Thursday, December 31, 2015

In 2015...

It's hard to believe that this year is coming to an end, but alas it's the last week of the year. This year had a lot of ups and downs, and a lot of broken dreams. I've also been on a plane twice, and I've been to places I've only dreamed of going. I've also had dealt with anxiety and all of its' fun effects. I've also gotten a job at my town's newspaper. Wow, that's a lot of stuff! Let's slow down and recap! Shall we?
In 2015, I was diagnosed with anxiety. This happened when working two jobs and taking five classes finally caught up with me. It caused me to have to withdraw from a class so I would have less on my plate. The result of all of this is that I suddenly found myself on the 4.5 year plan, instead of the traditional four year plan. Yes, it's going to suck going back for an extra semester, but it's going to be okay. I've also been combating anxiety attacks, and trying to get through it all day by day. That is the only way to get through it. I'm getting therapy, and I'm getting better. I'd like to think that I'm going to thrive in 2016.
Santa Monica Beach; Take me back please!
In 2015, I did quite a bit of traveling. In Feb., I went to L.A. for a week with the newspaper for a conference, and did a lot of sight seeing. It was an amazing opportunity, and I definitely want to explore more of California as time goes on. I also connected really well with the people who I shared a hotel room with, and went on a thousand adventures. In May, I went to another conference in New York with those same girls. This time, we left after one session and spent the rest of the time exploring the city. It was an amazing time. In Sept., I went to Orlando for the SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists), and went to an amazing set of conferences. I also got to go to Disney World for the first time since I was a kid. It was fun.
In 2015, I switched around in jobs. In May, I began working for the Hamden Journal, which lead me to become the Copy Editor. Through my work at the Hamden Journal, I met some amazing people, such as the band Kansas. It's amazing how much you can learn in that job, and where it can take you. I also began working for College Fashionista, where I worked for two semesters, and quit in Dec. In Dec., I became the Editor in Chief of the SCSU chapter of the Odyssey, which is something that I am currently enjoying. It's a struggle trying to lead a bunch of people whom I've never met except online. But, it's enjoyable. In journalism, the more experience that you can get as an undergrad, the better you are. Looking back, I gained a lot of experience and knowledge that I otherwise never would have gotten through solely classes. In 2016, I hope to further my horizons, as I enter my last year as an undergrad.
L to R: Griffin, Gabriel, and I on the beach on my 21st birthday.
The last thing about 2015 that will always strike me is the people who I spent the year with. I went on wild and crazy adventures with Gabriel and Griffin, became really good friends with my co-worker at the library Vanessa and made some new friends through classes. I've also maintained friendships from past years, such as Elisia. Sometimes, I've leaned on Gabriel and Griffin too much, especially as I went through my battles with anxiety. However, I hope they know how much I appreciate them being there for me when I need a hug. You all are amazing friends, and I'm hoping the next year we do some wild and crazy things, which will lead to amazing memories such as turning 21 with my best pals.
I'd say 2015 was a great year. What do you all think? Tell me about your year. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

An Open Letter to My First Love

To My First Love,
 I remember the first time I saw you--it was in modern world back in ninth grade. I remember your thin wired glasses, your flaming red hair and that you always wore black. You knew everything, always carried around a book in one hand and had a briefcase in the other. We “dated”, using the term loosely, for a little over three months. One day, you broke up with me, leaving me starving for answers in a Facebook message.
 For the next three months, I remember my sole goal was to get you back. I did whatever I could to get you back, for I thought I was Bella Swan and you had to be my Edward. Without you, I was nothing. Looking back on it now, I remember the relationship as me clinging onto you for dear life. You were the only thing I lived for. You were the person who I wanted, and without you I would be nothing. Back when I was fifteen, I thought of nothing more than wanting to be loved by you and only you. It served a greater importance to me than perhaps anything, and that was unhealthy for both you and me.
I look back at it now, and am astounded and embarrassed by my immature behavior. How could I have thought someone was the answer to my problems? How could I have thought that someone was going to save me? I needed to save myself, and learn how to do that. I needed to get self confidence, which needed to come from me not from you telling me that you loved me. 
I thought I loved you. I thought I would marry you, and was prepared to change myself to become what you wanted me to be. Our "relationship" was me, slowly losing myself to you, and you just being unsure what to do. I expected too much from you, and I'm sorry for my expectations driving you mad. You were an obsession, the center of my world, and something that would quickly break due to the pressure.
At 21, I now know that's not the answer to a relationship. Love is not drowning myself to be what someone else wants me to be. Love is not clinging to someone to dear life for fear that they are going away. Love isn't begging for someone to come back after breaking up with them. My relationship with you wasn't healthy, and it was solely my fault. I apologize to you for that, because I know it caused you pain. 
I always wonder what would happen if I ever saw you on the street. I honestly hope that you're doing well in whatever it is that you're doing. From time to time, I think of you. But, for the most part, I don't think of you anymore, despite the effects of the relationship still come up from time to time.
But our relationship was my first dose of love. It was my first taste of how incredible it could be to have someone who loves you and wants to be with you. I thank you for that, even though things didn't work out and now we don't speak. If you happen to be reading this, which isn't very likely, I hope you know how sorry I am for the way that I was. It also damaged me, and made me unsure what to expect from someone. Could I fall in love with someone else? (Of course I can, and hopefully will one day.) I hope you fall in love with someone too, someone that had everything together, someone that wouldn't call your brother because she felt upset about you leaving, someone who was Mormon. 
You can never change the past, and I can never undo all that I've done. I grew from the experience of us, and I hope you have done the same. You will always be my first love, something that I can never undo no matter how much time passes. I look up to you in respect, because not only do you deserve it, but you are a person who I once loved. I hope you get everything out of life that you wanted, and I hope you reach the successes that you wanted. I, on the other hand, moved from writing you silly poems to writing articles in the town newspaper. I hope you see my name in the print. 
I guess there's nothing left to say now, other than goodbye. 
With Love, 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Recap

Christmas came and Christmas went, and now everything seasonal is suddenly on clearance. However, before you begin to get chocolate Santa Claus on discount, let me tell you how I spent my holiday.
Gabu and I.
Christmas began on Wednesday once I left work. I headed over to Gabu's (formerly Gabriel) to exchange gifts. They enjoyed their gift, and I was greeted by a cute dog named Cameron. Gabu loved the gifts I got them, which were a Mac and Cheese dish that you can microwave (they are addicted to Mac and Cheese), a pair of earrings and a notebook for them to journal in. We took a few fun pictures, (you all know how I feel about pictures after reading yesterday's entry) and hung out.
Christmas cookies
 Christmas Eve was the next day, and for Italians it's the bigger holiday. I spent it at my grandma's, along with my cousins. We exchanged gifts, and ate so much amazing food. (Including the cookies that are pictured above.) It was a fun evening, and I got a lot of fun things including a Snoopy watch, gift cards, and some money.
Cinnamon buns that we ate.
 On Christmas morning, the first thing I did was take a bath. Then, my mom and I made cinnamon buns to eat while we opened gifts. Maggie went fist, where she got a bone to chew on, and some bun treats. My mom enjoyed her gifts, and she gave me a lot of things including a gas gift card, clothing, books, fun jewelry, and more. After that, we headed to grandma's to eat dinner, which for me were leftovers from Christmas eve. On Christmas evening, my uncle, cousins, and I went to see Star Wars. the movie was amazing, and if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend you do (especially if you're a Star Wars fan like myself.) I saw it in 3-D, which made it even more cool.
Overall, it was a great holiday. Relaxing, which is what I needed, and I got to spend it eating and seeing a fun movie. How was your Christmas? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Why I Like To Take Pictures So Much

