Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Month in Instagram

Studying for the MCAT and blogging do not mix. However, I owe you all at least an update on my life! February was one of those months that just flew on by. I couldn't even remember what happened until I checked up on my Instagram pics and looked back at my calendar.

So here we go, My February in Instagram Pics:

Apparently, it snowed a lot. These are some views of frozen Lake Michigan outside of my dorm window and from around campus.

My campus is a winter wonderland! And I'm SO sick of's March already. This snow should be out of here!

I've been spending more time downtown. I never realized in the 3 years I've been at Loyola how easy it is to take the shuttle to the downtown campus. My friends and I spent a Friday night studying at the downtown library...hey, there's no shame in that, is there?

An afternoon view from the downtown LUC library

Downtown study sesh! Maybe it'll become a tradition during this MCAT season.

I also apparently ate a lot of food in February. This is my favorite burger in Chicago. I've raved about it before on this blog. It's the Kimchi burger from Bop N' Grill. Fried egg, kimchi, caramelized onions...put simply, it's amazing in all its gooey glory.

This is a chicken sharma sandwich. It's a middle eastern sandwich on a type of pita bread, and it's DELICIOUS! One of my favorite parts about Loyola is that Devon, a neighborhood featuring all sorts of middle eastern and Indian restaurants, is right down the street, so I get to try all different kinds of food I wouldn't normally this!

Basically the only thing I'm living on using my meal plan. I was so happy to find our dining services offering something that is 1) actually healthy and 2) doesn't make my stomach upset. 

I volunteered through my sorority at a benefit event downtown. I know it's dark, but yes, that is a MONKEY on my shoulder. A real live monkey. In a costume. Without going into details, the event was absolutely AMAZING and was for a good cause. (Oh, and by the way? There were real camels too. Be jealous!)

Other news:
  • I'm getting an apartment for next year! Finally, my very own apartment! I'm so excited to decorate it and make my own meals for a change. The kitchen in my new apartment is the same size as the one I have now, but for two people rather than four. That's a big change for me!
  • I'm trying to figure out my summer plans. Right now it's just a waiting game to see what opportunities come through.
  • These next few weeks are going to be NUTS. A mixer, formal, St. Patty's Day (this year I'm seeing the green Chicago river! It's happening!), Aziz Ansari, spring retreat, and then Easter. And studying somewhere in between.
But...I think this Dove chocolate wrapper sums it all up:

Get out there and make your dreams happen.

And that's exactly what I'm doing.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Liebster Award!

A while back, Belle, who blogs at the aptly titled "The Life and Times of Belle" (it's an amazing blog! You have to all go and check it out!) nominated me for the Liebster Award! I know a few others have nominated me in the past--I'm sorry it's taken me so long to finish this survey. I think these awards are a great way to show all of you the weird things that I do. So without further ado...

11 Random Facts about Me:
  • I can solve a Rubik's Cube. Well, I could a few years ago. Don't know if I can remember how to do it anymore!
  • My favorite food is Italian. Gotta love me some carbs! I'm not going to lie, this might be one of the main reasons
  • My sister is a freshman at college, and is majoring in theater. I miss her!
  • I wanted to be an astronaut until I was an age I don't want to admit (I still kinda want to be an astronaut...have you guys seen this? They're looking for people to go to MARS!)
  • I can't study in my dorm room at all. 
  • I'm seeing Aziz Ansari on March 23rd!
  • I keep a file of my favorite quotes on my computer.
  • I don't like Beyonce. Or at least I'm not as obsessed with her as the rest of America is right now.
  • I'm obsessed with Burt's Bees.
  • I'm a horrible cook. I haven't had much experience cooking and have somehow survived off of dining hall food for the past three years. Hopefully that will change in the near future. Some of my friends can make the greatest dishes, and I aspire to be them someday!
  • I'm like Katniss when it comes to archery. It's a gift guys. Not that I want to brag or anything, but whenever I had to do archery in Girl Scouts or for gym class, I always nailed it. I even won some little archery award from Girl Scout camp when I was a kid. I haven't done it in years, though, so I'm sure the magic has worn off.
Belle's Questions (she asked some great ones!):

1. What is you favourite part of your bedroom? (mine's my picture wall!) My dorm bedroom isn't very exciting at all. It'd probably have to be my wall of equations for the MCAT (yep, saving that for another post).

2. What app couldn't you live without? Foursquare! I don't care if people know that I go to the library to study almost every day, I just want the badges.

3. What's your fave movie for snuggling up and watching on cold wintry afternoons? I don't have a favorite movie that I watch over and over again, but during the winter you'll probably find me watching all the movies that are up for Oscar nominations. I try to watch most of them before the ceremony!

