Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Dos and Don’ts of Packing for College

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Right now, it feels like everything is coming to an end and I’m actually super excited. With less than one week until finals, I’m ready to be done with school and just go home. However, there are still quite a few things I need to do before I can leave Iowa City.

As far as my remaining homework for classes goes, I only need to do extra credit for my Interpersonal Communications class (and yes, I need to do it). The rest of my time here is going to be spent studying for my three finals, working a few shifts, and packing up all of my belongings.

In an attempt at being productive and wanting to effectively use my move-out time, I decided to take home a few things a week early. I’m visiting home to do some Prom makeup for one of my friends in high school and wanted to take advantage of this trip to lighten the load for move-out day. Last weekend, I packed up half of my closet and realized just how much stuff I actually have here. A lot of it surprisingly came in handy, and other things I found were just completely useless.

When moving in, and over the course of the school year, I over-packed and definitely over-estimated how much I’d be using some items. So, for my final blog post of my freshman year, I wanted to take the time to give incoming freshmen some advice on what/what not to pack when you move up to the dorms in Iowa (and probably any college) in the fall!

DON’T BRING…

Heels

I had one pair of heels here and never wore them. When packing to move in, I thought “Oh, I’ll bring these just in case I ever need them”. I should’ve decided right then and there to just leave them at home. Unless you’re planning on being in a sorority and/or actually prefer to wear heels when you get dressed up, by all means, go for it. However, that’s not me. I’m already a very tall girl who hates feeling uncomfortable in shoes so I should’ve seen this coming.

An Ironing board

I found a cute miniature one for $5 at IKEA and thought it’d be super useful. I even have a handheld iron to use with it (duh), but all they did this semester was sit in my closet. If you put your laundry away ASAP, your clothes probably won’t wrinkle anyway and if they do, I have a solution for that later on…

More than one set of dinnerware

Celia, my roommate, brought two coffee mugs, one plate and one set of silverware for herself and that was it. I, on the other hand, brought about two sets of silverware, two bowls, one soup bowl, four coffee mugs, four plastic cups, and four plates. We definitely had the space for all of these items, and they all actually went to good use. However, this led to piles of unwashed dishes for weeks at a time #notgood.

A Padlock

While going through my things, I found a padlock in the bottom of my desk still in its packaging. I remember thinking, “what did I even need this for?”. Then it hit me. The bathrooms in our dorm have lockers in them so that students can safely store their shower belongings. While this is a great concept, they’re just too small for the shower caddy that I have. Also, it’s really not that big of a deal to carry a caddy to and from your room every time you need to shower.

Dixie cups

Just don’t buy them. If you have a water bottle, you’ll be drinking water from that all the time. Plus, these little cups just accumulate unneeded waste if they’re not recycled.

A trashcan

I’m pretty sure the university makes it clear that they supply you with a trashcan, but I decided that I wanted one for myself anyway. Of course, it went to good use and was never really in the way, however, if it saves you $5, then cool. There’s no need.

High school t-shirts

This might seem kind of insensitive, but you honestly don’t need those t-shirts from high school. They take up space, and truthfully, I would much rather fill my drawers with Iowa apparel now. If you have younger siblings or friends, hand down your t-shirts to them. I’m the oldest of three girls and I remember always thinking my friends who wore clothes from their older siblings that were dated before we were in high school were super cool. Sounds lame, but it’s true! Make your siblings look cooler and just give them those homecoming t-shirts. If you don’t have younger siblings to give your used stuff to, donate it or just keep them for when you visit home!

DO BRING…

Wrinkle remover spray

If you were to only take one of my suggestions from this version of my list, you ABSOLUTELY need to purchase some of this magic. It’s such a life saver. This spray takes less than five minutes to make your clothes completely wrinkle-free and smells like fresh laundry.

Lots, and lots of Command Strips

You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll actually use these handy little hooks and velcro stickies, so just stock up. From decorations to towel hooks, I guarantee you’ll find a purpose for them.

Alternative lighting

For decorative purposes, Celia and I brought little fairy lights to put in our room. They created such a cute space while providing really calming lights. Throughout the course of the year, we also placed a tall lamp and a shorter, bedside lamp in the far corners of our room to replace the overhead fluorescent light that’s in every dorm. Doing this really helped to make the room feel more relaxed and cozy. This may sound a little dramatic, but we honestly feel like it improved the quality of life we had in our room. Harsh, white light from the huge, fluorescent bulbs really bothered us and having the lamps as an alternative form of lighting really helped to make our room feel like a home.

Contact paper

While this is not entirely necessary and basically just for decorative purposes, it can really liven up your room. We had a really ugly surface right underneath of our sink and it immediately looked better with this stuff. Contact paper is a sticky, but 100% removable, wall-paper-like product and makes unsightly surfaces tolerable.

Vanity mirrors

Unless you and your roommate are cool with sharing one mirror above the sink, you’re going to need to invest in one to place on your desk. I understand that this is probably a much different story between girls and guys, but whatever. Celia and I each have light up vanity mirrors for our desks and bought a cheap full-body one from Target to put on our door. I’m not sure where Celia bought hers, but mine was a DIY project I made from IKEA products.

A mattress pad

Finally, another item you definitely need to pack for college. I used to think the mattresses were pretty comfortable so I never prioritized purchasing one of these. However, I’ve got some serious back pain at the moment and I’m blaming it on my terrible mattress. I’ve laid on beds with mattress pads here and they truly are a game changer. 10/10 recommend.

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Thank you so much for reading! I really tried to gather the most helpful tips for packing this school year, and hopefully, somebody finds this useful 🙂

As this is my last blog post for this school year, I just wanted to take a moment to thank Iowa’s Office of Admissions for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts, experiences, and advice. This was such a great experience for me and I’m so happy to say that I’ll be returning as an undergraduate admissions blogger in the fall!

Don’t forget, you can always keep up with me this summer on my personal social media accounts! ✨

https://freshhawk.wordpress.com

@rachel_crack

✨ Twitter・Instagram ・Snapchat ✨

College: Expectations vs. Reality

Monday, April 17th, 2017

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about my overall experience during my first year of college, it’s that I shouldn’t have set my expectations so high. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a pretty great time so far at the University of Iowa. But it’s hard to know how any experience is going to play out, especially if it’s a major change like going to a university for the first time. With that being said, here are some of the major expectations I had coming into college and how they actually turned out.

