Weekend Reading

January 30, 2015

Despite the two snow days (!), this week has still felt long and stressful, so I'm happy that it's the weekend! It seemed like the teachers really piled on the work, and I can already sense that this semester's workload will be a lot heavier than last semester's. A highlight of the week for me was Scandal returning from it's winter hiatus. This episode was worth the wait!

Here are some things I found interesting this week:

{ via Refinery29 }

1. 15 Places That Should Be On Your Travel Bucket-List I feel like I include a list like this almost every week -- can you tell travel is on my mind?! I found this list to be especially interesting, and I would love to visit all of these places.

{ via Elle }

2. 22 Of Amal Clooney's Stellar Street Style Looks My friend sent me this because she loved her impeccable, classic style and I totally agree. She always looks classy and appropriate but not predictable. Her genius response to a reporter's fashion question has been all over the internet lately!

{ via Yahoo Beauty }

3. Meet 5 Women Born in the 1800s and Still Kickin' It This is a great piece on five "supercentenarian" women. It's amazing to think of all the worldly events that they've lived through. I especially love their simple advice for a long, fulfilling life.

{ via The Everygirl }

4. 5 Ways to Improve Your Monday I am always up for a good Monday motivation post. I think these are simple, effective tips. I especially like the idea of getting up early. I find that after the initial struggle of dragging yourself out of bed, an early start always feels better! I think it's important to start your week off feeling organized and motivated.


Dorm Room Workouts + A Playlist

January 29, 2015

My roommate and I resolved to work out more this year, but sometimes it's hard to get yourself to the gym on the cold winter nights. Luckily, there are so many workouts out there that are easy to do in small spaces like your dorm room or bedroom. 

When I do at-home workouts, I like to watch videos rather than look at pictures so I can see the steps in motion and know if I'm doing them correctly. Sometimes I even mute the videos so I can listen to my own music. Below I've included some workouts I've tried and others that I've been wanting to try out.

For those days when you'd rather stay inside, here are some ideas to get a workout in:

1. Tone It Up "Malibooty Workout" In the fall I got into a routine of doing this one pretty much every night for a few weeks and definitely saw the results! I also felt it getting easier each week, which is a good sign that a workout is working.

2. Victoria's Secret Model 10-Minute Fat-Blasting Circuit This looks like a quick but good workout that works the entire body. I like that it counts down the remaining time and reps in the corner of the screen!

3. POP Pilates Butt Blaster I did this workout one night and was so sore the next day! It was definitely a challenge and I felt muscles working that I didn't even know existed!

4. Pilates For Beginners: "The Hundreds" Ab Exercises My former ballet instructor was also a Pilates instructor so we sometimes incorporated Pilates exercises into our classes. The Hundreds are a set of exercises to be done, ideally, one hundred times. They really target all areas of the core.

I also decided to put together a playlist of some songs to work out to. They range in tempo and style so there's hopefully something for every type of workout.

Also, as a dancer, I'm a huge advocate of stretching both pre- and post-workout. I think this is a pretty good list of basic stretches.


Snow Day Ideas

January 27, 2015

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, a big blizzard is happening all over the northeast. That means classes are cancelled for us today, marking our first official snow day! I'm excited to relax and enjoy the day off, though I will have to do some homework.

Aside from catching up on homework, here are some things to keep you occupied if you have a snow day:

1. Play games My roommate and I have found ourselves playing cards or Bananagrams a few times in the past few weeks. It's actually a lot of fun! Cards Against Humanity is also always a good time. I think playing games is a great way to pass the time during a snow day.

2. Catch up on TV shows Snow days are great because you can be really lazy and not feel bad about it! Lately I've been loving Gilmore Girls and The Office, but am planning on rewatching Girls soon and highly recommend Scandal if you haven't seen it already.

3. Read It's always cozy to curl up and read a good book, especially if snow is falling outside. I shared what I've been reading lately here. I'm currently in the middle of Lena Dunham's memoir Not That Kind of Girl, which I'm finding pretty entertaining. Aside from reading that, I will probably also take a look at some of these wintry essays and stories.

