Friday, January 30, 2015

The Non-Blogmopolitan Quiz

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Today I thought it'd be fun to do the Non-Blogmopolitan Quiz from Two-Thirds Hazel . I mean, it is Friday after all, and I think quizzes like these are not only funny, but they're also easy because they're already all laid out! Enjoy finding out a little bit more about me, but also let me know in the comments what some of your answers are, especially if they're the same as mine!

1. Something you will...

refuse to do for the rest of you life: clean a boy's bathroom.I had to do it once where I worked in high school and oh my God, it was horrendous. I did it once, never happening again.

always do forever: strive to be graceful, and humble, and kind, and loving, and smart. 

2. Something you think is... 
certifiably disgusting: people having sex with strangers. I will just never get that. My dad used this duck tape analogy when I was a kid, goes something like "every time you stick it to something it picks up little bits and caries it along until the next time you stick it to something and this time it'll pick up more, but it also won't stick as well.." and that just makes me want to vomit.

absolutely amazing: I love Sundays. The perfect Sundays for me consist of waking up and having a good breakfast that my parents cook, going to church, having lunch at my grandparents (the best cooks in the entire world), and then coming home and playing outside or laying in the hammock when the weather is all springy and blue. Those days are amazing to me. 

3. A compliment you've been given that's made you...

feel on top of the world: right after my sister died my best friend Katie wrote me a card saying how strong she thought I was and how much she admired that. And at a time when I was scared and hurting, it reminded me of that, and I've always kept it because it makes me feel really loved and encouraged when I'm having a bad time.

pretty upset: "Well you've certainly got the looks for politics!" As if I don't have the smarts, the wits, and the personality. Thanks, Mr. Senator. 

4. A name you...

hate: anything that's trying to be modern and hipster. I think names should be strong and meaningful, not something new you invented by mixing celeb's names and cool trends.

love: well, the baby name list I keep on my phone says my current favorites are William, Henry, Edward, Elizabeth, and Alexandra. They're all old and strong and come with really good namesakes.


5. Something people say about you that you...

know is entirely false: that I'm stuck up. I'm quiet and always a bit anxious with new people, so I see how that can come across, but I'm really actually super kind hearted once a bit of time goes by and I'm a bit more comfortable. 

think is on point: that I'm a stellar person with wicked music taste and killer jokes. I mean, clearly.


6. A taste you...

can't stand: greenbeans. I mean, I know I've probably tasted grosser things, but I just can't think of anything I hate more. It's like eating squishy, watery, worms.

can't get enough of: PIZZA. AND COKE. (I'm so healthy it's annoying)

7. A song you always...

turn off immediately: anything rap. Ain't no way I will ever consider that music. No thanks.

belt out the lyrics to: "My Heart Will Go On" a la Celine Dion and Titanic. Titanic is probably my favorite movie as I've seen it over 50 times and I just can't get enough. That song makes me wanna cry every time.

8. Animal you...

fear: I'd have to say any animal that's angry. I don't really fear any animals off hand, because I think all animals just want to be either loved or left alone, they're not out to hurt anyone, but when any animal gets angry (especially cats...hate cats), I'm running the other way.

need in your life right this instant: I really, really, realllyyy want a Scottie dog or a brown lab. They're both adorable. 

9. Something you...

will never ever eat: I hate soup. I'll eat it if I have bread or crackers to dip into it, but I'll never eat like vegetable soup, or bean soup, or any of that. A. I hate vegetables, but B. I hate not being able to see what's under the broth, because I suspect that one day there's going to be something I don't want. Like the time every winter that my mom tries to convince me like I like vegetable soup when I know for a fact that that combination is never a winner in my book. If I can't see what's going on in there, I don't want it.

would eat for every meal if you were given the chance: PIZZA. 


10. To enhance your looks you...

would love to, but would probably never resort to: a hair transplant so my locks would be equivalent to Kate Middleton's.

just stick to: lots of texturizing spray and a good curler.

