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#NovembertoRemember: Treat Yo’self

27 Nov

Courtney's Blog Calendar (2).png

Sometimes all you need to do towards the end of the semester is Treat Yo’self. This is one thing I always forget to do, especially when finals are approaching. This time of year is so hard to do anything other than school because I feel like I do not have any free time from prepping for finals to the holidays. This month, I have decided to challenge myself to do one thing for myself every day. I know this may seem easy to do, but surprisingly, it has been a very difficult task.

I’ve been going through a very hard time lately with family issues and I have been encouraged by a lot of people to focus on myself, rather than worry about things that out of my control. This is something that is very difficult for me to do, hence why I am trying to slowly integrate things to just focus on myself into my day-to-day schedule. As you can see above, I have created a fun calendar that lists everything I am trying to do for myself throughout this month to keep myself accountable. After the day has passed, I look on my calendar and mark if I accomplished my treat yo’self task or not. If I don’t complete giphy-downsized.gifthe task for myself, I try really hard to do the one for the next day. The things I have put on this calendar are things I think are realistic for me to accomplish with my hectic schedule; some of these include: painting my nails, sleeping in, using a facial mask, and sitting out by a fire. All of these things are simple, but are fun and relaxing to me (which is much needed!).

The first week of the month all about doing things for myself, I did very well! It was fun to do things for myself and acknowledge the impact. I started to be happier throughout my day and I had something to look forward to every day that was not for anyone else or for school. I let my coworkers know about my challenge and they would do a great job asking what I did for myself that day/week, which was not just helpful for keeping myself accountable, but also encouraging to keep doing the fun tasks on my calendar. As the month continued on, honestly, I started to slack on treating myself every day. Schoolwork and family started to dominate (like always) and looking at my calendar, I was disappointed I missed out on doing things I was really looking forward to. Some of the things I was really upset about not completely were going to Mt. Lemmon (I’ve been trying to go up all semester, but have not gotten there), do my nails (I haven’t done them since September), and meditate (I’ve wanted to try this for awhile now). Even though I didn’t get to do these things this month, I always have time to do this AFTER finals week.

I have learned a lot about doing this little challenge. I’ve learned to list things out I really want to do for myself and remind myself to take a little time out of my day to do it! It was amazing to set a time of free time for myself, during all of the chaos. I’ve learned to set time to check in on how I am doing and to take a break. After this month, I definitely am going to try to keep this going from here on out.

It is so important to take time out of YOUR day to TREAT YO’SELF!!!




#NovembertoRemember: Vegetarian (for 2 Weeks)!

26 Nov

Hi everyone, so for my November to Remember blog I wanted to try something that I have been thinking about for some time. I wanted to go two weeks completely without meat!

vegetarians GIF

Personally, I didn’t really think this would be that hard for me. My meat consumption isn’t that high any way, and I don’t even really like red meat that much. (I know, In N’ Out fans out there, please don’t hate me). Also, I would like to say that my reasoning behind this wasn’t exactly noble — don’t get me wrong, sometimes I see those videos about how they slaughter animals, and I am ready to give up meat… until you put some chicken nuggets in front of me, that is. But no, my reason for doing this was more so because I wanted to see how I would feel afterwards. Could I handle it?

panda eating GIF

I have lot of friends that have gone vegetarian, and are hoping to turn vegan one day, and they rave to me about how amazing they feel! I am genuinely so impressed by them because even though there are more vegan/vegetarian options out there these days, there is a good deal of preemptive work that they have to do. But they are so passionate and willing. SO OF COURSE, I had to be able to handle just two weeks with ease.

rabbit eating GIF

Spoiler alert: Wrong. It wasn’t easy! I eat meat more than I thought. The turkey sandwich I grab before heading to work (Shout out: On Deck Deli) — no longer an option. The traditional desi biryani my roommate’s mom makes for us  (bless her heart) — no longer an option. I was having to make some big purchases on my not-so-big food budget.

Don’t get me wrong – hummus is so good. So are celery and carrots and all of that! But it was… A LOT of hummus.

By day 5, I was feeling a little light headed, so I made sure to eat eggs and get some protein in my body! That’s another huge thing — I was concerned about how my energy levels would be, but once I started being conscientious of putting certain nutrients in my body, I started feeling better! I started feeling really good actually. Also, for whatever reason, I even started working out more than usual. (Maybe for the smoothies at Campus Rec lol?)

