Archive by Author

Writing is Coming.

30 Apr

So, I was casually scrolling though Facebook, as one does, and I came across a blog that was written by a girl I went to high school with.

Now I knew just looking at the title that it was going to be some absurd journaling experience about fitness or health. So, of course I just had to click on it and see what the hype was all about.


This girl from high school was always really fit and brought super fantastic lunches to our club meetings, therefore I was sure the blog would not disappoint. And disappoint it did not. She started her introduction about how she was getting more “fit” this year, and I rolled my eyes at the thought that this already VERY fit person was trying to reach yet another goal. But then as I continued through the very short post, she described something that caught my eye: Journaling every single thing you eat, everyday.

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Now at first this sounded pretty outrageous. How could someone possibly write down everything they’ve eaten in a day. A handful of grapes? 27 chips? I mean how viable would it be to actually calculate all this stuff. But as I looked at her posted picture of her color-coded eating habits, I was enthralled by the organization of it all.

I didn’t immediately decide to start journaling my food at first. That is, until I went to Office Max  weeks before school started and laid my eyes upon the most gorgeous looking notebook in the entire store. I just needed an excuse to have one, and this was the only thing I could think of at the time.

And so it began…

Everyday, since the 9th of January 2017 I have journaled every single thing I have put into my body. And wow. It has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Now I am not one of the people who count every single calorie, or never indulge in sweets and chips, but what I have discovered about my eating habits after journaling everyday has been an eye opener for sure.


If you start writing things down, you realize a couple of things. 1. That there are generally patterns in what you eat and when. 2. You may or may not snack insistently like myself. 3. You are skipping really important meals due to time. 4. You have wwwaayyy too many sweets for one day.

Since journaling, my eating habits have improved exponentially. I am more mindful about the wholesome foods I am putting into my body and I am more mindful when I deserve a good treat.

I highly recommend journaling to anyone that is considering changing their eating habits or who are trying to reach a goal.

Plus putting in my entries every meal is like a really fun puzzle everyday! I can’t even imagine my life without my notebook!


Here are some pics of how things have progressed in my little book so far!

~ Mandi


#AdventurousApril: Table for 1

17 Apr

This April I decided to do something a little outside my comfort zone. Or A lot.

I decided to go to a restaurant and eat all by myself for the entire meal. Now, this may seem like no big deal to some people, but for a person that constantly thrives and survives off the energy and company of others, I was pretty nervous.


So I put on my favorite pair of jeans on and headed out to a casual, but still sit down themed restaurant. I picked a favorite Vietnamese restaurant close to the University, and decided to go for dinner.

At first walking in I scoped the place out, since it is usually bustling with groups and couples. But to my surprise, there were very few people in the restaurant, and even a person or two eating alone.

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“No biggie”, I thought as I walked up to the counter to order my food. I chose some very delicious egg rolls with rice and a milk tea boba with a little ice on the side.

As I sat down to take my seat, I chose a table meant for two, although only one would be occupying the space for the night. Before I went in I promised myself I would try to limit the amount of time I spent on my phone, since I felt that it was like cheating to use it as a distraction. As I waited for my food to arrive, this is when the nervousness set in.

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What the heck was I suppose to do? Look at the ceiling or the walls? I started to feel a bit impatient since the food was taking a tad longer than usual. I truly had no idea what I was supposed to do. I opted to just play with some chopsticks and tried to relax as I waited.

Around 8 minutes later the food finally arrived and I dug in. This part wasn’t too uncomfortable since I was so distracted by the food, but I did miss the lively conversation that usually accompanies dining out, and to be honest, I felt a bit lonely. I finished my food and sat there for a couple more minutes letting everything settle in. I tried not to think too much about what I looked like or what I was doing, but it’s weird to be alone sometimes, you feel like everyone in the room is watching you, when honestly probably no one is.

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In the end, I didn’t really like eating alone. I know that some people love the quietness and relaxation that comes with solo dining, but honestly, it wasn’t quite for me, and that’s ok!

