Posting regularly: the struggle

Posting regularly: the struggle

It’s been over a year…

I have constantly struggled with writing and posting things regularly. Sometimes I just think I don’t have worthy things to say. Sometimes I can’t make the story right and I end up just not writing at all.

This personal blog is kind of my way to have full longer thoughts than twitter (which I now have) and let the world know what I’m thinking. Not because I think my thoughts deserve everyone’s attention or that I need to share everything about my life every second. But that I simply want to share them.

My journal is where thoughts live for permanent and private residence. Twitter is my succinct and often random thoughts appropriate for public consumption.

So where does that leave this?

In the beginning, I wanted to use this blog as a fun way to motivate myself into making content and discipline myself with constantly perfecting my passions, such as writing, video work and features.

Well, this will be important in the next few months. I will be documenting and researching the origin and inception of the YouTube makeup artist and its effect on the makeup industry. This research is completely independent and I’d need to have the discipline any way.

It’s a little of a motivation post but hopefully, I can do better.

I am doing NaNoWriMo again, however I will be lowering my word count to 20,000. Reason being that I am more aware of my stress-management abilities and am able to identify my limits.

This is important, even more so in college where stress levels are unreasonably high (though I do not discount anyone else’s stress). While NaNo is important to me in that I do want to consider myself an author one day, I cannot allow writing to completely destroy my life simply because I have a desire (no matter the importance). It’s not worth it in the long run, and NaNo is not the only time I will write, but just the time that I will put serious effort into it.

Sometimes I lose sight of why I even start things, and I must get over the “But I Don’t Want To Today” mentality.

Anyway, this post is more of a reminder to myself that I still have this site, and I can just have fun with it.

T-Swift Concert Oct. 2015!

T-Swift Concert Oct. 2015!

So after I randomly opened my iMovie app on my computer, I found my video on the surprise Taylor Swift Concert! I recorded a lot of my favorite parts and felt the need to share some of this artist’s amazing work.

Here’s the video! (More below)

I am not a rabid fan of Taylor Swift, but I can respect her for being a great entertainer and role model for young fans everywhere.

In one moment that I (unfortunately) didn’t catch on film, Taylor Swift stood on a platform smiling at the audience, and she encouraged all the fans to remain true to themselves and that they were strong and unique, no matter what any bullies or naysayers might say.

While I don’t know Taylor, I was proud of her. She said these things from her stage to thousands of young girls, including my little ten-year-old cousin. A powerful musician, she encouraged others to express themselves and not to let anyone tell them how to do so.

In a world where bullying runs rampant and the status quo must always be met, I thank Taylor Swift for her own strength and wisdom.

 

Thoughts?

If you attended a T-Swift Concert, what was your experience? What were your favorite songs and moments?

Recovery 2015

Recovery 2015

For the past few months, I avoided writing on here. From a strenuous NaNo to Finals to various minor events over Winter Break, I felt that I had nothing worth writing about, nothing to celebrate or tell.

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My 2015 Planner & my new GOALden 2016 Planner.

However, I looked over my 2015 Passion Planner, and I saw how many things I started, accomplished and achieved. I experienced new things and reaffirmed my goals with the start of the New Year.

And so, after a long break (and a good mental kick in the butt), I present the most striking events of the last two months of 2015 (& a little of 2016.)

NaNoWriMo Lessons

I discovered that 1,667 words, while good for getting 50,000 words in a month, proved to much for my inner & inexperienced writer. I tend to put an extreme amount pressure on myself to live up to my stated goals, even if my goals are obviously too high. As a first time NaNo-er, I should have lowered the standard.

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From a NaNoWriMo Workshop

In the end, I wrote a total of 23, 678 words on my novel over about two weeks (if I don’t count the days I didn’t write). While it isn’t close to 50,000 in a month, the last time I wrote a story over 20,000 words, it took me five months to complete it. I wrote 23,000 in two weeks, and I’m not even close to finishing it!

With some newly acquired time management skills, this next year will see my novel completed, I can guarantee.

