Bad Luck Chuck

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So there’s an ongoing joke with my family and friends that I notoriously have bad luck. We laugh about it a lot, but seriously the weirdest stuff happens to me. For example:

  • After being convinced to go parasailing in Mexico (I’m afraid of heights and didn’t want to go), the harness was defective and I crashed into the ocean.
  • When I went to Disneyland someone ran into me, knocked me over, and I got a concussion.
  • On a trip to Mexico to build houses for the less fortunate, a 2×4 dropped on my head from 20 feet up. I got another concussion.
  • While driving the kids I nanny to swim practice this summer, a cop pulled a taser gun on me (there was an armed robbery in the area, I guess he thought I might have been the suspect?).

You get the idea, right?

This one might be a bit of a rant, just a heads up. Well this weekend my family and best friend had been planning on going to the Maroon 5 concert. I am a HUGE fan of Maroon 5. I’ve loved their music since their first album was released, and I’ve wanted to go to their concert for years. When tickets went on sale in April for this concert, I jumped at the opportunity to buy some. The concert was at an outdoor amphitheater about 3 hours away from where I live, so we decided to stay at a friends cabin near the venue and make a weekend getaway out of it.

Now early last week we noticed that rain was in the forecast for the weekend, but we didn’t worry too much about it and instead hoped that it would change. So when Saturday (the day of the concert) rolled around, we were bummed to see that it was gray, rainy and windy. We’re a pretty tough bunch though, so we bundled up and decided to brave the elements. After all, we wanted to see Maroon 5 play! As you might have guessed though, this did not happen. After waiting at the amphitheater for five hours and dealing with rain and 40 mph winds, the concert was cancelled due to safety concerns. Le sigh. At least Adam Levine personally delivered the bad news. Plus, he promised he will make it up to us… I’m still curious to see how they plan on doing that.

I’m still pretty bummed it about this whole thing, but I guess I just have to laugh off that the bad luck has struck again! I know one day I’ll see Maroon 5, I’m determined!

xo,

Lauren

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Organization Essentials: Planner Edition

Organization Essentials: Planner Edition

So, sticking with the back to school theme, I thought I’d do a post about a question that I’ve been asked several times… “How do you stay organized during the school year?”

I will admit that this one took some trial and error for me to figure out. I tried using a planner, the calendar on my computer, the calendar on my phone, organizational apps, and finally using a planner again. When I first started college I bought a basic planner and just wrote stuff down in it, as one usually would. But the problem I faced is that I didn’t have a system for how I used it, and I lacked consistency in what I’d write down. I’d be great about using if for a couple of weeks, but then I’d get lazy. On top of that I would use it almost exclusively for schoolwork, as opposed to using it to balance work and my social life as well.

Last year I decided to invest in a pricier planner (the 2012-2013 large agenda by Lilly Pulitzer, in the pattern “Dirty Shirley”), and promised myself that if I splurged on it I would use it religiously. I even went so far as to read articles and watch YouTube videos on tips for effectively using a planner! I’m telling you, I was committed. After seeing what worked for other people and knowing what didn’t work for me, I devised a system to organize all aspects of my life. Some people who’ve seen my planner have  called it OCD, but hey, it works for me!

For School:

After receiving my planner, the first thing I did was go to Target and buy a set of pens that would be designated for planner use (I like the Pentel R.S.V.P ballpoint pens). I bought a multipack of these pens that came with a variety of colors, and I assigned a color to each of my five classes. For example pink was for my journalism class, blue was for marketing, green was for Spanish, and so on. I am a very visual person so being able to see a color-coded list of everything I needed to get done was super helpful for me! At the beginning of each week, usually on a Sunday, I would go through each class syllabus and write anything that was relevant for the week to come, whether it’s readings, assignments or quizzes. I always make sure to look a few weeks ahead to plan for any exams or bigger assignments that were coming up. I usually will highlight these things too, so they really stand out. This system makes sure there are no surprises that sneak up on me! Finally, I ALWAYS keep a white-out pen on hand in case there’s any changes to be made. I can admit this part is OCD, but I hate the messy look of scribbled out writing!

For Everything Else:

Though it took me some time to figure it out, using your planner to coordinate your life outside of school can also be a lifesaver. This may seem obvious to most people, but for some reason I felt like I wanted to keep these two parts of my life separate. After I gave that up and gained some common sense, I started writing everything that was going on outside of school in my planner as well. Because I still like some separation from these two parts of my life, I use a black pen to record the things not related to school. I think that the contrast between the colors for classes and the black for other things makes it easy for me to differentiate them. I use the planner to record my work schedule, when I plan on going to the gym, dinners with friends, to-dos I hope to accomplish, and any other social activities. Having everything in one place is the only way I can guarantee I don’t double-book or forget to get something done!

