9 Things I do to Stay Organized in College

College is one huge, big, insane mixture of all the highs and all the lows. There is so much stress but also so much joy that comes along with being a college student. You are finally on your own and able to do your own thing, but at the same time YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN DOING YOUR OWN THING. WHAT. When it comes to fitting it all in, staying involved, making money, and being social, it can definitely take some planning. Staying organized is super important as the crazy busy student that you are. Here are some of my tips for ways to stay organized in college:

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Create Daily To-Do Lists

This one is the most basic but SO effective for me. I make multiple lists a day with anything from homework assignments in my planner, to a grocery list, to chores I need to do around my apartment. I like seeing it all laid out in front of me so I know exactly what I need to do and by when. I will add due dates or write them out according to importance so I know what needs to get done first. Checking things off the list is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world I swear!!!! Makes you feel so good and accomplished.

Balance Work & Play

This is crucial in staying on top of your stuff! When it’s crunch time get down to work but make sure you are scheduling in time for things you enjoy. You never want to get so overwhelmed that you can’t complete what you need to. So take breaks and hang out with friends, read a book, or curl up with a blanket and binge-watch your favorite tv show. It’s all about balance.

Stick to a Schedule

This is such an important way of how I live my daily life. As nice as it is sometimes, I can’t function without a schedule. My body craves routine and I honestly struggle without it. Plan out your day and stick to your to-list. Your classes are scheduled which leaves you with a certain amount of hours in the day to accomplish everything else that you need to get done. Personally I think following the same strict schedule day in and day out can be repetitive, but having a general guideline can definitely be useful and help you stay on track.

Create Incentives

If you’re finding it difficult to focus, think about something you want, or would like to do, and promise yourself that you’ll grant yourself whatever it is once your work is complete. For example, don’t start the next season of the Office (for the 7th time) on Netflix until you’ve handed in your Lit paper on Friday. Or, if you’ve just gotten yourself through a particularly exhausting week, take a breath before jumping into your next string of assignments. Do something for yourself as a reward for your hard work.

Get Enough Sleep

I feel like I am constantly saying this but sleep is SO important. My body relies so much on sleep and how productive I am the next day is heavily dependent on the amount of sleep I got the night before. Whether it is going to bed earlier, sleeping in an extra hour, or a nap it all adds up. I do so much better when I am well rested, and what is better than a nice two hour nap after classes???

Don’t Take on Too Much

It is so easy in college to take on too much at once. You are told you need to do well in all your classes, land an internship, be social, get involved in leadership roles, join clubs, and stay healthy all at once. I have fallen into this too many times to count and the pressure to do it all can take a mental and physical toll on your body. So test some different things out and figure out how much you can handle so you can see what works for you.

Make Your Bed Everyday

This is a very minuscule task in the big scheme of things but it can kickstart your day right off the bat. I often put this and other smaller tasks at the top of my to-do list so I already have a few things crossed off heading into my day. It makes you feel accomplished and ready to take on the day.

Keep Track of Spending

Money in college is such a hard thing. One minute it’s there and the next it’s gone. There are so many miscellaneous expenses. Being knowledgeable of how much you’re taking in, how much you’re spending (and on what) and how much you need for future things is essential as a college student. Learning to budget is difficult, but it’s a practical skill that you’ll carry with you into adulthood.

Set Goals & Stick to Them

It doesn’t matter how big or small you start, but you need to start thinking about what you want for your future. I’m not necessarily talking career planning; your goals could be about anything. For example, if you know you want to travel, start thinking about potential study abroad options. The sooner you work on this, the better; you don’t want your opportunity to sneak up and pass you by because you were unprepared. Another great thing about planning early is that it gets you excited for what’s to come, and encourages you to work harder to achieve your goals.

Have an incredible Sunday!

XOXO Anna

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Alpha Chi Formal

Everyone knows at this point how much I love to dress up. I love fashion and I especially love dresses. So even though going into yesterday I wasn’t super excited about formal (due to the copious amount of homework I am stressing about currently) I ended up having such a good night! Our formal this spring was hosted at the River Roast in downtown Chicago. It was a beautiful venue on the river with the lovely view of the skyline. We took a party bus to our location and stopped at Navy Pier for some pictures. Although it was absolutely freezing we still managed to capture some great memories!