Happy Friday lovelies!
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Monday, January 19, 2015

Life Lately//

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Lately I've...
fallen back in love with Ponds, the entire brand. I've been using their dry skin Clarant B3 moisturizer for at least a year now, and I use their cucumber cold cream when I need to get off eye makeup, but I've stumbled upon their dry skin hydrating cream, which is a thicker moisturizer, and my dry skin is obsessed. 
eaten so many cuties oranges it's unbelievable. I know they're for children, but that just means they fit perfectly with my other food choices. They peel incredibly easily and they fit right in my bag for lunch since they're so tiny.
bought another Smith's rosebud balm to go with my other 7. They're just so good! I now have the strawberry, mint, and original and I keep them all in my purse. #notproductive
been crazy inspired by the Lunching Daily instagram. It makes me want to eat apple slices and hummus for lunch instead of frozen macaroni and a fruit roll-up, which happens more then I care to admit. Now that I'm in my own apartment with a kitchen, I want to try and cook more + eat healthier, and this is helping me get motivated. Such easy to follow and make recipes that are insta ready.
gotten so obsessed with writing in my Emily Ley planner. I thought it'd almost be too much space at first, but it's a lot in a good way. I have plenty enough space to write everything I need and then more to add later if need be. I am so uber organized now. I have the Daily Edition in happy stripe, in case you're wondering. 
caved to peer pressure and watched this Maroon 5 vid. I didn't want to be part of the hype and it was being shared all over my facebook, which made me sort of hate it. But then I watched it, and omg. I love the brides' elated reactions and the way the older people at the wedding have no clue what's going on. And I mean, it's Adam Levine, what more do you need?
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Monday, January 12, 2015

Life Lately//

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Last year I did posts on Mondays called "Weekend Update" and when I actually remembered to do them, I quite liked it. But, after a while, I forgot, and the numbers got all jumbled and then once it's been weeks you can't exactly call it a weekend update anymore, and thus, I just quit. This year, I'm starting up the new and improved "Life Lately" post series. Aptly named so I can post it as much or as little as I want...and no numbers, so no one has to know when I've skipped a bajillion weeks!
Anyhoo, lately I've...
seen three movies
The Hobbit// loved it. the battle scenes were epic and I'm ready to move to Rivendale..especially because this very scientific quiz said I was always meant to be an elf anyway.
The Theory of Everything// although I loved learning more about Steven Hawking's life and seeing Cambridge (and being able to spot all the places I've been there), their love story ripped out my heart and stomped on it. Bring the tissues, because this one's a doozy. My favorite scenes were the ones of Cambridge in the 60s, because it's a dream now, with the river Cam and all the old buildings that just make you feel scholarly, but I can only imagine how it must've been then.
Into the Woods// a bit weird this one. Lots of singing, which is great is you go in prepared for that, but I'd have expected more out of that cast. I'd say wait for this to hit redbox.
ate way too many fruit loops and frozen macaroni dinners,
moved in to my new apartment,
locked myself in said apartment with no wifi to finish my end of term papers for Nottingham,
struggled through a cold which gave me terribly bloodshot eyes and got hardcore judged for it,
planned my entire trip back to England in June and put price alerts on every flight from here to Heathrow,
finished my Study Abroad video,
fallen in love with Matt McAndrew (specifically this song),
and shopped away my sadness about the fact that I'm not actually moving back into Derby Hall like all my SA friends(killer spring wardrobe posts to come though).
All in all, it's been pretty productive.
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Thursday, January 8, 2015

