Radiating Sunshine: April 2015

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thank Goodness for the 23rd

I'm so happy that today is the 23rd.... want to know why? Because this entire month my family and I have been on the real struggle bus with cellular data. I know, #firstworldproblems! Unfortunately, on April 22nd we ended up getting a notification that we went over, but we were so close. Not sure why we were using so much data this month. I kept talking with friends who were having the same problem but, thankfully we have made it to a new month. 

Although it was really inconvenient not being able to use data. I realized how often I crave to check the internet while I'm out and about. It was actually scary how many times I went to update Instagram or some social media and couldn't because of the lack of internet. It kind of felt like I was in Europe without a cell phone plan. However, I feel really grateful for the experience because I really got to unplug and be more present. Even when I was at all of Josh's baseball games, instead of checking social media or even the weather (only regret) I was fully there and it was really nice!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Campus VoxBox

I love product reviews... and recently I haven't done any so when I got an email from Influenster I knew I had to sign up for the Campus Voxbox and check out what college student's are using these day!
So, welcome to the Campus Voxbox!! This voxbox came with a lot of goodies... some I was really excited for (Softlips Cube) and some I was a little hesitant to try (tanning lotion/ sour punch straws). But, I am pleased to inform you all that I loved all of the products I received!

Here Is The Breakdown:

Jergens® Natural Glow Instant Sun- sunless tanning mousse ($12.99)-- loved it!!
St. Ive's® Blemish Control Apricot Scrub ($3.99)-- okay!!
L'Oreal Paris Advanced Straight System ($4.99)-- okay!!
Softlips® Cube ($3.49)-- loved it, and would definitely buy it!!
Sour Punch® Rainbow Straws and Punchies ($1)-- loved it, but probably wouldn't buy it!

The Sour Punch® Straws and Punchies were really good. I actually just finished the last one yesterday. I opened this candy on Sunday and I finished it in a day! This is actually quite unusual because I am not a big candy person... but, even now as I write this post I'm kind of craving them! Anyways, I really enjoyed the sour and sweet flavor and the texture was spot on! It's not every day when a candy company can master both the flavor, texture, and even the marketing of their delicious goodies!
St. Ives® Blemish Control & L'Oreal Paris Advanced Straight System! Both of these guys fell in the okay label for me. I have used both of them in the past, but I found them to be largely ineffective for me. I have curly hair, so I'm not really looking for straight hair focused products... however, I really enjoyed the smell of the conditioner. I have purchased their smooth hair line products before and really enjoyed those as well.

As far as the Apricot blemish control goes, I'm still not the biggest fan! It smells delicious, but I feel like it doesn't do anything to help my blemishes! Oh well, definitely something I'll keep around just in case my current cleanser stops working!
Softlips® Cube is probably my favorite product in the box! I have tested this product out before and am still love it. The only issue I have is that I can't find it in stores, but I'll keep my hopes up. The Fresh Mint flavor smells/tastes delicious. And if I find this product, I will definitely buy it! I definitely have noticed that my lips feel softer and this has become a part of my nighttime routine.
Tanning lotion... haha where do I even begin? Well, for starters this product actually surprised me! I'm not into the whole fake tans business. I don't go to tanning salons and I don't use instant tanners. But, I really enjoyed this product. The first day I put it on, I instantly regretted it because I felt like my legs looked orange. But, after the second day I noticed the Jergens® Instant Sun really added a natural looking glow to my legs, which I appreciated while at the gym!

So, if you have a special occasion coming up I would definitely recommend this product... just make sure you apply it two days before the event.
That's all for now! I have another product review coming up in the next few weeks so stay tuned for that! But, for now I'm going to enjoy my mint chapstick, glowing tan legs, almost blemish free face, and still curly, but smelling wonderful hair!
* all opinions in this post are my own. I was sent these products complimentary from Influenster*

Monday, April 20, 2015

Weekend Recap 4/20/15

I can't even begin to describe how amazing this weekend was! It was full of laughter, baseball, hanging with friends, and everything in between. On Friday night, I went to a wine tasting with a bunch of friends. We tried different wines from France, Spain, and Italy. After realizing I was about to be late for L'arche, I sprinted across campus and found myself on the bus without any water or dinner. But, it didn't really matter. As soon as I got to the church, I was absorbed by all of the wonderful and kind people. 