Everyone told me that it would be no big deal, and it really wasn’t. But I also didn’t really like it enough to want to do it again by choice. Being with friends and families while eating is almost just as important as the food you share! Eating out might have not been this crazy adventure, but it was something I had never really done before either, and to that, I would say I conquered this theme for the month.

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~ Mandi

#MiddlingMarch: Massages for Days

4 Apr

Since it is mid-semester now, and projects, papers, and tests continue to miraculously flow out of the brains of our teachers, it can be an easy way to build tension not only in your body, but also in your mind.


Mid-semester is a difficult time for everyone, and I think that it can be easy to fall into the pit of “I just want school to be over”.

But there are a couple of ways to treat yourself this semester, to bring back some of those positive vibes and rejuvenate yourself for the rest of the semester.

I decided to go with a quick and relatively cheap route: Getting a massage at the Rec.


Now you can check out the rates and massage therapists on the Rec centers website, but basically the longer you are there for, the cheaper it is. I, being a broke college student with zero time, chose to cheapest and quickest option: a 30 minute massage.


Now I had experienced real massages before on one occasion, so I had a little bit of an idea what to expect. I prepared to relax and make this 30 minutes last as long as possible.

When you are getting a massage I feel like your mind finally gets a chance to rest, if not completely shut off (by falling asleep). It is a time to just feel your body and get in touch with elements of yourself that often go forgotten. Some examples are your breath, your heartbeat, the tension in your muscles finally relaxing, and so on.

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After the massage, I, of course, felt like a complete bowl of jello, but in a totally awesome way. I highly recommend getting a massage anywhere if you can, whether it is in a professional studio, the Rec, or those tiny kiosks in the mall (maybe not this one), but regardless remember to take at least a small portion out of your day to slow yourself down a bit and just do something for you!



You Got This

26 Mar

I know that the middle of the semester is tough. We are going through this together, I promise! To help you stay motivated, here are a couple of tips to help you reach the end of the semester.

Make a schedule

This is perhaps one of the most essential parts of any successful plan in general, and that can be said for trying to stay motivated this semester! To help you overcome feelings of being overwhelmed by your classes and assignment make a list of upcoming events and projects to help you stay organized.


Calculate your grades

I know this sounds scary, and trust me breezing through the semester with unknown grades is something we all do, but to avoid all those upcoming frustrations about grades, really consider calculating your grades now. That way you have time to prepare accordingly or talk to teachers about a game plan. Keep on top of these things to help yourself out at the end

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Create a goal sheet

Whether it be a picture of some words you wrote down, an actual list of numbers and stats, or just a simple scribble on a napkin, get your thoughts onto something physical. Set yourself up for success by maintaining a sense of realistic goals you want to reach by the end of the semester.

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Remember why it matters

I think often in college we get really excited, confused, or even curious about what our path is going to look like. In the beginning of every semester, things feel fresh and different, so it is easy to stay focused. Around this time, though, many of those emotions vanish in the array of unmotivated and frustrated feelings, and it is easy to lose sight of what matters. Try to take the time to remember why you are doing this, and why you care. Reorganizing what really matters and trying to remember it all can sometimes be all it takes to get your motivation back!

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You are soooo close

The last tip is to remember: You made it this far! You are sooo close to the end of the year! Keep a calendar and start counting down the days till summer!

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#FearlessFebruary: Parting With My Hair

22 Feb


Proceed with Caution

For this Fearless February, I decided to do something I haven’t done in a long time. Change my hair.

For some people, this small change is something that is no big deal. But, for me, someone who hasn’t dyed their hair in 8 years, it was a pretty big change.

The first step was to scavenge the entire internet for something suitable to show the stylist. I spent hours and hours all over Pinterest and Instagram before I finally found a couple of options. I had settled between some subtle highlights from some random photo of a girl on Pinterest and an all over red color that one of my favorite Korean actresses, Park Shin Hye, has been supporting lately.

After many, many opinions and countless pros and cons lists, I decided to go with the second picture of some light highlights. I really liked the all over red hair color but with the amount of maintenance and money I would have to put into maintaining my hair,  I decided the second option was best.