4. Are you team Coca-Cola or team Pepsi? This isn't even a question. Of COURSE I'm Team Coca-Cola. I drink Diet Coke like it's water (and no, that's not a good thing)

5. What's your favourite breakfast?: Oatmeal! You can do so much with it--put in brown sugar, raisins, fresh fruit, you name it. Our health clinic at school sends out Facebook statuses once in a while and once posted that oatmeal is basically made up of "little pillows that soak up fat". I'm serious here. That's something I like to believe.

6. Would you rather go back in time to meet your ancestors or go into the future to meet your great grandchildren? Back in time--I'd rather see what the world was once like than see the future. Maybe I have a pessimistic view on society, but I feel like things were so much better fifty to a hundred years ago. Or least easier, in some respects. 

7. Who's your favourite Disney character? Belle. I always was the bookworm in elementary and middle school--I'd literally read underneath my desk while the teacher was talking (yep, I was a rebel). 

8. Would you rather have a years free Starbucks or free iTunes music? This is a tough one, but a year of free Starbucks would make me fat, as much as I would enjoy it. I have to go with a year of free iTunes music. That way I could discover new genres and artists.

9. Team Stefan or Team Damon? Team Damon! I always go for the underdogs. 

10. Would you rather always be overdressed or under dressed? Overdressed. I don't judge people who wear sweatpants to class, but I personally can't get anything done if I do. I just feel like going back to sleep.

11. Do you like snow? Heck no, I'm DONE with it. It's basically turned all the roads and sidewalks into a sludgy, icy winter version of a slip n' slide.

I nominate....anyone who wants to be nominated! 

If you want to do this meme, go ahead! I don't want to handpick people, I love everyone's blogs.
Here are your 11 questions, in a "This or That" format:

1. Mac or PC?
2. Ereaders or books?
3. Sweet or sour?
4. Winter or summer?
5. Lipgloss or lipstick?
6. Do you want to live in the city or the country?
7. Science/math or English/history?
8. Being too warm or being too cold?
9. Cats or dogs?
10. Many good friends or a few best friends?
11. Pens or pencils?

Thanks everyone and to Belle for nominating me!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

That Time I Got Five Stitches in my Thumb

Let this post be a lesson to all of you: be careful opening cans. I'm serious here.

Here I was, minding my own business, making some mac and cheese with peas for a Sunday afternoon treat. I go to open the can of peas. Our can opener is right-handed, and I'm left-handed, foreshadowing the problem already. The handle was slippery for some reason, so I struggle trying to open the can. I get about halfway around, where the lid is popped open halfway, when the can opener slips out of my hand and I gash my left thumb on the super sharp edge of the lid.

It's a stupid accident for sure, but it could happen to anyone.

(Don't mind me, didn't exactly have time to put makeup on)

Thank god my roommate and I were prepared. If you don't have a first aid kit in your apartment or dorm, get one now! We tied gauze around the thumb (well, she did, while I was freaking out) and sealed it with medical tape.

Even though I kept telling her I was fine, my roommate was the smart one in this situation and called a taxi to take us to the nearest emergency room. Have a doubt about an injury? Go to the emergency room. Better safe than sorry, right?

Before we went, I had the sense to pull out the copy I have of my insurance card. This also was a god-send. My dad made me make several copies of my insurance card right when I started college. It was a lifesaver, and saved me a huge hospital bill. Make several copies of your insurance card! Who knows when something bad can happen.

My premed roommate and I tried to make the best of a situation and loved being in the ER, just to see how it worked. They seem to be great at efficiency, having a nurse take my initial vitals and information, a technician clean off my wound, and a resident stitch me back up. She was extremely nice  to me, calming me down (I've never gotten stitches before! And I was three hours away from my family! Don't laugh).

In the end of the day, I got five stitches (two on my nailbed...ouch) and my hand looks like a mummy who's gauze has started rotting off.

As horrible as it was at the time, this experience showed me how to act in an emergency. Again, here are the four tips I can leave you all with so hopefully you won't have the same experience as I did:

1. Have a first aid kit in your apartment
2. When in doubt, go to the ER
3. Make copies of your insurance card
4. Be careful opening cans. They're evil.

Anybody else have any exciting stories about going to the ER? Any tips on how to handle a situation like this?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Golden Globes: Favorite Outfits

The Golden Globes may have been a week ago, but between getting the flu, starting school, and having to get stitches (more on that later), I never had time to post about them!

Like everyone else, I believe awards show season isn't just about who wins's about who wears what. The day after the Globes aired, I scoured website after website to see what everyone thought about this year's crop of dresses. I was surprised that a lot of people don't agree with who I picked as "Best Dressed". 

