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  • Articles

    End of Winter/Beginning of Spring Playlist

    End of Winter/Beginning of Spring Playlist


    Winter is almost over… thankfully. But during this dreary transition period where the sun is hiding most of the time, it’s fairly easy to get down in the dumps. So what’s a quick fix? Like many other problems, there’s a one word solution: music. Here’s a playlist of a few of my current favorite songs that always put a smile on my face, even on a cloudy, rainy, halfway-winter halfway-spring day.

    • 7 rings – Ariana Grande

    I’ll be the first to admit it: I never understood the hype behind Ariana Grande. But that doesn’t stop me from playing this song at least 10 times a day. This song is one of her best, and you’ll love it more and more with each listen.

    • Superlove (feat. Oh Wonder) – Whethan, Oh Wonder

    Perfectly combining fun lyrics and catchy beats, it’s impossible to not be smiling while listening to this song. Regardless of whether it makes you think of a special someone, it’s bound to leave you bobbing your head and feeling carefree.

    • Back to Your Love – Night Riots

    This is the ultimate song to sing to in the shower (I’m not kidding, I always turn this song on right before I hop in). This song is the ideal crossover between indie and alternative music, and it’ll probably be on every playlist I make for years to come.

    • All I Got – Oliver Tree

    I heard this song for the first time while riding in a car with my best friend, and it was love at first listen. You might think it starts out a bit slow, but 30 seconds in, you’ll have the same infatuation as I did.

    • Passenger Side – Smallpools

    If I could make a road trip playlist consisting of one song playing on loop, it would be this one. This song reminds me of summertime, driving around with the windows down, sing-shouting with your closest friends.

    • Sunflower – Post Malone, Swae Lee

    I’ll admit it– Swae Lee has the voice of an angel. He adds a hint of happiness to every song he contributes to, and paired with Post Malone, they create a flawless, harmonious balance.

    • Talk – Khalid, Disclosure

    It’s impossible not to love Khalid; in his newest song, his heavenly voice mixed with electronic beats is everything I never knew I needed. This song has been on repeat since I heard it a few days ago, and every minute I’ve listened to it has been a minute well spent.

    • Winnebago (feat. Quinn XCII & Daniel Wilson) – Gryffin, Quinn XCII, Daniel Wilson

    This is my FAVORITE song right now. There’s something about the whistling at the beginning and tropical beats that make me want to drop out of school, run away and live on the beach (not literally, but you know the feeling).

    • Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen

    Okay, seriously… if you haven’t seen Bohemian Rhapsody, go watch it. ASAP. I thought I was obsessed with Queen before I watched it, but the movie caused my love to multiply. This is the opening song, and in my opinion, it’s the perfect way to start any day.

    • UCLA – RL Grime, 24hrs   

    This song has the perfect rhythm for whatever you’re doing, anywhere from studying to cleaning your room. The beat is so versatile and enjoyable, it’s impossible to be in bad mood while listening.


    Adding any of these songs to your playlist, or even making a playlist consisting only of these songs, is a decision you won’t regret. These bits of music are an instant pick-me-up, and I would know from experience, because I listen to them every day. Happy listening and happy spring!

  • Articles, School

    This Packing Checklist is Perfect for Spring Break!

    Spring Break Packing Checklist

    The Ultimate Spring Break Packing Checklist

    It’s that time of year!

    We’re all counting down the days, hours and minutes until an entire week of no stress – basking in sunlight and parading around the beach. While our teachers pile on last-minute assignments, problematic projects, and inconvenient tests –  we hold on to a single, glimmering vision of hope: Spring Break.

    However, in the midst of the exhausting days before break, we’re burdened with one final task: packing.

    Here’s everything you’ll need for the ultimate spring break, overpacking not included.

