Saturday, December 13, 2014

Winter Break Lists

Now that my fall semester is officially over and it is winter break, I will be spending my time holed up in my room catching up on all the reading and watching that I wasn't able to do during the semester. Here's a list of some of the things that I will be getting into!

1. This summer I started reading Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin and I absolutely love it! I haven't had the time to enjoy it as much as I should, so I'll be finishing that up over my break.
2. Ever since I read Anthem by Ayn Rand in high school I've wanted to read more of her works. This summer I bought The Fountainhead and I'm so excited to finally be able to dig into that.
3. Kate Mosse is one of my favorite authors and she came out with a new book, Citadel, relatively recently. I'll finally be able to enjoy that!
4. When I was home for Thanksgiving I bought Virgin by Radhika Sanghani. This book looks funny and very relevant for people in their 20's. I'm excited to see if it's as good as I anticipate it to be!

1. I watched the trailer for Before I Go To Sleep a while ago, but I haven't had the time to go see it. Hopefully it's still in theaters by the time I get home!
2. Grand Budapest Hotel! Words can't express how upset I am that I still haven't seen this film.
3. I think I'm going to drag my whole family to see Into the Woods while I am home. What can I say? It has Johhny Depp.
4. I've heard lots of good things about Interstellar and I really want to go check it out for myself

1. I absolutely love Downton Abbey! I haven't been able to watch Season 5 yet, so I will have to speed through that before the new Christmas special comes out
2. I've heard too many amazing things about Orange is the New Black not to watch it. 
3. I watched the first episode of American Horror Story a while ago and it was pretty interesting. I don't usually like horror things but I'm going to give this a try. It could be a terrible idea or it could be great, we'll just have to see
4. I haven't had time to watch the latest season of Game of Thrones yet, so I'll be spending a bunch of time getting caught up on this show.

I'm going to pretend I have enough time to do all these things while I'm home. Between spending time with family and friends and looking for a job it might not happen, but you never know! What are you guys looking forward to doing over winter break?

P.S. the tea of the day is limeade twist...again ^_^

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Why I Hate Final Exams (It's Not What You're Thinking...)

I mentioned in my last post that I've been pretty busy since it's finals week. Well, I was working the closing shift at the library last night and after observing some of the people I decided to write a post about why I hate final exam week.

Disclaimer: I didn't have anyone particular in mind when I wrote this post. It's just things I've picked up during my years at uni and I'm sorry if I offend anyone.

Reason 1: I dislike the structure of not having class. All throughout the year I schedule studying, friends, partying etc around class time. There are set times when I have to be somewhere and do things. This all goes to crap when final exam week begins. Finals week makes me so unmotivated because I have nothing scheduled all day except one test. I have no structure in my day which makes it very difficult for me to work up the motivation to do things.

Reason 2: Everyone is super stressed and cranky. Sometimes during finals week all I want to do is lay around and take a break from studying. I feel like anytime I do this I get glares and cynical comments from people and it makes me sad. 

That being said, I've compiled a list of my suggestions for people during finals week.

1. Don't leave all your work until the last minute! Finals week does not need to be super stressful. If you do your work throughout the year you won't have so much to do during finals. Put in the time during the year to read the chapters, go to class every day if you can, and do the assignments. Then, when it comes time to take your finals or write your paper you will have a better understanding of the material and the exam or paper won't seem so daunting.

2. Breathe! I've found that when people get so stressed for a test they can turn nasty. I've had a lot of people get annoyed at me or snap at me since they are so stressed. To those people I say: calm down. It's just a test. If you believe that you can do it, you will be more likely to do well. If you stress out and think you will fail, you will get stressed and have a greater chance of doing poorly. Just breathe, you can do it!

3. Get a good night's sleep each night. I don't care what people say, I really don't believe anyone works better when it is late at night and they are keeping themselves awake with caffeine. If you go to sleep at a decent hour, wake up early and fresh, you will have enough time during the day to do your work. Maybe you can't do an extended lunch with a friend, but you will feel a lot better in the long run.

Those are just a few things I've learned during my time at uni, both in America and Japan. What do you guys feel is the best way to prepare for finals? Do you have any suggestions for people?

P.S. I'm not sure exactly what the tea of the day is! I received the most adorable box of tea from a friend for Christmas. Each tea dangle has a quote from a novel/author on it. The one I had today said:
"Books had instant replay long before sports" -Bert Williams
Anywho, long story short it doesn't say the type of tea. I think it's what Japanese people call "straight tea" which I think is just plain black tea. Whatever it is, I love it ^_^

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Things That Made Me Smile

Just a quick post this week! My final exams start Tuesday and I've been busy all week and weekend preparing. I will be so happy when I can say that this semester is behind me...just 5 more days! Since this week was so long and difficult I thought I would make a post of the things that made me smile ^_^

1. Twinkle lights: I have some twinkle lights in my room year round, but we just decorated the apartment for Christmas and now we have so many more and I LOVE IT!

2. Chai tea: OK, I have a confession to make. I had chai tea for the first time about 1 week ago. I'd always been scared by chai tea since it has such a strong flavor. I'm so comfortable with my herbal teas and I was always scared to try something that seemed like the coffee of tea. I decided to give it a try the other week now and I can happily say that I am now obsessed. 