Finals: a brief overview

I was the lucky girl who only had two finals this semester, and I used that fully to my Procrastination Advantage. I did not study at all until the Friday before my finals week (whatever you do, don’t do that), but I managed to do well on both of my tests, getting an A in one class and a B in another.

Still, the stress from finals exacerbated the burnout I felt from NaNo, and by the end of the week, I was ready to be out of school for a while.

All the Wisdom Teeth!

Everyone has heard of them, seen the funny videos post surgery and dreaded having their own out.

Well, I had four wisdom teeth, and they all needed to go.

My surgeon was kind and caring, and I easily slipped into the anesthesia-induced sleep . Immediately after awakening, I stumbled out of the building with my mother and an assistant holding me up, lacking any feeling in my lower face. Stitches on my gums gave me the stereotypical chipmunk cheeks, and I couldn’t eat solid food for two weeks.

Unfortunately, I have no funny videos to share, but here’s some pictures!

Me with my magic ice pack and favorite doggie
Look at those Chipmunk Cheeks

Fics & Writing Goals

 While taking a break from my NaNo novel, I’m working on my Harry Potter fanfiction called The Choice. Since publishing, it’s been viewed almost 300 times!

A quick moment of silence for the late Alan Rickman, who played the infamous Severus Snape and inspired me to write this fanfiction. May he rest in peace.

I’m excited to continue with this story and see how my OC develops in the Wizarding World. Fanfiction allowed me to stretch my writing fingers and focus on developing my OCs without feeling the pressure of “I’m-writing-a-novel.”

With my renewed focus on my fic, I decided to set a daily and monthly word count goal. I learned from NaNo that a having a short and long term goal makes writing seem more urgent and feel more important. While 1,667 words a day and 30,000 words total were too much for me,  500 words daily and 15,000 monthly allows me the option of a quick writing session when I’m in a time crunch. It’s a lot less than NaNoWriMo, and that’s perfect for me.

Thoughts?

Whew! That’s what I get for not updating!

What do you think? How has your winter break been? What were your NaNo & Finals experiences?

Sound off in the comments below!

Paralyzingly Stressed

Paralyzingly Stressed

FYI: There were puppies for de-stressing outside my dorm that day. I’m probably dying on the inside in this picture.

This is the week I dread. Every second of time preparing for my assignments is precious, but the weight of all that needs to be done crushes my heart and freezes my lungs.

I barely breathe, and I stare blankly at the papers, the computer, the questions. Everything is important and needs to be done now. Right now. 

Thus was my mental state the past two days. With two major projects coming up and various assignments due in other classes, I quickly spiraled into the above thought cycle.

After going through this many time in the past, I’ve learned a few tricks to 1.) break the cycle or 2.) continue working under stress.

Break the Cycle

There are many ways to break the paralyzing cycle of stress, but here the best ways for me:

  • Which is due first? Since I have a lot of projects due around the same time, my brain automatically thinks I need to work on all of them right now. But when I break things down by due date, I can prioritize what really needs to be done now and what can be done later.
  • Take a Break. While this particular tip can make things worse if you don’t possess a decent amount of self-discipline, a break helps me relax from a workworkwork mode. Often times, I will set a timer and  journal or read a few posts on social media to get my mind off of things.

Breaking a cycle of stress can be difficult, especially if you are easily distracted, but hopefully these help!

Unfortunately, sometimes you can’t afford to take a break, or you have multiple assignments due on the same day. So…

Continue Working Under Stress

Throughout life, you and I will face extremely stressful situations with no time to relax and destress. When it comes down to these situations, here are some things I do when working on a (quick approaching) deadline:

  • Work a little at a time. Sometimes a little goes a long way. When you have multiple projects to do, doing small amounts of work and alternating the projects allows your brain a break from the big picture. If you do this for a long period of time, your progress will add up, and you could even finish a project.
  • Double Check Deadlines. You know the intense frustration of working on a project and then finding out you still had a few days to do it? Sometimes, double checking your syllabus or other assignment pages alleviates the stress. (On the other hand, you could find you have ANOTHER project due that you completely forgot about… but hey, at least you saw)
  • Go to bed early. Work all day, but get to bed as soon as possible. Stress leaves your brain exhausted and useless, to where if you tried to work late into the night, you’d only sit there guiltily while being tired. You need sleep; your brain needs sleep. Work as much as you can, but for God’s sake, go to sleep.