Whenever I'm with friends or just doing something fun (or sometimes, eating something that looks or is really good), I'll often whip my cellphone out to take a picture of it. Yes, it's obnoxious, especially since within the next hour that same photo will be edited with some sort of filter and put on my Instagram. After all, you gotta do it for the gram.
However, there's a reason behind the madness, I swear.
I take photos to lock the moment forever. I take pictures of my friends, especially the ones that are far away a lot, because when I miss them I know they truly not that far away. I take pictures to create a memory, of what I'm doing, and who I'm doing it with. If I'm having a good time, my iPhone is most likely snapping a photo of the moment. I take pictures of the beach in the summer, because in the winter when it's dark and dismal, I want to be reminded of a time when the sun would always peak through. I take pictures of my food, because I think it looks delicious and want to share it with you all. I take pictures to create some crazy form of art, even though it probably doesn't seem to be artsy. I take pictures of my dog, just because she's cute and adorable.
I apologize to my friends, I apologize to my dog for the countless moments spent trying to capture the perfect shot of us. However, I can assure that there's a reason, and it's not to get the most likes on an Instagram post. It's to have something to remember, something that lives in the pocket of my blue skinny jeans. It's silly but it's something that captures the moment forever, even though the camera may be long gone. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! As you open your presents with your family and friends, I have decided to share one of my favorite Christmas songs ever, which is a song by none other than Sir Elton John.
Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2 Parties, Ugly Sweaters, and Holiday Fun

The ugly sweater has quickly become a pop culture phenomenon, and this year I finally got a chance to rock an ugly sweater of my own. Gabriel invited me to an ugly sweater party hosted by their mom's friend. So after going shopping in my grandma's wardrobe, Gabriel and I were headed to two different parties. The first was at Gabriel's (and mine occasionally, as I go there whenever I can) church, which was a choir party.  That party was pretty fun, and I got to talk to some cool people. The second was the ugly sweater party, which had amazing food, and some good people to talk to.
Going from party to party was tiring, however, it was great fun! I've never really had the chance to go to a holiday party, so it was pretty fun.
Overall, it was a fun little way to spend the Saturday evening. It was fun to spend some time with Gabriel, and although the sweater was a bit itchy, it was fun to wear.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Christmas will be here in three days, however, that doesn't mean that everyone's shopping is complete. With finals, and all else going on, college students such as myself often put Christmas shopping to the bottom of the to-do list. But now that it's almost here, one can begin to panic about the amount of gifts that you have to get. However, with these simple ideas, I can assure the procrastinators out there that you too can find the perfect gift.

  1. Gift Cards: Everyone can use a gift card. Luckily, nowadays grocery stores often have them, so it's a one stop shop. And there's some pretty good ones--you can choose anywhere from Starbucks to iTunes. It's the easiest gift that you can get anybody. 
  2. Candy: There's so many holiday themed chocolate gift baskets, and since mostly everyone you know likes chocolate, you can never go wrong. 
  3. Jewelry: For your mom or best friend, picking up a simple little bauble will be sure to add some sparkle in her life. Plus, you can get some great jewelry at TJ Maxx, with some low prices. 
  4. Power banks: Nearly everyone has run out of battery at one point or another. It's the perfect gift for pretty much everyone with a smartphone. Or a tablet.
  5. Gift Books/CDs: Barnes and Noble has a great selection of gift books for the readers on your list, and a huge variety. If they love music, why not treat them a gift to their favorite band? Either or, and you'll be golden. 
Hopefully these will be perfect for anyone whose entering Santa's Toyshop a bit late this year. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Cookie and Pizza Making Event At Luther House

Last week, Gabriel's mom's college congregation, Luther House, held a finals break event which consisted of pizza making and cookie making. Sounds fun, right? Well, what really sold me was that it would be the first time I would see Gabriel since they came back from Spain. (No offense, Kari--that was the cherry on top!)
(L to R) Gabriel, Me, Kari
Since Kari (Gabriel's mom) was my ride, I got there a bit early. I used this time to catch up with Gabriel, and Skype with their boyfriend Manuel. (Which in turn we became Snapchat best friends) The event began where we made our own pizzas on Pillsbury dough that normally one would use to make biscuits. Since I'm lactose intolerant, I had lots of veggies and sauce on my pizza. Gabriel had lots of cheese on theirs. While the pizza was baking, we decided to decorate cookies, which were delicious. Once the pizza was eaten, we began singing Christmas carols. After a while, I noticed that Gabriel was getting a bit sleepy (they were jet lagged), so I treated them to a cup of coffee.
Gabriel and I
Overall, it was a fun way to spend a Sunday night. The Luther House community is a great way to meet some new pals, and of course bond with the current ones. And of course, pizza and cookies are always fun and tasty additions to your day.
(L to R) Gabriel, Me, Kari

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

16 Great Books That I Read This Year

This year, I surpassed my Goodreads reading challenge goals by almost 45 percent. I blame the reason due to my two literature classes, which helped me reach this goal. However, I still had time to read some amazing books through out the year, especially through out the summer. Here's some of the books that I enjoyed--some were published this year, while others weren't.

  1. "Throne of Glass" by Sarah Maas
  2. "The Sun Also Rises" by Ernest Hemingway 
  3. "The Cuckoo's Calling" by Robert Gailbreth
  4. "The One and Only" by Emily Giffin 
  5. "Love Rosie" by Cecelia Ahorn 
  6. "Saint Anything" by Sarah Dessen
  7. "All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes" by Betsy St. Amant 
  8. "Boy Meets Boy" by David Levithan
  9. "The Truth About Alice" by Jennifer Mathieu 
  10. "Me Before You" by JoJo Meyes 
  11. "Landline" by Rainbow Rowell
  12. "I Am Ozzy" by Ozzy Osbourne
  13. "P.S. I Still Love You" by Jenny Han 
  14. "Finding Audrey" by Sophie Kinsella
  15. The Fame Game series by Lauren Conrad 
  16. "To All of the Boys I've Loved Before" by Jenny Han

Monday, December 14, 2015

Friday Night...At the Bookstore

Cupcakes, Star Wars, and impulse buys added up to be an awesome Friday night last week. After not hanging out for several months, we decided to finally get together and explore the shopping that was offered in North Haven, such as Barnes and Noble, Ulta and Target.
Elisia and I.
The first stop was Ulta, where I bought lipsticks and some BB cream, and she bought some eye makeup. After that, we went to Target, where I found a Snoopy watch and some other little presents for friends. Elisia found a Star Wars T-Shirt that she fell in love with and purchased.
After Target, we headed to Barnes and Noble, where we wandered around aimlessly at Barnes and Noble, since we're both bookworms and love to read. I got the book "Wicked," with an awesome coupon that I got online. After that, we decided to head to the cafe where they had the most amazing desserts. Elisia and I both got cupcakes, and a drink. We hung out there for a while and headed home.

