Mardi Gras State of Mind

I have Mardi Gras brain right now. In case you're not from the South/don't know what that means, it means that my brain is not functioning if it doesn't have to do with Mardi Gras. We've been playing music quietly behind the desk in the morning to help us function, and today's music is straight Mardi Gras music. 

Although I'm not headed down into New Orleans this year for the parades, and I haven't really been to any parades here (hello, school work), it's still one of my favorite times of year. I mean, does it really get much better than the 'drink every weekend, have a good time with family and friends, eat king cake every day' mentality? 

Some of the songs we've been listening to are the Mardi Gras Mambo, They All Asked for YouIko Iko, and There's No Place to Pee on Mardi Gras Day. There are so many different, fun Mardi Gras songs that you hear walking down the parade route, but those are some of my absolute favorite. 

So now, I'm going to go and attempt to concentrate in my last few classes before driving three hours down to Cocodrie (I can't even contain my excitement!). 

A Look Ahead: Mardi Gras Weekend

I don't know about you, but I'm currently drowning in school work. This is partially my fault for procrastinating, and partially the fact that being in college everyone expects you to only be taking their class (jokes on them). It's almost midterms week, which basically means the two weeks from hell. Yes, two weeks. Because thank the lord my teachers decided to actually spread their exams out instead of putting them all on the same day. 

But that's not the point of this post. The point of this post is that next week we have Mardi Gras break, aka Monday-Tuesday, and Wednesday morning off, which means mini vacation for me. You see, my paw paw has a fishing camp down in Cocodrie, which is about a three hour drive from where I live. As soon as I get out of my last class on Friday, I'm hightailing it out of here. 

At the camp, there's no internet, no cable, and barely any cell service. I've got a pretty big extended family on my dads side, so there's never a dull moment when we all get together and go to the camp. During the day, we do work on the camp. If it needs new screen on the outdoor porch, checking the pipes, working in the boat shed, mowing the grass, fixing up the dock, or really just whatever else needs to be done. But at night? Everyone slowly beings to let loose. Drinking a beer or two, and just sitting outside talking and laughing, and listening to music. This particular day we had just figured out that you can download an app that, when you hold it up to the sky, tells you what constellations are there. It's pretty cool. 

This weekend is going to be a mixture of a work weekend with a fun weekend. We need to go check the pipes to see that they didn't burst because of the cold, even though we drained them....and it'll be my little sister & I doing a lot of freaking school work. But honestly, I'd rather do it there than anywhere else. This is probably my favorite place in the entire world. 

In Four Years Time: Oh the Things You'll Accomplish

Graduation in 2010 -- feels like a lifetime ago
Going into college, my dad gave me one goal. One thing to concentrate on. One piece of motivation. He told me that no matter what happens, just graduate. I come from a split home, where my dad went to college and finished after four years with a degree in computer science. My mom on the other hand, went to college and after one semester knew that it wasn't for her. College isn't for everyone. Some people are really good at it, and some people really aren't. 

Fortunately for me, I fall into the category of people who really love college and don't want to graduate. So much so, that I'm even thinking about applying for graduate school. My parents always want what's best for me, regardless of what that may be. When I started college, I knew I wanted to go into architecture. I love architecture and everything that it encompasses but I quickly found out that it wasn't for me. 

I didn't tell my parents the first time I changed my major until after I had already done it. After a lot of, 'if this is what you really want to do' and 'you're sure about this' conversations, they hopped on board with my new major: history with a concentration in secondary education. After a few classes, I thought wow, I really love this . This is something I could see myself doing. But there was something missing. 

I took my first anthropology class my first semester in college and fell in love, quite quickly actually. After thinking for a couple of days, trying to figure out what I wanted to do, I decided in my third semester in college to change my major...again. Although, this time not so drastically. I decided to dual degree (earn two separate degrees) in History and Anthropology. I dropped my secondary education concentration and just let it be. 

I slyly told my parents, casually sneaking it into conversation whenever I could, and by this time they were okay with the changes, 'as long as you're happy'. When I then told them that 'OH BY THE WAY, I'm now minoring in Italian and Linguistics' they just about had a heart attack. I'm someone who will always take on as much as I possibly can, and then hope to get it all done in a timely manner. 

