Wednesday, March 8, 2017

My Positivity Journal

It seems like everything around us is constantly moving. You travel from one class to the next every 50 minutes, you have practice and work right after school, and after that, you work on homework into the late hours of the night. Your days can go by so fast that you tend to overlook all of the tiny, good things that happen and focus on the major things that happen. Until recently, I was mainly focusing on the negatives.
Because of how fast it seems everything is moving and how I often find myself getting bogged down in the negatives, I began a positivity journal. Each night before I go to bed, I take out my journal, date the page, and write down three things that day that made me smile. It can be something as simple as, “Went on a late night ice cream run with my sister!” or something as monumental as, “Got my acceptance letter into UW-Madison today!” Since I started doing this about a month ago I’ve felt a few things…
First off, I’ve felt more positive! (shocker I know!)  Obviously, that’s the goal of my positivity journal, but I genuinely feel a lot more positive and happy throughout the day. I find myself being proud of myself for accomplishing something and also just being happy whenever one small thing goes my way. I’ve learned to appreciate the underrated, joyous things more, such as reconnecting with an old friend or spending the day organizing my room, and to not get too put down by other things, such as getting a B on my math quiz or having a lot of homework one night.
Since I’ve started my positivity journal, I’ve also felt like I have started to accomplish more on a daily basis. I spend my days trying to do more beneficial things so I can write away in my journal that night. I have felt more productive, wanting to cross off every item on my to-do list. I’ve started to actually want to study for that psychology test on Tuesday, and get that 50 question precalc MathXl done by 5 PM, so I can feel accomplished at the end of the day.
No, my positivity journal is not magic, and these changes certainly did not happen overnight. But since I started keeping this journal one month ago, I have slowly but surely felt like a more positive and productive person day-by-day. So I urge you to do the same and start a positivity journal! Focus on the little happy things that happen each day; life is too short to fall asleep thinking about all of the negative aspects of your days!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Combatting the Winter Blues

In my opinion, February is one of the most dreary and cold months that always tends to drag by day by day. There really isn’t much to look forward to, expect Valentine’s Day and Turnabout, and my motivation for school continues to sink lower and lower, as the sky (somehow!) manages to look grayer and grayer every day. To combat the winter blues and heighten my motivation just a little bit, here are some of the things I like to do:
  1. Catch up with friends! School is busy and scholarship essays are always looming over my shoulders, but it’s always good to take a break and catch up with some of your best friends. Grab a cup of coffee, watch a movie, or even just do homework with the people that you care about and who can always bring a smile to your face.
  2. Exercise. No, you don’t have to go for a full-on run in the 15 degree weather or pay for an expensive gym membership. Instead, actually try to put a little effort into gym class on a daily basis to get some athletic activity in for the day. If that’s not your cup of tea, do some yoga or stretch before bed using an easy step-by-step tutorial that can be found on Pinterest or Youtube. According to MindBodyGreen, just a few minutes of exercise can release endorphins to your brain, stimulating a happier mood and truly ridding you of those wintertime blues!
  3. Stay in. It can be fun to have a fun-packed weekend with every hour scheduled with awesome activities to keep you busy. However, it’s important to stay-in every once in awhile and spend some time with yourself. According to Happify, alone time can improve your concentration, make you more productive, and even enhance your relationships. So, read a book, take a bubble bath, or catch up on your favorite Netflix show! Spend some much deserved time with yourself to wind down and relax.
I hope that your winter has been going great and that you’re able to combat your case of winter blues (if you even have any!) with a few of these tips. Rest up, take care, and stay positive!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Holy Jolly Stress

Personally, I think that the winter months of the year are some of the most stressful times. Between studying for finals, trying to end the semester strong, awaiting college acceptance (or rejection) letters, holiday shopping, and traveling, there seems to be absolutely no time to relax or take a break.
However, despite all of the errands that you’re running and the review packets you’re completing, it is incredibly important to take a little bit of time every few days for yourself. The stress that you may be feeling right now won’t go away if you consistently pile more and more things onto your to-do list and fail to take breaks throughout your busy life. Whether you take 15 minutes every night to do yoga or dedicate a day to cleaning your room, here are ten things that I like to do when I’m stressed out during the wintertime.
There you have it, a few small activities that are easy to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed with everything that’s going on in your life. I hope that you’re able to step away from your computers, textbooks, and
anything else that’s causing you worry in the next few weeks, de-stress, and really focus on yourself for a bit!
Good luck!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

