Friday, November 29, 2013

My Thanksgiving in Pictures


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Ahh! It's black Friday! Thanksgiving is gone and today is officially the start of the Christmas countdown! But, before I get into full on Christmas mode, here's a Thanksgiving recap...

First came the tail end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade after I woke up...and texting all of my friends "Happy Thanksgiving" + cute emojis! #tradition 

Then I was off to get ready!

Here's a pic of me in my favorite cape with velvety pockets. I'm obsessed with it. (Note to self: learn to take OOTD pics.)

Once we got to my grandmother's I made my sister take pictures of me before I ate and changed into comfy clothes. Here are the highlights. 

When it finally came to eating time, here is what my plate looked like! Not the most traditional, but these are practically my fav dishes! 
#classypaperplates

mmm, pork and potato salad. my fav
And then, one of my favorite desserts ever...*drum roll please* PRALINES! 
sugar + sugar + more sugar = perfection
After all that food (plus pecan pie of course), I was quite full, so I lounged around. 

Then off to see Catching Fire!

After Catching Fire, since I had lunch with my mom's side of the family, I headed off to my dad's. I now have 3 stepbrothers and 2 stepsisters since my dad is remarried, so it was quite a crowd. We had finger food... lolz

and then played charades girls vs. boys. Girls won, quelle surprise! 

Now I'm off to bed at Caroline's to prepare for Black Friday shopping at 4:30 am. She definitely wins the best Thanksgiving snapchat award. 
ooh baby baby. 
How was your Thanksgiving? What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? 

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving

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I hope you are all having a great Thanksgiving Day! I am looking forward to having a day filled with family and fun! It's so nice to be back from school, sleeping (for more than 5 hours) in my marshmallow bed, and having no "plan" for the day! 
This year I am thankful for so many things! I am thankful for my family and friends who are so supportive and encouraging, I am thankful for my health, my happiness, and my semi-good (all As and 1 B) grades, and for this blog. I was very nervous to start one because I was so worried what people would think and if people would even care to read it, and so far I've gotten nothing but lovely comments and encouraging words, so thank you, I'm so glad I did! I also could never keep a diary for more than 4 days so this has been a pretty successful cyber attempt, but I digress. 
2013 has been a great year for me both school wise and personal life wise, and I'm hopeful that the last month will be just as good. I've been so blessed to figure out what major I want to be and what career I want in the future and am actually loving my classes, I've gotten to work with some incredible people this year, and "meet" tons of amazing people on this crazy thing called the internet. I am thankful for each and every one of you reading this and even if you aren't celebrating Thanksgiving where you live, I hope you're having a great day! 
I'm going to post a full Thanksgiving run down tomorrow, but for now, here's an old Christmas picture of my cousins and I wearing our matching gifts (Winnie the Pooh boxers and sports bras, oh yeah)! My awkward phase just ended about 5 minute ago so I had to go pretty far back to get a picture I was okay with sharing on the inter webs (;
The blonds are my cousins and I'm third from the left. 
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How to: Write a Paper

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Now I know the title of this post sounds a bit pretentious because I am, in fact, not the world's paper writing expert, but I have written many papers and have had had excellent teachers teach me a pretty good method. So in the spirit of giving, I thought I'd share it with you! And I also just wrote multiple papers for this semester's classes, so there's that. 
First off, whether it's a book report, a research paper, or you name it, it's probably going to start with research. Even if it just requires you to state your opinion on an issue, you'll need to do research to decide what you think and back it up with credible facts. I use my school's library database a lot, but I've found that Google scholar is very helpful. It can be found on the Google homepage under the drop down menu (the same place where you'd find Google maps or Google shopping). I cannot explain how much it annoys me when I Google something like "Social Policy Articles" and I get a million things about social media and work policies. Google Scholar only gives you results that are from scholarly papers so you don't need to worry about it being a credible source or getting a million hits on something you don't want. 
Once I have found a few good papers and articles on my topic, I print them out and highlight the most relevant information. Most times, the paper will be on a broad topic so it's important to pick out what is relevant to your paper and mark it so you can reference it or quote it later. 
When all my research is printed out, it can be a bit much. Especially if I'm are addressing multiple topics or characters/themes in one paper. I have found that a good way to keep everything organized and easy to navigate is by putting my research into folders labeled with the question the research inside is aimed at answering. This helps in two ways: one, if the article doesn't address the question on the envelope, it doesn't go in there, and two, if your teacher makes you turn in your research like mine did, it is already organized with the topic and ready to go!