My second semester sophomore year, halfway through my college career, I figured it out. I can graduate in four years, not have to pay any extra tuition and still apply for graduate school, or whatever it is I feel like doing after this. While it's a really exciting time, it's also insanely nerve-wracking. My parents will be the first ones to tell you that I've worked my ass off to get to where I am today, without anyone's help. 

I took 18 hours every semester, 19 hours a couple, two summers of summer classes (one at LSU and one through LSU in Italy), and even worked two jobs through half my college career. I cannot wait to graduate, on time, and be able to look back at what I've accomplished in such a short amount of time. I wouldn't say I'm one to sit here and brag about everything that I have or have done, but this time I'm going to. Because I deserve it. 

What is Clean Eating?

from tumblr

So, yesterday I talked about how I have started eating clean and how I've started to change my 'lifestyle.' Now, some of  you are probably like, cool, clean eating, that's awesome. While the other half are probably like 'what in the world are you talking about? What is clean eating? I have to admit, for the longest time I was in the latter half of the group as well, although I would pretend I knew what you're were talking about. 

After many hours spent googling 'clean eating' and 'recipes for clean eating', I hate to admit that I still don't know a ton of information about what exactly 'clean eating' is, but I can tell you what I think it is. Now, I'm not a dietitian, or a nutritionist, or a trainer, or anything like that. I'm not certified in any way, but this is what I eat and the schedule I follow that tends to work for me. 

From what I understand, clean eating is all about natural foods, or foods with fewer ingredients if you must purchase something. For me, this means a lot of plants, fruits and veggies, meat (hello, protein), grains, and little dairy and beans. I try to eat about 5-6 small meals a day, which is to say I eat breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and post-gym snack. 

One of the biggest things about eating clean is that you're cutting out all processed foods. This means that whenever I go to the grocery store, and I'm looking at something prepackaged, I spend a lot of time reading labels. I try to choose things that have less than 6 ingredients in them, and if I don't know what an ingredient is, there's a fair chance that I didn't buy whatever it was. 

One of the most important aspects of clean eating (and working out) that is stressed is the amount of water that you should be drinking. I'm awful at drinking water. I fully accept and acknowledge this, which is why I'm trying to be better about it. I carry around a 1 liter bottle all day and make sure that I drink at least two per day.

One of the biggest challenges of trying to eat clean while being in college is that it can get expensive, fast. However, I found that packing my lunch and trying to meal plan on Sundays have really, really helped me get my act together. I hoped this helped, at least a little, explain what clean eating is.

Clean Eating: A Journey for One

from tumblr
As college is starting to come to a close, I've become more and more aware of my eating habits. Specifically, my bad eating habits. My freshman year, I was an architecture major, which meant I was sleeping maybe 3 hours a night (if I was lucky) and eating all the processed foods and fast food I could get my hands on [with a coke or coffee permanently glued to my hands].

My sophomore year, I switched out of architecture and into something that I felt more passionate about: history & anthropology. I the next two years playing catch up, taking 18-19 hours, and working two jobs to get back on track. It wasn't bad, but I still wasn't really eating all that well. 

Then senior year hit me. The first semester was okay, spent drinking anything and everything I could get my hands on during football season. But second semester? My clothes stopped fitting as well as they once had, and I just didn't feel like myself anymore. Enter in clean eating & exercising. 

To me, clean eating is not a diet, it's a way of life. Now this may sound insanely cheesy, but it's true. It's not that I'm restricting myself to only certain things, but I'm trying to put better things into my body. I've cut wayyyy back on the processed foods (though not completely phased off of them just yet), and I've started eating a lot more fruits and veggies. I've stopped eating white breads & pasta, and on the rare occasion I'm craving bread, I'll eat wheat bread. I don't drink as much milk any more, but when I do I drink skim (always - I just can't do whole milk). I've starting using almond milk as a substitute for milk in my oatmeal (it's not the same, but still okay). 

Although I've only been eating this way for about two weeks now, I'm already seeing a difference. I don't really crave any bad foods for me, well that much any ways. The only things I ever really crave? Pizza and donuts. My two favorite things in the entire world. And king cake...but that's only because it's king cake season. 

Overall, I'm happy with the progress that I've made so far. In the past month, with eating better & exercise, I've lost 10 pounds [probably part of that Freshman 15 I put on all throughout college]. I feel better, I sleep better, and I have more energy during the day. 

