February 28, 2015

How to overcome senioritis {high school, college, and beyond}


There's something about this time of the year. It's like everyone's energy and motivation is simultaneously zapped. In high school, college, and even during my second-to-last semester of grad school I've had to deal with "senioritis." Wikipedia says that senioritis is mainly used in the United States and Canada to describe the decreased motivation toward studies displayed by students who are nearing the end of their high school, college, and graduate school careers. Since high school, I've gotten a lot better at dealing with this draining part of the semester and I want to share a few tips I use to bounce back and finish the semester the way I started it!


1. Acknowledge your lack of motivation | Just like any other issue, the first step is admitting you have an issue! Senioritis is so common among high school students, college students, and even professionals. We all get to a point or season when we lose motivation and just feel stuck with no desire to work. 

2. Remember how far you've come/what you've achieved | Whenever I'm lacking in motivation, it helps when I remember what I've already accomplished over the semester. I tell myself that if I have already come this far, surely I can keep going and finish strong. Sometimes it helps to look at old tests, quizzes, notes, emails, or to-do lists.

3. Consider the consequences of not finishing the semester strong | For some people it helps to think about how awful things might turnout if you don't get motivated and do your very best work for the rest of the semester. Awful things include getting bad grades, having to repeat classes, getting a bad reputation with your professors and peers, or not graduating just because you didn't put forth enough effort.

4. Reset goals and plan of action | One of the most important things to do when trying to overcome senioritis is to reset your goals and make a plan for finishing up the semester. Setting goals can just be reinforcing the goals you set at the start of the semester or it could mean making new goals. 

5. Change your accountability method | For years I've used my agenda as my organization method for school, work, and life in general. But once senioritis hits, my agenda does not keep me motivated and I have to add-on new checklist methods. I like to use post-it notes in my agenda, set reminders using my iPhone, set to-do lists with friends and work on homework with others, or reward myself for getting homework done.

6. Get rest and stay physically active | Regardless of if your final semester is super busy or full of easy electives...you should still be getting enough rest and exercise. Getting enough rest and staying healthy are both key factors for keeping your mental health strong and staying more focused on school work.

7.  Countdown / Have events to look forward to attending | Semesters can drag on if you only have graduation to look forward to. Instead, think of other events leading up to the end of the semester/season that are exciting. For example, I'm looking forward to Spring Break, birthdays for friends and family, TV shows coming out, awards banquets, and graduation festivities. Life is more exciting when you have things to look forward to doing!


If you have another tip, please leave it in a comment!


I hope this helps you deal with the senioritis!

February 23, 2015

Recent healthy meals


It's been a while since I've shared my healthy meals, so here goes! The meal above was what I made from leftovers at a restaurant. I used blackened tilapia + raw spinach + raw carrot strips + creamed spinach to make very delicious tacos!


My roommate made eggplant parmesan using even more vegetables than normal (my favorite vegetarian dish!).


Similar to kale chips, I made spinach/kale/carrots chips in a blended dish, so yummy!


I'm back to having fruit smoothies on a regular basis for my breakfast, and this is a classic combo. I used a banana and handful of strawberries + a few ice cubes + a teaspoon of protein powder.


The results of my smoothie! It was sweet, tasty, and filling.


One night I made sushi using the tools I got from the sushi making class I went to a few weeks ago! I put avocado and carrots inside my sushi.


I think it turned out really well because it tasted like the sushi I order in restaurants. However, I struggled with cutting the sushi because I didn't have any knives sharp enough for the job.


My dad made this delicious, healthy meal - cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, mustard salmon, and a baked sweet potato. So clean, so good!!


My roommate made these sweet potato burgers using this recipe, and they were such a healthy treat!


She made the sweet potatoes even tastier by topping them with her infamous apple slaw and chipotle sauce, yum!


Kale chips have become my favorite late night snack since I gave up chocolate chip cookies for Lent.


I baked this piece of salmon with some mushrooms and olive oil. I seasoned the salmon with black pepper, oregano, parsley, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and stuffed the salmon with green salsa for a kick!


This is one of my proudest cooking accomplishments to date. I am such a fan of Chipotle, and even since I've stopped eating meat I still visit often and order the vegetable burrito bowl. I have been craving this meal for weeks, but the weather in Atlanta has been too freezing to make the trip to my closest Chipotle. So I've slowly been stocking up on materials I knew I would need to recreate this dish. And last week I did it!


For my bowl I made corn and black bean salsa with kale, my own guacamole, onions and peppers, green salsa, tomatoes and of course I had to top it with cheese! Underneath all of that is brown rice with cilantro, yum!


How is healthy eating going for you?


February 20, 2015

ONE MILLION VIEWS!!!!!!