Despite that however, by the final day, I was ready for meat to be back in my life. This experience was a good one overall, and it also made me gain more respect and appreciation for my vegan/vegetarian friends. Props to y’all, honestly! Maybe one day I will try again because I was feeling pretty good, and those kale smoothies aren’t as awful as I thought they’d be LOL. Good luck with your own adventures, Wildcats!

-Amna 🙂

#NovembertoRemember: Volunteering to Save the Earth!

25 Nov

Hey, everyone! Recently, I’ve become inclined to start pulling my weight to help the Earth stay happy and healthy. We all know the basic ways to do this: recycle, ride your bike, turn off the lights when you’re not home. This month, though, I decided to volunteer for the first time in my life!

On Saturday, November 4th, I volunteered for the Arizona Assurance Adopt-A-Street Cleanup through Tucson Clean and Beautiful. Many of the people who volunteered were people I know pretty well, so it was a great way to connect with friends as well as help clean up the streets of Tucson! We were able to clean up one whole mile of sidewalk along Euclid Ave, collecting things like non-biodegradable foam cups, cans, glass bottles, etc.



Volunteering for a street cleanup really opens your eyes to the damage that a single person can do to the Earth. It’s important to remember not to throw your trash on the sidewalk or street – many man-made products will never biodegrade into the Earth.


I was able to make a difference as well as spend time with people that I enjoy being with! College is all about trying new things and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, so don’t be afraid to make some new memories. Through this experience, I’ve learned how important it can be to do whatever you can for the Earth, no matter how big or small it may be. I also learned that experiencing these things with people you enjoy being around can make it extremely fun. Next time you decide to try something new and exciting, push your friends to try it with you!



#NovemberToRemember: First trip to East Coast

24 Nov

Prior to college, I never traveled much except for the occasional road trips around Arizona or California. After my freshman year, I finally got the opportunities to travel to new states for conferences. This month, I got the courage to take a trip by myself for the first time. I flew from Tucson to Philadelphia to visit family and tour a grad school, and it was an adventure I will never forget.

The week leading up to my trip, I was so stressed out. I was terrified that I would hate being in a big city, that I would miss my connecting flight, or that the clothes I packed wouldn’t be warm enough. Luckily, I’ve flown enough times at this point that things like checking in for my flight and getting through security don’t stress me out anymore, or those things would have also made it onto the list as well. The first flight was pretty quick and easy, but I had a really short connection between flights. To top it off, my gates were nowhere near each other, forcing me to run through an entire terminal to make it on time. My heart was racing, but I finally got on the plane and three hours later I could see more trees with orange leaves than I could count. At that point, I could not contain my excitement.

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Part of the city from the sky.

For the first hour or so, I honestly was overwhelmed by how beautiful everything was. Having lived in Tucson my whole life, it was amazing to be in a place I’d always dreamed of- with real seasons. One thing that I was not quite expecting was how people drive on the East Coast. You always hear about how terrible driving there is, but you can’t truly understand it unless you’re in the middle of it. The next three days were action-packed with visits to the university, wandering through downtown, and going to visit all of the historical sights.

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The real Liberty Bell with Independence Hall in the background.

Growing up, American history was something I truly loved learning about. After all this time, I finally saw the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Carpenter’s Hall, and real colonial homes! We also visited the Museum of the American Revolution and the National Constitution Center. While things got a little repetitive, because each place wants you to have a full experience even if you know nothing about American history, it was incredible to see real artifacts from our nation’s founding.

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City lights at night.

All too quickly, it was time to go home! I was honestly really sad to leave, because I finally found a place where I could be free to explore and grow even more as a person. I love being in nature, and I was pleasantly surprised that it was not difficult to go from the heart of the skyscrapers to the forest. This experience definitely helped me gain more confidence in my ability to be an adult. I really love traveling, and I can’t wait to do more of it!


