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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

15 Things That Really Don't Matter

If you're like me you worry about a lot of things you can't control. Stupid little things have the ability to suck up our energy and our entire day if we let them. I am learning to let go of these things and stop letting them take up my time and mental space.

20 Things That Actually Don't Matter (so stop worrying about them!):

1. Your hair won't stay perfectly straight/curled/wavy/whatever.
Who cares? I rock a ponytail at least four times a week. I have more important things to stress over.

2. You forgot your homework.
Don't make it a habit- then it becomes a problem. One oversight though, and you're not destined to be a failure. Relax.

3. Treating yourself to fast food when you're way too tired to cook.
Again, don't make it a habit, but no one ever gained 20 pounds from one cheesburger on a day they had run themselves ragged. Eat your burger and be happy.

4. Deciding not to go out because you're tired/busy/stressed/just over it.
FOMO is real, trust me. I always worry the one night I don't go out will be the night Mariah Carey shows up and everyone finds their true love. It won't be though. Stay in and don't worry.

5. Not having perfectly manicured nails.
Literally who gives a shit?

6. That last notecard you just can't memorize.
Chances are it's a silly detail anyway. If you've been studying for hours let it go and get some sleep.

7. Your room being messy.
My room currently looks like a hurricane ran through it. I haven't unpacked from Columbia or Williamsburg, and my clean laundry is in a pile. Oh well, on to more pressing matters.

8. You're over or under dressed.
Usually this one is avoidable, but say you do make a mistake. Laugh it off and focus on why you're really there, and make a mental note for next time.

9. Forgetting to text your friend back.
I am the world's worst for this. True friends understand though, just be sure to set aside some time to chat when you remember.

10. Sleeping through a class.
You were probably too tired to get anything from it anyway. Back to bed.

11. Wearing the same dress as someone else.
She has good taste too! Get a twin picture and laugh about it.

12. Parking Tickets
Chances are if you risk getting one whatever you had to do was more important than $8. Pay it and move on.

13. Carrying a black bag when you're wearing navy.
Sometimes you're too tired to even notice. Rock it.

14. Eating all your food at dinner.
I can't help but notice women usually try to eat the least at the table. If I paid for it, I'm eating it.

15. Skipping yoga/barre/soul cycle.
Sometimes you need a break. It's not the end of the world.

What little things do you let stress you out? Do they really even matter?

The Easiest Fall Cocktail of All

I love cocktails and I love for things to be simple. This is literally the simplest, yummiest fall cocktail of all.

Fireball Whiskey
Redd's Apple Ale

Add one shot (or more if it's been a rough day) of Fireball and one Redd's Apple Ale to a glass. Stir

No joke ya'll that's it. It tastes like fall in a glass and will definitely get the party started.

What's your go to fall cocktail? I would love to try it!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Giving a Damn Does Not Make You Crazy

Has anyone else noticed that we seem to all be in a competition of who can give less of a damn? Honestly it's getting pretty exhausting over here on my side, pretending not to care about things I actually really care about. It's also getting me absolutely nowhere fast.

For me it started in high school. My first recollection of attempting to win the "I give less of a damn competition" was when I was 16. I had a boyfriend that I really liked and we had been dating for a few months when he just fell off the grid. I mean he was more ghost than Casper. No calls, no texts, no response to any attempt of contact when we usually spoke several times a day. What was my response to this absolutely unacceptable treatment? I tried to make it look like I didn't care. I made sure I wasn't contacting him too often so I didn't look "needy". I blew off my concerned friends questions with "I'm not obsessed with him guys, we can do our own thing". For almost ten days I pretended I was cool with being ignored. When he finally did text me ("Hey babe, what's up? Miss you!") I answered with a casual response, not even asking where the hell someone disappears for ten days without telling their serious girlfriend.

Looking back on this time in my life I still don't know where homeboy went for that amount of time, but I don't care. What I wish I had done differently has nothing to do with him but everything to do with me. I wish I had made it clear how not OK it was. I was so worried that I would look crazy that I overlooked the actual crazy that was going on. Despite being anxious, sad, and angry I decided to bury the damn I gave and put my normal human emotions on the back burner for fear of looking like a needy, crazy girl. Not to anyones surprise this relationship went nowhere fast.

