Archive by Author

The History of Cinco de Mayo

1 May

Cinco de Mayo is widely celebrated throughout the United States. If you plan on partaking in the celebration, it’s important to know exactly what you’re celebrating. If you’re saying to yourself, “It’s Mexican Independence Day, right?”. Well, not exactly. But that’s okay! We’re here to learn!

So, here’s the basic run down on what we’re celebrating:

Many Americans think Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day, which is understandable since it sounds pretty similar to “Fourth of July”. However, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of the Mexican army in the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

Britain, Spain, and France attacked Mexico, after Mexico failed to reimburse the European countries for the money it previously borrowed. Britain and Spain struck a deal with Mexico and exited the war, but Napoleon III, ruler of France, saw the war as an opportunity to take power over Mexican territory.

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Town of Puebla

In 1862, French General Charles Latrille de Lorencez, set out to attack the town of Puebla with 6,000 troops. Mexican President Benito Juárez sent Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza with only 2,000 to fight back. The battle lasted one day and the Mexican army was severely outnumbered. After 500 French soldiers died (and less than 100 Mexican soldier deaths), General Charles Latrille de Lorencez withdrew his troops. The Mexican army claimed victory of the Battle of Puebla.

Many Americans are surprised to learn that Cinco de Mayo is not a huge celebration in Mexico. The holiday is mainly celebrated around the Town of Puebla, but it is not a federal holiday. However, celebrations include military parades and recreations of the battle.

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In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is seen as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, especially in areas with a large population of Mexican-Americans, like Tucson. Many parties are held with mariachi bands and folklórico dancers. (For Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Tucson, click here)

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If you go out and celebrate Cinco de Mayo this week, now you know what you’re actually celebrating! Yay for culture!

-Briana

P.S. In case you were wondering, Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on September 16th.

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#AdventurousApril: Relay for Life

28 Apr

I’m a true believer in finding adventures everywhere you go. (Mainly because I can’t afford a trip to Spain, but also because it’s important to always have fun!) My club, Rotaract, participated in Relay for Life a couple of weekends ago and we had so much fun. We even raised nearly $800 for the American Cancer Society. #proud

Relay for Life is a 12-hour event that occurs around the nation to raise money for the American Cancer Society. People either donate money or pledge a certain amount for every lap that they walk. Luminaries lit up along the mall and from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM, we camped out on the mall and had so much fun while doing it.

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Different types of entertainment happen throughout the night. The Charles Darwin Experience performed and there was a drag show, too! My club had a blast, while honoring those who have battled through cancer.

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Participating for Relay for Life is an incredible experience. It’s a fun event with a  serious cause. Many points in the evening are filled with sentiments and emotion, but there are also many laughs and cheers throughout the night. You can dedicate a luminary to someone you know who has battled through cancer or walk for the cause.

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Participating with a group of people is a great bonding experience, too. Camping out on the mall for twelve hours while being sleep deprived is a sure way to create some loud laughs and great memories. It was definitely an adventure.

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-Briana

Registration Follow-Up: Now What?

25 Apr

Even after three years, I will never stop being upset over having to wake up at 6:00 on a Monday morning to register for classes. The only thing that makes that experience worse is when you don’t even get all of the classes you want, or worse, the classed you need.

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The first time I registered for courses, I only got two of the six that I wanted. I panicked. Well, first I went back to bed. But, then I panicked when I woke up. I’m here to tell you not to panic! Here’s some things you can do, instead:

1. Remember That Registration is a Whole Week

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…And then remember that it extends even beyond that. Classes close pretty quickly on Monday morning, especially gen eds. As the week goes on, though, people start dropping classes and rearranging their schedules. Keep checking UAccess throughout the week to see if a seat opens up in the class. People start swapping classes most during the Monday and Tuesday of registration week. So, I’m usually constantly refreshing my shopping cart during those days.

