LSAT Test Prep Review (Exciting!)

Much like the rest of the posts on my sadly-neglected little blog here, this post is random. But alas, with time comes forgetfulness, (is that a phrase people use?) so I figure I should document some thoughts to hopefully help some other aspiring Abogadoes out there. I’m being pretentious, that is Spanish-speak for “lawyer.”

First things first (I’m the realist), I used two test prep companies throughout my studying for the LSAT exam.

Based on previously positive experiences with Kaplan in the past, I decided to take their in-classroom prep course over the summer. I owe my SAT score way back to an in-class course, and decided to repeat for the LSAT. Kaplan also offered a practice LSAT at my university that I took for free prior to graduating, as one of three diligent students with the moxie or boredom to spend 4 hours on a Sunday morning taking a practice test.

Needless to say, the facilitator gave a brief preview of a class session, which was really beneficial. Granted, the LSAT prep courses are not cheap. Onsite classes are $1,399. However, you can pay in installments, and Kaplan offers a Higher Score Guarantee. Basically, if you attended class and did the required homework, checking off assignments on your home page, you could retake the course for free, or get your money back. Their customer service is great, and I availed of the repeat course once I decided I wanted to reach for a few more points and retake the LSAT.

The first go-round, I did the in-class course. The teacher was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and I appreciated having the in-person interaction and ability to ask any and all questions. The downside was that the class was taught at a university, which required a $10 parking pass each week, and a four-hour block seated in a classroom. Balancing this course with working full-time was a bit of a challenge, especially since the class was from 6pm-10pm. I would have preferred shorter blocks twice a week, but the 2.5 month long duration was a perfect timeframe for studying at the pace the course suggested.

The second go-round, to alleviate the added stress of beating rush hour traffic, getting out of the office on time, and dealing with parking, I decided to repeat with the Classroom On Site option. The on-camera teacher and the off-camera teacher were incredible resources, and as a former journalism major, I do not use that adjective lightly. Despite having the barrier of not having face to face interaction with their students, they were very engaging. I felt a lot more relaxed and comfortable being able to take the course wherever was convenient. I will say that it takes a good amount of self-control to stay focused, especially in front of a computer. Kaplan’s online classrooms are very technologically advanced though and feature both public and private chats where you can ask questions to the group or more personally. There is still a sense of camaraderie, and you can view both the on camera-teacher and the slides.

Between the two, I would recommend letting your schedule play a key role. If you need more flexibility and may not be able to fit heading to a high school or college campus in time for a class, I would opt for the online classes. If you learn better face-to-face, I would suggest the in-person classes. I have a varying work schedule, and really appreciated the flexibility allowed in the online class. In addition, the teacher reached out to schedule Skype sessions so there was a chance for one-on-one discussions prior to the test. Kaplan had great service overall.

Resource-wise, you certainly get your money’s worth. Kaplan has over a decade’s worth of practice tests available for download. That’s 3 tests per each year that you can download and prep with. LSAC does sell their own copies of their past tests, but it’s simple enough to download and print the copies off of Kaplan’s site. Kaplan also has explanations for each question on each prep test, and explains not only the right answer, but why each other answer choice is wrong.

The user portal also has two resources I used frequently. The first was the Q-Bank. You can filter out and generate specific types of questions into a practice set. For example, I wanted more practice on assumption questions. I could select the question type, difficulty level, and how many questions I wanted. Within the same test window, you could reveal the right answer and explanation. I used this resource often once I gauged the areas I needed the most practice on.

The second resource I swore by was the Kaplan Channel. The channel is a relatively new feature, but it was a great showcase of the company’s technology and strong teaching staff. In a similar interface to the online classes, the channel operated similar to a t.v. channel, offering 3-8 hours of live courses each night. Between the 6 or so different instructors, you really get a wide perspective of the exam and additional tips and tricks. The channel sessions are broken down by section or question type. For instance, there is a sufficient assumption session, matching and distribution games section, and also sections on admissions or personal statements. Kaplan also posts archived sessions about two days after they are held live, so you can replay or watch a session after the fact. On days where you only have an hour or two to study, the channel is a great refresher.

All in all, Kaplan’s LSAT prep courses are a splurge, especially for my fellow recent grads or current students, but adding up the value of the resources, it’s worth it in my opinion to have the ability to reach out and ask questions and have a seemingly endless supply or practice material.