Overall, it was a great Friday night, because it's not everyday that you get to go out and treat yourself. It's also not everyday you get to enjoy the company of good friends, especially when you're a busy college student, so you enjoy it while you can.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Things I Love Thursday: iPod Shuffle

I've always enjoyed having an iPod by my side, whether it's to sing along to in the car, to walk to class with a good beat or just to have some good tunes on hand. Sure, I have a phone that has endless amount of room for music. But, there's something about having an iPod separate from your phone so that way you don't have to drain your battery to listen to some music.
My iPod classic that I got back in May, however, had a major accident. It drowned in water after I left the cap of my water bottle loose. Even though rice had saved it for the moment, it began dying a slow death. So, I knew that I wanted to treat myself to a new iPod.
Since I have an iPhone that has more than enough room for music, I knew I was going to opt for a Nano or Shuffle. I was set on getting the nano, because I've had them in the past and I enjoyed having a pedometer to work out with. However, the iPod shuffle seemed cute so I decided to buy that. That, and the fact it had a clip on it made it even more sellable. So, I settled on the gold one.
I got a great deal on it through QVC, when it included some new headphones and a car charger, and four easy payments.
What was in the box. 
 I've had it for a few weeks now, and so far I am enjoying it. I like it that it clips on to me so I don't have to carry an iPod with me. I also like it that I have over 400 songs on me and can listen to them whenever. However, to fit 400 songs onto it, I had to put songs onto a playlist onto it, rather than do it the other way, which is how the iPod is set up to do. I also have Voiceover set up on it, because then if I don't know what song is playing, then it helps me out. However, it also helps out in telling me what playlists I have onto it, since I have a lot of playlists loaded onto it.
The battery life on the iPod is amazing; I only charge it basically whenever I put music on it. Even though, it's worth noting that it still is basically fully charged. The iPod website says it lasts for about 15 hours, and I believe it.
Overall, I'd say that it's a great purchase, and is something that I will be enjoying for years to come. The funny thing about iPods is that they truly last forever.
For those of you who are looking for a great little gift (and I do mean little) check out this little iPod shuffle. I guarantee that you won't be sorry. I am in love with the gold color, however, blue is also a good choice. If you do end up purchasing it, be sure to add on the VoiceOver. It definitely helps, as it doesn't have a screen.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Purchases


This past weekend, I shopped until I dropped! From online to in person, I was able to cross many gifts off of my list, as well as being able to treat myself to a few things. It is the season for giving, right?
I started my shopping on Thursday, where I purchased "Finding Audrey" from Barnes and Noble, as well as a new bookmark. While the book itself wasn't on sale, I was able to save 30% off, making the book only $9. Not bad. I also purchased a few things on my mom's end with her Kohl's charge (she doesn't know much about how to use
On Black Friday, I went to Jo Ann fabrics to purchase some beads. I also had a lot of coupons, in addition to all of the beads were 60 percent off. I was able to get strings of beads, normally over $4 for about $1.97. What a deal! The next day I went back and purchased more beads to make more projects. The end result of those beads were to make two bracelets as a Christmas present for my mom, as well as two for myself. In total, I spent about $20 and got four bracelets.
The biggest deals however were for Cyber Monday. I bought my mom Bath and Body Works lotion, body spray, and soap for about $30. Barnes and Noble had a great deal as well--I got 25 percent off of one item AND Y/A books were two for $15. I bought four.
Overall, I saved a lot of money getting things for myself and my mom. However, I didn't get all of my gifts on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. I got a majority of them at TJ Maxx and through Amazon earlier on because I had a gift card from trading in old electronics.
Did you get any Black Friday deals? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Best Albums of 2015

As the end of the year approaches, it's now time to reflect on some of the albums that topped this year's charts. This year had so many new releases, from Madonna's "Rebel Heart," to Adele's mega-hit "25." Here's some of my favorites through out the year, all of which I think are worth the listen.

Demi Lovato - Confident (Official Album Cover).png
Source: Demi Lovato's "Confident" rocked the charts this year.
  1. "Confident" by Demi Lovato
  2. "Honeymoon" by Lana Del Rey
  3. "Rebel Heart" by Madonna
  4. "25" by Adele
  5. "III" by JoJo
  6. "Beauty Behind the Madness" by the Weeknd 
  7. "Grand Romantic" by Nate Ruess
  8. "If You're Reading This It's Too Late" by Drake
While these were some of my favorite releases this year, I would also like to point out some releases last year still managed to be a favorite of mine. "1989" by Taylor Swift was always on repeat, as was "Strange Desire" by Bleachers, just to name a few.
However, next year looks to be an equally promising year for new releases. I'm particularly excited about JoJo's new album, as well as Elton John's. But, for now, I'll have plenty from this year to hold me over until they come out.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Music Monday: 25 by Adele

Adele has been a busy woman. She's been taking over the iTunes music charts, with song "Hello" as number one, and "When We Were Young" at number 10. She's even been breaking world records, as her album has sold more copies than Taylor's Swift's "1989" and Drake's "If You're Reading This It's Too Late,' even breaking records held by *NSYNC's "No Strings Attached", according to an article called "12 Mind-Boggling Facts About Adele's Record Breaking Debut."

However, before we talk about the records, let's focus on the music. Because, let's face it, it's a pretty great album. The release was a long awaited follow up to Adele's "21," and says "hello" (no pun intended) to the next phase of the singer's life. Some of themes include moving on from heartbreak, and motherhood.
The album starts out with "Hello," which is the album's lead single. The song is a beautiful and emotional cry to one's ex-lover who they haven't spoken with in a while to get them to reunite, and is a great track to get the listener ready for the next hour (I have the deluxe edition) of "25." Breakups are a common theme with the album, but unlike "21" when they talk about the raw emotions of a breakup, they deal with the scars. Songs like "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)," "When We Were Young," and "Water Under the Bridge" deal with these themes. Other songs, such as "Sweetest Devotion," talk about motherhood, as the song is dedicated to Adele's song. While the album is classified as R 'n' B in my iTunes, I see some similarities to Taylor Swift's "1989," with songs such as "Water Under the Bridge." However, each and every one of the album's tracks showcase Adele's beautiful vocals, and song writing abilities.
"25" is something that I believe is unlike any other release recently. Adele is clearly talented, and she has the vocal range and ability to prove it. Even though it's been four years since "21" has been released, I can tell you the album was worth the wait. Adele shows lyrical and musical maturity, and each of these songs are something that have been listening to since the day that I got the album. (Which was last week, at Target.)
Overall, I recommend "25" by Adele. Sure, it's something that everyone is talking about. Sure, "Hello" is a bit overplayed.  However, it's an album that I believe is one of the best of 2015, and perhaps maybe an album that's going to be an classic in the years to come. Therefore, I recommend everyone--from the classic rock junkies to the rap music enthusiasts--to give this album a listen. I know you all will enjoy it. If you do purchase this album, I recommend that you get it from Target. You get three extra singles with the deluxe edition, all of which are amazing as the 11 in the standard edition.
Songs to Listen to: Hello, Send My Love (To Your New Lover), I Miss You, Remedy, Water Under the Bridge, When We Were Young, River Lea, Love in the Dark.
*Image source

