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Falling into Autumn #OutrageousOctober

16 Oct

This is my goal!

Bring on the Fall! For once in my college life, I am completely aware the seasons are changing and autumn will be among us soon! Every year, I somehow let October slip through my fingers and by the time November hits, I question if October even occurred. From Halloween fun, to Midterm stress, and my father’s (and my) birthday, this month is probably the most hectic time for me. However, THIS October will completely different. I am preparing for my favorite season and going to fully embrace the fall. Below I have made a list all of things I am going to do to welcome the new season and I invite you to embrace fall with me!


I NEED this! I wonder if it smells better than other pumpkin ones I’ve tried.

1. Make my home smell like Fall
I love candles to the point where my boyfriend says I shouldn’t buy anymore, but I do it anyways! They are so peaceful and also gives my home an amazing smell, which is always nice. This one is also a great and simple way to embrace the wonderful season because anyone can do it – if you can’t use open flames, there are diffusers, plug ins, sprays, and so many more options! If you like the aroma of fresh-baked goods, the woods, or other autumn scents, I can guarantee it is out there!

From online shopping to your favorite grocery store, there is always a section for candles, incenses, and air fresheners, which has all of the smells. There are seasonal fragrances that are great to fill your home with in order to enjoy the seasons even more. This year, I want to buy candles that smell like apples, cinnamon, and even find a pumpkin one. Unfortunately, I have not had any luck at finding a good smelling pumpkin candle, so if you know a good one, please let me know!


My inspiration!

2. Update my wardrobe to match the changing seasons
Do not be mistaken when I say, “update my wardrobe”. I am not trying to change my whole wardrobe around to make it all fall attire because: 1. I am a college student who has bills and 2. I don’t have time for that. All I want to do is incorporate a few pieces that can give off a fall vibe like cute booties, a few shirts with dark fall tones, and maybe (if I’m feeling adventurous) a fun scarf with plaid on it. I think this is always a fun thing to do because you don’t have to spend a lot of money on changing your wardrobe. Just buying a few things that are something you don’t typically wear, vamp up your whole wardrobe. 

This doesn’t exactly relate to wardrobe, but I also want to incorporate fall colors and Halloween images into my nails. I use to do this all of the time when I was in high school (because I had time then), but I definitely want to at least change my nails twice to match the season. Also it’s a little difficult to do this now because I am a sculptor and my nail polish chips off WAYY too soon. 

3. Dye my hair to fit more in with the fall colors
This one is probably the most bold, reckless, and permanent thing to do on this list, but too late, I already did it! The reasons I wanted to dye my hair in the first place were: I’ve been really into changing my hair lately, I’ve never tried an auburn/red/orange color before, and Pinterest. There were so many creative things that were popping up on my feed to embrace fall colors with hair and I could not resist. Also, with my blue eyes I knew I had to give it a shot because it would make them stand out A TON.

After four hours of sitting in a salon, two ladies drying my hair at the same time, and a little pricey bill at the end, it was TOTALLY worth it! I love my new hair and to my surprise I love it more than my natural hair and all of the other experiments I have tried (blonde and purple balayage, for example). This new look also gave me a huge boost of confidence and a little more sass throughout the day. If you have ever been skeptical about changing your look, just go for it! Worst case scenario, if you’re not in love with it, express that to the person who did your hair and they will change it for you to like it once again. You may also find you love yourself with a new look and it will bring you more confidence than you had before. 

4. Eat/Drink all things pumpkin


I love PUMPKINS! This turtle is too cute 🙂

Okay, okay. I know everyone thinks pumpkin spice is very overrated and “basic” when fall season hits, but I have no problem indulging in pumpkin anything. At first, being the cool person I am (just kidding), I did not want to participate in purchasing pumpkin items because I disliked that everyone went overboard with it, but after trying my first pumpkin spice latte, because my friend made me, I actually loved it and still do today. It brings warmness and nostalgia whenever fall comes around because I treat myself to this every autumn.

Other than the typical Pumpkin Spice latte at Starbucks, there are other goodies out there that are great to enjoy in this fall season. For the first time, I found pumpkin pie ice cream at the store, which was to die for! Not only did it taste exactly like pumpkin pie, but there were also pieces of pie crust which was a lovely surprise. There are pumpkin spice Oreos (?? which I guess is a thing now), pumpkin creamer (if you like to make your coffee at home), and pumpkin spice cereal (lol who knew?) out there to try. Unless you’re allergic to pumpkin, I would suggest trying some of these new pumpkin items if you haven’t already. Even though it is overrated, you may actually find you like pumpkin things and that’s great!

