Finals week survival guide | Last one. . ever!

I’d like to think that after 7+ years of college, that I am pretty experienced in the whole how-to-survive-college field. Does that mean that I haven’t gone through some days, weeks, or semesters kicking and screaming? Hell no. It just means that I am here, I survived, and you will too.

In honor of my last-ever finals week, I have pondered the thought of creating a list of ways to survive finals week. After some deliberation, I decided to myself, “why the hell not?!” So, without further ado, here it is. Kick some ass, y’all.

  1. Find your study spot. This is, by far, the most important item on this list. Whether it is in an eerily silent library, a Starbucks full of hustle and bustle, or alone on your couch in your basement, find what works for you. If you and your pals have differing preferences, maybe it’s best to study without them. I will admit, I did learn this the hard way! I promise, what works best for you will give you the best, and most promising, results.
  2. Take a break. Cramming for 36 hours straight with no sleep, gallons of caffeine, and little time to breathe will not give you the best results. Everyone needs to stop and take a breath every once in a while. So, do it. Take a step back from that book. Go for a walk. Take a drink of water. You got this.
  3. Sleep well. I have lived both lives: the life of an all-nighter and the life of a good night’s rest. And, let me tell you, the nights I got some sleep, not only did my grades improve dramatically, but my happiness skyrocketed as well. Sleeping gives your brain the downtime it deserves. Walking into an exam with an over-tired, dazed mind will do you no good. Do yourself a favor, lay your head on that pillow.
  4. Eat healthy. Sure, McDonalds is the most convient meal when it is 1am and you are starving in the library. Is it the best thing for you at that specific time? Absolutely not! Your body is fueled by nutritious, energizing foods that keep you going instead of weighing you down. Pack some fruits and veggies, and skip the fries.
  5. Workout. Go for a walk. Go for a run. Punch a punching bag while imagining it is your professor who unfairly gave you way too much information to study [just kidding]. But, really. Getting some exercise will not only make you feel great, but it will improve your efficiency when you go back to hitting the books.
  6. Visit your professor. There is no such thing as a stupid question. Cliché? Yes. But a question that is hanging over your head, no matter how big or how small, can be answered through conversation and insight on the final exam. Don’t have the means to visit during office hours? Shoot your professor an email. Plus, asking questions will show the effort you are putting in and how much you care about acing this test! Can you say brownie points?
  7. Realize that finals week is only a week, and it will end. There is always and forever light at the end of the tunnel. This week is, without a doubt, the hardest, longest, and most stressful week of any semester of any year of college that you will ever experience. However, the feeling you get once the week is over is unlike any other. Keep on keepin’ on. You got this!

xoxo.

Monday motivation.

Guys, I am three assignments/exams away from a Master’s degree.

That being said, today’s post totally didn’t get pre-written, totally didn’t go up on time, and totally is about to suck because I am stuck in the whirlwind that is my life on the road to graduation [finally].

So, for this Monday [evening], I will leave you with my most current motivator that is pushing me through every single moment that I want to rip my hair out [aka every moment of my life as of recent]:

“Don’t think about what can happen in a month. Don’t think about what can happen in a year. Just focus on the 24 hours in front of you and do what you can to get closer to where you want to be.” 

xoxo.

11 out of 12, done!

Happy December, everyone!

Yesterday was so insane that I didn’t realize it was the final day of November until around 8pm. [I did not even realize until close to 11pm that my scheduled blog post did not go through as anticipated – so look for that within the coming week!]. However, when I did finally realize it, I got way too excited for my own good. December is my favorite month of the year, mostly because of Christmas, somewhat because of how pretty the snow looks.

November flew by, which is somewhat shocking considering I did not have much to do throughout this past month. Normally when I don’t have much on my calendar, it seems like the months last a lifetime, however this was not the case. November was one of the only months out of this year that I actually had some time to relax after work and on the weekends and, let me tell you, it was refreshing.

Some things I did throughout the month of November include:

  • Surprising my Mom for her birthday by bringing my brother home from college for the weekend; the first time he’s been home since he moved to Ohio back in August.
  • Getting inducted into Kappa Delta Pi, the honor society for graduate education majors.
  • Getting my fourth tattoo in memory of a friend at a fundraiser event with the proceeds benefitting mental health, suicide awareness, and crisis services.
  • Celebrating Thanksgiving with my boyfriend’s family in Rochester, New York.
  • Going Black Friday shopping for the first time!
  • Going out to various dinners with friends and family, spending time with the ones I adore most.

What are some of your favorite things you did during the month of November?