EXPECTATION: I love the dining halls! I definitely won’t get tired of the food here

REALITY: *avoids the dining hall as much as possible by the end of first semester*

The dining halls may seem to have a wide variety of options to choose from, but trust me, you’re going to find that there’s maybe a total of three meals you like. Then once you’ve eaten those enough, you WILL get tired of them. I was a huge fan of the burritos at Burge first semester, and since I loved them so much, I’d get them just about every night of the week. Except now, I can no longer stand the taste of the chicken they use in them (no matter how tasty it may be).

For some reason, it doesn’t feel like there are nearly enough options anymore and I’ll actually end up spending money on food some nights just to avoid eating in the dining hall. Flex meals have become a really great alternative to eating in Burge or Hillcrest, and so far I’ve used up about twice the amount of flex meals I used last semester in an attempt to eat a wider variety of food.

EXPECTATION: All-nighters totally won’t suck

REALITY: They totally do

I learned this the hard way earlier this week, actually. I pulled my first all-nighter ever on a 5-7 page rough draft of a research paper for my Interpretation of Literature class and I would never in a million years recommend this to anyone. In high school, I anticipated the idea that I’d probably end up going through with an all-nighter at least once in my first year of college and now that I’ve actually done it, I will never do it again. Going without sleep for over 36 hours is not something I should’ve looked forward to. I’m a HUGE procrastinator so of course I saw this coming, but it definitely taught me a lesson to never procrastinate that hard again. I was absolutely miserable and it completely screwed with my body/mind’s sense of time and ability to function.

EXPECTATION: Going out every single night of the weekend because #freedom

REALITY: Staying in at least 1 night of the weekend because #responsibilities

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I had such high expectations for my social life when I really should’ve set the bar much lower. Sure, on occasion I’ll go out with friends Thursday-Saturday night, but more often than not, you’ll find me just chilling in my room on the weekends doing homework or just relaxing. Plus, I guarantee at some point you’ll need to make yourself stay in one weekend night to study for that Monday exam.

   

EXPECTATION: Not studying for an exam and miraculously acing it

REALITY: *Not studying for an exam then getting a D*

Usually, for the first exam of a course, I’ll go without studying just to see how I’ll do solely based on the information I’ve already absorbed from lecture/discussion/etc. However, this method has yet to work out positively for me. I’ve noticed that we cover a lot more information in one exam in college than one exam in high school, so it’s going to take more than what you can just remember off the top of your head. It’s pretty funny that I know this but have yet to actually practice what I preach.

EXPECTATION: All my friends from high school will totally hang out with me all the time

REALITY: *only sees high school friends once a month*

If you’re going to the same college as at least a couple of your friends from high school and expect to keep in close touch with them, you’re setting yourself up for quite a bit of disappointment down the road. I have some of my best friends living on campus with me at Iowa, and I see them maybe once every month or so.

Initially, this made me really upset and seriously question those relationships, but what I needed to understand was that we all have completely different lives now, and that’s the reason aren’t talking as much as we used to.

In high school, you and your friends’ academic schedules are all timed identically with one another and all of your friends are (most likely) located within the same building. Whereas in college, it’s extremely difficult to coordinate times to see friends during the day since everyone’s class schedules vary so much.

However, when you do see them, it usually results in a pretty great reunion where you catch up on anything and everything!

EXPECTATION: *BONGO: Red Route arriving in 2 minutes*

REALITY: *2 minutes later: Cambus has already been to your stop and is disappearing in the distance*

Never trust the Cambus app, Bongo, to always be on time because it will occasionally betray you. I always try to be at a stop around 5 minutes before it arrives just in case cause:

EXPECTATION: I’ll join and attend 10 clubs and love them all!

REALITY: *Never goes to 8/10 meetings but still gets emails twice a week*

Ah, there’s nothing like the rush of ambition you feel during your first few weeks on campus. “I can do anything!” “Sign me up!” “I have so much free time!” are all thoughts you have during the activities and student organizations fair at the beginning of the year. Except, in reality, you have literally no time for anything besides maybe two of the clubs on campus. But whatever, there’s always next year!

EXPECTATION: I’ll only take the elevator up to my room, like, once a day

REALITY: *hasn’t used the stairs in 6 weeks*

Now, my room is at least located on the second floor of my hall, so I always willingly choose to take the stairs up there because it really isn’t that much of a climb. However, I know there are some residence halls on campus with well over twice the number of floors my dorm has so I get that the struggle can be real. On my busiest days, I find myself walking about 5 miles around campus so I completely understand the urge to take the elevator every chance you get.

EXPECTATION: It’s going to be so great to get out of the house and away from my annoying parents

REALITY: *texts them daily and loves taking advantage of any opportunity to come home*

I remember feeling so ready to get to college by the end of my senior year of high school. I so badly wanted to feel independence like never before and couldn’t wait to experience what it was like to be totally free from all parental control. I’m pretty sure this feeling lasted about three days. Yes, the freedom is amazing, but it’s not always all it’s cracked up to be.  I remember FaceTiming with my mom at least once a week for the first month I was at school and feeling surprised that I was actually super excited to come home for the first time.

EXPECTATION: Any free time in my schedule will be spent studying!

REALITY: *takes naps during any and/or all free time*

I remember planning my schedule first semester during orientation thinking, “wow, I’m going to have so much free time to do homework in between my classes!”. Although that’s what I could have been spending my time doing, it definitely wasn’t what I ended up doing at all on most days.

If I ever have more than an hour in between classes, you know I’m going back to bed for a little bit. I’m an avid napper and it’s honestly the only thing (besides caffeine) that gets me through my day anymore now that I’m taking primarily morning classes.

EXPECTATION: I’m never going to skip class because I’m here to learn!

REALITY: *Skips class at least once a month*

I’ve noticed that for most classes, attendance policy usually allows each student 3 unexplained absences. Policies vary by class, but this is what’s typically been the case for me and trust me, I’ve definitely taken advantage of it.

I try my absolute best to attend every class I can in the first half of the semester so that I can save those three free absences for when I need them most. I was always that student who showed up to school even while being painfully ill just because I hated missing class. However, that all went out the door when I learned I could basically have a few free passes. This especially comes in handy for morning classes when you’ve accidentally slept in, are actually super sick, or you’re honestly just not feeling it.

