Why Start a Blog?

Chances are if you found this post you’re on the fence about blogging, well I’m here to tell you why you should and how it will positively impact your life.

  1. It’s fun! Blogging is a good and creative outlet for all of your thoughts that get stuck in your head. You have something to look forward to when you’re bored or have an idea and you have somewhere to put it.
  2. The people and community. I have found that the people in the blogging world and the community that they hold together is simply amazing. While I may not have my own niche community (yet) I have found some great friends and people that have turned into friends, even though I have never actually met them.
  3. Learning more about yourself and the things you love. With communities, commenters, and friends you never knew shared common interests you can learn a lot about the things you love. However, in addition, just by writing consistently you can learn a lot about yourself.
  4. Remembering to write down and document all the really cool stuff that happens to you. There are things I would forget about if I didn’t blog about them. It’s like a virtual, public diary for me. It lets me remember all of the good things that have happened over the past four years (maybe some of the bad too but that’s okay) and that knowledge can help you grow.
  5. Writing helps everything. There is proof that writing is good for you. It stops you from forgetting a lot when you get old. It’s yet to work for me, but hey, it’s worth a try!
  6. Get different opinions! Tired of hearing the same things from your friends? Well ask some internet friends, get a new perspective on a problem you feel like you have exhausted your options on. Share stories of how other opinions have impacted your decision making!
  7. Peer validation!  I mean I’m not saying I need and/or crave peer validation, but it does make me feel better about myself. It helps me from feeling as if I’m the only one facing problems and that there are other people in the same exact place as me. On the other hand, it’s also nice to know people like my blog (if I’m going to get real honest here).
  8. Simple but still creative. Making a pretty website and expressing yourself in your own way can be so simple today. It doesn’t take a lot to click your favorite theme and run with it. You can still be creative with your writing and graphics, but there are very simple ways to handle it.
  9. Simply being creative. (Get it play from tip 8 I’m hilarious) Everyone should just be creative. Take the time and energy and put it into something you love. You have something you like, make it creative and put it in a blog!
  10. Share your thoughts/views/opinions! Everyone thinks, has views and opinions, so why not share them? Why not share your love of tomatoes, fashion, being a mom, makeup, or really just love of anything. There are people out there that you never knew shared the same interests.

Share with me why you started blogging and why you stuck with it! Don’t have a blog yet? Tell me what’s holding you up!

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Going Soy and Dairy Free

For lent this year, in addition to my typical no fried food give up, I decided to do something very good for my diet and give up soy and dairy as well.

My mom said that she’s pretty sure I’ve always been lactose intolerant, I was diagnosed, then un-diagnosed in the fifth grade. However, my body has never really tolerated it that well, and it’s been something I needed to quit for a long time, so God was really the best excuse to finally do it.  In addition to being lactose intolerant, I found out the very hard way that I was soy intolerant, almost worse than my lactose problem. So I decided to give up both.

This has been a lot harder than I thought and I think I’m only about two weeks in, so I thought I would give you some tips.

What to Eat

  • Enjoy Life products are dairy, soy, peanut, and gluten free, along with a host of other allergens. You can also see what places sell what items on their website.
  • Annie’s brand products. Be careful depending on how allergic you are because something in the factory use dairy so just be advised. I’ve found snacks at Target and Giant Eagle.
  • Almonds. For some reason I have had the most luck with almonds. Almond milk, almond the snack food, and they come in different flavors.
  • Subway. While  you have to skip the cheese and flat bread, with a simple Google search you can find a complete list of allergens in each item you might want in your sub.

Cooking Tips

  • The more basic the better.
  • Buy veggies, go with simple things like chicken
  • Make sure everything you’re cooking with doesn’t have soy or dairy, including any oils and cooking sprays.

Anyone else soy and dairy free?

How to Prepare for the Snowstorm

Apparently there’s supposed to be a lot of snow this weekend, starting tonight. I don’t know if I can believe it, if I’m being honest. However, in case it does, here are some tips for preparing for the storm.

