5 Ways to Succeed This School Year

 

5 Ways to Succeed at School

Good morning! Today is my first day of school. My fifteenth first day of school to be exact and I’m still in school!

I’d consider myself somewhat an expert. First my parents sent me to kindergarden dressed in a uniform turned around and I was graduating high school and “school” turned to “class”. I failed one semester and made a 4.0 the next. That’s right, I know how to succeed but I know how to fail too.

Many of you have been in school for a week or so now, lucky you! These tips are targeted for high school and college but will get you started off right no matter the year – I promise!

5. Keep an agenda. As far as I’m concerned the best school supply I have ever bought has been an agenda. By nature I am either super organized or not organized at all. I usually keep two and they change semester to semester, most recently I have found a dynamite combination – a desktop myAgenda that has everything I am doing (dinners, meetings, assignments, etc) and a pocketbook sized weekly checklist in which I only write assignments, I use it as a “homework hub” so I can prioritize and stay on top of everything. I can look ahead weeks in advance and know exactly what needs to done.

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4. Make time for homework – every day. Some of your classes will never have homework, others will have hours two/three nights a week and others will have a year end project that will take you more than you could ever imagine! By taking the time to learn your assignments early on in the semester and use this time wisely you should never have a late paper. The best part of starting things early is asking your prof questions if you have concerns long before the assignment is due! It’s important to show your prof your prepared and trying – it will get you out of trouble more than once!

3. Read your syllabus. Really. Things change but each teacher will have a different set of rules. Busted for gum in you 9 o’clock? Obviously you didn’t read “no gum allowed” in her syllabus. Some teachers excuse you from class on what you consider a minor infraction. Don’t be that person!

five things you can do to succeed this year

2. Add assignments to your agenda immediately. During the first week of school I sit down, comb through each syllabus, and 

1. Make academics a priority but don’t forget about everything else. There are plenty of “distractions” that it may not become a problem but you should go out with your friends, play an intramural sport, or join the debate team. After all, that is the meaning of an education!

Study, have fun, enjoy every class you take – even the ones you hate! You will certainly appreciate every second you take advantage of it! 

5 Ways to Make Going Out to Eat with PiYo Easier and More Fulfilling

WAYS TO MAKE DINING OUT WITH PiYo EASIER AND MORE FULFILLING

Good morning! Happy Friday! I’m wrapping up the end of week two with PiYo and loving it! After my little food freak out last week (tamales and ice cream anyone?) I decided to sit down and figure out how to thrive in the next few weeks. Some places make it easier than others but when it comes right down to it I think these “hacks” can be applied to make everyone’s habits just a tad bit better and who doesn’t like that?

Let’s jump right in:

1.Check online to see if the restaurant has it’s nutrition posted.

My favorite example of this is Subay’s nutrition tracker. You can add or take away your cheese, veggies, sauces, and additions; the only thing you can’t do is toast it! By “calculating yours” you receive custom nutrition information based on your choices You can also print it so you can take with to the store, bless the heart of the guy taking your order from a piece of paper.

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2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

I know that not everyone feels comfortable doing this but if you’re at all worried about what’s in your food (and even if you’re not) you have the right to know. I have learned a lot by asking; Subway’s chicken patty is 2.5 oz, 54 Street Bar and Grill serves cinnamon butter but you can always have regular, and almost anything can be modified.

3. Call ahead if you’re worried or take time to scan the menu before you’re seated.

If you head to a restaurant and you’re on this meal plan or any other and cannot, for the life of you, find at least their menu online then give them a call and ask if you can get XYZ. What’s your favorite thing that the restaurant is most likely to have? Knowing what you can eat will make the whole experience that much more fulfilling.

4. Just be nice.

This is my hard and fast rule in life and it just so happens to go perfectly while dining out. If you’re nice to others you’re far more likely to get better service. Not every restaurant is going to be as accommodating as you’d like but, in my experience, you will get much more accomplished by being nice and trying to be understanding. The world does not revolve around you (whomp whomp whomp) and some dishes just cannot be modified.

5. Simplify.

I like salads because I can count my food groups with very little aggravation and holding up the other person no longer becomes an issue. Easy peasy!

Subway PiYo meal hack

Do you have any tips for dining out while on a meal plan? Talk to me!

PiYo Week One

PiYo Week One

I was beyond excited when the BeachBody box showed up on my doorstep and could not wait to start! I ended up waiting until Monday so 1) I could follow the calendar and 2) my rest days could be on Fridays! I love rest day Fridays!!

