Planning for Success as a Student

Chances are we all know at least one person who is ready to embark on their college journey in the fall. When I first went away to school, I remember feeling like I had so many school supplies, yet I felt nowhere near prepared enough to actually start college. Y’all already know how much I love office supplies and every possible product to keep me organized, so I thought I’d elaborate a little more on some things that I loved having and that I wish I had! Through my five and half (long) years of college, I finally learned what products work best and the ones that aren’t really necessary. These are the things that have worked well for me and the things I really don’t think I would have made it through successfully without!

*This post contains affiliate links.
I really feel like a person can’t have enough office or school supplies. It’s just not possible! You’ll always use them eventually, and there’s just something about a nice clean notebook with catchy stickers and colorful pens that make note taking easier. In college, my Lilly Pulitzer Academic planner was the best thing I owned. It was bright and colorful, user friendly and made me actually want to get it out to use – always. How cute is this Lilly Pulitzer 17 month 2017-2018?!

I always loved to use a colored coated notebook & binder for each class, just the simple $1 or $2 ones you can find just about anywhere they sell school supplies. I know I linked these pens in another post, but I’ve found that color coating notes with ink color helps in the studying process, it doesn’t just look pretty! These BIC colorful pens are inexpensive and the best option, with the best colors!

Note taking is never complete without page markers and stickers. Check out some of my favorites here! There are so many options out there, so I just wanted to share some of my favorites. Another thing that made organization of my weeks easier was a set of paper clips, push pins, and binder clips, in a addition to a small bulletin board. I used the bulletin to write out my week at a glance, in order to hold me accountable and let me know what events I had coming up that week. My Day Designs Wall Calendar has since taken the place of a bulletin board in my home, but either one works perfectly! Which one do you prefer?

Do any of you all have an organization station in your kitchen or somewhere around the house? I think they are SO cute so please let me know if y’all have one & how you set it up & use it!

The summer before heading to school, I received an Amazon gift card as a graduation gift and had absolutely no idea what I would ever find on Amazon. Good news- Amazon has literally everything. I ended up finding my favorite kate spade new york Pencil Pouch on there and I still use it today! It’s so clean and pretty and, I must say, we have definitely come a long way from the plastic pencil boxes from first grade! I also absolutely love my Kate Spade coffee tumbler. Mine is white and gold striped, and my pencil holder is white and gold polka dots, like I’ve linked above. Does it get any cuter than that?

One of the biggest things I’ve fallen in love with is this stainless steel programmable crockpot. There are so many recipes out there that are so much better than soup every night and cooking with a crockpot is SO easy. Besides, these bags make for the easiest clean up! I love making oatmeal or chia pudding in the crockpot, as well as my Mexican chili and apple crisp. The options are endless. Over the last few years, I’ve accumulated several cookbooks with tons of recipes too, so we all know there’s tons of options out there to make cooking easy for busy students or adults! We’re all busy, so no matter if we’re heading to college or just dealing with all the crazy of our every day lives’, a crockpot is always a good idea.

A lot of these recommendations and products are steered more toward girls, but some of my note taking tips and colored coordination study habits hopefully can help everyone! Who do you know that’s heading off to school? What are you doing to help get them ready?

 

*I know I’ve been referring you guys to Amazon a lot in my posts, I just think it’s awesome how much you can order and how quickly you can get it! You can literally get anything you could possibly need! Another thing that’s awesome is the opportunity for Amazon Prime. I’ve linked a 30 day free trial for Amazon Prime to get free shipping in 2 days on thousands of products on the site. I definitely encourage you to at least try Amazon Prime, if you haven’t already. There’s always an option to cancel after the initial 30 days, but the benefits are totally worth it!

Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

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Pitaya Smoothie Bowl.

This one is my absolute favorite & I could really eat this every single day. I am all about eating what you love, but I know as well as anyone that you’ve got to give your body the good stuff. My go to in the morning, especially in the summer, is a smoothie or smoothie bowl. Seriously what is better than a frosty smoothie on a hot summer day? I have recently become absolutely addicted to pitaya smoothies. Pitaya is basically just dragon fruit & after using this product for almost two years, I still cannot get over the beautiful color & how good it tastes! You can buy frozen packs from pitayaplus.com to freeze, add a few ingredients, blend it up, & hit the road. Pitaya has a very mild flavor that can be enhanced by the different things you put in your smoothies. Below is my favorite recipe. *This post contains affiliate links.

1 pack frozen Pitaya Plus

½ c. pineapple

2 kale cubes (recipe below)

¼ c. orange juice

1 tbsp matcha powder

1 banana

Optional: juice of half a lemon, 1 scoop maca powder

You can get my favorite maca powder here Navitas Organics Maca Gelatinized Powder, 4 Ounce and this is by far my favorite matcha Matcha Green Tea Powder Organic, 100gms (3.5oz)!

Kale Cubes:

This is so easy. I usually buy a few bags of kale that is on sale because of a close expiration date. As soon as I unpack the groceries, I add the kale to the blender with just enough water to allow for blending. It ends up being about ½ cup for a big bag of kale. Once it’s all blended, I pour the mix into ice cube trays & freeze them. That way they’re ready to go & you don’t always have to have fresh greens for your smoothies!

