Vegan Journey + Update

Long time no blog? I’ve managed to forget about this blog for the past 10 months, but when I logged back into my WordPress account it seemed that other people weren’t forgetting about me. So, thank you for continuing to read my blog posts, I’ll be updating them now!

The past 10 months have been a whirlwind for me and I’m really enjoying my time at university! But the most important change in my life that has happened is that I went vegan this year!

I was vegetarian for about two years in high school and loved it, but was not plant-based at all which led to my downfall. My diet consisted of mostly pastas and breads instead of vegetables and fruits. I let an “addiction” to certain tastes and flavors control what I ate and that is how I ended up eating meat again. This time is different.

The day after my 19th birthday I was in the mood to watch a life-changing documentary because I had scraped my car against a pole in my parking lot earlier that day (I had a complete breakdown about it, it wasn’t pretty). I watched Earthlings on Netflix and was completely blown aback by what I had been ignoring. I already knew all of the information brought forth in that film – I participated in a debate on it in my AP Environmental Science class in high school – and yet, I completely ignored the facts to please my taste buds. No more.

Ever since then I have been making the transition to going vegan. I slowly cut out meat products and gave myself a month to enjoy dairy products. I ate chocolate, bagels and cream cheese, and cheese galore. But by the 31st, I was ready. I wanted to feel good about myself and to stand up for what I believed in because at that point in my life I wasn’t.

For my entire life I loved animals, all animals. There was no, “I love all animals, except the ones I eat.” I sincerely loved all animals, even the ones I ate. I never realized how hypocritical that sounded, though. How on earth could I possibly say that I loved animals if I paid someone everyday to kill them, steal their milk, and steal their eggs? No more. Ever since November 11th I have pledged to stand by my values. I do not want to be a person that believes in one thing and does another. I want to live a life filled with compassion and kindness and that starts with what I put in my mouth.

So I’ll be updating you on my vegan journey on this blog along with other posts to come.

Happy New Year! (Is it too late to say that?)

xoxo,

Rachel

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Week Planning 101

Week Planning 101 Main

As many readers can probably tell, my planner is my life. Everything important going on in my life gets carefully placed into my planner every week and if it doesn’t, odds are I won’t remember to get it done with the schedule I have. So this is how I plan out my weeks, and I will also be going over the daily planning routine I go through as well. This type of system can also apply to monthly planning, but I don’t tend to use my monthly planner as often so I don’t have a separate routine for that.

Weekly Planning:

Every Sunday night, I religiously open up my planner and plan out the coming week. I will go through my classes’ syllabi and see if I have anything important due or any tests I wasn’t aware of, my sorority’s calendar to mark important dates, my Facebook calendar for any important events, and my iPhone’s notes where I sometimes quickly jot down an important event I need to go to.

Then I will use my color-coding system to write out my classes for that week during their specific time slots, sorority obligations, other club obligations, and any other social obligations I have that week. Once that is completed, my week looks something like this:

Weekly

As the week goes on, I will add in things using the specific color-coding system.

Daily Planning:

Daily Hand Shot

The daily planning process is a tad more tedious, but so worth it. Every night once my homework and studies are completed I take a pencil or black pen (whatever fits my mood at the time) and write in my schedule for the next day. This always includes the time I’m getting up, breakfast, when I need to leave, what I am doing in between classes, when I am getting my homework done etc. While this may seem to be a bit unnecessary, it is so incredibly helpful in getting stuff done. And once my days have finished being planned, they look like this:

Daily Shot

I hope this helps you get more organized! Remember: Consistency is key. In order to have a successful planning system, you have to be consistent.

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My Social Identity: Why I Dislike My Hometown

For my Anthropology class we had to write about our social identities for homework, and I thought that it was something worth sharing about here.

