Radiating Sunshine: March 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

Weekend Recap 3/31/14

Hey, friends! So, like every other Monday it is time to recap this past weekend and start counting down until the next weekend. Here is a brief recap of all the fun things I did this weekend:

Thursday night: Alex and I went to our last mentorship at a local school where we work with students with intellectual disabilities. It was really sad seeing the program come to an end for the year. I've gotten so close with the students and I'm thankful for them every day! After mentorship we decided to support one of the club sports and get a pizza for their fundraiser-- but, really who can say no to pizza? Hopefully they raised a lot of money!
Just your classic pizza selfie?
Friday: was awesome! I finally finished analyzing my results for my sociology capstone project! After hours of research, surveying, and coding I finally found a significant relationship between a few of my variables. I remember calling my mom right after telling her that "I got significance…" it went right over her head, I guess getting a p<.05 means nothing to the every day person. After, finishing some homework I met up with J and we got dinner and went on a quint-date (5 couple date) to see Noah. 

Noah was an okay movie! Maybe, not the best date movie and it didn't really follow the biblical story that closely but all and all it wasn't a terrible movie. I don't think I would ever buy it on DVD or even see it again, but I didn't think it was a total waste of time either. 

After we got back from the movies, J and I went to the cafe and got some snacks. Of course I am always in the mood for something sweet. I literally dream about ice-cream sometimes hahaha but, I got a milkshake and he got a quesadilla and we debriefed the movie. After a few hours of just hanging out when we were walking back to his car we saw the infamous campus skunk… yes, he is back! We steered clear of Mr. Skunk and ended the night. 

Saturday: was another wonderful day spent with J! Even though we go to the same college, we don't really get to hang out during the week, so I guess we make up for it on the weekend. Anyways, J met me mid-morning and we drove home to my house. This was the first time he visited and met the pups. Juneau instantly bonded with him and literally did not leave his side. It was so cute! We then had lunch with my parents and sister and then drove back to school. After the drive back we got totally drenched in the rain walking back to my room. It literally rained all weekend. 

Saturday night was spent with J's family! We went to his church-- which not gonna lie was really cool! I want God to be apart of our relationship, so I'm glad he got to share with me where he goes to church and all of that jazz. We also went to see his sister perform in her HS talent show. After the talent show we spent the rest of the night just watching tv and playing ping pong. I'm a family girl so I absolutely love just staying in and hanging out!

Sunday: was homework day… yeah, I know I surprised y'all with that one! But, I also decided to catch up on some product reviews including these beauties… I received a voxbox from Influenster last week and decided to give the 'Expert Last Lip Color: NYC' and the 'imPress- Press-on Mnaicure' a shot! I'll be putting up a more formal and box reveal review in a few weeks but all I'm gonna say is that the NYC lip stick truly has mastered the long last lip color effect.

I felt like a barbie!

Thursday, March 27, 2014


hey friends… I know I've been quite mia when it comes to the blog recently! These past two weeks have been so incredibly busy. Between classes, meetings, work, and spending quality time with friends and J; I've felt like the blog needed to be placed on the back burner.

I've written a lot about burn out and to be honest I think I'm getting to that point. So, hopefully this weekend I'll be able to just curl up with a warm mug of tea and just catch up on all blog business and maybe some tv shows. I just really need some me-time so hopefully, I'll be able to find time to rest up.

The next few weeks are going to be even crazier than these past two. My senior sociology capstone project is finally being concluded and with the conclusion comes a ton of work. I'm literally a slave to the computer program called SPSS… for those of you who know what SPSS, I'm sure you could agree that it is not the easiest program to work with. But, with all of that said it is kind of cool that I collected my own data and that I'm analyzing that data. Maybe that is my inner nerd showing. Anyways, I'm currently hoping off my little soap box and will return to the world of homework! Happy Thursday, guys! I'll be back more regularly soon I promise!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Birthday Weekend Recap 3/24/14

So, for starters I am incredibly thankful to all of my friends, family, and J for helping me celebrate a huge milestone in my life! This past weekend was seriously one of the best weekends I've had in college and I want to apologize now for using this blog post as photo storage! 

