31 March 2013

Beach Reads Review

Earlier, I posted about the books that I was planning to read while on vacation. I have started two of the three that I plan to, and figured I'd give a short review of each of them for anyone who is interested in picking one of them up.

A Farewell to Arms is certainly a great read! It's set in the time of WWI, where the main character works for the Italian army. I'm halfway through the book and love the depth of it! It's got so much substance: there's a love story and a war, as well as some outside conflicts that I will keep to myself so as not to spoil it for you! Most of my peers laugh when I tell them that I read books by Hemingway and Fitzgerald for fun, but I truly enjoy the stories! I have to get past the idea that the book is old and I read these authors in school (so that I don't get bored before I even give it a chance). If I can do that, I really begin to enjoy the humor and symbolism that just isn't there in more current novels. If you're looking for an enjoyable, deep read, I'd recommend this one!

Lilly is captivating! It is such a fantastic read about the woman whose fashion has been so inspirational in America! I just started it today, and have already read almost a quarter of it! Granted, it's not the longest book, but it's definitely worth the purchase. While I'm a huge Lilly fan, I never really knew all of the background on her line or of her family (which is a giant web of million- and billionaires), and have gained so much respect for Lilly and her family just from the initial chapters of this book. It's an easy, informative read that I suspect I will continue to enjoy greatly. 

If you're like me, your list of books that you want to read is a mile long! If you have the opportunity to squeeze a few more in there, give these two a try! They've been great for me so far, and while I'm not the pickiest reader, I wouldn't hesitate to bash a book that I don't find worth the money I spent on it. Of course, I want book recommendations from you too!

Which books are top on your "to read" list?

30 March 2013

Passion at it's Finest

So, music is a huge part of my life. Not only did I participate in show choir for most of my high school career, but I rarely am found without headphones in or on my person at the very least. Like a watch keeps time, music keeps me going! Not in a depressed way, but in a "music brings out the best of life" way. I'm the person who bought the iPhone not because everyone else had it, or it had good apps, but because of the convenience with iTunes and my music library. I always have my extensive music library on me!

As I believe I've mentioned before, I like music that has meaning and true talent behind it. Artists who sing songs with meaning get big points with me; those who write their own music get huge props from me! And this is where I talk about maybe one of the most talented people in the musical world right now: Ryan Tedder.

Ryan is most known as the frontman for the band OneRepublic, but he doesn't get near the credit that is owed him. In fact, the band is very underrated, in my opinion. Not only does Ryan sing for OR, he is their main writer and producer. On top of that, he is possibly the greatest writer right now! He writes for Beyonce, Gavin DeGraw, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood.. he's probably written for every major artist in the pop world right now. Amazing.

People like Ryan Tedder inspire me with their music. Just listening to their work demonstrates the passion that is behind the music. OneRepublic just released their newest album, Native, and I seriously recommend giving it a listen. I've always heard that artists can hardly ever top their first album, but OR keeps getting better! Not only is the music catchy, but the lyrics are meaningful and so much original, hard work has gone into this album. If you don't listen now, I assure you that you'll be hearing about this one at the awards shows. 

I can only hope that I'll have equal passion for my career that Ryan has. Until that point, I'll continue soaking up the passion flowing from the work of others. 

27 March 2013


I'm just as guilty as the next person about looking back and reminiscing. Of course, I always end up kicking myself because I've really made it a goal to live in the here and now. For me, I can starting thinking about the past because of a dream, a song, a place... we all have thoughts and memories associated with almost all aspects of life. More than just "looking back," I'm guilty of the classic "what if?" questioning. I'll think about my life if I hadn't taken this class, ended that relationship, turned down that offer; the opposite happens to... what if I had taken that job? I spend so much time pondering this romanticized life that would have been mine had I chosen the other choice. I know that I'm not the only one who struggles with this.. If this wasn't a struggle, the world would be a completely happy place! Nobody would regret their choices. But, what I need to remember is this:

Maybe looking back may be appealing now, but who knows where this choice will take my life in the future? How do I know that this "bad decision" won't really be the greatest choice of my life?

I spend a lot of time reminding myself this, and I found this image on Pinterest . It sums up my feelings and explains everything I've been trying to explain to myself in such a happy ending, fairytale way. 

Live now to love your life today and tomorrow!

26 March 2013

How Old Am I Again?

Whenever I don't have school, I spend my days like someone twice my age would. I think it's because I love my momma and spend so much time with her, but I seriously get up and turn on the Today Show. I make a cup of coffee, some eggs, and I settle into my spot on the couch for the next couple of hours.

