Radiating Sunshine: August 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Feeling {Beautiful}

Happy Friday, friends! So, earlier today I was having a Pinterest-therapy session and I kept stumbling across quotes that focused on women's beauty and just being beautiful in general. Now, if you have read this blog for awhile than you most likely know that I am an optimistic person. I believe that the little things in life make life worth living. I think that a person should do things for others and live a morally just life. I always try to smile at strangers and to hopefully make someone's day. 

But, while all of those are nice I am constantly struggling with "beauty." Now, I'm a reasonable person and I realize that society's image for what a woman should look like is just wrong... a woman doesn't have to be a zero, have perfectly straight hair, white teeth, the perfect cup size... the list could go on! So, why am I struggling with my own beauty? This summer I really worked on finding my natural beauty... I went days without wearing make up and even some days where I didn't even do my hair (I'll let you imagine what happened with that one) But, even after building my self-confidence up I am still struggling with seeing myself as someone who is beautiful. 

So, most of the time when I have an issue, I seek advice or consultation from friends and family! I am beyond blessed to have so many wonderful friends and family who are endlessly supportive... and although their kind words help; I needed something deeper. And of course, the only place where I can find truth and inspiration is from the Bible so, I decided to start reading chapters that focuses on beauty and inner beauty and here are just a few things I found:

you are altogether beautiful, my love; 
there is no flaw in you - Song of Solomon 4:7

i praise You, for i am fearfully and wonderfully made. 
wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well - Psalm 139:14

for the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the 
outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart - 1 Samuel 16:7

so we do not lose heart. though our outer self is 
wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day - 2 Corinthians 4:16

I find so much comfort in reading scriptures and bible verses. I find so much renewal in God and Jesus. I'm endlessly grateful that I have faith in Him and even on the days when I'm not feeling the prettiest I know that through Him I am made whole, like seriously how amazing is that! Now, I know I'm not going to feel drop dead stunningly gorgeous every second of my life {and if I did I would probably be reading verses on vanity as opposed to inner beauty}... but, it is so important to love yourself and feel comfortable in your own skin. So, I'm going to go running with my boyfriend who could literally run circles around me, I'm gonna continue with my make-up free days, and I'm gonna get dressed up and wear a cute outfit when I'm having a bad day. And lastly, I'm going to feel beautiful because life is too short to worry about my pants size or whether my hair is frizzy. And after all I was created by someone who clearly knows what He is doing! I pray that you feel beautiful too.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Advice for Incoming Freshmen {College}

In honor of my senior year and now that I have Freshmen residents,  I decided that writing a post about some advice for Freshmen would be fun and helpful. I just want to say that I am in no way an expert on college... Sure, I've lived in a residence hall every year I've been here, I've managed to get involved and get good grades, I've made the greatest friends and the best memories, and lastly I've learned valuable skills that will hopefully get me through life... but, I've also made a ton of mistakes!

So, here goes my attempt at advice for incoming Freshmen... My freshmen year was truly an amazing year and honestly if I had to choose what my favorite year in college was it would probably be my that year. Every year has been great, but there was something about that first time your away at college. I don't know if it was all the friends I made, the new found freedom, access to delicious cookies whenever I wanted, or the fact that I went to school where every season is just so beautiful but, freshmen year was beyond wonderful!

1. Get out of your comfort zone

When you're in college it is good to try new things and find out who you are... and in my experiences one can do this when you do things that are a little out of your comfort zone. Now, I'm not saying go to a party alone but, if your friend invites you to go mud sliding then just say yes.

Freshmen year, Hannah and I decided to go mud sliding with a bunch of random people and we made so many great connections. Like who knew taking advantage of a muddy field would have given me so many laughs and one of the greatest nights I've ever had in college?

Oh and a real quick declaimer... rolling around in the mud is me living on the edge!

2. Be adventurous 

My freshmen year some of my friends and I decided to save up some money and go on vacation. So, in December while everyone was packing their winter gear to go home I was packing my bikini and getting ready for a 6 day vacation to Jamaica. We found this amazing deal for airfare and an all-inclusive hotel and the four of us flew down to the Caribbean. We climbed waterfalls, went snorkeling, laid out in the sun... it was the perfect vacation! Now, I realize some parents might not be on board with their freshman in college going on vacation to a foreign country but, if you save up the money and your parents think you're responsible then totally do it and be adventurous.
Jamaica vacation!
3. Be generous & help others

One thing I really wanted to do in college was to get involved with my school's Office of Social Justice... so, my freshmen year I joined Best Buddies, went on Habitat for Humanity, and did a bunch of little service projects. I have realized that to live a good life you must give back to others.

