Back to School Tips from a {Former} Type-A Student

Summer is quickly drawing to a close which means students are gearing up to head back to school. As strange as it seems, once upon a time, back to school season was my favorite! My parents still joke to this day that if I could be a professional student, I would – which isn't necessarily wrong. In honor of my former favorite season, I thought I would share some helpful tips that helped me conquer the school year, and I hope they help you out as well!

  • Buy an agenda and keep up on it// I cannot tell you how many times my agenda saved my ass throughout college. When you get your syllabi at the beginning of the semester, take the time to fill out when each assignment is due and test dates. You can even color code your classes if you're feeling ambitious. This also helps for extra-curricular activities such as Greek life and sports. Some of my favorite agendas throughout the years include Lilly Pulitzer, Erin Condren, and Day Designer.
  • If you're new to campus or if the buildings you have classes in are foreign to you, check out your daily class route// Once upon a time, an ill-prepared freshman Kourtney got lost on her way to class and had to walk in embarrassingly late on the first day. Don't let yourself be that Kourtney! A day or two before classes start, take a stroll around campus and make yourself familiar with the daily route you'll be taking to class.
  • Take advantage of free amenities on campus// Let's face it, being a college student can be pricey. If your schedule allows, take the time to attend the various back-to-school fairs occurring on campus. You'll be able to snag some free goodies including t-shirts, food and school supplies. At my alma mater, we even had local businesses bring coupons with discounts for students. Other free amenities include the cafeteria if you live on campus (I always took an extra piece or two of fresh fruit to snack on during the day), the gym on most campuses, and the library – these will be your best friends during your time at university.
  • Don't neglect your physical health// College is stressful; You'll be driven to eat a lot of foods that are not the best for you, and your physical health may take a backseat when times get tough. Make an effort to be active at least three days a week. Whether you're going to the gym or taking an extra long route to class if timing allows, every little bit helps keep off the freshmen 15.
  • Learn to take proper notes// There are several blog posts and YouTube videos such as this one to help you learn how to take effective notes. You may need to try several different varieties before you find the one that fits you, but once you find the one that works, stick to it!
  • Your professors will offer office hours, utilize them// Whether or not you're struggling in a class, it's always a good idea to build a relationship with your professors. This is one thing I regret the most from college – I did not use office hours enough. If your professors see you putting in the work and effort, they'll go the extra mile to help you succeed.

What are some of your back to school tips? Best of luck to all returning students!

-K

New Product Alert: Erin Condren Life Planner 2017

Hey everyone, I have some exciting news this week!

I’ve made the life-changing decision to buy an Erin Condren Life Planner and I will never be the same. Okay, so maybe I’m being a little overdramatic with the whole “life-changing” thing, but, in all reality, the planning aspect of my life is forever changed. This is my first purchase from Miss Condren, but I’m sure it will not be my last.

A bit of background: Since a young age, I always thoroughly plan every aspect of my life utilizing an agenda. I have yet to find one that fully caters to my personal preferences; however, the Erin Condren Life Planner is completely customizable to fit your preferences. After witnessing the joy and excitement that these planners have given some of my sorority sisters, I was convinced that I NEEDED this agenda in my life.

So let’s get to the good stuff…

As I previously stated, EC planners are totally customizable for your personal preferences. This year’s planners allow you to change the covers, the color of the coil, the layout AND the color of your layout.


I chose to stick with the platinum coil (choosing another coil is a $10 up charge), but you can also choose from black, gold or rose gold. All of the covers are interchangeable (so I will definitely be buying more) and many allow you to put your own creative twist on them such as adding your name, monogram, personal photos or simply changing the background. Since I had such a difficult time picking just one for my initial purchase I had my mom pick the Own Kind of Beautiful cover for me. It originally comes in lavender, but since I’m not a huge purple fan, I changed the background to pool blue. They also have permanent covers this time around, but I wanted to have the option of changing my cover.

When you finally receive your Erin Condren, it comes this adorable box and includes a bonus postcard and sticker. I also received the extra ‘cheers’ gift labels since it was my first purchase from EC.

Both the front and back covers have these dry-erase boards for extra notes you need to keep throughout your day/week/month.

I chose to purchase the 18-month planner that begins July 2016 and goes through December 2017 just so I could get more bang for my buck (there is a 12-month planner option if that’s more your style). The body of the planner allows you to choose from two interior color themes: neutral or color, and three layout options: vertical, horizontal and hourly. I chose the neutral color theme and the horizontal layout simply because I’ve only ever used horizontal planners and the neutral theme allows me to decorate my weeks however I want with Washi tape without having to stick to a color scheme.

