Happy New Year's Eve, lovelies! This year has been such an amazing one full of change, opportunity, new and old friendships, and quite a bit of progress on the road to self-discovery. I am still working on myself (A LOT), but this year has truly been one to remember.

My family was supposed to travel down to Phoenix for my little sister's soccer tournament, however, some issues came up and we are no longer able to go watch my sister. The ending of this year may be just like the last (lots of ice cream and me falling asleep before midnight), but I guess we'll see! Either way, I know that this next one will somehow be even better.

What are your New Year's Eve plans?

Catch you next time.


3 Things I Loved About The New Star Wars (No Spoilers!)

Okay, I promise no spoilers! The following things I talk about are general knowledge but they are things just emphasized through the movie.

The Main Character is a Woman | I have said it once, said it twice - I am far from the first person to say it and I will gladly be far from the last. Rey is a dynamic main character who wins you over within her first scenes of the movie. Making this even better, there is not a single insult directed towards the fact Rey is a woman, not a single one! Thank you writers for being good humans.

Respect is Paid to the Elders | My dad told me I was ridiculous for worrying about this in the first place, but you know what? It worked out so it doesn't even matter as much. I cannot even tell you how many times I giggled in the theatre when a reference was made to something from a previous film, but the crowning moment is definitely when I saw Leia. Yes, I did fist pump. Leia is awesome.

A Film for Everyone | This movie truly caters to everyone, whether you were a Star Wars fan from the beginning or if this is your introduction into this beautiful universe. There was action, suspense, romance, and a rich storyline that causes the audience to question aspects of morality - it has the whole nine yards!

Have you seen the new Star Wars yet? What did you like about it?!

Catch you next time.


Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! Or, if you don't celebrate Christmas, then Happy Holidays! I hope y'all have an amazing day filled with love, warmth, and joy. Appreciate those around you and keep in mind that this season is all about Giving.

Catch you next time.


Last-Minute Christmas Sale Roundup

It's Christmas Eve Eve so raise your hand if you still happen to have some unfinished Christmas shopping. Or these sales are great to go through if you still don't have a New Year's dress, too! I have rounded up a few of my picks from each of the sales here.

Grab your coffee and happy hunting!

J.Crew - 40% off sweaters, 30% off EVERYTHING ELSE, and FREE shipping!

Neiman Marcus - 40% off cashmere until Dec. 31st in addition to various discounts on dresses!

Ted Baker - 50% off the AW15 collection

Hope these are helpful! Where do you shop for last-minute presents?

Catch you next time.


The Perfect Red Holiday Dress

(Taught my little sister's best friend how to take a sorority squat photo!)

Dress Banana Republic | Shoes Marc Fisher (Old, but love this pair and this pair) | Necklace Charming Charlie (Old, but love this one and this one)

Christmas is quickly approaching and for once, I wasn't scrambling for my party dress! I have actually had this dress hanging in my closet since I found it during a spur-of-the-moment shopping trip with Em and J a few weeks ago. It's a shift dress that surprisingly runs a bit big, and I was worried it would look like a napkin, but I fell in love with it as soon as I put it on. This is definitely a dress I will have on holiday party-repeat.

If you were keeping up on SnapChat this past weekend, I had a wonderful time at our community's annual Christmas party. My little sister invited quite a few of her friends, so I was able to spend time with them as well as some of my old friends and I really had a lot of fun! It was great to reunite with everyone and just spend some time laughing and playing silly games.

Catch you next time.


Little Discoveries

It took forever, but Arizona is finally getting itself together and going into 'Winter' mode. Two weeks ago, I walked out of my apartment in a tank top and shorts. Today, I couldn't stand in the living room without my sweater and fuzzy socks.

Now that I'm home for the holidays, my days have been filled with trying to recover from the extreme sleep deprivation I put myself through during Finals week and binge-watching a few TV shows on Netflix. I am proud to say I haven't been completely awful so far though, because I cranked out a lot of stuff (scholarship applications, scheduling events, paperwork, etc) this past weekend!