When doesn’t Ulta Beauty drain my bank account?. . a memoir

I will start off this post by saying that technically I didn’t go into Ulta to shop for myself. However, some of the deals on Black Friday were a teensy bit too good for me to pass up and naturally, I had to make a purchase.

It is no secret to anyone on this blog that I have a new-found love for makeup. While I rarely wear makeup Monday thru Friday thanks to my often increased levels of sweat at my job, I am no stranger to it on the weekends, or even to evening events, dates, whenever I want to feel good about myself, etc.

Fast forward to the information that actually matters.. my Ulta shopping haul. I will make it known right here and now that until I got to the cashwrap and saw the massive display of Morphe Cosmetics, I only had one thing in my shopping bag. But, thanks to some peer pressure from my boyfriend to “treat myself on your first Black Friday,” here we are with enough makeup to do a mini-store haul.

Item #1: Smashbox Studio to Go Eyes 

This $10 bundle was way too good to pass up, mostly because never in my life have I tried anything from Smashbox, but also because getting a $27 value for $10 is incredible. In this mini bundle, you receive a 0.06oz Photo Op Eye Shadow Single in the shade Nude, as well as a 0.02oz Deluxe Size Always on Gel Liner in Fishnet (black). Since I bought this bundle, I have worn this on my eyes every single day. The shadow goes on so smoothly and is so pigmented, and the liner is absolutely to die for – they weren’t kidding when they said it was weightless. I am looking forward to purchasing, for sure, the gel liner in full-size once this mini runs out!

Item #2 : NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream 3 Piece Set

NYX SOFT MATTE LIP CREAM IS MY FAVORITE LIP PRODUCT TO DATE. Did I need the unnecessary caps lock? Yes, yes I did because I need to get the point across to you that not only is this product super affordable, but it stays on all day, feels weightless as ever, and the colors are so pigmented that you feel as if you are wearing a high-end lip product. This bundle was $12, saving $6 from its’ $18 value. Ulta had a wide array of trios available, but my eye went directly to the one I purchased as every single shade of these 0.27oz lippies were new! Austin (a pink shade), Los Angeles (a brown shade), and Warsaw (a purple shade), are all everyday-appropriate and products that I will for sure grab for when I go to complete my look.

Item #3 and #4: Morphe 25A Copper Spice and 25B Bronzed Mocha Eyeshadow Palettes 

I combined these two items together solely for the fact that what I say about one will directly mimic the other. The Jaclyn Hill Eyeshadow Palette was the first product I’ve ever purchased from this brand and, I swear to you on my life, that I have never reached for another eyeshadow palette ever again. Every other palette I own has been pushed aside or tucked away in makeup storage due to their sub-par quality as compared to Morphe’s pigment, bendability, and creamy color. So, much to my [pleasant] surprise, when I saw Morphe at the cashwrap, it all went down. I picked up these two eyeshadow palettes for a discounted price of $12 a piece. I fell head-over-heels in love with these palettes. The 25A Copper Spice Eyeshadow Palette (top photo) ranges from deep browns and spicy cream shades to fiery metallic and shimmery taupe shades. This palette is perfect for either an extremely neutral to an all out smoky look. The 25B Bronzed Mocha Eyeshadow Palette (bottom photo) ranges from glimmering bronze shades to rich mocha and burgundy shades while having the perfect balance of matte and shimmer. This wide range allows for looks that fit perfectly for any occasion or any lifestyle.

What are some of your most-recent makeup finds? xoxo.

_

Find the products mentioned below:

  • Smashbox Studio to Go Eyes: http://www.ulta.com/studio-go-eyes?productId=xlsImpprod17191209
  • NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream 3 Piece Set: http://www.ulta.com/soft-matte-lip-cream-set?productId=xlsImpprod17031155#
  • Morphe 25A Copper Spice Eyeshadow Palette: http://www.ulta.com/25a-copper-spice-eyeshadow-palette?productId=xlsImpprod17081137
  • Morphe 25B Bronzed Mocha Eyeshadow Palette: http://www.ulta.com/25b-bronzed-mocha-eyeshadow-palette?productId=xlsImpprod17081139

 

Sweet tooth Tuesday?!

As some of you may remember, I wrote up a blog post about some treats I found on Pinterest that I was debating making for Thanksgiving. Well, this newest blog post is to reveal which recipe I picked, lay it out for you, and let you hear about the results!

With an over-abundance of pies and cookies, I decided on making the Fall Oreo Acorn Balls. Easy enough for someone like me who has slim-to-no talent in the kitchen, cute and festive enough for the holiday, and tasty enough for anyone of any age to enjoy. So, once I narrowed my choice down, I headed on over to the supermarket, picked up my ingredients, and headed straight to the kitchen to start “baking.”