2. Check Back Later

Just because registration week is over doesn’t mean your schedule is final. Registration opens up again for everyone this week. Remember to check back throughout the next few weeks and into summer to find an open seat. Just be aware that freshman orientation sessions might prevent you from registering during certain points during the summer. Check back even as late as the first week of school! This is when students go to the first day of class and realize that the course isn’t for them or it doesn’t work out with their schedule.

3. Ask the Professor

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If all else fails, you can ask the professor. Even if the class is full, professors may make an exception and allow you to enroll. Just go to the first day of class and bring an add/drop form and talk to them after class. Hint: It’s always a good idea to show the professor that you’re interested in the course and why you’re interested.

4. Talk to Your Academic Advisor

If you can’t enroll in a course that you need to take, talk to your academic advisor. They may be able to pull some strings or find another course that can replace the requirement. Although, keep in mind that they are not always able to help you. But sometimes they can work some magic.

5. Look for Other Courses

I’m sorry to say this, but sometimes you just need to look for another class. Some gen ed courses are extremely popular and are nearly impossible to get into. If you’ve tried everything you can think of and just can’t seem to have any luck, it’s probably time to look into taking an alternative course.

Don’t forget that you want to stay enrolled in at least 12 units at all times during your search, so even if you load up on classes you’re planning to swap out later, register for all your units! Tuition billing and financial aid disbursement might get held up if you’re not registered as a full time student when the processing starts. Good luck on your hunt for classes!

-Briana

Your Guide to Summer Internships

9 Apr

It’s easy for students to fall into the idea of having a completely work-free three months of summer. Of course you want to relax, but sometimes it hits the third week of summer and you’re already bored. What are you possibly going to do for three months? tom2 Summer break is the perfect opportunity for college students to get an internship. We’re not distracted by a full schedule of classes, club meetings, exams, etc. If the realm of internships is an entirely new world for you, here are some things to know: 1. Résumé If you haven’t yet, this is a good time to start cleaning up that résumé. You’re about to finish another school year, so add the clubs you’ve been involved in and show off your GPA! Finalizing your résumé is the first step to finding an internship. 2. Keep an Open Mind tom6 Think about your future career. Is it in an office? Is it outdoors? The purpose of an internship is to get “real world” experience in the field you want to go into. Remember to keep an open mind. If your dream is to be a lawyer, your first internship probably won’t have you pulling an Elle Woods anytime soon. My first internship in a law office had me shredding paper and filing, but it was still awesome to see day-to-day operations. 3. Consider Your Location – Tucson, Home, or Abroad? If you’re sure that you’ll be spending your summer back home, then look for internships in that city or town. If you happen to find an internship in Tucson and you’re scrambling for summer housing, many students who are leaving for the summer are subleasing their apartments. Residence Life also offers summer housing in certain residence halls. There are also options to have an internship abroad. Although I’m sure you may be able to independently find an internship abroad, many students go through the Study Abroad department on campus. It is probably too late to apply for this upcoming summer, but remember that this is an option next summer! Keep in mind that internships abroad typically cost money. 4. You Might Not Get Paid, But It’s Surprisingly Worth It tom3 My first internship wasn’t a paid position. Actually, my first paid internship is happening this summer. Don’t let that bring you down, though. That internship where I was shredding papers and filing all day? They’re the ones who led me to this paid position! I cannot stress enough how invaluable the connections are worth. You may be graduating some time soon and you never know who will be hiring when you graduate! 5. Finding an Internship tom5 There are many companies and organizations that specifically have internship programs. If you’re interested in public health, you can simply google “public health internships in Tucson”. Ask your friends who have been through internship programs. They’ll be able to tell you about their experience and give you tips. You can also ask your academic advisors. When companies are hiring interns, many of them reach out to academic advisors for majors that coincide with that career field. If all else fails, approach them! When I wasn’t able to find an internship program, I found a company that I wanted to work for and sent in my cover letter and résumé. They hired me! The hiring manager commended me for being proactive and going for what I wanted. 6. Internships Are Awesome. Have Fun With It. Even if you’re not being paid or you’re doing simple tasks, always observe what’s around you. I always loved looking at the work the lawyers in the office were doing and realizing that it was only a matter of years until I was as cool as they were. I don’t even care how uncool that sounded. Seeing how your career field operates every day just makes you that much more motivated to work your hardest because, believe it or not, that’s you in a few years. tom1 Happy Internship Hunting!