There's a lot to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving! As the holidays roll around, I realize how much I am thankful for, and I am really focusing on taking some time to appreciate all of these things. There really is no better time or day to do this than on Thanksgiving, so here are three little (among many!) things that I am thankful for.
  1. All of my opportunities
I am thankful that I am able to wake up in the morning and go to such an incredible school with ample opportunities to help me succeed in the educational outlet of my life. According to a global education report done by Unicef, 226 million children worldwide do not attend secondary school. Though I complain about school more often than not, I realize how fortunate I am to attend Libertyville High School, because many teenagers all around the world do not even know what school is. At LHS, we have innumerable resources to provide the best for students, awesome teachers, and remarkable extracurriculars and sports teams. Not everyone is as fortunate as us to have all of these amazing opportunities, which is why I am especially grateful today to be a part of various groups such as Drops of Ink, Student Council, and mentoring programs such as Link Crew and Topcats that help me better myself as a student and also as a person.
  1. My support system
I am grateful to have awesome friends who not only have the same interests as me, but also support me and always guide me to success. I surround myself with people that consistently motivate me to try my hardest and strive for perfection in school and my extracurriculars. However, they’re also the lighthearted, insanely kind people who will stay up until 3 AM just to keep me company when I’m feeling down, and will always be down to go on a late night ice cream run when I need to get away from homework. Regardless, I am so thankful to have found such wonderful friends in the past three years that bring out the best in me and can always put a smile on my face no matter the situation I may be in.
  1. Happiness & Health
Yes, it’s simple, I am aware! But think of the days where you were laying in bed, trying to get over a terrible flu or cold. You sat there, miserably sulking, trying to imagine what it even felt like to be healthy. Everyday, people struggle with a multitude of disorders and diseases—whether physical, or mental. I’m so thankful that none of my daily activities are restricted because of my health and that I am able to recover easily and get back on my feet. I am also so fortunate that I have grown up in an environment of positivity and happiness. Ever since I was younger, my parents have always taught me to look on the brighter side of a not-so-good situation and because of this, I do (most) things with a smile on my face!
Although there are countless things to be thankful for, here are three that tend to go a little unappreciated in my life. I hope you are able to take some time today, or anyday, to value things that you are grateful for. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! <3

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Carry all in your carry-on!