A BeachBody coach approached me to see if I’d like to join her July challenge group about two weeks ago and, as fate would have it, her timing was perfect. I was looking to change up my routine but hadn’t put my finger on exactly how. Initially I was going to order Insanity and call it a day, the more I looked into PiYo though I knew it would fit our lifestyle better. Not mention I have an amazing new yoga mat I wanted to start using a lot more!!

Sunday we went grocery shopping and food prepped for the week (more on that soon!). Let me say – this made eating throughout the week soo much easier! It was amazing to just go into the kitchen, grab a proportioned baggy and leave. I am forever here to swear by meal prep. Wait, as long as it continues to work!!

Monday was an introduction, I popped in the DVD and got to know the moves. The really nice thing is that as a participant you are encouraged to go back through this introduction as often as you’d like and you don’t even have to bother your instructor. I know I feel a little sheepish when I ask an instructor to repeat a move!

Tuesday and Wednesday were Defining Upper and Lower Body. Since this is a push yourself series and I have never done anything like this I decided to push myself but not to the edge quite yet – that starts this week! It was a great workout and feel so in my element since PiYo uses body weight.

It always seems impossible until it's done

Thursday was the Sweat workout. The Define workouts are twenty minute workouts and I didn’t need water during either so I wasn’t concerned with Sweat either. This workout is forty or forty-five minutes long and I pushed myself, I actually had to pause with ten minutes to go because I needed a drink. Luckily a margarita pitcher of water was in the fridge! This one kicked my butt and left me wobbly.

Friday was a rest day and I just did some light stretching. I am using Friday as a universal rest day so I didn’t have anything planned.

Saturday I decided to get up around 4:30 after a less than restful night sleep and get it in early, we repeated Define Lower Body and I decided to push myself. I was still a little groggy but it felt good to be up and sweaty while everyone was still asleep. I had a little bit of a breakdown over food Saturday. I really wanted to gorge myself on tamales and ice cream but knew 1) that was not an appropriate response and 2) it wouldn’t do me any good in the long run. We do have a tamale and ice cream date on the calendar in 53 days (and counting ;) )!

Sunday after two hours of technical difficulties my husband was sweet enough to fix the TV so I could get to it. Define Upper Body got my going and by the last set of tricep pushups I was tanked. I could feel more core and arms more engaged.. My upper body is truly my weakest point so I am excited to see the results!

Eating: This past week I tried out a seven meal system. It worked and I felt satiated often but there were still a few times I wanted a piece of fruit or veggies but couldn’t because I would be over my limit for the day. We live and we learn so I’m trying a four meal plan this week – fingers crossed!

Subway PiYo meal hack

Meals on the go: We like to try new restaurants and dive into whatever establishment beacons us. As it turns out that’s easier to do than you’d think Sunday he had a hankering for Subway, after a few googles I found an interactive nutrition label (awesome by the way) and was able to plug, chug, and estimate my way to a Double Chicken Chopped Salad. Each chicken patty weighs 2.5 oz (there was two) and the accumulated veggie content (spinach, cucumber, tomato, and black olives) was about a cup and  a half. Awesome! I have a lot more on the go hacks but I think I’ll do an entire post soon!

Experts say the first week of a diet/lifestyle change is the toughest. If you can get over that you’re on the right track. Do you find this true?

WIAW: PiYo Week One

Hey y’all!! This Monday I started PiYo and along with working out I committed to the meal plan too.

Note: In order to avoid faux food (like tofu) I’m deviating from the typical plant-based diet. Here goes nothing! This is what this week looks like:

Breakfast

PiYo what i ate

turkey bacon, steel cut oats, pecan halves

eggs and carrots

boiled eggs and baby carrots!

Post PiYo snack

Lunch

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salad: baby spinach, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, cherries, ground chicken.

Afternoon snack

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cucumbers and greek yogurt.

More info on food prep for PiYo coming Friday – stay tuned!

1 week down, 7 to go!Linking up with Peas and Crayons for WIAW

What’d you eat?!

No More Vaccinations

Hey guys!! Long time no talk!

If you follow me on Instagram you know this weekend didn’t start off just great. We spent Thursday night in the puppy ER and hung out at his regular vet for two consecutive days. It was scary!