My Study Abroad Experience + Study Abroad Video

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I have sat down to write this post so many times and come up empty. Not because I have nothing to say, but more so because I have too much to say. If you follow me on any form of social media {facebook, twitter, instagram}, you'll know that I've ranted and raved about everything from packing drama, to noisy boys on my hall, to meeting amazing people, and back to packing again. I don't want to overdo it and beat a dead horse, but because some of you may only read my blog and have never heard me talk about study abroad otherwise, and also because I'll want to look back on this post later and remember how I felt all over again, I'm just going to go through it all. If you feel like you've heard it all already, sorry! 
 I'm planning to do connected posts like "My Study Abroad Budget", "How I packed to Study Abroad", and "How I Traveled Around Europe" later, so for now this will be just about my time in Nottingham and how I found living in another country for four months. 
Because I had been preparing to leave for about a year, I really didn't think it'd be as big of an ordeal as it was. I'll preface this whole paragraph by saying that I have anxiety about two major things - affection and separation - and although separation is the less frightening of the two, it's still something I suffer with. Until about two weeks before leaving, I was fine. I didn't really think about the actual "letting go of my family and literally walking away onto a plane" part, but when I did, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I started having serious anxiety and even had to stop drinking Coke (it was that serious) because the caffeine was spiking my already high anxiety level through the roof. 
At the airport, I was fine until I had to go through security. I kept hugging my dad and crying and my family kept reminding me that I wasn't being forced to go, I had actually wanted to, and even though I knew that, I couldn't make myself go. It took a good ten minutes of walking a few feet, tearing up, walking a few more, hugging my parents, etc, etc, until I finally got through security. The fact that I seriously hate crying in public only made me more of an embarrassed/stressed/anxious mess.
In the end though, once I was on the plane and in the air I was fine. Amy met me at Heathrow and made everything all right and I really didn't feel homesick because I could talk to my family whenever I wanted. In summary, I made a much bigger deal of it than I probably could have, but I only say that now in hindsight. It's a scary thing going somewhere you've never been before when you literally know 1 person in the country and you don't have family to solve it all for you if something goes wrong. 
The minute I arrived Amy and I commenced the long journey of hauling my million and one bags onto the tube and then the few blocks to her flat and then the worst - up 3 flights of stairs. Never again will I pack that much - lesson learned. 

  When it comes to the whole living there part, people most often ask me one of two questions. Usually the guys ask "How was the food/weather?" and the girls ask "How were the boys?" I'll hit the boring points first and then the more interesting ones. For the boring bits, I lived on the University of Nottingham University Park Campus in a single study dorm room. That will only make sense to those of you currently looking at study abroad accommodation, but for those of you who aren't, it just means that I lived in the dorms on Nottingham's main campus and had my own room all to my self. England doesn't do roommates like American universities and I loved it. I lived in a catered hall which meant that I had a meal plan and ate all my meals in my Hall (Derby, in case you're wondering) and basically felt like I was at Hogwarts the entire time.
Food - 
 Hate to break it to you, but the rumors about the food in England are true. I come from the place voted best food in America for 2014 and it was a rough transition. Yes, there are tons less preservatives and sugar in their food, and yes, that should be a good thing because I actually came back skinnier than when I left, but no, I didn't like it at all. After about a month I was dying for some high fructose corn syrup and normal tasting Coke. There are, however, some things I really did like, like fish and chips, Yorkshire pudding, banoffee pudding, sticky toffee pudding, you see the trend? I think if I wasn't such a picky eater and actually ate foods other than pizza and hamburgers and chicken sandwiches, I'd have liked it much better, but c'est la vie. My favorite restaurants were Nandos (chicken) and Wagamamas (Japanese), no surprise there.
Friends - 
The number one question I get asked is "Did you meet a boy?" I'm not sure why - okay that's totally a lie, I know it's because I've raved about polo playing princes and British accents for as long as I can remember, but I'm going to overlook that - and my most common answer is "Yes, I met loads, and I fell in love with all of them." And for the most part, that's the truth. (soz to my grandmother who I think secretly hoped I'd come back married)
You know that part in Love Actually when Colin leaves to go to America because he keeps striking out with British girls and he thinks American girls will love him? That was basically me, minus the sluttyness. I freaked out over every accent and every word for a good month. My favorites being "cheers", "wanker", "muppet", "bloody hell", and the unexpected favorite, "mini cheddars."
In all seriousness, I met loads of really cool, really nice people right off the bat and kind of stuck with them for the whole term. I loved that they were all different, but yet they all worked together and there wasn't any pressure to be anything different than how I already was. I spent most of my days hanging out playing FIFA or watching the boys play Call of Duty while listening to Matt's wicked musical selections (more to come on that later), and just had an absolute blast. Did I skip lots of my classes? Yes. Did I stay up way too late talking to Tom and Erin about ridiculous things like cricket? Yes. And it was brilliant. I love all of them, and within our little group were so many kind, silly, hilarious personalities that I missed them the minute I left.