Larch of Frederick hosted a Talent Show, which was a blast. It was full of songs, dancing, and poor performances by me! I haven't gone to a L'arche event all semester and it was very nice that I could go to the last one of the semester and arguably my last event ever. Hopefully, I'll be able to go with Josh next year... but, who knows where we will be on the third Friday of every month! However, I know all of the friends I have made there will always be in some of my fondest memories while at the Mount and for that I am very thankful.

I woke up bright and early and headed to the baseball field... Josh and my second home during the season! It seems like we both spend every weekend there, which we don't mind (except when my allergies start acting up). They lost both of the games on Saturday, which was a real bummer. But, they learned a lot about themselves and they continued to be positive throughout the weekend. 

After the first game, I left to go to Class Clash with some friends. They had a bunch of different activities. Some included: Escape the Room, a mechanical bull, dodgeball, obstacle courses, beach volleyball, and more! We all had an absolute blast and I started getting some sun! I have a nice v-neck tan line, which I'm desperately trying to get rid of. 

 After Class Clash, I went to Senior Fun Day. Senior Fun Day is a Mount tradition where all the seniors come together for drinks and lawn games. We also took a Senior picture, which was really nice.

 There is something just so symbolic about attending the senior events. I stopped keeping the countdown till graduation... because although I'm excited, I really just want to live in the moment. I want to absorb as much as possible in these last few weeks.

After Senior Fun Day, Josh picked me up and drove us to his house. We had pizza (Saturday night tradition) and talked the lineups and about the weekend. I made us some tapioca, which is a dessert I love and as it turns out Josh has no preference for it. He couldn't even get down a second bite! I have loved tapioca since I can remember, so it practically killed me when he said he didn't like it. But, good news is I got to finish his bowl and now I don't have to share right?
I woke up to a call from Josh saying the first game was canceled because of the field being sprayed with fertilizer. While, Josh used it as an excuse to study... and I used it as an excuse to catch up on some sleep. We went to church at the basilica and got McFlurries after, which was nice! I love mini-dates! I think I might like them even more than the really fancy dates... but, I love to dress up so it's a tough call!

After our ice-cream date ended, Josh went to warm up with the boys while I went home to get some chores done. I completed 3 loads of laundry, vacuumed, and wiped down the room. I even started packing and prepping for closing. It's crazy how this school year is already starting to come to a close.

Josh had the final game of the weekend at 5:00PM, so I bundled up and drove over. Both of our parents came to the game today, which was an extra special surprise for Josh! And I am proud to write that they won against Loyola today!
 It was an amazing feeling, seeing them win on a walk off pitch-- or something like that? All I know is Josh was running on to the field and the whole team was following him. He has worked so hard to put that team together, and to see them all play so well today was probably the best moment of the weekend.

I've been completely exhausted lately... burning the wick at both ends like usual, but that win just livened me back up! I'm ready for this week and I'm excited for next weekend too. Life is great friends and I'm enjoying every second of it!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

15 Moments In Life I'd Go Back To

Since graduation is getting so close, I keep spending so much of my time reflecting on life and the experiences that I have had! One things for sure, I have been so incredibly blessed with the life I have been given. God is good and I'm grateful to him for sending people into my life, that I don't always deserve. 