You can put these in any smoothie you make. I literally add them to acai bowls, wheatgrass smoothies, regular strawberry banana smoothies…basically everything! For those of you who don’t even like kale, you really can’t taste it but you’re still getting all the benefits!

Some days when I’m not rushing out the door, I like to make smoothie bowls, which I like to be thicker than a normal smoothie, so I just add a frozen banana instead of one that’s room temperature. The lemon juice just brings out the flavor of the pitaya and the maca powder has tons of vitamins and doesn’t add any flavor or bad taste to the smoothie.

When I make a smoothie bowl, I mix it up with different toppings, but usually leave the blended ingredients the same. If I have fresh fruits that need to be used, I’ll toss them in the blender to sweeten the base a little bit. Pineapple or kiwis are so good in the base whether I’m turning it into a smoothie bowl or not. Sometimes I slice a kiwi & a few strawberries to put on top or put some granola & low sugar dried cranberries. Pineapple is also amazing as a topping! I’ve used Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds, 12 Ounce & goji berries, drizzled almond butter or used sliced almonds with any kind of fresh berries. I’ve also been known to use shredded coconut for added sweetness or raw pumpkin seeds for an added crunch and extra protein. My method is usually something that’s crunchy, a fresh fruit, & something like hemp seeds for an added boost of all the things that are good for you! Below is a picture of the recipe given above with a frozen banana poured into a bowl & topped with sliced almonds, shredded coconut, sliced strawberries & a sliced kiwi. See how pretty?

As you can see, pitaya bowls are an art- one I am obsessed with!

TIP: I also love to add hemp seeds or granola to yogurt for quick, easy lunch!
This is my favorite granola for all things and it’s so indulgent with big pieces of dark chocolate Nature’s Path Organic Love Crunch Premium Granola, Dark Chocolate Macaroon, 11.5 Ounce. YUM!

What kind of smoothie bowls or smoothies are your favorites? Do y’all have any recommendations for some better toppings for smoothies or smoothie bowls for me? Have you tried pitaya?

You can literally make anything from it! I’ve made pitaya jam just by adding ½ teaspoon of chia seeds to a pack of thawed Pitaya Plus. I like to use it on rice cakes or drizzled over fresh fruit. I’ve also completely thawed out 2 packs & made ice cubes out of it. I’ve found the ice cubes are so good with Cran-Raspberry La Criox. Try it out & let me know what you think!

Acai Bowls have been really popular as of late and I make a lot of those, too. They’re still a delicious treat that also use a lot of nutritious ingredients. The recipe I normally use is pretty simple and it is listed below!

1 scoop (about a tbsp.) of Navitas Organics Acai Powder, 8 oz. Bag

1 frozen banana

½ c. frozen fruit blend

¼ c. orange juice

Throw it all in and blend until smooth. Some of my favorite toppings are pineapple, granola, and shredded coconut. I’m telling you guys, try it! And then let me know how much you love it!

Here Goes Nothing!

October 19, 2016. The day all my plans changed. I was in a second degree accelerated BSN nursing program & it was the end of the third session. The program started in May 2016 & was set to be one year long since all the students admitted had bachelor’s degrees in other areas. The first & second sessions flew by & I was enjoying them a decent amount but the minute the third session started, I began hating every moment. I’m not one of those people who has always known what I wanted to be when I grow up & I definitely never saw myself as a nurse. One day last year I was bored with my current job, scrambling for a major change & applying for the program seemed like a good idea. Long story short, I didn’t see myself as a nurse anymore. I was dreading class & clinicals every day & even having nightmares about pulling into the parking lot of my university. The session came to an end, I hadn’t done as well in one of the classes as I should have & that’s where my nursing school journey ended.

Sometimes it takes longer than it should to realize you’re in the wrong profession/program so I’m just thankful I realized nursing isn’t where I belong before I put anymore time and money into it than I already had. I’m not the kind of person who can settle for anything, so I knew right away that I had to launch this blog I’d been talking about for years. I knew I wanted to work somewhere where I was making a difference in the lives’ of everyone around me, while also looking forward to going to work each day. There are too many opportunities out there to be miserable! There are so many new opportunities every day that are the perfect fit for someone like me & I really am excited to finally find my calling.

I came across a quote a few years back by Earl Nightingale that I can’t get out of my head, especially through this time of trying to find myself: “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish. The time will pass anyway.” It speaks volumes to me. No matter how old you are, what your current career may be, you should always follow your dream. It’s never too late to change a life you’re not absolutely in love with.

So here I am: 26 years old, wine drinking, Louisville, Kentucky living, and ready to take on the world in a career that I love! I just started working a seasonal sales position at Williams Sonoma & even though it’s temporary & part time, I absolutely love it! There’s an aspect of design when preparing the displays but I also get to work with the public, which is what I love most. I already love to cook, but let me tell you, this place is inspiring me to make EVERYTHING!

So from here on out, I’ll be sharing some of my amazing travel memories & explorations. I’ve recently made the switch to eating (mostly) clean foods so I’ll also be incorporating some of my favorite new recipes & some of my best workouts! My goal is help each of you live your best life and my hope is that I can provide some lifestyle tips, recipes, & maybe even that boost of encouragement you need to move forward with your dreams!