So perhaps a lot of this stuff seems basic, but it’s really helped me organize my life in that last year. Taking the time to “prep” my schedule ahead of time and see everything going on in the upcoming week was very beneficial in terms of budgeting my time and making sure everything got done. Hopefully some of these tips will be helpful to you too!

xo,
Lauren

e.l.f Makeup Haul: First Impression Review

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So a couple of weeks ago I fell in the online shopping trap. In the town I go to school, there really aren’t tons of options in terms of places to shop. So in a moment of weakness, I shopped (a bit too much). I bought some clothes and shoes, but I also bought some new makeup goodies. I’ve been buying products from el.f. for a few years (primarily from Target), but I had never really considered buying their products online. Thanks to some pretty good marketing and an awesome sale though, I caved. I decided to share what I bought, and do a first impression review of what I think about them! I got really lucky and bought all of this with a coupon during a great sale, but I’ll include the regular list prices of these items as well.

  • Lip Exfoliator ($3): I’ve only used this product once, but it is awesome. I’ve always been prone to dry, chapped lips, especially during the fall and winter. It’s basically a lipstick, but with tiny exfoliating grains to remove any flakiness or dead skin on your lips. It leaves your lips extremely soft and smooth!
  • Essential Waterproof Eyeliner Pen in Black ($2): This eyeliner pen is fabulous. Now if you’re not familiar with gel eyeliner or eyeliner pens, they can be a little tricky at first. But once you get the hang of them it’s like magic. I’ve used this a few times already (it’s perfect for winged eyeliner), and I will definitely be buying it again.
  • Essential Nail Polish in Misty Haze ($2): I can admit that I’ve never been much of a nail polish person. I’ve never been great at painting them, and even more than that I despise removing nail polish! But this year I made it a priority (even one of my New Year’s resolutions!) to paint them more. I’ve kept up with that so far, and have loved experimenting with new colors. This color is perfect for fall; it goes on very well and looks very chic!
  • Shimmering Facial Whips in Peach and Lilac Petal ($1): I was a little apprehensive to buy these facial whips, but since they’re only a buck a piece, I figured what the heck. So far I’ve used them to highlight and contour my face (a tiny bit on the cheekbones), and I’ve had great results. It gives the face a shimmery, dewy look!
  • Studio Blush in Twinkle Pink ($3): Blush is a staple in my makeup routine, but I really only had two that I used on a regular basis. Both were a soft pink, and I wanted something a little different. While this blush is still pink, it is a little peachier with some shimmer in it too. It’s very pretty on the skin, and I love it!
  • 11 Piece Brush Collection ($30): I’ve collected a few of the different brushes from e.l.f. over the years, and they are wonderful. For the price, the quality is great! Though I probably wouldn’t have purchased all of these brushes normally, because of the sale price it was an offer I couldn’t pass up. I especially like the blush brush, the complexion brush, and the powder brush! I would highly recommend these brushes! Just remember to clean them regularly 😉
  • Studio Eyebrow Kit ($3): So this product isn’t new to me, but I love it and wanted to share. Until about 3 years ago, I never thought twice about filling in my brows. As in I never did it. It seemed so odd to me, until I realized that lots of people (especially makeup professionals) do it! It took me some time to figure out how to do it properly, but when I did it made a huge difference. I started getting lots of compliments on my brows, and though that in itself seemed weird to me, I figured I was doing something right. There are lots of expensive brow palettes out there, so this was an excellent and cheap find! I use it everyday, and would recommend it to anyone!

There you have it! I am loving these products so far, and can’t get over how good the prices are! For all of this (and after the sale + coupon combo), I only paid $28, plus I got free shipping too! I will definitely be buying from e.l.f. again, and I hope that you’ll try these products out too!

xo,

Lauren

**This was not a paid or sponsored post. 

Top 10 Pandora Stations

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So, if you read my post on my “Six Must Have iPhone Apps,” you already know that I am a big fan of Pandora. I use it on my computer, on my phone, in my car, and on my TV. It’s actually a genius concept if you think about it. Simply type in a song or artist that you like, and it will give you a customized playlist/station with music for hours and hours. As far as I’m concerned, there’s always a good time for Pandora. Whether your studying, walking to class, driving, cooking, cleaning, or working out, who doesn’t like good music?! So without further adieu, here are my favorite Pandora stations!

