra Climbing Shoe. I purchased mine from EMS, where they are currently on sale! I wear a size 5.5, and am usually a 6 in regular shoes. While they are pretty snug, having tight climbing shoes is essential so your feet don’t end up slipping in your shoes while you are on the wall.

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Via: Amazon

I use the Black Diamond White Gold Loose Chalk, but most chalks are pretty comparable, so don’t sweat the brand too much. This is optional, but having a chalk bag helps to keep it all in one place, plus there are some insanely cute options out there to choose from. I have this panda bag in grey, I just fell in love with how stinking cute his little butt is!

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Via: Amazon

To get you even more excited about climbing, there are tons of YouTube videos on climbers from all over the world. One of my favorites is Ashima Shiraishi, who at only 14 years old, was the first woman to complete a V15 problem.

Another interesting angle of bouldering on YouTube are videos of problem setting, which show the process of placing climbing holds in the pattern of each problem. This video from the Seattle Bouldering Project totally sucked me in, I thought it was such a cool insight into the world of climbing.

So, with all of that information, I give you my non-workout, workout! I hope this has inspired you to look up a local gym and try out bouldering for yourself. I promise you won’t regret it, although you will probably be cursing me when you can’t even turn a doorknob the day after you go 🙂

-Sarah