Even though I have the neutral color theme, there are still these little pops of color accompanied by inspiring messages at the beginning of each month.

Near the back of the book, EC provides stickers to use throughout your planner to mark important events, appointments, and even trips to the gym. There are a few plain colored sticker pages as well so that you may write whatever you wish on them. I plan on using them to plan my blog posts!

With each EC planner, you will also receive this small, transferable perpetual planner so that you will always have your important dates on you without having to carry your life planner around everywhere.

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Finally, the last little extra you receive with your planner is the plan for it pouch which can be attached to the planner using a coil clip or it can simply be stowed away in your purse or backpack. The clear plastic pouch comes with a large coil clip, two pay it forward cards so your friends can also shop EC, a sample sticker book (sticker book sold separately), and three compliment cards.

I am so ridiculously excited to start using my planner. If you are interested in purchasing from EC, feel free to shop here and receive 10% off of your first purchase!

-K

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Fear, Faith & the End of an Era

Fear, Faith & the End of an Era

This week marks the end of an era; on Friday I will walk across the stage at my college graduation and receive the most expensive piece of paper I will ever own in my life (unless I decide to eventually go to grad school, but that’s an entirely different topic). I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m happy, but, above all, I’m terrified. Lately, when I tell people I’m graduating this week, their response is something along the lines of, “OH! How wonderful! So what are you doing after college?” Well sir/ma’am, that’s a great question. So great of a question that I don’t have an answer. Actually, I do have an answer: I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to experience all that I possibly can right now with the man of my dreams. Then, I want to land the perfect dream job and build a fabulous career, get married and start a beautiful family. There’s only one problem… what I want and what is actually going to happen are two very different things.

From a young age, we get these ideas in our heads of what we want to do and who we want to be. At 18 we’re supposed to decide what we want to do with our lives, but what they don’t tell you is that college is where you completely lose yourself and often don’t come out the same person as you came in as. I’m relatively the same person as I was when I started college, but I have changed so much even in the past six months. Most of this change is good brought on from good and bad experiences and lessons learned; however, I have grown more and more fearful throughout college. I have no idea where this fear has come from or why I have it, but I have struggled with it my whole life. The even bigger problem is that it’s not just one fear, it’s multiple and they fill my head on a daily basis. This is supposed to be the most exciting time of my life, and yet my anxiety holds me back from letting the happiness take over.

From snakes to clowns to losing people I love from death or some other God-forsaken circumstance, I know that so many people feel the exact same way I do. While I’m well aware that many people share the same fears that I do, I still feel so alone. Lately my biggest fear has really come to light with how much change I’m currently going through in life is the fear of failure. Ever since I was young I have been so terrified of failing in life and disappointing my parents and my loved ones; so much so that my anxiety tears me up inside regardless of how ridiculous my thoughts are. It’s almost as though I’m a prisoner in my own mind, unable to escape from the fears and anxieties.

Because of all of this and more, I’ve been relying on my faith immensely. There’s something so comforting knowing that there is an all-powerful God who loves you and is always on your side no matter what life throws your way. I grew up in the Catholic church, but I never knew how much all those years of Catholic education have paid off in my faith. Even after losing myself for a while, I know that I am welcomed back to God with open arms. This Bible verse, in particular, has really helped me get through this time: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” Isaiah 41:10. Though I am continuing to work on bettering myself, everyday is a little better than the last with God as my light, and my friends and family by my side, everything is starting to look up.

Take care of each other and God bless.

-K

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Senior Thoughts During Finals Week

Senior Thoughts During Finals Week

As my time as a college undergrad comes to a close, I’m finding myself reminiscing about these past four years. When they say that college goes by fast, they’re not kidding. As I sit here writing this to avoid actually studying for finals, I have some final thoughts that I’d like to share about my days in college that will [hopefully] help y’all in your future endeavors.