Friday, November 27, 2015

Book Review: Instant Happiness Journal

*Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review
Lately, it seems like I've been a little short on the Happy front. Between stresses from work and school, I've been on a constant sinking ship of anxiety. Therefore, I decided to take up journaling in the effort to help combat my stress and anxiety. The book 'Instant Happiness Journal' by Karen Salmanson instantly became a must-have for me, and I was eager to see what this book had to offer.
The book is basically like a journal, but extends more than just a standard notebook.The book has a series of prompts for someone to write in. The book itself is a journal, and is filled with prompts to be written in. I've used it a few times, and can honestly say that the journal is cute. I've used it for the past few days, and I've looked foreword to writing each prompt. They all require some thinking, and even opens your mind up to new thoughts.
Overall, this book is a must have for those who are going through a hard time, those who are starting to journal but are at a loss as to where to start, and writers. I recommend this book highly, as both a blogger and a person whose going through a hard time and needs an outlet for them to vent about their lives. As the holiday season approaches, I recommend this book as something on everyone's gift list, or something to give to the one whose going through a rough time.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Things I'm Thankful for Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my readers. I hope you have a day that's full of food, and good memories. However, today I wanted to reflect about all of the things that I am thankful for. Lately, it seems like my life is a constant down spiral, and I wanted to remind myself that everything that in my life isn't all that bad.
Really good friends:
I have a lot of great friends, near and far. I'm grateful for the support my friend Kari gives me whenever I'm upset. I'm grateful for Griffin always being there for me as a person of both insight, and enlightening me with different ways to look at the world. I'm also thankful for the wild adventures I've had with both Griffin and Gabriel. I'm also grateful for Panera dinners with Vanessa. I've learned what good friends are and I've tried to surround myself in good company. I'm surrounded by a lot of good people who have been there for me and I'm grateful for it.
I have a close-knit family that are there for me for the highs and lows of my life. From my goofy grandma who I enjoy having Friday afternoon lunches with, to a supportive single mother who does everything for her child. I'm grateful for those two in particular, however, I'm still grateful that I have a good support system to rely on.
My dog: 
My dog is my best friend, and she's one of the people who always makes me happy when I'm upset. She always makes me laugh, and I'm happy to have my dog around whenever I'm feeling upset.
My opportunities:
From going to school to getting to work at a newspaper, I've had a lot of opportunities at my age. For that, even though I complain about them, I'm grateful for all of those opportunities.
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Let me know in the comments below. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Stressed to Impress?

When looking back at this semester, only one word comes to mind-stress. Stress from work, stress from classes, and stresses to keep my sanity. As it finally draws to a close, I can't help but be grateful for the chance to have a break and just breath. I also can't help but feel victorious in the fact that I survived what I will probably deem as the most stressful time of my life. 
However, it's no secret that college students these days are stressful, which results in anxiety and other mental health problems. Most of my friends, including myself, work multiple jobs. They also go to school full-time, and some even have an internship. This results in many burning out, anxiety levels sky rocketing through the roof, as well as anxiety's effects. According to an article on the New York Times Blog Anxious Students Strain College Mental Health Centers, anxiety now surpasses depression as being the most common mental disorder diagnosis. The article then goes on to say that one in six college students are diagnosed with anxiety in the last year. And with college students like myself loading more and more on their plate, it's easy to see where the ultimate source of stress is. 
In college, the bar is raised and expectations are high. We have to go to class to get a degree, and do the work to getting  passing grade. But in some majors, you need experience. For many this is an internship. Then, we need money to pay bills such as car insurance, and just to have money in general, so then add a part time job. And some college students with outstanding bills often result in working an extra job. Sound like a lot? I haven't factored in sleep, food time, and of course time to just to relax. Bottom line-college is stressful. The question is why is it so?
The answer is that we are out to impress, since we are about to enter a job market that's competitive. So, we pile on jobs, internships, pretty much anything to stand out. And this creates a block of pressure, which can cause the back to break if one isn't careful. 
There's only so many hours in a day a person could keep pushing themselves for it to remain healthy. Everyone needs to realize that they can't keep going at a rapid pace, and not have an effect on themselves. While it's important to have experience, get good grades, and have money, it's also important that we take time for ourselves. Watch Netflix, read a magazine, and just do nothing. When we are programmed to be constantly busy, it can be a weird change. However, it's something that I think is crucial, especially when we are piling everything on ourselves. After all, that's the one thing that can help combat stress. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Things I Love Tuesday-Little Words Project

Many of my readers know that I was really close to my grandfather, whose now deceased. However, what many don't know is his last words to me, which were to "be happy." Since he was always happy and focused on everyone else's happiness, it wasn't surprising that those were his last words.
Recently, I've been going through a bit of a rough time. I have been formally diagnosed with anxiety, and have been dealing with its' effects. I saw the Little Words Project on Instagram, and decided to treat myself to bracelet, because I thought I needed a reminder to be "happy." I also really liked the bracelet, and wanted one to be a part of my jewelry wardrobe
So, I got the bracelet with the words "Be Happy," because of my grandfather. I choose Air Blue Opal, because light blue is one of my favorite colors. The bracelet itself wasn't expensive, and it took about a week for it to arrive home.
When I got it, I was instantly in love with the bracelet, and put it on with my blue Lokai bracelet (pictured above). It even included a note from the company, which instantly made my day. I love how passionate the company is about what they make, and is really refreshing. The bracelet even can be registered on their website, so if you choose to give the bracelet away, then you can track it's journey. Pretty cool, huh?
I've only worn it a few times since getting it, however, everytime I look down on it, it reminds me to aspire to be happy. It goes with Alex and Ani bracelets, as well as my Lokai. However, I know I'll be purchasing another bracelet again, as both gifts for myself, and gifts for friends as the holiday season rolls around. They have great customer service, and a great product. Therefore, for those who are looking for someone to give to friends, families, and of course themselves, look no further. The Little Words Project is a bracelet that offers a great meaning, and of course a great bracelet. And, for about $20, it's definitely worth the investment.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Music Monday: Why Taylor Swift's 1989 Is Still a Hit

A polaroid of Swift with shoulder-length blonde hair wearing red lipstick and a long-sleeved sweater with a picture of birds in the sky. Her face is cut off by the frame above the nose and "T. S." and "1989" are written on the white polaroid frame with black marker. Image Source
When thinking about one of the most iconic musicians of our generation, one name in particular comes to mind. And that is Taylor Swift.
A year ago, Swift released the album "1989," which contains music from Swift's birth year. Since then, "1989" has had five number one hits-"Style," "Blank Space," "Shake it Off," "Wildest Dreams," and "Bad Blood." Several other of her songs have charted, such as "Welcome To New York." "1989" has spent pretty much every week in the charts, and has sold over 8.6 million copies according to its' Wikipedia page.
However, a year later, Swifties all around the world, myself included still have the album on repeat. I've listened to "Style" over 200 times, and know the lyrics to most of the songs pretty much by heart. Her songs are still being played on the radio, and pretty regularly too I might add. Therefore, the album "1989" is an album that is one of the greatest of our generation, the same way "Thriller" was for our parents'.
What I liked about "1989" is that it's different than anything else out there in today's music market. I'm a huge fan of the '80's so I credit that to being the reason why I'm so obsessed with it. And the songs are just amazing. From "Welcome to New York" to "Wonderland," the album offers music that is both lyrically and musically mature, which is the reason why I love the album so much And, on the artistic end of things, it's just a great release.
As Swift's first non-country album, I can honestly say that there's not a single bad song that I don't like on the album. While I often put other albums aside, I still manage to listen to Swift's album pretty regularly.
What also is unique about "1989" is the the lyrics. From "Cause darling I'm a nightmare dressed like a daydream," to "red lip classic thing that you like," Swift's lyrics are amazing. Songs like "Out of the Woods" and "Clean" are songs that are both emotional and honest. Swift has always managed to maintain a sense of reliability with her listeners, however, this album shows off her song-writing talents.
Even as I find more music that I'm obsessed with at the moment, I still can't help but have "Style," "Blank Space," or "Out of the Woods" still playing. The album itself is a modern-day classic, despite the fact it's a bit overplayed on the radio in my opinion. Therefore, in my opinion as a music enthusiast, I can honestly say it's a must listen to listeners going through their twenties (which is Swift's target audience), and beyond.