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As always, thanks for reading! Make sure to check out my personal blog site and feel free to follow my various social media accounts to see my daily life on and off campus 🙂

freshhawk.wordpress.com

@rachel_crack

✨ Twitter・Instagram ・Snapchat ✨

Views: Finding a Job on Campus

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

I know, it’s been a while. I’ve honestly had a really hard time pushing through this semester ever since I got back from Spring Break and all of my procrastination has left me feeling super behind in all of my classes. There really isn’t a time where I feel completely on top of everything and I’m constantly overwhelmed with work to do. I am taking one more class than last semester so the workload is a bit heavier, but I know everything will (eventually) be okay. However, I still felt like there was something missing.

I had been meaning to get a job at school since the beginning of second semester, then at the end of February, I finally scored one! For those who didn’t already know, I’m now a hostess at Northside Bistro in Iowa City. It’s a cute restaurant just a few blocks down from the Pappajohn Business Building on market street, and it has such a great location for students who are only able to walk to work. Before I get ahead of myself, below you’ll read about my experience when applying along with a few helpful tips for landing your perfect job on campus.

1. Figure out what YOU want

When looking for a job, I had to first consider what would work best for me. I knew before I even started school that I wanted to work on campus, but I didn’t feel quite ready to start working right away first semester. So, I decided to take all of my first half of freshman year to just focus on academics and get acquainted in Iowa City.

This went pretty well for me most of the time, however, I must admit that I’m quite an avid shopper and having absolutely no income for six months was pretty hard for me. Now, I wouldn’t go spending like crazy or anything because I like to believe that I’m pretty good at managing my money, but it was a little bit of an adjustment to be seeing my savings dwindle instead of growing.

Before coming to college, I had been employed since I was 15 years old. I was saving up just about half of every paycheck I made in those four years to help fund myself whenever I’d go off to college. I knew that this money would be mostly for me (shopping, going out to eat, buying toiletries/necessities, recreation, etc.) and maybe a few textbooks here and there, but I had never touched it that whole time. After saving all of it for over four years it just felt so weird to use it, even though I was spending my money here on exactly what I was planning to be spending it on.

Around November, I was over it. I needed income and I needed to start saving up money again. I thought I had a job lined up to be a hostess at Graze downtown because my dad knows their owner, but the management never got back to me even after contacting them multiple times over the course of two months.

My whole plan was to have a job set up before second semester began, so it really sucked to feel so unsure about having/not having a position at Graze. They strung me along for two months when I could’ve been applying to other places. It was now January and just as I was about to give up, I dropped my phone into a bowl of water.

Yeah, I know, pretty unfortunate. However, on my angsty, rage-filled walk over to Johnny’s Market to get rice to soak my phone in, “NOW HIRING: Host” caught my eye. The front door was locked, but it was only about 30 minutes before the sign said they were closed. If I hadn’t dropped my phone in water, I probably would’ve never walked past that hiring sign, and I was so upset with what had just happened and just generally fed up with the fact that I didn’t have a job yet that I went to the back door and knocked until someone came over to give me an application.

By the end of February, I had the job! I had to make a few arrangements in order to keep it since I’m living at home over the summer, but so far, it’s been super great. I plan on becoming a waitress eventually, but I know that won’t happen until after summer. I’m completely okay with it though because although I have four years of experience at a restaurant, I’ve never been strictly a Hostess before so it’s a great learning experience for me.

The restaurant itself is super cool, too. Northside’s whole theme is “Iowa-inspired” so every aspect of the restaurant is focused on being local. Besides simply being a local business, the furniture is all mostly made from repurposed wood from an old barn, and they’re pushing for 80% of the menu to be made with ingredients from local farms in eastern Iowa. I didn’t know this before applying, but being the huge supporter of local businesses that I am, I found this really impressive and it was right then that I knew Northside Bistro was going to be the perfect fit for me.

2. Experience is Key

Once you have a clear idea of what kind of job you want to have on campus, try to work toward getting at least some experience before applying. If you know you want to work at one of the various retail stores in Iowa City or even the Campus stores, try to get a summer job in retail at the mall. If you want to work at a coffee shop here, try to get some experience at a local cafe in your hometown, and so on and so forth. By just having experience working for a summer, you’ll increase your chances significantly of getting the job you want while you’re at school. I’m sure a lot of kids come here and apply with no experience so when you walk in having at least 2 months of it, you’re putting yourself that much closer to getting hired.

Thanks to the job I had in high school, I have a little over four years of experience in the restaurant industry and that made me feel really confident applying to places here. From the time I was 14, I knew that I wanted to be a waitress for the majority of my young-adulthood so I started working toward that right away. I’m not saying that everyone needs four years of experience to get a job, but I will admit that it’s pretty impressive to employers and basically guarantees you a position wherever you apply.

3. Plan Ahead

Since I knew I wanted to be employed second semester, I decided to plan my class schedule around a potential work schedule. I tried to leave my evenings as free as possible. Besides choir, (which inevitably gets out at 5:20 on Tuesdays and Thursdays) the latest class I have gets out at 3:20, allowing me just enough time to get to work by 4:30 every other day. My weekends, including Fridays, are completely free so I knew that this would get me even more brownie points in an interview seeing as a restaurant’s busiest times happen on the weekends.

Taking the time to hand-craft my class schedule around the specific work schedule of someone who’s applying for a job in a restaurant made me feel that much more confident in getting employed. It shows the employer that you’ve put thought into working there AND if you have fewer conflicts with their typical shifts, it makes their job easier when scheduling.

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These may seem like really basic, obvious tips when applying for jobs on campus (or anywhere), but they’re the three main things I gave a lot of consideration when trying to find the perfect job for me. I don’t see myself working in restaurants for the rest of my life, but it makes a lot of sense for me right now given my previous experience and because of how much I love the environment in which I’m working!