  • Go Greek! I’m not being dramatic when I say that this is the best thing that ever happened to me. Greek life has made me a leader that I never thought I could be, and has given me friends that will be there for the rest of my life.
  • Get involved. Because I got involved, I got a second chance at pursuing my passion for dance.
  • When will I ever learn to not procrastinate? Don’t be like me and create a habit of procrastinating early on in your college career.
  • If you need help, ask for it. I’m still having a hard time learning this.
  • I’m almost 22 and still wondering where my Hogwarts acceptance letter is. It probably got lost in the mail or something. What I’m trying to say is never give up hope that something great is coming.
  • It’s okay to go through tough times and lose yourself, college is the time to make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Always work to make today better than tomorrow in all aspects.
  • Work hard and keep striving no matter how hard things get.
  • Dance parties are necessary at all times of the day.
  • Be careful who you trust, not everyone wants to be your friend.
  • Get to know your professors.
  • Get an internship – or 3 – you can only learn so much in the classroom. Real world experience in the workforce will teach you so much more.
  • Be kind, you never know what someone is going through.

While I could probably write a novel about all of the things I’ve learned in college, this is all I’ve got for now.

Take care of yourselves and good luck on finals!

-K

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My Month in Pictures

My Month in Pictures

Hi friends! I know I went on a bit of a hiatus this past month, but life and school have been crazy hectic lately. With classes coming to an end and graduation quickly approaching I’ve been a busy bee, and running on very little sleep. Because of this, I decided I’d give you a look into my life this past month in pictures!

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That’s all for this week as I return to writing my final papers and putting the finishing touches on my Senior portfolio. Take care of each other!

-K

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100 Interesting Questions

100 Interesting Questions

Hey everyone! This week while doing research for my internship, I stumbled across an article by Buzz Kenya of 100 Interesting Questions to Ask People Around You so I thought it would be fun for me and you, my readers, to answer the questions to get to know a little bit more about one another.

1) What was the last picture you took with your phone? A screenshot of a funny-faced snapchat from Ryan

2) Do you know any big gossips? It’s quite possible

3) Have you been pulled over by a cop? Once in my first car because I had a tinted window that the previous owner only put on the driver’s side window. Yes, 16 year old me cried.

4) Do you know your heritage? Yes – Irish, Scottish, German, Polish & Welsh

5) What have you always wanted? Did you ever get it? To get married and have a family; not yet!

6) What kind of sickness have you lied about so you wouldn’t go to work? Food poisoning once

7) What was the last lie you told? That I was “okay”

8) Have you ever danced in the rain? Yes! You haven’t truly lived unless you’ve danced in the rain.

9) What is your blood type? Honestly, I have no idea.

10) Have you ever been in a car accident? Yes, I was t-boned Fall 2014 and my brand-new car flipped.

11) What was the weirdest prank call that you have made? I used the website for prank calling and had an “angry boyfriend” call my brother to “stay away from his girlfriend” it didn’t go as planned.  

12) Best compliment you have received? That I look like Kate Middleton.

13) Do you trust anyone with your life? Yes- Ryan and my parents

14) What is your greatest strength or weakness? Strength- organization, almost to a fault; weakness- over-analyzing

15) What is your perfect pizza? Medium round from Hungry Howie’s with light sauce, lots of cheese, pepperoni, bacon, and butter cheese and garlic crust

16) What was your first thought when you woke up this morning? How much my head hurt from my sinuses.

17) Do you get along with your family? Why or why not? Yes, we’re very tight-knit. I guess I’m not really sure why, my family has always played a huge role in my life.

18) Ugly and live forever, or attractive and die in a year? Attractive and die in a year– I wouldn’t want to live forever regardless of how I looked.

19) You discover that your wonderful one year old child is because of a mix up at the hospital and not yours. Would you want to exchange the child to correct the mistake? I would exchange it, I’d want my own child.

20) Would you be willing to lie to a court for a close friend if it meant saving your friend from going to jail for life? No

21) Would you be willing to eat a bowl of crickets for $40,000? Probs not

22) If you could have anyone locked in a room so that you could torment them for a day, whom would you choose and how would you torment them? No one, I wouldn’t wanna be locked away for a day.

23) Do you feel that children should be sheltered from unhappiness? No, it’s a part of life.

24) If you could have personally witnessed anything, what would you want to have seen? Either America at it’s prime or Elvis in concert

25) If you could wake up tomorrow in the body of someone else, who would you pick and what would you do? Blake Lively, I’d just live out a day in her shoes.

26) If you could be any age for a week, what age would that be? Four- nap time all the time!

27) What question do you hate to answer? “What are your plans for the future?”- I’m still trying to figure that out!

28) If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Filet mignon, fresh green beans, and mashed potatoes

29) Where do you go to get on a computer? Anywhere- I pretty much carry my laptop with me everywhere I go

30) How do you start a conversation? Just a general “hey, how are you?”