Queso and I went into our regular vet for his comprehensive visit Thursday morning. Last time we went for a visit he had his first allergic reaction to the leptospirosis vaccine. Leptospirosis is a disease that comes from fecal matter of wild animals in slow moving or stagnate water, since the Little Man is mainly indoors and we live in the city we went ahead and opted out of “lepto”. 

As an addition precaution we chose to allow the vet to administer Benadryl and put in an IV. All to ensure that even if he had a reaction it could be stopped immediately.

His first reaction was minor, mainly facial swelling. It was about fifteen minutes from injection, luckily we had just gotten home when he started swelling so I called immediately to let them know we were on the way back! They gave him a Benadryl and steroids. About an hour later we were released and went home without any more issues.

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Thursday the vet decided to vaccinate Queso early and keep him all day to make sure, again, they could catch any and all potential reactions. Six-thirty rolled around and they called me to come get the “cutest dog ever”. I picked him up about seven but as I was chatting with the vet one of the nurses noticed some swelling and they rushed him to the back to administer steroids. By now it was after-hours and, of course, they couldn’t keep him. I knew that and the swelling had stopped. They let me know they didn’t think we’d have to go but gave the information for the emergency vet anyway and we all went on our way.

Queso was a little out of it and hadn’t eaten at all in over twelve hours. Instead of going home we headed to the emergency vet, it was already a twenty minute drive and the least thing I wanted to do was make that drive any longer! 

In hindsight I’m really thankfully I did. Once we got there his chest was swollen and his head was beginning to swell. Not good! I was disappointed with the ladies at the front desk, it was obvious they didn’t care about Queso or me for that matter but once I passed him to an unwilling nurse and filled out the paperwork a receptionist pointed me to a room. The vet came in about a fifteen minutes later and let me know they wanted to keep the Little Man overnight.

A few tears and a call to my mother later I was on my way back home. 7 am Friday morning rolls around and I get a call that he still had some swelling but was ready to come home. We were sent home with steroids and directions to pull his IV in two hours. Per request (by our regular vet) we dropped Queso back off so they could watch him. 

24-hours after I originally went to pick him up I was back at the office staring at the Little Man back to normal size and a little disoriented but ready to go home.

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Since then we’ve decided to forgo every vaccination, he has overcome his dehydration, and life is back to it’s quiet normal!

Queso feeling better is a great way to break into my first Marvelous in my Monday link up too!

MiMM

We are NOT saying don’t give your dog vaccinations! This is our experience and we have decided, in conjunction with our vet not to vaccinate him any longer.

What was marvelous about your day?!

And Then There Was Another: My Second StitchFix

Disclaimer: I was NOT paid to review the StitchFix service but if you do decide to sign up and use this link I do get a small commission. Think of it as an early birthday gift to both of us ;)

StitchFix

Hey guys, after my first StitchFix went so well I decided to give it another go and give it it’s own space. I’ve heard a few times through other blogs that people had phenomenal first fixes and horrendous results after that. Things were a gamble if you left it up to chance. I ensured not to gamble and requested the same stylist – Kaci who rocked June. Let’s go through the deets: How StitchFix works:

  1. You sign up.
  2. You fill out your ‘Style Profile’. This includes your loves, your likes, and your dislikes; your height, weight, your proportions; and options to link your social media sites so that your stylist can get to know you and your style better. You can also tell your stylist about items (outerwear, dresses, jewelry, etc) that you don’t want to receive.
  3. StitchFix pairs you with a stylist who picks 5 items he or she thinks you will love.
  4. You’re mailed a box and get to try on everything at home, style them with what’s already in your wardrobe and decide what to and not to keep. Not only are in the comfort of your own home.
  5. You return what you don’t keep in a prepaid envelope provided by theirs truly within three days of receiving it, I’m not really sure how Friday’s work since your third day would be Sunday.
  6. Hop online and tell them what you thought of each piece. The review process includes considerations such as “how was this price point” and “what did you think of this style” as well as a comments sections for each piece.
  7. Repeat. In theory, like wine, StitchFix gets better with time!

Did you like my rhyme??