I love these women with my whole heart and always make my time here in Chicago that much better. Alpha Chi, you truly are some real strong women and I am so lucky to call you my sisters. I really do believe I am a better person because of you.

Outfit Links:

Eliza J Floral Dress: This is one of my favorite dresses! It’s fun and springy but still classy and formal. I couldn’t find this exact dress since it was from a couple of years ago so I linked some similar options!

BP. ‘Luminate’ Open Toe Dress Sandal in Blush Patent: I have been wearing these shoes a lot lately and as a result I think I finally may have broken them in! THANK GOODNESS. These shoes, although a blush pink, can totally be worn as a neutral and I love how versatile they are. They can go with anything!

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Happy Sunday,

XOXO Anna

March Favorites

This month has been SO much fun!! I have been so busy, met so many great people, tried out new things, and experienced things I never thought I would be able to. I thought I would share with you what I have been loving this month: some products, some people, and one INCREDIBLE team.

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  1. Glossier Solution Exfoliating Skin Perfector: I have just recently started to get into Glossier products, I know, a little late to the game. Their marketing and customer engagement is incredible and really is what drew me in. They show not just one but many progress pictures that real customers have sent in showing the true results and reviews of the products. So after wanting clearer and more radiant, glowy skin I decided to try this out. This is a chemical exfoliant but is super gentle. It uses AHA, BHA, & PHA, which are the three acids that make your skin look so amazing. After about a month of using it I really am noticing a difference and my skin feels and looks so much healthier and clear.
  2. My Little, Katy, and her incredible artistic abilities: I touched on this in my last Weekend In My Life blogpost but WOW she just continues to amaze me. So anyone who knows me even a little know how much I am in love with Disney. Growing up it was such a big part of my life and Katy knows that. So this last Thursday at our Alpha Chi Omega Pearl and Paddle ceremony we revealed our paddles we had been crafting for the last couple of weeks. Please just take a moment to admire the incredible talent this young woman has (picture above) because WOW!!!
  3. THIRDLOVE: So I will admit, I am the first one to fall for all the trends and gimmicks out there. But I really had a good feeling about this one. Apparently, 80% (!!!!) of women are wearing the wrong size bra. Being a bigger chested gal myself, it’s really difficult to find a bra that has everything I’m looking for. So I took a quiz that literally took 60 seconds and found what I needed. I bought one bra, their 24/7 Classic T-Shirt Bra, and am SO content with the results. I don’t have any discount codes for you but trust me there are so many out there. I just used one from all of the Bachelor people doing the #ads lol. Seriously check it out though I am really happy with mine so far and plan on purchasing more in different styles!!
  4. Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion: There are sooooo many moisturizers out there it can be really hard to find one that works well with your skin. I got this one in my Spring FabFitFun Box and actually am totally obsessed. I usually try out all of the products in my boxes (which is the point duh) but if they don’t really work for me I move on. Let’s just say I haven’t moved on from this lotion yet!!! I am LOVING this and for real think it is making a difference in my skin. My skin gets pretty dry especially with these strong Chicago winds and this stuff has been doing wonders. HIGHLY recommend.
  5. Loyola University Chicago Men’s Basketball (& WAY more importantly, Sister Jean): Obviously I came to Loyola for a reason, and sadly sports weren’t really a factor. Coming from a huge sports high school it was honestly a difficult and sad transition to make. But I had so much here and fell in love with this school so I was willing to make that sacrifice. UNTIL THIS MONTH. Boy oh boy am I one happy girl. I never was super into March Madness growing up, I would make the brackets with my friends or family but I usually would just pick the team I liked best or had the best seed. THIS TEAM IS EVERYTHING. I am SO proud to be a RAMBLER! I will admit, I didn’t even have that much faith in the Blers heading into the tournament. I mean, of course I wanted them to do well but I assumed it wasn’t likely we would get past the first few rounds. Man was I WRONG. This has been such an incredible few weeks and I am so excited to see the Ramblers play their game in the FINAL FOUR. GO BLERS!!!!!