4. Go on a walk It snowed a few inches on Saturday, and my friends and I took a walk to see campus in a coating of snow. It was so beautiful and makes you appreciate winter, which can be hard to do!

5. Bake If I was at home, I would definitely bake something. It's always a fun thing to do and the best part is you have something delicious to eat at the end. Although I can't cook at school, my mom did bring me some of her amazing homemade chocolate chip cookies over the weekend.

As I was writing this post, I came across this quote by Henry David Thoreau. I think it's a great way to think about things and a much-needed reminder to embrace the season and live in the moment. Even though winter is always cold and sometimes gloomy, it's definitely beautiful and can even be fun if you embrace it.


Snow on Campus

January 26, 2015

This weekend we got a nice covering of snow all over campus. It snowed basically all of Saturday, and a fresh coating of white made campus look especially beautiful. 

My friends and I went for a walk as the sun went down to take it all in. The path through the woods and the glowing clock tower were especially pretty.

On Saturday night, my roommate Lea and I accompanied my parents (who were in town for a night) to the hockey game. I had gotten my dad tickets because it was a big game against our rivals, UMaine, so I knew it would be good. We lost... but it was still fun!

We have a big blizzard coming to the northeast so we're all anticipating at least one day of classes to be cancelled this week!

I've found this part of John Updike's poem "January" to be particularly applicable lately:

The days are short,

The sun a spark,
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.


Weekend Reading

January 23, 2015

This was my first week of the spring semester, and it went well! I think my classes will be interesting and really enjoyed the way I set up my schedule this semester. I have some fun plans lined up for the weekend -- tonight my roommate and I are going to the movies and tomorrow my parents are coming for a big hockey game!

Here are some things around the internet that caught my eye this week:

{ via Buzzfeed }

1. Beautiful Portraits of Auschwitz Survivors I find the Holocaust fascinating and this piece is really moving. I think it's so important to keep the reality of the Holocaust and other genocides (especially current ones) present in the news. 

2. The Best Foods to Eat with Your Favorite Workouts I'm really interested in nutrition and I love how this article breaks down each food into its vitamins and nutrients. It then explains how the nutritional content helps aid in recharging the body following specific workouts.

3. 52 Places To Go in 2015 I liked this list because it provides lots of unconventional destinations and gives a reason why they're good places to visit this year. I found it interesting how the political climate affects travel (diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba opens up tourism opportunities, stabilized political situations in Bolivia precipitates formation of tourism infrastructure, etc). I actually laughed when I saw Cleveland, Ohio as number 21 on this list... my mom, sister, and I gave my dad such a hard time for picking that as our trip over vacation but apparently he was ahead of the game!

4. DIY Travel Journal To document all your 2015 travels, how cute is this DIY journal! So easy and I love how it can be personalized to your destination by selecting a certain segment of the map. I love the idea of affixing a Polaroid picture to the journal, too.

5. A Trip Through France on Film I'm obsessed with these photos -- a photographer documented her trip all across France. Her photos are beautiful and I loved seeing the all of the different sides of the country, from the rural farmlands to the German-inspired border villages.


How I Set Up My Planner

January 22, 2015

For some reason, I've never been able to consistently use a planner. In the past, if I had a lot of assignments for a week I would write it out on a fresh piece of paper and if I didn't have a lot of work I would be able to remember it all. This semester, however, I'm going to attempt to write down everything in my planner.

I think I never really used a planner because none of the ones I'd seen were set up in a way that worked for me. I never knew whether to write things down on the day that I should do them or the day that they were due. Now, I've found a solution -- each week I'm going to draw a line down the middle of the page to divide it into two columns. 

One column will be the tasks that I have to do that day, and the other column will let me know what assignments are due. My planner has a small margin beside the lines for each day where I'm going to write meetings or events to remember.

I'm a very visual person, so I use different colored pens for  different classes. I also used a binder clip to mark where I was in my planner so I can easily flip to the current week.

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