As the holidays roll around, so does the season of travel! Traveling can be incredibly stressful--making sure that you’re getting places on time, potentially missing school, and worst of all, PACKING! Though I cannot tell you every single necessary item you need to pack, I can help you a bit! Whether I’m traveling across the country for two weeks, or heading off for a weekend retreat, here are nine of my absolute essentials for my carry-on bag.
The handful of items I like to keep in my carry-on bag! I normally use a backpack or a draw-string because they are easy to carry. I got this white polka-dotted backpack at Target for around $30.
  • Water bottle-- This is pretty self-explanatory. Staying hydrated is key, especially when you’re 35,000 miles in the sky on an airplane! Traveling can be physically exhausting, so keep a water bottle with you and sip from it often.
  • Phone charger-- That heart-wrenching moment when the bar on the upper righthand corner of my phone turns red and I receive the notification saying that I only have 20% battery left kills me every time. This is 100x scarier when I am in an airport and have to call my sister to find what gate she is picking me up at. Do yourself a favor and carry a phone charger with you when traveling! It’ll do you wonders and will relieve some travel stress when you are able to find an outlet to charge your dying phone.   
  • Earphones-- Sometimes I want to tune out the noise of traffic, while other times I want to listen to some calming music to fall asleep on my flight/car ride. Neither of these actions would be possible without headphones, so I like to always keep a pair in my bag because music is something that easily helps me pass time when traveling.  
  • Magazine/books-- Another nice pastime: reading! Snag a copy of the latest copy of your favorite magazine (Drops of Ink is my fav!), or pick up that book you’ve been meaning to finish, and read away.
  • Homework-- None of us want to do it, but it has to be done, especially if you’re traveling during the school year. Bring your math homework, or history textbook, and knock out some homework while you are service-less on your flight and free of distractions like Instagram and Snapchat! Trust me, you’ll get a lot done and won’t have to worry about it during your trip.  
  • Snacks-- Eating sure is a great way to make traveling a bit more bearable. Grab a bag of trail mix, an apple, or treat yourself with a Kit Kat and throw it in your carry-on to munch on during the duration of your travels!
  • Toiletry bag-- Similar to my last post with my “school survival kit”, I keep a bag similar to that one in my carry-on. I’ll put a hairbrush, some hand sanitizer, chapstick, lotion, and makeup in it so I can touch-up with my essentials throughout my travels.  
  • Sunglasses-- The sun may shine in through your window when in a plane, or car. I get terrible headaches when I’m in the sun for too long so I always make sure to have a pair of sunglasses with me when traveling. Also, they can come in handy when I want to take a quick afternoon nap!
  • Wallet-- It’s pretty self-explanatory, but always make sure to have your wallet on you, especially when traveling. You’ll need an I.D. to get through airport security and will want some cash on you to grab a quick snack or magazine, whether you’re traveling by car or plane.  

There ya have it, nine things that I always keep in my carry-on when traveling. I hope that this will help you pack for any upcoming trips you may have. Safe travels!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

In a fix?

Too many terrifying things can happen at school. My hair tie could snap in half while retying my ponytail, I could get a life-threatening papercut from opening my math notebook, I could get a killer headache during the day, the list goes on and on… After going through a few years of high school asking people for hair ties, bandages, and Advil, I have finally realized that I need to make my own “survival kit” to get through all of the issues that I may come across during school. Here are some of the few necessities that I tend to reach for during my school day!
The small bag (from Clinique) of necessities that I like to keep in the front pocket of my backpack. 

  • Oil blotting sheets --Around 5th period my face can get incredibly greasy, and my makeup slowly starts to wear away. To make my face a little more mattified, I just peel one of these sheets out of the packaging, and pat it all over my face. And voila, good as new! I got my oil blotting sheets from Sephora for around $7.
  • Hairbrush --This is a must for after gym, after your walk to school, or during science when your hair feels especially tangled. I get a little bothered when my hair is full of knots, but this portable hairbrush from Clinique makes that happen a lot less!
  • Bandages --Accidents happen! And this is 100% why I keep bandages with me. Whether I slam a nail in my locker, or get a papercut from my history textbook, it’s always nice to have a bandage on me because the first aid kits around the classrooms have failed me three too many times.
  • Advil --Terrible headaches and cramps happen a little bit too often for me. That’s why I like to keep a mini bottle of Advil with me in my backpack to relieve any sort of pain that may sneak up on me during the day.
  • Powder & concealer --After a cardio workout or a swimming day in gym, I always like to touch up my face makeup. This takes less than three minutes and can transform your whole look for the better! I keep a Covergirl compact powder and mini Benefit Boing concealer sample with me.
  • Chapstick --Chapped lips are a total no and can be incredibly prominent during the colder months and when I’m not drinking enough water. I like to keep a little cherry chapstick from Bath & Body Works with me at all times, because the last thing that I want during precalc are bleeding lips.
  • Lotion --Along with chapped lips, I also tend to have dry hands during the winter months. And when I have dry hands, flipping through papers is not a very fun activity. I keep this little EOS floral hand cream with me to freshen up my hands throughout the day!
  • Hand sanitizer --Believe it or not, high school isn’t the cleanest place! I like to keep hand sanitizer with me to put on before lunch or anytime of the day as needed.
  • Rollerball perfume --If it’s 6th period and the perfume that I put in the morning on slowly starts to fade away, or it’s after a day of gym where I was running the lake, having either a rollerball or a perfume sample is essential! This will help you smell just as amazing as you did in the morning and a roll of it will also make you feel better and fresher.
  • Q-tips/cotton balls --It is inevitable that eye makeup will smudge. Q-tips and cotton balls are awesome to have for when your cat-eye eyeliner gets a little skewed or when mascara gets on your eyelid.
  • Hair tie & bobby pins --Hands-down two of the most important things to have! Hair ties snap a little too often for my liking, and bobby pins are essential if mine fall out of my hair or if I get an odd lump in my ponytail that needs to be tamed. Also, a lot of the times, science teachers will ask you to put up your hair during labs, so it’s nice to have a creaseless hair tie on you!