The second test prep company I utilized was Manhattan. I purchased the books off of Amazon in order to get another perspective on the exam that differed from Kaplan’s.

Firstly, Manhattan separates their curriculum into three books, divided by section. I preferred their structure, as the physically smaller books made it easier to carry a book wherever I went as as I travelled, and also allowed me to hone in on the section rather than jump from games, to reasoning, to reading comprehension.

Out of the three books, the logical reasoning was the most beneficial. Compared to Kaplan’s logical reasoning curriculum in their book, Manhattan’s explanations were more thorough, and catered to those like myself who have a million “Why?” questions running through their head with every question type. Where Kaplan had one or two brief paragraphs explaining sufficient assumptions, Manhattan had four.

A downside to the Manhattan curriculum would be the errors throughout the book. I’m a Class-A nitpicker, but in timed sections, answer choices B and C would be the same, or there would be a typo that affected the answer choice’s validity. I did like how Manhattan provided shorter timed sections. Rather than sitting through a 35 minute fully-timed section, they would allow 3 minutes for 2 questions, and slowly increase the number of questions and minutes given. Doing so really built up my stamina and ability to pace myself per question.

Content-wise, the Kaplan methods and Manhattan methods were very similar. Process-wise, both encouraged dissecting each question in sections. Although using different verbiage, both suggested first reading the question, identifying the type, going through the stimulus, then predicting an answer choice prior to reading through the choices given. Thus, I never felt that either was at odds with the other, or that I would have to change my mindset or strategy. I valued the added practice and more wordy explanations that built upon the Kaplan method.

Reading Comprehension is the shortest of the three books, and had a similar process of annotating the passage rather than trying to memorize and then purge the details when answering the questions. I did not focus all too much on the timed practice since I had ample test sections to practice with in my Kaplan book but I did read and review all the instructional sections.

Logic Games though…oof. I do not profess to be a visual learner, and some of the diagramming techniques in the Manhattan books, for me, were intricate works of art. As a terrible drawer, I prefer the most barebones of sketches as long as all the pertinent information is there, and truly thought the set-ups in the Manhattan book were way too complex and time-consuming for me. Still, the exercises were useful and helped cement making deductions and diagramming the game prior to reading the questions.

If you are an independent learner and have ample time to devote to studying, I would suggest the Manhattan guides. At $80 for the three, it’s much more affordable, especially with Amazon Prime’s shipping. The downside would be foregoing the ability to e-mail a class instructor who knows your strengths and weaknesses to clarify any unclear explanations or more personal questions.

Well, that concludes this extremely long stream of consciousness monologue about test prep. Hopefully it does some good. PEACE!

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Broadchurch

Ah, the fall television season. One of my favorite times of year. Scanning through the entertainment articles for new pilots to look out for, I noticed Gracepoint, the American counterpart of Broadchurch, the murder mystery starring the 10th doctor himself, David Tennant.

Now, being the angliophile that I am, I had every intention to watch Broadchurch before the American version. But life, unintentional marathons of The Office reruns, actually being social every once in a while, and spontaneous and uncontrollable naps got in the way. Until, that is, I had an iTunes gift card to spend a few spare hours post taking a graduate school entrance exam. And thus, I began my journey into Broadchurch.

I KNOW IF THE KILLER IS OR IS NOT IN THIS PICTURE AND IT IS TAKING MUCH SELF-CONTROL TO NOT SPOIL IT (photo from BBC America)

I KNOW IF THE KILLER IS OR IS NOT IN THIS PICTURE AND IT IS TAKING MUCH SELF-CONTROL TO NOT SPOIL IT (photo from BBC America)

and OH MY GOODNESS what a journey it has been. After the first episode…I was hooked. If Tennant’s broody, Scottish, permanent 5-o’clock shadow-sporting detective Alec Hardy isn’t incentive enough, the other characters will get you hooked. With a cast full of other recognizable British actors-Rory from Doctor Who/Once on Broadway actor Arthur Darvill, Filch from Harry Potter-among them, the show is dark, mysterious, and and excellently executed “Who dunnit?” But beyond intending to catch the killer of an 11-year-old boy in the small seaside town, it’s a character study. Every time you think you know who the killer is, it turns out to be a red herring.