This was the start of something I have done my entire young adult life. I have seen my friends do it too. Maybe we want to be the chill girl. Maybe we want to be so independent, or strong, or sane that we decide to hide any form of emotion for fear of vulnerability. Maybe we think that as women we have to hide our emotions to get ahead. Maybe we think this is normal because everyone else does it. Whatever the reason is, we all really need to cut it out. No one has ever gotten anything they really wanted by not giving a damn.

When that guy you've been seeing blows you off with a minutes notice for a reason you know is a total joke, but you play it off to avoid seeming needy, the only message you are sending is that you have no emotional needs whatsoever, so it's fine to blow you off anytime because you won't get mad. (From personal experience this will only make you miserable girls- promise)

When your frienemy makes a rude jab at you and instead of calling her out you pretend you're just tired instead of upset, so that you don't seem insecure or argumentative, the only message you are sending is that it's completely fine to be rude to you because you won't say anything. (From personal experience this will only lead to a large screaming blow up at a Mexican restaurant six months down the road where you do, in fact, look a little crazy as you throw cheese dip)

When your coworker steals your idea in a meeting and you play it off with a "no worries" to keep from seeming uptight, you are only sending the message that it's totally fine to steal your ideas and you don't want recognition anyway. (From personal experience this will not get you a promotion)

How many times a day do you say "no worries"? Or "no problem"? Or "oh it's cool"? Sometimes maybe there actually are no worries, or no problem, or it actually is cool. Maybe you are in fact the chillest person on the face of the planet and nothing, not cancelled dates or snide remarks or stolen credit phases you even the littlest bit. But I am willing to bet that at least every now and then there is actually an issue you are playing off.

Emotional needs don't make you crazy. Standing up for yourself doesn't make you crazy. Getting what you deserve doesn't make you crazy. Being human with normal human feelings doesn't make you crazy. Giving a damn doesn't make you crazy (or needy, or clingy, or obsessed, or selfish, or uptight).

So here's the challenge: Next time you give a damn, make it known. Let that jerk guy know you aren't the type of girl who gets stood up or who lets someone ignore her for days on end. Tell that mean girl that you aren't going to let her call you names at dinner. Put your coworker in their place. Text that guy first without fear of looking clingy ("Hey, what's up" does not constitute clingy). Tell your best friend when she has really pissed you off. I am willing to bet it will get you a lot further and make you a lot happier, even if someone calls you crazy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How I Studied for the LSAT

The LSAT is the work of the devil. If you have never had the pain of reading args or searched every corner of your brain for a way to solve the impossible logic game in front of you, I envy you. The thing about the LSAT is that while it isn't a list of facts you can memorize, the way of thinking for the test can be learned. One of the questions I get all the time is "How did you do it?!" It actually boils down to a pretty simple method that anyone can do, and doesn't require thousands of dollars in prep courses or books with crazy methods.

Set aside the time
You cannot study for a week and get a 175 on the LSAT (if you did this I need your contact info so I can work on cloning your brain). I personally studied for three and a half months. This amount of time worked for me because it was long enough to improve, but not so long that I stressed myself to death. You know your learning speed better than anyone, so really think about how much time you are going to need. Consider your schedule as well- if you work every day you will need longer to accommodate for shorter studying times.

Buy the materials
Obviously you aren't going to learn the LSAT without any assistance. There are a ton of books on the market, but it's important to remember they all teach the same thing in one way or another. I recommend buying one instructional book that is very basic ( I used Cracking the LSAT from Princeton Review). While it's great to have books that lay out specific methods, I soon adjusted to find what worked for me. Even the basic diagramming in Cracking the LSAT had to be adjusted to make sense to me- and that's OK! There is no need to spend a ton of money on fifteen different methods just to realize you are going to use your own.

