Chicken Noodle Soup and Hiatuses


Here we are again.. it’s always such a pleasure.

(Don’t know why that Portal 2 reference came to me, but it did.)

(Also, this post will not address chicken noodle soup. I think of this soup as comfort food, a way to sooth sore throats and heal sick bodies. Take it as a metaphor, or however you want.)

this pic has nothing to do with anything just letting ya know



Just gonna spew some thoughts about some things.

Recently, I’ve had kind of some… (revelations? Realizations? Noticings?) ideas… surface lately. Basically, between all of the books and the class time and the somewhat meaningful in-person conversations I have had over the past week, I’ve decided to take a bit of a hiatus.
From social media, from my phone… etc.

Apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and, almost super hesitantly, Snapchat… are all gone from my phone. I have restricted phone use to calling and important texts, along with the apps that enable me to be proficient in my online job.

With recent events like the Women’s March (as awesome as that was…!!– no, sadly I didn’t get to go 😩), the inauguration, the unraveling world politics… It was just so tiring to feel a need to check on things, read people’s non-stop opinions, (or, even worse, read people’s non-stop rants doing nothing but bashing on other people…), to post, to grab attention, etc. There was a lot of positive but also a ton of negative.

In terms of some of the negative effects, I felt, there was somewhat of a psychological shift. Lack of attention. Lack of being present. Impulse to have my phone glued to my hip/hand/ear.

I have been taking at least one thing seriously on my New Years resolutions so far, and that is reading for pleasure. As I threw out in my most recent Life as of Lately update post, I’m currently engrossed in a great book. When I started reading, I noticed “wow, this is… a bit odd. I’m sitting here and I’m reading an actual book, with pages, for fun, and no vibrations or dings are disturbing me.”
I’m not gonna lie, it was slow at first. I would call myself a swift reader, but sometimes stumbling over blocks of text was intimidating (especially when you get super accustomed to bits and pieces and factoids here and there and everything at once and multitasking…).

But as I got into it, I felt the pleasure of just existing behind the pages and letting my mind wander into constructions of scenes in my imagination, and it felt like I was returning to a place that I loved dear. Like the beach, or Disney World, or my grandmother’s house.

And so. I’ve kind of made up my mind that in order to be a bit more present, and enjoy physical things, I’m giving this a shot.

Cuz I mean think about it. How awkward is the silence when you get on a bus and all anyone is doing is looking at their phones? I looked up the other day and noticed that and was determined to put mine away, and continue observing what was going on around me.

How awkward is it when the teacher asks a question, no one answers… because everyone’s so afraid that they’re gonna be judged by what comes out of their mouths, right or wrong?

We’re so wrapped up (and I’m not criticizing here, because I am guilty of this as well. So guilty.) in our own selves and our own bubble that we don’t enjoy breaking out. It makes us feel uncomfortable. Anxious. Depressed. Starving.

Recently when I was talking with a professor about a project I was doing (maybe I’ll showcase that here– or parts of it, anyways), I brought up a time from earlier this semester where my phone decided not to work and completely malfunction on me. I spent hours on the phone with Apple, with my carrier, trying to get a new SIM card and figure out what was wrong.
I felt panicky and I didn’t know what to do when it completely shut off.  I obsessed over it.
My senior year when I dropped my old phone in class by accident (and I didn’t realize I had broken it from the inside until later), I went home thinking I have to fix it, I have to get a new one, I have to fix it and then just up and dumped $300 on a new phone, in a span of 23 hours.

Isn’t that insane? 

Returning again to the beginning of this semester… when the screen went absolutely black and there was nothing I could do, I did feel panic. A bit of distress.

But then something wild happened. I even remember exactly where I was when I felt this way: I was sitting at a picnic table and I got up suddenly, with the intent on going back to my dorm, when I was hit with a shock-wave (almost) of…liberation.

There was nothing to look at in my palm. No one could contact me. No one knew where I was. I was impressing no one, I was caring about no one, I was completely free of online/textual judgement.

This sounds crazy but it honestly was like an addiction. I read somewhere recently that we check our phones anywhere from 100-200 times a day, if not more, and that just doesn’t settle with me.

What’s new, what’s happening, who likes what, who has liked what

If I think about it, I honestly don’t really give a flying fuck about the answer to these questions.
What I do care about, however, is how I can get to feeling like my own person again, my own, real, in the moment person… who can stand up from a picnic table and feel the warm breeze and laughter in the trees and realize for the first time in a mind-numbing long time that I’m alive and I have the potential to physically do so much more. 

That being said.
This is, by not that much means, a rant against technology.