3. Letters: If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you might have seen that this week I received a letter from my friend in the UK. One of my absolute favorite things is receiving a letter in the post and it was so great hearing from her I had a huge smile on my face the rest of the afternoon

4. Mugs with snowman faces: I got a snowman mug this weekend from a friend and it's the best thing ever. I can't stop drinking out of him! I might have to give him a name...

I hope that you had an equally happy, smiley week! What made you smile this week?

P.S. the tea of the day is ginger tea ^_^

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Last Tuesday was the start of our Thanksgiving break, so I went back to Minnesota for a few days. I had a great time at home just hanging out with my family, taking a silly amount of bubble baths, and not worrying about my homework (maybe not the best idea since next week is finals week!). Now that I'm back in Illinois and all settled in I thought I would share a few of the pictures I took throughout the week!

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!

P.S. the tea of the day is limeade twist ^_^

Saturday, November 22, 2014


The other day I was sitting in the cafeteria at school by myself. I was there grabbing some lunch and studying. However, when I finished studying I continued sitting there. I was just drinking some tea and thinking about random things. One of my friends approached me and jokingly made fun of me for sitting alone like a loser. While I know it was a joke and I was by no means upset with her, it did make me think.

After she had left I began looking around the cafeteria. Almost everyone was there with either a friend or a group of friends. There were a few people like me who were alone, but they all had books out and were studying or simply pretending to look busy. 

Now I'm wondering why we have such a fear and stigma against going places alone. Nobody wants to do anything alone for fear of looking like they don't have any friends. Even the simple act of eating a meal out is "unacceptable" to do alone. 

Anyone who knows me knows that I have no problem being alone. Sure, there are times when I would much rather be with my friends. On the other hand, I absolutely don't mind being by myself. I find that being alone gives me time to think. I can think about what has happened during my day/week, consider problems I am having in one of my relationships, or plan a new blog post or my weekly schedule. 

I also find that being alone lets me become comfortable with myself. Being solitary allows me to understand how my mind works and enables me to form my own ideas and opinions about different situations or issues.

Finally, being alone lets me have some time without any pressures. I can do whatever I want without worrying about pleasing someone else. I find it very relaxing to not have to worry about what someone else might want or need from me for a time.

I think everyone should spend more time alone and we should have less fear of being alone. Being alone doesn't mean you don't have friends, it just shows that you are comfortable and secure enough in your own skin to be able to enjoy your own company. 

What do you guys think? What are your reasons for enjoying or not enjoying being alone?

Check out to see the blog of my inspirational "solitary" person!

P.S. the tea of the day is strawberry grapefruit green tea ^_^

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Rambling About Life

I recently received some advice from one of my good friends. We were hanging out, just talking about life, and he said something along the lines of "no matter what the situation is, before you make your decision be sure you are OK with it." While this seems super simple, it was so profound for me at that moment. 

I feel like so many times we make decisions based on how we think other people will react or what we think is good for us. For me this leads to a lot of doubt about the things that I am doing and fear that people won't react in the way that I want them to.

My friends advice made me realize some things about myself. After coming back from studying in Japan for a year I thought I was completely comfortable in my own skin. While this is true in some respects, I understand now that loving myself is a process. It's something I have to constantly work at each day as the circumstances and people that surround me change. Happiness won't find me magically; I have to actively seek situations and people that make me happy or I could find myself in a place that isn't what I want.

I also realized that I let other people make my decisions for me too often. I need to learn to be more selfish. I should stand up for what I want and how I want my life to be. If I just let people guide me through a life that they want for me I will just end up unhappy. I think we could all be a bit more selfish when it comes to dictating how our lives should be led. 

Apologies on the large gaps between my posts. The student life is getting to me and I feel like I have no time for anything but studying. However, after reading this post from Zoella,I felt inspired to write more and create my own happy space on the internet. I'm going to try to write at least one post a week, even if I have nothing super exciting to talk about. Hmmm, maybe a new notebook will help to motivate me to brainstorm ideas ^_-

P.S. the tea of the day is limeade twist ^_^ I've been drinking this constantly lately, so I think when I go home I'll have to ask my papa to buy me some more!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Break Trip

A few weekends ago we had Fall Break. This shouldn't even be counted a real break since we only get one extra day off from class, but hey, I'll take whatever I can get. Since I live out of state I usually just stay at school while all my friends go home for these breaks. However, this year I actually went somewhere! I went with one of my roommates and best friends, Amy, to her family's farm in Mt. Carroll. 

We spent the weekend hanging out with her family, exploring the adorable antique stores in town and riding around the property looking at the beautiful fall colors! Even though it was only a few days, it was really nice to get off campus. Since coming back from Japan my travel bug has been itching like crazy! I don't have a car so it is difficult for me to get away when I want to. Fall Break definitely helped with that!

I had a super fun time at the farm, but I realized once again that I am definitely not a country girl! As if I needed reminding ^_^

P.S. the tea of the day is ginger tea ^_^