The next step was to decide where I would go to get my hair done and with whom. My mother suggested a stylist named Victoria Adams in Phoenix at R Salon, so I made a reservation two weeks in advance and waited for the fateful day.

Two weeks went by so quickly that I almost felt as if I needed to catch my breath. As the days before the appointment started getting closer, I started growing nervous. I know it sounds silly since getting your hair done is something so common, but I really was afraid it wouldn’t turn out how I pictured.

Finally, the day came, and I made a quick trip to Phoenix to meet my stylist Victoria. It was my first time in this particular salon, and also funnily enough one of the first times I had been to an appointment without my mom. As she sat me in the chair I showed her the picture I wanted and asked her how long it would be.

“About 3 and a half hours”

My jaw dropped at the sound of 3 hours! I had no idea it was going to take so much time for some simple highlights. However, as she started the process, I quickly realized she was going to need all the time she had said.

Victoria was super nice, and once I told her I was doing this, partially for myself, but partially for work purposes, she told me to ask her any questions I had. As she began to prep, I knew I was finally parting with my old hair.

The entire process looked something like this.

  1. She separated my hair into 4 parts and began to tease the ends.pic 2.jpg
  2. Then she started to mix the dye in with separate sections of my hair and diffuse the dye with a bit of water to create a nice transition in the highlights. This entire section of the process itself took close to an hour since she took her time deciding where the color would start and end. By the end of this part in the process I had over 40 pieces of foil in my hair protecting the dyed color from my untouched hair that would blend into a mix of colors. pic-3
  3. After sitting for an extra 25 minutes, waiting for the color to absorb, I sat patiently reading a magazine. After the 25 minutes were up she told me that we would be washing and conditioning my hair. After washing out the dye I had to wait another 20 minutes with toner in my hair. This part is where I started to get a bit nervous since she said the highlights looked very orange when they were first dyed, a common occurrence since the cuticles of your hair are being opened up. That is why she applied a purple/blue toner to defuse the orange and yellow tones in my hair.                                                                                   pic-4
  4. After this step came the fun part –  the cutting and styling of my hair. When I first stepped in front of the mirror, I noticed no change in my dark wet hair. I kept quiet since I was unsure if it was just the light in the room or what, but I did think to myself I better see some results since nearly 2 hours had passed. As I sat in the chair, Victoria spun me around and smiled so I was facing the wall. She told me she wasn’t going to let me look at her drying my hair since the color would start to peak out as the moisture from my hair was released. Another painstaking 45 minutes passed as she dried and styled my hair. She knew the tension was building as we approached the three-hour mark, and I just really wanted my hair to be done with at this point. Right before she finished the top layer of my hair, several stylists made their way over to comment how nice my hair looked and how different it looked from before. Finally, after nearly 3 and a half hours I was done! The moment had finally come and this was the result!

Although the results don’t look too different in the picture, I assure you my hair is A Lot lighter now, and even the days after the appointment I noticed my hair lightened a lot as well. I was so nervous about changing my hair, but now that I have I am SO excited and happy with how it came out. Victoria did a fantastic job and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience!


In the end, I am so happy with the decision I made to finally change my hair! And although believe me, it was pretty scary, I think making changes in your life is totally worth it!

~ Mandi


Do something that scares you! You might be surprised!


It’s OK to Change Your Mind

10 Feb

Every year, many students run into the same problem.

Is this what I am supposed to be doing? 

You wonder if you picked the right major or the right university to attend. You wonder if you should have stayed at home or lived in the dorms your first year. Many thoughts plague your mind, especially in the start of the semester when things may seem a little hectic.

I know I had to go through many moments of doubt and confusion before I settled on where I am right now. I ended up adding two minors by the end of the first semester of my sophomore year.  So whether you are adding, dropping, switching, or just considering, changing your educational career can be a stressful process. So here are a couple of tips to keep in mind if you are considering changing your major.

1.  Your classes bore you to death


A major sign that maybe you should change your major is that you honestly have no interest in the field you are studying. If most of your major classes bore you to no end, or just make you very uninterested, maybe you should consider changing your major. Just think about a lifetime in a field that bores you to death.