  • Have something to do- Don’t allow yourself get bored. Make sure you have at least one thing in mind to do that doesn’t require electricity, for example almost any craft.
  • Have food- snacks, candy, but also protein and other things in case you can’t cook. So essentially meals. The stores have been out of milk, bread, and eggs for days so good luck with those items at this point.
  • Keep a shovel in your car- I’ve learned this the hard way when the school calls and tells me to move my car, but my car is behind a three foot pile of snow.
  • Do your homework- This isn’t really how to be prepared or anything, it’s just a tip on what to do when it snows.
  • Have winter supplies ready to go- You don’t want to be searching for your winter boots when you have to walk to the dining hall, just to remember that you left them in your car on move-in day.
  • Keep blankets at the ready- Again, you never know when the power may go off, so always make sure you have blankets ready to go in case the heat goes off.

Are you in the 18-24 inch zone like me? The first flurries just started, I’m not ready for this. I don’t like snow. Stay safe everyone!

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12 Days of Christmas: Day 5- Last Minute Gift Buying Tips

day 5

Now, I’m not a last minute kind of person to be quite honest. However, there were a few Christmas presents that I couldn’t get in Ireland so I will be doing some last minute shopping when I get home. I thought maybe it would be nice to give my tips on the best way to do last minute shopping.

  • Go in the morning. The sooner you leave the more people are still running late, so get to the mall or Target or Walmart or wherever you need to go as soon as it opens.
  • Have a list. It’s too late in the game to try and wing it, you need to know what you’re looking for otherwise you will be stuck there forever.
  • Walk with purpose. Those pesky mall kiosk people are less likely to ask you a million questions if you’re walking with a purpose. I know they’re just doing their job, but you still have presents to wrap and places to be, get it done and get out of there. Unless you want to meander, then meander!
  • Only go into stores that have the things you need. If you’re shopping for your mom there’s no reason to go into American Eagle, instead you’re just going to end up buying yourself a sweater that you don’t need and spending the money you should be spending on other people.
  • Don’t give in to the impulse buys. If you don’t need it don’t buy it. I feel like those little stations of impulse buys are everywhere at Christmas time and that’s because they know people cave. Those are good stocking stuffers and little presents for friends, but if that’s not what you’re looking for, walk away.

What are your last minute tips?! I’m going to struggle with the not getting distracted part since I haven’t been to Target in months it’s going to be hard, but I can do it.

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Anxiety and Traveling.

travel and anxiety

Anxiety and traveling for some people aren’t a good mix. For some people who don’t suffer from general anxiety like myself, they can suffer from travel anxiety. The act of traveling alone can cause anxious feelings and can even result in panic attacks which can seriously make a vacation turn sour.

One of my biggest fears since I deal with anxiety is letting it ruin things I want to do, and one of the main things I want to do in life is travel. Because of this I do try to take my traveling as relaxed, simple, and as smooth as possible. So here are some tips so that you can do the same!

  1. Keep mental list of where all of your important documents are. If you’re going international be sure to keep your passport and boarding pass together, as well as any other documents you might be. For example in the fall when I get off the plane I’ll make sure to have my passport and entry note in my hand.
  2. Have a plan for the travels. If it’s a new airport, look up where your terminal is online. Know where you’re supposed to go and be. Have print out directions and use your phone or GPS to travel. It often helps if you have various sources to ensure you’re traveling to the right place.
  3. Have a plan for the arrival. If you have something to look forward to it can make the traveling process seem more worth it. If you have anxiety about being away from home, you can do a countdown of day until you get to leave, just don’t forget to enjoy your time away. If the journey makes you anxious looking forward to what the reward is can really help to relax your mind.
  4. Bring comforts. For some the unfamiliarity of traveling can cause anxiety, if you have something that comforts you and you have the ability to bring it along, do it. It’ll definitely make the journey easier.
  5. Know things can go wrong. I honestly go into everything expecting the worst. There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you travel, if you’re prepared for them it won’t make them seem as bad.
  6. Be early. I know this is like my life motto, if you aren’t early you’re late, but when it comes to travelling it’s true. I would rather sit in an airport for three hours and people watch than trying to rush through security and running to my terminal. Same goes for driving, you can’t always plan for traffic. Leave early. Always be early. Rushing can cause anxiety, so the less of it you can do the better.
  7. Plan ahead. When you set an agenda and plans months in advance you can start to prepare your mind for the travels. If you have your mind prepared you will be prepared and less anxious. This really helps for just keeping a sound mind.
  8. Be ready for panic attacks. Be ready to calm yourself down. If you can have exit strategies, if you can’t try to have someone with you who understands. If you can’t do that either, make sure if anyone notices they understand what is going on. The last thing you want is a lot of attention because it will only fuel the anxiety. If you’re on the plane take a little walk through the aisles so you feel less claustrophobic. If you are in a car, pull over. Know how to slow down the panic or stop it, or know techniques that work for other people. It really is the worse case scenario that this would happen, but it does, and helps if you are prepared.
  9. Create a happy place. Make a distraction from whatever is stressing you out. Try to focus on something that doesn’t fuel the anxiety. Make a happy place in your mind where you can go when you close your eyes.
  10. Take a break. When you feel anxious sometimes you need a break. You just need to take a step back and breathe. Walk away, refresh your mind, don’t forget to drink lots of water. Take care of yourself. If you have to remove yourself, do it. You know your limits, don’t forget them.