The Road to Becoming a Morning Person

Anyone else dreaming of this warmer weather?
I'm not a morning person. At all. But this year I've decided to start waking up (on time) earlier for work. I've got to be at work for 7am (ish), which means that I'm usually hitting snooze until 6:45 and rolling out of bed & running down stairs. This semester I'm trying to stop procrastinate so much in the morning, and actually wake up on time (aka, 6am). By waking up so early, I'm able to get ready in the morning, fully, and still have a little time to eat breakfast before going outside to catch the bus. 

The only problem with this? I am flat out exhausted, usually by 10 pm. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but I live in a sorority house & have to share a room. My roommate & I have completely opposite schedules, so sometimes it's difficult in the morning to get ready, or at night to fall asleep at a decent hour. Plus, as my mother so dearly tells me, I'm like a bull in a china shop. If there's something for me to run into/trip over, you can bet it'll happen. Being quiet, when you can barely see, early in the morning is a lot more difficult than you would think.

Something that living in the exact. same. room. as someone has taught me, is that you have to compromise. A lot. Now, I used to share a room with my younger sister, but we had pretty much the same schedule so it was fine. But with me waking up at pretty much the crack of dawn (for a normal college student), it can get a little hectic. 

The easiest thing for me on the road to becoming a morning person? Coffee. I've started to drink my coffee black, or with a little bit of skim(or almond) milk. It seriously wakes me up in the morning & gets me on track. Plus, I like to read the newspaper (normally the New York Times and our hometown's newspaper) in the morning before doing anything else. 

I'm doing alright at going to bed earlier, but the whole waking up on time thing is still escaping me a little bit. Hopefully as the semester goes on I'll be able to stick to some sort of schedule. But until then, here's to some sleepy freaking days.

What are some of your tips & tricks for actually waking up in the morning? I'm desperate for any help. 

Let's Talk Money....and how I'm broke

I miss you, Italy!
Today I'm going to talk about something that I hardly talk about with anyone in real life, money. You see, I've got credit card debt still from my trip to Italy this past summer. I funded pretty much the entire thing myself, with my dad chipping in a little bit to help me along the way. So in 2014, I'm putting myself on a spending ban. What this means for me, is that instead of spending ANY money on unnecessary things (such as makeup, clothes, & eating out), I'm going to start putting that money into my savings account. 

Since I'm graduating in May, I want to have a little bit of money saved up in case I want to travel, or maybe even fly somewhere to look for a job. I'm really, really, really bad at spending money. I can justify pretty much anything that I want in my head really easily. So, instead of just going to drugstores to purchase makeup on a somewhat weekly basis, I'm going to start withdrawing cash. I'll get $50 for every week (or two weeks, depending on what's happening this week). 

Since I live pretty much on campus, I won't really be spending any money on gas (thank the lord!), except for when I go home. Honestly, I plan on spending a lot more weekends at home this semester in order to save a little bit of money. You see, on the weekends (starting Friday at lunchtime) we're on our own for food. This means that lunch & dinner must be bought by whoever lives in the house to feed themselves. This adds up to be SO much money spent, and since we don't have access to a full kitchen, we can't even cook a meal or two. 

Hopefully, this will let me save up a decent amount of money before I graduate. I've got to pay off my credit card debt before I can start even thinking about buying things that I just want. I'm starting to think about the material things (that I've become obsessed with) and how much I really don't need them. Plus, if I move at any point in time, I probably won't be bringing everything with me. This year is going to be about cutting out more of the material things, and adding in more time with family and friends. 

I know, I know, it's already February, why are you coming up with this now? Basically, because I can. Who says you have to start resolutions in January, you can make it a new year anytime you want ;). 

Happy Birthday, Polly!

Today is my friend Polly's birthday, and we're celebrating tonight & tomorrow! I cannot even begin to put into words how grateful I am for this girl. From training for half marathons (3), and a triathlon (a sprint), to many nights of going out, and long days of sorority workshops. She's currently working her tail off in law school so we don't get to see each other as much as we used to, but lord knows when we do get together it's a ton of fun. 

Happy Birthday, Paulanka! 

Oh yeah, and Happy Valentines Day !

Ice in the South?