As always, thank you so much for reading and again, I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging as frequently as usual. I’ve been in a funk, but I’m working toward getting out of it and can’t wait to get some more content out for you guys before the school year’s over! (Only 5 more weeks, not including finals, but who’s counting 😉)

 

freshhawk.wordpress.com

@rachel_crack

✨ Twitter・Instagram ・Snapchat ✨

Lazy Day Makeup Routine

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Lately, every day has become a “lazy day” for me. Since the beginning of this year, I’ve started getting into skincare more and letting my face breathe. If someone would’ve told me this time last year that’d be going to classes and out in public with absolutely no makeup on, I think I would’ve laughed in their face. Back then, I had splotchy red skin and maybe at least five pimples at any given time, so of course, I’d feel compelled to cover my face with at least a little makeup every day. What I didn’t realize was that the act of actually cleaning my face every night, removing all my makeup, and just generally taking care of my skin, is all I really needed in order to feel comfortable without makeup.

Nowadays, I don’t even wear foundation. It clogs my pores too much and it honestly feels kind of gross having it sit on my face. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still just as much in love with makeup as I’ve always been and will take any opportunity I can to cake it on. It’s just that now, I have a new appreciation for the skin on my face and I’ll do anything I can to keep it looking fresh and pimple free —even if that means giving up my everyday full-face makeup routine.

With all the studying I’ve had to do for midterms in the last two weeks, this routine has come in handy too. I can just roll out of bed, spend less than 10 minutes getting ready, and be on my way to class. I’ll be including less tutorial-like pictures because a lot of these steps are pretty self-explanatory and very easy to do, but if you’d like to know which products I use on an everyday basis to get a healthy looking, fresh-faced glow, just keep on reading 🙂

Step 1: Hydrate

Even though I have normal to oily skin, I think it’s super important to moisturize my face and protect it from the sun with at least a little SPF. Garnier’s Skin Active Clearly Brighter Daily Moisturizer is lightweight and leaves my skin feeling soft all day. I apply it once in the morning and second time right before bed. Most foundations on the market have SPF in them so I never used to worry about applying sunscreen to protect my face from the sun. Now that I don’t wear foundation on a daily basis, this is a really great alternative and it also helps smooth my skin in the process.

Next, I’ll mist my face with some of Mario Badescu’s Facial Spray in order to really lock in the moisture. This product smells amazing and is another product I put on twice a day. This brand has excellent skin care products and I’m looking forward to trying out their acne treatments in the future. I (miraculously) found my 4 oz bottle in the sale section of Ulta for $5, but the cheapest bottle I could find online was $7 at amazon.

In total, these two products have made a huge difference in my skin’s overall appearance and definitely help me feel rejuvenated during the harsh, dry, winter months.

Step 2: Conceal

I’m still not quite used to having morning classes all week and it always shows with my dark circles. I use this concealer from Maybelline to hide the fact that I don’t get much sleep during the week and it does wonders. Concealer helps to make me feel and look so much more awake than I might actually be and will always be a staple in my makeup routine no matter how lazy or glam I’m feeling.

I apply this underneath my eyes and on any other imperfections I may have.

 

 

 

Step 3: Highlight

Highlighting is one of the biggest beauty trends of the moment, and even though it’s usually associated with “glam” makeup looks, I love pulling it off every day for that extra glow. I love using creamy highlighters and this one from Becca Cosmetics is stunning. Mine is in the shade Opal and came in a little kit including a mini powder version too. This product costs $20 on Amazon right now, and I know that’s a little pricey, so I’ll often use my one from Colour Pop Cosmetics (which is only $8), to help conserve my use of the more expensive highlighter.

 

I apply it to the high points of my face, so on the tops of my cheekbones, right underneath my eyebrows, the tip of my nose and the inner corners of my eyes. Putting a bright, shimmery highlight in these places really helps me to look and feel more awake. This especially helps for all of the early classes I take throughout the week at 8 and 9 AM 😅

 

Step 4: Eyebrows

This step is essential for me on a daily basis because I believe a strong, but natural looking brow is the key to framing the face. I, unfortunately, was not blessed with dark, full natural eyebrows so I primarily use powder to mimic this.

First I apply a clear brow gel to get the hairs in the shape I want. Then using a small, angled brush and a powder that’s a few shades darker than my hair color, I lightly stroke the product in sparse places to fill the gaps and slightly extend the end of my brow.

This angled brush is from Anastasia Beverly Hills, but brands like Elf sell much more affordable ones that do the exact same thing. The powder I use to fill in my brow is actually from an eyeshadow palette from Morphie and it’s actually been a really great addition to my collection! They sell a wide variety of palettes that come with 35 high-quality eyeshadows AND they’re extremely affordable. I have the 35W palette and love all the neutral and warm tones.

Step 5: Mascara

Next, I apply my Maybelline Falsies mascara in “very black” to my eyelashes help open up my eyes and make me feel even more awake. Some days I’ll actually skip this step because I’ve started getting used to my appearance without it, but honestly, by simply applying mascara my eyes feel less drowsy.

This specific mascara makes my lashes so full and doesn’t clump up at all, which helps maintain the “natural” look I’m going for.

 

 

Step 6: Moisturize Lips

A lot of lip products out there actually don’t do much to hydrate your lips, and I’ve found that Smith’s Rosebud Salve’s products are the best. They also sell this product in a small, round tin can, but when this product is packaged in a tube, it is so much easier to apply. I love its flowery scent and it leaves my lips feeling hydrated all day. I apply it in the morning, throughout the day, and finally, before I go to bed so that my lips don’t get too dehydrated while I’m sleeping.

 

 

✨ Final Product ✨

And there you have it! This is just enough makeup to make me feel confident while also allowing my skin to breathe. I love the routine I’ve settled into during my time at school and I can tell that my skin is loving it too 😌

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As always, thanks for reading! I hope you found this information useful 🙂 Also, keep checking out my personal blog and other various social media accounts to see more of my daily life on and off campus.

freshhawk.wordpress.com

@rachel_crack

✨ Twitter – Instagram – Snapchat ✨

 

(re)views: Food Truck

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Lunch: the one time of day I’m always looking forward to no matter how I’m feeling. There’s seriously nothing more satisfying than fulfilling your hunger, and lately, I’ve been taking advantage of the Street Hawk Food Truck.