Hell, I love technology. How else would I be able to write this post? How else would I be able to have a virtual job? How else would I be able to live stream and chat with people in Ireland? Or text J? Or call my mother or collaborate on documents in groups?

But what I don’t like is when I feel like it starts running me. My life. My interests, my moods.

A single tweet/FB post/Instagram comment can affect my entire day.
Isn’t that fucked up? 

Today I thought back to my experience at the German academy— 3 weeks, no phones, German only, full immersion… We didn’t turn to screens to distract ourselves.  We played cards. We made music. We played pool. We ran. We swam. We made art. We laughed. We made bonds.

Our human-to-human connection skills must have skyrocketed that week, in comparison to the level they were previously at.

For the first time in a long time I got to help someone edit an essay for a class. I savored the ability to pour over syntax, adjectives, word placement, connotations… to mix and match them until they conveyed meaning that was. in its own right, raw and concise to its purpose.

Maybe this is just me, but with some media influence, I feel compelled to simplify. To dumb down, to skim, to jump from one idea to the next without any real reflection of what was said or what is being planned to say. I feel compelled to update, to share, to filter (my personality, my language, my pictures, etc) to judge, to follow, to envy.

And it’s because I put myself into a trap.

Yes, I’m searching for gratification. We all are. Hell, maybe even writing this post is proof of that.
Thing is, I’m tired of searching for it where I’ll never find it.

I’m going out and grabbing it. I’m leaving the metal at home and I’m going to
read avidly
observe diligently
laugh obnoxiously
ask fearlessly
share readily
love relentlessly
and live outside myself explicitly, voraciously, and unapologetically

Not looking down at my hand, but looking around
and most importantly,





Life as of Lately: A Backwards Winter

How lucky we are to be alive right now 😀
Here’s what I’ve been up to!

[Reading] Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler. It’s about a girl from a less than city area moving to NYC to fill empty holes she feels like she has at 22 years old. She lands a job at the greatest restaurant in NYC and gets caught up in the love triangles and drama of the establishment, all while finding herself in the most precarious years of her life. Almost finished with it! 10/10, would TOTES recommend.
[Writing] Essays. About high school student health. Stay tuned.

[Learning] Patience, financial restraint, and the power of chocolate covered doughnuts.

[Doing] work! Finally settling into the virtual assistant job and I couldn’t be happier. I just got paid the other day, so that’s fun! Also reading a lot, doing homework, and trying to focus on things that make me happy!
[Eating] Chocolate covered doughnuts, dumplings, rice and beans, and oatmeal!!! No “ragrets” (; 
[Drinking] Gatorade, milk, water. Loving that water. 
[Listening] To Mayer’s new music! Among other things. Check it out:

[Laughing] at how superficial some people are. I love feeling alive. Sorry if that bugs some people.

[Thinking] about my purpose. There’s been a ton of soul searching recently, and I’m hoping to expand on it in the coming weeks. Watch this space.

[Hoping] to God that our country can get on the course it needs to be on. Love is the only thing that’s gonna overcome this shit. So please, love thy neighbor. Please. 
[Loving] the previous long weekend, Mayer’s new music, Sweetbitter, hella supportive roommates, my classes thus far (all minus one, really), my newfound freedom, and my new job!!!
[Praying] for everyone. Everywhere. You got this.

How’s 2017 unraveling for you guys?


The Broke College Student’s 10 Financial Commandments

It’s still January and New Year resolutions are still quite fresh in my mind….(as they probably are in yours!) Like many people I’ve vowed/sworn/attempted to become better about saving money this year, and I figured writing down some goals/plans of action might help to actually get this resolution off the ground.  So here we have it, a somewhat absurd  comprehensive list of any and all things I plan on doing this year to save some extra money for the college debt that will consume my life school and for fun!

#1- Thou Shalt Not Purchase Starbucks on a Weekly or Daily Basis
Because really? Dropping $5 per drink that brings only temporary pleasure when a Dunkin or convenience or home-brewed cup costs way less? It’s just one of those mindless addictions.

#2- Thou Shalt Not Go on Clothing Shopping Sprees
Be creative with your wardrobe. Research new looks or bring back old ones with the staple pieces you already own. If you feel you MUST go out and get something new, try bargain hunting at consignment stores or even hit up GoodWill. You can find so many treasures there.