The End of an Era | Have you seen this Abby Wambach commercial? It may just be that I'm a huge soccer/futbol nerd, but I started tearing up watching it! A little lost? This past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to see the USWNT play on their Victory Tour, and for those of you who may not know, these last few games of the tour were the end of the GOAT's (Greatest Of All Time) legendary career. She is such a role model and she will forever remain one of my favorite athletes.

Fuller House is Almost Here! | Just like with the Zoey 101 teaser I shared in October, finding this on Facebook made my day and I couldn't help giggling like a little girl. Full House was such a big part of my childhood and, although it's probably making me feel older than I really am,  I can't wait for Fuller House.

Carpool Karaoke Baes | James Corden is one of my favorite people in the world because of Carpool Karaoke. Still somehow not in the mood for the holidays even though there is only a week until Christmas? Listen to this! If this doesn't make you smile at all, you probably need to re-watch it.

#ExplainAFilmPlotBadly | This trend took Twitter by storm earlier this week - did you catch any of it? In case you didn't, you need to check this out. It's hilarious and slightly awful how over-simplified but still accurate they are.

Matt Bomer Killin' It | I am personally not a fan of American Horror Story, but my little sister is. She started freaking out and I was really confused until I came in to her room and saw that Matt Bomer was dancing to "Hotline Bling". Congrats Ryan Murphy, you have once again found another way to potentially break the internet.

What are you looking forward to this weekend?!

Catch you next time.


Freshman Five: Travel Essentials ft. Vera Bradley

I have always considered myself to be somewhat of a citizen of the world, but studying abroad this past summer (check out some of the amazing places I was able to visit!) solidified this thought and only fostered my desire to really become one. Whether packing for a weekend trip or a few weeks abroad, here are a few important things to always have with you!

Sweater Similar | Jeans Similar | Boots Similar | Duffel (c/o) Vera Bradley

A Trusty Duffel Bag | I love duffel bags. Their basic structure is so simple, but that's what helps you ensure you're not overpacking (one of my truly great weaknesses). One of my favorite things about the Vera Bradley duffels is that because of their structure and material, you can actually pack them in your larger suitcase to fill with all of the goodies you buy to bring back!

Comfortable Shoes | Although this is highly dependent on the weather of the places you are traveling to and from, I am a big fan of using boots for travel. They are closed-toed, comfy, stylish, and really easy to pair outfits with. This pair and this pair are similar to what I'm wearing in the photos (and they are both on sale!).

Reusable Water Bottle | Staying hydrated is generally one of the hardest things to do, whether while traveling or at home! Buying water on trips can be such a hassle, so reusable bottles are my go-to. I have had my eye on this beautiful gold S'well bottle for a while and I think I might just pull the trigger on it soon!

Portable Charge Pack | I cannot tell you how many times my portable charger has saved my life. Sometimes there isn't a free outlet at the airport gate, the next city or rest stop isn't for hours, or you forget to turn off your cell phone instead of just leaving it on airplane mode. This tiny one is good for keeping in a jacket or small purse, but I have a much larger portable charger like this because they can hold enough power for multiple charges. When traveling, becoming unreachable is scary. Social media cleanses are fine, but you should always make sure you have a way of calling for help if you ever need it!

A Worst Case List | Perhaps this isn't the most apt name for the list, but that's what I have always called it - this should have all the simple things you could need, from the phone numbers of your airlines and hotel to your reservation codes. Type this up in the 'Notes' section of your phone and keep a hard copy on a piece of paper in your wallet or, my favorite, as a sticky note in your passport!

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Vera Bradley and Her Campus Media. All words and opinions are my own.

Catch you next time.


Freshman Five: Creating the Optimal Study Group

My Finals are officially over! YAY! But I know many of you haven't had them yet or they are slowly creeping up and you aren't feeling ready to acknowledge them. But that's okay, because you still have time. One of my biggest suggestions? Get a study group!

Study groups are a tool most people do not utilize. Arguably, this mostly applies in high school, but this really applies to college too - how many "study groups" have you seen that aren't really study groups? Actual study groups are not one person doing the homework and then passing it around for everyone else to copy. A real study group is when a few people understand the material and use their knowledge to help others understand it better and vice versa.