You will also need as many practice tests as you can get. LSAC puts out old tests every year and they are your ticket to success. I used the four most recent collections of ten. That's forty LSATs. You want to be sure that you are getting the most recent ones you can- the LSAT evolves over time and the newer the test the more it will resemble your actual LSAT. If you can only afford one make sure to get the most recent since it will be the most helpful.

Take a diagnostic
Some people say they don't see the point in this. These people must be blind. Taking a diagnostic shows you what you are already good at and what you need to spend the most time on to improve. Personally I saw that I was better at args than expected. Because I took a diagnostic I knew that I needed to spend more time on logic games (Satan's games) and was able to plan accordingly. If at all possible try to find a free test online that you don't already own so as not to waste precious resources. I used the one available on LSAC. Make sure to time yourself and simulate testing conditions- anyone can get in the 170s if they take ten hours.

Make a plan
Now that you have your time set aside, a jumping off point, and the materials you need it's time to set a plan. I set aside one week to conquer Cracking the LSAT. I went through a different part every day and worked on mastering basic skills, like diagramming or identifying the flaw in reasoning. After that I took another diagnostic. You will be shocked how much your score improves just from learning the basics!

After that I divided the LSAT prep tests up so as to take roughly two a week for three months, then four a week for two weeks, then one every day for a week. I bought a huge wall calendar, scheduled the tests, and hung it by my desk. Sticking to the schedule is key here. Remember to schedule days off too! Overloading yourself will kill your brain and actually make your scores decrease. The three days before the actual test I did no prep work and I definitely think it helped keep my brain clear.

Reviewing the tests
If you just take tests and do nothing with them you will get no where. I used the blind review method. It is absolutely genius. Basically you take the test and as you go circle any questions you are unsure about. Then when you're done DO NOT SCORE YOUR TEST. I repeat DO NOT SCORE YOUR TEST. (You will be tempted. Don't shoot yourself in the foot and throw all your hard work out with no gain. You will get to score it eventually.) Get another answer sheet and go back through the test and focus on the questions you didn't have time to answer or circled. Take all the time you need. It is OK if these answers are different than your originals. Once this is done you can score your original test. Then score the answers from your untimed attempt.

The point of this method is to show you WHY you are getting questions wrong. Did you miss the question under pressure but get the right answer when you had time to work it out? It's a timing issue. Did you miss the question on both sets? You don't know the process or concept- time to review and rework. Did you get the question right the first time and then miss it once you thought too hard? Time to work on your confidence. Once you know WHY you are missing questions you can fix the underlying problem. This will boost your scores, promise.

A more detailed overview of the blind review method can be found HERE.

This is the layout of what I did. Was it time consuming? Yes. Was it stressful? You have no idea. But when I walked into the LSAT I knew I was prepared and had done the most I could.

How did you prepare for the LSAT? What do you wish you had done differently?

Old Navy's 20th Birthday Sale

For some reason I seem to overlook Old Navy when I go shopping. Nothing ever seems to really jump at me like it does in some other stores. Last night though I noticed they were having a huge sale and decided to check it out. I am actualy super glad I did! They had some adorable stuff at really low prices, which is the formula for a happy Lanie. I ended up getting four things for under $70, which is great if you ask me. I had been wanting a few new fall pieces, but I can't afford to go crazy with my debit card, so this was perfect.

There are actually more colors online than in store, which really tempts me to order another while they are only $20. This vest is so comfortable and I can think of about 15 things I can wear it with off hand.

I got both of these prints. They aren't on sale online, but in store they were 40% off! I got both for $30, which is awesome for two button downs. How cute is the glasses print? I can't wait to wear it with my new vest!

I found this on the clearance rack for $8! They don't have this exact one online anymore, but they have lots of cute ones. I am so glad graphic tees are making a comeback. I can't wait to wear this with a cute skirt.

There were about one million other adorable things I wanted, but I had set a strict budget for myself. When I go shopping I actually leave my card home and only take cash, that way I only can spend a certain amount and won't go over. It works pretty well, and it definitely helps me realize what items I really want and which ones will most likely keep their tags on for months.