There ya have it! A handful of things that I find myself needing throughout the school day. Odds are, you probably won’t use all of these things listed if you do choose to make a “survival kit” like mine. However, someday, someone may come up to you begging for a hair tie and you’ll be able to hand one over!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Falling into Fall

As the days get shorter, colder, and less bright, it’s time to face the harsh reality that summer has officially ended. That being said, we all have to put those flowy shorts and sandals away and take out those blanket scarves and boots in preparation for one of the prettiest seasons of the year: fall! Here are a few of my random (but very essential!) clothing necessities to get me through the chillier months of the year.
Ankle booties
Ah, the notorious pair of black ankle booties and quite possibly one of my most favorite things in my closet! Whether I am wearing a pair of dark jeans and sweater to school, or a formal dress and tights for a Model UN conference, these shoes somehow manage to look perfect with just about anything. I got mine at DSW last year for around $70 and they have been doing good for me ever since then! If you don’t have a pair, I would highly recommend heading to a DSW, Macy’s, Nordstrom, or even Target and getting a pair of ankle booties for the winter, fall, and even some of the springtime.
The black ankle booties that I very much love! You can tell how much I adore them by how damaged they are :P
For the days that it is too cold to even have your neck exposed (or for the days that I want to be extra comfy), my scarves are always there for me. I am guilty of having A LOT of them. Blanket scarves, infinity scarves, cotton scarves--you name it, I (probably!) have it. I normally throw on either the pink knit infinity scarf or the black and green one, both pictured below, with a jacket when I’m outside, and take them off whenever I’m inside. However, I tend to keep the thinner cotton ones, like the brown tribal print one pictured below, on all day at school. H&M, Target, Forever21, and Anthropologie all have excellent scarf selections during the fall and wintertime!
Where I purchased these (from the left; Target (~$8), Forever21 (~$12), and Forever21 (~$10)
Windbreakers? Raincoats? The best jackets in the world! These two pieces of outerwear are perfect for those days where it’s 55 degrees and a little rainy. They are also super trendy and can be thrown over virtually any outfit. I got my navy monogrammed one from an Etsy store called SEmbroideredBoutique for around $40 and it has been one of the best purchases I’ve made all season! I can throw it over anything, put it on in subzero degree classes, and it even has a super handy hood to protect my hair on rainy days. I got the tan and white striped rain jacket from Target about two years ago for around $40 as well. It’s a little more dressy than the navy one, and is perfect to throw over any outfit on a chillier day.
My monogrammed pullover for the more casual days (in the back), and striped coat for more formal days.
Tights are pretty darn awesome. They have the potential to change an outfit meant for the warmer days to an outfit for a brisk fall day. Tights also come in a million different colors, patterns, and textures! (I have made it a personal goal of mine to acquire various tights this season.) But actually, throw on a pair of black tights with a romper, or throw on a pair of patterned polka dotted tights with a plain t-shirt dress along with a sweater, and you have a super cute and sophisticated outfit, and your legs will definitely thank you for keeping them warm!
A thicker, more formal pair of tights--purchased from Target for about $10.

A thinner, and less warmer pair of tights--purchased from H&M in a pack of 2 for about $8. 

Well, there ya have it! A few of my fall essentials to get me through the colder days. Enjoy!