What About You?

Everyone experiences stress. What do you do when you have an enormous amount of work that needs to be done? How do you cope, and how do you work through it? Leave a comment below! (’cause I need all the advice I can.)

My Life with Mono

My Life with Mono

Surviving a Minor Hell

There are many things I have underestimated in life: the life source coffee, the homework savior planner and mono.

For those of you are new to my blog, I recently posted about my excitement for sorority work week and recruitment. These weeks are grueling, waking up early to scream chants and smile like you’ve never been so happy to see strangers, all the while wearing layers of makeup and carefully selected outfits for each day. And for the first couple of days, I was loving it.

However, a little devil I had only heard of once (no, seriously) crashed and burned all of my recruitment dreams.

mononucleosis:

(mänōˌn(y)o͞oklēˈōsəs) – According to the Devon definition, mononucleosis is DEATH. For eight days, two of them during actual recruitment, I couldn’t sleep yet it was all I wanted to do. My body shook like it was frozen in the humid 98º weather. I couldn’t keep warm, but my body still sweated like it was in a sauna.  My tonsils developed white sores that eventually began caving in on themselves, and every. single. swallow caused me to cringe in pain. What food I could swallow eventually ended up spewing out of my mouth into a trash can. Needless to say, I was miserable.

However, I refused to Go to the Doctor.

Against the wishes of my mother and many friends, I couldn’t do it. I had been waiting to start recruitment for months. On the first day of recruitment, I was so excited to see these girls, one of them who was going to be my little! Even while my body was exhausted and I sometimes couldn’t stand without swaying, I pushed through everything just so I could have 45 second conversations with every girl possible.

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Me during rush

However, my body couldn’t take it. After two days of faux screaming and half-hearted smiling, I broke down and did my first Adult-y thing.

I made my own doctor’s appointment.

It was necessary, and I immediately withdrew from Rush, much to my intense heartbreak. I wanted to cry, but it was too painful, another indication of how sick I was.

The appointment stated the obvious. Mono, need to rest, take lots of fever reducing medication (by the way, always alternate Advil and Tylenol if you use those).

I would stay in my third floor bed with a tea pot and Netflix playing while I listened to the chants and conversations in the house below me. The emotional pain it caused was almost as bad as the physical.

My mother played a huge role in making me better. She came up not just once, but three times to check on me and help me. She needs a whole book dedicated to how she helped me during this time.

A Miracle

Recruitment happens about two weeks before school starts. The Sunday before class, I still could not swallow without wanting to sob. I got in bed early, took Melatonin to knock me out faster and dreaded the next day.

I woke up the next morning with a clear throat, no fever and no exhaustion.

I don’t know how it happened, but I felt like a normal person again! I could swallow again, which made me tear up a lot. I could eat anything with pleasure and keep it in my stomach.

Now I still took medication for the occasional fever, but overall, I had no aches, no pains and no problems.

Post-Mono

Since I started feeling better, I have mostly focused on school. Over-exerting myself could cause my more aggressive symptoms to relapse (to which I say HELL, NO!), so partying is out for a few weeks. Sleep has become a huge priority, to the point where I’m making myself wake up at the same time every day so I always know when to go to sleep.

Now, I know not everyone has the same mono experience. In fact, I almost consider myself lucky after hearing how some people had aggressive symptoms for months

Have you ever had mono? What are some of your experiences with mono? Do  you have any tips for the ‘uninitiated?’ (teehee: sorority joke)

Excitement & Fear for Rush

Excitement & Fear for Rush

On the Other Side

For those of you who do not know, I am the proud member of the Chi Omega women’s fraternity. I was initiated this past February, and I forged many friendships that I hope last throughout my life.