Thursday: I went to the premiere of Divergent with some friends. I read the book in a day over Spring break and I thought the movie did well. They changed the ending a lot, I think for theatrical purposes but, it was still very well done!

Friday: I met J's family and went to his sister's High School musical! It was so awesome to spend the whole evening with him and have a home cooked meal. J commutes to school, so it was nice being able to go home with him and see what his life is like… oh and play with his adorable dog. 

Saturday: I spent the morning doing homework and the afternoon babysitting. Then, around 8:30pm I started getting ready for my birthday party that some of my good friends hosted. J got to campus around 9:30pm and then we walked to my friend Alex's for the little get together. 

I can't even explain to you how much fun Saturday was. I didn't want a crazy wild party so, I loved that it was a small get together with a few of my closest friends. I waited until midnight to have my first drink, which I think is kind of special… but hey maybe I'm just weird! Alex's boyfriend made me a Malibu Bay Breeze and let me just tell you that if you turn 21 and you're anything like me… ask for that. 

I get so awkward when people sing happy birthday to me… I think it is because I don't know what to do
with all of the attention haha
Haven't had icing on my face since I was a baby! Thanks, Pao!
Had to share the love with Jimmy!!
Alex made the cutest birthday cupcake presentation! 

Finally after waiting a few weeks I got a picture with J! My family and friends know that I love taking pictures and basically documenting every moment of my life, so I was waiting until I knew he was a keeper before I unleashed my desire to take pictures with him! I also officially published my relationship status on fb, but why I waited is for another post at another time!

Anyways, before I move on… let us just take a moment to comment on how handsome he is! But, seriously friends I'm a lucky girl :)

My two closest friends, Alex and Hannah went above and beyond for my 21st birthday!
Alex and Hannah definitely out did themselves this year in the present department! I'm not huge into gifts and I honestly would prefer something little that I know a lot of thought went into over something crazy expensive. Anyways, they bought me my first devotional which, was probably the best gift I received. I've wanted a devotional for so long and I can't wait to make it apart of my nightly routine. 

They also gave me a little clutch full of things I will need for if/when I go out to the bar! They also couldn't resist getting me a gag gift… which, was two training bras.  I'm glad they waited until J left to give me that present... And of course I had to try the bras on. (Disclaimer: they both fit)

Sunday: I spent the night at Alex's so I didn't have to worry about walking back to my room really late at night and by myself. But, on a side note I'm pretty sure their futon is more comfortable than my bed, so no complaints here! Anyways, Sunday morning we made a delicious cinnamon-bun-waffle breakfast and when I got back to my room I found the sweetest letter from J that he snuck in there before he went home the night before! The letter was beautiful and I can't even explain to y'all how much I appreciated it. I'm a sucker for old fashion letters!

Sunday night J and I met my family for a birthday dinner at BJ's in Frederick. My sister gave J her seal of approval which, was a gift in it of itself. We had a delicious dinner and ended it with an infamous pizookie! Curious on what a pizookie is, check it out here!
Sisters in navy blue!
I feel so incredibly blessed and thankful for everyone in my life! My 21st birthday was so much fun and  the love that people expressed was amazing. For me, birthdays are all about spending quality time with the people you care about; so by just getting together with everyone was the perfect gift to me! 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Twenty One

So, a really weird thing happened when I started drafting this post... I realized it would also be my 200th blog post. I don't think there is any significance in it being my 200th blog post, but the fact that this baby blog has come so far in the past 2 years amazes me. Seriously though, Radiating Sunshine has gone through 2 make overs, 200 posts, and 100 followers and counting.

It's hard to believe that I started this blog when I was a Freshmen in college! It feels like ages ago (well if you consider 2 years ages ago). Anyways, my 200th post conveniently has fallen on my 21st birthday! Now, I'm not a big birthday girl. For me, birthdays are about getting together with the people you love and enjoying the time you get to spend with them. It is not about the big celebration or in my case getting drunk because you only turn 21 once!