After I've done my research, I like to go through my textbook or my novel (depending on what I'm writing of course) and find quotes and information that is relevant to my topic. This way, I have another credible source, but also, when you're writing a character or theme analysis you generally need textual evidence. 
 After I have researched my topic and found information to back up my position or prove a certain point, I start by writing an outline. For me it just helps me to picture what the end result will look like and get a feel for what needs to go where. I like to break it up by paragraphs or pages and then work on a paragraph or section each day. That way, I'm not waiting until the last minute and my mind is fresh when I'm writing, instead of being totally drained at 2am the day before it's due. 

Once I've gotten my rough draft down on paper, I send it around to a few of my friends who are good writers, especially my mom. They can mark what should be changed or moved and give me notes before I get too far in. I usually like to write my intro and conclusion when I know the middle or "meat" of the paper is done because then it ties the whole thing together. If I write the intro first and then decide to different piece of research or something, it no longer makes sense and I have to rewrite it. 

Once the paper is done and has been checked and re-checked, it's time to cite your sources. Yuck. I am terrible at remembering what needs to go where and what kind of citations I need to use. Easybib.com is a life saver! It can look up books and websites for you and all you need to do is fill in information it doesn't already have. It even has multiple types of citation styles like MLA, APA, and Chicago (whatever that is). It makes it super easy to cite all your sources and make sure that all the information you need is there!

After my paper is done along with intro, conclusion, and cited sources, I print multiple copies and email it to myself! I always print at least three times because I can't tell you how many times the first one had the margins off or I forgot to add my title and then the second got spilled on or crumpled before class. Maybe that's a bit over cautious, but that's my life! I always email it to myself too, because you never know if you will forget it or need to make a last minute adjustment before you turn it in. This way, you will always have it with you, just in case!
Did this give you any ideas or help with paper writing confusion? Do you have a method you always use?
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P.S.- For more specific advice on how to write in general, click here.
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I Love Big Books...and I cannot lie.

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When I was younger I read tons. I would get home from school, climb in bed with a snack, and just disappear into a different world. I love the smell when you flip through the pages of an old book. And the way a book looks so loved when all your favorite lines are highlighted and colored tabs stick out from the side marking all your favorite parts. But my favorite part of all is the way you can go so many places all while staying in the same one. I have learned so much from characters who are not real and experienced so many places that don't exist...and yes, I know how insane and "imaginary friend-ish" that sounds. 
I really want to fall in love with a good book again as it's been a while with school and work and life craziness. 
 Some of my favorite books are To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (which I always accidentally call the pickle jar), The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, and The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. 

Atticus, the father in To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my favorite characters I've ever read about. He is such a good father and person and I swear I will name my son Atticus...well a middle name at least. Most people read it in middle school but I waited until junior year and loved it so much more than my friends who were forced to read it earlier. The story is so touching and can be applied to life in lots of ways. As you can tell, I'm a bit in love with this one. 
The Bell Jar and The Catcher in the Rye are very similar to me, in the way that the main characters are lost and trying to find both themselves and meaning for their lives. That's pretty relatable to everyone I think. I enjoyed both of them even though my mother thinks they are terribly depressing. 
 The Other Boleyn Girl has been one of my favorites for a long time. I love that time period and the romantic idea of court, royalty, and kings and queens. It can be a bit graphic at times, but I love the story, even though the ending isn't so grand. I know that palaces and being royal back then wasn't all it's cracked up to be, but I choose to imagine it that way in my mind. 
 The Kite Runner is simply amazing. It takes place in Afghanistan and is just beautifully written, but it also gives you insight into what life is/was like there. Being American, there is obviously some tension towards people from the Middle East, after 9/11, but when I read this it definitely changed my outlook on a lot of things. Hosseini also writes A Thousand Splendid Suns from a female point of view and that one is breathtaking as well. Such beautiful stories that I've read multiple times.
Over the holidays, I'm looking forward to reading Brideshead Revisited (even though I have no clue what it's about #scholarly), Paper Towns by John Green, and Game of Thrones by George R. Martin. They are obviously very different from each other, but I've heard amazing things about all of them and look forward to reading a book that I can't put down. 