5. Go ALL out for Halloween
Usually I am putting together Halloween at the last-minute and last year it got so bad to the point my boyfriend and I got our Halloween costumes the day before. This year, it is not going to be that way. Because I am a planner (good joke), I have already took the initiative to plan what I am going to be this year with my boyfriend and started putting up Halloween decorations. We are going to be creepy clowns this year, thanks to the inspiration from IT (even though we haven’t seen the new one yet… lol)! Being an artist, I love to have costumes that incorporate face paint. For example one year I was a scary bunny, a skeleton, and a wolf. All of these costumes, I went all out on my face paint and it was a lot of fun! The Halloween fun does not stop there! Like I said we have started to put up Halloween decorations up (thanks to my boyfriend’s mom for letting us use some of hers). We are going to have scary decorations up for the majority of October, which might be terrifying or bring in more holiday cheer. 

The decorations will be perfect addition to our small get together we love to do every Halloween where our friends come over all dressed in costumes. In the past, we lacked the decorations because we shopped for Halloween last-minute and it was a little weird that the only Halloween aspect of our part was our costumes…but this time will be a lot more fun! I am also going to tap into my baking skills for this event to make Frankenstein cupcakes and Ghost cookies!

Another aspect that ties into the Halloween theme that I love to do is watch scary movies. Rob Zombie has incredible movies he produced, the SAW movies are intense, and The Nightmare Before Christmas is a classic and great because you can watch it over the course of two holidays! Other Halloween favorites include Hocus Pocus, Halloweentown, and Casper the Friendly Ghost (I know they’re kids movies, but I just can’t resist). Watching scary movies really gets me in the Halloween and October spirit, especially when there’s actually a Friday the 13th this month!!!

6. Take time to enjoy it all
Last, and especially, not least I am going to go out of my way to actually enjoy this month. With my hectic schedule (and I am sure you can relate) time goes by way too fast and I hate it. Honestly, I can’t even get over the fact we are already in the third month of the semester; where did the time go?? I am going to try my hardest to enjoy each and every day of this month to not only celebrate the fall season, but to also make the time go by slower. 


I hope this blog inspires you to try to embrace the fall months, even if this is your least favorite time of year. It is great to at least try to enjoy every moment of the year, especially when you are in college. These years you are spending in college will go by quickly (trust me, this is my last year) and it is important to enjoy the path rather than to try to race to the finish line

Enjoy the Fall Season!

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

#StudiousSeptember: Satisfying Study Sessions

19 Sep

Now that the semester is underway and the homework is rolling in, it’s time to study! While we usually meet this challenge without much enthusiasm, it is possible to make it an event to look forward to.

Spoil Thyself!

Have a well-deserved treat when you put your study time in! Small rewards like this will give you a little boost in your day.

Having a little caffeine can help your brain along. Try curling up in a café to do your assigned readings in caffeinated comfort. Even taking yourself out for a long lunch can make a thankless homework task into the highlight of your day.

Make Peace, Not Grief

Find a spot that evokes a sense of peace so you can study longer without struggling to sit still. The summer is almost over and the lawns are cool and green. There are tons of hidden benches and shady trees to give you a seat with sitting in, they’re the perfect places to have a meditative study session.

Having a regular study space set up at home can really help. Once you’ve established a spot that puts you in study mode, your brain will automatically know what you’re up to when you sit down. Since the hardest part is getting started, this will make things much easier in the long run.

If you find yourself getting distracted, try putting your headphones on and listening to some music. This is almost like putting the blinders on a horse so that he focuses on the road ahead.

That being said, limit your access to text messages, Netflix, and social media while you work. Maybe make a post letting your friends know that you’re getting ready to bear down for an hour or two. They’ll totally understand.

Organize to Limit Suffering

Have you ever looked at all of your papers, folders, books and handouts in a pile and felt like your head was going to explode? Getting overwhelmed is a good thing to avoid and a simple problem to solve.