31) What keys on a keyboard do you not use? The Windows button (I always forget it’s there)

32) If you had a brainwashing machine, who would you use it on? Donald Trump so that he’ll give me a “small loan of one million dollars”

33) You are walking home in the dark, you see something move. What/Who is it(guess)? What do you do? Probably an animal, I’d start running

34) What is the strangest name someone has introduced themselves as to you? What is their real name? No one has done this, but my friends and I have dubbed each other with some interesting nicknames so people probably think we’re strange when we introduce ourselves by our nicknames.

35) Where were you 3 hours ago? Do you think someone was stalking you? On campus, I highly doubt anyone was stalking me.

36) Have you ever eaten a crayon or glue? Or what strange thing have you eaten? That would be a no to the first two. The strangest thing I’ve eaten was probably a dog treat- I did when I was little (like 2-3 years old) and then once accidentally in high school because it looked like a cheezit.

37) What type of music do you listen to? (Genre, artists, songs?) I listen to all kinds of music from rap to oldies to country to indie. You name it, I’ve most likely listened to it.

38) What cheers you up? Being around family and friends.

39) What do you constantly think about? As cheesy as it is, I think about Ryan constantly.

40) Is there something you do that makes you lose track of time? Reading, Pinterest, talking to Ryan, and watching Netflix.

41) Do you have a favorite book or read much? Why or why not? I love to read! My all-time favorite books are Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I’m currently reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and I’m absolutely obsessed!

42) What is the longest you have gone without sleep? 30 hours

43) Do you have anyone you go to for advice? In person or online? My mom or my close friends

44) What is the habit you are proudest of breaking or want to break? I need to stop biting my nails, that’s the one bad habit I have.

45) Is there anything I should know? No?

46) What do you order at a restaurant you have been to? My go-tos are chicken caesar salad and chicken strips.

47) What is your favorite word? Least favorite? Favorite word: euphoria, least favorite: no

48) Describe something that’s happened to you for which had no explanation. I can’t recall and incident when this has occurred.

49) What did you do for your latest birthday? I went on a trip to New Orleans with my parents and our family friends. The actual day of my birthday was the day we flew out and my aunt had a limo pick me up from the airport to take us to our hotel. We stayed at the Hotel Ste. Marie and had a 5-course dinner at The Court of Two Sisters. The rest of the night was spent bar hopping and dancing on Bourbon Street. I can’t wait to go back to NOLA, it was one of my absolute favorite vacations.

50) What holidays do you celebrate? Are you a religious person or not? Yes, I’m religious – I grew up Catholic so I celebrate Christmas and Easter, as well as St. Patrick’s Day (I’m Irish so obviously), 4th of July, my birthday, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, yeah pretty much every holiday now that I think about it.

51) If you had to be named after a city, state, or country (etc), which would you want it to be? Milan or Vienna

52) Who is your hero? My momma

53) Which do you use more often, the dictionary or the thesaurus? Thesaurus

54) Have you ever been stung by a bee? Yes, I was 5

55) Have you ever tipped a cow? Haha no, but my brothers work on a cow farm so I should try it sometime.

56) What’s the sickest you have ever been? I had pneumonia when I was 5.

57) Are you still learning who you are? Yeah, I think everyone does continually as they get older and have more experiences.

58) Are you afraid of heights? Or what are you afraid of? Yes but only to a certain degree, I also hate snakes and clowns.

59) Have you ever taken dance lessons? Who would you want to dance with? Yeah I’ve been dancing since I was 7. I’d wanna dance with Max from Dancing with the Stars.

60) What is the most memorable class you have ever taken? My English literature class my Freshman year of college.

61) Why? Because I said so

62) What’s your favorite knock-knock joke? Knock-knock jokes are lame

63) What is your favorite commercial? I don’t really watch tv.

64) If you could spend the day with any celebrity, who would it be? Jennifer Lawrence

65) What is your favorite breakfast food? Chocolate Chip Pancakes

66) Do you like guacamole? Have you ever been in a food fight? Yes, guac is life, adn no

67) What is your favorite thing to spend money on? Clothes

68) What is the weirdest thing about you? Are you proud of it? I like to pop zits, I guess it’s not something I’m immensely proud of, but I’m not ashamed either. My brothers and Ryan hate me for it.