Have you gotten any cute new fall clothes? Where from? Let me know!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mazed and Confused

I usually don't do outdoor activities. I have been hiking twice, white water rafting once, and enjoy a day on the beach as long as I have a chair, radio, and fan. When my friends first had the idea to go to a pumpkin patch and corn maze I honestly thought I would be bored. I ended up having way more fun than I thought. The corn maze was harder than I imagined and my group ended up winning. We even got free pumpkins for being the winning group. I definitely think this will become a fall tradition for us.

What are your fall traditions?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Weekend Wishlist

So, I will be the first to admit I have a bad case of the wants. With so many adorable things on the shelves it's impossible not to. Here is my current wishlist this weekend:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Coins for Connor

This sassy diva dog is 2 today! I can't believe I have had him for almost a year now. Of cource in the spirit of birthdays I had to spoil him a little (ok a lot).

Thanks to an awesome local pet store here in Boone Connor gets to have all these treats for his special day. I can't wait to get home after school and let him eat his little cake. The cupcake cookie is for my roommates dog so he can have a birthday celebration with Connor. I know they will both have fun with the new Kong balls too.

The way Connor came into my life is a little different than most. He was actually rescued by another family. They had him for a while but could not keep him. Luckily I knew one of the girls in the family and was able to get him before he had to go back to the pound. Connor is one of my biggest blessings and I am so thankful God sent him to me!

Every dog is sadly not as lucky as Connor. It is estimated that 2.7 million adoptable pets are euthanized every year in shelters. It is impossible for shelters to humanely house them all, especially when they are underfunded. In honor of Connor's birthday I have started a little service project called Coins for Connor. All the proceeds will go to the Watauga County Humane Society to help with expenses and hopefully give a few great pound puppies a little longer to find their forever home.

If you are interested in donating to Coins for Connor click here!

Do you have a pet? What do you do for their special day? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday Mornings

Monday mornings suck. No doubt about it. If it were up to me the whole thing would be cancelled and we could all stay in bed, watching Netflix and cuddling with our dogs. Sadly I wasn't elected to office and this all remains a dream. Since I am no morning person and I know some of you aren't either, I thought I would share my Monday morning essentials so maybe we can all be slightly less irritable when our professors call on us in class.

As soon as I drag my butt out of bed I light a candle. The aroma of happy fall days makes me feel like I will have a happy fall day. No joke, it works. Currently I am burning this one from Yankee Candle Co. I personally like the pillar shape, but they have it in all shapes and sizes for any budget.

Coffee is my life force. It keeps me sane and all others around me safe. It's even better when it's in a cute mug! I love this one from The Monogram Merchant.

I have this exact journal and let me tell you it will make you feel like you rock. Listing off all the great things you're currently doing, big and small, makes you realize how awesome you are. I try to write in it every day, but Monday mornings are a must to go over what I did the past weekend and what I am planning for the week.

Monday classes suck. Monday classes when you are bored and everything around you is boring suck more. Glitter pencils are awesome. I don't care that I am 21 years old and in a 4000 level micro economic theory lecture, I use glitter pencils. Get yourself some.

I change my phone background quite a lot, and usually on Mondays. I like to have something motivational, especially since it reminds me to put my phone down and do some freakin work. This one is from pinterest, feel free to steal off on it.

This is Connor, my dog. I find spending extra time with him always makes me happy, so Monday morning walks are perfect. Bonus points if you dress your dog up in rediculous outfits as pictured. If you don't have a dog find someone who does, or head to the Humane Society to play with one!

What keeps you sane on Mondays? Let me know!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Night Reminders

I am trying to get into the habit of spending more time with God. I like to sit down on Sunday nights and look at inspirational messages, bible passages, and devotionals. It's neat to see all the ways that are accessible for us to get closer to Him. Here are a handful of the things I found tonight.

Such a beautiful reminder for when things aren't going our way.

I have also been using the Devotion app on my phone. It's super easy to use and sends one in the morning and one at night.

What devotions do you use? How have you been spending time with Jesus lately? Let me know!