  1. U2 radio: Easy going, great music. And I love the oldies thrown in here.
  2. Ed Sheeran radio: This is a newer find, but since I’m obsessed with Ed Sheeran I love this one.
  3. Gravity (John Mayer) radio: Very frequently played, especially when doing homework. Calming, relaxing, and perfect.
  4. Maroon 5 radio: Appropriate for any time or occasion.
  5. Tim McGraw radio: For when I’m feeling country.
  6. Workout radio: This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Good workout music, especially if you like the upbeat, top-40 pop stuff.
  7. Savage Garden radio: Total throwback. Sounds like a weird pick, but perfect mellow and old school music to do some homework to.
  8. Backstreet Boys radio: Feel free to judge me for this one, but I’ll be too busy jamming to Nick Carter to care. I was raised on the backstreet boys and all the other 90s pop artists this station plays, so obviously I love it.
  9. Stevie Wonder radio: I’m a sucker for oldies and Motown, so I love this station.
  10. Christmas radio: Even though this station only gets use for a month or two a year (I like to stretch the Christmas season as long as possible), it is guaranteed to put you in the holiday mood.

So that’s my list! It may seem like a lot, but in the Pandora-scheme of things it’s really not that big. Give them a listen and tell me what you think!

Passions

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Hey there! So today I have another sort of cliché post for you all. I wanted to share with you a few of the things that I’m really passionate about, and what I love to do. As a student (or as an adult in general), too often I spend my days solely focused on doing the things I need to accomplish. This probably sounds like a “duh” sort of statement, but hear me out for a second.

I have a pretty solid routine during the school year. I wake up, get ready, go to class, come home, do some schoolwork, go to work, go to the gym, do more school work, and go to bed. Of course I also squeeze some fun or relaxing things in there, but in general my days are pretty repetitive. When I have free time, I usually watch a show or see if a friend can hang out, and while I really enjoy those things, it’s not necessarily what I’m passionate about. Here are some of my passions though:

  • Cooking: I’ve loved to cook for as long as I remember. It’s very therapeutic for me, and something that I thoroughly enjoy. While I cook pretty often (a girl’s gotta eat after all), rarely do actually carve out the time to cook for fun.
  • Spending time outdoors: During the summer, when I’m not busy a lot of the time I’ll go to the park or the lake to hang out. I might just be reading, or sitting and listening to music, but the outdoors are so calming and relaxing. I’ve done this once or twice since school started, but especially now that the weather’s changing I know I probably won’t do this much.
  • Arts and crafts: Okay, so maybe art is a stretch for this one. However when I have free time I love to do crafty little projects. While I’m in school I don’t really have the time to do these things, and even if I do, I usually find something else to do instead.
  • Decorating: When I was younger I wanted to be an interior designer, and even though I’ve decided not to go that route, I still love all things home décor. It so fun for me to think of different décor ideas, and I’ve probably spent way too much time imagining how I’d decorate my future home. As a college student, unfortunately I don’t really have the resources or need to decorate all that much!

So those are a few of my passions. Trust me there are a lot more, but these are some of the basics. As you may have figured out, even though I love these things I don’t really do them all that much. This year, instead of wasting my free time watching TV or catching up on sleep, I really want to try to focus on doing these things more. I think I’ll feel more accomplished, and it will be a nice break from so much schoolwork! Even more than just doing these things, I really want to work on figuring out a way I could incorporate my passions into a future career for myself. That’s a big goal of mine for my senior year in college.

What are your passions? I’d love to hear, so share below!

Xo,

Lauren

I’d Rather Be Golfing…

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Whoa, never thought I’d say that! Growing up, my dad was (and is still) a huge golfer. He’s obsessed with the game; he loves to play it, watch it and talk about it. When I was younger I thought golf was one of the stupidest games ever… I mean you just hit a little ball with a stick, more or less. Sounded boring enough to me. My dad tried to get me to take up the sport for years, but as you might guess I didn’t have much of an interest in it.

About a month ago when I was visiting my family for the weekend I asked my dad if we could go to the driving range. I think the fact that I wanted to go shocked him even more than it shocked myself, but to my surprise it was really fun! Now by no means am I very good at golf, but lately I’ve been enjoying it. After that weekend at home I brought my clubs back to school with me, and I’ve been making myself go a couple of times a week to the driving range here to practice. It’s so relaxing, and it’s a great place to go and clear your head! School’s been getting busy lately, so I’ve really appreciated having a place to go to unwind! Should have listened to my dad a lot long ago 😛

xo,

Lauren

Someone Has To Say It…

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Okay, so there’s a good chance that this post may come across a little snooty, but someone has to say it… I am so sick of people without manners! Again, I apologize if this video comes across as snippy or whatever, but sometimes you just need to rant.