#3- Thou Shalt Take Full Advantage of Free Things
Plastic utensils, salt and sugar packs, t-shirts, food, water bottles, pens, pencils, cups, chip clips, bottle openers… You name it, your college probably gives away all sorts of free promotional/organizational trinkets at events or stand-alone tables. Do not spend money on these things, because more than likely you will come across them. This concept also applies to services. Take advantage of Amazon Student free trials (THE FREE 2 DAY SHIPPING IS SO NICE!!!) when you use your school email to sign up for 6 months of Prime service, Spotify promos, and other coupons and promos that probably appear in your inbox from time to time! [Editor’s note: Just recently I took some gallon ziplock baggies to the dining hall with me in order to pack away some lucky charms for breakfast in the dorm. I don’t know if we’re technically allowed to do this, but combined with a store-bought 2-quart container of milk makes for an easy, inexpensive breakfast. Shhhhhhhhhhhh :P]

For those dumb gen eds that you need? Rent. Off Amazon. Off Chegg.  Get used copies. Don’t buy anything that you don’t anticipate needing in the future. I scored 4 textbooks for under $100 this semester because I put effort into price comparing and really thinking about what I needed. When I did buy a textbook, I used sites like ValoreBooks and Thriftbooks which saves a lot because they’re more often than not, second hand. If you’re into digital copies of textbooks, those are also a great way to save, as they often cost less than hardcover or paperback books. If none of these outlets works for you, consider browsing your school’s student facebook group (if you have one) for students who are just trying to get rid of textbooks and aren’t going to charge an arm and a leg for them.
Also, buying books through your campus’s bookstore is hella expensive. 10/10 don’t recommend. …Unless a professor at your school wrote the books. Or they require an online code. In which case, God help you.

#5- Thou Shalt Always Look For Student Discounts.
Whether you’re trying to eat off campus or go snow tubing (which I’ll be trying to do in a week!) look around and see if any places surrounding your school offers student discounts.  Some companies are empathetic enough to realize that you are giving your right leg to pay tuition and decrease their prices to compensate.

#6- Thou Shalt Use Every Part of the Buffalo.
Brad Bird of Pixar has reiterated to his artists, story-boarders, and computer graphics designers the importance of this phrase and how beneficial being resourceful can be. This is where creativity needs to come in. If you have a project due that requires hard core crafting supplies, check if you can borrow from someone or from a studio or library. Recently, I made my roomie a pinata for her birthday made entirely from paper I had and cardboard from our hall’s recycling bin. Reuse, recycle, reinvent. Ideas can come if you just think hard enough. Use scrap paper for bookmarks, notes for the bulletin board, or even wrapping paper. YouTube tutorials are out there, Pinterest is a goldmine for thrifty, crafty, genius, and re-inventive ideas.

#7- Thou Shalt Constantly Ask Thyself “Is this a want or a need” and “if the brand name is really all that much better”.
I grew up with this. My mother rarely bought things for my siblings and me frivolously. We always made good use of left overs, and looked for the best amount for the best value. I was in Target the other day to buy razors so my legs could be shiny and stop traffic and I was looking through all the options and stopped to ask myself “do I really need 7 million blades and extra rubbery bumpers or am I just being first worldly and I could get by fine with a pack of disposable three-blades and not worry about shaving that much til it gets warmer?”

#8- Thou Shalt Be Conscious of Thy Spending
This is 2017. Tracking your outflow of money with apps, websites, or with special notebooks has never been easier. I recommend *free*apps like Dollarbird, Fudget, Mint, and the Personal Capital tools to help you see where your money goes and therefore gain a higher sensitivity to what you’re spending.

#9- Thou Shalt Save Portions of Thy Paycheck
It will pay off, I promise. Put it in a savings account where you won’t be tempted to touch it.

#10- Thou Shalt Consider Investing in Stock
This is the kind of money you could build by doing hardly anything. Just make sure you do good research on the company and the stock and the dividends to make sure you can still be in a good position if you suffer some loss.

Hope these tips work as well for you guys as I hope they do for me!


A Second First Day (Frozen Tundra Edition)

I was nowhere near as prepared for today as I was 4 months ago.

I still have notebooks, textbooks, book codes, a sense of urgency and goggles to buy.

But even with all of my ill preparations, today was fun! I only had 3 classes and, for once, I get to sleep in a little even though my body decided to be evil and wake up at 7:30 to pee  before my first class at 10am.

I started the day with a German class, filled with a whopping five people, four of whom I already know. Class was followed with the first (and hopefully the last for a while) Starbucks drink of the year. Pretty chill morning. (Literally, because it was 12 degrees outside.)

Not sure how I’m gonna feel about my required athletic activity of choice (which happens to be swimming–my second class, which is 1/3 classroom time and 2/3 of actual swimming) in this frigging freezing weather, which requires leaving a building with semi-wet hair… but oh well.