Throw What You Know Wherever You Go
I remember rush (or recruitment) as a blur of intense emotions, outfits and heat. I was running around in my best clothes with flip flops on my feet and heels in my hand. Literally, it was 90+° the entire week, and the whole time I was being greeted by hundreds of women screaming chants with almost creepy huge smiles and perfectly coordinated clothes.

Now, as a fully initiated member, I get to be a part of those smiling, screaming girls for the Potential New Members (PNMs). YAY!

So Excited!

Rush is a new and exciting experience, and there are many reasons why I can’t wait to begin!

One of the main reasons is that I bond with my current pledge class(PC). My PC has over 80 girls in it, and as a freshman, I didn’t get to know most of them for many reasons (lack of shared classes, differing personalities, etc.) I admit, the enormous size of my PC and the small amount of girls who actually hung out with me made me consider dropping Chi Omega altogether.

Recruitment forces all the girls who didn’t know each other well to hang out and work together to recruit new members. Everyone must do the same chant, get up at the same time, and avoid provoking the Recruitment Chair into a fury. It forges that life long bond all sororities talk about.

Old Fears…

I have often struggled with self-esteem, fighting to remain true to myself even when faced with ridicule and judgement. I would be lying if being in a sorority doesn’t sometimes bring that up.

I’m afraid that I will frighten a possible sister away because I am too weird when another would have convinced her to join. I’m afraid that my sisters will reject me after living with me because they see how I am 24/7.

A Life-Changing Experience

With all of these emotions roiling about, there’s a few things I know for certain:

  1. I made the right choice in choosing Chi Omega.
  2. My sisters will always have my back, no matter what.
  3. I can’t wait to meet our new Baby Hooties!
Me before I became a Chi Omega

Your Thoughts

If you are/were a part of a sorority/fraternity, what were you experiences? What were your favorite experiences during recruitment or any other Greek activities?
If you aren’t in a sorority/fraternity, what questions do you have about Greek Life? Are you thinking of joining one?

Let me know in the comments below!

(Featured Image: a painting by me inspired by this painting found on Pinterest)

Thanks for All the Tea, England!

Thanks for All the Tea, England!

Three Weeks, One Country & Too Few Hours to Survive It

For a young and mostly independent woman like myself, nothing excites and frightens me more than travel.

I knew I needed to start traveling early in my life, so I signed up for one of my universities many study abroad programmes. (Oh, look! English spelling influences) I returned from my freshman year of college and immediately signed up for as many hours at work as my boss could allow. Working a lovely 20 hours a week, I saved over $1,100 for food, shopping & misc., and my parents (very x 100,000) generously paid for my room & board and assisted with my plane tickets.

My destination: University of Oxford in Oxford, England.

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Look at that view. Boomer Sooner in front of the Camera! (Note: The Camera I am referencing is actually the dome shaped building behind me)
Yes, that Oxford. Specifically the College of Brasenose of Oxford University. It’s as prestigious and beautiful and old as you imagine. Beautiful spires and church bells echoing in the cobblestones streets, and sunsets lighting the city, making a romantic atmosphere of the best National Geographic.

One of the benefits of this programme was the independence it allowed students. With the three-hour courses meeting Tuesdays through Thursday and no itineraries from the professors, students could make as many (or few) plans to travel anywhere they could afford. Many groups travelled to other parts of the U.K., including Scotland, Ireland and Wales, but also Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels in Belgium.

With all these opportunities to explore and the responsibilities of class still present, I learned many things about England, travel and most importantly, myself.

Too High Maintenance for Hostels

For those who do not know what hostels are (God knows I didn’t know before this trip), a hostel is an inexpensive version of a hotel that focus its services to students, backpackers and other low budget travelers.

I had never heard hostels, so when I was looking for a place to stay in London before my classes started, I was shocked to see the option for Dorm style accommodations. In my first hostel, the cheapest option was a Co-ed 20 person dorm room.

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My hostel: Gallery Hyde Park. Photo by me
I was meeting with a friend who had been staying in hostels for the better part of six weeks, so I felt I could handle living with 18 strangers in a relatively safe area.

Boy, was I wrong.