Friday, November 20, 2015

NanoWriMo Week 2 Update

Current word count:29,288 out of 50,000 (As of 11/16/2015)
Hi guys! So I'm updating you all on my latest endeavors writing for NanoWriMo. Since my last update, I've written over 18,000 words, and 66 pages. I still can't believe how much I've been able to accomplish. Usually, right about now I would be giving up. However, I still can't help but be encouraged to write more. I could see that this would be the year that I actually finish my novel, which is really exciting.
One of the problems I've been having is trying to figure out how to make my novel last 50,000 words. I know that the problem I'm going to create for my character is going to last a little while longer, but I'm not sure how long it's going to make it last while being interesting. However, once I'm done writing this update, I'm going to pen an introduction.
Furthermore, the biggest update I have novelling is that I'm on Tablo. So far, I've published the first chapters and I'm looking to publish more as time goes on. By the end of the month, expect the entire novel to be up.
Anyways, this weekend I'm going to be spending it novelling. Stay tuned next week for a special update.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The YA Debate?

As many of my readers know, I'm a huge fan of Young Adult Literature. I've read every word John Green, Sarah Dessen, and Lauren Conrad (yes, her books are considered to be YA) have ever written, and some of my favorite books are in fact of the Young Adult Genre. With that being said, those books often cause a literary debate. And that is, are they literature? And, should adults be picking these novels up as well?

We Were Liars is a YA Book I've Read Over the summer.
This semester, I am taking a Young Adult Literature class, where many of the books are books I've either read before or could see myself reading. Some of the books include "Perks of Being a Wallflower," "We Were Liars," "The Hunger Games" and "The Maze Runner" just to name a few. All of these books are books I've either read or wanted to read.
This semester, I'm also taking a 20th century literature course. Obviously, you can tell the different between my texts for the classes, because there's a difference between John Green and Ernest Hemingway. However, when someone says these books aren't exactly literature, I can't help but wonder what is literature? What makes something a piece of literature?
A lot of the Young Adult books I've read were in my spare time. When I'm reading a book for pleasure, I'm reading it because I've heard it's good or because I want to have something to entertain me. I'm not close reading, and I want something that is a good novel. However, Young Adult novels often have some serious elements in them, such as one of my favorite books, "The Carrie Diaries" by Candace Bushnell. Carrie is struggling with trying to figure out who she really is, as well figuring out what she wants in relationships. Furthermore, that's a serious theme. Another one of my favorites, "Saint Anything" by Sarah Dessen, explores the impact having a family member doing time in prison hashad  on a family. That's a serious read, in my opinion.
However, I understand that reading something like "L.A. Candy" maybe not be have the literary nutrients as something like "The Sun Also Rises" does. Furthermore, I think reading in its entirety is a good thing no matter what you're reading. I've loved reading since I was little, and use reading a way to relax. I read over 15 books every summer, ranging in all kinds of genres. To me, as long as someone's reading, it doesn't matter what it is. Therefore, I can honestly conclude that reading YA is a good thing, because it definitely feeds someone's appetite for books. And when growing up, we were told to read books. It shouldn't matter whether or not something may or may not be considered to be literature.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Under the (Negative) Influence

Last week, I wrote one of the most honest blog entries in a long time about my struggles with depression and anxiety. Now, I'm writing to talk more about it, because it's something that has taken center stage in my life, sadly. Furthermore, it's something that's affecting every avenue in my life, and something I have to deal with.
Today, I want to talk about something my therapist bought up to me in a session. He said to avoid people that bring you down during this negative time, because it's only going to drag you down even farther. If someone's making you feel bad or upset while talking to them, then just don't talk to them. After that session, I realized there was a grain of truth to what he said, and that through out my circle of friends I've been feeling dragged down by some. Whenever a friend says I'm anxious or upset, I am tempted to shout "try living my life! I have anxiety! I have three jobs! I go to school. I have no free time." That's not the most helpful thing in the world to do, but sometimes I feel that way.
While a lot of my friends are going through a difficult time themselves, I'm now beginning to realize that some people have truly made me upset to talk to. It's not that I'm upset with them or that I don't care about them, it's just I feel constantly dragged down whenever they complain. That's why in turn, I try to avoid talking about my struggles unless you are one of my closest friends. I'm fearful of being that friend who constantly brings everyone down.
As I deal with my anxiety, I'm realizing something. I'm realizing that I need to put myself first. Just like it's not someone's responsibility to 'fix' me, it's also not my responsibility to fix someone else's mess. As a friend, I can be empathetic and there for you when you need a hug or someone to talk to. But, it's also not my problem to fix what's wrong in your life. If you're constantly complaining about not having something and not doing something about it, chances are I'm not going to want to have you around me anymore. It's cruel and mean, yes. But I'm not in the place to be dragged down, because I have something else going on.
There's some friends who make me feel better about things, and are positive influences in my life. However, there's some that truly are not the case whatsoever. Selena Gomez once said "you are who you surround yourself with." Since hearing that, I can truly identify with what she was saying. I have some good friends already, however, if you're going to complain about your life consistently, I'm going to either encourage you to change it or talk to someone who can. Problems, can be fixed, just like things can. Sometimes, I'm not the resource to do so.
At the end of the day, being a good friend is important. However, Natalie's mental health is something I think is as well.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Giving Peace a Chance

Yesterday, over 150 lives have been taken in the acts of senseless violence due to ISIS. The bombings took place over several locations, including a restaurant, stadium and a concert hall. The bombings resulted in France closing its borders, as well as the city of Paris shutting down completely.
I watched some of the coverage last night on CNN. My heart literally broke when I was listening to the newscast and heard the stories of several victims, who called in through video conference. What happened to Paris was simply terrible, and I couldn't believe some of the things I was watching on the news. The one thing that went through my mind as I was watched this was the lyrics of John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance." And all we are saying, is literally give peace a chance.
My heart and prayers go to those who were affected by this tragedy, as well for the country of France. Pray for France, and please pray for the world. We all need peace.
Give peace a chance.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Books I Want to Read Over Winter Break

This semester, I had a list of books that I wanted to read. I only read one. No, I'm not being lazy, rather I'm taking so many literature classes, I barely have time to read for pleasure. As the semester draws to a close, I'm looking foreword to reading whatever I want again. Of course, I have some books in mind. Below is what I hope to read over winter break. Have you read them? Let me know in the comments below.