What are your favorite books? Do you have any recommendations that I might love? 

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Monday, November 25, 2013

My Practically Unproductive Weekend

Hello lovelies!
Phew! I'm a bit glad to see Monday is here (you'll never hear that again!) just because it means the craziest week two weeks of my life are over. I have Thanksgiving break this week and it could not come at a more perfect time. 
My weekend in my agenda! 
Okay, so I fibbed a bit. This is a post about my weekend but I had to start with my sorority's big philanthropy event last Wednesday! I am the philanthropy co-chair so I had lots to do with the planning and it was nice to see it all come together...and finally be over, to be honest! Our philanthropy is Make A Wish (a foundation that grants sick kids any wish they choose) so our event is a battle of the bands called Rock for a Wish! 

One of the bands! 


Me being Gene Simmons of Kiss, obviously. 
On Thursday I went home for my grandfather's funeral and then went to a dinner with my other grandparents because it was for state Senators and Representatives (my kind of people) so I practically pushed my way in. Not really, but let's just say I was the only guest under 25. Oh, and I don't hold an elected office, so... #awkward 
Friday night I was a bit exhausted so I just did homework and got froyo (frozen yogurt, duh) with Katie. And then we watched 10 million YouTube videos even though I had to be up at 5:30 the next morning. 
On Saturday morning I went to the St. Jude Give Thanks Walk bright and early. I don't know who would want to walk in rainy cold at the god forsaken hour of 6:00 am, but they were there, and raising lots of money for St. Jude's, so I can support that! When I got back I ran straight to Starbucks for a bear claw and hot chocolate..then proceeded to go lay in bed and get a bit more sleep. When I woke up the weather was cold and gray and I did not feel like getting cute to go watch the game in the rain, however, I did steal someone's picture to show you what the stadium looked like! Love those panoramas! 
While the game was going on, I was in my room spending 7 hours of my life watching One Direction because IT WAS 1D Day! I'm gonna file that under one of the best days of my life ever. 
What's 7 hours I'll never get back? What homework? 

I then moved from my room to Katie's apartment where she made sure I ate and took potty breaks. 7 hours is a long time y'all. 
I then moved to Katie's bed about 5 hours in. That's the life. #coolcrookedpics
On Saturday night after 1D Day ended *insert soft crying here* I went to an after party at one of the fraternity houses. It was a lot of fun but it was also super cold, cue hot chocolate. There's this place in Baton Rouge that serves beignets, coffee, and hot chocolate until 2 am. For those of you unfamiliar with beignets, it's friend dough, a bit like a funnel cake, that forms a donut type of pastry that gets covered in powdered sugar. It's amazing, basically. 

yummy goodness. 

The inside of Coffee Call which was completely empty by the time we left. 
When Sunday rolled around (and I finally got up at noon), the harsh reality that I had a paper due the next day hit. That's what happens when you spend the day you were supposed to spend doing actual things staring at a computer screen. I practically spent all day in bed writing my paper. 

And then, the most wonderfully magical thing happened. Midnight Memories, the amazing new One Direction album was released a few hours early and it is just pure perfection. As I type this it's on repeat.

So that's it! What did you get up to this weekend? Please say you were more productive than me! (;

All my love, 
Sarah

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

My Dream Life

Hello lovelies! 
So as you guys know, I'm a planner. I say about a million times a day "ooh, i want my future house to look like that!" "ooh,  I hope I marry someone like that!" "ooh, I want to have this certain career and drive this certain car..." and it gets a bit ridiculous. So when I thought about writing this post I thought "I can get everything down in one place and have a good laugh at myself in about 5 years." Sounds good to me. 
Should I do house or husband first? Or career? Oh, the struggles of a grown up!