If you know what’s on your syllabus, you can break things into steps and prioritize. Is it more important to study for a quiz that’s worth 15% or and exam that’s worth 40%? Making lists, writing your syllabus dates and deadlines on a calendar, or using the library’s assignment scheduler can help you. Not only will you know what to do with your study session, but you’ll be able to look ahead. Check out Think Tank’s “Semester on a Page” for a cool organizational tool.

Once you have your to-do list made, it’s time to knock it out. If you’re taking your studies out for a night on the town, be sure to pack your chargers, writing utensils, scratch paper and all of your materials for the classes you’re working on. The last thing you want to do is to get settled in only to find that you’ve brought the wrong book.

If you know you’ll be struggling with the material from a class as you study it, go where the help is! Getting stuck or stumped can be an important part of the learning process, but you want to connect to the resources around you before you get frustrated. Study near your professor’s office during their office hours, bring your work to Think Tank, or make a study group to give yourself a support network.

By spoiling yourself, seeking out your study oasis and breaking big tasks into small steps, you’ll set yourself up for success this semester.

Keep calm and study happily!



Prepping Makes Perfect

7 Aug

All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately, that includes summer. As this summer ends, why not make sure you are as prepared as you can be for next year? Last summer you were probably freaking out about what you would need for school, but this time you are much more prepared! Here are some helpful ideas on how to prep for your second year!

Figure out where your classes are…before the first day

This one might sound a little odd, but it really does help! The first day is stressful no matter what year you are in. Not only do you have a new Professor with their own teaching style, but you are receiving all your syllabi on the same day! This can be  vastly overwhelming, and any way you can help relieve that stress will be good!

Plan out your meals

This is something I always struggle to stick to. Often after I plan them out, I don’t feel like eating that meal on that day, but after all my classes it is nice to know exactly what I will be making for dinner. Additionally, if you are able, try to invest in a Crock-Pot or another type of slow cooker. This will allow your meals to cook while you are in class so that you can come home to a cooked meal! You can also use the left-overs for lunches for the rest of the week!

Actually use a planner

You will be reminded of this every semester. Planners are a great way for students to plan out their time and feel like they have a little more control. I cannot use a traditional planner because I never remember to check them or write things down, but I do utilize a teacher’s desk calendar. I take all my syllabi at the beginning of the semester, and write down the important dates and assignments. This allows me to see what I need to do for the entire month so I can plan ahead. You don’t have to use the portable planners, but you really should have some method for staying on track.

Have a designated cleaning day

This is super important for all students. There are points in the semester that you will feel like you have no time for anything else but school, but this is an unhealthy way to think. Letting your living space become too dirty will distract you, and cause your work to suffer. Additionally, cleaning is a great way to clear your mind for a little bit, it is very important to maintain balance.

Make sure to have some fun

While we are at college to learn, remember to take some time to have fun. Now I am not saying you should go out partying all the time, but I am saying that you should take some time to treat yourself to dinner, or read a fun book, or just hang out with some friends on the mall! No matter what your fun entails, make sure to have some!



Quick & Easy Healthy Snacks

10 Jun

I’ve got to say, having such busy weeks I’m always looking for quick and easy snacks. And now that its summer and temperatures are high, nutritious snacks are even more important to keep up with this heat. Now after browsing the internet, I found a variety of recipes that are perfect for summer and taste delicious! Now to share with you are a few snacks I’ve tried myself that take no longer than 10 minutes!


Apple Moons

Just spread apple slices with peanut butter and add granola to the top!


Chicken and Waffles 

Mix chicken salad with some sliced grapes and chopped walnuts. Spoon onto toasted mini whole-wheat waffles.


Pomegranate Slushies 

Blend 1 cup pomegranate juice and 2 tablespoons honey with 3 cups ice until slushy. Pour into glasses and top with more juice.


Matzo Melts

Brush matzo crackers with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and dried rosemary. Top with sliced turkey and shredded cheddar. Bake 5 minutes at 400 degrees F.

These are just a few of the great snacks I’ve made at home thanks to the Food Network. To see more visit:

There’s a First Time for Everything

4 Apr

Spring Fling is a U of A tradition that most students take part in their first year on campus. My first year however, I was pretty awkward and I did not feel comfortable walking around alone, and none of my friends wanted to go. I promised myself I would do it my Sophomore year, but once again I lost my nerve, I ended up talking myself out of it by claiming I had too much homework. This year will be different. For starters, I have a few friends that are very excited to go with me so it looks like I will finally go to my first Spring Fling.