    Multiple Swimsuits and Cover-Ups
    Beach towel
    Sunglasses, Sunglasses, Sunglasses!
    Your Favorite Travel Playlist
    Reusable Water Bottle
    Basic, natural makeup products (you won’t need much – it’s a vacation for your skin, also!)
    Bath Products – Travel-Size Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash
    Toiletries for Morning/Nighttime Routine
    Feminine Products (in the case of any unsettling surprises)
    Comfortable Clothes – and a few outfits that make you feel fancy
    Two – Three pairs of shoes (don’t forget socks!)
    Underwear/Bras (packing a few extra never hurt anyone)
    Simple Jewelry (accessories that are versatile)
    A Good Book for Beach Reading 
    Sun-Protecting Hat
    Beach Bag/Large Bag
    Snacks for the Road/Flight/Beach Days
    Disposable Camera = Memories!
    Phone Charger
    First Aid Kit (Better Safe than Sorry!)

    The worst feeling is arriving at your destination and realizing you forgot a vacation essential like your favorite pair of sunglasses or phone charger.

    No Worries – It’s easy for some things to slip your mind in between the pressure of class and the excitement of vacation, but with this list, you’ll be packed and ready to go in no time!

  • Articles

    20 Things To Do Before Turning 20

    20 Things To Do Before Turning 20

    20 Things To Do Before Turning 20

    Take Advantage of Having No Worries While You Can

    Before I left my teenage years, I was able to accomplish many goals along with crossing-off several bucket list items. Most of one’s high school memories shape them into the person they will become. Once high school ends and college begins, free time starts disappearing.

    Getting older doesn’t mean less fun, it just means dealing with multiple aspects of life that didn’t exist in high school. Living alone, working to pay bills, and balancing time between school and social life is why young adulthood carries the connotation of figuring out life.

    Teenage years are perfect for trying new things, making memories, and having the type of fun experienced only when carefree with little responsibility.

    20 Things To Do For YOU Before Turning 20:

    Stay Up All Night.

    Whether it’s to finish an assignment or talking for hours with friends – at around 3 AM, the silliness from lack of sleep will show itself. Allowing yourself to be silly is an important step in self-empowerment.

    Go On A Road Trip with Friends.

    Make unforgettable memories with friends in an unfamiliar place. Without family, it’s easy to understand what a vacation feels like.

    Get A Real Job.

    While the traditional lifeguard or camp counselor is great over the summer, a real job teaches the importance of making your own money.

    Kiss Someone on New Year’s Eve.

    Sure, this is a plotline for many cheesy rom-coms, but who hasn’t wanted to experience this at some point?

    Binge-watch an Entire TV Show in One Night.

    Although some would say binging TV is embarrassing, there’s nothing more rewarding.

    Travel Outside the Country.

    It’s crucial to experience other cultures. Plus, this is how the best memories are made.

    Go To A Music Festival.

    Spending a day or three in a happy-go-lucky environment is one of the most carefree experiences.

    Journal Every Day.

    Journaling is the quickest way to get in touch with one’s emotions.  Filling up every page in a journal and reading your thoughts is essential in self-reflection.

    Learn a Foreign Language.

    This is a life skill that will come in handy at the most unexpected times.

    Do A Digital Detox For The Weekend.

    Camping in an area without cellular service, or just turning off devices, allows one to be completely present.

    Have a Meaningful Conversation With a Stranger.

    It can be surprising how interesting other’s lives are and the quality of advice they can give.

    Conquer a fear.

    Whether the fear is big or small, conquering a lifelong fear creates the possibility of accomplishing anything.

    Learn to Play an Instrument.

    Just for fun and to impress people.

    Go to a Movie Alone.

    It’s crazy that something so simple can offer such a sense of empowerment.

    Learn to cook.

    It’s something that everyone needs to learn at some point. We can’t survive on ramen noodles and peanut butter toast forever.

    Forgive Someone.

    Although it may seem difficult, you’ll feel ten times better without the weight of carrying a grudge.

    Take Pictures at Every Opportunity.

    Someday all of these memories will be gone, but these mementos will remain. Collect as many as possible.

    Go on a Walk Without a Destination.

    Connecting with nature and being present can heal in unforeseen ways.

    Reconnect with Old Friends.

    Connecting with old friends can create an everlasting friendship, or confirm the reason you grew apart. Either way, it’s a beneficial experience. 

    Learn Self-Love.