When living on/near a college campus, especially a campus as large as mine, you encounter tons of different people on a daily basis. It’s pretty easy to observe different behavior patterns with all of these different people, so I promise I’m not just being nitpicky. Don’t get me wrong, I have met some amazing people at my school, and most of them are extremely polite. But there’s also the occasional person who you can’t help but to shake your head at, and just ask yourself, “really???”

This may sound ridiculous, but I swear you can tell a lot about a person by whether or not they hold the door open for the person entering a building behind them. I can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous that sounds as I type it, but I swear its true! I’ve especially noticed this in high-traffic areas on campus, such as the student union building or the gym. The other day I was walking into a building and the person right in front of me practically pulled the door closed behind them, as opposed to holding it open for me. Now I don’t expect anyone to go out of there way to hold the door for me, but it never hurts to look back as you and hold it for anyone that might be close (at least that’s what I always do). It’s one thing not to see someone behind you, but when you do and ignore it, that’s just rude.

I can’t believe I actually just wrote a whole post ranting about this, but it’s something that really bugs me! I don’t want to sound all high and mighty or act like I have perfect manners all the time, but as far as I’m concerned it’s all about common courtesy. Is that too much to ask?? Okay, I’ll shut up now. Thanks for reading, don’t judge me too much 😉

xo,

Lauren

Featured Article: “20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get”

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Hi there! I wanted to take the time today to share an article I read recently that I found pretty enlightening. The article is called “20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get,” and I found the article on the Forbes website. It was written by Jason Nazar, a contributor from Docstoc.com. As a twenty-one year old finishing up college and planning on entering the “big kid” workforce soon, I’ve been keeping my eyes and ears open for anything that could help me in my professional development. I am a pretty knowledge-hungry person by nature, so I’ve been particularly interested in anything related to a future career.

This article was tailored to twenty-somethings in the professional world, so obviously I found it relevant to me. I thought that I’d share the article with you all, and hopefully it could be helpful to some of you as well. I’ll highlight the twenty tips it provided, but for the full article (which I do strongly suggest reading!) you’ll have to go over to the Forbes website to check it out. Enjoy!

20 Things 20-Year Olds Don’t Get (courtesy of Forbes.com):

1) Time is not a limitless commodity

2) You’re talented, but talent is overrated

3) We’re more productive in the morning

4) Social media is not a career

5) Pick up the phone

6) Be the first in and last to leave

7) Don’t wait to be told what to do

8) Take responsibility for your mistakes

9) You should be getting your butt kicked

10) A new job a year isn’t a good thing

11) People matter more than perks

12) Map effort to your professional gain

13) Speak up, not out

14) You have to build your technological chops

15) Both the size and the quality of your network matter

16) You need at least 3 professional mentors

17) Pick an idol and act “as if”

18) Read more books, fewer tweets/texts

19) Spend 25% less than you make

20) Your reputation is priceless- don’t damage it

Like I said, make sure you go read the article! Very helpful, I promise!

xo,

Lauren

Inspiration For The Week

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When I was browsing through Pinterest recently, I found this quote. Now I don’t know who is responsible for this quote, but I loved it. Please allow me to rant quickly about why I love it so much.

I think it’s pretty obvious that we live in a fast-paced and competitive world. Everything is about who has the best job, who makes the most money, who has the cutest clothes, the biggest house, the newest technology, the most friends and so on and so forth. Sure, a little competition may be a good thing; it’s part of what keeps us moving forward and making progress. But there are downsides to it too. It seems to me that we get so caught up with trying to make the best lives for ourselves that we often forget to take the time to actually live them. Not everyone has this problem, but I think a lot of people (myself included at times) do. I get so focused on doing things now to hopefully help out in the future, that oftentimes I don’t enjoy the present.

“Fill your heart with what’s important and be done with all the rest.”  This quote struck a chord with me. It should be such a simple concept, but I think we make it more complicated than it needs to be.  My goal is to start living by this a bit more, and really prioritizing what’s important in my life. My challenge to you is to do the same! What matters most to you? Is it your family, your friends, traveling, your job? Whatever it is, I hope you’re able to really enjoy it!