#NovembertoRemember: Cooking for Thanksgiving

23 Nov

A few weeks ago, my mom called me to talk about what our family was going to do for Thanksgiving. Typically, we get together with our family that lives in town at either my family’s house or my grandma’s house. While not a huge ordeal like some people’s families, we usually have around 10 people, so it’s still a pretty large dinner. Ever since we were kids, my mom and grandma got tasked with the cooking, but neither of them particularly like to cook, especially not Thanksgiving dinner. While I was on the phone with my mom, she surprised me by asking, “Do you want to cook Thanksgiving dinner this year?” I was caught off guard a little bit. “You want me to cook the whole dinner?” I replied. “Sure, why not?” my mom said. “We’ll help some, but do you want to do most of it?” “Umm ok, sure,” I said. I guess I was going to cook Thanksgiving dinner this year.

This isn’t really that unusual of her to ask. She hates cooking whereas I actually enjoy it, so it only makes sense that I’d do it. I’m actually pretty excited about it too. One of the reasons I really enjoy cooking is that I’m kind of a picky eater, so if I cook, I make things that I like. Usually on Thanksgiving, there are a lot of foods that people make that I don’t eat. Potato salad, green bean casserole, creamy jello, frog eye (it’s this weird creamy pasta salad… I don’t know why anyone thinks that’s a good idea). With all of these things on the menu, my plate is usually a bit more empty than anyone else’s.  I’m excited to be able to cook all of the foods that I love to eat, as well as learn how to make some of our family classics.

While the task seems kind of daunting right now, I’m really excited about it. I love to cook so it’ll be fun and a challenge to take on something so big for the first time. I’m also excited to learn to make new things and experiment a little bit outside of what I’m comfortable with. I love Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season so I’m ready to kick it off. I think this will definitley be a November to remember for me because I’m mixing my family traditions with my own style. I’m so excited to tell you about how it goes after next week, but for now I have a menu to prepare 😉

Hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving of your own and make some memories with your loved ones!


#NovemberToRemember: Tennis

22 Nov

This November we were prompted to do something memorable. Because I happen to think the most memorable times are spent with good people (good people, good times, right?), I decided to include one of my oldest friends in this memory making process. Jess and I met when we were fourteen our freshman year of high school and have stayed good friends ever since. Of course, my decision to move to Tucson and her decision to stay in Phoenix has made it so that our time spent together is few and far between: we’ve grown into our own selves over the years but have thankfully managed to stay close.

That’s why when Jess called me up a few weeks ago to invite me to a show her favorite band was playing in downtown Tucson, I was instantly game.

One of our favorite things to do together when we were younger was to go to as many shows and concerts as possible. Sadly, with the business of school and work I stopped making shows a priority. Fortunately, Jess’s visit couldn’t have come at a better time. Not only was I going to get to see my dear friend, but I was also going to go enjoy a great live performance (one of my favorite things in the world) and get some good blog content for this month!

All in all, the evening was great. We caught up, I met some of her new friends, and we all enjoyed a sweet show by a little band called Tennis. Definitely a cool sounding and even cooler looking group of people, let me tell you. The really great part of the night though was for sure getting to hang out with friends, both old and new.



#NovemberToRemember: PIZZA FESTIVAL

21 Nov

For those of y’all who know anything about me, LILI VU IS A PIZZA ADDICT.



I don’t mean I love pizza; I mean PIZZA IS MY LIFE.


Pizza is always there for you, yknow?

Anyway, this November, I went to the annual Pizza Fest, and can I SAY, IT WAS SO WORTH IT.


Imagine being surrounded by your favorite thing ever, from different makers! Talk about diversity!

There was deep dish, thin crust, sweet crust, double stuffed crust, and even gluten free! To make it even better, there were airbrush tattoos and great lemonade!


Had to get a snake because y’know, Slytherin

I have to give my heart out to Buddy’s pizza! Square shaped pizza with the most amount of toppings ❤ I was in love.

My friends and I had such a blast listening to great live music AND eating our hearts out.

This was definitely a worthwhile trip to Phoenix, and my heart is VERY content!

Stay beautiful and eat LOTS of ZZA!



#NovembertoRemember: Birds of a Feather Make Art Together

22 Nov


Picture a cozy café with a table by the window, your favorite tunes pouring from Pandora’s finest playlist, and your best friend beside you. Time stops for a pair of ASA mentors as they take the day to paint together. The ink flows like the conversation, slightly out of control, entirely enchanting.


We began with blank minds, blank pages and cappuccinos de chocolat blanc. Ink bottles, brushes and fountain pens littered the table as we began our work. We drew from our hearts, no plan, no reservations, just friendship and poetry of motion.