So, in honor of my 21st birthday which, is on Sunday I wanted to write a post about twenty one things I love about my life currently (listed in no particular order):

Saturday mornings
sunshine and blissfully windy days
warm cup of coffee
laughing until my stomach hurts
totally losing track of time with a friend
the kids I work with on Thursdays
my relationship with God
family and friends
Parks and Recreation
learning new things
the fact that i'll be in Europe in less than 72 days
spontaneous dance parties
singing Frozen songs on repeat
french vanilla coffee
calling my mom after a long week
the feeling when I pull into my driveway at home
getting lost in a story *Divergent*
when professors give out extra credit
ice-breakers with residence life
the fact that on Sunday I'll be allowed to have wine… with my cheese!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

P.E.R.M.A {Happy}

Living a positive lifestyle is so important to your overall wellbeing. The father of positive psychology, Seligman claims that we shouldn't just increase human happiness, but we should work on human flourishing. Originally, Seligman thought that there were three main area towards positive psychology: the pleasant life- the life of enjoyment, the good life- the life of engagement, and the meaningful life- the life of affiliation. But, after a lot of reflection the meaningful life transformed into P.E.R.M.A. 

So, what is PERMA?

Positive emotion: There are a ton of different positive emotions. They include peace, inspiration, gratitude, or love. The message here is that it is so important to evaluate how you're feeling. It is suggested to get a journal and once a day document three things that went really well and why. 

Celebrating. everyday. moments. I really try to make sure I recognize when I'm happy and when I do a good job. So, whether that is on an academic assignment or something as simple as connecting with one of my RAs I like to recognize a job well done and now I know why!

Engagement: When we are truly engaged in an assignment or a project we experience what is defined as flow. Which basically means we can lose track of time and get totally absorbed by the task at hand! It is suggested that if this is an area you need to improve on: removing distractions and using your best strengths to perform the task is the most helpful. 

Have you ever just been working on a project and totally lost track of time? This happens to me all the time especially, if I'm in a deep conversation with someone important and when I finally check the clock four hours have passed and I had no idea. 

Relationships: "good" relationships are so important to us. Out of all species, we are the most social and we create the largest groups to associate with. It has been shown that those who have meaningful and positive relationships with other people are genuinely happier than those who don't It is suggested to either get out and meet new people or work on the relationships you have. 

I know for me relationships are so important. I spend a lot of time developing various friendships and relationships with people and I would much rather have a long and deep conversation with a close friend, than just have a ton of meaningless conversations. 

Meaning: "meaning comes from serving a cause much bigger than ourselves" Whether your goal is for your sports team to win or to master the art of knitting; as long as the goal goes towards helping others in some way or another you'll experience the wonderful feeling of a meaningful life. So, go out and serve at a soup kitchen or donate some old clothes and also make sure that what you are doing in work gives you satisfaction. 

This is probably one of the points I connect with the most on the PERMA scale. I'm always trying to serve a cause bigger than myself, not because it is the nice thing to do or makes me look better in other people's view but, because at the end of the day I want to have lived my life for others instead of myself. That type of life is more rewarding for me. 

Achievement: it feels nice to accomplish something. Whether that is an A on a test, a nod from the boss, or successfully cooking a meal; achievements boost your mood. It is nice to do well and excel in an area… especially one that you're struggling in. Studies show that determination can go a long way in this area!

I'm not afraid of failure by any means. I know a ton of people who cringe at the thought of being unsuccessful, but for me I just want to do what I do to the best of my ability. And I almost always have my perfectionist cap on, so that combination works out pretty well when it comes to achieving things. 

Seligman says by focusing on all 5 of these themes we can really flourish in life and live a happy lifestyle. How does PERMA play a role in your life? Happy Tuesday, folks!
sources: PERMA Model

Monday, March 17, 2014

Weekend Recap 3/17/14

Happy St. Patrick's Day, folks!! So, on Friday I wrote about how excited I was about this upcoming weekend and boy did it meet my expectations! Literally, everyday was wonderful and I couldn't have been more blessed with a weekend where I got to spend time with friends, family, J, and best buds!

Friday: After, I got off work and wrote that blogpost I met up with J and we just talked for a few hours before I had to leave for babysitting. I absolutely love babysitting and I watch the cutest set of twins, Emma and Sarah. They are beyond adorable and remind me of what it was like to have an imagination. 