Granted, I made the mistake of going on the Wikipedia page to look up some of the actors’ name. DO NOT GO ON WIKIPEDIA. IN FACT, DO NOT RESEARCH ANYTHING RELATING TO THE SERIES UNLESS YOU HAVE FINISHED. Right there, next to one of the cast names WAS THE KILLER. WHY OH WHY.

At this point, I was halfway and had just finished episode 4. I was so intrigued by the ending and needed to know the nitty gritty details of the killer’s plot, that I just jumped to the end and watched the finale. IT WAS CRAZY. Then, I went back and watched the rest. I’ll concede my watching experience was greatly affected by already knowing who the killer was.

*Update: Apparently I never posted this and have just found this in my drafts. But in all seriousness, I still recommend this show to other people, and cannot wait for the next series to come out.

I did not watch the U.S. version, “Gracepoint” but shall give it a chance in the future.

What do your stories mean, John Green?

My apologies for the cheesy title. I like rhymes.

I should preface this post by saying, that no, I am not a published author, and yes, I probably would not even finish a book if I started to write one. Still, as an avid reader, I feel I am qualified to review books. Okay. Peace out a-town.

Boy meets girl. Girl is quirky. Boy somehow loses girl, whether metaphorically or literally, and goes on a quest to find her, eventually finding himself along the way.

Such is the formulaic plot line of all of the John Green books I have read. Before you start spewing hatred, let me say that I do like John Green. I think he is a genuinely nice guy, who is extremely intelligent, and has done wonders to my (do I still count as a young adult?) generation in terms of getting people to read.

But after reading The Fault in our Stars, Looking for Alaska, and Paper Towns, I have to say that the emotional intention may have been lost on me. For one, teenagers are difficult to write about. I, as a teenager, was not particularly interesting. I slept in far too later, worked long shifts to pay for the too expensive meals I ate with friends, and sat in my car crying to Taylor Swift songs. But alas, my life an interesting novel does not make.

I guess my frustration with reading his books comes from the formulaic plot. I wanted to be invested, I wanted to cry, but I just couldn’t.

Out of the books I’ve read, The Fault in our Stars was by far the best. Believe me, I sympathized with Hazel, and liked the slow development of her feelings for Gus and eventual breaking down of her “walls” to fall for him.

What frustrated me, though, was that every subsequent book I read by Green followed that same formula. Unfortunately, not every character was as sympathetic or endearing as Hazel or Gus.

Green isn’t the only author with a tendency to stick to the formulaic storyline.

Nicholas Sparks. Boy meets girl, she has a secret, he has a secret, and old flame mysteriously materializes, they all overcome a tragic event, and then we skip to the epilogue, where all our fears that the couple does not get their happy ending are relieved.

I don’t know. Maybe I need to read more books.

This post brought to you by too much coffee and stream of consciousness.

Sister Whispers: Twin tag

Let me introduce you to my twin. She is six years younger than me, but many people, including teenaged boys who work at Harris Teeter and convinced we’re twins.

So without further adieu, here is the first edition of Sister Whispers. A twin tag.

