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

Lifestyle

Beat the Back to School Blues

Ah late January. The conclusion to a blissful month-long vacation from deadlines, lab reports, and grouchy professors. Sadly, all good things must come to an end. I just got back to school and am in the weird transition period from having nothing to do, to becoming insanely busy overnight. I’m also a total baby when it comes to change, so I’m also already feeling a little homesick. That’s when I got the idea for this post. I have a few things I do almost every time I come back from a winter break and they really help me transition from a homesick mess to a boss little lady who is ready to conquer the semester ahead. Enjoy!

Reorganize your room: I thrive when my space is clean, organized, and laid out in a way that is appealing to me. Ask my roommate, I have rearranged my room approximately 10 times since moving in last year. It just makes me happy, as weird as that may sound! Below are before and after pictures of what I did today.

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Before

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After!

Chat with a friend/boyfriend: This one seems like a no-brainer but it really is something that works. It helps to make you feel less alone, even if the interaction is done over the computer or phone.

Watch an episode of your favorite show: I started to feel a wave of panic about being back come over me, so I took a deep breath, made a mug of peppermint tea, and put on an episode of How I Met Your Mother. The familiarity of this ritual instantly made me feel better.

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My favorite mug…guesses on who gave it to me??

Write in your planner for the upcoming weeks: This goes with the theme of organization equaling some sort of peace in life. I outlined my schedule for the week and it lifted a little something off my shoulders, which in turn improved my mood.

Treat yourself to something extra special: Whether that’s a face mask, an extra helping of dessert(always my go-to), or a little online shopping,  pampering yourself more than normal will definitely help make you feel better.

Good luck with the start of your semester!

-Sarah

Lifestyle

Keep the Change

So I sit here drinking a glass of rose, wearing a baggy sweatshirt, and sporting last night’s makeup while listening to my family talk about savings. Ugh. Fun fact, I am not exactly a wizard when it comes to money. But when did it suddenly become the norm to already have a bunch of money saved up when you just barely gained the ability to legally drink alcohol?

*Lizzie McGuire gulp*

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Via: Here

I’m not as worried about money for the future, however at the moment when I am unemployed and on the brink of graduation, it’s hard not to be concerned. I take solace in the fact that I am totally not the only person in this situation. Being in my early twenties, I know some of the best times of my life will happen in the next five years, and I can only hope that I will have a financial situation figured out by then. In the meantime though,  becoming educated on the topic seems to be the smartest decision.

This article from Kiplinger, while a little dry, gives some great advice on savings. For example, it states that saving $100 a month (which you can pretend is a bill you must pay) starting at the age of 25 will compound to around $345,000 by the time you are 65. I don’t know about you but that’s an insane amount of money to me! Keep in mind that this tip doesn’t apply until you have a steady income, trust me there’s no way I could accomplish this now.

Something else that I have picked up from my parents is keeping all of your change, and putting it into a container at the end of the day. I’ve definitely been guilty of just dumping change into a tip jar when I have been too lazy to carry it around. Little did I know I was giving up more money than I knew, so I have tried to be better about saving change.

One other tip I have is to cancel subscription services that you know you don’t use enough to justify their price. I had a subscription to Chegg for a few years, which was $16 a month, and I had a Netflix account as well ($10/month). So, that was $26 a month for two services that evidently weren’t worth it. By cancelling both, not only am I watching less TV and not cheating on homework assignments by looking up the answers, I am also saving $312 a year! It’s a win,win,win.

Saving money doesn’t have to be a treacherous task. There are definitely ways to simplify it and I hope these short little tips make even the thought of starting a little more attractive.

-Sarah

 

 

 

 

Lifestyle · Travel

Trip Planning for Dummies Like Me

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*Raises hand* Hi my name is Sarah and I admit to having no clue how to plan a successful 3-week trip abroad. It can be a really daunting task, with lodging, food, transportation, activities, budget, and everything in between to consider. It’s enough to make your head spin, trust me I understand! With that being said, I have managed to pick up a few tips over the past couple of months, and wanted to share what I have learned.

Keep a Travel Journal: I am a strong believer in writing things down. During the school year, you will never see me without my trusty planner in my bag. I use it to keep track of absolutely everything going on in my life, and don’t really think I could function without it. So, I applied this habit to trip planning and it works to calm my mind in the same way. Mine contains flight information, packing lists, a vague itinerary, and random thoughts to be sorted out later. I am constantly adding to it and crossing things out. It’s great to have all my information in one spot that is easily accessible, plus there is something so satisfying about writing things out the old fashioned way!

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Image via: Pinterest

Stick to One Country/City at a Time: More than once, I have found myself with approximately 20 tabs open on my computer containing potential hostel/Airbnb/hotel choices for each country we will be visiting. This only made me more stressed and confused because I had tried to tackle everything in the “lodging” category all at once. I have found that sticking to just one country at a time really simplifies this task. Not only does it make the research seem less intense, it also allows you to chronologize this portion of planning so that you can check off countries as they will be visited on your trip.

Plan in the Order of Your Trip: As stated above, I find it immensely helpful to plan in the sequence of your trip. It won’t do you any good to decide you want to take a gondola ride up the Alps on Friday morning when, after the fact, you realize there won’t be any trains from Florence to Switzerland until the afternoon. This also assists with budgeting, since you can keep a running tally of how much you are spending in order to better understand what you will have to work with in each location. To save yourself the headache, plan from the first day of your trip onwards, you will thank me later!

Buy Flights on a Tuesday, in an Incognito Window: THIS IS SO IMPORTANT GUYS!! Our round trip tickets from Boston to Paris and vice versa only ended up being $480 because of this simple little tip. For some unknown reason, flights are way cheaper on Tuesdays (preferably in the morning) than any other day of the week. When I first started researching flights, I was finding around $650 to be a normal round trip amount, so I figured that was going to be how much I had to spend. However, I cannot stress how important it is to shop around for flights. I would search through Google Flights on an incognito tab so that the website wouldn’t save my searches and jack up the prices. This article from World of Wanderlust explains this in a little more detail. I am living proof that it is possible to find relatively cheap round trip tickets, so don’t settle! Chances are you will be able to find something cheaper than what you initially budgeted for. 

Ask Around for Advice: Striking up conversation with family and friends about your upcoming adventure will inevitably lead to someone knowing something about a place you’re visiting. Indulge in this knowledge! It’s one thing trying to gain information from the internet or guide books, it’s a whole other ballpark when you’re talking to someone about a time where they were actually in that location. These resources can give you the best advice on where to stay, what to do, which restaurants aren’t just tourist traps, ect. Even if they haven’t been to where you plan to go specifically, I’m sure they will have some type of general advice to give you. That’s the beauty of travel, it is riddled with parallels regardless of where you go, so soak up any experience-based knowledge that the people around you can give.

So there you have it! A few of my best planning tips so far. I plan to update this closer to our departure date with more information, so keep an eye out for that article. Until next time!

-Sarah