Saturday: Was such a perfect day. Not only was it sunny and warm, but there was a perfect breeze and I got to do everything I love! I spent the morning with J and we like usual got caught up in conversation. We are official now so that was really exciting--- maybe he'll start popping up on the blog more frequently! Then, we went to lunch and I took him to Best Buds. We had our St. Patty's Day best buds party and it was so nice sharing that with him! I think he loved it and I know I loved having him there. 

After Best Buds he walked me back to my room so I could get my purse and then we went to my friend Alex's where I introduced him to her roommates. Then, we hugged goodbye and Alex and I were off to Abingdon for a family house warming party. I got to see my parents and my cousin's new house. 

When the party was winding down, Alex took me on a tour of where she is from! I saw her house, we stopped and had some chicka (chick-fil-a) and we swung by her boyfriends and said hi to him and his family. After driving for a couple hours we finally made it back to the Mount and I met up with J and we caught up on our days. 

Check out this cutie! She is growing up so quickly. I'm so blessed to have the cutest baby cousin.
Sunday: was a day full of homework and food! Nothing exciting on that end I promise. But, even though I spent my whole day pretty much reading the most boring book ever, I still just felt so incredibly blessed and thankful for my weekend. And what's even more exciting is that next Sunday I'll be a 21 year old. Don't worry guys, I'm not gonna go crazy or anything! 

Friday, March 14, 2014


Dunkin Donut's coolata selfie 
yeah, so i'm a tiny bit excited for today… partly because it is Friday. partly because I get to hang out with the sweetest guy and my favorite set of twins tonight. party because life is awesome and even though i have no idea what i wanna do with my life, i know that it will be okay at the end of the day. 

today, i aced my sociology quiz that i was totally stressing over. i went to work, looked at grad school programs, and caught up on all things blog-related because i've been behind this week. i had a delicious lunch and even though i did absolutely nothing to get ahead on the crazy workload for this weekend, i can't help but feel that everything is okay!

so, today is an awesome day. it may be cold out, but the sun is shining and people are smiling. i hope you have an amazing weekend and i will see you all on Monday!

also, special shout out to raewyn over at Warrior Queen for winning the Spread the Word to End the Word giveaway t-shirt! thank you to everyone who participated and pledged their support for this amazing cause. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Stay Golden Link Up: 3/13/14

                                     Stay Gold: The Weekly Positivity Link-up!

So, one of the blogs I recently discovered, Warrior Queen is co-hosting a weekly link up all about p o s i t i v i t y! And you better believe that I'm gonna be joining in on the fun! What a perfect opportunity to blog about positive things! So, before I start the post go check out Raewyn's blog and join in on this awesome link up!

So, where to start… positivity is one of my things… which, in more understandable terms basically means I love it. I love acknowledging positivity and living a positive lifestyle. I love that I'm a psychology major and I can focus on happy things sometimes. I love sharing with others the happiness that I feel and that the majority of the time they give me.

One of my favorite psychologists, Martin Seligman, who is also the father of positive psychology has been studying for years what makes people happy. Anyways, besides loving his work and being a total positive psychology nerd; I also love any articles written about living a positive lifestyle. One of my all time favorites, is a Huffington Post article called The Habits of Supremely Happy People. This article even sites Seligman which, means it is definitely a must read. Anyways, the article goes on to list a ton of different habits of happy people. And surprisingly research shows that "the pursuit of pleasure" is not what brings about happiness.

But, what does bring about happiness? Well, with the help of this inspiring article I am writing about things that bring me happiness and continue to help me live a positive lifestyle:

Appreciating simple pleasures: this is simple, hahaha… but, seriously taking the time to just recognize the warmth of the sun or the wind blowing through your hair is so important. Acknowledging the little things like the perfect glass of water or a good hair day… however simple, happy people are more likely to appreciate it.

Try to be happy: yeah, sure this one can be a bit obvious. But, trying to smile on a rainy day is actually ten times better than complaining and getting caught in the rain. So, the little act of trying to be happier often will boost your mood.

Stick with the deeper conversations: lately, I've been noticing the truth in this so much lately. Now, its great to check in with people and see how their day has been going… but, it is even better to get to know them on a personal level.