  1. Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton
  2. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  3. All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes
  4. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

An Open Note to My Friends Regarding Anxiety and Depression

Dear Friends and family who are reading this,
This is a letter from me to you. Some of you reading this may know me personally, and are really close to me. Some of you may not know me other than this blog, which in some ways is extraordinary in itself. I'm writing to you all, in hopes this is something that helps you understand more about depression, rather than excuse me.
I have been suffering with the effects with anxiety and depression since the beginning of the semester due to over scheduling and pressures of school/work/life. My anxiety is so severe, it's been affecting my physical health, as well as my mental well being. There are somedays I'm so depressed or anxious I don't feel like leaving my bed.  I've been in treatment for those things, and have been seeing a therapist. However, I would like to take the time to talk to friends and family about what's going on with me so they can understand because I feel like they sometimes don't get what it's like to deal with this.
Sometimes, I'm not going to be in the mood to talk to you, or I'm going to not be in constant touch with you. It's not a symbol of whether or not I'm interested in being your friend. It's just my mind is going 1,000 miles an hour and I can't stop thinking about what's going on to focus on anything else. I apologize for sometimes losing touch with my friends, and some of the friends I talk to are the ones I'm close enough to discuss my mental struggle with. It's nothing personal if I don't message you everyday, or ask to hang out. It's just I'm overwhelmed, and trying my best to deal with what's going on with me.
The past few months have been nothing less than crazy. I'm trying my best to deal with it, using resources that my campus has and what I can do for inner peace. Through therapy, I've been trying to manage my symptoms, and trying to maintain a positive attitude. It's a day to day struggle, something I hope you all understand. I'm trying to stay afloat, and I'm trying to be the best person I can be. I just ask you to bear with me, and to understand it's not you. It's truly me.
Cliche, but very true.

Monday, November 9, 2015

NanoWriMo Update 1

Word Count: (As of 4 pm on Sat. Nov. 6) 11,860
Nano Wri Mo, or National Novel Writing Month, occurs every November. It's the month of extreme writing, and the end goal is to produce one novel spanning 50,000 words. Wow, that's a lot of words! Challenge accepted.
I've done NanoWriMo a few years now, and usually the farthest I've ever gotten was about 20,000. The thought of writing a completed novel usually was a daunting task, and I've never completely finished a novel. Or got to the middle part of it. And throughout the year, when I wrote novels that are not rushed, I would just get bored in the middle and forget about them.
However, this year I've decided to enter. Despite not having much time to do it. I've decided, in the efforts to relax, to use it as a time to just write. My novel is called "Tinderella," and it's about a girl whose forced into the online dating scene. She goes through trials and errors, and in the end, could find a Prince Charming.
 The bottom line is I'll edit later. NanoWriMo has definitely been a huge bit of motivation to write it, along with Nano Word Sprints.  I'm determined to make it to the goal, and I'm already 1/5th of the way there. Actually, I'm passed the 1/5th mark, which makes it even more exciting.
What's even more shocking about it is how much I've been writing. Every day, I've been writing an average of 2,000 words. Why? Because you have to tear me away to get me to stop writing. I'm so immersed in the story, and I literally can't stop writing. Writing my novel has become a place where I can just relax, which is something that I need.
So, here's to another week of intense noveling. I know I can do it.
Are you doing NanoWriMo? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Who Says Retail Therapy Can't Solve Your Problems?

One of the most unhealthy things I do is whenever I'm feeling blue, I go in my car and go shopping. "Treat yourself," I tell myself as I purchase something "shiny and new" such as a new purse, sweater or if I make a trip to Dava to buy a new ring. Add that with a little bit of Starbucks, and my deepest blues seem to sail away.
Yes, I'm living in a material world, and yes I'm a material girl.
A PuraVida Bracelet I Bought Recently.
This past semester has been beyond rough for me. And yes, I know shopping isn't the answer to solving your problems. But, here's my mentality. Sometimes, you just got to treat yourself. Sometimes, it's okay to splurge on a new ring, a new purse or even some books.
Because you deserve it. Every now and then, we need to treat ourselves to something because we are worth a million. Sometimes, we need to treat ourselves out to a wonderful meal by ourselves or with friends with great food. Or, sometimes, we need to have an extra special dessert. While it's important to save our money for rainy days, it's also important to things that make us happy and smile. After all, sometimes we buy a dress that looks amazing, or a piece of jewelry that can add a sparkle to an ensemble.
The take home message here is simple. Sometimes retail therapy can solve our problems and make life a little brighter. After all, part of loving yourself is treating yourself.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Having Fun or Being Responsible?

When I go out with friends, I often refrain from drinking, partying and doing other things such as using marijuana recreationally. I also don't condemn those who do those things. My Friday nights are often spent at home watching Netflix with my dog because I'm too tired to do much else. It's a choice I made personally, but when I do go out it's rare. I'm an introvert and I'm proud of it.
However, with some of my friends, I feel like when I go out with them I have to be the responsible one. I don't drink or smoke, so it's quick for me to become the voice of reason and to take care of those who have. It's not fair, and it's something I feel should be addressed. Just because I am not under any influence or high doesn't mean that I have to assume the right of caretaker.
Sure, getting drunk can be kind of fun. I can often be perceived as "innocent" for not partaking in a lot of partying activities. That's not a realistic way to judge someone. My version of fun isn't getting plastered on a Friday and Saturday night. My version of fun doesn't contain drinking. I don't drink because it's a personal choice I made for myself. However, I have friends whose versions of fun do in fact contain those things.
Let me say this first before I continue: I do in fact care about my friends. I don't judge them because they have a lot to drink. The reason why I take care of them is simply because I care about them, and want them to not do things that could potentially hurt them.
I'm not writing this to judge them. I'm writing this to say I'm sick and tired of having to be the "responsible" one when it comes to friends drinking.  I'm tired of worrying about friends who make unhealthy decisions, such as driving drunk and then feeling responsible for them when they do make those mistakes. I'm tired of having to take care of friends who indulge too much. This has happened a few times now and it's something that I'm sick of doing. It's really not fun nor is it fair to me, because on the rare occasion I do go out, I want to actually have fun. I deserve that, because I work hard enough.
I believe if you're going to drink, you need to be responsible for yourself. Just because you've had a few drinks doesn't mean that you forgo the right to make important decisions for yourself. Don't become someone else's problem to take care of you if you're drinking too much and making bad decision. If you want to have a drink, designate one driver to drive. Then, every time you're going out alternate them. Be sure to not drink too much so that designator doesn't have to take care of you if things go crazy. Be responsible, because you're an adult and need to responsible for yourself.
I'm writing this as a rant and to make people more aware about how I'm feeling. I shouldn't have to choose between having fun or being responsible.  It's just really unfair for me. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Music Monday: All Time Favorite Artists

You all can guess from last week that I listen to a lot of music. Last week, I told you all about my favorite albums of all time. Today I'm going to tell you about my favorite artists. And, I can promise that this list will be a lot shorter than the previous one. Like my favorite albums, be sure to expect a lot of diversity, and classic rock.