Located on the T. Anne Clearly walkway right behind Calvin Hall and across from the Pappajohn Business Building, the Food Truck is easily accessible to any customer because of its close proximity to the heart of campus. From what I’ve briefly researched, the Food Truck debuted this past fall semester as a means of alleviating the congestion at the dining hall in Burge, making it now one of the 8 locations on campus students can redeem flex meals. I wouldn’t get lunch here too often last semester because I’d occasionally sleep through the afternoon and just wait to eat until dinner (that’s what strictly having evening classes will do to you) but now with my classes primarily taking place in the morning-early afternoon, I’m actually hungry for lunch at a normal time!

With the Gold meal plan, I’m allotted 75 flex meals to accompany my unlimited dining hall entries.  I think I ended last semester with a little over 60 of them in my account and unlike HawkDollars, flex meals don’t roll over. That’s 60 meals I let go to waste! So this semester I decided to use up as many of my flex meals as possible and I’ve gotta say, it’s pretty easy when you love the Food Truck as much as I do.

It’s almost been 5 weeks since I started my new round of flex meals and I’m already down to 55 of them! In that time, I’ve made it my goal to try new things from the food truck and make assessments on which meals I thought were the best. After all, it’s kinda free so why not? Also, every item on the menu is available for purchase if you’re someone who doesn’t have flex meals or HawkDollars to spare. However, if you’re a student who doesn’t have a meal plan, I would highly recommend getting together with a friend who does and using one of their flex meals (unless of course they don’t want you to, but I know I’m always down to share☺️)

Now, I’m no food critic and I still have yet to try everything on the menu, but below are some of my opinions on what I think is the best food the University has to offer.

Menu

 

My Top Picks

BBQ BACON CHEESEBURGER

It’s no secret that this is the truck’s most popular item. I’ll be waiting in line for my meal and notice that a majority of food being called out the window is this one – but for good reason!

First of all, it’s got bacon and barbecue sauce on it so is there honestly anything else to say? I’m always on the lookout for good burgers and especially love the fried onion strings on this one. They also top it with cheddar cheese, 2 pickles, a tomato, and lettuce. I pretty much always get the cookies and chips as my two sides.

 

 

GARDEN VEGGIE BURGER

This semester I decided to become a little more health conscience and even though I’m sure there’s not much difference in calories between a regular burger and a veggie burger, I still feel a little better about my health after eating it. I’ve always been super willing to try new dishes and the Food Truck’s veggie burger pleasantly surprised me! They alternate the types of food, but there’s always at least one vegetarian option on the menu.

The patty is primarily made out of broccoli and it actually has a decent flavor. On the rest of the burger, you can choose to have lettuce, tomato, pickles, cheddar cheese, a tasty black bean spread, or of course, all of the above.

The only downsides to getting this sandwich are that since it’s not as popular as the actual burger, it takes a while for the cooks to get it out the window (same goes for the wrap I mention later) and the patty itself falls apart really easily. However, I don’t necessarily see this as a negative thing. The little crumbles that fall out clean up really well with the fresh potato chips 🙂

 

CHICKEN TACOS

Every day, the truck likes to feature an item that’s not on the menu, and one day I was lucky enough to catch these chicken tacos. In this meal, you get two tacos and although they look small, they’ll make up for it in deliciously fresh flavors. They’re made with traditional tortilla shells, which provides a unique aspect to this meal, especially for someone like me who has gotten used to Americanized taco shells and tortillas the size of my face.

I’ve only ever seen these as the special once, however, the truck now features Chorizo Tacos on their main menu. Chorizo is highly seasoned, ground up pork sausage and if you’re into spicy tacos, then these are for you.

 

FALAFEL WRAP

Finally, my favorite, the falafel wrap. If you would’ve told me last year that I’d be eating this just about every single day in college, I wouldn’t even be able to tell you the first thing about falafel let alone think I’d ever try it and like it.

Falafel, as it is defined by Google, is “a Middle Eastern dish of spiced mashed chickpeas or other pulses formed into balls or fritters and deep-fried, usually eaten with or in pita bread”. Inside the Food Truck’s wrap, the falafel is topped off with cucumbers, a pickled slaw, a creamy feta spread, and hummus. This is the other vegetarian menu item that gets swapped out with the veggie burger and these two are honestly the only things I eat for lunch anymore.

This image isn’t the best because if you look closely enough, you’ll see I got a little impatient and took a bite out of it before I could snap a picture (sorry, not sorry). And although you do get the choice of a chocolate chip cookie for a side, you probably won’t ever get DeLuxe bakery cookies with your meal. The day I got this wrap also happened to be Valentine’s day and this bakery was handing away free goodies right next to the truck so obviously I had to get one!

Again, I’m not an expert, this is just my personal opinion. I’m still going to make it my goal to try everything before the end of the semester and if I happen to find a new favorite (which is unlikely) you’ll be the first to hear about it 🙂

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As always, thanks for reading! Keep making sure to check out my social media for more of my daily life on campus and, of course, my page on the Admission’s website. I’m really close to earning my next digital metal, so even though it’s the same exact content, every view still counts!

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@rachel_crack

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Views: From My Roommate

Monday, February 20th, 2017

For this week’s post, I wanted to switch it up and give my readers a different point of view. My experience as a Hawkeye has been super great, but there are just some things that I have little to no experience with and figured I’d find someone to give insight on any unanswered questions. I didn’t have to go too far and just asked my roommate about her own experiences with things like changing your major, joining a sorority, and learning another language- all things that I haven’t really experienced in my time at Iowa.  So without further adieu, here’s Celia!

Class: Freshman, 2020

Major: Double major in French and International Relations

Minor: Translation in a Global context

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your favorite part about living on campus?

The best thing about living on campus is probably having the ability to walk literally everywhere, especially to my job downtown. Also, our room is really cute and cozy. It was so much fun planning out our room and whenever I get back from classes or work I feel so happy to live in such an adorable place.

 

Our hall, Currier, is also super great because it’s got really nice, quiet study spaces and even a fitness center. Currier is also the oldest dorm on campus so it feels really homey. My grandma lived here back when the hall was just for girls and I think that’s really cool too.

 

 

 

What is your favorite place to eat on campus?

The food truck! The food there, in general, is just so much better than the dining hall because they make it fresh for you right there. I have the black meal plan so I use my flex meals to get this food, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. The truck is always outside but even when it’s extremely cold, it’s worth the wait. I usually get the chicken sandwich and I swear, I could get lost in the sauce. My boyfriend and I get lunch together here all the time and eat inside Pappajohn business building when it’s cold. I can’t wait until it gets nice enough outside so we can sit at the picnic tables behind the truck.