Look on the bright side: Being optimistic can do wonders for your life. By finding the rainbow in every rain storm has a ton of health benefits--- like "decreasing stress and tolerance for pain" but, seriously it is so much more fun to live a glass half full than a glass half empty type of lifestyle!

Get spiritual: Whatever you choose, it has been studied that being a religious or spiritual person actually makes you happier. For me, I love being Christian. I love jamming to Christian music and sharing my faith with others. I truly believe that Jesus is the best thing in my life and I want him to be present in every relationship I have.

Have you exercised today: Well, that's a serious question because even choosing to take the stairs over the elevator will make you more positive. So, get up and have a dance party with your roommate or go for a walk with your significant other, because at the end of the day it will help.

Laughter is the Best Medicine: Laughing until my stomach hurts, smiling till my cheeks ache, until tears come to my eyes. Laughter releases happy neurotransmitters to the brain and those happy neurotransmitters can drastically improve your daily life and positivity is sure to follow.

If you haven't already, please go check out the article I sited above! They have an even better list full of research to back up what they are talking about. Happy Thursday, lovelies!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Quote Journal

 I find so much beauty in series of words that are strung together in an eloquent fashion. Words that form sentences, that form thoughts, that form impressions, that form actions, that form memories. Words have a tremendous impact on an individual.  They can inspire a whole group of individuals to keep fighting for what they believe in. They can save someone from a dark time. They can make you ponder what it means to love and be loved. Words have a unique power to invoke in an individual, a feeling that is much greater than one they ever could have imagined. 

A few months back I bought a beautiful journal. On every other page there are verses from the bible and I knew that I was going to do something useful with this. At first I intended to make it my prayer journal. Somewhere I could write my prayers down and keep notes on the sermons at church. But, then a new idea formed and suddenly this beautiful journal became a place where I write down beautiful words. 

My favorite quotes cover their pages. I've also recently started making themed pages too. The photo above is features quotes from famous love stories... I'm not gonna share every page with y'all but, F. Scott Fitzgerald covers the majority of the pages ;) That guy knew how to write!

Writing in my quote journal has kind of become therapeutic. I love drinking a warm cup of coffee, turning on some music, and just writing away. The quotes that really interest me often influence more research and before I know it I have an enormous book list that I must read. 

I would definitely recommend creating a quote journal. I've found that even when I'm having a chat with a friend or talking to a resident, the conversations will remind me of a quote and I'll pull out the book and share it with them.

P.S. I'll be announcing the giveaway winner later this week!!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Weekend Recap 3/10/14

This past weekend was amazing! Seriously, I couldn't have asked for a better weekend. 

Thursday night: My friend, Josh and I went to hear a guest speaker, Manny Scott who was an original Freedom Writer. We saw the movie the night before and it was probably one of the best talks I've ever been too. Mr. Scott has seen so much and has truly overcome tragedy. From a High School drop out to receiving his PhD, he is an inspiration to all. He has touched so many individuals lives and really inspires me to work hard and never give up. 

Friday night: Relay for Life night!! What an amazing experience it was! From 7pm-7am a bunch of Mount students including my fellow RA friends participated in a Relay to raise money for cancer research. Our team raised over our goal and our school raised over $25,000. It was an incredible night full of laughter, remembrance, and exercise. 
Our awesome banner!
My friend James bought me a princess crown to wear around!
Hopefully one day we won't need to have Relays for Life because they've
found the cure… well, one can only hope!
Post three-legged race… We fell as we crossed the finish line!
Our Relay has a make-shift jail that you can send your friends to with a donation!
The only way one can get out of jail is if (via jail) you raise twice as much as was donated
to get you in there. I spent quite sometime in jail and realized that I will sing and dance for a few dollars. 
Saturday: Besides taking a 4 hour nap, I got done three loads of laundry, did a little bit of homework, and went out with Josh! We went out to dinner and then checked out Battle of the Bands! It was a lot of fun seeing fellow Mount students getting up on stage and showing the community their talents.  