Taking time out of our busy week to make an art oasis out of an ordinary café was beyond rewarding. Sometimes the most valuable thing you can do with your time is to take a moment for yourself, an unstructured break that reminds you how important it is to play. All work and no play makes us dull students who won’t stand out in the crowd. Without moments like these, the days blur together in monotony, we forget who we are and where we’re going in this academic ocean of chaos. Take a moment, an hour, or even a whole day to make a memory this November and let it reward you like it rewarded us.

-Courtney & Amanda

#NovembertoRemember: Pumpkins and Patches

21 Nov

Experiencing a pumpkin patch is a must during the fall time. In fact, most people go to their first pumpkin patch as children with their families and get to play and eat funnel cakes like all families should. That’s what pumpkin patches are for—families and children. Yet, for some reason, I never got to go to a pumpkin patch as a kid and I never really cared. However, this year I decided that I would take my chances and try for a brand new experience to look back on in my old age. My very first time at a pumpkin patch was as a nearly twenty-year-old college student with no money and a big group of girlfriends. Perhaps it wasn’t the ideal first-time pumpkin patch visit, but it was a surprisingly sweet time!

My biggest question had to do with what the heck a pumpkin patch was even about because seriously, a giant pumpkin patch doesn’t sound like the most fun time in the world when you’re passed the age of seven. So I went… and to my utter disbelief, the patch was just a bunch of pumpkins. Outside of the pumpkin patch was a whole other thing. There were stands of delicious, unhealthy, fried foods, kettle corn stands, lemonade stands, games, and a few of my other favorite things (ha ha). Naturally, I had all of that and more. Kids ran around giggling and playing with their friends while parents strolled behind them snapping photographs. It was the most heartwarming atmosphere I’d been in in a while. Just families and friends having a nice time together, making new memories for the future just like I was. My friends and I even got to take a picture to commemorate our lovely afternoon!

Really, the best part about going to the patch wasn’t the patch itself. It may be a really fun time for the younger kids, but as an older person, there really isn’t much to do other than eat food, take a stroll, and take some pictures. Truly, the best part about going to the pumpkin patch was the quality time with people you enjoy being around (and the petting zoo). I couldn’t be more thankful to have such wonderful people around me to keep me uplifted every day, even on the worst days. If there is anything to be sure of, it’s that the company of great people almost always makes for the best days.




November to Remember

21 Nov

November went by so incredibly fast but it was a very eventful month. The Peer Mentors were challenged to do something memorable this month so I decided to talk about my first time going bridesmaid dress shopping.

My brother and his fiance are getting married next May and when Arielle, his fiance and my soon to be sister-in-law, asked me to be the Maid of Honor at their wedding, I was ecstatic! By ecstatic, it was a typical screaming, jumping, OMG of course kind of moment. This all happened a few months ago during the summer. Now time is winding down and wedding planning is a lot of work and effort. There are so many details that go into it but that is another story for another day!

This past three-day weekend, I went bridesmaids dress shopping with Arielle and the rest of the bridal party and it was really fun. Not as fun as the wedding dress shopping was, but this was still a pretty cool experience. It was like prom shopping all over again! I tried on so many dresses and honestly, they were actually really cute and flattering and not the stereotypical awful bridesmaid dresses you usually see in the movies! Arielle has two Maid of Honors, one being me and the other being a Matron of Honor who is her best friend. She, unfortunately, was not in the state so she couldn’t attend, but she was spammed in the group chat so she knew what was happening every moment as well.

We all tried on a variety of gowns and it was decided that the maids of honors were going to wear long flowy gowns while the bridesmaids would wear shorter dresses. The original plan was to have all of us wear slightly different dresses to show off our unique personalities. However, we were able to find a specific dress that not only flattered us all, but it came in a long and short style! The even better part is one of her colors are mint and that color looked amazing on all of us. The best part of this entire experience is Arielle is so low stress and she has not entered the Bridezilla phase at all which is what is making this experience so awesome for me!

I don’t have a picture of the dress we ended up choosing, unfortunately! Now that we have our dresses picked out, the next phase of wedding planning is starting. I’m so excited to see everything that has taken so much time and effort to do be completed and executed.