I cannot explain the number of times real study groups have saved my life. That last exam question I needed to ensure my A in the class? Study group had my back. Having a strong study group means well-roundedness and better, in-depth understandings of the material. Need some tips on how to make one? These aren't fool-proof, but I know they do help!

Talk to People You Don't Know | I know you love your friends, but not every set of friends is the the same - sometimes none of your friends understand a concept or all of you have similar perspectives and that neither promotes diversity of thought nor learning. Invite other people in your class to join your group! Just make sure you are not treating someone like a personal tutor - it is not okay to take advantage of people like that.

Re-Write Your Notes | Some of you may have heard of this before, but try doing it as a group! Have everyone open up their notes and utilize them to create an overall study guide. Color-coding is especially fun if everyone in the group is okay with it! Sometimes people develop different understandings of topics and being able to put together an explanation everyone can understand can be extremely helpful.

Make a Schedule for Your Sessions | You should definitely let your sessions flow and be adaptable when concepts take more or less time than usual. However, having a rough outline of what topics you want to cover and approximately how long you would like to do so is helpful not only for staying on track, but also if members have to come late or leave early and knowing what they can or cannot come for.

Talk to Your Professor | Contrary to popular belief, a lot of professors want you to succeed! Before meetings, try speaking with your professor about topics that are extremely difficult for you to understand and/or if there are any specific topics to focus on for future exams. If the professor finds a way to really help you understand a certain topic, then when you go to your study group, you are able to help others understand it and you can spend more time working on other areas.

Create Games | Studying can be fun. Wait, what? Yes, yes it can be! When you play games with the information, you are not only motivated to remember the information at this point in time (duh, you're a winner) but it's a lot easier to remember the information during exams. Flashcards are not the only option - playing Headbandz for vocabulary training is usually one of my favorite go-to's!

Have you used study groups? What do you find especially helpful to make study groups great?

Catch you next time.


Little Discoveries

Last Friday night was my Fraternity's RoseBall, which is our end-of-semester Formal and award ceremony! A little late on sharing this news, but a lot happened last week that I am finally ready to share here. I am extremely humbled and honored to announce that I was elected the Spring 2016 Vice President of Community Service and was awarded my Chapter's Scholar of the Year Award!

This semester has been quite the rollercoaster but this Chapter, this Family, has helped me hang on and stick through the ride. I am so excited to see what the future holds. You can expect a few more service-oriented posts in the upcoming months!

Also, I'm really excited for this weekend because my family is driving down and we are going to watch the U.S. Women's National Team play on their Victory Tour! I am a huge soccer/futbol fan and I can't wait to see them play China. #SheBelieves

Dress R&M (Similar / Similar) | Shoes Vince Camuto (Suggestion / Similar)

2015's Top Dog Names | This article honestly made my morning when I first read it. It's a great read and some of the data they acquired is really interesting! Did you know that the #1 Dog Name from the Hunger Games series is 'Effie'? Or that 1 in 20 pet parents have social media accounts for their dogs?!

OREO Cookie Balls | My mouth started watering as soon as I even read the title of this recipe post! They look absolutely delicious and you can bet that I am going to try this recipe out as soon as I get to one of my aunt's houses this holiday.

Time Management Tips | I may be a little biased, but I am fairly sure I do a good job of managing my time. But, nobody is ever perfect and this post from a celebrity's personal assistant is a great reminder of things to do to increase time effectiveness and stay on top of everything you are doing!

#100CoffeeCups | Remember when many people were enraged by the Starbucks #RedCup? This is actually what I pictured people doing instead! If I had any talent in terms of drawing, I definitely would have been all over my cups with a gold glitter Sharpie!

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Catch you next time.


"Busy Week" Reminders

Hello lovelies!

I am in the midst of Finals week and with all of the freaking out I have been doing over my exams, I figured I owed myself a little blog break. Whether you are currently taking Finals, preparing for them, or just dealing with a rough week, here are just a few quick important reminders!