So, how does the money work? There’s a $20 styling fee charged to your credit card around Step 3. If you keep anything from your box that $20 is applied so, it’s not actually forfeited unless you send everything back. As mentioned above if you decide to keep everything there is a 25% discount applied. Note: last Fix I kept everything and with the 25% off I ended up buying four items getting number five “free” so the discount does make a difference. Also something to keep in mind – you do not pay shipping ever. The average price of each piece is $55 but come as inexpensive as “the cheaper, the better”. While going through your style profile there will be a time to fill out the prices you feel most comfortable spending per type of item. In my experience (reading the reviews and having it done myself) they are extremely vigilant in this aspect. As a matter of fact everything in my first fix were either under budget or on the low side. Other things worth mentioning:

  • This is a subscription box. If you so wish you can set up automatic fixes that let you receive a box every 2-3 weeks, once a month, or once every other month. You can always automatically sign up for your fixes too, for a special occasion or any other reason.
  • Your pieces will come with style cards with suggestions as to how to style each piece. Typically a day and night choice.
  • You will also receive

You've Got Style

Things I like:

  • Once I was in I could schedule a fix as soon as three weeks. Remember my first fix took me three months to receive.
  • I can request the same stylist. Or if I didn’t adore Kaci I could have requested someone else.
  • Along the same lines, I can write a note about my next fix i.e. “Hey, we’re having an anniversary date at the end of the month, send me XYZ.” You should really say please though – be polite, please.
  • Not only do I get to write the note but she listens!! That’s awesome.
  • It really is so convenient, not to mention it feels like Christmas or a birthday when fixes just show up!
  • The presentation. My boxes have arrived beautifully, my clothes were folded and packages nicely. Nothing was wrinkled or damaged. This time I received something wrinkled (it was the material, not the presentation) and something was missing a button.

Things I dislike:

  • The initial wait time. I don’t know what it is now from the get-go but I almost never tried StitchFix because I got tired of waiting. Thankfully I got lucky and some earlier dates shook free.
  • There is no way to view previous fixes. Once you review your fix you can never go back to see what you said/thought or change the feedback.
  • Exchanges. I am pretty sure you can request a different size via customer care but to ship back the original, have them ship you the second in hopes it fits instead of just grabbing a different size from the rack is slightly inconvenient. Shipping is free so I don’t think it would be anything more than a slight inconvenience. Yes, these are certainly first world problems.
  • There’s not enough room in my closet. Again, a very first world problem.

Tips:

  • Be specific and detailed. AKA don’t be afraid to be honest with your style profile and in your feedback. If you have a true issue with a certain neckline or would just prefer to receive it let them know. Instead of “hated this top,” try “The boxy cut made my shoulder appear wide and I didn’t like that,” or whatever made you really say no. Yes, price point is a reason too!
  • Try it all on and be open minded. Open your box, pull out everything and try it on, every time. If you don’t like it on, send it back. If it something you look at and think you’d never look good in it or it’s not something you would have chosen who cares? You’re in your home, you have nothing to lose, and no one can see you – go wild, you might surprise yourself!! If it doesn’t fit or is unflattering, at least you’ll never have that ‘what-if’ feeling.
  • Know your budget. Know what you’re willing to spend before you go into this and stick to it! That’s empowered shopping at it’s best!
  • If you like your box or boxes request the same stylist. This one is simple, no need to “fix” something that isn’t broken. I just love when puns work!!

What’s in Fix #2?

This box was great in theory – I was REALLY excited when I checked out in the preview.

As it turns out Fix #2 was not the winner Fix #1 was. It was not Kaci though! Kaci is the amazing stylist who has styled both boxes. She hit the nail on the head.

Here’s the break down…

Fun2Fun Kassidy Open Lattice Detail Tank

They also sent a white tank to go under it since there is cutout detail around the midsection. I’m down with the cutout but I own something very similar. The tank was a one-size which usually fit a little odd on me but this one fit well! Both went back.

41Hawthron Filbert Polka Dot Print 3/4 Sleeve Blouse

I would probably have gone for another blouse like this but there was a button missing and it was too tight in the bust. This one went back.

19 Cooper Cathleen Leopard Print Tulip-Sleeve Blouse

This was really cute and a great material but it didn’t pass the “arms up” test and was a little tight in the arms. Darn! I should say that I have a pretty long torso so it probably would have hit the “average” person just right! It went back too.

Pomelo Harriet Chevron Print Detail Dress

When I Googled this the results showed the black and white version which was super cute. This one is adorable too but the material is a little lower quality and it wrinkled easily and the navy strip made it look a little unbalanced on me. The top was thick but in a good way and the skirt had a built in slip – sweet!

I kept this:

Street Level Juno Small Folded ClutchStreet Level Juno Small Folded Clutch 

This clutch was pretty high quality, a fabulous color, and has great compartments! I can’t wait to take it out with me to girls’ night tonight!!

