5 Easy Ways to Relax

15 May

Summer is finally here! After putting a year’s worth of hard work in, make sure to get some YOU time this summer and relax! Relaxing can be very easy to do, but I think when we get caught up in the school year we forget how important it is to take some time to wind down. I understand it is hard to have the time to do so, and that is exactly why you need to use summer to your advantage. Whether it is sleeping in, reading a book, doing yoga, it is time to refresh! For your enjoyment, I have made a list of 5 easy things you can do to relax!

1.  Deep Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing is a great way to relax the mind and body. Taking 5 minutes a day to focus on your breathing and lowering your heart rate can have great significant outcomes on your overall health.

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2. Scrapbooking

Even though scrapbooking might be a little old-fashioned, it is still such a relaxing and rewarding activity. There is no limit as to how creative you can get with your scrapbook, let your imagination run wild!

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3. Take a Bubble Bath

Pretty easy way to relax right? Just fill up your tub with hot water, and add a bath bomb and light some candles if desired!

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4. See a Movie

Taking a moment to sit down and watch a movie is a great way to escape reality and get lost in a film. Usually, movie theaters will have a discount for students or have a discount at certain times, so buying a ticket shouldn’t break the bank. But if anything, you can always just watch a movie at home!

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5. Explore Nature

This is my number one go-to. There is nothing more relaxing than becoming one with nature. Go for a hike, enjoy the scenery, and appreciate all mother nature has to offer!

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Feel Good Summer Song List

15 May


Turn up your speakers and get ready for a Feel Good Playlist from one of your ASA Peer Mentors. I have provided different genres for your music pleasure! Hopefully, you know and enjoy some of these songs, but also get to hear some new ones! Comment other fun songs for Summer 2017!

1. Closer (Cover) by Boyce Avenue ft. Sarah Hyland
I’m pretty sure that no one knew the Modern Family star had such a great voice! Her unknown talent has been revealed with Boyce Avenue with a cover of the Chainsmokers song, Closer. I love this acoustic version!


2. Green Light by Lorde
Lorde is finally coming out with a new album titled Melodrama and I don’t know about you, but I am super excited. Her voice is very unique and this album is supposed to be brighter than we have ever seen her!


3. Cold Cold Cold by Cage the Elephant
Cage the Elephant has many amazing hits, especially Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked. Cage the Elephant takes on a new sound in their new album titled Tell Me I’m Pretty. Their softer style will definitely make you feel good!


4. Believer by Imagine Dragons
This is absolutely my favorite song right now! This song is so powerful, it pumps you up and you feel like you can take on the world! If you have not heard of this song, you need to listen to it ASAP!


5. Highway by Bleeker
This is a perfect road trip song! Not only does it relate to the streets you take, but it hypes you up and makes you want to dance! Every time I hear it in my car, I can’t help, but singing and grooving a bit!

6. Wanting you by Street Urchinz
This lovely song was suggested by Shannon and it has a reggae feel to it. It’s almost like a Bob Marley meets Red Hot Chili Peppers. I just got introduced to this band and I want to listen to them more after hearing this!


7. Malibu by Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus has once again changed her sound dramatically. I have to be honest, lately I haven’t been a huge fan of Miley’s but this song has made me think twice. This JUST came out and I have listened to it a ton of times! To see her happy and hear her bright lyrics, it’s hard not to smile.


8. Sweet Disaster by Dreamers
This is one of my all time favorite songs right now. It is calming, relaxing, and the vocals of this group is fantastic. They are not that popular at the moment, but hopefully in the next few years they will become more well known for their AMAZING songs!


9. Sunday Morning by Maroon 5
You definitely can not make a feel good playlist without putting this song on it. Every time I hear this song it is like I am riding a bike in a park or drinking the perfect cup of coffee and watching the sun rise. I know this song isn’t the newest, but it sure is a jam.


10. Shape of You by Ed Sheeran
It is no doubt that this is one of the most popular songs right now and I am not surprised; Ed Sheeran’s voice is simply perfect! Enough said.


11. Can’t Stop The Feeling! by Justin Timberlake
Of course, our playlist had to include the one and only JT! Since he was in NSYNC, this man has always caught the attention of music lovers and continues to come out with hits all of the time. There is no way that anyone can sit still when this song comes on.


12. Stay by Zedd and Alessia Cara
This is one of the best duos. With Zedd’s incredible music and Alessia’s sweet, but powerful voice it’s hard not to like this song. It is one of those amazing summer songs that is played every time you’re with your friends!


13. Blame by Bastille
I have been listening to Bastille since I was in high school and they never disappoint! Dan’s velvety, deep voice always pairs great with the intense emotions and melodies in all of their songs. Blame is just the same!