2. You find your Gen Ed actually interesting

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Often many people find a new passion because of a random class they took. Maybe that one art or history class that you are always excited to attend every week is the key to finding a better fit for you.

3. You get home and spend hours on a hobby over doing homework


I know I am crazy guilty of this one. So, at the end of the day you run straight to your room and play guitar for hours on end, or read article after article about some new scientific discovery. Regardless, listen to your interests if you are confused about your path so far.

4. There is a small crossover you often find more interesting


I know this is one of the main reasons I added two minors; the crossovers I had in English. Since I had to take a foreign language and an education class for my major, I found both of these fields really fun to learn about, not to mention they complimented my major well. Therefore, I ended up just adding two minors!

5. Your interests have changed


This one is definitely a big one that happens. Maybe you came into college and you knew exactly what major you wanted. You were so excited and dead set on this path. But then as you took more classes you realized it wasn’t everything you thought it was going to be. This may be a sign that things have changed for you. And that’s ok! Listen to how you feel!

6. You are waaayyy more stressed than usual


Here is a tricky one that I feel often gets overlooked. There is a difference between being stressed by a workload, and being so stressed that it is making you truly unhappy. Try and find a level at which you know you are content with what you are doing, even though you are stressed, rather than hating everything you are doing and being upset about your workload and life.

7. Take your time


One of the most helpful tips I have learned is that you don’t have to rush into anything. If you want to change you major you might need to push a little faster to get some of the coursework in, but the best thing to do is take the time you need and talk to your advisors about changing your major because in the end it really is an important decision.

8. Do it for you

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This is the last tip I am sure you’ve heard before. Do it for you. It’s important to realize that you cannot live your family or friends lives for them. In the end, although you may be feeling pressures from many ends, this is your life and your future. You have the right to follow what you feel is best and to live your life to the fullest!

Clean Eating for Three Days

6 Jan

I thought for the new year I would start off on the right foot and meal prep a little for a healthy week of eating. Last semester I tried to do this as much as possible and not only does it allow you to eat cleaner, it makes for an easier week of cooking if you prep everything on Sunday. Here’s what I ate this week, and I’ll also include a couple of my tips in maintaining a good diet! Happy cooking!



Breakfast: Over easy egg with pepper and salt, 1 slice of whole grain toast

Lunch: 1/4th cup of white rice, 1 fillet fish, 1 cup of broccoli, 1 half cup of carrots

Dinner: Whole wheat spaghetti with half pasta sauce and half chopped fresh cherry tomatoes


Breakfast: Over easy egg with pepper and salt, 1 slice of whole grain toast

Lunch: 1/4th cup of white rice, 1 baked fish, 1 cup of broccoli, 1 half cup of carrots

Dinner: Sliced potatoes baked with seasoning, meatballs with 1 bread roll, Veggies of choice


Breakfast: ½ cup of low-fat yogurt with cinnamon

Lunch: ½ cup of grilled chicken, 1 cup of broccoli, 1 cup of carrots, ¼ cup of white rice

Dinner: 1 cup fried white rice in olive oil and seasonings of choice, add bagged frozen veggies and fresh tomatoes, add sliced chicken or scrambled egg if desired


Snacks throughout the week:

  • Frozen grapes
  • Sliced apples
  • Sliced strawberries
  • Frozen blackberries
  • Carrot sticks
  • Sliced broccoli


Tips to stay on track:

  1. Pre-slice everything when you come from the grocery store
    1. This has helped me the most this past year as I have gotten better at storing and eating my food. If I don’t do this when I get home from the store, odds are I will forget about the veggies I bought or whatever else, and stuff tends to go bad faster
  1. Buy versatile ingredients
    1. Try and buy ingredients you could throw into any dish, instead of really specific items that only are cooked well in one or two dishes. For instance, I try to buy spinach so I can throw it in anything I make: omelets, pasta, sandwiches, salads, etc. It will help you not only be mindful of using your groceries but help you stretch your dollar as well.
  1. Cheat when you want to
    1. This is perhaps the biggest tip. EAT WHAT YOU WANT. Everything is good in moderation, so don’t completely try and strip everything from your diet. Trust me you will be more likely to fail from eating healthy and you will be unhappy if you get rid of the things you love. Just remember everything in its own proportions and you’ll be fine.