Today, I'm blogging about 15 Moments in Life I would go back to. It's kind of like a TBT post for my High School and College life. I loved writing this post and I hope you all enjoy it :) The events are all in order and some are specific and some are general!
All of the retreats I went on in High School! I'm so thankful that I went to a Catholic High School that promoted development of a student's faith and self! Every retreat I led or went on were truly inspirational and helped me connect with so many people.
When Juneau was a baby! I crave the days when we got her and she would cuddle up in my arms and sleep for hours! / I totally miss that navy blue scarf. It has been missing since my Freshmen Year of College and it was my favorite scarf. Hopefully, I'll find it when I move to PA in May!
All of the parties! Since I lived a little over a half hour from the majority of my friends when people would come over they would usually carpool and bring a whole group of people! I loved this and really enjoyed all of the mini-parties we had. TGIF Frozen Mozzarella sticks were always a huge hit!
The XBSS Retreat in Connecticut! My High School sent 10 student representatives and me and a couple close friends were chosen to go. At the retreat we met a bunch of students like us from different High Schools and it was amazing. Such a great trip and I have so many fond memories. 
 Graduating from High School. The day itself was kind of long and exhausting, but knowing that I had achieved something great was a wonderful feeling. I loved High School and it was nice concluding my four years with a bunch of friends surrounding me. 
 My first year of college, I held an event 'Dodgeball for Cameroon' which was a fundraiser for a sister school my organization, EJS (Educators for Justice Society) had. We ended up raising over two hundred dollars (can't really remember) had 6 different teams and everyone had a ball. Strangely, when I look back at this picture, half of those people were strangers that I later became great friends with! It's weird how things like that work in life and I hope it keeps happening. 
 Habitat for Humanity. I had never gone on a week long service trip before and it was probably one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I got to help out on a huge project that would impact someone's life forever. I met a lot of cool people and also got to explore Downtown Wilmington, where one of my favorite shows One Tree Hill was filmed. Talk about a great Spring Break!
 My friend Caitlin and I drove up to Philadelphia after our Freshmen year to see our favorite singer, Ingrid Michelson perform. I think we paid $20 for the tickets and she performed at the Electric Factory. Back then, not many people knew of Ingrid songs so it feels weird hearing her on the radio and seeing posts from people saying they love her so much! I'm so glad her career has taken off. She was truly monumental singer my Freshmen year of college... just ask my old roommate, Hannah (I would listen to her on repeat for hours and hours and hours- haha sorry!)
 Growing up we always took beach vacations and in High School we would always go to Duck, NC with a bunch of family friends. These were probably some of my favorite trips growing up and I always loved spending the week with some of my favorite girl friends and getting sun!
I also went to Maine, with Chad's family a few times! I love Maine. I love the crisp air, the green trees, the Life is Good stores that are everywhere, the mom and pop Lobster Roll stands, and the cute little towns. I haven't been to Maine in over two years and I'm really craving some time there! Hopefully one day I can take my kiddos there so they can fall in love with the state too. 
 Duke TIP played an influential role in my college summer experiences. After my Sophomore and Junior years I went down to Texas and worked on the residential side of the program. I met some of the greatest people, gained a significant amount of weight, and had so many unique experiences. Everything is bigger in Texas and I loved traveling around the state and seeing different things and tasting a ton of different food. I wish I could work for TIP this year, but alas big girl job comes first. However, I can always start recruiting some new residential counselors who would fit the TIP program perfectly! Hopefully, TIP won't be out of my future forever!
 So, chick-fil-a is my favorite fast food restaurant! My sophomore year of college, my friend Alex told me about the First 100 Challenge that a new Chick-Fil-A offers... and we did it! We went down to the Rockville, MD location and camped out for 24 hours in the parking lot while it rained. Our tent wasn't very waterproof, but we made due by the charity of other people who thought to bring tarps and we had a blast. We also were fed chicka for 24 hours straight, which was too good to be true!
Meeting this man! I have dated a bunch of different guys... but, Josh is by far the kindest and smartest person I know. He is genuinely sweet and we have been able to do so many fun things while we have been together. He even reads this blog on his own! I feel like when you date a blogger, you have to know that you will most likely (a) have to read and proofread posts (b) take tons of photos (c) listen to updates on the blog world, etc. But, Josh has taken to it well and cares about Radiating Sunshine.
Salzburg... and Europe in general! I loved going to Europe over the summer and if I could go back and relive those moments I totally would. I want to share those experiences with Josh, friends, and family. I really miss gelato and the fresh food. I miss the architecture and the beautiful weather. So, yeah I would definitely go back to Europe and would so do it again. 
 All of the adventures I've had with these too (Jamaica, Beach, & Camping Weekend). When I was going through my photos, I kept stumbling upon Amanda and DJ and all of the fun places we have been. Josh and I have reflected about this past year and we both agree Camping Weekend (even though we could barely light a fire because of the green wood) was by far one of our favorite weekends. We hiked, we ate food, we played rummy. Ahh what's not to love!