DIY Hustle Canvas

Have y'all seen these hustle prints that are popping up everywhere? They are just the cutest! I love motivational prints and canvases and when I saw these I knew they would be a great DIY for Sunday Funday. It turned out to be super easy to make! I used my no fail canvas method for the word and then decorated with confetti.

What you need:
Notebook Paper
Modge Podge
Paint Brush

1. Find the word you want to use (I did Hustle, obviously) in a cute font. You can search online or type it up in word. Make sure it's large enough for your canvas. Turn your brightness all the way up on the computer and tape a piece of notebook paper to the screen. Use your pencil to trace the outline onto the paper. Tape this "stencil" to your canvas. Make sure the word is exactly where you want it.

2. Trace the outline of the word on your stencil in Sharpie. This will bleed through onto the canvas, giving you the perfect outline. I had to trace mine four times. Be patient. I also recommend using a sharpie color close to the color you plan on filling in with.

3. Once you remove your stencil you can fill in the outline of your word. I used a metallic gold Sharpie to fill mine it, but you can also use paint. I have had great experiences with paint pens as well.

4. To decorate with confetti like I did, put a thin coat of Modge Podge where you'd like the confetti to be, and just sprinkle it on. So Easy! I sealed it with another layer just to be safe.

Do you guys have any cute DIY's you've done recently? Let me see!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Best Cookies on the Face of the Earth

I am that girl who makes cookies from scratch. It takes a little extra time but let me just say they are so much better than that store bought stuff. I made these last weekend when I was home for the LSAT and they are so good!

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1½ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. coarse sea salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. baking powder
2¼ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I like to get baking chocolate and chop it up myself for chunks, but this adds some extra time to the mix)
Preheat oven to 360 degrees.  Go ahead and spray some pam on your cookie sheets.
Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar until it is nice and fluffy. 
Add both eggs and vanilla and beat for a few minutes. Don't let the eggs merengue though!
Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour. Mix it all up until it looks like cookie dough.
Add the chocolate chips or chunks and make sure they are distributed evenly.
Drop medium large balls of cookie dough on your sheet. I personally like mine pretty large!
Bake for 12-14 minutes until the edges are nice and golden brown, depending on your texture preference. I bake for 12 and no more. 
Remove from heat and allow the cookies to stay on the cookie sheet to cool off. Let them hang out a while so they don't fall apart when you try to eat them. Enjoy!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Favorites of the Week

This week I have had so many things on my radar that I absolutely love and can't wait for you to love too! Here are my top 7:

1. Vogue's 73 question series. Basically this random guy comes into the homes of celebrities and asks them 73 mildly weird questions. It's so cool to see celebrities as actual people, not rehearsed. This week they released one for Reese Witherspoon, but my favorite is Sarah Jessica Parker!

2. The Queen of Versailles. This documentary is streaming on Netflix and is one of those train wrecks that you just can't look away from. If you've had a bad day this is definitely the one to remind you that it could always be worse...and tackier. Originally my sister and I started watching it thinking it was a historical film, but we got hooked anyway.

3. Tommy Hilfiger Herringbone Vest. So I know everyone has been having a full on hissy fit over the J.Crew herringbone vest, but good luck with getting one. I found this navy one from TH and I am obsessed. I wear more things that navy would go with anyway. While I don't personally love this styling here I have a pink sweater that is begging to have this baby worn over it.

4. Kate Spade is on RueLaLa. Here's your invite, run!

5. Gilmore Girls is on Netflix! I know what I'll be binge watching. If you have never seen this show you need to crawl out from under your rock and get to watching ASAP!

6. How To Get Away With Murder. HOLY CRAP. This show is INSANE. I missed last nights episode but will definitely be catching up here. There is already a ton of drama and suspense and I definitely can't miss out.

7. Humans of New York. This blog is truly refreshing. I love seeing so many different people with different stories. This lady is a holocaust survivor and speaks candidly about her experience. There is everything from deep dark secrets to halarious stories from childhood. The blog has now expanded to other countries. Check it out!

What are you obsessed with this week? Let me know in the comments so I can love it too!