1. Who’s the oldest?
JL1:I think it’s me.
JL2:definitely jessica (but you’d never tell)
2. Show us an old photo
Here.

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3. Favorite memory together?
JL1:When we did the scavenger hunt in the Billy Graham museum and got trapped, and all we won was bookmarks.
JL2:ummmmmm letsss seeee man of steel / that one time we said that weird thing at the same time… i mean c’mon twin telepathy is a real thing!!!
4. Each others dream job?
JL1:I want to be SNL head writer and she wants to do naps and movie making or screenwriting.
JL2:u like acting/writing/singing jobs so something snl-ish
5. Who takes longer to get ready in the morning?
JL1:My twin because she actually brushes her hair.
JL2:definitely me- it takes work to look this good
6. Do you have anything matching?
JL1:Yes lots of matching clothes but only by accident. And American flag dresses and Disney shirts.
JL2:we have matching faces…
7. Did you ever dress alike?
JL1:Yes and now quite often but not on purpose since we just wear each others clothes for diversity.
JL2:we wear each others clothes so yes and wear stripes accidentally at the same time.. plus like 75% of my clothes are hand me downs via you
8. Song you would use to describe each-other?
JL1:“Take me or leave me” from Rent because it’s about sisters.
JL2:classic
9. What color are your auras?
JL1:Mine is blue and hers is pink because she likes Strawberry Shortcake.
JL2:purple (not really sure what this means but the purple is a reference to almost famous!)
10. One thing you can do well that the other can’t?
JL1:Not fall asleep, eat junk food without hives, and read the Anne of Green Gables series.
JL2:i can draw sometimes.. brush hair(no offense) ummm do weird things ie jumping dares/ jalapeno pulp
11. Most memorable outfit ever worn?
JL1:When she went to prom.
JL2:of me or you?? of you ummmm that yellow shirt when youre smiling really big-
12. Do you have the same personalities?
JL1:Basically yes because we’re tiny girls who are like bridge trolls, but I’m loud (people tell me) and she’s so shy or quiet. She’s shiet.
JL2:no , im probably a lot meaner than you… a lot weirder.. sensitivity.. im shy but fannie and freddie ya know
13. Silliest question about being twins?
JL1:It’s silly because we’re not twins and I’m really old but people think we are.
JL2:are you both gay?
14. Describe each other in one word.
JL1:Her-Sister. Me-Sister.
JL2:quick- wits
15. One thing that annoys you about each other?
JL1:She always falls asleep and won’t play activities with me.
JL2:sometimes you cant stay still and you are do a lot of tricks on me ie hiding in closets and christian bale tricks
16. If you could go anywhere in the world together, where would it be and why?
JL1:Two separate caves in different places so we can have our own peace and quiet and hide from society.
JL2:umm anywhere tom hiddleston is ummm italy so u can watch me live out my spagetti dreams
17. Nicknames you have for each other?
JL1:Not Jessica or Pflane Caruleand or Pippa Middleton or Charles.
JL2:les… dr galine…. nanny bums/herby bread basket(it took me like 2 minutes to remember this)/narcissa malfoy
18. What do you order at fast food restaurants?
JL1:Anything! Usually chicken nuggets and fries. She only gets ice cream or frosties.
JL2:u like those lil tacos from jack in the box and u like to buy mountain dew/coke
19. Favorite thing about each other?
JL1:We’re just sisters.
JL2:u do lots of jokes and i love doing laughs- endless comedy..
20. Favorite inside joke?
JL1:I love inside jokes. I’d love to be a part of one someday.
JL2:so many ummmmm that little girl that touched ur boots ummm were really good at kickball and ava jokes, youre a shirley and ya dont know me ummmm lol when classic came on CACAO, cody simpsons dance oh my

Graze review-I attempt to eat fruits and vegetables

“Stop, oh yes, wait a minute Mr.Postman, wait, oh yes, wait a minute Mr. Postman.”

The lyrics above from the classic Motown hit capture perfectly my feelings toward receiving mail. However, rather than a love letter, my choice deliverables are snacks.

Goodness knows the trend of monthly mailings has increased. My first foray into regular goodie boxes has been with Graze.

Originally based in the U.K., Graze sends you a brown box of four different healthy snacks, individually wrapped.

At first, Graze codes were difficult to come by. You either had to receive a code from a friend, (each customer got one code to give out), or join a wait list. Fortunately, a coworker handed over her code, and seeing as I love to receive mail and am competitive when it comes to joining clubs that are difficult to get into, I signed up for Graze.

Imagine, hours upon hours of scanning through snacks, categorizing them as either “trash,” “try,” “like,” or “love.”

In theory, the subscription is useful if you’re looking to regulate your snack intake and eat healthier. As with almost everything in life, the subscription has its benefits, and disadvantages.

Note: For some reason I have zero photos of any of the snack boxes. Use your imagination or just visit Graze to see some pictures of the food, or read their FAQs which I’m sure explain the service much more eloquently.

Pros:

1. This stuff is healthy!

I’m a lover of all things fried, sugary, and cannot resist the occasional bag of Cheetos. These little packs are very convenient, since they’re small and can be stashed in a desk drawer or in a purse or bag. Instead of heading to the vending machine or drive thru, they’re very handy and a filling enough, but not huge portion. Seeing as how I avoid fruits and vegetables at all cost, they’re a good source of nutrition.

