Step Away from the Microwave

Growing up, including while you were in high school, you likely had the luxury of a parent cooking for you on a regular basis. Each morning, you had breakfast ready to go before school, a lunch packed (or lunch money ready), and dinner waiting for you when you returned home. If you’re at all like me, you completely took this for granted.

giphy-35

Even during my first year of college, I didn’t realize how nice it was to never have to cook for myself. I lived in my college’s dorms, so I had a meal plan, meaning that anytime I wanted to go to the cafeteria, I knew there would be a variety of options waiting for me when I arrived. My sophomore year, when I lived in my sorority house, we had a chef who cooked all of our meals. Again, I never appreciated how nice it was to have hot meals available 24/7.

That is, until my junior year. That is the year I moved into a house, and I had to start grocery shopping, cooking for myself, and cleaning my own dishes. This was not something I was prepared for. At first, I did what many people do the first time they grocery shop for themselves — I bought all junk food, which was awesome for about two weeks until I started to feel sick.

Even after I put down the Cheez Its and mint chocolate chip ice cream, I noticed something: I began to buy food that required either no or very little preparation. I bought food like cans of soup or frozen chicken nuggets, which I could just throw into the microwave, or yogurt, which I could simply grab and go.

This food, while not as bad for me as the junk food I had been eating, was not providing me with proper nutrients. Home cooking is important for overall health, and can save you money in the long-run. Nothing brings out the nutrients in food like freshly preparing a meal, and frozen meals (often packed with chemicals, salts, and other preservatives) do not count as healthy substitutes! In addition, if you believe you can get the same benefits of home cooking by eating out, I implore you to add up how much all of those $5 meal deals cost you.

giphy-34

I, of all people, understand that life gets in the way. We get busy and don’t have the time or energy to prepare meals for ourselves at home. So don’t worry, because there is nothing wrong from grabbing a salad or sandwich from your on-campus deli every once in a while, nor is there anything wrong with the occasional Lean Cuisine — so long as neither of these become your go-to routine.

Instead, spend some time each week meal-prepping or learning a new recipe. Once you learn the basics of cooking, the task doesn’t seem so daunting. Planning out your meals ahead of time, and putting time and energy into preparing your own food can incentivize you to eat healthier. As an added bonus, preparing a home-cooked dinner can be a super romantic date. And let’s not forget that all the money you save can be applied to your weekend shenanigans!

What will be the next meal you learn to cook? Tell me on Twitter and I might retweet you!

Signature

Don’t Forget About Mom and Dad

It happens to all of us — we get busy with classes, homework, studying, our jobs, extra-curricular activities, our social lives, relationships, getting enough sleep, staying fit, and everything else that we’re supposed to do as young, prime-of-our-lives college students, that we forget about two of the most important people in our lives — our parents! They raised us, fed us, bathed us, taught us right from wrong, and loved and supported us along the way, and we can’t even take five minutes out of our day to let them know we’re thinking about them? Come on.

giphy-4

College is such a stressed-filled time with so many new things happening, it’s easy to forget about your values and where you came from. That’s why it’s so important to stay grounded by connecting with your parents. You may not realize it when you first come to college, but your parents were right about so many of those things you used to fight them on. At some point during everyone’s college careers, we realize how much our parents truly did for us. When that happens for you, I urge you to call up your mom and/or dad and just say “thank you” for all they’ve done for you.

giphy-5

With that being said, it’s also important to spend some quality time with your parents. In fact, research shows that children who spend more time with their parents tend to be more well-rounded than those who don’t. Spending time with your parents leads to having better values, a desire to love and build relationships with others, a sense of purpose in life, confidence in our schoolwork and personal lives, and and overall feeling of satisfaction and happiness in life.

giphy-6

I realize that, while in college, not everyone has the luxury of visiting their parents on a regular basis. Some students may be only a five minute drive from their parents’ house while others may be a nine hour plane ride away. Personally, I feel lucky to live a cool three-hour drive from my parents, which is why I try to visit home about one weekend a month. I love when I get to spend time with my parents, catch up on each others’ lives (even though we talk on the phone practically every day), eat some home-cooked meals, and get my laundry done by mother dearest. I can’t wait to see my parents this upcoming weekend!