Finished off the day with a media literacy class, which is taught by 4 professors cuz the class is so huge (we split off into discussion groups with a professor for 1/2 the time we meet, so it’s not a constant mob of people). But the class deals with media and how it is, whether we like it or not, integrated in ALL of our lives. And as someone who sometimes struggles with endless scrolling, narcissistic posts/photos, and skim-reading, I’m really hoping I can go behind the scenes in this class and learn to better analyse what’s being scrolled through in front of my face, in addition to better make sense of what is being presented and how/why it’s being presented (skewed perspective, pure profit motivation, etc.). So I’m excited 😀

A general theme that I’ve learned today, however, is that the professors I have so far seem to be SUPER anal about attendance. This isn’t a problem, I almost always go to class– but being on time  is my issue. Of the many things I struggle with, getting places on time is hard sometimes. And especially in this freezing weather, I can tell… it’s going to be an all-Stephanie-hands on deck to pull my life together and set early alarms and get places at least 5 mins early.

I’m excited for tomorrow though because I’ve been wait-listed for this education class (for teacher majors) and I’m gonna haul my ass out of bed at 7:30 to make it there by 8am to audit the class and see if I can’t scoot my name up on the wait-list by meeting with the prof after class, explaining my position, and giving them a face with a name. Worth a shot, right?

On top of all that, I’m doing my best to keep tabs on those goals/resolutions for this year (which include actual non-trash food, diligence in my new job, and exercise! LOL).

And I’m thinking about making a mood/vision board with helpful text/pictures that’s visible the moment I wake up…..

That being said, I should sleep.

For those of you who are still enjoying a restful break– how’s it going?

For those of you like me who are rising and grinding as of today (or earlier)– what are you most excited for this semester?

And another random question… do y’all have any inspiring bible verses or quotes that you have taken to heart/written down/would love to pass along?

Much 💚 always,


Life as of Lately: Alright, Round 2.

Annnnnnnd it’s almost that point in time where the flag is called on the play, my vacation is over, and I’ve got to turn my attention to getting books, doing work (of many a type), and not sleeping  trying to sleep. And in all this hustle and bustle, stuff is HAPPENING.

[Reading] Nothing yet! Though I’m thinking of finding someone’s “best reads of 2016” and starting there (:  
[Writing] HA nothing besides this blog post. Gonna try to do more physical writing this year, actually.

[Learning] That there needs to be a balance between hard work, people, and play. Everyday.

[Doing] work (finally!) for my virtual job! It mane data entry but it’s new and a fab company so I’m pumped 😀 If only my little laptop would keep chugging…. it has temporarily died lately…
[Eating] bananas, pizza, Italian cookies and other things I should not be eating to start this year off healthily. The second I’m on campus, (which is a wimpy excuse m) (which should be in about an hour) I will change my ways. 🤣
[Drinking] lemonade. Not enough milk. Water. Raspberry infused ginger-als. (Gonna miss that place tbh). 
(Jk, we good now…)
But here is a list of songs that have made it into my inner circle recently! (I’ll try to limit the john Mayer :P) BUT ED SHEERAN’S new stuff is considerably lovely)

[Laughing] about a video about laughter. Watch it and you will laugh. Can almost guarantee. Link here

[Thinking] about how I need to buy books still. About how my work schedule is gonna happen, about how I’m gonna miss everyone I got to see (some albeit briefly) over break. 
[Hoping] that we can make it there with no mishaps… Thisbe wind is honestly howling so hard at my car right now (don’t worry, I’m not blogging and driving — don’t blog and drive, children). 
[Loving] the brief glimpse of snow I got the past couple of days. WE FINALLY GOT SOME and there is seldom an awesome sight than newly fallen snow 😌
[Praying] for everyone as we officially dig our nails into 201$!!

What are y’all up to?


Hardest Goodbye

Like leaving a warm bed on a chilly morning
I resist
As much as I know I should let go
I find excuses not to
I find refuge not to
I find comfort not to

Days will pass sooner than anticipated
And time will pick up where it left off

But when I slip away from embrace
exuding love and warmth in their purest form
Is it any wonder
That it’s the hardest goodbye?


Part of me is so ready to go back, but many parts of me feel as if I’ve just started to enjoy my time here… that going back is too much too soon.

We’ll see what keeping busy helps with in the coming week.



Everyone has that song.

The second it comes on, your ears perk up, your heart speeds up, and you do that thing that happens in movies when a character’s memory comes flooding back all at once in one giant whoosh. 