  1. Madonna
  2. Ozzy Osbourne
  3. Elton John 
  4. Lana Del Rey 
  5. Aerosmith 
  6.  Demi Lovato 
  7. Tegan and Sara
  8. The Pretty Reckless
  9. Def Leppard 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween for the Busy Person

Halloween is the one day a year you can dress as whoever you want to be, and eat as much candy as your little heart desires.  However, sometimes we're too busy or dressing up isn't really our thing. However, don't be fooled! There's still some fun ways for you to celebrate Halloween even if you're working, sick, or just not into the whole costume thing.
Have a movie marathon filled with Halloween classics. There's so many movies for this holiday, that you're sure to find one movie that's perfect for you. Whether you're interested in watching "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown," or interested in a scary movie, a movie marathon is the perfect way to spend the holiday. As for me, I'll be rewatching "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown," and watching "The Nightmare Before Christmas" for the first time on all Hallow's evc.
Indulge in Halloween Treats! Halloween treats are amazing! Some of my favorites include chocolate pumpkins, and Reese's Pumpkins. However, there's tons other treats one can satisfy their sweet tooth. Whether it's the Fappula, a cupcake or a pumpkin shaped treat, there's so many ways you can "treat" yourself.
Get Minnie Mouse ears. Sometimes you can dress up as easily as putting a set of Minnie Mouse ears on and going out. If you're not a Disney fan, then you can always grab a pair of animal ears to add a spooky element for the day.
Read a scary story. Whether it's the "Legend of Sleep Hollow" or some other scary novel, there's nothing more relaxing then curling up with a good book after a long day.
Rock a spooky playlist. Music always manages to change my mood. Half of the state of mind is the tunes that you listen to on that day. Some great ideas include Michael Jackson's "Thriller," the B52s' "Monster Mash" and Panic! At the Disco's "This is Halloween."
Happy Halloween! How are you spending your Halloween? 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Society and the Single Girl: When Is Someone Interested?

I can honestly say that when it comes to love and relationships, I lack the knowledge to "seal the deal." The deal being getting someone into the Facebook official relationship where they are your boyfriend, girlfriend or significant other.
I think the struggle comes from the fear of being wrong. I've been rejected so many times through out my years of high school dating. (Pretty much my freshman through junior years.) And when you assume things, well you guys have heard the saying. Whenever I asked someone if they liked me, I remember the intense awkwardness and nothing was the same ever again. Of course, I wanted to maintain a friendship with the guy, however, it just never happened.
As I enter my last year in college, I'm realizing the reason why I am single is because I never take that leaps I did when I was younger. I'm too afraid to ask someone how they feel about me, because I am worried that they will reject me. Sad, but true. I worry someone may or may not be flirting with me, and whether or not I'm taking something that may not be flirting as flirting. This sentence was as complicated as my feelings are.
The thing about dating is finding the courage to tell someone how we really feel. That's my biggest struggle. I know how to ask for a job, and to annoy the people involved until they give it to me. But dating is a completely different ballgame. How do I let someone know I'm interested without coming off as too obvious or too desperate? How do I get the nerve to tell someone how I feel without coming off as an idiot?
This is when real life and romantic comedies diverge. In a romantic comedy, the cute dark haired stranger who takes you to Dublin is your soulmate. Or in a romantic comedy, you fall in love with a cute dance instructor. In real life, someone whose attractive in your class who asks you about the readings may just be interested in being your friend. Or, someone whose meant to be with you may not be for whatever reason.
The last time I was in a relationship was when I was about 15 years old. I didn't know much about relationships other than I should have one and that Bella Swan was a good role model to have. Let me say at 21, I have grown from that concept of love. I want to be with someone whose my partner. I want to be with someone who supports me, my aspirations and dreams. I want to be with someone liberal, who will accept the fact my closest friend is queer.
The thing is? I don't know how to get there. I don't know how to ask someone out. I know how to ask someone to hang out, but then I worry if it's a hanging session between friends or an actual date. Maybe the take home lesson is to take more chances, to vocalize your feelings and to maybe stop watching so much Netflix over the weekend. Where is my Prince Charming? Why can't he just magically appear out of the wood work and help me avoid this guessing game. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pepe's Reunion & Fall Hike

Between school and juggling many jobs, it's been hard for me to maintain a social life. Needless to say, I haven't. However, in the past week I managed to finally pencil in some time for some fun things for me to do.

                                                              A picture of some fall foliage.
The first thing that I did this past week was to go on a mini hike with Griffin, whose home from school. We first went to get food at the food trucks in New Haven, where you can get a lot of amazing food for an extremely low price. I got pad Thai with chicken, and he got a burrito. (I'm afraid I didn't get any pictures of the food)
 After we had Thai food, we went to hike (briefly) since it was a beautiful day since it was nice weather. The top picture shows some fall foliage that was spotted during our hike. It was nice to spend some time with him, especially since I haven't seen him in a while. I hope that we can go on a more lengthy hike in the future, because he's really fun to go hiking with.
 Enjoying some pizza!
This past Thursday night, I also went to Pepe's (which was recently voted the best pizza in the US) with Theresa and Verenized. It has been a while since we last hung out, so it was nice to catch up together. I had an original pie without cheese since I can't have mozzarella and it was amazing! They had a mushroom pizza, which I didn't get a picture of. If you are in the New Haven area, or with a Pepe's in general I recommend that you try it.
After we ate, we hung out a bit before heading home. Overall, it was a fun (and well-needed) night!
Hopefully, I'll be able to have more of a life and a chance to do fun things with friends (and blog about them) more frequently. #collegestudentproblems

Monday, October 26, 2015

Music Monday: Confident by Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato is amazing. I have been a fan of her since her Disney Channel days at Camp Rock, but unlike her Disney co-stars she's talented. Since then, she's evolved into my role model and one of my favorite singers. Demi has overcome some serious things, and the fact that she's come out of it alive and stronger is amazing. That's what makes her role model worthy. That, and she has an amazing voice. And her latest release, "Confident," showcases that. 
"Confident" starts off...well Confident. The title track comes first and raises up the question what's wrong with being confident? Nothing Demi, nothing. "Confident" contains summer anthem "Cool For the Summer," however it also contains ballad tracks such as "Stone Cold," "Mr. Hughes" and "Father" which showcase Demi's amazing voice. She pairs up with Iggy Azelia  and Sirah for songs "Kingdom Come" and "Waitin' For You," which create an amazing collaboration. "Confident" also contains amazing pop songs such as "For You," "Old Ways" and "Lionheart." 
I'm beyond impressed with Lovato's latest release. I will however admit I'm a bit biased because I'm a Lovatic, but still this album is just amazing music. Some of the topics Lovato covers include love/relationships, her relationship with her father, and her struggles. Those were topics that were present in previous albums, but in "Confident" I felt they were really done in a unique way.  The song "Father" is so beautifully done, and it can really bring tears to your eyes, which is why it's one of my favorites. "Confident" also has a more mature sound then her previous works, and really brings home the fact that she's graduated from the Disney Channel. 
"Confident" is definitely worth the listen, and definitely the best pop album of 2015 without a doubt. Demi Lovato, you didn't disappoint. Thank you for making an amazing albums. 
Songs to Listen to: Confident, Cool for the Summer, Old Ways, For You, Stone Cold, Kingdom Come, Lionheart, Yes, Father, Stars, Mr. Hughes

Friday, October 23, 2015

Book Review: You First by Lea Michele

For those of you who don't know, I am a huge fan of journaling. I've kept a journal of thoughts and various things since the end of my senior year in high school. I may not always have time to write in it, however, I still manged to fill 5 to 6 books during that time.
"You First" by Lea Michele is a book about journaling. The former Glee star, also author of Brunette Ambition, gives a series of various journal prompts to write about. Some of the examples include thinking about your family, recording exercise and eating habits, and talking about ideal relationships. There's a section for each topic, as well as space to write down your thoughts and reflections. In mine, I've used my own personal journal, but I think this format is extremely effective.
I've been using the book for a couple of days now for inspiration for my own journaling. So far, I find the topics very helpful. As a stressed college student, I always don't have the time to take care of myself. This book does exactly that, because it forces me to take a step back and reflect on certain things.