~ Mandi

#DreadedDecember: Winter Cleaning Session

26 Dec

For my Dreaded December blog, I decided to do something I ABSOLUTELY HATE.

Cleaning out my wardrobe.

This is something I truly dread every time my mother tells me to clean my closet at home. I really like to hold on to things. I am a very sentimental person, and because of this nature of mine, I really never let go of things like clothes. I also hate wasting things, and since I buy most of my clothes from thrift shops, I find letting go of items that were so cheap to be difficult. I always convince myself that maybe I will end up wearing a random piece of clothing later on, or maybe someone will want to borrow my obscure band t-shirt.

The reality is, you have to remind yourself none of that will ever happen, and if you continue to make excuses, more often than not it will just create more of a mess for you later.

All of this makes cleaning out my closet a real trouble for me, and something I truly put off for as long as I can. The first step I did was take all my clothes in my closet and put them on my bed. After rummaging through everything, then I started separating clothes into piles and throwing the ‘undesirables’  on the floor. There were little piles everywhere that you couldn’t even see the floor. I had to separate everything once my bed was completely filled.

I had piles for my pants. Piles for my shirts. For my dresses. For my shoes. There were so many piles I was starting to lose track.

Once I had separated everything, I had to try on some things I wasn’t sure about, and this is what took the longest and was honestly the most painful. Regardless I trudged on and kept going since I was so close.


Clothes were flying left and right as I was trying things on, and I guess you don’t realize how much you’ve grown until you see clothes from 4 years ago buried in your drawers. Regardless, the whole process took less than two hours, which surprisingly isn’t that much time.

After I had gathered a nice-sized clothes monster at the end of this process, I placed everything in a plastic bag and now I am off to sell these clothes at Buffalo and make a nice little chunk of change for myself. I try my best to hold on to clothes and to only shop and trade clothes to reduce waste, and this is truly a necessity if I want to continue this process. It would have been fun to go through my clothes with a friend since I am letting my friends go through them and pick what they want before I try and sell/donate my clothes. I will have to remember for last time. Nonetheless, this was a great exercise in organization and determination, and I highly recommend doing this at least twice a year!


Make sure to clean out your closet every once in awhile, you might be surprised by what you find 🙂


7 Yummy Desserts to try on New Years!

25 Dec

I have compiled a list of 7 delicious desserts to try this New Years Eve! Get your fill on sweets before you make your New Years diet resolution 😉

  1. No-Bake Cheesecake Dessert Cups 


This is a really really simple dessert recipe that will be a sure hit at any party or event this holiday season! It only uses 4 ingredients!

Link to recipe

2. Chocolate Cheesecake Fondue


This is a great recipe that offers a good selection of choices for people! It’s really easy to make it look impressive and even easier to assemble.

Link to recipe

3. Almost Midnight Cookie Bites


Here is a fun and festive way to reign in the New Year! These super easy cookie clocks will be a hit as you countdown for the New Year!

Link to recipe

4. Sugar Cookie Pizzas


If you are looking for something a little more healthy (ha), then this is the recipe for you. It is simple, fast, and utilizes fresh fruit too!

Link to recipe

5. Turtle Pretzel Bites


For an even healthier option, I give you Turtle Pretzel Bites. These are actually my mom’s favorite and utilize “healthier” ingredients, while also being quite cheap to make.

Link to recipe

6. Dark Chocolate Creme Brulee


For those with a large sweet tooth for chocolate I have got the recipe for you. It is not as hard as it sounds, and it very beautiful to present when you are done making them. Impress everyone at New Years with these cute and flavorful brulees.