14. Human by Rag’n’Bone Man
This song came out not too long ago and Rag’n’Bone Man is a powerhouse. He has such an intense voice that can captivate you in the first lyric. I hope he comes out with more amazing hits like this soon!!


15. Something Just Like This by the Chainsmokers and Coldplay
I will leave you with another amazing collaboration! Come on, Chainsmokers and Coldplay?? Pretty amazing, if you ask me! This lovely song is perfect for one of your well deserved relaxing days on your summer off!

I hope I have left you with some new music to listen to this summer that you can make memories with! For me, music is everything and I would not know what to do without it. Like I stated earlier, if you have any music suggestions for me on my summer adventures, I would love to hear any! Comment below if you do! 🙂


Have a GREAT start to your summer!


Relaxation, Adventuring, and Goals

10 May

There is nothing more exciting than getting to the end of the school year. When the textbooks come to a close, the door to summer relaxation and adventure open wide and with that, the chance to set some new goals. This is the best time for students to take advantage of their freedom to get in some good times and some even better goal setting!

After a long and busy year, it’s only fair that our future biochemists and school teachers take a well-deserved break. Whether it’s between work or internships or if it’s between 12 hours naps, the summer is the perfect time to go out and have some fun. Of course, it’s important to stay busy (work and school are practically a year round thing), but it’s also important to take some time to sit back and soak in the sun.

And what better place to soak in the sun than good old Tucson? For students staying in town during the break, it may feel like there’ll be nothing to do in this impending ghost town, but that’s just not the case. From hiking to road trips up north, there is definitely more than enough to keep one busy if they’re willing to brave the heat. For those going out of state for the summer, well the possibilities are just about endless there too!

Students should also take advantage of the upcoming break to start thinking about what goals they want to accomplish for the fall semester. Many students begin to think about research positions or internship opportunities for their second school year but don’t realize the amount of planning and time it takes to find one, let alone schedule meetings and interviews! Many professors, graduate students, and organizations begin recruiting undergrads pretty early on, so it never hurts to start thinking about what’s next with a bit of wiggle room between semesters. Whatever it is students are looking forward to doing their second year at the university, there is no time like the present to get prepared.

The last day of classes is fast approaching us here at the university and it’s more than safe to say everyone is ready to wrap up. It’s time to make summer break worthwhile!


Summer Planning

5 May

Planning is an important part of life and a key step to success. Having a great summer also requires an amount of planning. Whether you are planning to stay on campus during the summer or go back home, there are always things to consider. Here is how I decided to plan out my summer!


Planning for my summer began back in April of last year when I decided to rent out my apartment for 12 months. I decided that this would be a good idea because I wanted to take summer courses. I figured that I could apply for Financial Aid to cover the expenses of the summer classes and that everything would work out as planned. Since I knew I’d be staying in Tucson for the summer, I also began looking for a job. The summer is long and I figured that I would have plenty of time on my hands.

The job search began in February of this year and it went pretty smoothly. I looked for job openings preferably on campus. For the past three years, I’ve been spending my summers lifeguarding for my hometown. I really enjoyed spending time with children and getting to teach them how to swim. I decided to look for job openings at the Recreation Center as a Lifeguard. When I looked on their website, they were coincidentally taking applications for that position. I decided to apply and see where it would take me. In a couple of weeks, I was called in for an interview and got the job!

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One thing that did not work out for me was that I did not receive Financial Aid like I had planned to cover the expenses of my summer courses. So, even though I will not be taking any summer classes, I will still be spending my time on campus and hopefully get to pick new hobbies on the way. Planning for the summer is important! If I wouldn’t have looked for jobs early in the year, then I would have been left without a job and without school over the summer. Always have a backup plan because you never know what will be changing!


How I Prepare for Summer Session

5 May


Let’s be honest – no one wants to spend their summer taking classes.  However, summer classes are one of the best ways to catch up if you’re behind, get ahead, double major, or add a minor. While it may seem like you have to dedicate your whole summer to school if you take classes, if you come into the summer session prepared to stay on track, you’ll end up staying on top of your assignments and have more time to enjoy your break in the long run. Here are my tips to prepare for summer session classes and make the most out of your break.