 

I hope you have an amazing Sunday!
XOXO Anna

 

 

 

WEEKEND IN MY LIFE

These last few days have been SO MUCH FUN and I just needed to share them with you. Coming back from spring break has been rough, really hard to get back into the swing of things. But this weekend has made up for it ALL. It all started this past Thursday night, so we’ll start there.

THURSDAY, March 15, 2018: BIG/LITTLE REVEAL

I have been waiting for this for what seems like forever. I couldn’t wait to spoil and love on this amazing young woman I was lucky enough to eventually to call my little. The time had finally come. I have been crafting for weeks, have used so much paint, and made her gift basket as perfect as I could. So without further ado, welcome KATY, the most perfect little in all of the land!!! Welcome to the fam Katy, I love you forever already.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from Thursday night!

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FRIDAY, March 16, 2018: NICK JONAS CONCERT

Let me just say, WOW. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this concert as much as I did. I mean he is no Harry Styles. But dang I was impressed. Not only is he crazy talented and SO good live but he is such a good performer! He was so engaging with the crowd and came all the way from Japan just for us!! THANK YOU NICK JONAS PLS COME BACK!!

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SATURDAY, March 17, 2018: CHICAGO ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE

Yesterday downtown was INCREDIBLE. SERIOUSLY SO MUCH FUN. I wasn’t sure what to expect because this was my first year downtown for the parade (it fell over spring break last year). But it was awesome!!! We got down there pretty early and walked around and people watched. We watched the parade and ended with a yummy lunch at sweetGREEN, how festive for the day am I right?!!

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SATURDAY NIGHT: RAMBLERS WIN AGAIN!!!!

In a SUPER AMAZING EXCITING turn of events, Loyola Ramblers make it into the SWEET 16 of the NCAA Tournament!! GO BLERS!!! Great cap to the fun weekend!!!

XOXO Anna

My 10 Favorite Ways to Unwind

Happy Sunday! The weeks seem to be going by quicker and quicker and how we are already almost through the month of February is beyond me. My spring break is right around the corner and we are in the midst midterms as I speak. SO much to think about and prepare for and keep on top of. Life is hard enough, but college. Man, college is hard. We all need to unwind every once in a while. These are 10 of my favorite ways to relax when life just becomes a lot sometimes.

WALK

One of my favorite things to do is going on a walk. I might walk to the lake, around campus, or even just to the mailroom. Just something that gets me moving and my mind off of responsibilities. I usually pop in my headphones and listen to some playlists or my favorite podcasts. The Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard is my personal favorite at the moment!!

PAMPER

If this isn’t obvious by this point I LOVE pamper nights. Take a shower, moisturize your body, apply a hair or face mask and paint your nails. I find that making myself feel my best helps me do my best, in all things.

READ

Disconnect for a while. Light a candle, grab a cup of tea and read a book. Sometimes it’s nice to escape your world and enter someone else’s reality. I have a few with me here at school and it’s a nice distraction. I also love Audible for listening to books when I am on the go and walking to class or taking the shuttle downtown.

JOURNAL

Start your day by writing down your thoughts and what you need to accomplish. It helps to lay out everything in front of you so you can tackle one thing at a time. Aside from making a to-do list, I also find that making a gratitude list is super beneficial to my day. It puts me in the right head space and brings me back to what’s important.

CRAFT

This isn’t something I usually gravitate towards but it really does help. My favorite is coloring in those incredible adult coloring books. Anything to stimulate your mind in a more creative way than school does.

COOK

Experiment in the kitchen. Try a new recipe from your Pinterest board. Bake something. Mug cakes have been a recent find of mine and there are COUNTLESS recipes, even “healthy” ones! But also cookies are always a good option.

LISTEN

Make a playlist with your current favorite songs so that you can be ready to face the week. Music can actually influence your mood, so why not make a playlist with happy and upbeat songs to listen to on your journey to school or work?