I have this with a lot of songs, but just recently I heard a cover of “Closer” by the Chainsmokers ft. Halsey, and I am flung back in time to late October.


The darkness envelopes us rhythmically, switching without warning to flood us in flashing lights. Cheers erupt from the sticky floor as the song starts and beat thickens and I am dumbstruck because the melody has invaded my heart and head and makes me want to remember everything.
I embrace the lyrics as the vice like grip of my best friend on my hand tries not to lose me as we crusading our way across the room.

Gravity plays tricks on me, but I let it.

We’re pulsing.

We’re invincible.

We avoid eyes and eyes avoid us, there’s no focus in particular.
There’s no trouble.

My feet are numb from the pain of my heels, I have a bruise the size of an egg on my right hip, but an illegaline-adrenaline-caffeine isotope courses through and makes me buzz and it’s like the night isn’t going end

but it does

and all at once I’m doing a 180 in my sheets
heavy as a rocks my eyelids do this landslide thing
as the melody echoes and embeds itself
in the silver linings of my memory


Do you guys have any songs that take you on a journey?


A n t i c i p a t i o n.

It’s like I can’t sit still
I’m very much in motion
both to and not to my chagrin

It’s just what you do
it’s just what they want you to do

But what happens when
The stars and what we want don’t align?
What happens when 
You’re on empty but refuse to stop for gas?

Or when
At the lowest point in the red zone

You feel the fullest?
Drink, type, sleep, eat
things that are empty, un-permanent. 
one cannot simply
Run away from sitting down
Honestly looking forward to going back to school.


I Don’t Hate Being A Waitress

Some of y’all who don’t know me may not know I’ve worked in food service for a while now… I thought I’d pick up some extra college money on my break between semesters so I picked up waitressing again. Well, one day, on my way home from work, I thought about how quickly the day had passed and essentially, how many people I had served and how many individual touches I had on customer’s experiences. And I thought about the typical things people think about waitressing/waitering. Low hourly pay, “customer is always right” mentality, heavy lifting, and late hours. And I realized that being a waitress can have somewhat of a negative stigma, and the job isn’t always easy.

But more often than not, I kinda love it.

You get to meet some pretty cool people. I know a regular guy who does research at a D.C. museum, a woman who’s traveled the world and has a PhD in nutrition, teachers, hard-core business men, bus drivers, and mail guys. But when it comes down to it, they all have one thing in common: great stories, and a desire to relax with some Italian cuisine. 
You get to meet even cuter kids. As one with a lot of siblings, I’ve always enjoyed being around for the baby stage (even though it’s annoying at some times). Anytime anyone toddles into the restaurant, I can’t help but melt and want to give them every cookie in the dessert case.
You regularly get to make someone’s day. That sandwich exactly how they like it, a free cookie here, an extra shot of espresso there, a glass of ice exclusively for chewing, or even just a friendly hello. The interaction and the service itself has massive potential to turn someone’s day around 180 degrees. 
You witness humans in their most basic form. Humans need food. But they don’t want to cook (well some, anyways. Not counting Gordon Ramsay here). No offense to my fellow homo sapiens, but we all channel our inner “hangry”/lazy mode every now and then. So when you can deliver food that’s delicious and satisfying and see their eyes light up…or sooth the wails of an infant with a bowl of macaroni… idk, it’s oddly satisfying. 
You see the good in the world. From people getting lost in conversation to family moments, to genuine smiles back and grace after a mistake or a generous tip… it’s glimpses like these into people’s goodwill that illuminates, even if only for a second or two, that the world isn’t as rotten as it seems.
Any of you guys working? Do you enjoy what you’re doing?


How weird it is to type the new date… That’s something I’ll be getting wrong on papers for the rest of the semester…

It’s currently 3:25 am and I don’t feel tired at all, despite having worked a 9 hour shift on not that much sleep (totally starting the new year sleep resolutions off strong, eh?).

I didn’t get drunk, I didn’t throw confetti (an excessive amount, anyways) or light up sparklers.

The night was instead filled with chocolate… lots of chocolate (#newyearseatinggoalsstrikeagain), good friends, and a handful of board games accompanied by loud anime on the television (don’t….ask).

I’ve been on my own for the past couple days (I took a break from family to work…that’s rant-worthy in itself but it’s for another time) and it feels oddly satisfying, exhilarating, and lonely all at the same time.

I told myself I’d attempt to find myself in 2016. And in some ways, I think I succeeded. In others, not so much.
What would be super lovely would be to inch a little further on that same journey/goal in 2017.

But hey, we’ve got 365 days.

Plenty of time, and the exciting part
is that it all starts now.