-Briana

#MiddlingMarch: Setting Up Mini-Adventures!

16 Mar

I’m not going to “sugar coat” it. At this point in the semester I’m done. All of the exams, papers, meetings, etc. has worn me out and I’m ready for a break. Except there’s one problem: We’re barely in March.

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The mid-semester lull hits the hardest in March and I need some kind of motivation to keep me going. I used to countdown the days until summer break, but starting a countdown with 70+ days left does the opposite of motivating me.

Instead of counting down to a day so far into the future, I make small countdowns to adventures! Creating small adventures in between now and the end of the semester is a great way to motivate yourself and give yourself the very needed break.

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These adventures don’t need to be anything extravagant. Just setting up a time to do something new, spend time with friends, and take a break is all it takes! Here’s the calendar for my adventures until the end of the semester:

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Now I get to be excited for what’s happening in six days, instead of counting down from 70 days. My adventures aren’t anything extreme. I have days planned where I just bake with my best friend and have a picnic. I also have a mini-roadtrip to Flagstaff, which will be a little more of an adventure than others. The point is to plan events that you’ll look forward to. You’ll get your mind off of homework and meetings, so you can take a mental break.

Think of the next adventure that awaits you and have fun with the rest of your semester! We’re almost there!

-Briana

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Spring Break in Tucson

13 Mar

As a Tucson native, I’m often asked what there is to do in this city. With Spring Break quickly approaching, I’ve been getting this question a little more often as students are wondering how they should spend their extra time in Tucson. Spending your break in Tucson is a great time to explore places outside of campus, especially since we’re not as bogged down by school, work, and other responsibilities.

If you’re spending your break in Tucson, check out this calendar of awesome events happening around town during Spring Break and discover what makes Tucson so special:

2nd Saturdays Downtown – March 14th | 5:00 PM-10:30 PM

2nd Saturdays Downtown is a monthly tradition in Tucson. Just like the name implies, the second Saturday of each month is a celebration throughout downtown Tucson. The variety of entertainment, from concerts to award shows, is sure to make everyone have a good time. Head over to the Rialto Theatre to watch The Baddy Awards, an award show honoring the most original and “baddest” creative advertising throughout Tucson. Have a bike? Take a ride down to Jacome Plaza to watch a documentary in honor of Women’s History Month. Click here to find all of the events. Outdoor admission is free, but some events may require tickets.

Tucson Festival of Books – March 14th to March 15th | 9:30 AM- 5:30 PM

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If you’ve been wondering why there are so many tents around campus, it is for the Tucson Festival of Books! The festival runs all weekend long, from 9:30 to 5:30 each day. Over 400 authors will be hosting book signings and panel discussions. There will also be staged entertainment and food vendors from around Tucson. Admission is free! Who doesn’t love a free festival?!

4th Avenue Spring Street Fair – March 20th to 22nd | 10:00 AM- 6:00 PM

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The 4th Avenue Street Fair occurs twice a year and it’s back for its Spring season! With weather in the 80s, enjoy a nice day outdoors, browse local shops and art, and eat great food! There are over 400 arts and crafts booths, street musicians, nearly 40 food vendors, and more. Join over 300,000 people in this Tucson tradition. Admission is free. Click here for more info.

Creative Volunteering at Ben’s Bells – Tuesday to Saturday | 10:00 AM- 5:00 PM

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Visiting Ben’s Bells is a fun, creative way to give back to the community. In memory of her son, Jeannette Maré founded Ben’s Bells as a way to inspire intentional kindness around the community. When you volunteer at Ben’s Bells, you paint and mold ceramic wind chimes that are given throughout Tucson. Ben’s Bells has two locations, one on University Blvd. and downtown. Downtown location is for large groups. I’ve volunteered for Ben’s Bells on many occasions and each time has been a wonderful experience. If you decide to get your creative juices flowing at Ben’s Bells, they ask that you “bring a buck” to donate to their cause.