The process at times seemed extremely tedious, as my OCD wanted every “acorn” to look as identical as possible, and be covered in the same amount of chocolate and sprinkles, etc. However, the turn out was amazing! They looked adorable, tasted great, and seemed to be a huge hit!

If you’re interested in trying this recipe, today is your lucky day, because you will find the recipe below! Everything that I did differently from the original recipe is highlighted with italics text.

Fall Oreo Acorn Balls 

Yield: 30-40 balls

Total Time: 3 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of peanut butter Oreos (15.25oz), pulsed in a food processor
  • 1 package of regular cream cheese (8oz), softened
  • Nestle milk chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp. Crisco vegetable shortening
  • Brown sprinkles
  • Pretzel sticks, broken into small pieces

Directions:

  1. Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature.
  2. Put half of the Oreos in the food processor and pulse until you have Oreo crumbs. Add the other half of the Oreos into the food processor and pulse again, until all the Oreos are fine crumbs.
  3. Once the cream cheese is soft, mix the Oreos and cream cheese together, making sure the mixture is very well blended.
  4. Use a tablespoon to measure the Oreo mixture and form it into acorn shapes. I used a bit more than 1 tbsp. for each acorn – to make an acorn, I formed the mixture into an elongated oval, pinching one end to make it slightly tapered and flattening the other.
  5. Place the acorns on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and place them in the freezer for 1 hour. I left mine overnight. 
  6. After the acorns are hard, begin to melt the Nestle chocolate chips with the Crisco in a double broiler. You will need a double broiler to keep the chocolate warm while dipping all of the acorns.
  7. Once pencil sticks are broken into small pieces, push/twist into the hardened Oreo ball. You will then be able to dip the Oreo ball into the chocolate while holding onto the pretzel stick “stem.”
  8. To dip, place 1 acorn in the saucepan with melted chocolate. Use a spoon to spoon chocolate on top of the acorn, if needed. To remove the acorn use a fork to lift it out of the chocolate. Move the acorn to another baking sheet lined with wax paper.
  9. Cover the top portion of the acorn with sprinkles.
  10. Continue this process until all of the acorns are dipped. Allow them to harden at room temperature.
  11. After they set, serve and enjoy!
  12. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

What were some of your favorite Thanksgiving desserts? xoxo.

Shop ’till you drop | Holiday 2017

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday and spent time with those that you love and appreciate the most!

As I am sure you’ve caught onto, I took a couple-day hiatus from the blog to celebrate the holiday along with some birthdays and an over-abundance of Black Friday shopping! In honor of Cyber Monday, aka the continuation of Black Friday, stick around for an overview of my first Black Friday experience!

It was my first Black Friday as a non-retail employee, so I was super-stoked to partake in this event. This adrenaline, and a few cups of coffee, pushed me [and my boyfriend] to get every single person on our shopping list complete, aka our Christmas shopping is done – and it’s not even December! It took around 10ish hours, but man, we did it [as pictured below].

While I can’t list a legitimate “haul” for the sake of friends and family reading the list and seeing their gifts laid out to the public, I can tell you where our journey began and ended.

  • Tim Hortons: Niagara Falls, NY
  • Target: Niagara Falls, NY
  • Walmart: Niagara Falls, NY
  • Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls: Niagara Falls, NY
  • *home to sleep for 3 hours*
  • Tim Hortons: Niagara Falls, NY
  • PetSmart: Amherst, NY
  • Best Buy: Amherst, NY
  • Starbucks: Amherst, NY
  • Target: Amherst, NY
  • Ulta Beauty: Amherst, NY
  • Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls: Niagara Falls, NY
  • *home to pass the frick out!*

Overall, some things I took from this experience are: if you don’t go to a department store right when they open, everything will be sold out; there were not nearly as many people as I expected there to be; some things totally are not worth getting on Black Friday – you have to look for the deals; large coffees will become the love of your life; people go wild for cat litter on Black Friday; you will see a million people you know; you won’t spend as much money as you think you will!

Did you have a great Black Friday experience? What are some deals that you absolutely could not pass up? xoxo.

 

What I’m thankful for | Family +friends

I have been blessed with the largest, loudest, craziest, kindest, perfect family.

I am thankful for the fact that my family is so close; that it is not out of the ordinary to “pop in” to an uncle’s house or my grandparent’s house on any given day at any given time. I am thankful that I live exactly 3 minutes away from both sets of grandparents. I am thankful that my family has my back through everything.