Don’t let anxiety ruin adventure and travel for you. There’s so much to see and do in the world, and if you don’t want to see it that’s okay, but if you do, don’t let anxiety take that away. I am so afraid of that, but it also helps me be aware. You can travel with anxiety, it doesn’t have to stop you, I refuse to let it stop me.

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How to be Mary

becoming mary

I’m not saying anyone wants to be me or anything, but here are some tips on how to be me if you would like to be.

  1. Always get dressed in the dark. That way incase anyone asks “What’d you do get dressed in the dark?” you can always say yes.
  2. Don’t brush your hair.
  3. Always say yes, especially when you should say no but you feel obligated to something anyway.
  4. Sit for hours staring at an empty word document waiting for something to fill the pages you need.
  5. Finger paint.
  6. Get really frustrated at everything and try not to cry.
  7. Email everyone in a group project a million times a day.
  8. Apply for so many jobs.
  9. Try super hard to blog and fail.
  10. Try and find a different t-shirt to wear, but end up wearing one of ten you always wear.
  11. Ask a million pointless questions to see if your friends get annoyed. If they don’t or don’t show it, they’re really good friends.
  12. Talk about how much you hate washing your hair, and see how long you can go without washing it before you’re disgusted. It’s never more than a day, keep that in mind.
  13. Think about and plan everything for the future. Do nothing to achieve that.
  14. Internally perpetually complain about the school’s wifi, when at home yell about how the school wifi is so much better.
  15. Think about how much you want to go to Target, go to Target and either buy things you don’t need and forget what you need or just don’t buy anything at all.
  16. Think about and tweet at IHOP constantly because that’s how much you love them.
  17. Weigh your options for the future and relook all the freakout class planning schedules previously made.
  18. Craft as much as you can as often as you can.
  19. Complain about everyone who doesn’t do their job properly, do it for them.
  20. Outwardly be self-confident so people think you are, no matter how fat you feel that day.
  21. Avoid real pants as often as possible.
  22. Don’t talk to any guys, but complain when no guys like you.
  23. Constantly remind yourself to breathe.
  24. Watch a lot of bad movies but find all the great qualities within them.
  25. Spend too much time on the internet doing nothing.

This is a joke post, I mean I hope you don’t take my advice. Reminder to always be  your own person and never let anyone change who you are.

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Mary’s Blogging Tips

blogging tips

This post may seem like a stretch after yesterdays but I thought it would be important to share the things I have discovered in my year and a half of blogging- the majority of that daily blogging.