SOCIALIZE

I know more than anyone sometimes I just need my alone time. Especially when I have a lot going on this is a crucial part in getting me through. BUT it does help to see some familiar faces and focus on other people

WATCH

It sounds great to read and switch off, but we can’t stay away from the Internet for too long, am I right? The weather is still cold, so there’s few things better than to snuggle up on the couch binge-watching a tv show. Netflix, Hulu, HBO go, go crazy.

SLEEP

I need so much sleep. I always have and probably always will. I seriously get at least 8 hours a night, even in college. I can’t function without it. Sometimes that’s all our body needs is a little extra rest. SO let it have it so you can conquer the time you’re awake!!!

XOXO Anna

Will You Be My Galentine?

Oh Valentine’s Day, the holiday with the most love-hate relationships. People love to hate on Valentine’s Day for all the romantic and lovey-dovey cheesiness it brings. But at the end of the day, it’s a day celebrating love — and I’m down with that. Because who doesn’t love love?? Whether you’re celebrating with a significant other, some of your best gal pals, your family, or your pup… it’s all love. Since I’m away living my college life in Chicago I will be spending this Valentine’s Day with my gal pals. And everyone who is anyone knows that this special day has been coined Galentine’s Day, the Valentine’s Day spent with your gals, on February 13th. And anyone who has no idea what I am talking about or what I am referring to, here is the lovely Miss Knope to explain:

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Now that that’s out of the way let’s get into it! So if you’re hanging with your besties this holiday, here are some fun slash cute slash AHMAZING ideas of what to actually do!

HAVE A SLEEPOVER

Gather up all of your bffs and bring it old school! Binge watch your favorite Netflix show or marathon a movie series. Pop some popcorn, get ALL the snacks, pump the old tunes, and build a blanket fort for all I care! This is such a good idea for some serious catching up and much needed girl talk.

BAKING PARTY

I’m at least speaking for my friends and I when I say we LOVE to bake and therefore EAT all of the baked goods. AND Valentine’s Day is ALL about the sweets so why not take advantage of it?? It’s all about the comfort and all about the fun. There are so many options to bake! Pinterest is the epitome of everything food wise. There are so many recipes to choose from. Take one and run with it, baby.

MANI-PEDI DATE

You don’t always have time to plan an elaborate movie night at your house so you can go out to do things too! A couple hours spent pampering is never a bad thing. SO find a girlfriend that might also need a polish change and set up a time to meet up. This is great way to not spend the whole day while still getting to hang with your friends and treat yo self.

BRUNCH AT HOME OR ON THE TOWN

One of my personal favorites and I know a lot of other people’s too is the inevitable brunch. You could host a brunch or go out on the town to a fun new trendy restaurant. If you host, make sure to send out invites and come up with a fun vday menu (full of a possible waffle bar)?! And a pj’s only rule is must. So whichever one you decide, fill up with all the conversation, iced coffee, and avo toast your little heart desires.

I hope that whatever you thoughts are on Valentine’s Day, this year you can find it in your heart to have some good old fashioned fun with your girls!

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Happy Galentine’s Day to all my ladies!! LADIES CELEBRATING LADIES! Will you be my galentine?

XOXO Anna

 

 

 

Mood lifters

Happy Sunday and happy February!! I felt like January was the longest month ever. Getting back into the swing of things at school and getting out of my winter break mindset all together. The winter can be a very difficult time to function. I know I get in a funk every few days just simply because of the frigid weather and lack of sunshine. Anyone who knows me knows that I love making my lists. It can be a list about anything, just to get some thoughts down on paper. I made a list of some of my “mood lifters” that help me when the skies are grey or I may just not be having the best day. I encourage you to make a list, whether it is about things that lift your mood or simply just what makes you happiest. You can also check out my blog post from a couple weeks ago for what to do when you get in a rut. These go hand in hand, and I find make all the difference. A mood lifter for me is anything that makes me feel like myself in it’s purest form. Something that makes me smile. They can be small or big, just like my little list here:

  • game night with my friends
  • calls with my mom
  • walks by lake michigan
  • walks downtown chicago
  • doing well on an exam after I studied my booty off
  • being able to sleep in
  • seeing people I love happy
  • eating really yummy food
  • sunshine on a gloomy day
  • finishing a good book
  • seeing my family
  • petting a random dog on the street
  • arnold palmer’s
  • planning my summer abroad

These are just a few of the things that have been boosting my mood lately. A lot of these things have to do with being with people and a few also have to do with being alone. For me, I have to find a good mix of the two. I refuel on alone time and it’s important for me in the way I live my life. However, my number one love language is quality time so that is also very important to me in spending time with the people I love. It’s all about finding a balance that works for you. Finding the secret combination that will make you shine and be the best you you can be. Find your own mood lifters, write them down, think about them in your head, put them in your notes on your phone, whatever method is just fine. Have them ready when you need them and take advantage of them! BE HAPPY!!!

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XOXO Anna

My 2017 Wrap Up

2017 was quite the year. There were many good things that took place, many incredible memories and friendships began with people I will never forget. At the beginning of this year I was one semester into college in a new city with all new people. I was feeling pretty good but knew there was room for improvement (as there always is). I set goals for myself that were realistic and attainable and I am happy to say most of them were completed. I plan on doing the same things and more in 2018. This will be such an amazing year and I already have such insane and exciting things planned.

Here are some GREAT things that happened in 2017…highlights if you will:

I got initiated into ALPHA CHI OMEGA, the most amazing group of Real Strong Women I know!! This was SUCH a highlight of my year. I have met such incredible women through greek life and am so lucky to have Alpha Chi be my home away from home.

I joined CHAARG, because #health & ALSO met some pretty cool gals I am lucky to call my pals. Through workouts and social events I have gotten to know these girls and let me just tell you they are AWESOME.

AND here are some of my other favorite memories!! These include graduations, birthdays, Hamilton, breakfast dates, college visits, vacations, formals, work events and SO much more! I love these people and couldn’t be more grateful.

2018 I think will be even better! I am excited for the spring semester and meeting all of our new Alpha Chi sisters through recruitment, making so many more Chicago memories with my people, I will be heading to ROME in the summer for 6 weeks, and SO much more!! Get ready for lots of pictures and BLOG POSTS in the weeks to come!!

Happy New Year everyone!!

XOXO Anna

Chicago During Christmastime

The winter holidays have always been my favorite time of the year. You get to spend time with family, take time off from school, go shopping, eat lots of yummy food, and just relax. Since moving to Chicago this feeling has only grown. Chicago during Christmas is just incredible and so so so beautiful. Between all of the trees decorated in lights and ornaments on Michigan Avenue and the classic Christkindlmarkt at Daley Plaza, Christmas time is definitely the best time here in the Windy City. So this week I am going to share with the best holiday activities to do in Chicago during the winter season!!!

Christkindlmarkt
This year was my first year going and while it was definitely crowded and I would recommend going during the week rather than the weekend, it was so much fun! Seeing all of the vendors selling their incredible ornaments or special German food I loved this experience. I got the classic hot cocoa in the little mug as well as some out of this world apple cider donuts. It was so worth every penny and bracing the cold for a couple hours down here.

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Michigan Avenue
Shopping on the Magnificent Mile has always been one of my favorite parts of Chicago but especially during the winter. Yes the stores are all a lot more packed with people, but it just makes me so happy. Even if you just choose to walk down this gorgeous street and not purchase a thing it is one of the highlights (literally) with all of the lights and decorations on the street. It is truly beautiful, especially at night.

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Ice skating at Millennium Park
This is such a traditional winter activity and so much fun to do in the city!!! While ice skating may not be the easiest thing for a lot of people this is such a fun experience to have with the whole family or a group of friends. I guarantee you will get lots of laughs out of this one. And the best part!! It’s free and completely open to the public!

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The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
I went to this last year and it was super awesome! A parade to kick of the holidays and light up Michigan Ave for the first time each year. There’s fun music and awesome special guests each year! A great event for the whole family.