Visit Baby Nandi at Reid Park Zoo – Monday to Sunday | 9:00 AM- 4:00 PM

If you haven’t heard, our zoo welcomed a new baby elephant into the world a few months ago and I’m obsessed. I went to her baby shower, but have yet to visit the cutie. Although the zoo is open from 9:00am to 4:00pm, Baby Nandi is usually in her exhibit from 9:00am to 1:30pm. You can also feed the giraffes and eat in their cafe. Reid Park Zoo is sure to be a fun time. Check here for admission prices.

Tucson Botanical Garden – Monday to Sunday | 8:30 AM- 4:30 PM

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The Tucson Botanical Gardens is a great place to go if you’re looking for a relaxing Spring Break. They just recently opened their Butterfly Magic exhibit, which will be open from 9:30am to 3:30pm during Spring Break. You can either fly solo or take a tour. Click here for admission prices.

Eat at a Local Restaurant

Tucson has some of the best food in the country, I’m convinced! Over Spring Break, visit a local restaurant that you can’t find anywhere else. Café 54, owned by a UA alumna, is a unique place. It supports those recovering from mental illness by giving them on-the-job training for multiple restaurant positions. Their food is great, too! Go to Eat Local Tucson to find more restaurants!

Climb at Rocks & Ropes – Monday through Friday | 3:00 PM- 10:00 PM

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Test out your strength and flexibility by trying indoor rock climbing. Rocks & Ropes is located relatively close to campus and is a great way to spend your evening. If you’re a first-timer, then you should arrive three hours prior to close. Don’t have equipment? Don’t worry about it! Rocks & Ropes can rent out equipment for pretty fair prices.

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I know it may seem like Tucson is a small town, but it has so many hidden treasures! I’ve listen eight, but there are endless amounts of places to go. Head to the nearest mountain and have a picnic. Go to the lake at Kennedy Park. Watch a show at Fox Theater. Even as a Tucson native, there are many places that I have yet to visit in this city. So, go out and explore!

Have a stellar Spring Break!

-Briana

Baby-stepping Into Adulthood

27 Feb

Being a “college adult” is hard. Sure, we might not be full-fledged adults. We don’t typically have to worry about mortgages and life insurance policies, but many of us are paying rent and getting credit cards for the first time in our lives. Transitioning from living in the dorms (with an RA to keep tabs on everyone) to remembering to pay bills on time can seem scary.

I acclimated to these changes throughout my sophomore year. I made mistakes, I had successes, and, most of all, I had wished that people would have given me a lot more advice. So, in an attempt to make your transition to “college adulthood” at least slightly easier than mine, here are the experiences I had and what I learned along the way:

1. Take Your Time Choosing a New Home

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To me, my dorm was never a home. It was just the place where I happened to fall asleep at the end of the day. So, if you’ve decided you want to live in a house or apartment for your sophomore year, make sure you’re remembering that this is going to be more than a dorm. It’s going to be your home.

Imagine your ideal living situation and try to come as close to that as possible. Is your roommate messy or clean? Do they want to share groceries or keep them separate? Do you want to live with one other person or three other people? How close to campus do you want to be? These are all considerations that you should take seriously as you think about your first home.

2. Budget, budget, budget

gif1      Budgeting might not be new to you, especially since you’ve already been in college for at least a year. However, you may need to be a little more strict on yourself. As a freshman, I was relied on my mom more than I’d like to admit. She texted me when my balance was low and made sure that I wasn’t spending too much money.

Budgeting when you move out comes with some obvious changes, like paying your rent and electric bill monthly. There are also not so obvious ones, like groceries. Since you probably won’t have a meal plan, you’ll need to make sure you’re not buying a five packets of Oreos per week.