How often do you visit home while in college? Send me pictures on Twitter of your reunion with your parents and I might retweet you!

Signature

A Look Back at This Semester

It seems like just yesterday that I returned home from Washington, D.C., moved into my first apartment, and embarked upon my last Fall semester as an undergraduate. Sometimes, we all get so caught up in school, work, clubs, our social lives, our families, our relationships, and our daily to-do lists that, before we know it, an entire 16-week semester has passed us by.

If you read this post, you know that I love taking time to reflect. So, in the spirit of personal reflection, let’s recap this semester, shall we?

There were new beginnings…

unnamed-88

My bedroom in my new downtown apartment

And chapters closed…

unnamed-104

I turned 22…

unnamed-5

unnamed-1 copy

Oh, Zephyr Cove

unnamed-29

unnamed-33
unnamed-32

And caught up on much needed beauty sleep…

unnamed-99

unnamed-110

There were surprises…

unnamed-96

unnamed-1

Celebrations…

AP_Giants_Madison_Bumgarner_bc_141029_16x9_992

us-midterm-election-results-2014

And remembrances…

unnamed-36

In memory of the lives lost during the 9-11-2001 attacks

unnamed-38

There were big moments…

unnamed-69

Serving as the Chapter President for the College Republicans

With Reno's Mayor at the time, Bob Cashell

With Reno’s former mayor, Bob Cashell

unnamed-101

At the Nevada Governor’s Mansion before walking in the Nevada Day Parade

unnamed copy 3

With Nevada’s 2nd District Representative, Congressman Mark Amodei

unnamed-62

Presenting my “idea worth spreading” to the University of Nevada

Little moments…

unnamed-4

unnamed-95

unnamed-97

unnamed-98

And sassy moments…

unnamed-80

unnamed-1

unnamed-118
unnamed-71

There were group projects…

unnamed-123

unnamed-90

Early morning classes…

unnamed-93

unnamed-24

Long days at work…

unnamed-100

Long days in the library…

unnamed-94

unnamed-107

And lots and lots of Starbucks…

unnamed-55

via Twitter

I spent far too much time with this guy…

unnamed-7

And not enough time with these guys…

unnamed-92

unnamed-60

unnamed-59

unnamed-117

There were quiet indulgences…

unnamed copy

Christening my new apartment with a margarita

unnamed-43

unnamed-115

And rambunctious ones…

unnamed-1

unnamed-22

unnamed-9

unnamed-20

unnamed-79

unnamed-27

unnamed-40

unnamed-47

unnamed-82

unnamed-54

There were Sunday mornings in church…

unnamed

And Sundays watching football…

unnamed-106

There were campus events…

unnamed-13

unnamed-17

unnamed-14

Football games…

unnamed-64

unnamed-6

unnamed-68

unnamed-8

unnamed-83

unnamed-75

unnamed-10

unnamed-84

unnamed-65

unnamed-72

unnamed-85

Weddings…

unnamed-49

unnamed-53

unnamed-52

Festivals…

Reno's annual Italian Festival

Reno’s annual Italian Festival

unnamed-86

And birthdays…

unnamed-5

I added to my stuffed giraffe collection…

unnamed-42

And had a few good laughs…

unnamed-3

unnamed copy 4

unnamed-4

There were new places…

unnamed-111

unnamed-113

Familiar faces…

unnamed-121

unnamed

unnamed-7

unnamed-18

unnamed-87

unnamed-26

unnamed-77

unnamed-73

unnamed-16

unnamed-66

unnamed-102

unnamed-109

unnamed-103

unnamed-45

New friendships were formed…

unnamed-74

unnamed-120

unnamed-122

And apparently I took a selfie to commemorate it all!

unnamed-76

Looking back, I’m reminded of all the wonderful memories I made this semester. When all is said and done, I think this semester was a successful one, and maybe even one of my favorites. Clearly, I had a lot of happy moments, and I learned from my moments of doubt. I reminisced on the time I spent in D.C., and I made a little home in my new apartment. I must say, however, that my favorite part of this semester was being surrounded by such incredible people.

Now, I have one final semester of college to look forward to! Ahhhh, that feels so weird to say!

she-wasnt-ready

What was your favorite part of this semester? Show or tell me on Twitter and I might retweet you!

Signature