Recently, I've heard so much crap being talked about the South because of the massive ice storms that we've had lately. Just like when we laughed at the North for freaking out about hurricanes/hurricane season, the north is laughing at us about the ice and snow. Now, maybe the two parts of the states will understand each other. 

We don't have snow machines, or plows, or salt, or anything like that to put on our roads because we don't need it. I got stuck in my sorority house one day because there are two bridges leading in and out of sorority row that were closed down. Thank god someone eventually put sand on them and opened one up (because hello, we have tons of freaking sand) so I could actually get where I needed to go. 

Then, my university wanted to have class the day that it was still freaking iced over. Ice was literally falling from the tress, and I personally watched so many people bust their butts from slipping on the ice (myself included) because we can't freaking walk on it. I'm not gonna lie, I had a ton of fun playing in the ice/snow mix at my dads house one of the days, but I'm seriously over this 'wintery mix' that just wants to keep coming.I may or may not have walked into the house yelling "IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS" and then later on throughout the day "DO YOU WANNA BUILD A SNOWMAN". Thank goodness my dad loves me. A lot.

We've had three days off of school because of ice storms, and because we live in the SOUTH we don't have any days built into the school semester for stuff like this. Because HELLO it's never cold enough here/it's not hurricane season. Except this year. So we have to make up all of these days by going to Saturday school. But you see, there's a slight problem there, at least for me. I have an internship on a plantation that I only attend on Saturdays. This counts as course credit for me, so no I cannot just skip it. Oh LSU, if only you could get it together. I know they're doing this so we don't miss Mardi Gras/Spring Break/push back graduation, but it's seriously just not cool! 

I'm definitely a Southern/warm weather girl all the way, so winter can just get out of here if you ask me.

Life After College?

Since I'm in my last semester of my senior year in college, the question that I've been asked more than anything in the world is "what are you going to do after college?" Quite honestly, I've never had an answer for that, because there are so many different things that I want to do that I've never really made up my mind. That was, until this past weekend. 

After thinking about doing the Disney College Program for about six months now, I finally decided to bit the bullet and just go for it. On Sunday night, around midnight, I decided to apply. After filling out my application online, I received an email that said I was a strong candidate and that I would go through to the second part of the application process: the web based interview. 

The web-based interview, or WBI, is probably one of the harder parts of the application to pass, and many don't make it to the third step of the application process. I'm pretty sure I held my breath through the entire WBI, and let out a huge sigh of relief after I finished it. At the very end I found out that I had passed the WBI (thank goodness) and would be able to schedule a phone interview. 

Now, there are some serious die-hard fans/fanatics in the Disney group on Facebook who have apparently been researching things for MONTHS in advance....Now, I've been looking over some sample questions and reading about the different roles, but I don't have my interview until Friday around 4:30, so I've got a little bit of time to do some more research about possible questions & my top roles. 

Ever since an old friend went and did the DCP, it's always been in the back of my mind of something that I'd like to do someday. However, I only get four years of TOPS (the scholarship that Louisiana does) and so taking time off hasn't ever been an option. Luckily, you can apply for the program the semester you're graduating, which means I have one more chance to apply and hopefully be accepted. 

I'm excited (and so nervous) to be applying when I know there are literally thousands of others going after the same jobs that I am looking at, but I honestly really hope that I get in. It's something that's really outside my comfort zone, which is awesome (and scary). So here's to nothing! 

The Week of Little Productivity

I swear, getting any kind of work done this week (or last week...or next week) is going to be pretty close to impossible. Not only is it New York Fashion Week, something I'm personally obsessed with, but it's also time for the WINTER OLYMPICS. Helloooo, procrastination. I mean seriously though, whoever said that the last semester of college was the easiest, lied. I have even less drive now than I did last semester. 

You can check here for all the latest fashion news/trends straight off of the runway of NYFW. The shows don't end until February 13th, so you still have time. Plus, they have all the collections, so if you're looking to waste some more time, you can go through the collections that have already run. My personal favorites? Badgley MIschkaCarolina HerreraMilly by Michelle SmithDonna Karan New York/DKNY [absolute favorite],  Tadashi ShojiBCBGMAXAZRIA, & so many others. It's impossible for me to narrow it down to just a few shows because I'm seriously loving so many of the trends for Fall 2014. 