3. Learn to Cook

Living on campus usually means that your diet basically consists of Cactus Grill, Panda Express, and, if you were feeling fancy, Chipotle. You always had the option of cooking in your hall’s community kitchen, but who wanted to lug pots and pans to and fro? (Never in my life did I think I would use the phrase ‘to and fro.’ This is what adulthood does to you).

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Once I was in an apartment, I knew that I should have been cooking meals on a daily basis. But since I didn’t know how to cook, I ended up spending money on Cactus, Panda, and Chipotle all over again. Now that I know cooking really isn’t that difficult, I regret spending all of that money.

Learn how to cook as soon as possible. Use sites like Pinterest for simple and beginner recipes or ask your parents for some of their tips and tricks with cooking. It’ll save you money in the long-run and homemade meals are much healthier and tastier than Panda Express anyway.

4. Be a College Student

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This might strike you as an odd piece of advice since you’ve already been in college for a year. What I mean by “be a college student” is look back on how your first year went. What were your successes? Did you make any mistakes? Maybe you wished you would have been more involved or you wish your grades would have been better. Envision the rest of your college career and make a list of actions to achieve that image. Make yourself the best college student you can be.

The transition from high school to college is a tough one, but the transition into your second year has its challenges, too. This is an exciting time in your life. Slowly, but surely, you’re becoming an adult! If you’re anything like me, you’ll make a ton of mistakes, but you’ll have some awesome achievements, too! Just know that we’re already proud of all that you’ve accomplished so far. Being an “almost adult” is a learning experience and believe in yourself to make the right decisions.

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Go get ’em, tigers!

-Briana

#FearlessFebruary: “Just Don’t Look Down!”

19 Feb

I’ve always been confident when it comes to facing my fears. I used to be afraid of water when I was younger, so I fixed it by joining a swim team. When I realized I was afraid of speaking in class, I forced myself to raise my hand in my 400-student lecture class. I faced my fears head-on and did what I could to outgrow my fears.

A few weeks ago, I faced another one: the fear of heights. As part of a team building experience, my club went to the 4-H High Ropes Course in Tucson. If you’ve never heard of a high ropes course, it is basically an intricate obstacle course… except it’s forty feet in the air, which is taller than a three-story house. If you need a visual, take a look at this video:

I’ve done courses like these many times before. In fact, this was the seventh time I’ve done it. Feeling super experienced, I walked up to the ladder with extreme confidence. I probably even told the newbies to “watch and learn”.

i-got-this-gifI climbed the ladder like a champ. I was ready to take on the course and make it look like a flawless effort. I reached the top… and then I looked down.

scaredAll hopes of being the most graceful gazelle on the course flew out the window. (That analogy was weird, but I’m going with it.) My legs were shaking and I held onto the pole as tight as I could. By the time my team yelled, “Just Don’t Look Down!”, it was far too late. WHY WASN’T THIS EASY BY NOW?

With the encouragement of my team, I eventually made it across the course. I leaped off the platform, walked across a wire, and swung like Tarzan at 45 feet in the air. After it was all done, I had an incredible rush of adrenaline that can only be felt after facing a fear. I lived to tell the tale… and share pictures!

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Finally, just a little piece of inspiration for you…

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Stay Fearless, my friends.

-Briana

#JumpStartJanuary: A Clear Living Environment is a Clear Mind

20 Jan

I’m just going to come right out and admit it: I’m a mess. At the end of every semester, my bedroom turns into a landfill, my computer desktop is covered with random files, and I’ve completely stopped using my agenda. Any organization that I had in my life has flown out the window.

The beginning of every semester is a time to take a step back, accept the mess that I’ve become, and fix it! I’m a true believer in “clear environment, clear mind”. If my bedroom is a mess, my life is a mess. So, with a little bit of help from Pinterest, ideas from friends, and continuing past organizational habits, I have once again restored  clarity and organization in my life.