Sunday: We lost an hour of sleep, which totally bummed me out because on top of relay I didn't go to bed until around 4am on Sunday morning so 10 hours of sleep total for three days is not my cup of tea. However, I woke up early and had a delicious brunch at my friend's apartment. Then, did homework and went on rounds. My two best friends, Alex and Hannah came and spent time with me while I was on duty and I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard that I cried! It was the perfect night even though I was so tired. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Spread the Word to End the Word {Giveaway}

Today is a special day! Yes, it is hump day but, also its Spread the Word to End the Word. So, what does that mean? 

Basically, all around the United States thousands of individuals have pledged to stop using the 'R-word'. This is to show respect to those with intellectual disabilities and their families and to also promote inclusion for all. 

The R-word has a huge impact and unfortunately over the years it has become a part of our vernacular. Actor, John C. McGinley wrote a beautiful article on Huffington Post that really captures the impact of using the 'R-Word', check it out here. This is such an important cause and I challenge all of you to pledge with this campaign to stop using the 'R-word' and to tell your friends about it. 

Win one of these fabulous shirts for a great cause and take the pledge!
If you've followed this blog for awhile, you'll know that this is one of my favorite causes. I'm truly passionate about equality and the need for inclusion. I have loved working with great organizations like Best Buddies, Special Olympics, and L'Arche throughout my time in college.

The students I have worked with have taught me so much about life. They inspire me to work hard and never stop pursuing my dreams. They inspire me to not label other people and to not let labels hold you back. They are truly some of the kindest kids I've ever met and it is an honor to call them, friends.

Join me and thousands of others in pledging to Spread the Word to End the Word and
enjoy this little giveaway to win a free shirt that you see above! Inclusion is such an important
thing in this world. Have a wonderful day :) 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Adventure Can Be a Real Happiness

This past Spring Break was so amazing-- like I would ever complain about being home. I went to lunch, did puzzles with my grandma, volunteered, finished homework assignments, did laundry, cleaned the house, made desserts, went to a baptism, saw friends, talked with loved ones… I could go on and on about the things I did, who I did them with, and when I did them… but, posts like that sometimes get very boring, very quickly. 

So, instead I thought I'd discuss one topic to recap break with and that's adventures. I went on a hot date with my lovely sister on Friday night. We went to see a movie, had dinner at P.F. Changs, and then did some shopping. Anyways, after dinner our waitress brought out some fortune cookies and as we chose which, one we wanted I realized that happiness follows me everywhere. 

"Adventure can be a real happiness"… man oh man! What a fortune. Between us, I think Brooke was kind of disappointed that she didn't get such a thoughtful fortune, but as I sit here thinking about what it means I can't help but, break down the sentence. 

Adventure can be 
a real {happiness} 

A 'real' happiness? As oppose to 'fake' happiness? Adventures can bring you that happiness. This break I didn't physically go on any adventures. Sure, I explored downtown Baltimore and drove out to Pikesville with Hannah to meet our friend, Alex for lunch. But, as far as going on a nature walk or trying a new food, my adventurous side was kind of lacking this break. 

But, when I revaluate what adventure means… I realize that I did go on an adventure. I read two books over break, Divergent and Insurgent. Two books from the Divergent series written by Veronica Roth. I literally spent all day on Monday reading, Divergent and then tried to convince myself that I could wait to read Insurgent. Less then 24 hours later, I purchased Insurgent on the kindle and began to read that story. I loved falling into the world of Divergent and tagging along on the crazy adventures that span the series. Any novel that makes me think about who I truly am or "what faction I would be placed in" is a book for me! Thank you, Veronica Roth for bringing me some adventures and happiness this break. 

There is a famous saying about one who finds pleasure in reading… "a reader lives a thousand lives a thousand lives before he dies, the man who never reads lives only one"- George GG Martin

Also, I picked up an additional identity over break:

librocubicularist: (n) a person who reads in bed. 

I'm also gonna be regretting not really exercising this break come… unless you're willing to count the bed, to kitchen, to bed, to bathroom, to bed, to play with dogs, to bed, to sofa, to kitchen table, to bed, to kitchen; routine I was on. 

I am publicly stating now that I'm going to wait to purchase Allegiant until Easter Break. Hopefully some delayed gratification, will make me a better person. 
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