 

Do you like your class schedule this semester?

I like my class schedule. I was in an off cycle course for Introduction to International studies and when I started that class, I decided that I officially wanted to switch my major from International relations to International Studies. I ended up dropping my class for international relations because it was boring and I didn’t see the point of taking it if it wasn’t a part of my major anymore. I used to think that dropping classes was looked down upon and would make you look bad on your transcript, but it’s not like that at all. It’s completely normal to drop classes, so don’t feel weird about doing it if you’re not enjoying a class and/or it’s no longer relevant to your major.

I’m also in Elementary Italian 2, which is easy for me because I already speak French and I’ve made a really a good friend in the class too so it’s a pretty enjoyable course. This is my first time learning Italian and I chose to take it because I want to be able to speak French, Italian, and Spanish eventually. I figured Italian would be a good transition into Spanish because honestly, Spanish is a language that really intimidates me. My high school’s curriculum for it was rigorous and all of my friends taking it would constantly complain about how difficult it was.

My other classes are French Speaking Cultures, Rhetoric, and a couple of off-cycle classes that haven’t started yet. Rhetoric is fine. My professor is pretty funny but I don’t really like analyzing texts and writing speeches, so it’s definitely not my favorite class but it’s a required gen-ed so I’m just gonna push through.

Since I took 3 and a half years of French in high school and studied abroad for 6 months before coming to college, and I’m pretty fluent. French Speaking Cultures is a 3000 level French class and the material focuses on the cultures of countries that speak the language besides French. Every now and then I’ll FaceTime my host family from when I lived there so that I can catch up with them and practice my speaking skills!

 

Are you involved in anything outside of your academics?

This semester, I got a job at a new coffee shop and cafe called Cortado. You might’ve seen it in Rachel’s previous blog post and I love working there so much! My boss is super cool, my coworkers are nice, and now I know a lot more about coffee because everyone was so willing to teach me.

I also decided I wanted to join a sorority this semester. I really did not want to go through the formal recruitment process after hearing about how intense it is, so informal second semester was perfect for me. Going into it, I already knew that I was really interested in Alpha Chi Omega and they happened to be participating in informal so I took the initiative and emailed their VP of recruitment to get more information. She emailed me back right away and told me that they were having an informal recruitment event, so I attended that and there, they showed us the house, I got to talk with a lot of the girls, got to learn about their philanthropy, volunteer work, and what they do for sisterhood. It was all very overwhelming, even for being a process that was supposed to be simpler than formal recruitment but I’m so glad that I did it because after learning more about them, I found myself loving this group even more than I thought I would. I ended up receiving a bid from ΑΧΩ earlier this week and I’m so excited to become a part of this sisterhood!

 

After living in a dorm room for a little over 6 months, what’s it like living with your roommate? 😉 🙂 🙂

I love living with my roommate!! She’s awesome and it’s always a party in S216. We’ve never had a single fight or argument and it’s always super chill. Except, I find myself falling asleep with the lights on every once in a while because her sleep schedule is never consistent but I honestly couldn’t care less cause that doesn’t really affect my life. We’re both really into makeup and have a very similar sense of style so we’re always sharing and just generally have a great time with one another.

 

As always, thanks for reading! Make sure to check out my personal blog and other social media accounts if you’d like 🙂

freshhawk.wordpress.com

@rachel_crack

✨ Twitter・Instagram ・Snapchat ✨

Getting Cozy at Iowa

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

If you’re familiar with the weather patterns of this fabulous state, you know that you need to be prepared for anything. One morning in the winter, you could wake up to sunny skies and temperatures high in the 40s to 50s with the hopes of having a decent walk to your classes on campus. But wait! Just kidding! As soon as you leave your afternoon lecture, you see that there’s a torrential downpour and realize you’ve left your umbrella in your closet. Again.

As an Iowa native, I’ve come to terms with the inconsistency of our climate but I still find myself in the worst situations with this weather. You’d think by now I’d learn to check my weather app before leaving my room (or even take a peek out the window), but when I’m running late to class, that’s the last thing on my mind.

Lately, it’s been extremely cold on campus. Not necessarily snowy or rainy, just nasty, the-air-hurts-my-face cold. I’m generally very chilly at all times, even in heated buildings, so when it comes to getting cozy, I feel like I know a thing or two.

First, there are the obvious things like sweaters, fuzzy socks, and fleece-lined leggings to get me through a cold day, but I’ve found that having the right outerwear really makes a difference.

In high school, I remember always going for the “cuter” option when running out of the house in the winter. My outerwear usually involved wearing a sweatshirt, the knit sweater I was wearing with my outfit already, or no coat at all. I realize now that this was a really dumb move on my part, and is probably why my knuckles would get so dry that they bled from not wearing gloves. However, thinking back on it now, I had the luxury of a vehicle for transportation to and from my education and now all I’ve got is a crowded cambus (if I’m lucky) and whatever I put on myself.

Since the winter of my senior year, I’ve started to care less about how cute I looked in my outerwear and began to focus on comfort and warmth. For Christmas that year, the majority of my gifts were things to help prepare me for walking to class in the cold and they’ve honestly saved my life (that might be a little dramatic, but it feels too true).

I was going to make a post before the Holidays explaining all the things you should put on your wish-list in order to prepare for college in the midwest, but shopping for outerwear right now is more ideal. Most stores are putting all of their coats on sale in order to prepare for spring so get out there and catch those deals on these necessities while you still can!

Parka

First, you NEED to have a winter coat that goes below your waist. I’ve felt so #blessed to be warm all they way down to my knees while walking to class, and I know I’m not the only one who owns a long, down-filled coat who feels this way. All of my outerwear is from a Banana Republic outlet store so unfortunately, they’re not available anymore. However, I’ve done some research and found some similar products for you guys to check out if you haven’t done your college-winter-wear shopping yet! This mid-length one from Columbia looks just like mine, and is on sale right now, too!