Coming home was a two part process. Firstly, I had to leave Nottingham to travel around for a week, and then I had to leave London to come home. Honestly, Nottingham was worse. Amy and I had been friends for over a year by the time I got to England and we talk all the time. We keep up with each other easily and I never feel like I have to make sure I talk to her every so often because I always want to. We like similar things and just "click" really well, so when I left London I wasn't worried, because I knew we'd still be just as good of friends when I got home. 
Nottingham was another story. Not only was I leaving the people I had basically spent every waking minute with for the past 3 and a half months, but I was also leaving something I had dreamed about doing for years, studying abroad in England, and both together was killer. 
I basically cried ridiculously all day long, stressed all over again about packing and how I was going to manage to get it all home, and every time someone left it felt like a little piece of my time in England slipping away. 
After packing all of my things in way more baggage than is allowed on any airline, I went upstairs to spend my last few hours in Nottingham with my friends, who of course were playing COD. I'd be fine for a while, then Erin would look at me or someone would mention how long I had left and there would go the tears. Just imagine me all red faced trying to quietly sniffle in the corner - it's really amusing. 
Finally, I coerced all the boys and Erin to come eat with me at Wagamama's and then drop me off at the train station. I knew I'd need moral support to get on the train + I wanted to spend every last minute possible with them + I need help with my bags. (;
By the time we made it to the train platform, there was a lump the size of Texas in my throat but I hugged them all twice, we sang a bit of Billy Joel, and then they loaded up all my stuff on the train. Because I always get everywhere early, we ended up having about 10 minutes before the train left where they made funny faces at me through the train window and I just laughed hysterically while the entire train carriage was about awkward. And then the train took off and my heart dropped because I knew it was all official and then I turned and saw them running along the platform and that mixed with my Billy Joel playlist made everything feel alright. 
After leaving Nottingham I spent a brief 4 hours in London with Amy before hopping into an Uber and flying to Prague on zero hours of sleep. From there I went to Vienna and then Venice and then back to London again. Amy and I did all sorts of things in London to wrap up the things I didn't get to see in September including a very claustrophobic trip to Harrods, a choral service at St. Paul's (where we got to sit in the choir stalls up near the altar #vip), and a Sunday mass at Westminster Abbey. On my last day we did nothing but stay in bed, scroll Tumblr, try to reorganize my stuff before just giving in and purchasing an extra checked bag, and going through all of my study abroad pictures while I filled Amy in on all my crushes, funny stories, and awkward moments in the past 4 months, all the while she sat there patiently and listened for the 100th time...she's a gem, that one. 
2 missed Heathrow expresses, one extremely heavy tube trip, and 2 overweight bags later, I was home. And even though I miss England like crazy, it's good to be back.
So without further adieu, here's a video summing up all most of the above. 
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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Year's Resolutions + Inspiration

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 For the past few days I've been reading over all of the New Year's resolutions blog posts, Facebook statuses, and Pinterest pins that have made their way onto my news feed. Throughout all of them, there are very similar elements, including get fit, eat healthier, lose weight, save money, blah blah blah. Not that I don't think those things are good, but I think people set themselves up for failure by making those "big change" sorts of goals and then when they don't see results/get frustrated/lose motivation, they laugh it off like, "Oh you know, no one ever sticks to those things anyway!" Well, no thankyou. Not this year, not for me. 
Last year, I did a post similar to this, and I included very open ended resolutions that had more to do with my mindset on life than specific changes I wanted to make about myself. It worked out very well for me in 2014, so I see no reason to do anything different this year. I ended 2014 by looking at that post and feeling like I had really grown in those areas, and I hope I can do the same with this post at the end of 2015. 

