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Sunday, December 6, 2015

18 Things I've Learned At 18


What the heck. Even though I'm already a sophomore in college, I am seriously so sad that this will be my last of being a teen. I definitely don't feel older, but I have learned a couple of things this year from experience. My birthday was last Sunday, and all I did was go out to eat with my family, hang out with some friends, and all in all it was low-key and just what I needed. Anyway, here are 18 things that I've grown to learn/accept this past year. 
1. All nighters are never a good life choice: I've only pulled one successful all nighter ever, and all of the other ones have resulted in my body hating me and my test grade being the same. 

2. It's okay to be a couple minutes late to class: Anyone else get really anxious about walking into class late and having everyone stare at you? I've honestly even skipped class because I was only 5 minutes late before just for that reason. Oops. 

3. Yes, you should exercise today: These past few weeks I've finally started to exercise a couple of times a week and I already feel so much better. Even if it's late at night, just fitting in 30 minutes will add up and make a difference.

4. Don't underestimate sleep: That being said, I've learned to use me time wisely and take naps when possible, and just getting into bed before midnight is an accomplishment.

5. Having a job during school isn't too bad: I just got an office job through my school, and I thought I would no longer have any time to do anything. I was so wrong because I love my job, and the hours fit really well into my schedule.

6. Time management. That's all. : Yeah, I should've started studying for that exam like yesterday.

7. A few close friends > a bunch of friends who don't really know you: I definitely struggled with this these past couple of months, and it's okay to not have a lot of friends. I've realized that there are only a couple of people who I can really be myself with, and that is what matters. 

8. Always keep popcorn, chocolate, and bananas in the room. : This is to avoid ordering late night breadsticks and for stress eating.

9. Right NOW is the best time to make mistakes. (but not really stupid ones): I'm definitely not proud of some things I've done this year, but hey, the teen years are practically meant for making mistakes and learning...as long as the mistakes aren't HORRIBLE. 

10. That one guy does not matter: lol at boys. I've been learning more and more to just be happy with who I am, and if there is someone to share that with, awesome. If not, it's okay to "play the field" (gosh I hate that saying) or just be happy with yourself. Because you're cool.

11. Spending a night alone is okay. It's actually really good. Don't feel sorry for yourself and enjoy listening to music, reading, and just have some peace. 

12. Have fun on the weekends. The weekends will always go by SO fast, so take that time to relax and have fun....except on sundays. Do all of your homework on sunday.

13. Yeah it's scary, but do it anyway. Steph, look back at everything remotely exciting that's happened in you life. It's when you made decisions on impulse that were scary and took a chance. Do it again this year, live more.

14. Keep your heart and mind open. Don't close yourself off to new things or people. Remember the moments when you open your eyes and learned to love them.

15. Be yourself. self explanatory. 

16. Rest in Him. Leaning on God during the hard times, easy times, and every time never fails. It's all about the relationship, and God isn't far away. He's right here, and with you.

17. love love love. never stop loving others even when you don't want to and even when you feel like you absolutely HATE them.

18. STOP WORRYING SO MUCH. Please stop giving yourself unneeded stress. 

That whole saying of "you live and you learn" to me means something more like more like "make a bunch of mistakes and try not make them again" oops. I can't wait to be back writing and posting more often over winter break, right after I (hopefully) survive finals. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

My Favorite Healthy Snacks On The Go

Okay so I've pretty much decided that I like snacking more than actual meals..not sure if that's a good or bad thing but all I know is that snacks are what help keep me going throughout those long long  days. I'll eat one in-between lunch and dinner, and especially during those late study nights, it keeps me focused. Even though I'm already in my second year of college, there are times where I'll forget to eat because I'm so busy, and other times where I'll eat way too much sugar (ie. ice cream) or salt (ie. bosco sticks). AND on top of that, it's the holiday season so that means even more craziness. 
Here are some of my favorite healthy snacks that are portable to carry around, and that will keep you satisfied and less cranky during those finals. Oh and a quick shoutout to Nuts.com for inspiring this post - I could write so many posts on healthy food because there's always so much more to learn :)
Okay, so I'll start off with saying my absolute favorite healthy snacks are so plain but delicious. I think fresh fruits and vegetables are so underrated, but there's such a huge variety and I love eating them along side with peanut butter or hummus. Some of my personal favorites are carrots, broccoli, apples, tomatoes, cauliflower, and especially bananas - they are they best fruit to bring to class because they are the quietest.