  1. Check D2L in the week leading up to new classes. A lot of professors assign work that needs to be done by the first day of class, and you don’t want to start off the first day already behind. Even if your teachers don’t assign any work, many put up the syllabi, contact information, or textbook information. It is especially important to stay on track with how fast-paced summer sessions are.
  2. Read syllabi as soon as you get them. If professors put them up early, make sure to at least read through once and understand what the expectations are for the class. It’s a lot less stressful going into the summer if you know what to expect rather than waiting for the first day of class. I know how stressful it can be to show up to the first day and go over all the tests and dates and assignments in the syllabi when you’re fitting a whole class in such a short session. Get a head start to avoid this calendar shock.
  3. Start perusing the internet for textbooks. While I often like to wait till the first day of class to see if the professor suggests actually buying the book, it never hurts to find the best deals online ahead of time.
  4. Postpone making plans with all of your friends until after the first week of classes. The temptation to go into full summer relaxation mode is strong if you don’t stay motivated right from the beginning of the session. If I’m trying to make plans and hang out with everyone right away, it’s a lot easier to fall behind on those intro assignments that are really easy to forget about.
  5. Keep up with your normal routine and avoid falling into summer laziness. If you spend the whole first week staying up late, hanging out with friends 24/7, and watching Netflix till 3 am, it’s going to be really hard to adjust once classwork starts piling up. Keep your routine from the semester to make the transition as easy as possible once assignments start flowing in.

As long as you focus and plan right from the beginning of the summer, you’ll have jumpstarted your classes perfectly in order to keep up with the quick pace. As easy as it is to take advantage of the first week or so, you’ll be thanking yourself when you’re summer session goes smoothly. Plus, the more on top of your school work you are, the more time you’ll have to relax and enjoy your summer!

4 Ways to Take Advantage of Summer

3 May

Summer break here at U of A provides you with 14 full weeks to do with what you will. You can take these weeks to just hang around at home and finally catch up on sleep, but it is a great idea to take advantage of this time to gain some valuable experiences. Here’s my list of the best ways to make the most of your summer vacation.

  1. Volunteer
    There are so many ways to get connected to an organization and volunteer here in Tucson, or even in your home community! Think about what causes you are passionate about and see what opportunities are out there such as local food banks, animal shelters, or libraries. What’s most important is that you are giving back to the community and are passionate about the work you’re doing. You can even put this on your resume!
  2. Work/Intern
    No matter what stage you’re at in your college career, apply for internships in your field of study. Getting one early on as an undergraduate can help you build a relationship with an organization or company that will last well beyond graduation. Working or interning in any capacity builds valuable transferable skills such as time management, communication, timeliness, customer service and overall professionalism.
  3. Take Summer Courses
    Summer courses can be a great way to efficiently complete your degree and can be completed at a community college or right here at U of A. Check out the Transfer Credit Guide and meet with your academic advisor before registering for courses to ensure that they will apply to your degree. Summer classes are fast-paced and rigorous, but can be helpful!
  4. Travel/ Study Abroad

    Travel and study abroad can be applicable to your future! Traveling helps gain more perspective about other cultures and communities if you are thinking critically while you are there. Study abroad opportunities are also often a service-learning opportunity that can help guide your future career and show you passions you didn’t know existed. Plan for a study abroad opportunity well in advance if possible to ensure enough time to go through the application process and secure scholarships and other funding. It may be too late for a trip this summer, but you can start planning ahead for next spring semester or summer.

I hope this helped you brainstorm plans for this summer or even next summer! Good luck on finals, and Bear Down!



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



30 Apr

Everyone lately has been saying, “Hit the gym so that summer body is ready!” am I right, or am I right?


But before I cram 4 days at the gym and expect rock solid abs, I realized something: I need to be healthy.


See, I’ve been blessed with high metabolism for a good portion of my life, but being healthy hasn’t necessarily been my thing.

So, I decided upon myself, that LILI VU NEEDS TO BE HEALTHY.


The thing is, you’re on Pinterest or tumblr or Instagram and you see all these “How to Be Healthy” articles, but they’re SUPER UNREALISTIC – like cutting out all carbs from your diet – SO, I decided that being REALISTICALLY healthy would be my spring prep for summer.




Anyone who knows me knows I can easily eat a large pizza with room for dessert. However, being healthy is all about portions. So, I mean, I guess two slices now, and two slices in a couple of hours is healthier than eating a whole pie in one sitting.



Veggies are important, and near any campus, are pretty expensive too. SO, what I have learned to do is to buy raw veggies, rather than those small little pre-packed things, and ration them throughout the week. Buying a whole head of lettuce is cheaper than a pre-packed salad. SO get creative!


Work out! I actually enjoy going to the gym, however, for those of y’all who don’t – and that’s me some days – try going to a class! If you’re having fun, you’re less likely to realize you’re actually working out! Zumba is my go-to fun class, because let’s be real, we ALL want to be Shakira.


  1. SNACK

Snacks are SOOOOO important!! Eat snacks throughout the day! Healthier options such as celery sticks, or granola, or almonds are great! Not ready to go full out health nut? Dried fruit, fresh fruit, or power bars are great! SNACKS ARE LIFE!



IT IS GOOD TO INDULGE! AS LONG AS YOU EAT EVERYTHING IN MODERATION. You don’t have to cut out sugar completely, and you sure don’t have to give up PIZZA for the rest of your life to be healthy! Just make sure you’re eating in moderation!