My social identity has been constructed by society and revolves around my family and upbringing. I grew up in Calabasas, California, home of Justin Bieber, the Kardashians, and Drake. And while that may seem cool and exciting to some people, it is hell for me. Los Angeles is a whole new world to Kansans. People are beautiful, yes, but all of that beauty covers the judgmental, stuck-up, insensitive, narcissistic, and materialistic people. When you walk around Calabasas, you can accurately guess how much money people have based on what they’re wearing, what car keys they’re holding, and where they grocery shop. These things bother me endlessly. As someone that strives to be known for what comes out of their mouth, not the lipstick on it, I cannot stand my hometown. While there were few exciting social events, like having a lesbian couple win homecoming queens, the bad tends to outweigh the good. The way I am identified by other people bothers me. People in college assume I am ‘rich’, whatever that is supposed to mean. Wealth is in the eye of the beholder, to you it may mean living where I do, to me it means being rich in experiences, culture and love. That is what I want to be known for, not that Justin Bieber almost hit me with his car. Life is so much more important than this identity brought onto me by society. They see me as a spoiled, rich girl who has Daddy pay for everything and has enough money for a Mercedes. I identify as a hard-working, lucky girl who is fortunate enough to have the opportunities she has and parents who are in the financial position and value her education to pay for it. And because of that, I am eternally grateful and blessed. This is how I view myself, but when will society open their eyes to see the real version?

That was what I submitted to my teacher, and it is painfully true. I wish that people didn’t label me a certain way because of where I’m from and will continue to fight this identifier, probably for the remainder of my youth. There have been people that only became interested in what I had to say because of where I said I was from. While that may be a good conversation starter to make friends, do I really want to be friends with people who only care about “celebrities” that live in my hometown?

I challenge you to fight your social identifier, and start making people see your own identification of yourself. You might be surprised what the results are…

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Importance of Positivity

Positivity

For the past few weeks I’ve noticed that I’ve been in a bit of a mental rut. I’ve been more anxious than usual, I haven’t been feeling as excited about the things I used to be happier about, and you don’t even want to see the state of my room right now. I’ve spent this past afternoon coming up with ways to get me back in the swing of things and figured I’d share these things with all of you.

The number 1 thing that I need to remind myself is the power of positivity. No matter what you’re dealing with at the time, a positive attitude about it can do wonders for your ability to think straight and resolve the issue. If you decide to take anything from this post, let it be positivity.

The second thing is journaling. I have three journals that I currently have set up (that I haven’t written in for a while) that I’d like to share. The first is a morning journal. I place this on the side of my bed and every morning I write at least a page on how I’m going to make that day great. Whether it is by doing well on a test or by smiling more, it is one step closer to the final goal. The second journal is a personal diary and this functions as your average middle school diary. If I’m ever dealing with something that feels very heavy and I can’t seem to control my emotions about it, I’ll write about it. During the entry, I’ll use the release of emotions to turn the entry into something positive and end it with how I’ll work on the issue in the future. Finally, I have a goal-oriented journal that I use to track things I see on Pinetrest or some other site about organization, day planning, goal setting, etc. and this helps me to work on my goals. All three of these go on the side of my bed and are accessed when needed.

The final thing is meditation. Whenever I find myself feeling anxious, I simply close my eyes and try to clear my mind for at least five minutes. I don’t allow any thoughts into my head, including positive ones, to just give my brain a rest. When those five minutes are up, I feel so much more relaxed and able to handle the tasks in front of me.

I hope these three habits help you increase the amount of positivity and productivity in your life!

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Journal: Why it’s Okay to be Single for Valentine’s Day

Valentines-Day-Roses

Society currently pressures girls of all ages to be in relationships. I’ve seen preteen girls complain how they’re “forever alone” just because they’re twelve and haven’t had their first boyfriend yet. At eighteen, this behavior baffles me. I have yet to be in any type of significant relationship and I don’t think there’s any problem with that. At such a young age, it’s important to be completely in love with yourself before worrying about adding someone else to the mix. Also, it’s difficult to find people who want the same things as you in the hookup culture we find ourselves in.

So how do you manage to go through a day dedicated to love? You remember its purpose and that there is love in your life, whether it’s romantic or not.

This holiday was created by businesses to sell more products. That’s it. How you celebrate Valentine’s Day has absolutely nothing to do with the quality or quantity of love in your life. And that is something everyone needs to remember, including myself. I’ll be the first one to admit, I’m not surprised I’m not in a relationship. Everyone always says the opposite, but I always think about two factors that come into play. First of all, I rarely talk to boys in a social setting because when I grew up all of my friends were strictly girls. And that has carried into my adult life where almost all of my friends are girls. So that lowers the pool of male options to pretty much none.