When I am craving something crunchy, I'll definitely go for some homemade trail mix with almonds, pecans, cashews, and dried fruit. I cannot get enough of dried pineapple lately, and it's unlimited in my school's cafeteria (just watch out for added sugar).
I know people talk about how bad packaged foods are, but to a degree I think some are much better options than others. The best portable ones are Larabars or Kindbars which only contain a couple ingredients and have a good amount of protein, and course I can never get enough of popcorn. Skinny pop and Indiana kettle corn are SO good. And when I want something sweet, dark chocolate covered fruit or this Trader Joe's "this blueberry walks into a bar..." are yummy. 

Lastly, I just HAVE to give a shoutout to my #1 snack - medjool dates. They may look weird, but these dates are literally nature's candy. I love them to sweeten smoothies, make energy balls, or best of all, just on their own. They are chewey, delicious, and are high in vitamin B, and contain three times the amount of potassium in bananas. ..whoa. I highly recommend stuffing them with almond butter.


Check out Nuts.com and their healthy snacks or quick snacks page for even more inspiration! And of course let me know some of your favorite healthy snacks as well in the comments section.
With love,
*This post is not sponsored. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

You Decide To Make Social Media "Real"


If you haven't heard of her, a video by Essena O'Neill was posted recently about her experience with social media. A popular instagrammer and model, she talks on how her obsessiveness with social media wasn't "living". I actually cried watching the video because I really felt for her. Starting out a such a young age of 14 or 15, she would skip meals and obsessively workout, then spend hours posing for the perfect instagram picture pretending to be someone she wasn't. She discusses in the video on how negative social media can be, and to just go outside and talk to people. 

I do fully agree with her that it is sad how much time each day staring at a screen. I'm completely guilty of this. Although, I think that her situation is different from others, and that we shouldn't be immediately discouraged by social media. I've seen so much good and come from it, and that there's a line between using social media for the fun of it and to connect, than to making it a priority. 

We all care about the number of likes and followers to some degree, but to have your happiness depend on them just breaks my heart. Happiness and self worth should come from inside yourself, and knowing that Jesus and so many people care about you! I think Essena's example shows the harm social media can do. It was such a great reminder to put down my phone and talk to my friends, and it definitely made me more aware to post positive things. 

You decide to be yourself on social media, and to be real. Social media is real. The words are real, the people are real, and it's beyond me to even think of how crazy it is that we can affect and reach people through it. Even though there are people who can be superficial on social media, posing for pictures and getting absorbed into sponsored posts, the reason for why they do so is real. Maybe they're insecure and rely on it, or maybe they are struggling to make ends meet.

 I hope this put a new perspective on social media for you, and I'm so grateful that a platform like this exists for me to connect with all of you. Take a walk, look at the stars, and spend hours talking with people who make you happy.  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Outfit: Plaid Pals

I've been so so bad on posting consistently this past school year, and sadly school does come first when it comes to blogging. I've had these pictures for a couple of weeks, and these were taken at a local cider mill called Uncle John's - literally the cutest place EVER this time of year. I was able to make some great memories with great friends, and top it all off with (many) cinnamon sugar donuts. Of course, I decided on wearing a plaid shirt because what else would I wear to the cider mill? And it turns out some of my friends felt the same way and everyone looked beautiful.




all of the apples!



how cool is this GIANT balloon thing?!
green top: banana republic outlet
plaid button up: jach's girlfriend (costco men's section), similar
jeggings: june daisy
shoes: h and m , similar
bag: fossil

It was so so fun just to get away from campus for the day, and it's always something to check off of my fall to do list! The cider mill feels so home-y, since I always went with my parents to a different one back at home exploring little gift shops, and enjoying good company. Oh and thanks to some of my friends for some of these pictures, you're all so great :)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Write It All Out

It's been an interesting first month of school to say the least, and it has also been way too long since my last playlist. These songs have been my go to for late night studying or just laying in bed, and they've really been so great to listen to after a long day. Especially during more stressful times, this playlist + writing = a happier stephanie. Sometimes I just need to take a minute (or thirty) and write everything I'm thinking down, and it always makes me feel SO much better. 10/10 would 
recommend.