So, there you have it! 15 moments in life that I would totally go back to if I could... but, luckily for me I know that thanks to all of the beautiful and wonderful people in my life I know I will be able to have even better moments in the future. Happy Thursday :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Dating a Baseball Player

Lately, Josh and my relationship has consisted of BASEBALL! Whether it's talking about baseball, watching the opening games, and going to see him play. It has been baseball central around here and to be honest, I'm loving it! I also started reading "The One and the Only" by Emily Griffin, which is a love story intertwined with Sports-- I keep snapping sentences to Josh just so he knows all the chick books I read aren't completely about romance haha!
I am incredibly proud of Josh and how hard he has been working. He is the Club Baseball team President, which means his scheduled priorities is club baseball, school, and then everything else. He has been so stressed out scheduling all of the games, dealing with inclement weather, and managing all of the players. But, the team that pretty much has come from nothing (last season, I think they won 1 game) has slowly been building back up again. I have no doubts in my mind that next year, they will be a power house and will surprise the socks off all of the teams in their region. 
 I have been going to a lot of the games and have been taking pictures of the boys playing. I've also been freezing my butt off, getting sunburned, and just enjoying the spring weather. Knock on wood that my allergies don't hit me too hard this year, for the most part I have been good (but, hopefully I didn't just jinx myself).
 I love watching him play. Partly because my favorite color is navy blue and seeing him in his baseball uniform is definitely a highlight of my weekend, but also because I love watching him play a game that he loves.
 I knew when we started dating that he was a sports fanatic. He knows statistics, how different sports are played, and how to play them. He also plays them well, which makes it exciting for me to watch. So, I have been loving going to his games and hanging out with the team. I'm slowly learning how to keep the baseball book thing (I'll save that for another post) and the whole team thinks I am the team mom-- which, I'm not mad about. At least I'm helping them prevent skin cancer by bringing sun screen for those kids.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cooking with Kids

A few months ago, the President of my university adopted for children from East Timor, a small country in Southeast Asia! I started mentoring them and for awhile I felt like I was teaching them stuff. Like how to say something, or play cards, or do math. But now that they are settled in and really learning how things work over here, they are teaching me things! Last time I was over there, they started to teach me some Tetun (the language that they speak there). Nico, the oldest boy also taught me how to cook bok choy, which has become one of my favorite vegetables! 

 So, today I'm sharing with you all how to cook bok choy! It is a light and classic vegetable and pairs very nicely with rice. It is really simple to cook and it's delicious.

This is how you do it:

1) Prepare the vegetables. They cut the onions and cut down the bok choy
2) Add a little vegetable oil to the pan or wok
3) Saute the onions first for about 4 minutes
4) Then, add the bok choy
5) Cover with a lid and cook the bok choy until it is soft
6)  Add 2 tbsp chicken flavor broth mix to the bok choy and onions and mix well. 
 7) And serve over rice!
 When they first cooked it for me, I was a little hesitant. But, this dish is so delicious and affordable. I kept finding myself going back for second and thirds and before I knew it almost all of the vegetables were gone! I only have a few more days left of working with these guys and hopefully they can teach me more things before I move to PA!

Friday, April 10, 2015

One Month

Today, I woke up with an alert from my Countdown App telling me that there is exactly 30 days until graduation. I thought man, how is that possible? I watched so many friends graduate and move on and now it is my turn. Now people are watching me do the same thing. It feels so weird knowing that in 30 days, I'll be walking across the stage receiving my Bachelors of Science in Psychology. 

Many things have changed over the past four years, while so many things have also stayed the same. I can definitely say that I am not the same person I once was. Even my sperries (that I still use, but are literally rotting) are sitting in my shoe basket, but look totally different. Since Freshmen year, I have gained the freshmen 15,  and then lost the freshmen 15... and then I gained a few pounds since turning 21, and am still working on losing that currently ;). I look back at pictures over the years and my hair has been long, extra long, shoulder length, ear length, etc! 