Take a Break | Going through all of your notes is important, but after reading a sentence for the 50th time and still not comprehending it, you may be due for a little break. As I mentioned in a previous Freshman Five post about preventing burnout, it is equally important to recognize the moments when you have been really productive as well as the moments when you are no longer going to be productive. Go for a walk, limit yourself to watching a single YouTube video(I know it's hard, but I believe in your willpower!), grab a snack from the vending machine - do something unrelated to studying for just 5 minutes!

Sleep > Flashcards | Have you powered through the notes, lectures, and flashcards twice in the past 4 hours? How much coffee have you had? When was the last time you took a nap? This past September I shared my tips on how to best prepare yourself for an exam, and sleep is a HUGE one! As difficult as it is, I force myself to have at least 5-6 hours of sleep the night before an exam. I know some people function differently, so if naps are your thing, go for it! Just make sure you're giving your body some amount of time to recover to help you survive actually taking the exam.

Be Considerate | If you are stressed over an exam or project, odds are you are not the only one. Your roommate or co-worker is probably going through something similar! Surprise your roomie with a coffee the morning of their worst exam or leave an encouraging note on your work neighbor's desktop - try to do something nice that you would appreciate! Sometimes the littlest things can change a person's outlook or help relieve the slightest bit of stress.

Like I said, these are just a few quick reminders that sometimes I forget about when I get caught up in everything I am doing. Good luck with the rest of your week!

Catch you next time.


A Mindset Geared for Success

I know, I know, two quote posts, two weeks in a row. But this month has just really had me in a thoughtful mood! As you can see, this oftentimes that means me looking up all sorts of different quotes! Finding yourself a Quote of the Day when you know it's going to be long or difficult is a great way to motivate yourself and soldier on.

This week is my Finals week so I think you can imagine the type of motivation I need to stop hiding under the covers! Here are a few of my favorite quotes about success. I'm sure you've seen variations of that Zig Ziglar one!

(Fair warning, this will be me as soon as I am done with this week! I am already so excited for the end!)


A goal is a dream with a deadline. - Napoleon Hill 

Men's best successes come after their disappointments. - Henry Ward Beecher

A goal without a plan is just a wish. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days. - Zig Ziglar


Hope you found at least one of these quotes helpful! Which one was your favorite?

Catch you next time.


Little Discoveries

This morning will be a horrid combination of meetings and "Oh no!" moments of rushing to finish homework before I go to finally work at a debate tournament! I am so glad to finally be judging again - it's so fun and I love helping newbies improve their argumentation techniques.

Tonight also happens to be my Fraternity's formal! A lot of awards are being given and I will be debuting the movie I made about our past semester - I'm so excited!

Shirt: Banana Republic (Similar) | Necklace: PrepObsessed (c/o - use "MikkaelaS10" at checkout for 10% off) | Jeans: J Brand | Boots: Circus (Similar)

Learn More About J.K. Rowling | Harry Potter is and will forever be my first favorite book series. These books have been such an amazing influence on my life and they tell a story that will live forever. I really enjoyed learning more about Rowling - the interview is a bit lengthy but I believe more than worth it!

Let's TED About Food | This TED talk about food culture is really interesting! Have you thought about what it means when your comfort food is mac and cheese and your best friend's is a ham sandwich or fried rice? Food tells you a lot not only about culture, but people.

A Series of Unfortunate Events Revival | Did you read this series when you were younger? I was really mad at how the movie was done *still salty* but I'm hoping this Netflix revival will do it some good. There's an open-casting call for Violet and Klaus - are you interested?

One Take Wedding Video | This is so cool. Imagine doing a one-take music video at your wedding reception! This is such a fun way to involve the entire wedding party, and you've got to hand it to the couple, the song choices were pretty on-point.

What are you looking forward to this weekend?!

Catch you next time.


Stay Weird

It is the beginning of December and as we enter the end of the semester/year, I just wanted to remind y'all to keep laughter in your hearts. I often catch myself freaking out over so many little bits that I forget that this is only one step, one part of my life. The season of Joy, Family, and Giving is upon us, and you can't really enjoy those things if you're too stressed!

Happy Holidays! Remember to stay weird, y'all.

Catch you next time.

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