  1. Write about your own interests not what you think interests other people. I’ve made the mistake of doing makeup posts or things that I think people would read and they end up being very popular posts but they aren’t well done or things I would consider my best work.
  2. Numbers don’t matter. I often get distracted by the number of people reading, the number of likes, and the number of comments. The happier I am with the content the less I care about the numbers- produce the content you care about and the numbers will begin to reflect your passions.
  3. Don’t pressure yourself. You don’t need to put pressure onto yourself to be the best blogger ever. If you don’t want to do it, don’t. If you don’t want people to know, don’t tell them. Don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable.
  4. Save drafts. This is something I am constantly learning the hardway considering I never write a post all at once. I put my computer down for five minutes and the next thing I know the internet has crashed three times and there goes any progress I have made. I even lost the first draft of this post which made me add this to the list. There is nothing worse than losing an hour or two worth of work just because you didn’t click save.
  5. Check spelling and grammar. I need to do this more and proofread more often. No one wants to read anything that’s filled with mistakes. I know my posts probably have a lot of mistakes because I hate to proofread and check my work but don’t do what I do and actually check your work! Most host sites provide a spell check service as do most internet browsers- utilize them.
  6. Always write. Even if you aren’t going to hit publish on a post- write it anyway. It keeps the creative juices flowing and it helps to promote a writer’s mind. The more you write, the more you can write.
  7. Find time.  Time needs to be put into every hobby it turns into a question of how much time do you want to put into blogging? Personally I would like to achieve around  5 blog posts a week with each having about two or three hours work into them, I know this will vary. I would say most people probably post once or twice a week but really it’s what makes you comfortable.
  8. Be passionate. People can tell when you are passionate and knowledgeable about what you write compared to how you are when you are neutral or don’t really care about a subject- show it in your writing.
  9. Make friends. Don’t be afraid of talking to bloggers and commenters. I have met people here that I would consider to be great friends. I talk to them on a regular or semiregular basis we are friends with each other on social media, we have built a relationship that’s more than bloggers who read each other’s thoughts.
  10. Use pictures. Don’t be afraid to add color to words. It really helps. If you don’t take them yourself make sure you give credit but the more you can add to a post the better. Long, lengthy posts are great but some people need a visual with that so add it!

Here are my top ten blogging tips! What are some of yours?

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Short Cuts to be a Pretend Adult

I don’t know if you guys know this but I pretend to be an adult, it’s in my twitter bio. I do things that make people think that I’m a grownup- heck the kids I babysit think I’m old, which is half true. I make up a lot of stuff to make it seem like I know what I’m doing. I mean if you’re close to me you really know that I don’t know what I’m doing (ever). I thought that maybe it would be useful to share my tips to be a productive pretend adult so that other people can do the same.

  1. Put your dirty towels on top of your favorite dirty clothes so you don’t take them out of the laundry and wear them again. It forces you to do your laundry so that you can wear your favorite items.
  2. When you know you have to wash your bed sheets (do it once a week and feel good about yourself) take off your pillow case because no one wants to sleep on a bare pillow.
  3. Limit the number of dishes you have that way you wash them faster because you run out faster.
  4. Don’t buy the fatty stuff. If you are trying to avoid potato chips don’t buy them at the store then they aren’t sitting in your room waiting to be eaten and tempting you.
  5. If you’re around sick people vitamin C is your best friend. They make them like cough drops and it’s in a lot of drinks and it’s good to not get sick.
  6. Bribe yourself to do work, but use very mundane things like showers and fruit snacks (of course fruit leather because fruit snacks are too sugary for my liking) and if you are really struggling use chocolate and little trips to the store.
  7. Do fun things that keep you young. I don’t like saying that because I’m only 20 but coloring and painting and doing any other crafts are relaxing. I’m also at that age where people think “abstract” art is cool so my random lines of paint are oddly visually appealing to some.
  8. Exercise and if you hate it like me, bribe yourself with Goldfish. That’s what I did yesterday. I’m trying one of those 7 minute workout app things and I’m sure it’s not effective at all, but I will pretend it is until I find the time and motivation to go on a real run.
  9. Pick positive influences and people to surround yourself with. There is no reason to be an adult and have “friends” who don’t give two shits about you.
  10. Go to Target, look at the grownup stuff, skip it all and then buy some chocolate or other random things you will never need. Target’s great for all of that.

What are your tips of being a grown up? I need all the help I can get.

PSA About Finals Week

Hello friends I know you’re all very stressed about finals this week and next week. I feel like most of you are suffering this week, so I am but finals aren’t even until next week! Anyway, I just feel like I need to put this out there because we are in college and forget to take care of ourselves.