I am a notoriously light sleeper, and a paranoid one at that, so when I tried to sleep in my hostel, I was often disturbed by the entrance of Pub Crawl survivors and then kept tensely away by my fear that one of my male roommates would mistake my occupied bed for his. Looking back it seems silly, but I could not overcome my sleep deprivation and intense paranoia at any point on the trip.

Conclusion: hostels are great on a budget, but I need to spend the extra dollar on a private room if I want to a.) get sleep and b.) enjoy my travels.

Stress & Stress Management during Travel

A big portion of traveling for the unseasoned traveler is the ungodly amount of stress. The unfamiliar cities, possible dangers and, especially when abroad, being away from home all pile in your brains and cause a lot of worry.

I have problems with stress and managing it when I’m having to take care of myself. It can get to the point where it causes me to physically seize up. Other side effects I endure include lack of sleep and intense headaches.

Me with an old castle building in York, England
Me with an old castle building in York, England. This day was particularly stressful, though I am smiling in the picture.
My high maintenance self underwent many trying situations, including but not limited to attempting to navigate the London night bus without a working credit card or a general knowledge of public transportation, intense fear of rooming with strangers who are drunk and could possibly take your important items, and having to write a five-page essay until 3 a.m. (that last one was my fault.)

In attending this trip and undergoing these intense hours, I discovered many things about how I need to manage my stress:

  1. Sleep: One of the main issues that caused the most amounts of stress was the lack of sleep I was getting. Often I would be having 14-16 hour days running amok in the streets of England whilst running on only 2-5 hours of sleep. That kind of exhaustion drains you physically, mentally and emotionally. I did not enjoy my travels sometimes because I felt so tired all the time. So, while experiences and adventure are fun, sleep does take a priority, whether in the form of an entire day to myself or simply going to bed at a reasonable time.
  2. Plan: When thinking about this trip, I figured everyone would pretty much make up their plans as they go, with a few planned in advance. However, I arrived at Oxford with the least amount planned and no one to go with me anywhere. The last minute over night trips were fun, but the lack of places picked out and inability for most of us to communicate caused far too much stress than I should have experienced.
  3. Breathe: I sometimes get so emotional and tense that I break down. One point during this trip included me sitting down on the Brasenose Chapel steps and sobbing in pain for five minutes. The only thing that made me feel better, after about a half hour of more crying, was just lying in bed taking deep breaths and letting my mind and body relax in the comfort and privacy of my own room.

Everyone stresses differently, but I hope that sharing my experiences with travel stress will help some of you from having a few breakdowns.

Drinking (Legally)

I am an over-18-but-under-21 American. The legal drinking age in England is 18. You can bet all the pounds in your pocket I took advantage of that opportunity.

Before I continue, let me say that I hate being drunk. Drunk people annoy me to no end, but I don’t hate people who drink to get drunk. I personally do not enjoy the feeling of being out of control, being vulnerable and being handicapped. But there are people who do not feel that way when they are drunk, and they usually are responsible enough to know their limits. I respect their choices, and they (normally) respect mine.

So when I set out to the pub with my comrades abroad, I don’t buy more than one or two shots with a few sips from my friends drinks. (Never feel pressured to drink more than you want. It’s all about your comfort zone.)

All of us in my group enjoyed a nice pub called The Four Candles, a well known almost touristy pub in Oxford. This is where I learned my drink, and my comrades discovered that it was completely normal to have a proportional drink from a pitcher. 

My Favorite Drink

1-2 shot(s) of Smirnoff with Lemonade (Sprite in the US)

An Experience Every Day

Through the ups and downs, the painful hangovers and delicious meals, there is no moment I would change from this trip.

I have grown in many different ways during this trip and have made friends that I already dearly miss. I discovered new places, taken exhilarating chances and had many adventures.

I’ll always have the memories of an ancient and beautiful Oxford summer.

Feedback!

Now that my nostalgia is over, please tell me about your experiences! Have you travelled anywhere? What were somethings you learned about yourself from traveling that you wouldn’t have learned before? Comment below!