Link to recipe

7. Ball Drop Cupcakes


I saved perhaps the best recipe for last. This is for those people who are really trying to impress their guests this holiday season. If you’ve got the time and the patience, I highly recommend this recipe. It is a great creative and challenging recipe for the holidays!

Link to recipe

Good luck this holiday season and make sure to eat every sweet you see!

~ Mandi


You First

22 Nov

The first semester of college can be a daunting experience. Maybe you went through this first part of the year with such ease, even seniors in high school would be jealous. Or, maybe you had a really difficult time navigating through your first semester, and you came out with a couple of bumps and bruises. Whatever the case may be, hopefully, I can lend you a little insight as I reflect on my first semester of my sophomore year.

Let me give you some background about what my freshman year was like.  After I left college at the end of the year, I went back to my friends in my hometown and told them this…


Now, I realize the immense gift it was to have a pretty easy and successful freshman year. Luckily my high school was really tough on academics, and it made my freshman year in college quite easy. I had no morning classes either semester, I lived on a great spot in campus, I had zero roommate issues, I had made tons of friends – it was a great start to my college experience.

Now coming around for my sophomore year, I did not expect it to be as easy as my freshman year since right from the gate my schedule was way more intense. But man-O-man, let me tell you, I could have never imagined the difficulty I was going to face this first semester. Hopefully, with these tips on my experiences, some of you can make peace with any issues

If you have roommate problems:


Look. Whether you lived at home, in an apartment, or on campus, chances are you ran into a couple of issues with floor mates, roommates, or family members. The only thing I can say is, try you best to meet people in the middle, but always remember to speak up if you are feeling neglected or mistreated. This is a good life lesson, because at the end of the day there are just going to be people you don’t like, and there are just going to be people who don’t like you. You can’t control anyone but yourself.

If you had a busy schedule:


Having to work alongside a full class schedule for the first time in my life was exhausting this year. I did not realize the meaning of time management until I had to frantically create a system to help organize my messy life. As you progress through college, you will find it is probably going to get more difficult over time. Especially if you decide to work along with your studies, being busy can seem like a struggle. The only way to get through this,in my opinion, is to stay positive and organized. Sometimes we are going to have to sacrifice time with our friends to study, or vice versa, maybe this quiz is not as important as something with your family or friends. This semester has taught me that not all decisions are clear, but they are important for you mental health and overall happiness.

If you got a bad grade (or a couple):


Getting a bad grade is bound to happen at least once in your college career, if not more than once. For some of you, like myself, getting a less than stellar grade your first semester might be your first time. Honestly, it sucks, a lot. Sometimes you just have to accept that you aren’t a superhero and that you can’t succeed in everything. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t options out there for you to try! Maybe you can GRO the class or work hard next semester to balance out the grade. Just try and remember to tell yourself one grade does not define your worth!

If you didn’t make as many friends as you thought:


Now for some people, maybe this wasn’t a problem. Last year I had a really easy time making friends. But I know a lot of people who perhaps didn’t make as many as they thought and that’s ok! It’s ok for two simple reasons. 1. Even if you make friends, it doesn’t mean they will be around forever, or even past one semester. I definitely made friends last year that I don’t talk to now, and that’s ok, not everyone is supposed to stick around forever. And 2. It’s never too late to get out there and try! Try going to events on campus, joining clubs, or talking to more people in your classes if you can! I still find myself meeting new and interesting people and we are almost done with this semester!

If you had some Ups and Downs:

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Maybe you were told that college was going to be this fun party 24/7 and that you would have a nearly amazing time. The reality is, though, you are going to go through some struggles, some people more than others. College can be fun, and at times it can be a breeze. But like the wind, it can turn into a raging Haboob (Arizona dust storm reference ;)) in 2.5 seconds. Next thing you know you are living off ramen, writing your 5-page essay due in 2 hours while trying to keep  your life from falling apart. Just know that we all go through those trying times and that if you keep working hard and asking for help when you need it, you can get through it!

At the end of the day,the first semester is a trial run for the rest of your college career. We all learn from our mistakes, and we keep growing as we look towards the future. Reach out when you need it and help out when you can, because at the end of the day. We are all in this together. 😉