...yes, I am watching right now :)

I think I love it so much because my typical week is go-go-go, but my days off can have relaxed mornings. While I know much more productive ways to start my day, it's a day off! I enjoy the time to think and gather my thoughts for the day. I make lists for what needs to get done, check emails, make phone calls, etc., all while catching up on what's going on in the hollywood world. Possibly the reason I NEED the Today Show is this: it's hard enough to get out of bed when I have no reason to, but since I don't have a tv in my bedroom, this pulls me out of bed and gets me up and going! I guess maybe this "unproductive" start to my day is actually better in the long run! 

What wakes you up on your day off?

25 March 2013

Winter Wonder...what?!!

It is March 25 and my house is covered in snow. 
This is not okay. In less than 48 hours I will be on my way south, but for now this needs to end. Luckily, this weather gives me a reason to sit inside, pack, and watch Gossip Girl all day. The only reason that this is okay is that I'll be in Sanibel in a few short days. 

With the approaching road trip, what have I been doing to make sure that I have everything ready?

Yesterday I laid out my clothes and went shopping for any toiletries I'm needing. Can I just express how impressed I am for my ability to pack light this trip?! Seriously only 4 pairs of shorts and 5 shirts... well and my norts & tees. But, I'm telling you, this is a major step in the right direction for me. Today I'm packing my "carry on" bag, buying snacks, and buying lost of new music! (Florida Georgia Line, anything country!)

Tomorrow my plan is to make red velvet puppy chow and banana bread muffins for the road- yum! I'll do anything last minute, pack my bags, and pull an all nighter because I'll be way too excited about leaving to sleep! 

23 March 2013

Beach Reads

So yes, I am officially on the first day of spring intercession!! It's about time! And while I've been obsessing over new swim suits and clothes, my hardest shopping is yet to be done: my beach reads!

Those of you who enjoy reading will understand how instrumental this purchase is to an awesome vacation! Too serious of stories can lead to a loss of the lightness of the season. A read without depth is just... well it's just boring. Nobody wants boring. So, after much deliberation and reading reviews on GoodReads, I've picked my top three!

Perhaps the most fitting read for the season, Lilly: Palm Beach, Tropical Glamour, and the Birth of a Fashion Legend has been on my list of books to read for a while. The reviews spoke quite highly of the authors accuracy and of the biography in general. I think it'll be an interesting read and will certainly be fun while in the car, on the beach, or by the pool.

That Book about Harvard has been on my "To Read" list for a while now... ever since I saw it a Barnes & Noble. The Ivy league - the culture, not just the schools- has always been of huge interest to me. This book looks funny and insightful! Just what I enjoy. I'm really excited to read this one. While it's last on my priority list for spring break, I'm hoping that I'll get to at least start it.

I've been a Hemingway fan ever since I read The Sun Also Rises for a school analysis (I know, I couldn't believe that I liked a school book either!). I actually have to read A Farewell to Arms for my AP Lit class, but it's a good read for spring break. I love Hemingway's writing style, and his stories are not a blatant love story, but still have a romance aspect to them, which is perfect. (I read too much Nicholas Sparks in middle school... no more sappy love stories for this girl!)

There's just something about the beach and a good book. After this strenuous year, I'm so ready to get lost in someone else's world for a couple of weeks while hearing the sound of the ocean. I promised myself that I wouldn't start these books until the trip down to Florida, and it's killing me to wait 4 more days! But the wait will be worth it, I just hope these books aren't a letdown.

What are you reading this spring season?

21 March 2013

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

I am this close to losing all sense of motivation!!

Okay maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration... but seriously. Eight weeks from today I'll be walking across the stage accepting my diploma and finally getting out of jail high school! Having that knowledge, and the fact that tomorrow is my last day before a two week intercession, I am finding it incredibly challenging to get any studying for my 3 tests or preparation for my presentation tomorrow done (seriously, I've always wondered why teachers do this to kids). 

With giving up imminent, I decided to take a study break to write about... what else?! My study habits!

Let me preface this with telling you that I am ranked in the top 5% of my graduating class and have a 3.9 GPA.
I have almost an entire additional year of high school than what's required to graduate (credit-wise) and have taken almost every advanced placement possible since 7th grade. While I understand that I am only a senior in high school, I believe that my AP teachers have prepped me in every way possible for success in college. I understand that studying and succeeding in college is a completely different process, but this is what I have for now. 