Hear You Me - Jimmy Eat World
All I Want - Dawn Golden
Please Don't Go - Barcelona
No. 1 Party Anthem - Arctic Monkeys
Heartbeats - Jose Gonzalez
Life Me Up - Mree
Slow Dancing In A Burning Room - John Mayer
Georgia - Vance Joy
For Blue Skies - Strays Don't Sleep
For You - Peter Bradley Adams
Please Don't Say You Love Me - Gabrielle Aplin
Bottled Up Tight - Luke Sital Singh
All Comes Down - Kodaline
Kiss Me - Ed Sheeran
23 - Jimmy Eat World 
Relentless - Hillsong United 
Nothing Stays the Same - Luke Sital Singh
Into The Well - Mree 
 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Current Favorite Blogs

Even though I've been busy with school, I still like to find time to read other blogs in-between classes or before bed. I love to see the creativity of others because there are so many bloggers who are all SO different. In this post, I'll only be talking about a couple of blogs, but trust me - these are not the only great ones out there! The rest will be on my "What I Read" page in different categories so you can check them out too (which you totally should!). 
Brookewrote
I actually found out about Brooke's blog because a friend from high school met her in college (thanks Maty!) I'm obsessed with all of her posts, and it's easy to see her personality through her pictures and writing. She writes about everything from food, books, life, and whatever is on her mind. (Oh and she's from michigan too) 

The Peanut Butter Lover 
Katherine's blog is the cutest thing EVER, and I am always in love with her reflection post. She's so relatable, and also has the best twitter account! I'd describe her blog as a lifestyle blog, as she writes about food, college, and life (my favorite topic). 

Everything's Always Sunny 
I met Kristen at an event over the summer in Grand Rapids, and it was so nice to finally meet another blogger in person! She is so incredibly sweet and dedicated to her blog, and her fashion posts have to be my favorite. I also love that there is sort of a theme to all of her posts, and everything flows beautifully. I would say hers is definitely a good read if you're in search of something positive and brightening for your day.
Constance Browne
Also a college student, I also find her blog so relatable and adorable. Her pictures are beautiful, and I definitely won't forget to mention that she is also so sweet! I love reading other blogs who are also currently in school, and I always learn something new.

Project Soiree
I also met Sara this past summer, and she always has the best restaurant recommendations in west Michigan. She posts multiple times throughout the week, and my favorite posts are her recipes. She definitely focuses on the local scene which is always a plus because there's so much to discover in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

Bungalows and Olives 
Again another local blogger (yay!), Katie Grace also has her own photography business, and it definitely shows. I could stalk her Instagram for hours on end, and all of her pictures are bright and happy. She does many outfit posts which I adore, little DIY projects, and more.

Again, don't forget to check out the "What I Read" page at the very top to look at all of the other blogs I also like to read from time to time as well. Oh and if you would like me to check out your blog or someone else's you'd recommend, definitely leave a comment - I will always love reading and discovering new content! It provides inspiration for my own posts, and 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Simple Balsamic Noodle Salad

I'm so happy to be participating in the last week of #BloggersBTS hosted by Nicole and Cathleen! This week's theme is food (my favorite duh), and I'll be sharing a recipe that is healthy, delicious, and best of all - versatile. Even though I'll be living in a dorm and won't be able to cook, I definitely ate things similar to this while in high school as a quick, filling meal after tennis practice and after school. It's also basically a foolproof recipe which is great since I'm known to be a little clumsy in the kitchen. oops.

Ingredients:
- your favorite vegetables- I used red cabbage, carrots, cucumber, tomato, and bell pepper
- chopped cilantro
- cooked pasta - I used whole grain pasta
For the dressing:
- 1 T balsamic vinegar 
- 3 T olive oil
- salt + pepper
- 1/2 T dijon mustard
optional: parmesan cheese on top 
All you have to do is prep the vegetables, cook the pasta, and whisk together the dressing. Toss the dressing into the salad, and let it sit in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before serving. I hope you enjoyed this simple and easy recipe because I'm obsessed with how easy and delicious it is!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Florida Snapshots

I'm so happy to be back and posting after some much needed time off! It's been way too long since I've blogged, and I wanted to share some of my favorite moments from my most recent trip. To be honest, I wasn't ready at all for this mini vacation because I was so busy with work and school. I literally packed a couple hours before my 6am flight, and I had no idea what to expect...thankfully, I was able to meet SO many aunts, uncles, and second cousins while enjoying it all in sunny Florida. It was so stinking hot, and I've decided that even though the ocean might be the most beautiful things on Earth, it scares the crap out of me. 
I had such a great time, and it's always fun to meet relatives I didn't even know I had! The food was all amazing, and I couldn't not get enough of fresh coconut. At the flea market they scooped out all of the meat and poured out the water into a cup with some ice. It was the BEST. 