For me this year, there was just too much skin showing. I mean, Jennifer Lopez...she looked good, but c'mon!) I'm not a prude or anything, but these are the Golden Globes. They're one step down from the Oscars, so they should be kept classy. But I guess that's just my opinion, and who knows what I would choose to wear if I was a super-talented celebrity and I had a rockin' bod to show off to the world?

That said, here are my top five "best dressed" nominees for the 2013 Golden Globes:

1. Taylor Swift
I really didn't want to like her dress, because I don't particularly like her. (How many celebrity hot guys has she dated at this point? And how many of them has she complained about in her songs?) This plum looks so great on her, and it's a good color to wear for the beginning of January. The dress is simple enough that nothing distracts from her, yet the back is tastefully done and adds a bit of interest to it.

2. Clare Danes
The woman just had a baby a month ago and look at her! If I just had a baby, you wouldn't see me on the red carpet for at least six months. The dress is simple, but appropriate for the Golden Globes. The color looks great on her and isn't your typical red. Also, she receives major bonus points for this right after popping out a baby!

3. Anne Hathaway
This dress seems to be hit and miss with a lot of people, but I liked it. A lot of people seemed to be wearing neutrals this year, but I thought most of them matched their skin tones too closely. This white doesn't blend in with Anne's skin at all, and definitely stands out. The dress  gives Anne Hathaway a really nice shape. Though the two-pieceness of it might seem like an odd choice, I think it fits really well with her haircut. Imagine her with her hair long--could you see her wearing this dress? How about short hair--could she pull off any of the other dresses people wore that night? I don't think so. She made a perfect choice with this.

4. Hayden Panettiere
This wins the award for the dress that I would probably want to wear to the Golden Globes. It just looks nice and sweet, and definitely age appropriate for someone in their late teens/early twenties. I don't know about the pink clutch, but it does incorporate the neon trend onto a red carpet filled with neutrals, blacks and reds. 

5. Lucy Liu
Some of you will question this choice for sure. I don't know why, but I really like this dress! It's so different, and that's what I love about it. She took a risk, and although I admit the pattern looks slightly like something you'd see on vintage wallpaper, it it goes really well with her skin tone and her hair. She took a risk, and people just aren't used to seeing a patterned dress like this at the Golden Globes.

What do you think about my choices? Who were your best dressed/worst dressed candidates for the Globes?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Organizing your Blog Roll on Google Reader: A Tutorial

One of my projects over the break was organizing the billions of blogs that I follow. I thought it would take me a few hours to sort through all of the blogs and delete the ones that were no longer active, but took me a good day and a half.

Hopefully you're not following as many blogs as I am and the process will go quick for you. This quick tutorial will show you how to sort the blogs that you follow into certain categories, or folders, on Google Reader. I've found it much easier to follow all of my absolute favorite blogs by putting them into a certain folder, putting all the "preppy" blogs into another, and so on.

So...let's do this!

1. Think about all the blogs that you follow and think about categories you would like to separate them in. Write these down: these will be the different folders you create. For example, some of my categories are:
--preppy blogs
--health and beauty blogs
--food and craft blogs
--linkup blogs

2. Go to Google Reader. Whenever you click "Join this site" with Google Friend Connect on a Blogger-hosted blog, it will automatically be added to your Google Reader in a special folder titled "Blogs I'm Following".

3. Click on the gear in the corner, and scroll down to click on Reader Settings. This will bring you to a page of tabs labelled "Preferences", "Subscriptions", "Folders and Tags", etc.

4. Click on the tab marked subscriptions. You will see a list of all the blogs you follow with check boxes to their left, followed by an option to remain them, delete them (the trash can) and a drop down menu.

5. Find a blog that you want to add to a folder. Click "add to a folder", then "new folder". You will get the option to name that folder.

6. Now click the checkboxes of every blog you want to add to that folder. Once you're finished, scroll to the top and click "more actions". The name of the folder you created will appear: click on that to add all the check marked blogs to that folder.

7. Repeat steps 5-7 for every folder you want to create.

You can also go through your blogs and delete the ones that are inactive using the trash can option next to them.

Ta-da! You now have organized your blog roll. In the mood for a new desert recipe? Just click on the folder you created titled "Food Blogs" to get a list of the newest posts from the blogs you put into that category. Want to follow up with your favorite blogs? Just click on that folder to see posts only from the blogs you categorized as such. Believe it or not, this is a huge time saver in the long run.

Anybody else organize their blog roll on Google Reader using folders? Any other blog related tutorials you'd like to see? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2013 Goal: Reading

In my post about my New Year's Resolutions, I talked about how reading was one of the main things I wanted to focus on in 2013. Here are some of the ways I'm going to reach my goal of reading 30 books in 2013. Wanna read more too? Check out these tips!