I am thankful for my parents, who raised me to be a strong, independent, take-no-shit kinda girl. I am thankful for my brother, who inspires me every single day to be a better person. I am thankful for my grandparents, for loving me unconditionally and supporting everything I do. I am thankful for my aunts, uncles, cousins, and beyond, without whom, my family would not be loud, or crazy, or large. I am thankful for my boyfriend’s family, who has welcomed me into their [even larger] family with open arms and a loving heart.

I am thankful for the friends that have turned into family. The best friend that I cannot live without. A boyfriend who brings out the best in me and supports every single [insane] thing I do. I am thankful for new friends, who are becoming my ride or dies, my go-to’s.

I am thankful for every single person in my life that has come and gone. If you’re still here, thank you for still being here. If you’re not, thank you for helping me to learn important life lessons and figure out what I deserve.

Spend time with the ones you love this holiday season. And be forever grateful. xoxo.

What I’m thankful for | Education

While this is often the source of most of my complaints, it is one thing that I am the most thankful for: education.

It has taken me 24 years, 10 months, and 19 days to figure out that education is the most important and most valuable thing you can have in your life. Money, houses, cars, they don’t mean a single thing. It is the knowledge, character, and success that comes from education. It has taken me this long to also appreciate the success and preparedness that goes along with receiving a quality education.

A little fun fact that you might not know about me, is that I am a Catholic school girl. Pre-K through 12th grade, I donned a uniform every single day of my life. During these years, mostly high school, I didn’t know how to appreciate how much of a blessing Catholic schooling was. I was extremely well-prepared for college. I [would like to think I] am a well-rounded individual. I was challenged academically and pushed forward to success, even at an early age. I didn’t really realize the toll that this expense took on my family and that sending my brother and I to Catholic school for all those years was actually a huge deal. A deal now that I wonder about for my future children.. *How will I be able to afford this? Can I support this? Is this even possible? Why am I thinking about kids? I’m only 24 jeez slow down.*

Again in these 24 years, 10 months, and 19 days, I have learned about the importance of not only furthering your education but furthering your education in the right institutions. There is an extreme difference between a low quality and high quality institution, both support-wise and emotional-stability-wise.  Another little fun fact? I have gone to three colleges. I graduated with my Bachelor’s from one. Tried grad school at the other. And am about to graduate with a Master’s from the next.

That school in the middle? Hated it. I felt extremely uncomfortable being there. I didn’t feel supported. I didn’t feel as if I was learning adequate information, let alone adequate information that would actually pertain to my future. I felt lost, uninspired, and unmotivated. But what was even scarier? Coming to terms and accepting the fact that I needed to move on.. an opportunity that, again, I am thankful to have had. If I had never chosen to better myself and better my education and better my future, where would I be today?

I am thankful to have been raised going to Catholic school, an opportunity many do not have. I am thankful to be able to go to college, a blessing that some people unfortunately do not have. I am thankful that I have had these opportunities, and I wish that everyone else could say the same.

Education is something that I will fight for every day of my life. I believe that quality education paves the way for our future leaders, doctors, lawyers, teachers, you name it. Every kid deserves a shot at high quality education. Every kid deserves a shot at graduation. Every kid deserves a shot at success.

Education.. I thank you. xoxo.

Thankful | Holiday 2017

For the next few days leading up to Thanksgiving, my blog posts will revolve around things that I am thankful for.

I hope that by doing this, you will reflect on all that you are thankful for, as well. It could be something as large as the love of your life, or as small as your new candle from Bath and Body Works [totally guilty for this one!].

In return for you listening to me sharing my blessings and thanks, I’d love to hear from you and I’d love to know what you are thankful for this holiday season. xoxo.

How is it already Friday?! | TGIF

It is literally the third Friday in November.

Another week has come and gone. We are six days away from Thanksgiving. One week away from Black Friday. Two Fridays away from the first day of December. And all I can think is.. HOW.

I swear, these weeks keep going by faster and faster. While they may seem to drag for me most of the time, I always get to Friday and I think to myself, *whoa can my life slow down?*

I feel as if I am totally not ready to turn 25 in just short of 7 weeks. I feel as if I am totally not ready to graduate with a Master’s Degree in just about a month. I feel as if I am still a junior in high school anticipating graduating and moving off to college and starting my life. But then, another Friday rolls around and I realize that life is moving faster than I can even handle.

Last night, I was inducted into the Alpha Alpha Beta chapter of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. If you know me, you know that there is nothing I hate more than “bragging” about myself and my accomplishments. However, at almost-25, I am finally shouting from the rooftops that I am so damn proud of myself. I am about to graduate with a Master’s Degree and a 3.9 GPA. All while balancing this crazy life going on around me. So much has changed this year, for better and for worse, and I really don’t know how I pulled this one off.

This Friday feels good. And I thank God for getting me here. xoxo.