Siesta Key Beach



the little house my relatives were staying at in Fort Lauderdale. I'm obsessed. 

Fort Lauderdale 




A giant donut from Krustyland at Universal Studios. 

Fresh dragon fruit from the flea market. whoa.


All of the HP feels.

Clearwater Beach

...I don't remember what these are called but I know they taste good!

Some of these pictures have already been posted on instagram, so follow me there to stay updated! All photos were edited with VSCO cam.
I'll be back to posting once a week now that I'm back in school!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Back To School // Outfit

Oh hey. This post is going up sooo late, but tomorrow is the last day of week one for #BloggersBTS hosted by Cathleen and Nicole. Along with so many other great bloggers, the month of August will be everything you need to prepare to go back to school. Today, I'm wearing some new things I just bought - and I'm in love. Everything I'm wearing is so neutral and casual, and can easily be added to with most accessories. I've always thought that I needed more color in my wardrobe, but now I just want to buy only neutrals. oops. 






With my $1 Target planner, I cannot wait to go back to college. Living on my own is so much more exciting, haha. Also, I'd highly recommend shopping back to school at an outlet mall, most stores will have great deals! It's where everything except the bag and shorts are from. :)

button up: g.h. bass + co (on sale)
black top: banana republic, similar  
shorts: american eagle
bag: fossil
shoes: g.h. bass + co, similar 
bracelet: see song designs  

oh and thanks to my friend emily for taking these pictures! 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Making A Dorm Room Feel Like Home



I was never one to get super homesick, but I definitely did miss having my own bathroom once in awhile. It wasn't until a month or two after I moved in did my roommate and I fill up the blank walls -  that alone made the room much more comfortable. Here are a couple of things to make you enjoy where you live (even in a super cramped space!). And thanks to Parachute Home for the idea to share some of my favorite things to bring to school :)


1. Pictures, pictures, pictures! // This filled space on the walls, and it was a nice reminder of all of my friends and family back home. 
2. Neutral colored sheets // Having good quality sheets that go with every comforter, makes it worth the investment to spend a bit more and keep your bed comfy. 
3. Mattress pad // I seriously couldn't get out of bed some days because of this, and you don't need to spend a lot of money on them too. 
4. Room spray // Also something that is SO important is keeping your room nice is the way it smells (!!). 
5. A (good quality) hand vacuum // For someone like me who sheds a lot, I used my hand vacuum almost everyday. You'd be surprised at how much you need it for every spill and all of the dirt from people walking in and out of your room.   

*This was in collaboration with Parachute Home, but it is not sponsored. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Birchbox: Is It Worth It?

Birchbox was the first subscription service I'd ever heard of years ago, but I finally decided to try it out last month! With a coupon code from Tati, or GlamLifeGuru on Youtube, I only paid $1 just to see if I liked it instead of paying $10. The theme of the June box was "Say Yes", and I loved the design. It's adorable, and I'll be keeping the box.




Inside, there were 5 items,along with a coupon code for a "special" prize - a coupon if I spent at least $50 on their website. Inside, there was a mini dry shampoo, eyeliner, sunscreen, face mask, and BB cream. The samples were pretty small but great for travel, and my favorite is definitely the dry shampoo. The thing is, that's the only product I've used since I've received the box! 

Cons:
-Not worth $10
-Small samples

Pros:
-GREAT as a gift
-They have good customer service
-Affiliation with Gap.

With the affiliation with gap, you can sign up for a discounted subscription this summer at a couple of locations. Best of all in NYC, you can create your OWN box which would definitely make it worth the money! Here's all of the info with Gap.

All in all, I will not be continuing my subscription because I'm trying to get rid of more products, but this would make a great gift for friends and family!  

Have you tried any subscription boxes before?