Spring Fling 3.jpg

There are a few things I am really excited for, one thing is cotton candy. I have never had cotton candy before, and I know I can go to the store and buy it, but I am sure there is something different about carnival cotton candy.

Spring fling 2.jpg

The bands look pretty cool, I read the description of a few of them, and the Score looked like it could be good. Also, there are quite a few A Cappella groups performing on various days which could be good.

Spring break 4.jpg

I don’t know if I will ride any rides, I have seen Final Destination and I am not sure if I am down with that. I might ride a Ferris Wheel so that I can say I rode a ride, but I am not a huge thrill seeker.

Spring Fling 5.gif

Moreover, I am really excited to spend some times with my friends relaxing and not worrying about school.


#FearlessFebruary: Dinner for One

18 Feb

My friend Trevor has always felt completely comfortable doing public activities on his own. And by public activities I mean shopping at the mall, seeing a movie, and even eating in a restaurant. Last February I challenged myself to go to the cinema completely by myself and though I still felt slightly awkward and insecure, it wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be in my head. So this year I decided to wander over the Applebee’s to enjoy a nice hot meal with just me, myself, and I. giphy.gif

Upon entering the restaurant, the hostess asked, “How many?” and I’ll admit, like being at the cinema, I felt insecure saying “Just one please”. With that she asked if I’d rather sit at the bar, which I’m assuming is because they want to keep the actual tables open for groups of people. Ouch right? But I told her as politely as I could that “A table is fine”. After she handed my menu and left, I was of course completely by myself which caused the nerves to rattle a bit. But I distracted myself with the menu and tried to appear very invested in their selection of fish.


Once the waitress popped up she asked if I was waiting for anyone else to join, which I answered ‘no’ but in a slightly more confident demeanor. But I couldn’t help but wonder if she and the other people in the restaurant were assuming that I got stood up, or that I didn’t have any friends that wanted to have dinner with a loser like me. And even ordering was a struggle since I usually order the ‘2 for $20’ meal since I’m almost always with my boyfriend when I come here. But I settled on a classic burger, medium well, with fries instead of a salad as my side.


After my food finally arrived, I wasted no time and gobbled it down as fast as I could without getting a stomach ache. I wanted this experience to be over. I wanted to go home and be with people again. But in the end it wasn’t so much as the fear of what people thought of me (because quite frankly people probably could care less) but more of my own need to be around people that was making me feel uncomfortable. Which is strange since I’ve always considered myself to be a introvert. All in all, like the cinema, the experience wasn’t a scary as I thought it would be.

But I’m probably never going to do it again.



#OutrageousOctober: Facing Your Fears

15 Oct

In my mind, there are two types of people who watch scary movies: those who enjoy them and those who are challenged to watch them. I don’t know about everyone else, but I cannot stand watching scary movies. Why should I suffer through almost having a heart attack every 6 seconds just to wake up six times during the night from nightmares? Can you guess which boat I was in? That’s right, for my blog this month, I decided to face a fear of mine and watch the movie Se7en starring Brad Pitt (which is a scary thing all in its own right).


Now, to face this challenge properly I had to make sure certain aesthetics were in place.

  • It had to be dark. To attain full scariness, a movie must be watched at night. I made sure to watch this well past the sun set.
  • There had to be plenty of snacks that I would scatter around the room every time I got scared.

This was more for me than for any real reason, I have always had the dream of jumping and having popcorn scatter around the room. Unfortunately this did not happen.

popcorn 1IMG_20151014_230115_871

  • I had to watch it with another person who had seen it.

This has to be done for many reasons, mostly because they add to the fearful feelings in the room thus making the experience seem way scarier than it actually is. Luckily my friend Erika was happy to be recruited for this endeavor.


Overall the movie was not too bad. It was much more of a psychological thriller, but I still had nightmares. I am happy that I watched it because it means I faced my fear, but I would not say my fear of scary movies has been squashed, just lessened a little.

Go out there and face your fears everyone!