So, these are my top 5 REALISTIC tips on being a healthy college student!!! Good luck!

Stay rad,




The Most Important Meal of the Day?

30 Apr

For years, we have all been hearing, “Don’t skip breakfast! It’s the most important meal of the day.” A lot of us (I) have been ignoring these words for years. And the reason for that, to put it simply is: I’m lazy. School starts early (you know what I’m talking about 8AMers). Why would I wake up even earlier than the sun just to stomach a few Cheerios? It just never seemed worth it.

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When I look at the concept in the grand scheme of things, it obviously makes sense. Start your day with a well-balanced meal and kick start your metabolism. Also of course, there is that side benefit of not being completely starving in your 11am class. So recently I thought to myself, why not give it a shot? Let’s see. Will it really make an impact in my overall life?

Ordinary Nadee animation illustration eating play

So to promote starting my day off right, I decided that for one entire month I was going to force myself to make time for some breakfast. Now just for the sake of reality, as great as the eggs and toast from above look, that didn’t quite happen each day. BUT, I did make sure to put something into my system. I wanted to make sure it was something healthy, however, because I didn’t want to just overload myself with sugar. Mostly, it happened to just be half a grapefruit.

orange fruit grapefruit

That’s probably not the most balanced breakfast, but I figured it was better than nothing. Initially, it was weird eating that grapefruit… But overtime, I definitely did start seeing some change. My body started craving breakfast in the morning. Also, I noticed the cravings that I used to have way later in the day and towards the night, started going away. And most significant (and something my poor mom has been trying to beat into my head for years) is that I finally had some energy during my 8am class!!

Sherchle art lol food design

So Wildcats, just to summarize, I definitely recommend it! I am really going to try to keep this up throughout the year. I used to be the person that woke up 15 minutes before I had to hit the door that desperately threw on my clothes. Now, I am the person that wakes up 20 minutes earlier, and puts grapefruit in a ziploc. 😉 LOL, okay hopefully I’ll soon move on to making eggs and such. Anyway, give it a shot, Cats! Maybe you’ll see an improvement in your energy too!


Finish Strong

21 Apr


Q: Why don’t I feel motivated anymore?
A: It’s the end of the year sometimes our wind blows out! It’s a totally normal thing we all have to face at some point.

Q: Can I get over this lull?
A: ABSOLUTELY! You just need to spark your motivation.

Q: How do I spark my motivation?
A: Reevaluate your goals! I’m sure we all started this semester with some objectives. They could have been elaborate or simple, whatever they might have been, reintroduce yourself to them to remember why you wake up every day.


Q: What steps can I take to be happy with what I’m doing? I’m so over school, work, and everything!
A: Are you over listening to music, playing a sport, or binge watching your favorite Netflix show? Give yourself a break! No one enjoys school or work all the time, so taking a break and relaxing can be just what you need to fall back in love with your major.

Q: How long will it be before I feel refreshed again?
A: As long as you need! There isn’t a set amount of time you need to give yourself. We get a whole summer and winter break to feel recharged about each semester. Finishing it can be tough with no breaks. Giving yourself a mental break for a weekend (long weekends are the best weekends) can be just what you need to feel motivated.

Q: What do YOU do to feel motivate?
A: I remind myself who I am and who I want to be. All the exams, projects, and papers are just a necessary step for me to get the future I want to get. I just need to get past those to succeed.


Q: Is it like this every semester?
A: There are no guarantees about the future. Feeling overwhelmed at the end of the year can be frustrating but if you know how to conquer it once, you can conquer it again.

Q: Does feeling unmotivated mean I don’t like my major anymore?
A: Finding a major is a challenge for everyone. If you’re feeling unmotivated but think you’d be motivated in another major, then evaluating your major wouldn’t hurt. If you’re feeling more burnt out, then it might just be from this time of year. Take the summer to research your major again and see if it gets you excited again!

Q: I’m terrified of finals week! How can I study for all those exams?
A: Studying for finals comes down to priorities. Think about whether or not you’re on the verge of getting a letter grade up, how much the final is worth, the day each final is, and whether or not it’s cumulative. Once you’ve decided what’s most important, study for those early and leave extra time for the not as important finals.

Q: Is there any daily habits you suggest to stay motivated? Some days I feel motivated and other days I just feel groggy? How can I stay motivated more consistently?
A: Developing a healthier daily routine can help with the grogginess. Have a consistent wake-up time and breakfast can be a ritual your body will thank you for! Also getting a good nights sleep after a balanced dinner can do the trick. I know we’re all busy college students, but developing even small healthy habits can start the motivation train for other parts of our life.

Good luck on the end of the semester!