Yesterday my blog reached and passed ONE MILLION VIEWS! This was the goal that I set for page views when I first started blogging back in 2012, and this was one of my goals to accomplish in year 24. I'm almost positive that nobody read my blog posts for the first few months besides my family (especially my dad) and friends who I begged to read it. But I kept posting and kept sharing my blog with others. I believed in the information I was sharing and hoped that somehow it would help college students, people trying to live healthier, or people looking for inspiration. That is why I started blogging

I put a page view tracker on the bottom of my blog a few months ago, and I've been checking it periodically. This is what it said when I checked it last night:

So exciting, and I am so grateful to every single person who has read my blog once, occasionally, weekly, or every day. Thank you so much!


Things are definitely getting busy in my life with school, my company, making plans for life after grad school, and working on other things I want to accomplish in 2015. So blog posts will happen less often on here, but I will definitely post when I have something good to share.

Again thank you so much, and to the bloggers out there with a similar goal, I know you can do it too! Keep posting, keep interacting with other bloggers, and remember why you started! :)

xoxo


February 17, 2015

Questions to break the ice / list of conversation starters



I'll be the first to admit that meeting new people at events can be kind of awkward if you're not super social. As an introvert, I really have to make an effort to meet new people and engage in conversations with strangers at events, but it's always worth it because I leave knowing a new person! Talking to new people can be difficult at first, but I've found that being prepared to talk to strangers makes things 100x easier. If the conversation doesn't naturally start or carry on, I always have some questions in mind to spark conversation and hopefully make some connections with the person. The key to asking questions is to also listen to the answers - that's how you can make a great response and potentially make connections!

So here are some of the questions and conversation starters I use in three different settings: college settings, work settings, and random social events in Atlanta. I hope these are helpful for you!

In college
  • What's your major?
  • What year are you in school?
  • What made you decide to attend *insert college name here*?
  • Where are you from?
  • What high school did you go to? (If you're familiar with their hometown)
  • Do you live on or off campus?
  • What organizations are you involved in?
  • Do you work or have an internship?
  • What career do you plan to have?
  • What do you do for fun on the weekends?

At work
  • How long have you worked here?
  • How do you like working here?
  • What are some of your responsibilities?
  • Where are some good lunch spots?
  • How many people are in your department / on your team?
  • Where else have you worked?
  • Do you have any upcoming projects?

Random social events
  • How'd you hear about this event?
  • What do you do?
  • Where are you from?
  • How is the food?
  • What area/part of town do you live in?
  • Where did you get your *insert clothing item here* from?
  • *Mention something interesting you've noticed about the event*

Do you have a go-to conversation starting question or statement? 
Please share in a comment below!


February 14, 2015

Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta {review}


The Center for Civil and Human Rights is located in Atlanta and opened to the public in June of 2014. However, I had not had the chance to visit this well-revewed museum until last month. My school purchased tickets for students to visit during the month of January and I went with my boyfriend and friend. It's difficult to share everything that is so great about this place because every exhibit I saw really blew my mind. We spent about two hours touring the center, but honestly that wasn't enough time. I plan to go back and view the exhibits that I didn't have time to see. Student and educator tickets are just $13!


My absolute favorite exhibit in the Center was sitting at the lunch counter (above). Once you sit down, you are challenged to put on headphones and listen to the hateful insults and experience the creepily realistic verbal abuse that many black people who participated in sit-ins experienced during the Civil Rights Movement. The true challenge is to stay calm, seated, and keep your hands placed on the counter throughout the entire experience. 


Many objects inside the museum are interactive, yet stay true to the time period.


I love the location of the Center because it's nearby other popular Atlanta tourist attractions and has a great view of our city.


This room (above) that shares information about the March on Washington was one of my favorites. If you've been to Washington D.C. and seen the new Martin Luther King Jr. monument, you can see the similarities. The room in the Center has a very large, wide screen that plays scenes from the March on Washington and the program that took place in D.C. Sitting in that room, I felt like I had gone back in time and was experiencing this historic event. They have tissues available in this room and others because the experience is that powerful and emotional for many.


Even the floors in the building display information and visuals about Civil and Human Rights!


This center is truly a gem in our city, and something that everyone should experience. It is the best museum I have ever visited, and I've been to many!




February 11, 2015

Why did you start blogging / why do you read blogs?



This post will be short because I am more interested in reading the comments and emails. 

If you're a blogger, tell me why you started blogging or what was the inspiration behind your blog? And please leave a link to your page so we can visit.


If you're a reader who doesn't have a blog, please share why you read blogs and what are some characteristics of blogs you enjoy?



These posts are always fun when people share and start conversations in the comments. I'll be sharing my answers soon too!