2. Convenience

If you don’t live near a health store like Whole Foods or Sprouts, Graze snacks can be a good replacement for some interesting dried produce you wouldn’t be able to find in a regular supermarket. Also, if you’re incredibly busy and don’t have time to shop, getting boxes in the mail can be super convenient and a big time saver.

3. Flexibility

Initially, Graze boxes only ran on a weekly basis, but later added new plans, including receiving a box every two weeks, or every four weeks. I switched to the two week plan, and later four month plan so I could continue my subscription without being inundated with snacks every week.

Cons:

1. Price

At $5/$6 a box depending on your join date, the boxes aren’t exactly cheap. Taking into consideration a small pack of sunflower seeds would thus run at about $1.25, it would be much more cost-effective to buy the same product in bulk at Whole Foods. $20 a month for a weekly box may seem like a bargain, but the same amount of money could be used to buy at least double the amount of food from a regular grocery store.

2. No control over selection

Although you can give your preferences for each snack on the website, you can’t guarantee that you will receive a certain snack you’d want to try. Services like Naturebox allow you to pick specific snacks, or leave some selections up for random. Graze won’t let you select exactly what you’d like sent. Certain snacks like the pina colada dried fruit mix or chili pistachios I would purchase in bulk in a minute, or at least have sent every month. However, you can’t directly control what you receive, and if you don’t update your preferences, could end up with duplicates of things you did not enjoy.

3. Limited offerings

This is more applicable to picky eaters like myself, but some of the ingredients in many of the snacks are in almost every selection. For instance, I just can’t do raisins. Eliminating the snacks with raisins took a good number of trail mixes and fruit mixes out of the running. Again, this is a problem for me specifically, not the service. The UK service has desserts, as well as tea…which I would love. Unfortunately, the US service is more limited.

Note: I also started the subscription in the summer, so it was incredibly hot outside. Some of the best snack mixes had chocolate, which unfortunately, melted within a short time in the mailbox. Keep in mind freezing or hot weather when rating snacks.

Final thoughts:

I subscribed for about 8 months, and decided to put my deliveries on hold. Ultimately, I wasn’t using the service as intended, since I would stash the snacks that didn’t necessarily appeal to me. It wasn’t cost effective to continue, even though I was on the most infrequent plan as it was. It was fun to receive a mystery box every week, and sample different snacks. However, the costs added up for food I wasn’t always eating.

Let me know! Do you subscribe to Birchbox, Naturebox, or any other fun subscription?

 

Is it tea you’re looking for? (Teavana review)

lionel-richie-hello-o

Hello? I love a good tea-related pun, this one courtesy of Lionel.

Segway goes here…so as I’ve become even more addicted to all things British, Sherlock, Prince George, and beautiful Kate and Pippa being just a few of my favorites, I find myself drinking tea on a daily basis.

A wannabe Brit’s guide to all things tea

 

Tea Graphic

Don't mind if I do

Don’t mind if I do

As a student, unfortunately I don’t have the best resources to brew myself the best, so tea bags are usually my go to.

However, after visiting a lovely Tea House over spring break, I set my mind to stepping up my tea game.

Now my mother has excellent tea resources, from great pots with build in filter cups, to that fancy plastic thing that steeps itself and you put on top of your cup to drain (what an eloquent description), but my barebones apartment doesn’t have such equipment, nor am I feeling free enough to purchase said goods.

So, I found a little strainer ball thing that has a lovely hook I can clip to the side of my mug, to brew myself a gorgeous cuppa when I’m chillaxing, working, or winding down at night. (jk, see “insomnia” post here.)

For loose tea, Teavana has been the best bet thus far. I was gifted a tin ofearl grey creme, a black tea. What I like about Teavana’s mixes is that it’s other funky ingredients like vanilla pieces, or dried fruit in addition to the tea leaves. It’s a nice vanilla-y tea, fairly mild, without a major caffeine jolt or overly strong tea taste. It’s heavy on the creme flavor.

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Earl Grey Creme, photo from Teavana. I don’t have pretty bowls, so let’s rely on their gorgeous pictures.