I challenge you to get involved with community service. Not only are you helping other people but, you get a chance to be humble and learn from so many different people.
Habitat for Humanity, Cape Fear NC

4. Take advantage of campus activities
So,  I guess this could also pair with being adventurous... but, go to cool places with your school! Most colleges/ universities have a lot of trips planned for their students so I would totally recommend you take advantage of them all! It is a blast getting to see cool places and for relatively cheap. I know at my school most of the trips are free or $5 for transportation costs. And you can't really beat that!
crappy day for a visit to the Statue of Liberty! But, still had a blast :)

5. Bond with your roommate
I feel like you either hear horror roommate stories or heaven roommate stories... well thankfully I had one of those heaven roommate experiences... well, at least that was my view, hahaha jk! Anyways, getting along with your roommate is so important! I can't tell you how many mediations as an RA I have had to do because of roommate conflicts. So, my advice for living with a roommate is to be respectful and to communicate with each other. If there is an issue make sure you talk it out, because that is so much easier than being passive aggressive and having so many conflicts.

Also, now that I live alone I really miss having a roommate. Whenever, I tell people that they always think I'm crazy but, sometimes it's really nice to come home and not be alone.

6. Dress for success
This is something that is important for every occasion... When I was younger my mom never let me or my sister wear sweatpants out of the house. She didn't think it was appropriate and I'm pretty thankful that she even instated that rule because you never know who you're gonna run into when. Now, of course if it's one of those days I'll do the whole sweatshirt and yoga pants thing... but, I almost always get showered and dressed before class/work. Sure, I have to wake up a little earlier but, simply dressing for success can really boost your entire day.

Also, dressing for success plays a role when you're going out too. Like to an 80s Club Night or for Halloween. Side note... I love 80s themed nights because it is the only time I can fully take advantage of this wild curly hair of mine!

7. Be active
So, this may seem self explanatory but, being active is so important. I am here to tell you that the Freshmen 15 really does exist and it stinks... I know its hard to find time to work out when you're busy going to class, working, socializing, and trying to get enough sleep... but working out or even going on brisk walks can improve your circulation, health, happiness levels, and de-stress you! 

So, whether you like to run, do Zumba, yoga, or play intramurals I would definitely recommend you get out there and be active!

8. Call home
If this is the first time you're away from home it is so important that you call home regularly. I know it may feel like you're "breaking free" (insert high school musical soundtrack) but, your parents/family love you and its important you show that love by calling home to tell them. Also, calling to say thank you or sending letters home is a great way to show you care.

9. Stay in touch with your high school friends
Don't let your high school friendships die now that you have college friends! Some of my best memories in college have been made when my high school friends are visiting me or vice versa. I know it can be a lot of work to keep in contact.. skyping dates can be hard when you both have busy schedules but, don't lose contact. And if you're reading this and realizing that you have lost contact a simple text can do wonders. 

I've also found that friendships can pick up where they left off in most cases. So, if its been a few years, hit up your local Chipotle, and sit and talk for hours.
Caitlin and I at an Ingrid Michaelson concert in PA
10. Keep your room clean
Another really simple one... but, keep your room clean... make your bed. I am a full believer in "its the little things in life" and having a clean space that is your own is one of those things that can drastically improve your college experience. 

Those are 10 tips that hopefully will help you have a wonderful first year experience... oh and a bonus tip: is do well in school. You're at college for the education and that is the most important part... so it's okay if you're not going out every night. Just make sure you're constantly doing your best academically.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Am I Really a Senior?

Am I really a senior in college? Like seriously people when did that happen!? It feels like yesterday when I lived on my Freshmen hall (disclaimer: I'm back in a Freshmen Hall) Anyways, as I start to mentally prepare for my senior year, I'm slowly coming to a realization that my undergrad is coming to a close!
Freshmen year Tie-Dye Program with Alex
I have loved the past three years of my undergrad. I have met the greatest people and have made so many wonderful friendships. I found out what I want to do when I grow up. I discovered my passion for emerging adulthood. I have gone on service trips and have been to so many cool places. I became an RA and received the best job I've ever had. I have laughed until my stomach hurt. I gained and lost "The Freshmen 15." I have become well-rounded in my faith. I have discovered who I am and what impact I want to leave on this world.

College has meant/been so many different things to me, but above all else I think it has helped me understand who I am. I know what my flaws are and I try to work through them. I have lost friends and made new ones. I've realized what type of person I want to be and how I want people to see me. I've basically grown up. I came into college a scared Freshmen who only new a few people... and I'm going to be leaving college (hopefully) a strong and independent woman with a wealth of knowledge and a full list of contacts and LinkedIN friends!