    This one is tough, and it always will be. However, the more you work on it in your teen years, the easier it will be in the future. Your twenties will present experiences that cause you to question everything, but as long as you have self-love, you’ll be able to persevere.

  • Articles, Health, School, Stress

    Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

    Self-Care Isn't Selfish

    Self Care ≠ Selfish

    Because being self-aware does not make you self absorbed


    I feel like I’m always enveloped in some sort of activity— finishing an assignment or project for school, cleaning my room and bathroom for the third time in a week, or spending time with my closest friends, doing anything from running errands to talking about our days.

    Recently, I’ve realized that there’s never a moment where I take a moment to breathe. A moment to relax, to clear my thoughts.

    Don’t do this. Make time for yourself, whenever it’s possible.

    After years of spreading myself too thin, I’ve finally recognized a crucial aspect about myself: I cope with stress and anxiety by keeping busy. Whenever I’m alone with my thoughts, I begin to think about all of the other, more productive things I could be doing at that moment. I feel guilty for taking a break.

    It’s difficult to define stress; it can present itself in a multitude of ways, ranging from napping to the inability to concentrate. However, once you’re able to detect when you’re stressed, much like I did, you can discover how to alleviate it. Is confronting your emotions easy? No. But is it worth it? Definitely.

    Self-care is not selfish. I have to repeat this mantra to myself every single day, and chances are, so do you. You’re allowed to be your own priority.

    One of my favorite anti-stress methods, and one that has helped me the most is journaling. Through writing my emotions, I have learned so much about myself, including how to identify my emotions and why I’m feeling that way.

    I’m not a fan of pushing my problems onto other people, so through journaling, I’ve found a way to express my thoughts and relieve myself of the pressure they put on me. After putting my feelings on paper, I typically engage myself in “me time.” This concept, something that leaves you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed, varies from person to person. It takes some trial and error to learn what works for you. Common methods are taking a bubble bath, applying a face mask, engaging in a type of exercise, or listening to your favorite music– as long as you’re doing something you love, you’ll come out the other end feeling better than before.

    As broad and cliché as it sounds, try to shut your brain off. Release the stress and worry of the day and be present in whatever you’re doing. We tend to become so wrapped up in our worries that we miss out on opportunities that can take the edge off, such as goofing around with friends or getting lost in the latest episode of New Girl.

    Stress is completely normal.

    So don’t be discouraged whenever that all-too-familiar feeling rolls around; above everything else, don’t burn yourself out by ignoring it. Recognize and accept what you’re feeling. Take a break to do something you love. Acknowledge that the feeling won’t last forever– you’ll wake up tomorrow, regardless of what happens day, to a fresh start.

  • Articles

    Sisters: Our Forever Best Friends

    Sisters: Our Forever Best Friends

    Finding My Lifelong Support System

    I’m not an emotional person. At all. I’m the type to bottle up everything, pushing any less-than-happy feeling below the surface. So, you could imagine my surprise when I randomly burst out in tears while giving a speech to a room full of people, all gathered to celebrate my older sister’s wedding.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy as I was the day my sister asked me to be her maid of honor. Only a freshman in college at the time, I was honored to even be considered for the title. And after moving from Illinois to Alabama, I was even more excited to see my sisters for the first time in months.

    I wasn’t nervous to give my maid of honor speech at all; if anything, I was excited. However, the second I started talking, I felt a lump begin to grow in my throat, tears springing into my eyes. At that moment, I realized the immense love I have for my sister, and how truly happy I was for her happiness. Everyone else in the room experienced it, too.

    That’s what I love about my sisters: even though they’re able to bring out the worst parts of me, they can also expose the best– even the sides of yourself that usually remain unseen.

    Although I only see my sisters once every few months, I know that if I ever need anything, they’re simply a phone call away; even if the only communication we have is a daily Snapchat, my sisters are my forever-best-friends. And whenever we finally do see each other, the laughing and teasing never stop.

    As we get older, we make new friends and lose old ones all the time. It’s the circle of friendship, and it’s an everlasting cycle. In the middle of the chaos, in the eye of the storm, we’ll always have our sisters.