Wedding.
This seemed like a good place to start. I am obsessed with wedding planning, like every stereo typical girl, I know. #judge me
I love white. I have an unhealthy obsession with the color because it's so crisp and clean. I also love baby pink and gold, (the shiny royal kind, not the yellow kind). So those will probably be my wedding colors unless I have a brain injury and completely forget who I am and wake up goth. #likely. I love the idea of groomsmen wearing gray suits and baby pink bowties, swoon! I'm also pretty attached to the idea of having my reception under huge oak trees under tents that are all lit up, with a HUGE dance floor. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle the heat or the dirt, but I've got time to work that out. 
I am obsessed with a lace dress and since I've pinned this 2.5 billion times, I obviously really like it. I don't know if I'd want lace all over (an exact replica of Duchess Kate's dress would be nice), but again, I've got time for that I guess. 
As far as engagement pictures go, this is what they'll look like. That won't change. Even if I suddenly wake up goth, as previously mentioned. 

Husband. 
Jk. I don't actually have a type, except to say I don't really like tattoos or long hair, but I do love Harry Styles. #onlyexception
I guess if I had to narrow down the most important thing it in a person it would be a strong relationship with God which would make them humble and kind. Being a kind person is so important to me, because even when they say things they shouldn't say or do things that aren't nice, you know that they didn't do it on purpose, with cruel intentions, and knowing that makes any bad situation better, because everyone makes mistakes. Other than that, they will have to be ambitious, smart, witty, good at communicating, and honest. And it helps if they look good in a suit. (; 
I want someone who isn't afraid to be silly and have fun (even if it's a tad embarrassing) and not worry about what everyone else is thinking. I want someone who loves to analyze books and movies and politics like I do, but has hobbies and goals of their own too. I want someone whose family is very important to them and who they hang out with a lot. I want someone who always does what's right and who is just a good person that's strong in who he is. I want someone who is not afraid to question all the things they think they know and is open-minded. I want someone who loves to go on adventures and who loves surprises. My biggest pet peeves are people with no motivation or direction, bad grammar, no manners, and total insecurity. 

House. 
I absolutely adore the look of this house. I've always wanted a house that's in a neighborhood and that's good for decorating! I want a nice front porch to be able to sit on (I would love a second story porch to hang flags from on 4th of July too), a big backyard, and a circle driveway. For some reason circle driveways make me feel fancy. #dontask 
I love New England-y style houses with brick and blue shutters, to be very specific, but I also love Southern Style plantation homes. I would love to have a monogrammed front gate (duh) and if not in a neighborhood tunnel of trees covering the driveway. Think I've thought enough about it? 
 If I couldn't live in a neighborhood, this would be absolutely perfect. I'm obsessed with the windows all around and the white with blue shutters, and the huge yard, and wrap around porch! 

Life.  
Honestly, I'm not really sure what I want as a career yet. Part of me wants to be (for lack of a better word) a kick-ass lawyer politician. But the other part of me wants to be a really good mom and wife that packs cute lunches and goes to PTA meetings and makes dinner every night. I don't know if I can do both of those things, but I do know that my family makes me the happiest now, and so I know they will always take precedence in my life. When you die no one says "ooh, she was such a great lawyer that always got her work done in time." In my world they say, "ooh, she always had the best holiday decorations and made the best PB&J sandwiches!" I'm not sure if I'll stay in my hometown or move up to the East Coast (which I'd love), or maybe England when I marry Harry Styles? Who knows? Not I. 
The one thing I know about my life family wise is that they are gonna be really freakin' stylish. And that's about it. To me, happiness isn't about money, so while I don't know how great I'd be at being poor, I think if I really loved the person I was with (and he was super hot), I could rough it. 

What would your dream life look like? Do you have an obsessive plan like I do? 

All my love, 
Sarah 
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