Alex and Hilary's Birthday Party & Picnic - Sophomore Year!
To be honest, it feels kind of weird to know that this is my last year as an undergrad student. I'm hoping to go to grad school but, anything could happen. For now I'm just going to enjoy my senior year of college. I'm going to work hard in my classes, complete my honors projects, be the best RA I can to my Freshmen girls, give back to my community, and make lasting memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.
It still feels weird knowing that my last RA training has ended and my last first day of my undergrad is done. I am already feeling sad about graduation and that so many months away.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Vitality VoxBox

So, last week I finally had a moment out of RA training to check my mailbox and was so excited to find the newest Influenster VoxBox patiently waiting for me! If you're interested in jointing influenster send me an email at radiatingsunshineblog@gmail.com I would love to help another blogger out and get them involved with some product testing... 

Anyways, in between all the hustle and bustle of RA training and Freshmen move in day I managed to test out most of these products and I wanted to give y'all a little spiel about what I thought. 

Well for starters I think the number one item in this box is the Softlips cube! Let me just say the turquoise container is beyond perfect and matches my room so well! I am a big fan of softlips and I've always loved their products.

Unfortunately, I haven't used the tampons of the burn cream (I don't think unfortunately is the right word here) Anyways, hopefully I won't ever have to try out the First Degree Burn Cream but, if something were to happen I know I will have the right medicine to help me out.
  The other products that this #vitavoxbox came with are Pure Leaf Sweet Tea, Bikini Ready Gummies (vitamins), and Playtex Sport tampons! I loved the sweet tea and the vitamins... really anything sweet is right up my alley! I was doing a little research on the Bikini Ready Gummies because I was so shocked at how good they were... I was literally eating them and was so bummed the sample only came with two gummies. Anyways, the packaging begged me to wonder what do I do to get bikini ready? Well, unfortunately I don't see a bikini in my near future... but, in the spring I really try to get active and go on walks as much as possible. I'm so blessed to live on such a beautiful college campus and walking with J or some friends is such a simple way to stay fit.
all of the opinions above are my own. I was provided this box by Influenster

Friday, August 15, 2014

Birchbox {August}

So, I'm basically in love with this month's Birchbox! I think my favorite sample is the Total Moisture by Benefit. I kid you not it smells so delicious. I literally texted J and told him that he NEEDS to smell this moisturizer because it's amazing... too bad its normally $42 a bottle and I don't have that kind of cash to spend it on moisturizer. I also loved the Dr. Jart+ BB Dis-a-Pore cover up! I think it matches my skin tone perfectly (tell me if it doesn't) and it has SPF 30 which, is a total win! The Neil George Shampoo and Conditioner is great, although I only used it once because I want to save those bottles for traveling... and last but, not least the LAQA Lip Lube was okay... it doesn't really fit my makeup style but, I'll probably use it during halloween so that's a plus! 

Anyways, I'm currently in RA Training so, that's why my posts have been spread out. I've been having so much fun meeting the new RAs, catching up with the returning RAs, learning in sessions, crafting bulletin boards, and getting prepared for this semester! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

ALS Ice Water Challenge

For the past few weeks I've been seeing a bunch of videos of people dumping ice water on their heads to raise awareness for ALS. If they didn't dump ice water on their head by the 24 hour deadline they had to donate $100 to the ALS Association... Now, I don't know the statistics for how much money the fund has raised... but, there was definitely a lot of awareness going around. I was very speculative at first because I thought it was just an attention seeking activity that has taken social media by storm... but, after reading articles and seeing how the community is getting educated about the progressive neurodegenerative disease, I started to have a better outlook on the challenge. 

So, I was nominated by my supervisor Kayla and I nominate my mom, Lisa, my supervisor, Brian, and my good friend, James! You have 24 hours to spread awareness and hopefully donate to this cause. After reading tons of stories of people who have ALS this is truly a cause that you really want to spread awareness for. 

For every view of this post I will donate 50 cents to the ALS Association, you have until 7am tomorrow morning to share this post and hopefully get as many people to view this post as possible! Help me continue this amazing challenge and thank you so much for participating. If no one has nominated you, feel free to start the chain up and keep those with ALS in your prayers :)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Summer Vacation is Over

So, I officially move back to college today... it is crazy that I'm already heading back for RA training. I have loved the past two weeks I've spent at home. I have managed to see so much family, spend time with friends and J, and do so many fun things. It is crazy to think that I'm heading back for my senior year! Anyways, here is how I spent my last two wonderful weeks at home: 

I went to the fair with J and my family. We saw all of the baby animals, played bingo, walked around the rides, had funnel cake, and saw a pig race. It was the perfect night and we couldn't have asked for better weather. It was a true summer night :)

I also got to spend tons of time with my favorite lady, June! I have missed her so much and can't wait until I'm home again to play fetch and give her treats. Disclaimer: she is laying right next to me as I write this post.