1. Your first key to success is to do what your prof or teacher tells you to do! Yes, it is easy to show up to class and listen to lectures, but there's so much more that you can be doing. Always read the material being covered before you go to the class! Always do the homework, even if it isn't to be collected. But, most importantly, look at the outlines, notes, and book that you are covering before class. This not only helps you get knowledge that you may not get in class, but gives you an idea of what's going on and what you should know. This way, if you have anything that you still aren't understanding after the lecture, you can ask questions and clarify any rough spots. 

2. Make a to-do list! Okay, so i know this sounds very 30-year-old-housewife-ish of me, but I seriously make lists of everything. If I can organize what it is I need to be doing and physically cross tasks off my list, I feel so much more calm. Plus, I love the feeling of accomplishment as I see my list get smaller and smaller! 

3. Limit your studying time. And don't crunch material! I like to spread out my studying over the week before the test. Even if it's just reading through my notes at the very beginning of my "studying", it's a proven fact that your mind will subconsciously process material. The more you can get it into your head, your mind will be thinking about it and locking away the ideas without much effort on your part. It makes your real studying in the few days up to the test much less stressful! When it comes to my hard studying, I like to set a timer for 45 min on my phone. I work hard for that time, and take a 15 min break once it goes off. I might watch a few youtube videos, send a few texts/ emails, or online shop. I'm pretty good about getting back to studying, but if you tend to get distracted easily, I'd recommend setting a timer for your break, too. 

4. When it comes to the actual process of my studying, here's what I do:
quiz - throughly read notes - skim notes - make a condensed study guide - skim notes - quiz
I do this for each section or chapter and it's amazing to see how my quiz scores improve just with that simple process. I just added the step of making the condensed "notes of my notes". I try to fit everything for an entire unit or test on one sheet front and back. It's perfect for in between classes or at lunch glancing at and being able to jog my memory on a few major points or questions that I keep missing on the quiz. Repetition helps!

Studying and preparing is such a vital part of a student's life and I'm so glad that I kindof have a system down. While I'm sure it'll be tweaked this time next year, a foundation is all I need right now! 

I'm pretty sure this break has been longer than my typical 15-minute break... but I deserved an extended one!

Happy Friday! 

20 March 2013

Worn Out Apps

So, my iPhone is basically glued to me on a regular basis. Even though I get almost no signal in more than half of my classes (yaaaay high school), I still manage to communicate with my phone throughout the day. When I just cannot get signal, I revert to a few of my favorite apps. These apps get a huge amount of lovin' on a daily basis, so why not share?

yes, some of the apps are old. but these are my daily go-to's

Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. These apps are 100% percent my obsessions. I pay attention to the lives of others way more than I should, but I have this weird fascination with studying others... maybe I should be a sociologist. But seriously, I analyze the feeds of everyone I follow. I find myself questioning why someone I've never talked to in person chooses to post certain tweets or images. For attention? For fun? who knows. I probably have a problem, but don't we all?

p.s. Instagram has been kindof beneficial to me in more ways that just the fact that I can share my pictures with the rest of the world. I never used to be the type to take pictures, but now I do. All. The. Time! I obviously don't post every picture I take, but I definitely document my life much more than I used to, which I enjoy.

Lose It. So, obviously it's spring break and summer time. While that means sweet tea, the beach, and sun, it also means swimming suits! And hopefully you understand when I say that I did a little too much indulging over the holidays. Lose It is the single best weight loss app... out of the free ones, at least! It's been super efficient in helping me track my meals and workouts. Seriously, with it I was able to reach my spring break goal this week! And I don't leave for another week. How awesome is that?! This app has definitely gotten a lot of love from me lately.

 Shazam. Well, to be honest, all my music apps all receive thorough use. I have been using shazam more than usual lately, because I'm keeping a list for my spring break playlist! I also use Pandora daily (and am not too happy to hear about the new time limits... I still haven't pulled the trigger on paying for Pandora) and, of course, the music and iTunes app. I am a music fanatic and I truly use my iPhone for the music almost more than anything!

Technology amazes me! I can do so much on such a small device.
What are your favorite apps? I'm curious for some other good ones to download.

18 March 2013

5k is for wimps: week 2

I apologize for not posting week two last week... I'm a bit behind. Hopefully you aren't, though! Enjoy this week's workouts. I promise to keep up with it now! 

Get running!

17 March 2013

My New Baby

So graduation just got very real to me; my parents decided to buy me an early graduation present. What is it, you ask?

via Instagram

This beaut right here: the 15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

Yes, I am a spoiled brat and yes, I am indebted to them for the next 6 years of my life.
This plus paying for all of my college? 
Like seriously, I feel like such a grown up!