Have you guys tried Stitch Fix or any other personal style service? Would you?

Getting to Know Each Other

Good morning you guys! It’s almost the weekend – by that I mean we’ve made it halfway through the week!! Today you guys get to spend some time getting to know me and hopefully I will get to know you guys a little better!

liebster blog award

Jena from Burpees for Breakfast was super sweet and nominated me for a blogger get-to-know-you award so that’s up first!

questions for me

1. what are you eating (and watching) right now?

I’m catching up on Conan, Jimmy Kimmel, and Late Night (Jimmy Fallon) eating carrots and drinking infused water. Does it get any more hipster?

2. favorite pre and post workout meal?

Oatmeal with an ENERGYbits smoothie – workout – bowl of fruit + a protein of some sort.

3. you wake up for a workout and you are NOT motivated. what do you do?

I stay in bed…I know I will feel better so it always (eventually) gets done!

A more helpful answer would be I look at how far I’ve come and focus on my goal!

4. what’s your current girl power jam?

I’m loving ‘Troublemaker’ right now; I like Olly’s voice and Flo Rida, well, who can hate on him? It’s not the typical genre but it has a great beat and I always pick up the pace just a little bit. Jena had a great one too with All About That Bass!

5. what has been the best part of your summer, so far?

Believe it or not coming back to Saint Louis. I loved being at my parents but am glad I came home.

6. because i’m thinking of waffles…favorite type of waffles, pancakes, and ‘dessert’ bread (like banana or zucchinni)?

LOL my favorite question. I like plain waffles with maple syrup. Yes, I am one of those people.

7. favorite type of workout and place to workout?

Swim! I love to swim! And a pool. open water swims still scare me but…I’ll get there and then, I’m sure, my answer will be anywhere but the pool!!

8. how many times have you gone into target and walked out without purchasing anything?

Ok. Jena – you caught me! We (my husband and I) go into Target just to go all the time, as in, at least once or twice a week. We hardly buy anything. In our defense we live about five minutes from a Target and have to drive past it all the time which means when we go out to dinner we stop, browse, and let our food settle. I don’t know if I should be ashamed of that or proud. It’s where all the cool kids go.

9. if you could create your own starbucks drink and name it, what would you create?

There’s actually a sweet little coffee shop in my hometown that created a drink after my mom. It has coffee, carmel, coconut, and chocolate. Now that. That is where it is!

10. who is your inspiration and why?

I have several inspirations. Most clearly I would say my mom and my step-mom. My mom is just so passionate and beyond good at everything she does. My step-mom has overcome some insane odds and has done it with a smile on her face the whole time.

11. what would be your disney ending?

I would honestly keep every parent alive in my Disney movie, Bambi, The Lion King, Shrek (his), The Princess and The Frog; you get my point. Keep the parents alive!

Second, I was nominated by Jenna at Little Green Running Shoes

very inspiring blogger

The Rules:

Thank and link to the person who nominated you (DONE. Thanks Helly!)

List the rules and display the award (That would be this part of the post)

Share seven facts about yourself

Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated

Optional: display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you

Seven facts about me:

  1. I have just recently found sunflower seed butter…and prefer it over any other.
  2. My original university major was Philosophy. I’ve since moved onto Nonprofit Administration.
  3. My dream job would be working as an advocate for the Deaf or as a fundraiser (development director as it’s called in The World). If I could be an active living blogger all my life I would pursue that too. Obviously I don’t care to tie myself down too much!! We shall see what happens.
  4. I have tried just about every kind of eating habit out there and am still finding what’s best for me.
  5. My biggest pet peeve is bad customer service. It can sometimes get out of hand.
  6. I absolutely cannot sleep in past 6:30. Yes, 6:30 is considered sleeping in, I blame it on my mom, she’s an early riser. No, I don’t mind one bit.
  7. I don’t know how to ride a bike. Most you of you probably know that so if that one doesn’t count. I’m training for Ironman Wisconsin 2015.

Boom. I hope you guys learned something new about me, I look forward to hearing more about YOU! Also, how cool is that both ladies were Jena/Jenna’s?

Also – I’ll be hanging around the #liveloveNOURISH Twitter party tonight. You’re going to want to be there. You have a chance to win a copy of THE NOURISH COOKBOOK and $150 gift card to Lorna Jane. 6 PST / 9 EST. Be there.

Tell me something about you!