Today, I finally stumbled into the nearest shopping center with a Teavana, with the intent to buy a green tea to add to my stash. Granted, Teavana has a wide selection. Since I figured I might as well pick something snazzy, I bought 2 oz. of the Jade Citrus Mint variety. It’s heavy on the lemongrass, and has a nice citrus kick to it. Overall, it’s very mild as well, and is low on the caffeine scale, but high in anti-oxidants. After reading of the health benefits, I’m attempting to drink a cup a day. It also smells wonderfully. If you’re going to splurge on fancy loose tea, might as well pick something unique, right?

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Jade Citrus Mint. photo from Teavana. Is it weird if I name my future daughter after this tea?

Since I don’t live close to a store, I picked up a second loose tea as well. For the past two years, I’ve been drinking Yerba Mate as a morning substitute for coffee. Granted, I don’t always wake up early enough to brew a batch and pour it in a thermos, so I do still buy cups of coffee. But to save money, I try to drink tea instead, also to avoid having brown pirate-y teeth in the future.

Whole Foods’ Yerba Mate tea bags are great, and do contain a good enough amount of caffeine to do the trick in the morning. I can’t really compare its taste to anything else, but it is similar to a plain hot green tea, but with a bolder flavor.

Teavana has multiple varieties of Mate tea. I also picked up 2 oz. of the Caribbean Calypso Mate Tea, which smells divine. I’m a fan of all things tropical, the Caribbean Passion smoothie at Jamba Juice being a favorite, so this tea seemed like a fun variety. In addition to the tea leaves, this mix has pieces of dried apples, mango, pineapple, and coconut. It’s also low on the caffeine scale, but unlike green tea, isn’t listed on the anti-oxidant scale. Still, for those who aren’t into tea, it’s a good fruity variety.

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 I’m tempted to just eat this mix. So pretty. Is this what heaven smells like?

Note: My handy dandy tea ball strainer hasn’t been the most effective for brewing tea with really fine leaves. I decided to do a science experiment, along with guidance from other thrifty people on the Google, and attempted to brew my own tea using my coffee maker. Lo and behold, it worked! Granted, tea experts would probably be horrified, but I just used a coffee filter, put about a tablespoon of loose tea (more than you would put directly into a strainer for a mug since the tea won’t be soaking for as long), and let ‘er brew. I’ve just been refilling the water throughout the day and using the same leaves, and have brewed about 8 cups total thus far with just that batch. I don’t taste any coffee flavor or anything, and my machine is just a simple, one button Mr. Coffee. The Keurig reusable cup would do the trick as well.

My dream tea date

My dream tea date

So, all that being said, let’s all take an hour this week to brew or steep a nice cuppa, curl up with a good book or movie, and relax.

Are you a tea drinker? Got any interesting methods or gadgets? Do you hate tea? Any favorite flavors?

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21 at 21

I absolutely cannot believe that 365 days have passed since my birthday (or Name Day as they call it in Westeros). Since I’m terribly sentimental, I’ve compiled a list of 21 accomplishments and memories from the past year. 21 was fun, but it’s been a challenging year in some ways, so I’m ready for a whole new year.

In no particular order, here are 21 highlights from the my stint as a 21-year-old.

1. First off, I turned 21. (No, I did not go crazy. I am a hermit after all. However, I did enjoy several classy, and cocktail-accompanied birthday dinners.)

2. Officially became a California girl once again.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach

 

3. Lived absolutely, completely, all by myself for two weeks. and I LOVED IT.

4. Had a classy grown-up brunch with my old high school friends, whom I don’t see nearly as often as I’d like.

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5. Went to Disneyland 5 times. Preteen me would be so jealous.

 

6. Had high tea on the Queen Mary then walked through the Royal Family exhibit. Did not see any ghosts unfortunately.

7. Worked for the university newspaper and made a bunch of new and very talented friends (sub highlight: Cards Against Humanity at the End of Term/Christmas Party)

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8. Watched every single episode of the Doctor Who reboot.

9. Played way too many games of Clue with my roommate, and laughed way too hard in the process.

10. Rode a beach cruiser on Balboa Island.

11. Saw Hillsong in concert and shared a special and unique experience with the sweetest new friends.

12. Experienced my first ever snow day…which turned into three subsequent snow days.

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13. Bought my first pair of rain boots, and wore them throughout snow, and ice storms. (Natalie Portman and I are boot twins now.)