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now. Just wanted to give you something to think about 🙂

xo,

Lauren

Six Must Have iPhone Apps!

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Hi again! So in honor of the new iPhones being released soon, today I wanted to show you my six favorite iPhone apps and what I use them for. Now I am the first to admit that I am addicted to my iPhone. Maybe it’s something I shouldn’t admit, but hey, I’m all about being honest here. I’ve had the same phone for about 3 years now (an iPhone 4), and while it’s slowing down a little bit I still love it. Before I got it I had no idea exactly how much I would use it. I figured it would be nice for texting, using Facebook, taking pictures, and maybe checking the weather. Since I got it, what I use it for has completely changed. It is so helpful in terms of staying organized, and there are so many apps that are particularly useful to me as a college student. These six apps are all must haves on my phone!

1) Dropbox: This app was a fair recent download for me, but I’ve loved it so far! If you read my last post you already know how I feel about Dropbox. But, in case you didn’t it’s pretty awesome. Dropbox is a free service that lets you save your documents, photos, presentations and anything else online in a virtual server. After you sign up for account, and when you save something to Dropbox you can view it from basically anywhere (it’s magic). Now that I have it on my phone, I can work on something on my computer, save it to Dropbox, and then access it from my phone anytime I want to. This is especially helpful when I’m making study guides for exams!

2) Mint: Mint is a very cool app, especially when you need to budget and keep track of money. During my freshman year, I was pretty much oblivious when it came to monitoring my spending. I couldn’t figure how to access my online banking info, so I took an “ignorance is bliss” perspective. Just in case it isn’t obvious, this was a big mistake. I blew through money quicker than I’d like to admit, and really had no clue at any given point how much I had in my account. Since then I’ve not only figured out how to use online banking, but I’ve been really good about making a budget and sticking to it. The Mint app is so helpful for that, as I can access my bank information and budgetary goals anytime. You can divide up your budget into different categories, such as rent, groceries, gas/car expenses, dining out, and so on. Seeing exactly how much you have (or don’t have, in the case of myself and most college students) makes it easier to prioritize what you want, and what you actually need.

3) Reminders: I am a huge fan of to-do lists, and I swear by them when it comes to being productive and getting stuff done. For the most part I prefer to actually write these things down on paper. I’m not sure if it’s the physical/tactile part of it, or that I feel very satisfied when I can cross something off my list, but I know that I am most productive when I do this. However I don’t have a notepad or paper with me at all times, so a lot of times I end up using my phone to create these lists. When I do this app is great! It’s very simple but also very effective. It’s as close to an online notepad as I have found. The app also allows you to categorize things, so it’s easy to separate between school, work, social, home, etc

4) Quizlet: This app is not something that I use on an everyday basis, but when I have quizzes or exams coming up it gets plenty of use! Quizlet is basically an online study tool, specifically for flashcards. After about a semester of writing out hundreds of note cards every time I had a test, I learned that it was not the most effective system. And by not effective, I mean it was way too time consuming. Discovering Quizlet was a highlight of my freshman year, and I’ve been using it since. Not only can you make virtual flashcards, but you can also do all sorts of practice exercises and quizzes to test yourself and how well you’re learning the material.

5) Pandora: This one’s pretty self explanatory, but allow me to explain just in case. I absolutely love Pandora, so this app gets a lot of use on my phone. I have tons of music in my library, but I get sick of listening to the same stuff over and over again. Even more, when I’m studying/working out/walking to class/ sometimes it’s nice just to be able to mindlessly listen to music and not have to worry about picking what song to play next. Is that lazy? Yeah, probably. Do I mind? Not at all.  Plus, Pandora has tons of stations for whatever mood you’re in! I’ll do a post sometime in the future on my favorite stations.

6) Safeway: Safeway: So this probably seems like a really weird pick for favorites, but I love this app. Because I live off campus and not in a residence hall, I unfortunately have to do my own grocery shopping and cooking. Safeway is my grocery store of choice, and when I heard they had an app I had to check it out. Since they started their “Just for You” program last year, the app lets you download coupons to your Safeway card, which are then applied at checkout. I always look at the deals and featured coupons before I go to the grocery store, which also helps me figure out what I want to/need to/should buy on my weekly trip to the store! I’ve saved a lot of money since I’ve started using this app, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who shops here.

So that’s my list! I love all of these apps, and am hoping that this list will be helpful to you guys (or at least give you some ideas on which apps you should download next). Until next time!

Xo,

Lauren