69) Ever been in love with 2 people at the same time? Do you think that’s wrong? No I have only been in love once and it’s my current state of being. I don’t think it’s love if its with two people.

70) Ever had any relatives in jail? Not that I know of.

71) Glass half full or half empty? Or is the glass just malformed? Half full

72) Mountains or the beach? Beach 

73) Plane, train, or car? Boat, subway, or teleportation device? Plane. Boat for fun, but teleportation device to actually get around.

74) If you could retire tomorrow, what would you do? Travel

75) Ever sold/donated your blood? If you haven’t do you want to? I’ve always wanted to, but I can’t due to my health.

76) Crowds, small groups, or “Go away, I’m a loner”? small groups

77) Name the most terrifying moment of your life so far. Have you recovered from it? Right now trying to find a job. Still working on it.

78) What famous person do people tell you that you most resemble? Kate Middleton

79) What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten? A dog treat when I was younger.

80) If you could bring any person back to life, who would it be? My grandpa

81) Do you believe honesty is the best policy? yes

82) What dead person would you least want to be haunted by? A serial killer

83) Who would you most like to be stuck in an elevator with? An elevator mechanic since I’ve been stuck in one before.

84) Who would you least like to be …? Someone claustrophobic

85) What do you think Victoria’s secret is? How we’re actually overpaying for her products. I still will spend money there, though.

86) Which cartoon character do you resemble the most? Princess Belle from Beauty and the Beast

87) Would you rather go a week without bathing, but be able to change your clothes? Or a week without changing your clothes but be able to bathe. A week without bathing and changing my clothes.

88) Which of the four seasons do you most love? Or Hate? Love: fall Hate: winter

89) If you could choose your method of dying or where, what would they be? Peacefully in my sleep at home surrounded by family.

90) If you had to be trapped in a tv show for a month, which would you choose? Young and Hungry

91) List someone you know, and describe them in 5 words. Ryan- handsome, funny, intelligent, brave and sincere.

92) You can select one person from history and have them truthfully answer one question, who would you select and what is the question? Pocahontas- Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon?

93) If you join the circus, what would you perform? Something that has to do with dance.

94) Is there anything purple within 10 feet of you? What is it? Yes, a faux flower by our fireplace.

95) When was the last time you bought something? What was it? This evening, dinner at Rojo – It’s Taco Tuesday!

96) Are you wearing socks right now? No

97) Have you been to the movies in the last 5 days? No, it’s been over a week, I saw Zootopia.

98) When was the last time you ran/went for a jog? Does the elliptical on Friday count?

99) Your dream vacation? Worst vacation? Best vacation? Dream: European Tour; Worst: I don’t think I’ve ever had a “bad” vacation; best: NOLA

100) Worst injury you have had? ACL tear

There you have it! What are your answers to these questions? Leave a message or link to your answers below; I can’t wait to read them!

-K

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Is Originality A Thing of the Past?

Is Originality A Thing of the Past?

Lately I’ve been struggling with this question. Everywhere I go, someone is ripping off someone else, claiming someone else’s work as their own or encouraging others to do the same. They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but just how far does flattery go before it is insulting?

I, personally, have always hated the idea of stealing someone else’s work, another person’s ideas, etc. We’re taught from a young age that it’s bad to plagiarize and it will get you suspended or expelled from school. However, in the “real world,” if we plagiarize, we will most likely be sued. So why do people continue to do so? Is it really that difficult to formulate your own ideas or devise your own style?

Recently I was told that my writing was not nearly as good as someone else’s. The person insulting my writing had no idea why I wouldn’t just use the other person’s writing since it is “so much better.” I find there to be so much wrong with this situation, and not just because my writing was insulted. I’m left wondering why it is not okay to use my own words, voice and style, and why originality is dwindling.

That wasn’t the only situation I’ve experienced, I’ve witnessed it among other bloggers I follow as well. While I utilize other blogs to inspire me, I find it extremely unnecessary to take their entire ideas, posts, layouts, etc. and claiming them as my own. Your blog is supposed to be a reflection of yourself, not taking others personalities/styles.Perhaps, people are afraid to use their own work for fear of failure. They see others succeeding and want the same success so they decide that they want that exact same success for themselves. Seems valid right? Wrong. I’ve failed multiple times with finding the right blog style and layout that was completely me, but I’m working my way up and slowly but surely finding my way.

Do you have any thoughts on this or a similar story to share? Comment below and see if we can figure this all out together!

-K

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