25 Tips Every Wildcat Wishes They Knew Before Starting College

11 Aug
  1. Your classes are most likely going to be far apart. Start warming those legs up.
  2. Bikers can be ruthless. But at least you have the right of way, right?… right?Cheezburger animated GIF
  3. There’s a U of A App. Learn it, live it, love it, and get it here.
  4. Establish relationships with your professor in the first week – IT REALLY DOES HELP!
  5. Go to sleep at a reasonable time the night before your first day of class.sleep animated GIF
  6. Syllabus Week is real. Don’t think that college will be as simple as your first week in some classes.
  7. EAT. Now. Not after your class. Not when your roommate gets back. Eat now.
  8. Be friendly. Smile. But don’t be creepy.            smile animated GIF
  9. Study up on your professors beforehand. can give you some insights, but always be wary. As with most review sites, usually only those who had really good or a really bad experience will write anything. Also check out Teacher-Course Evaluations here. Since all students respond to those, you’ll get a more reliable impression of the course.
  10. Go to every building and class on your schedule before the first day of class. No one looks cool walking around with their schedule tightly gripped in their hands.
  11. If you don’t like walking, get a bike.
  12. If you do get a bike, also get a bike lock. Seriously.                                                                    bike animated GIF
  13. Buy a Sunlink pass. You’ll get bored of eating at the same places over and over and will want to expand your culinary options! Get yours here.
  14. Buy a reusable water bottle.
  15. Buy sunglasses. It’s sunny pretty much all the time.                                            lady gaga animated GIF
  16. Buy sunblock.
  17. The early bird gets the worm, or in this case, the good seat. So get to classes early.
  18. Take advantage of the Rec Center. You’re already paying a “membership” cost. workout animated GIF
  19. Stop going to Starbucks every three hours. Invest in a Keurig or French Press because you’ll likely need a lot of coffee.
  20. Learn your student ID number by memory.
  21. Highland breakfast burritos are a U of A staple, get acquainted with them now. burrito animated GIF
  22. If you ever see the line in the Bookstore Starbucks with ten people or less, take a picture. It doesn’t happen often.
  23. Get a Zona Zoo pass and become school spirited. Purchase one here.
  24. Take advantage of the events around campus – there’s always something free and fun to do.
  25. Don’t be afraid to fail. It’ll happen more than once and will help you grow as a student and person along the way.cute animated GIF

And a bonus!

26. Don’t forget to Bear Down!


The Time I Forgot to Eat During Finals…

1 May

I’m sure hearing all this talk about finals, last homework assignments, and exams have you like “Okay I get it, THANKS!” Now let’s take a moment to and ask ourselves, “how am I going to get through these last few weeks?” Start with the basics. Sometimes when we get too ahead of ourselves we might “pull a Maddie” and forget just one minor detail… eating!

 Johnny Depp

It all started with a plan… a plan that was so exciting at first but then crashed and burned due to late night visits to the Cellar, and UA Mart’s ice cream. I was down to my last few dollars on my meal plan when finals came around during my second semester. By last few dollars I mean about $2.50. Luckily, it was my last week of exams and I had a decent supply of oatmeal and peanut butter in my dorm. Breakfast? Oatmeal. Lunch? Oatmeal with Peanut Butter. Dinner? Free Starbucks coffee and some peanut butter. Don’t judge, peanut butter with oatmeal is surprisingly tasty!Peanut Butter  Now by the middle of the week my body was running off of caffeine and you already know, oatmeal. I had a few books left over that I planned on selling online instead of back to the book store. I guess you can say I was pretty stubborn at the time.

Then of course, it hit me. I was putting so much pressure on myself that I didn’t realize how ridiculous I was being.

It wasn’t until my friends Stephen and Sydney said, “Whoa, Maddie, you look awful. Have you even showered today?”

For the record, I did shower, thank you very much! Then I went to over my mirror to see what they were talking about. The bags under my eyes looked like they just got back from Forever 21. My skin and lips were pale, and don’t even let me get started on my hair. 

Needless to say I was really going off the deep end. I got myself together, went over to sell back my books and saved that money to indulge in a huge omelette at Cactus Grill the morning before my two most important finals. It all sounds great but with the way I was treating my body prior to that, I immediately felt sick. The worst part was feeling nauseous during my last two finals of the semester.

Lesson learned! So, no matter what your circumstances are, make sure to take care of yourself first! Taking care of yourself is a no brainer to most of you right? Consider this, if you’ve pushed yourself to the point where you can’t even think straight or rationally then it’s time to stop and breathe! Listen to your body, and schedule time to step back from the books and into a state of relaxation.

P.S. I still put peanut butter in my oatmeal every once in awhile…

Until next time,