Being able to cook whatever I want has been a real blessing. For the past two months I hadn't had access to a kitchen so, when I got home I started taking advantage of it. I baked cookies, made delicious breakfasts, used the parmesan that I bought in Italy on almost every dish you could reasonably put parmesan cheese on. I'm going to miss the kitchen so much and I am not looking forward to going back to dining hall food.

On Friday, I went down to Baltimore with two of my friends from High School. We met up with my aunt and her husband and went on a wonderful cruise around Baltimore's Inner Harbor. I absolutely love that city and it was so nice hearing the live band and seeing the city all lit up at night. We were celebrating my uncle's birthday and I literally am so thankful I got to hear stories from when they were young and really get to catch up with them. As we were cruising by the marina, there was a band playing and they did a cover of Jimmy Buffet's Uncle John's Band. And with the cool breeze flowing through my hair and the smell of summer in the air, I had to just freeze that moment because in twenty years from now I will think about that boat ride and realize that that was a true summer night, full of great memories with great people. 

Such a great night with Petra, Molly, and some Bud Lights
Love my Aunt Paula so much! And her taste in drinks :)
freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit crushes!
My favorite city!
I feel so blessed for getting a little bit of time at home before school starts back up and I get right back into the hustle and bustle of busy psych major/RA life.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Essentials for College Life

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Brita. All opinions are 100% mine.

In less than 2 weeks I will officially begin my senior year of college. Where did time go? It feels like it was yesterday when I was moving into my freshmen residence hall with a car full of items that we're gonna make my dorm room a home away from home. Now, as I prepare for my fourth and final trip I feel like I can dish out some advice for what you really need in your room at school, especially if that room is a dorm room.

I’m kind of a little obsessed with back-to-school shopping. Especially when it comes to replacing my old stuff and getting new school supplies. I love seeing how my dorm room has changed over the years and I love walking down the college aisles and giving advice to incoming Freshmen who are buying things they are never going use.

Unlike most college students, I have lived in "dorms" for my entire undergrad. I'm an Resident Assistant and I was always placed in a residence hall where communal bathrooms and lounges make up your dorm life experience. When I tell people that I don't have an apartment, flat, or don't share a house with my friends they instantly question my college experiences. But, let me just say I have learned how to make a small 12x12 box with cinderblock walls a beautiful space with everything I need to live a happy and healthy lifestyle.

So, today I'm writing to all college students, whether you live in a dorm or an apartment, what I have found to be some must-have college items. For starters, a good planner is a college essential. I know so many college students who think as soon as they leave High School they no longer need an agenda book. Well, I'm here to tell you, YOU'RE WRONG. Never underestimate the need to write things down. You'll think you'll remember that paper due at midnight and then when its 11:30pm and hits you that in thirty minutes 10% of your final grade is due, you will wish you took my advice on the agenda book.

Another really important item that I have found to be so useful in college is the Brita ® Water Filter pitcher. Freshmen year, I was in my friend's room and I opened her mini fridge to get a water bottle and I saw that they rearranged the shelves to fit their Brita ® water filter pitcher. My friend quickly said that there were cups next to the fridge and I can just use the Brita ®. All I remember thinking was "wow that is such a good idea." The next weekend I went out and bought my own Brita ® pitcher and have been using it every since.

I'm not going to lie to you, I think I originally bought the Brita ® pitcher because I loved how cute it was. The Brita ® pitcher comes in so many unique colors and it made water easy and accessible. I finally broke my relationship with the floor's gross water fountain and am so thankful for that!

I can't tell you how many college apartments or dorm rooms that I've been in and they have had a Brita ® pitcher. Drinking water is so important for your body and Brita ® filtration system reduces impurities from tap water. But, here is the part that you will love the most... IT SAVES YOU MONEY. Goodbye are the days where you buy bottled water. Simply fill up a cup or a water bottle and you're good to go. You can even add Crystal Light or Mio to give your filtered water some flavor. Brita ® products are available at Target, which is really nice and convenient. Also, just a side note if you’re planning on studying abroad in college, I used the Brita ® filtered water bottle for my trip. It was so nice knowing I was staying hydrated by drinking clean and great-tasting water. Not to mention using Brita ® filtered products are great for the environment.
 photo 62d59a65-b5f1-4210-9353-a9acac3313cd_zpsc0c2b983.jpg
Besides a planner and a Brita ® that is available at Target, I have found that having a dependable laptop with a memory stick is crucial. In college almost everything you do is online, unless your class requires something to be handwritten so when doing back to school shopping I would really recommend reading reviews for what laptop will work the best for you.