This is the first step to becoming my own entity. I had to set it up under my own apple id (meaning... no more using dad's credit card for app store and iTunes purchases :'( ) and it's 100% mine. Of course, while I'm home I'll let my parents use it if they want.... and it is under their insurance. But this is my computer. And, while it doesn't seem like a huge deal, it really is! I'm starting my own life in a few short months. And, in a few years, I'll be completely on my own!

I kindof experienced a bit of an epiphany when I opened this up. I just realized that I'm growing up and I'm not a little girl anymore who can always rely on Mommy and Daddy... no matter how badly I want to. 

While I'm in love with my new computer,
I can't help but have a healthy fear and excitement for the years ahead.

16 March 2013

Getting Outside of Myself

Last night was one of the most anticipated nights of my entire senior year! The Riley Dance Marathon was last night and it was an overwhelming success. We'd been planning since August, and our hard work paid off.... literally! We raised over $23,000 which put our total raised over $100,000! It was so much fun for all that were involved, and it was awesome to spend my night raising money and support for young kids. Those kids are stronger than I will ever be.

This picture was taken at the end of the night, when we revealed our earnings! Unfortunately, I left extremely sick and didn't get to see this in person. But I'm still so so happy for the results and am so fortunate to have been involved in such an incredible journey.

It feels so good to do good for others! 

13 March 2013

Listen List

So, music is to the soul what chocolate is to the mouth. It is essential, makes everything better, and can capture so much in so little. I listen to a variety of genres, but there's one genre that just screams spring and summer to me: Country!

I'm not a crazy, die hard fan, but I love that all of the songs tell a story. Plus, they seem to capture the carefree attitude of summer beautifully! As always, I have a few songs that will surely be on my playlist these upcoming months.

This one is at the top of my list! It's perfect for being on the beach and having fun. 

Literally, I get excited when I hear this song because I imagine being not in the midwest (where it is currently snowing... in March. Don't get me started)

Country and Summer just go together, don't they?

11 March 2013

Going South: the Essentials

Spring is coming and whether you're going south for vacation or are just going to enjoy the northern sun, there are a few essentials for spring!



1. The classic J. Crew chinos and VV shep shirt. The chinos are wonderful! They can be dressed up or down, and match almost anything. They're easily the best investment. The VV shirt is totally worth every cent! I love wearing these while taking night walks on the beach or while out at a windy pier. And these two together? The perfect spring outfit.

2. Caps! I used to never be a fan of wearing hats, but I've grown quite fond of them. I love big, flop hats for dressing up; ball caps I use to run in or while out at the beach to keep the sun off my face and the sand out of my hair. I love the cute colors of Ralph Lauren ones! 

3. For those at the beach, a cute beach bag is totally essential. This is actually the bag that I bought from Lilly Pulitzer and I'm in love (beach bag packing coming soon!) It's so big that it can hold almost anything and act as a second "carry on" type bag for traveling to and from the vacation destination. Next to it is a kindle. This picture actually kindof summarizes my beach time. Sunglasses, hat, and a good book. Can't get better than that! 

It's no secret that I'm so looking forward to spring break and warm weather! The closer I get, the more I want to just start packing right now! 

What are your spring essentials?

10 March 2013

Around the World: Amsterdam

I think I've hinted at my love of traveling before... and possibly even the places that I've been. One of the most inspiring and amazing places I've been to was Amsterdam.

No, no, not for that reason.
It is one of the most unique places I can imagine. The people were ridiculously nice, the weather was perfect, the bikes... oh my gosh the bikes! It's just a place that you have to see to understand. And with that, I'm going to reminisce and post a few of my favorite pictures from Amsterdam.

The view I woke up to every day.

A typical street in the morning

The canal

Amsterdam is a place that I would move to in a heartbeat. While so different from the places I usually vacation, I would definitely go back. It was wonderful!

Where would you go if you could choose?

09 March 2013

Beautiful Simplicity

There is something so beautiful about the simple things in life. 

The coming of spring has made me appreciate the little things in life.
Like a family dinner or a walk with my dog.

Hearing the birds chirping while I read and sip tea in the morning.

One way that I love bringing beauty to everyday is by small pops of color. I love colorful outfits, but I'm one to stay with a common theme. I'm not too out there. But, there is one way that I love bringing fun colors to my day: this is with nail polish! 

Nail polish is such a simple and fun way to wear a color that maybe intimidates you. Or, like me, maybe you have a favorite color but you don't like how that color looks when you wear it. Pretty nails make me feel girly and fun... bright nail colors remind me of the sunshine and summer.