 

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14. Learned how to design on Photoshop, edit videos on multiple softwares, and mix audio tracks.

15. Fulfilled my pipe dream of writing a sitcom, and laughed my way through writing, filming, and editing with very talented friends and classmates.

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16. Worked my bum off doing two internships at once, learning valuable life lessons from people older and wiser than I am

17. Put socks on my dog.

18. Won a bronze award in my advertising class by myself. I worked by myself instead of with a team, and still managed to get an honorable mentions for a Crocs ad. Crocs!

19. Had all you can eat Korean barbecue with my dad and ate my weight in meat. Also left smelling like dog’s dream.

20. Confirmed, via Pottermore, that I am officially a Gryffindor.

21. Met the man of my dreams.

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Here’s looking at you 22.

Fixing my face: Lush Catastrophe Cosmetic review

Let me preface this post by saying that I love a good face mask.

In fact, one of my first birthday parties was a Mary Kay party. What could be more adorable than a bunch of six years old putting exfoliating masks on their face, and then going overboard with makeup to the point where they look like the Joker?

Today, a dear friend and I ended up taking a (just down the) road trip to the nearest mall a few towns away.

After taking care of all the necessary errands, we stopped into Lush, where I had my eye on some of the face masks.

Now, my skin can be very temperamental, and granted, I’m terrible with making sure I remove all makeup and moisturize. My routine consists of washing my face, and cleaning with some benzoil peroxide face wipes. I tend to breakout due to stress or diet (how much cheese I eat) so a face mask with fresh ingredients seemed like a good remedy to perk up my skin.

Based on their descriptions, I decided to get the Catastrophe Cosmetic mask. I’ve tried Lush products before, mostly bath bars or soap bars, but never one of the face masks. I was tempted to try more than one since they’re affordable at $6.95 each. Unfortunately, they come with fairly short expiration dates of about a month each. After sniffing a couple, I stuck with the lovely blueberry scented mask.

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Channeling my inner Elphaba

After washing my face, I layered on the mask. It’s fairly thick, so it took a bit of time to try to evenly coat my skin. The directions say to leave on for 5-10 minutes, but I got distracted since Thor 2 is on again, and left it on for about 15 minutes. Still, it wasn’t completely dry, and came off fairly easy without having to use a washcloth or scrub off anything as with some other masks. The mask is gray, with blueberry chunks, no exfoliating beads or anything.

Immediately afterwards, my skin felt much softer, and I moisturized with my generic Neutrogena moisturizer.

From what I’ve read online, results are typically positive, so hopefully the mask does more good. My skin varies with the weather, so I made sure to moisturize in case the mask does dry my face a bit.

My shopping companion got the Love lettuce mask, so we’ll do a mask swap at some point.

To sum it all up, the mask is lovely, and I wish I had unlimited money so I could buy out an entire Lush store.

UPDATE: I’ve been using the blueberry mask for a few weeks now. I have noticed my face is generally softer, from using it about 3 times a week, but I haven’t noticed a big change in erasing blemishes or eliminating redness.

The love lettuce mask, on the other hand, does burn a bit, although it’s more of a “this is doing something!” burn than actually painful. I also like the exfoliation aspect of it. It has a great minty scent. I’d have to try more masks to gauge which is the most effective for my skin type, but overall, no harm done at least.

Fed up with the set-up

prince blog pic

Ah, the perils of early twenty-something-dom. Inevitably, post high school graduation, and the closer you inch to college graduation, the next major step, or at least hot topic of conversation, turns to marriage.

Or as I like to call it…

mawwage

The older I get, (yes, I realize I’m not actually old at all thank goodness) the more I realize that until that (hopefully) hunk of a rock is on my finger, every Tom, Dick, and Harry will inquire as to my romantic perils.

Specifically, it’s more of an Karen, Susan, and Tiffany, since most males I’ve met fortunately tend to have no interest in my dating life.

Alas, seeing as I am a deceptively nice person, who, as I was once told is “not ugly,” well-meaning friends, family, and random acquaintances instantaneously take it upon themselves to find me a husband.

*Disclaimer. I’m watching Thor 2 while writing this, so this post may turn into a Chris Hemsworth appreciation forum. Just a warning.