It's kind of funny how many things have changed. Over these past four years I have made lasting friendships and have lost some too. I became an RA and found my passion working with college students and helping to foster a great community. I have had fabulous professors who have cultivated and enriched my understanding of the world. I have laughed until I've cried. My viewpoints on life and what I want out of life have even changed. 
 Even my tastes in colors and patterns have changed. I look back at my freshmen year dorm and kind of cringe at the sight of what I thought was really cute. And then I laugh at how Hannah and I rearranged this room (or really just me) 10 times over until we finally found something that satisfied us both. Actually, thinking back to it-- I can't really remember what we ended up going with...

Anyways, looking back at Freshmen year compared to now; all I see is the progress I have made. Grant it, I still love a good Disney movie (although I don't watch them nearly as much as I did that year). I have truly become a leader in my community. I'm involved, I still play intramural soccer, volunteer with best buds, hang out with friends, make cute crafts, etc.
Over the past four years, I have literally seen parts of the world that I have only ever dreamed about. I have started to learn Sign Language. I am moving to PA next month for work and graduate school. I'm dating this incredible man who is as smart as he is kind. I'm still eternally grateful to my parents and family for all of the support that they give me. They literally let me leave them for summers at a time to work in different states and gain the experiences needed to be a good Student Affairs practitioner one day!

I think college changes people. Yes, in the obvious way where you grow up, get older, and most of the time you mature. But, I think it changes people (or maybe just me) in another way too... college is the time where you can be yourself. You can meet people who are like you. You can get involved in activities that you like. You can basically work on perfecting who you are. I'm so glad I have chosen to work a job where I get the opportunity to constantly work with students who are in this stage of their life.

I'm going to enjoy these next thirty days as much as possible. I'm going to soak up every moment spent studying, hanging out with friends,  or with my residents, going to work, presenting my senior thesis, and living at this school. I've always heard that college is the best years of your life and I'm definitely going to live it up while I still can!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Making the Best of Failed Travel Plans

For Spring Break, my good friend Alex and I went to the Dominican Republic for some much needed fun in the sun! We had an absolute blast in DR and made some great friends... but, it was an adventure getting there. 

The day we left we had a 6:00AM flight... which, means we left my house at 2:00AM because of the snowy weather. We were definitely getting on that plane. However, the first officer didn't have the same thoughts as we did. We waited at the gate as 6:00AM passed and around 6:30AM we started to worry about whether we were actually going to leave the airport. It wouldn't have been a big deal, except we had a connecting flight out of Newark that was scheduled to leave at 8:30AM. Finally, when a new first officer arrived we were able to leave. But, since the flight was delayed we missed our connecting flight. We literally were sprinting through the airport only to find out that we missed our connecting flight by 3 minutes. 
Anyways, after missing our only chance to fly to the Dominican we began the process to find out what to do next. We stood in a customer service line for about 45 minutes and made plans to leave the following morning. United Airlines put us in a Ramada for the night and gave us $25 for lunch, dinner, and breakfast. Let me just say eating on that much in an airport and a hotel is not an easy feat.
However, through the process we learned a lot of important things. Some include:

remaining positive... this is probably one of the most important lessons we learned. Both Alex and I like our plans to go the way we plan them so we had to be flexible and go with the flow. Not to mention they basically extended our vacation by a night. We were still going to get the same amount of days in the Dominican and we got to have an adventure in Newark. 

be patient... I am a full believer that everything happens for a reason. So, even if you're travel plans to get mixed up know that it was for the right reason and be optimistic. 

go to the bar... I feel weird even writing that out, but making the best of a cruddy situation is the only option. Alex and I went down to the bar for happy hour and we ate appetizers for dinner. We were in bed by 8:00PM (I know we are wild) and we had the best night! 

be thankful... we kept reminding ourselves that although we were not in warmer weather or near a beach (haha we were in Newark without winter coats) we still had so much to be thankful. 

And in time the warm weather came! It felt amazing leaving that airport and arriving in DR. We also were bumped up to Economy Class on the way there and first class on the way back, which was really the icing on the cake! I feel so incredibly blessed for our little Spring Break trip and so happy that I had an awesome travel buddy! 

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