WOMEN’S SNOW ECLIPSE™ MID JACKET

Rain Coat

Although this item won’t particularly help with warmth, it’ll surely come in handy on those days when you actually know it’s going to be raining. Finding a super cute raincoat is great for the spring and rainy fall days. I like mine so much I often layer it to give more dimension to some of my outfits. This one from Macy’s is on sale right now and I love the fitted waist.

Style & Co. Hooded Anorak Jacket

 

 

 

Vest

Including a lined vest in my college wardrobe made for a really great piece to layer with any outfit. In the fall, I found myself pairing this with simple long sleeved t-shirts, but it also looks extremely cute on top of flannels. This is a piece you can dress-up, dress-down, and layer on top of or underneath virtually anything. I actually think this one from Abercrombie is cuter than mine and I’m seriously considering purchasing this one for myself!

FLEECE QUILTED VEST

Snow Boots

Alright, now, this is the perfect example of why practicality and comfort sometimes need to be put above style. It gets really slick and snowy here in Iowa, so having a durable pair of snowshoes to put on before walking to class is 100% essential. These Totes boots are lined with a warm, fluffy, fabric and never fail to keep my toes warm.

TOTES ELLEN SHOW BOOTS

Rain Boots

As cute as Hunter rainboots are, they can get pretty pricey. My mom is the queen of finding good deals and introduced me to these adorable rain boots by the brand Chooka and they come at such a great price. The brown accents make these black boots easy to pair with any outfit and I love them so much!

Chooka Top Solid Rain Boot

Gloves, Scarves, ETC.

The additional accessories I include in my walking attire are almost as important as the big pieces, I think. I’m a huge fan of hats and beanies so when I randomly found this sparkly, knit IOWA hat at my local HyVee grocery store, I couldn’t help myself. I love when I’m shopping and little, unexpected surprises like that catch my eye.

Socks have recently become a huge obsession of mine and I love incorporating cute crew socks with my sneakers in order to keep my ankles warm. These were gifted to me by a friend, but you can find knit crew socks literally anywhere.

You can’t really tell, but the huge knit scarf I’m wearing is from Old Navy. They sell really nice, cheap scarves and so do places like The Gap and Target.

Finally, the gloves I’m wearing were gifted to me by my boyfriend’s mom and I couldn’t be more thankful for them! They’re a really nice, heavy duty pair from the brand Isotoner with touch screen finger tips and lined with fleece on the inside. Investing in quality gloves will save your hands from the harsh winter air and these have been such a great addition to my daily winter wear.

Isotoner Women’s Nylon SmarTouch Winter Texting Gloves in Concord Grape

 

 

 

 

Of course, the final thing I use to get cozy in the winter is a nice cup of coffee. A new coffee shop just opened up on Clinton street, called Cortado, and I absolutely love it.

My roommate, Celia, works here and I always visit her when she’s got a shift. The atmosphere is incredible, the prices are similar to (or often cheaper than) Starbucks and it’s closer to the heart of campus than Starbucks, too (therefore, less time walking in the cold). They sell a variety of coffee, pastries and even have a breakfast and lunch menu. My favorite drink is the Mochaccino, but I’ve also gotten the caramel latte a few times and indulged in a chocolate espresso muffin one morning.

Hours: 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM

 

Thank you for reading and I hope this helps to make some of you a little bit cozier on campus this winter 🙂 As always, make sure to check out my personal blog and social media!

 

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@rachel_crack

✨ Twitter・Instagram ・Snapchat ✨

 

Views: Friday

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Welcome to second semester, Hawkeyes! Now that syllabus week is officially over, it’s time to start dealing with our responsibilities again and I don’t know about you, but I’m ready.

Due to winter break and in the spirit of having zero responsibilities while being at home, I chose to take the whole month off for blogging. Although, I’m so excited to be writing again! With my schedule this semester and all of the future blog posts I have planned, I’m going to be the most productive I think I’ve ever been in my academic career so brace yourself.

While planning my schedule for my second semester at Iowa, I decided to make it a priority that every morning would be an early one. Every Thursday last Fall, I had an 8:30 AM discussion. I know it sounds terrible, but on these days, I found myself being more productive throughout the day -in comparison to the four other days of the week where I primarily had evening classes- and realized that I could (maybe) become a morning person.

As far as classes go, it was pretty easy to decide what I wanted to take. This semester I’m working on knocking out my General Education requirements and the necessary classes for my major. I’m studying Communications so I was required to take Interpersonal Communications as one of the three main classes and I’m really enjoying it! My other three classes, besides choir, are gen-eds so after this sem
ester I’ll be completely finished with them and have the ability to take more major-focused classes!

Another thing I also strategically planned in my schedule was Friday. When creating my class schedule at orientation, I had no idea that I could completely avoid scheduling Friday classes. I know of a lot of students who do this so that there’s an extra night in their weekend to go out (which is a valid reason) but I made my schedule this way so that I could have Fridays as my catch-up day, chill-day, sleep-in-day, blog-day, and basically whatever I want it to be.

So as far as what I did this Friday, I slept in until 11 AM, went to Starbucks to get some work done on my homework for Monday, created a new playlist for this semester and wrote this blog post. Not to mention listening to Flawless by Beyonce while getting ready and experimenting with dark circle reducing masks (they didn’t work).

My playlist on for this semester so far includes a lot of Jon Bellion, La La Land and generally upbeat music for a few reasons. I’m seeing Jon and 21 Pilots in concert later this month with my friends and I’m SO excited about it. Over break, I saw the film La La Land three times (yes. three times.) and I’ve got the whole soundtrack on repeat when I’m just walking to class or honestly whenever. And then recently, I’ve been going to the gym in the afternoon about four days a week and I’m very into cardio so upbeat music is important. I’m thinking about making a more fitness-related post in the next few months as my routine becomes more consistent but for now, I’ve got (what I think is a really good) playlist for running on my Spotify if you’d like to take a listen to that the next time you do your workout too! 🎶

The day isn’t over, but I’m just excited to have more time in my week to just get things done and be more productive than ever. I can’t wait to see what else I come up with on Fridays, and I hope my readers feel the same 🙂

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Thanks for reading and make sure to check out my personal blog and other social media too!

freshhawk.wordpress.com

@rachel_crack

✨ Twitter・Instagram ・Snapchat ✨

Gift Giving in Iowa City

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

In the midst of studying for finals, I realized that my window for buying my friends and family gifts in Iowa City was slowly closing. Next week, my last final is Wednesday morning and I plan on leaving town ASAP. Since I plan on basically living in the library whenever I’m not taking finals, that doesn’t leave too much time for me to do holiday shopping those two days before leaving

I decided to treat myself to a study break yesterday afternoon and participate in one of my favorite stress relievers: shopping. I’m a huge fan of finding cute local shops in any town and two of my favorites in Iowa City are White Rabbit and Raygun. There’s plenty of other fun shops in town like Tailgate, Catherine’s, and Revival, but I always seem to find something I like in these two specific stores.