One of the prompts I liked was to talk about past relationships and write about the patterns I've noticed with them. This helped me further realize things about myself that I may not have realized before. This then prompted me to change things about myself for the better, which is always good to do.
Journaling is something that I use to relieve stress. However, for some, it can be hard to begin. While I highly recommend this book for anyone, I especially recommend this for those who want to begin their journal but are stuck on what to say or write. This book gives you prompts on what to say, and it can lead you into self-discovery.
I recommend this book highly. But, if you're going to argue that "I don't have time for this!" let me say that for those who argue that taking the time out of their day to just spend 15 minutes to reflect is crucial in my opinion. Rome wasn't built in a day, so you don't have to fill the entire thing up at once. By doing one prompt a day, it helps you relax and even helps you discover something about yourself that you may not have noticed.
Therefore, I believe this book does in fact put you first, which I believe is an important mindset for many to have. Myself included.
Disclaimer: I've recieved this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Using Social Media to Increase Blog Traffic.

Social media is something everyone uses to make connections or to connect with people they already know. It's crazy how many people use social media to not only brag about their lives   tell their friends what they are up to, but rather as an open space to share things with different people.So many of the articles I read daily online are from other people's social media accounts. Therefore, social media is essential for bloggers to use. Here's some tips to make your blog rule the social media scene:
  • Get a Facebook page, and invite as many of your friends as humanly possible. That way, when you post to your blog's Facebook page, it will appear on whoever you like's newsfeed. Also, don't just post a link to the post. Instead, focus on writing a little bit about what your post is about so people will be interested in clicking on it. Also when creating a Facebook page, make sure you post more than just a link to what you're posting. If possible, show a photo as a hint to stay tuned to a future post. That way, you'll actually engage with your audience. Always be sure to announce things on your blog's Facebook such as when you may have to change the post schedule or some upcoming things for readers to look foreword to. 
  • Tweeting out links, regularly. It's one thing to tweet it once, but what I find most effective is to tweet it out a few times a day. That way, people who are on Twitter at all different times can see your blog. This works well for me, because then people who don't like my Facebook can get a sense of my blog. 
  • Pinning Posts. Pinterest is extremely helpful because it can help link posts to a lot of people that you never even knew simply by them using the keywords. For example, if you search "Carrie Bradshaw" you'll find articles about Carrie as well as pictures. Therefore, if you're going to write something with a search engine, pin the article because then you'll get more traffic. 
  • Finally, use hashtags. Hashtags are crucial with social media because it's can help readers easily find your article/posts. Therefore, if you're writing about something popular, use a hashtag when posting it on social media. More people can then find your articles, and this will then drive blog traffic up. 
For all of you bloggers out there: what are some effective ways you ultilize social media? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Album Review: Black Lines by Mayday Parade

 Mayday Parade Black Lines.jpg
Mayday Parade and I have a very interesting relationship. While I am a huge fan of their beautiful lyrics and somewhat acoustic melodies, I still am reminded of my middle school punk rock band phase that continued through high school. I may have deleted My Chemical Romance, however, Mayday is here to stay.
Mayday Parade recently came out with a new release, Black Lines which was released Oct. 9, 2015. I recently obtained the album last week, and after spending some time with it, I can say it's a typical Mayday Parade release.
The album starts out with single "One of Them Will Destroy the Other" (featuring Dan Lambton.) The song sounds like many of Mayday Parade's other songs, such as "Kids in Love" with electric guitar melodies and strong lryical content. The single is the lead single of Black Lines, and like many other of Mayday Parade's songs, focuses on failed relationships.
The album has a mixture of acoustic songs, and fast paced rock tracks. Songs like "Hollow" are lyrically brilliant, while other songs such as "Just Out of Reach" are empowering.
Overall, the album is amazing. The band, in my opinion, is talented. They are amazing song writers, and I wish they were more mainstream because of that. However, in this release, you can tell they have come a long way since their "Miserable at Best" days. If you like alternative rock, then you should definitely check out Black Lines by Mayday Parade.
Songs to Listen to: Hollow, One of them Will Destroy the Other, Letting Go, Look Up and See Infinity, Look Down and See Nothing

Friday, October 16, 2015

Sex and the City: Carrie's "Big" Problem

I've been a fan of Sex and the City since I was a junior to high school, and consider Carrie Bradshaw to be one of my biggest influencers. I also credit her to being the reason why I started to blog, which later lead me to decide I wanted to write professionally. However, even though I'm obsessed with the show, I have a few bones to pick about the show that as I've gotten older that I've been having problems with.
I speak for myself when I say most of the show is extremely relatable. I'm a lot like Carrie. For example, we're both shopaholics, we both overthink and we both are writers. However, the portrayal of her relationship with Mr. Big was a big too overdramatic.
Carrie constantly overthought and overreacted to many things when it came to that relationship. For example, when Mr. Big hadn't called her after having sex on the first date, Carrie assumed that he didn't want to talk to her ever again. Later on in that same episode, Carrie began to think that Mr. Big was ashamed of her based on a few minor details. Naturally, he wasn't. She later storms in and yells at him. Another example, is a few episodes later when she farts while in bed with Mr. Big. Through out that episode, she tries everything to get him to sleep with her again. Notice the pattern? She often jumps to conclusions.
These are just a few examples that we see in the early seasons of the show, where Carrie and Big's relationship was the most prominent one featured. Each of these moments demonstrates Carrie being insecure about Big and whether or not he actually felt something for her. I think she wanted the relationship to be perfect, so if he showed any signs of pulling away, she'd assume it was because he was no longer interested in her. And, that's not always the case.
People aren't always going to act like Prince Charming 24/7. Mr. Big is an example of that, because he had other things going on in his life. Since he was a big businessman, he'd often have to travel and be away.

Carrie on the other hand, would just obsess constantly about the relationship. She often would do anything to be with him, such as ditch her friends, and later on have an affair. While Carrie and Big were in fact meant to be together in my opinion, her behavior in the early seasons was often seen as being over the top. She's overanalyzing her fart, and then she makes a total idiot of herself as he's trying to watch a baseball game. If someone's watching a game, chances are they wanted to be focused on the game. And it has nothing to do with Carrie.
I think the reason why she's acting this way is simply because she's insecure about the relationship ending, and that he's going to leave her based on the fact that she's not perfect. She's so afraid he's going to leave her, so when he does something that's out of the ordinary or something that mirrors him pushing away so she'll freak out about it. And that's a big problem in my opinion.
When I first saw the show, I honestly thought her behavior was normal. As I got older, I began to realize that she's acting a bit too ridiculous when it comes to those things. Don't worry Carrie, I still love you. But, you have to chill out and realize Mr. Big actually loves you.