And finally sanitizing wipes are a must. It doesn’t matter what brand you buy, they all do the same thing, but it is so easy to spread germs in college. So, avoid the flu and make sure you wipe down your surfaces. Plus, it is just really nice to know you’re living in a clean space.

Now, obviously those are just some of the items I have in my dorm room. I don’t want you guys to think all this girl has is a laptop, planner, sanitizing wipes, and a Brita ® water pitcher. But, those are essentials that work in every space and for everyone. Other things that I love/need (think I need) are cute curtains, a nice bed spread, SHOWER SHOES, a bag to carry books in, folders, tons of wall decorations, a television, etc.

Back to school shopping can be annoying to some people, stressful to parents, and can be expensive. But, it doesn’t have to be. Make sure you’re always on the lookout for coupons and you buy things you know will give great benefits like the Brita ® water filter.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

First Birchbox {July}

 So, after waiting for nearly 2 years I finally gave in and subscribed to Birchbox! I don't even know why I did it, but I am so glad I did. My first Birchbox came in last week and I have loved trying out all my new products. For starters, I absolutely love the sizes. They fit perfectly in my purse and they're so cute. The August Birchbox focused on Women's Health. To start off the kit Women's Health gave a book full of 12 suggestions for living a healthier lifestyle. It was so interesting to learn that simply taking a cold shower can drastically impact your life and boost your metabolism. Other health facts they included focused on posture, drinking more water, keeping a workout log etc. I loved this booklet and I think I might base one of my bulletin boards on living a healthier lifestyle.

The products I received were great! For starters I think my favorite was the SmartyPants All-in-One Gummy vitamins. I cannot stand the smell of vitamins which, stinks because they are so healthy and important for your body. Anyways, I've been on a gummy vitamin kick because I've discovered that the gummy vitamins (meant for children) don't smell like actual vitamins. I loved the SmartyPants sample that was included as a lifestyle extra for this box. I really wish they accidentally slipped two into my box. I might have to hunt down these yummy vitamins that are enriched in the basic vitamins as well as omega-3 and vitamin D.

My second favorite product would probably be the Number 4™Super Comb Prep & Protect leave in conditioner. Now that my hair is getting so long (cutting it tomorrow though) its been really hard to manage the frizz but, this product really helped out.

I loved both the Supergoop!® cover up with SPF 35+ and the Harvey Prince Body Creme. They both fit perfectly in my purse and work so well. I don't wear that much cover up but, this cover up is light on the skin and works like a charm. The body creme smells wonderfully and keeps my hands feeling soft.

The last product I tried out was the Cynthia Rowley Beauty, Silver Eyeliner. Let me just say the eyeliner itself is so cute with the golf polkadots on the case... I kind of just want to never use it so I can always have something so pretty in my make up bag... but, I found out that this eyeliner is perfect for a smokey eye! The metallic color works perfectly. I was really skeptical about the silver shade, but it definitely surprised me!

Anyways, thats all for now! Be sure to check back next month for September's Birchbox.
all opinions in this post are my own

Monday, August 4, 2014


So, I've been a little M.I.A in the blogopshere recently. I got home a week ago and I've really been focusing on living my life with the people I care about and suffering from crazy writers block. Anyways, I wanted to update you guys on how my first week home went. 
On Tuesday, I finally got to be reunited with my family and J! There is nothing better than being at home with the people I truly care about (oh and getting to sleep in my own bed). And while I've been at home I am trying to see as many family members as possible before I start my senior year. 

I love getting woken up by these two pooches and my little sister!
My mom and I finally went out just the two of us since my 21st birthday. We went to
Oscar's Alehouse and we got some appetizers and had some beers. It was so fun just going
out with her and sharing stories; I have missed her so much since I've been gone.
On Saturday I got to hang out with my favorite second family, aka J's family! We went to church, had pizza for dinner, and then went mini golfing. I have truly missed him and his family so much. Two months is a long time to be away. 
On Sunday I did a bit of crafting and decided to relive some of my abroad days by making a collage full of photos, tickets, maps, a postcard, and a beer coaster. I miss Salzburg so much and I still dream about the city. Hopefully, I'll be able to return to Salzburg one day and maybe show my family around one of my favorite cities in the world. 
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