1. Utilize Goodreads

Goodreads is an AMAZING little website. And it's not only a website--it's an app for your iPhone or iPad as well! Anything you do on the website will sync to all of your devices, and vice versa.

Goodreads is like a reading-centric Facebook. You make lists of the books you own, the books you want to read and the books you've finished. Besides that, there are daily polls, quotes, giveaways you can enter for advanced reader copies, reviews and, my favorite, virtual book clubs you can join. I joined two groups: Oprah's Book Club 2.0 and Classics Without All the Class. Both are reading books for the month of January, and then have discussion boards for them. So cool! I can't wait to get started on January's selections, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis and The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.

Goodreads also has a nifty little widget now where you put in the number of books you want to read for 2013, and it'll remind you of your goal by having a progress bar on the side of your main page.

I've said this before, but friend me if you become a member of the site! I'm always interested in what other people are reading!

2. Put a limit on the amount of TV you watch

Instead of spending an half an hour channel surfing, I'd rather spend the time reading a good book. I'm going to try to only watch TV on school breaks, rather than following several TV shows at once. I might make an exception for The Walking Dead and Downton Abbey, but hey, at least they're not as bad as Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

Even though I love that show. Please don't hate me.

If you can't make the full plunge and go cold turkey on TV, maybe try to only watch a half an hour or so each day, or follow a certain TV show. Track and see how much time you spend watching TV per day--maybe that time could be spent doing other things, like reading!

3. Use an E-reader

I know it sounds strange to a lot of people, but I've become so used to reading on a computer screen or my Nook that I like it MORE than reading from a physical copy. My generation has become so used to using technology that using it for reading seems like second nature.

If you don't mind reading from a screen, I think that the Nook Color is the perfect device for any reader. I love it because I can store so many books on the device. I usually read multiple books at once, so instead of carrying three or four books around, not knowing which one I'll be in the mood for, I just haul around my Nook. I export PDF readings that my college professors assign onto the device, instead of printing the readings out. This saves me a lot of paper and printer ink.

With my Nook Color, I can also highlight and take notes on books that I read for class. Even with a "fun" book, the search tool is perfect when a character from the first chapter of novel pops up again 700 pages later, and I don't remember who he was. I can just type his name in and it'll take me right to his first appearance.

If you don't like the computer-like feel of the Nook Color, Nook Tablet, Nook HD and Kindle Fire, there are also many alternative ereaders that use special technology to make the screen look as close to an actual page in a book as possible. Whatever the case, if you read as much as I do, make the investment in an ereader! It changes the whole reading experience for the better, at least in my opinion.

Are any of you on Goodreads? Do you have ereaders? And do you really think I'll make it until spring break watching barely any TV?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Prep for Less: J.Crew Style Guide, January 2013

Have you guys seen the new J.Crew catalog for January yet? It's hard for me to think of wearing spring clothes already, but apparently J.Crew thinks spring is right around the corner.

I LOVE some of the looks in this catalog! Usually I'll look at the outfits in the catalog and can't even think about wearing them in real life--the items they pair just don't look good together, at least to me. That wasn't the case for this issue.

(All the scans are from The J.Crew Archives. The blog is great and has scans from many of J.Crew's past catalogs--go check it out! The rest of the January catalog is also located there.)

Like always, the wheels were turning in my head when I saw these pictures. How could I recreate the looks for less? As much as I would love to buy everything from J.Crew, I'm a college student--I need to cut corners where I can! Here's how I recreated the looks above by putting together similar, less expensive items:
Prep for Less: J.Crew Jan. 2013

Green Pants/Polka Dot Shirt Outfit:
Shirt: Forever 21, $14
Pants: Gap, $50 (roll up the pants at the ankles to make them look like in the picture!)

*For the shoes, I looked far and wide for similar flats. Since it's still early in the season, I couldn't find much. I would recommend continuously checking for flats, and watching for J.Crew's ballet flats to go on sale: they always do!* (shoes aren't online yet)

Blazer/Leopard Shoes Outfit:
Blazer: H&M, $50
Pants: Gap, $37
Shoes: DSW, $60

These items are all closet essentials that can be found almost anywhere! Use a blazer hanging up your closet, add a plain white shirt and pants, and you're good to go. The shoes are what make the outfit stand out.

Chambray/Floral Pants Outfit:
Shirt: J.Crew Factory, $60
Pants: Target, $23
Shoes: Target, $15

I'd get the Chambray shirt from J.Crew factory because, although it is a little cheaper, it still is of a high enough quality that you'd be able to wear it from March to October this year without having it get worn. Chambray shirts are a new summer staple. There are many different floral pants out there, but these ones from Target were the closest I could find to the ones in the catalog.

What do you think of the outfits? And J.Crew's January lineup?