At times, it can be extremely frustrating to be likened to a commodity of sorts. Like any single male and I are like two chemical substances that can be thrown into a test tube, and have some kind of spark. (see what I did there?)

The majority of the time, it is funny to see what eligible bachelors are presented to me, as if all single people are cards in a game of memory, just to be randomly flipped over, in hopes of a match.

If you do decide to try to find me a husband, please use this as a template.

If you do decide to try to find me a husband, please use this as a template.

PSA: On behalf of all single people, do not feel it is your duty to find me a husband. Unless you are a matchmaker by trade, or Patti from The Millionaire Matchmaker, it is simply alright to respond to my answer that I am single, with an “Oh” followed by a smile, joke about how you wish you were still single, or kind statement about how I’m still young, and there are plenty of fish in the sea.

Feel no obligation whatsoever to run through your brain archives for any single nephews, neighbors, coworkers, baristas, dentists, doctors, aliens, lumberjacks, that you think might like, or at least tolerate me.

Not to say that single people are completely free of guilt in this predicament. I more often than not will look at your picture or listen to your verbal descriptions of said eligible bachelor, and will instantly respond with a “yes, hook a sister up,” “no thanks,” “ew,” or any other natural response.

When-You-Pick-Online-Dating-Over-Bars

But when I think about if the situation was reversed, I hate the thought of being judged. Whether based on a picture, where I unfortunately display a beautiful double-chin, a highlight reel of my faults, or any other unintentionally unattractive criterion, I don’t want to be judged.

Thus, rather than immediately dismiss the prospect of marriage, or mentally walk down the aisle with a guy I’ve been offered, I’m going to pause. and think about the other person, and how I’d feel to be rejected through a third party by a guy.

Married friends, or friends in a relationship, we’re okay if we’re single.

 

If you are going to set us up, don’t tell us, so we get all weird like Michael Scott/”Date Mike” when under pressure to be charming and live up to your most likely inflated description of us.


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To end this on a happy note, my father always tells me that while set ups may be cumberbatch cumbersome for the time being, if I was a totally gross or repulsive person, people wouldn’t be taking the steps to try to find me a guy. So I guess I’m doing something right if people think I’m worthy of a man.

That last statement makes me wonder if I’m watching too many Jane Austen movies.

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Saying no to all-nighters

LOL.

LOL.

I can’t sleep.

No, not just tonight. Ever. I may just name my daughter Insomnia. (Poor future Insomnia is probably praying she’ll be born a boy.)

I’m the queen of having brilliant, world-changing ideas, right as my head hits the pillow. For as long as I can remember, I’ve never been able to fall asleep. My bed, cars, airplanes, you name it, I am staying awake.

Several other members of my family, who shall remain unnamed, can fall asleep like it’s nobody’s business.

Apparently when the Good Lord divided up the sleep talent, he didn’t divvy it up quite evenly.

Anyway, in college, I can only ever recall one all-nighter. The first came as a result of postponing writing a 10 page paper in the hopes the professor would forget about it until the last minute, and thus cancel it. (It wasn’t until about 2 a.m. that I decided on a topic, (Gender equality in professional sports) and finally ran with it.)

Wishful thinking. Good thing I’m a glass-half-full kind of gal.

Thus, I can’t say I understand the “I’ll just pull an all-nighter mentality.” Come hell or high water, at some point before the sun rises, I will be in my bed. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those lucky souls who can go sans sleep, and function normally.

Nope. Sleep deprived, and most likely caffeine-riddled me can’t do it. I crash. Leslie Knope style.

Leslie Knope. I feel ya.

Leslie Knope. I feel ya.

Maybe it’s part of my early onset, Grandma-dom. I just can’t do all-nighters. I can’t. I also can’t sleep upright, so forget about sneakily sleeping in class. I end up dreaming about riding a bike, and then when I inevitably fall of said dream bike, jolt up, knocking things off my desk in the process. Worth the risk? Nah.

Until I master the art of sleeping with my eyes open, I’ll be forever constrained to taking every herbal sleep remedy the good folks at Whole Foods can sell me on, and trying to make myself tired whilst coming up with the next Great American Novel at 3:12 a.m.

Sleeping Beauty. Also, typography ftw!

Sleeping Beauty. Also, typography ftw!