Here are some of the little tips and tricks that I’ve developed along the way:

 

1. Assignment Sheet

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My biggest fear is walking into class and asking, “Wait, there was something due today?” As students, we’re juggling so much and it can be easy to forget about due dates. An assignment sheet is an at-a-glance page, broken down by months. Learn how to create one here.

 

2. Desktop Wallpaper

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Every time I need to quickly save a photo, document, or any file onto my computer, my instinct  is to save it onto my desktop. After a while, my desktop becomes cluttered with random files. A few days ago, I discovered this brilliant idea. Set your desktop background to an image that has specific sections for your files, like the one I’ve set for my laptop, pictured above. Click here to get the wallpaper that I used and use PicMonkey to customize your own folders. If you’re not a fan of the design, you can also make your own with PicMonkey.

 

3.  Desk Organization 

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Throughout the semester, I spend most of my time at my desk. So it’s essential that it’s organized and that it looks warm and inviting. I have my trusty #MugLife mug from Target, my writing utensils in Mason jars, and a candle. Get some ideas from good ole Pinterest and figure out what kind of environment works for you to get your brain going.

 4. “Peek at the Week” Calendar

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I’ve always been a fan of calendars. Wall calendars, Google calendar, Canary – I’ve used them all. Recently, I found a new calendar from a blog, called “Peek at the Week”. I fill out a new sheet every Sunday night, so I’m up to date on what’s happening the following week. Click here to download your own copy.

 

Taking the time at the beginning of each semester to organize your life is essential to your success.  Find what organization tips work for you and create a clean environment for your semester. Good luck!

-Briana

#DreadedDecember: Becoming Bobby Flay

22 Dec

We should just start this off by acknowledging my lack of cooking skills. To be as clear as possible: I suck at cooking. I burn almost every grilled cheese sandwich I make and I’ve managed to ruin canned soup. I pretty much avoid cooking at all costs.

I always feel bad about making a bowl of cereal for dinner or eating too much fast food, so I challenged myself to a 30-day Cooking Challenge. Basically, I vowed to cook every single day for thirty days.

Although this was something I was dreading, at least it gave me an excuse to peruse through the great world of Pinterest. I looked through my board and had plans to make homemade pizza, spaghetti squash pasta, chicken tortilla soup… I was ready to feed an entire army!

I definitely had some stumbles along the way, like only owning salt and pepper with no other spices and realizing I didn’t own a measuring cup halfway through the recipe. Even so, I was determined to complete the challenge!

Here are some of my favorite dishes, so far:

Chicken Burrito Bowl

My first meal was a “Knock-Off Chipotle Bowl”. Doesn’t that sound great? Who doesn’t love Chipotle? Get the recipe here.

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This came out super yummy! This is when I learned to follow the recipe precisely, especially in regards to ingredients. It asked for long grain rice, but I decided to use the regular rice we had, so it didn’t soak up the water as well. #rookiemistake

Ham & Cheddar Panini

This was another meal I was super excited about. There were so many options, but I decided to make a simple ham, cheddar, and spicy mustard panini. Obviously, it was delicious because cheese. I didn’t use the Hawaiian bread suggested and I really wish I had. Get the recipe here.

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Chicken Fajita Soup

The most recent dinner I made was a chicken fajita soup. Soup is my favorite thing to eat, especially during the winter months. This soup had all of my favorite ingredients – avocado and cheese. (I’m just now realizing how unhealthy this sounds, but it was worth it!) Get the recipe here.

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I’m only 16 days into the challenge, but I’m determined to keep going. There have definitely been days that I didn’t cook, but considering how little I cooked before, this is a huge improvement. I haven’t reached my full Bobby Flay potential yet, but I can feel it coming. I’m not completely helpless when it comes to cooking. It also made me realize that my pictures of food will never look as good as the ones on Pinterest. How do they do it?! Anyway…

If you hate cooking, I really encourage you to take this challenge. You can even just make it a 7-day challenge, instead of 30. It’s really not as terrible as I thought it would be and you get so much yummy food out of it!

-Briana