My favorite color for this spring is Essie's Mint Candy Apple. I've actually had it since fall, when I found it in a makeup store in Paris! It's the prettiest Tiffany Blue, but it was just released in America this season. Of course, you can never go wrong with a red, or more fun, coral!! 

Put some fun in your life, with a simple change of nail color! 

08 March 2013

The Early Bird Gets the Worm...

...or so the saying goes.

I've been an early riser my whole life. All through high school, while my friends sleep in until 12 or 1, I'm up early and getting stuff done. The thought of wasting my day away unconscious just makes me sick and stressed out. There is so much that can and has to be done... relaxation comes later! I take my relaxation time seriously, but it really does come at the end of my day. After about 10:00 pm, I shut down, log off, and relax. Before 10 am is a whole different story. 

For instance, today before 8 am, and the start of school, here's what I got done:
woke up/ got ready
packed my lunch
made eggs for breakfast
caught up on twitter, instagram, facebook from last night
went to the library and got a 30 min study session in
answered e-mails and spoke with teachers
went to class

While this pales in comparison to may favorite blogger, Carly, this is quite a list of accomplishments for pre-8 am! 

You've all heard the studies of the benefits of getting up early. Here's a completely unscientific reason for getting up: it makes me feel so much more prepared! Without my morning schedule and getting that start on my day, I would be an even more stressed out mess than I already am! While getting up early may seem horrific to some, it adds hours to my days and years to my life. I'd be a mess without my morning routine.

Are your mornings hectic and sporadic or calm and planned out?

05 March 2013

5k is for wimps!!

So, I've been running for a few years just recreationally and I'm really getting tired of my training-for-nothing plan. I've run 5ks and distances up to 6 miles, but I'm wanting to push myself a little bit more. I've been trying out different 13.1 mile plans and none of them seem to work. They pile up all the distance on the weekends and don't include any cross training to give muscles time to repair. Over the weekend, I found a plan that looks like it might be just the one for me!

I've always loved Nike.. I mean, you can't go wrong with them! They sponsored a tweet about training for a half-marathon, so I decided to give the plan a look. I love it! As soon as it warms up, I'll be running my way to a 13.1!!!

For anyone wanting to try it out with me, I'll give you week 1:

I believe it goes along with workouts in the Nike Training Club App, which is free on the app store. 
Go ahead and try it out! I won't be starting until next week or the week after, but I'll post the plans for anyone wanting to follow the plan.

Train Hard! 

04 March 2013

What I'm Busy Doing

You may (or may not) have noticed that I've been taking a few days between posts. As much as I hate doing so, I've realized that I can't stress about posting, because I need to stay excited new topics and posts. I figured with all this time away, I'd give a little update on what I'm spending my very sparse free time doing.

When I first bought Mumford & Sons' music, I wasn't a huge fan. 
But that is quickly changing.

Unfortunately, March did not bring with it any warmer weather. 
But the newest Starbucks drink makes the cold a little more bearable.
It's a Hazelnut Macchiato... basically hot, liquid Nutella. Yum.

Lusting over a new MacBook. 
My laptop is old, so I'e been using my dad's laptop for the past year or so. Graduation is so close at this point, and I'm debating the best choice for college and the future.

I'm hoping that the craziness dies down, the weather warms up, and these next few weeks fly by. I just want to be on the beach right now!! 

What's been keeping you busy?

01 March 2013

Call Me Crazy...

So, it's finally March!!! To me, that means one thing: Spring Break! In 26 days I will be on my way to sunny Sanibel Island with my Lilly Pulitzer beach tote and flip slops in hand. Basking in the sun, reading a few books, running in the crisp Florida air... I want it all! With only a few paychecks left before break, I've got a few major items left to get. I know, I know... I'm crazy for thinking that I need any of this. But Spring Break shopping is essentially welcoming the warmth in. I'm just trying to be hospitable :)

This Lilly tote is a the absolute top of my list!! I'm debating on prints and I've had my eye on the Hold your Horses... but the Chin Chin is really growing on me. Either one will be fabulous and adorable for summer, too. 

Which one do you like best?

I'm also a lover of Sperrys... their new spring collection has me absolutely drooling! I think the bright colored ones are cute, but I just can't justify buying them because I just don't think I'll get enough wear out of them. These, though, I'd probably end up wearing every day. They're so incredibly perfect!

I'm well aware the it seems like I have a shopping problem... okay so maybe I do. I don't deny it. But I think that it's the only way to stay sane at this point. Spring break so close, yet so far away; I have tests and studying to endure before my feet touch that sand. But, it will be here soon enough & for that I'm thankful.