 This year I really want to focus on being an uplifting, supportive, kind, funny, joy to be around, kind of person. Not trying to say that I'm not, but I think that I can definitely improve by being more attentive and thoughtful. I think the smallest things like a handwritten note or even a perfectly timed text message during a really stressful day can be a big deal, and I want to start sending them.
 We talk about this concept a lot in my bible study group, and I really want to pay attention to it in 2015. I talk about my faith all the time with anyone who asks, but I think that there's a difference between talking about it and living it, and I want to pour all the good things into others and never be a drain on those good things.

Oh school...we have a very tumultuous relationship. What do I want to do when I graduate? What degree should I graduate with? How many hours will be the perfect balance between pulling my hair out and gliding through? Why am I paying people to stress me out? And on, and on, and on. This year, I'm ending my junior year and starting my senior. I need to buckle down and focus (and maybe actually go into LSU's library), but I also need to slow down and enjoy my last bits of college before it's all gone. Coming off of study abroad where I basically never went to class and got to travel to cool places every weekend will not be a fun transition, but I'm going to focus instead on the fact that these trying times now are laying the ground work for me to be able to go back to England (and Europe) once I put in the hard work.

This year, I want to be a doer, not a doubter. I don't want to waste time worrying about every little thing when I could just be figuring it out along the way. Studying abroad was a big step for me. One that I wasn't so sure about, but I just jumped in without looking back, and it panned out wonderfully, which is why I'm setting a resolution again this year to be more of a "yes" girl. 

 And now on to the cheesy stuff. I am at a much more confident, self assured place this year than I was this time last year, and I could probably say that about every new year since high school. I know who I am, I know what I want, and I know where I want to go (for the most part), and I really cherish that as a blessing. I've been through a lot of things in my short little life and I know I dream really big sometimes and people don't always see what I see or understand, but I'm going after those things full force, and trying to constantly remember that I'm not in competition with anyone, nor am I trying to impress anyone. In 2015, I am going to be who I am and be fiercely proud of it, instead of over thinking every little thing that comes out of my mouth and tailoring my views and beliefs to the people who criticize them.
 2014 was a year of great travels for me. I went to so many cool places and met so many cool people and I'm making that my priority in 2015. Not buying all of J.Crew's new releases or eating out and getting Starbucks 4 times a week. I've made some really great friends in England and I want to go back and visit them, but in the meantime, I want to make Skype-ing and texting/messaging a priority, because it's all too easy to let friendships fade (especially with a 6 hour time difference) and even if I have to bug them 24/7, I'm not letting that happen. (;
 In 2014 I started my little project of appreciating every little thing, whether it be as small as a good parking spot or as big as a family vacation to my favorite place (in America), and I want to continue that in 2015. I noticed such a difference in how happy I was after I started taking the time to be more thankful for all the small things (points if you sang the Blink 182 song just then), and I never want to stop doing that, because life can be really sucky sometimes, and finding ways to be happy about the simple things is really the only way to make it great.

Ohh, this one's a biggie. I am terrible at saving money. I mean terrible. I can have every good intention and then I get an email from J.Crew and it's all over. #addict
I've already turned on, which deletes any emails from stores as a precaution, but I've also really seriously looked in to ways to budget and save money. I really want to get serious about saving as I've just moved into my first apartment, but also because I want to go back to England in June, and flights ain't cheap! I really don't need all of the material things I buy, and I feel like traveling, especially while I'm young and I can, will be a much better investment.

And most importantly, "May your coming year be filled with magic & dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art - write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself." - Neil Gaiman 
What are your New Year's resolutions?
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