Also, I saw something on Tumblr about a year ago that has really stuck with me and I think it is true of a lot of people my age.

“I’m not surprised you don’t have a boyfriend. I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, I just don’t think very many people, especially your age, would be able to keep up with you. You know who you are and you know what you want to do. Your eyes light up when you talk about your passions, and you’re not afraid to defy social norms and be who you are. And all of this, this scares people.”

People need to stop thinking that they need to be in relationships. Solitude is something to be cherished and people today seem to lack the ability to deal with it. Whether it is constantly being on your phone or always needing to getting a word in, we no longer have the ability to sit back and appreciate what is around us.

I challenge all of you to try spending a day all by yourself. No communication with others and truly be with just your own thoughts. Maybe even try it for just an hour and see what you can discover about yourself…

Organizing My Life: My Agenda

Organizing my agenda

I have not always been an organized girl – just ask my mother. It wasn’t until recently that I found my passion for organization and that it allowed for a clearer mind. Being organized has helped me overall be a better student and practice time management properly.

My agenda is the Erin Condren Life Planner and it is absolutely beautiful. The agenda is extremely colorful and I love how easy it is to be organized with it. I have the 18 month agenda and while it can be a tad bulky, it is a truly amazing way to plan out my days. It, and other products can be found at erincondren.com!

Front cover OMP

My agenda is the Zen Gems print and I love how vibrant it is! I’ve noticed that the edges of the agenda have gotten some wear and tear through being thrown inside my backpack, but they can be quickly fixed with a flat-iron (I just haven’t had the chance to do it yet).

Monthly OMP

I’m still working on my usage of the monthly layout, as I don’t tend to write in it that much. I use this at the beginning of each month to plan out the events I know I have so I can better plan out each week as they arrive.

Weekly OMP

The weekly layout is where most of the important things happen. On the left side of the page where it says “Goals and To-dos” I make my to-do list for the week. This is also where I put my balances for my checking accounts and an inspiring quote. This week, the quote is “The secret to having it all is knowing you do.” I also color code all of my assignments by class and place check boxes next to them to indicate I attended. This helps me track my attendance to make sure that I attend all classes and hold myself accountable for it. I also track my work schedule, sorority study hours, club meetings, and a miscellaneous item planner written in black. There are two sticky notes that move with me week to week as well: the times for sorority study hours and some of the items written in my last post (here).

notes omp

The back of the agenda is filled with lined pages and unlined pages. Here’s an example of what I use of the lined pages: dreams/aspirations and blog post ideas!

notes section OMP

The unlined pages is where I am planning on putting my professors’ office hours for this semester and where I put tips for blogging.I don’t tend to use these that much, but they come in handy when I want more of a free space to plan.

pens

These are the pens that I use. They are the Paper-mate Flair felt tip pens and I adore them! For the next school year, though I think I want to switch them to the Le Pens or the Staedtler pens. I have always been a pit of a pen snob and adore the way these write. They tend to bleed through the pages a bit, so that is the only reason I’d like to switch them out. For now, they work perfectly fine!

That is the organization of my agenda! I love this planner so much, but because of the hefty price, I don’t think I’ll be a returning purchaser for next year. $50+ is a lot to pay for an agenda, and as a girl trying to save some pennies, it is certainly more than I’ll be spending in the future.

My Erin Condren Life Planner is my favorite thing to take with me everyday and is definitely worth a consideration for your next planner!

What are some of your best tips for planner organization? I’d love to know!

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Got Five Minutes? 15 Tasks that Will Help Organize Your Life

Organize Your Life

I often find myself having random pockets of unfilled time. Whether it is an hour in between my classes, thirty minutes between getting home from class and leaving for my work shift, or an extra five minutes in the morning before I have to leave for class. Instead of doing productive things during this time, I frequently decide to do time-wasting activities instead. Whether it’s Twitter, Pinterest, or YouTube, I never seem to be that productive.

I’ve compiled a list of things that I keep in my agenda (I plan on doing a future post on how I organize my agenda!) that I can do during those five minutes. You can also combine multiple items off of this list in order to fill the amount of time you have!

5 min

This is my current running list, comment below if you have any more ideas!

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