February 08, 2015

Recent natural no-heat hair styles


I'm not sure if I announced it here, but I set a goal to not straighten my hair until December of this year (when I will finish my master's degree). After doing the #NoHeatDecember challenge and going a few months at a time without using heat on my hair in 2014, I think that this year's challenge will be very doable. The toughest part for me was finding styles that don't take too long and that I still like wearing. I've been trying new styles each week and I'm really enjoying the ease and benefits of not flat ironing or blow drying my hair. Here are some recent styles:


For my birthday dinner I twisted medium size strands of wet hair and then used flexi rods to roll it.


Flexi rod set


Halo twist on old hair


Halo twist on old hair


Mini twists! This took wayyyy too long, but lasted for a while and was a great protective style for my hair.


How my hair normally looks 5-6 days after washing & styling it. I've been trying to stretch each style to last a week before I have to wash it again. I'll try and share other styles I try throughout the year!


February 06, 2015

Cheap healthy snacks {kale chips & banana smoothie}


Confession: chocolate chip cookies are my weakness. The kind you place & bake. It's my favorite snack and my favorite thing to pair with frozen yogurt. But I've really been trying to cut back on how often I eat them so that I can accomplish my health goals. So I browsed Pinterest for some tasty looking healthy snack ideas, and the two that sounded great to me were kale chips and a banana smoothie.


I followed these steps for baking, but changed my ingredients some. In a large mixing bowl I covered the kale chips with the olive oil then sprinkled on the following:
black pepper
lemon juice
sea salt


About halfway through baking, I drizzled on some balsamic vinaigrette.

And the final product...


So delicious!! Crispy, flavorful, and addictive. I can't wait to make these again very soon.



Whenever I go to Smoothie King, I order the "Banana Boat" smoothie. Full of bananas, protein, and ice cream. But I wanted to make a healthier version of this smoothie that still tasted great. For a late night snack I put two bananas, a few ice cubes, and 1/4 cup of milk in my NutriBullet.



Yum, and the end result!


I'm so happy that I've figured out how to make these healthy foods into tasty late night snacks because that's when I always want something to nibble on. These are perfect and easy snacks for those of you in college or busy people in general. Quick and filling!

What healthy snacks do you love?




February 04, 2015

Obsessed with these {New Balance Shoes}







For the past four or five years, I've been wearing one pair of pink Nike running shoes for working out. They were a gift and I have absolutely loved them, but it's time for a new pair of running shoes. I've been browsing around for some possible new sneakers, and I think these are my favorite. I've never had a pair of New Balance shoes, but I've heard good things about them and read some good reviews. These are the New Balance 1500v1 - Women's 1500 Running Shoes. They're bright, breathable, and seem to be well-made...I'm obsessed!





And they come in Coral! Not sure which one I like more.








If you have a pair of running shoes that you love, what kind are they?
 Let me know in a comment below before I decide what to order!

February 01, 2015

February fitness challenge {daily yoga poses}


I pinned this awesome yoga poses chart via Yoga Journal a few months ago, but I have yet to put it to use. One of my goals for this year is to attend more yoga classes and practice more often. In January I went to the two hot yoga classes I signed up for - 8 more to accomplish the goal I set. This poster has 26 fantastic yoga poses that are pretty simple so I've decided in addition to my regular exercise, I will start every morning in the month of February with one of these yoga poses. Once I get to the end of the list, I'll repeat them until the month ends.

Morning meditation is something I've been trying to incorporate back into my schedule and I think this is a great strategy.

If you decide to join in this challenge let me know!




January 28, 2015

My new favorite fruit smoothie {clean eating}


I wanted to share my new favorite fruit blend! I've done something similar using strawberries, spinach, and bananas. But this was my first time switching out spinach for kale, and I LOVED the results! I'm hoping to make fruit blends for breakfast at least twice a week. Normally, I have coffee, a bottle of water, and some piece of fruit.


I used one banana, a handful of kale, and a handful of strawberries. I rinsed the strawberries and kale before using them.


I included a few ice cubes for moisture and to make the drink cold.


The final result is a forest green color with some specks of red from the strawberries. It's the perfect blend of flavors and sweetness. I could drink this blend every single day. It also didn't leave my teeth stained like some fruit mixes (with blueberries, spinach, blackberries, etc.) often do. This also kept me full until lunchtime.


And I've also used the kale in other ways this week. 


I sautéed the kale in a little olive oil with onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, black pepper, and curry powder. 


I aso blended arugula and kale for this yummy salad. The salad was dressed in vinaigrette dressing and included cheddar cheese, tomatoes, strawberries, mushrooms, and a veggie burger!


What's your favorite fruit/veggie smoothie? I'm always looking for new recipes to try!




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