    Crying in front of a crowd at my sister’s wedding might be one of my top five most embarrassing moments, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Being someone who hides their feelings most of the time, it’s unfamiliar, but an eye-opening experience to have every emotion bubble up at once. But that’s what sisters are for– making you uncomfortable, yet overwhelmingly happy, every chance they can get.

  • Articles, Holiday, Relationships

    A Guide to A Happy Valentine’s Day

    Guide to Valentine's day

    A Guide to A Happy Valentine’s Day


    Celebrate Love that Matters

    As much as we hate to admit it, Valentine’s Day is a significant holiday in each person’s life – regardless of relationship status.

    Because let’s admit it, any day involving vast amounts of chocolate resonates with everyone. Whether you’re celebrating with your significant other over a candlelit dinner, having a movie night with your best friends, or indulging in some self-care, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to spread love – and we should all partake.

    While it’s easy to treat the fourteenth of February as a negative day, don’t fall victim to that mindset. Sure, all the red and pink hearts might be cliché, but pretending to be heartless is ever more so.

    This day doesn’t have to be about the stereotypical, romantic comedy kind of love. It should be about the love you have for your mom, who accepts you at your best and your worst (seriously, she had to deal with you during your pre-teen years. That’s love). It should be about the love you have for your friends, who have the ability to make you laugh during the most mundane moments. Even the love you have for your dog!

    Valentine’s Day isn’t just about flowers, chocolates and teddy bears – no matter how much we love those things (or pretend not to). It’s about love, in every shape and form. Love shouldn’t be defined by a date on the calendar. We should acknowledge it every day, hour, and second.

    So this Valentine’s Day, and each day leading up to and following it, embrace the love. Give your partner the appreciation they deserve, but don’t reserve it for those specific 24 hours. Give your current friends a hug, and give your old friends a call. Convey your love for candy by purchasing extensive amounts the day after, because it’ll all be on sale. It’s called self-love. 

    Valentine’s Day celebrates love, so don’t restrict the celebration to only those in relationships, and don’t restrict the emotion to one particular day.

    The negative stigma around this holiday is played out. Spread love!

  • Articles, School, Stress, Tips

    2019: The Year of Organization

    2019 - The Year Of Organization

    2019 – The Year of Organization



    The beginning of the school year is pretty painless — you’re stocking up on notebooks and folders, colored pens and highlighters, saying this year is going to be different.

    This is the year I’m going to become organized.”

    As the weeks go by, your class assignments start to pile up, your extracurricular activities strain your sleep schedule, and your social life seems to be waning by the second. The quickest fix might be to throw organization out the window, solely focusing on meeting deadlines by any means possible, but don’t do it! Putting your energy towards organizing won’t only ease your mind, but it’ll make your daily tasks and goals easier to accomplish.

    A planner will be your best friend in this new, tidy phase of your life. Personally, I believe the best type of planner encompasses all of the tools you’ll need on a daily basis: a monthly calendar, weekly breakdowns, to-do lists and places for notes. A planner is essentially a pretty, portable lifesaver, helping you keep track of what needs to be done and reminding you when you have to do it. Mustering up enough motivation to update my planner each day has been a critical component of organizing my life– inside and outside of the classroom. Next, to the almighty planner, color-coding is a must. I fill up my monthly calendars with multiple colored categories: all subjects, social events, and mandatory events – like meetings. Not only can you glance at your calendar with a clear understanding – you can admire your craftsmanship at the same time!

    While you can easily dismiss customizing a planner or beautifying a calendar – failing to manage your time wisely comes without recovery. 

    Dedicate a time of day or part of your week to a certain task or activity.

    Have a free period during the day? Use that time to complete homework for another class.
    Have free time after school before practice, but need some downtime? Try to Relax!

    The key is to use the same time each week for the same activity. By developing this routine, it’s harder to stray from productivity.

    It’s difficult to depend on our own devices 100% of the time. If a specific routine, a few colored pens, and a planner can help you become organized – why not take advantage of it? These aren’t ground-breaking tips, but if utilized correctly and regularly, they will completely turn your life around.