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Lincoln Park Zoo Lights
These lights are seriously so well done. It’s so pretty and a great low key activity to get away from all the hustle and bustle. It’s a beautiful setting in the zoo and so aesthetically pleasing. It goes from November 28th-January 4th each year!

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Merry almost Christmas everyone!! I hope you get a chance to visit Chicago during the winter because it really is just breathtaking and has so many fun things to do for everyone of all ages!!

Happy Sunday!

XOXO Anna

How to Rock Your Final Exams

It is unfortunately that time of year again for all of us in school. With many of us already taking our exams and some of us having another week or so, I thought it would be appropriate to share some tips on how to study and prepare for your finals while also making sure to take care of yourself in the process. Finals are an incredibly stressful time and it can take a toll on your body mentally and physically. For me, the hardest part is simply just STARTING or rather, knowing WHERE to start. SO here are my 8 or so tips for doing your best!

8 Final Exam Studying Tips

  1. Make a study plan
    The first thing I like to do is make a study plan and get my thoughts together. As I said, it’s sometimes hard to know where to start, especially when you have a lot of material to cover and other exams. I start by just making a really, really simple study outline and map out what I want to do each day of the week to study.
  2. Plan out time to study
    One problem I used to have it this: I’d come up with a great study plan, but then I’d end up just throwing it away because I didn’t manage my time properly. Come up with a plan and STICK TO IT.
  3. Make a Quizlet
    This is truly a life saver for college students. For almost every test where there’s terms involved, I head straight for Quizlet. They also have an app, so it’s perfect if you’re waiting for a class to start, or waiting to go into an appointment because you can just grab you phone and go through a few terms. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, someone has already made a Quizlet for the exact subject (and maybe class!) that you’re studying, so you should always do a quick search first, just in case.
  4. Make physical flashcards
    You can see which terms you’ve missed frequently on Quizlet, so it’s a great idea to take these terms and transfer them onto physical flashcards. There’s something about writing out definitions that tends to make them stick.
  5. Test yourself and test yourself again
    Quizlet and physical flashcards are awesome options for testing yourself. It’s really important to keep doing this rather than just staring at a textbook or staring at your notes.
  6. Study with a friend
    This usually isn’t the first thing I do because I find that I study better alone. A lot of people think studying in groups is really effective, and I don’t disagree, but I do believe that you should reserve time to study by yourself. That being said, studying with a friend is good because you can talk about the terms and ask them questions if you don’t understand something. If you do decide to study with a friend I suggest you sit down with the study guide and go through the terms and discuss them to see what you really know. Talking about the terms out loud helps to drill them into your brain so you don’t forget them when it comes time for the test!
  7. Avoiding distractions
    This one is hard for me. It’s difficult to focus on something you don’t want to do. But while you’re studying, try your best to avoid people/things that are going to distract you. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb, put in headphones if people keep talking to you, and shut off any extra noise (such as a TV).
  8. Get enough sleep
    Particularly the night before the test, make sure to get the right amount of sleep! And do not…DO NOT pull all nighters. But all nighters are just ridiculous. I’ve survived college so far without pulling an all nighter and so have most people I know. If you manage your time effectively, you’ll never have to pull an all nighter. It’s much better to be well rested for the test than falling asleep at your desk because you only slept for an hour.

Bonus Health Tips During Finals

  1. Manage your time well so you don’t become too overwhelmed
  2. Eat good and wholesome foods! You don’ want to be groggy and even more exhausted than you need to be when it comes to sitting down for that 2 hour exam! Fill your diet with things that will sustain you and not leave you hungry or tired. Here is an article I found on the ’12 best brain foods’ for you to eat before an exam!
  3. Fit in a workout if you can!! I know working out is probably the last thing you have on your mind during this time, but it seriously makes a difference. Taking this time for yourself will help you feel more at peace and maybe even forget about everything for a while. We also tend to stay in the same place for a long time when we are studying so it’s nice to have a change of scenery. So if you can swing it, take an hour to go outside or to the gym and get your heart rate up and move!

Good luck to all of my kiddos taking finals, we can do this! We are in the final stretch, LITERALLY. Almost Christmas time. YOU GOT THIS!

XOXO Anna