And now from fashion on the runway, to fashion in the cold (kind of... but that was the best transition I could think of, so oh well). I've been watching the Winter Olympics at Sochi on NBC Olympics website since they began. My first favorite event? Figure skating. I used to take figure skating lessons (when I was much younger) so I've got a soft spot in my heart for all of the figure skating events. My second favorite event? Snowboarding. I've always wanted to learn how to snowboard. Skiing looks cool and all, but there's something about snowboarding that gets me. Maybe the challenge, since everyone says it's just so much more difficult than skiing. The final sport that, surprisingly, really caught my eye? The luge. I didn't really know much about it before the Olympics began, and quite honestly I still don't know all that much about it, but it's seriously fascinating. 

And that, my friends, is why I will be so unproductive this week.

Working It Out

I've always been an active kid. My entire childhood was pretty much spent outside. The only time we were allowed (read: wanted to be inside or locked in against our will) inside was during the winter if it was too cold or during the summer when it was too hot and we had a chance to get heat stroke (which I have gotten....many times). However, when college hit and I stopped dancing, all my workout motivation pretty much stopped as well.

I didn't get the illusive 'Freshman 15', more like the 'College 20'. Now, in my senior year, I've come to realize just exactly how much weight I've put on, and how it made me feel. I was slow/sluggish, just flat out lazy. Why walk somewhere when you can take the bus? Why get out of bed and walk downstairs to get some tea or coffee? Really though. This semester I realized just how badly I was doing in the fitness department after I ran my third half marathon. 

It's not that I'm fat, or because I want to lose weight, but I seriously want to have more energy. So I've started working out everyday (except Sundays - OFF DAY!!). And you know what? After three weeks, I feel so much better already. I've dropped 7 pounds (which a lot could be water weight, but I'm still happy regardless), and I've gotten stronger. I previously couldn't do a push up, and now I can do at least 10 (girl push ups), which is not much, but it's something. 

My friends Lauren & Polly have been amazing with keeping the energy up. Lauren and I go to classes everyday at the Rec, and then I'll work out for about another hour (either before or after class - just depending on how tough it is). Then Polly & I are now training for a Triathlon (!). Just a sprint triathlon, but still. I'm so excited. 

The Big "C" Word: Cancer

It's been slightly crazy around here lately...well that's an understatement. There's really no easy way to share this, but it's been on my mind for quite some time now, and this is basically like my online journal, so here goes nothing. A week ago, I received a call from my doctors office: Your test results came back abnormal, we need you to come back in for some more testing & a biopsy. It could be absolutely nothing, but it also means you may have cancer.

I'm sorry, what? I had the lady repeat what she just said again. Obviously she could tell I was freaking out, so she went on to try and calm me down by repeating 'it could be absolutely nothing, just a bad day and what not'. I'm sorry lady, but you lost me at 'you could have cancer'. [Side note: you don't tell a 21 year old (or anyone for that matter) they MAY have cancer over the phone...] She went on to explain the different procedures that they were going to try for testing...although I had stopped listening a long time ago. As soon as I got off the phone with my doctor, I called my mom in tears. [Let it be known, I'm one to overreact on just about everything]. My mom then also tried to calm me down by saying, it happens, I've had abnormal test results (although she also had early stages of cancer) and look I'm fine! I'm alive....Thanks mom.

Because of scheduling, I couldn't get an appointment for two weeks after my phone call (one week from today), so the last week has been a lot of different emotions for me. One moment I'll be  really happy to then five seconds later I'm crying when I start to think about 'what if'. At 21 years old, you feel invincible, nothing can stop you. You're young, and you've got so much time ahead of you. If this past week has taught me anything, it's patience and acceptance. Patience because that was one virtue that I was not blessed with, and I know I could definitely use it right about now. Acceptance because this semester has been off to a rocky start for me, but everything happens for a reason.

So, I've got a week left before my actual testing, and then probably a week or so until they get the results back. I'm going to stop stewing in my own thoughts now, because lord knows I do that all too often. While it could be nothing [because as everyone keeps pointing out to me, it happens! abnormal tests come back all the time and it's nothing], it could also be something, which scares me the most. So if you've got a spare minute, say a prayer [or think happy thoughts] for me. 

Latest Instagrams

© From the South. Design by Fearne.