  • Caffeine is bad for you. Do not over do it, you can really hurt yourself and your heart if you drink too much coffee, take too many caffeine pills, or just ingest anything with excessive amounts of caffeine. I understand that it’s very important to stay awake just try not to over do it because you don’t want to hurt yourself. The last thing you want is hurt yourself and end up in the hospital finals week. Caffeine also accelerates anxiety (why I tried to give it up over the summer) so if you’re already stressed it’s might make it worse.
  • Sleep is good for you. Don’t forget to sleep. All nighters happen but take a nap, don’t go too long without sleep because you can’t function properly without it.
  • Eat. Don’t forget to eat, reward yourself with food. It’s the best motivator.
  • Drink lots of water. It helps to hydrate you and your brain! You’re more productive when you’re hydrated rather than dehydrated.
  • If you feel sick stop and assess the situation. Make sure you don’t need water or food or if it’s stress. If you feel a cold take some medicine and vitamin c.

Please everyone don’t forget to take care of yourselves. Personal well-being should always come before grades and I hate to say that. I know it’s stressful but hurting yourself for that A is not worth it.

Good luck with exams!!

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Travel Tips

I’ve noticed that for my blog that was intended to revolve around travel, I’ve never really done a post on travel tips or anything of the sorts so I thought maybe I should do that.

  1. Always make lots of lists. In case you haven’t noticed I’m queen of lists and I use them for about everything, this includes travel. Make a list of places you want to see in each location, a list of things you need to pack, a list for your carry-on, and a list for the smallest details of any food you want to try while venturing a new land.
  2. Be prepared. Always expect the worst. Even if the forecast says no rain for  your entire two week trip, bring an umbrella. Have emergency contact numbers with you just incase you break your arm and end up in the hospital. Have a method of transportation waiting for you when you get off the plane/train/bus. This can vary from a taxi, friend or rental car. For example, a service like Turo is perfect for an airport car rental. There are no lines and you have direct contact with the owner of the car. They’ll bring the car to the airport, you exchange pleasantries and after noting and previous damage on the car you leave with the perfect car for you and your travels.
  3. Be early. Travel time take TIME. Air travel recommends you be two hours early, I recommend three just incase. If you are taking a train, be early. If you are taking a bus, be early. The only time you have room to be late is for a road trip. The last thing you want is to miss a mode of transportation and have to delay your trip.
  4. Don’t overpack. This is my downfall, I think that I need everything and I don’t. While it’s good to be prepared you don’t need to bring a jacket with you to the beach in July, if it’s cold at night a sweatshirt is a great souvenir. If you don’t need to do work you probably don’t need your laptop. Think about your lists before you act on them, really think so  you don’t bring something stupid that takes up a lot of space. If you are going somewhere for an extended amount of time also consider packing lighter and buying things like shampoo, conditioner, soap, and other things like that while there.
  5. Don’t underpack. While it’s important to skip out on the nonessentials don’t think you can get by on a pair of shorts and three shirts for a week. Don’t forget things like socks, a nicer pair of shoes, maybe a pair of flip flops if you’re going somewhere warm. You can always get stuff while you’re away but that’s not the best way to try and think of packing, you don’t want to forget anything vital to your personal travel needs.
  6. Plan. Know where you’re staying and how you’re getting from place to place. This information is important to share with someone at home too, that way incase anything happens someone knows where you should be at all times. This is especially important when you travel alone that way incase you lose your itinerary someone else has it too. Also it’s good to know what you’re doing at all times so you know where you’re going and what exactly you’re supposed to be doing. Booking ahead is also cheaper (typically) then waiting until you get somewhere like early bird discounts and such.
  7. Utilize your carry-ons. Most airlines allow two carry-ons, use them. Make sure you bring clothes in at least one of them in case your luggage is lost or sent to the wrong place, especially if you have a connecting flight somewhere. They’re also great for flight entertainment if you have a long domestic flight without any inflight entertainment. These are of huge importance for long car rides too. You never know when you might need to get a charger out or book just incase everyone else falls asleep and you’re bored, it’s better to keep them with you than with your suitcase that’s inaccessible in the trunk.

These are just a few of my travel tips. Please leave your own favorites in the comments because I want to travel soon and maybe I’ll need them one day!

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