Here’s a look into two of the best places to get gifts for your loved ones while you’re still in town!

If I had to pick a favorite out of my top two shops, it’d be White Rabbit. This adorable little shop has a wide variety of items from vintage clothing to the hottest trends, local hand-made gifts, decor, men and women’s apparel and even children’s clothes. It gives off intense Urban Outfitters vibes and definitely has something for everyone. There are so many great items I had to do two laps through the store just to make sure I was seeing everything before I made my purchase.

The pictures I took were basically of the clothing in the store but there’s tons of little knick-knacks like keychains, pins and adorable iron-on patches sold in there, too. I love getting gifts for people from shops like this one because they won’t be able to get any of the items at home which makes the gift extra special. White Rabbit accommodates to a lot of different tastes and is sure to have something for your best friend or girlfriend (and honestly, yourself too). There’s even a small selection of men and unisex clothing! If you live in Iowa City and haven’t visited this store yet, I’m challenging you to do so before the semester is over. Not only because they’ve adorned the store with the cutest Christmas decorations, but because it’ll most likely be your one-stop shop for unique gifts for the holidays.

Although Raygun isn’t exclusive to Iowa City, that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to find some of the most unique gifts for your friends (or family)(or whoever) there this holiday season when you shop downtown. They sell an abundance of things ranging from office supplies to t-shirts and yes, they have a children’s selection too. Raygun carries fun, Iowa-related items that anyone in your family will enjoy. Their prices range from $1 to $85 so you’re bound to find something within a reasonable price range

 

 

I decided not to share what I bought because that would completely spoil the surprise for my friends! But wherever you decide to shop for your friends and family this holiday season, I’m sure you’ll find great gifts 🙂 I just know that White Rabbit and Raygun both have an outstanding selection of reasonably priced unique gifts for any of my friends and family members so I definitely made sure to be hit them up before heading home after finals. 🎁

Keep checking out my personal blog! https://freshhawk.wordpress.com

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http://whiterabbitgallery.com

https://www.raygunsite.com

 

Coming Home

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

It’s been a while so we’ve got some catching up to do 😉

Last week, I came home for TEN whole days for Thanksgiving break and it was much needed. During that time, I slept, visited my friends from home and those who were home for break, slept some more, went shopping until 2 AM, and cuddled with my favorite pup.

With only two weeks left of this semester for me, I’ve got quite a few things left to do. BUT I had the opportunity to forget about all my academic responsibilities for a whole week and loved every minute of it.

I counted up, and I’ve visited home on the weekends a total of two times before Thanksgiving break and I think that’s pretty healthy. The homesickness really isn’t that bad for me, though, because my family only lives 45 minutes away so they actually come up here often. I get to see my parents and sisters a whole bunch so the only people I really miss are my grandparents, friends, and dog, Jake. He’s a Goldendoodle and his hugs fix everything so not having him around when I’m stressed was hard for me at first.

As far as activities go, I did quite a few things over break. Every year, my high school choir performs carols at the Festival of Trees and it was extremely weird to be sitting in the audience after being on that stage for three years. Although I wasn’t too moody that I couldn’t jam along to every carol in my seat. Pleasant Valley choir and its students and directors will always have a very special place in my heart. Here’s a picture I took with my best friend, Cate, post-concert 🎄

After Festival of Trees, I had lunch with some of the other choir alums- including Celia, and my friends Claire and Michael. My favorite thing about coming home is feeling appreciated by all of the people around you in a familiar place, again. Sure school is great, and my friends here are wonderful but just taking the time to talk to people who genuinely care about me is so heartwarming.

I spent the next few days just lying around and being lazy, because I finally could, and didn’t do much of anything besides visiting some more friends and cuddle with my puppy.

Thanksgiving was held at our house and I ate with my parents, two sisters, and grandparents. Mom and Dad make the best food on any normal night, so I, being deprived of a homecooked meal for weeks, was living for Thanksgiving dinner. My little sister, Nicci, is quite the baker and for desert, she made apple pie with a crust completely made out of cinnamon rolls. I wish I would’ve saved the pictures I took of it because this pie was absolutely beautiful and tasted even better. I know Thanksgiving is over, but if you’re wanting to make your for the holidays or just own just for fun, here’s the recipe she used! Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie

Later that evening I went Black Friday shopping with my sisters and friend, Lauren, to the mall and had such a great time. We only stayed at the mall for a few hours but made sure to stop at Atomic Coffee before the night was over to get our caffeine in.

The next day, mom and I decided to shop small and went to a super cute boutique we saw on our local news station. Katsch is located fairly close to my hometown in Geneseo, Illinois and it is the cutest boutique I have ever seen. It looked as if it was a shop made entirely of my pins on Pinterest, so it’s no wonder I fell in love. They sell a variety of things from gifts to home decor and  jewelry, along with women’s apparel and even children’s clothes. Here’s their online store and a few pictures I snapped while in there last Friday! Katsch: Women’s Fashion and Home Decor


Before returning home, I had to pick up some festive decorations for the dorm, though!! Celia and I decided not to invest in a Christmas tree this year simply because we’ll only be at school for two more weeks so it’d probably be a waste. But I couldn’t go without updating a few things first. I switched out our autumn daisies for a little glitterier bouquet, added gold tinsel to the lights under our beds and added other subtle festive decorations seen below:

 

 

I can’t believe this semester is coming to an end so quickly. When I put it into perspective, I really only have two written assignments and two exams standing in the way of my month-long freedom. The thought of Winter Break is the only thing motivating me these next 14 days and I’m pretty sure I can make it through (not positive yet, but we’ll see).

Make sure to keep visiting my personal blog! Here I am 🙂 freshhawk.wordpress.com