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School

As I think about getting ready to leave for school, I often find myself reminiscing about my time spent at Sauk Valley community college. I still remember how nervous I was knowing that all my friends were preparing to leave Sterling, while I was staying in the same place and starting a new journey on my own. However, despite the nerves, it wasn't long until I met a lot of welcoming, resourceful people and got involved in some amazing programs making my experience over the next two years one to enjoy. As I finished my last class at Sauk this summer there was this huge sense of nostalgia that came over me, as I realized everything I have accomplished and all the ways I have grown thanks to SVCC. Not only did I make some great and unexpected friends, but I also made many new connections with the staff members. My professors, advisors, and club leaders were always positive, willing to help, and pushing me to do more which was the structure I definitely needed to work harder and come out of my shell. Other than the people I met, I'm also grateful for the organizations I was heavily involved in like TRIO and AmeriCorps. Without TRIO I 100% believe my experience would not have been as great and without their help, I'm not sure I would be transferring to UIUC this fall (I wish I could take them with me!). AmeriCorps is another program I am glad I got involved in, here I also met many new and welcoming people who wanted you to succeed. Thanks to this program I was able to make new friends, volunteer in the community, and take on a summer job at the YMCA where I met a lot of great kids who I've grown to love. Lastly, I owe my change of mindset and work ethic to Sauk. In high school, I wasn't a bad student, I got average grades by doing the bare minimum but Sauk really helped turn me around and realize how important my education is. I found myself studying more than I ever had before, asking for help when I needed it, and actually caring about every single grade I got - big and small -because of this not only was I able to boost my GPA, but I was also able to end my last semester on the President's List! With all this said, there were still some low points I had at Sauk, but those too helped shape me into the person I am now, and I am just as grateful to those experiences as the high ones. All of which has made me realize that not only was attending Sauk the best decision for me personally but now more than ever I know I am ready to transfer to U of I and continue to succeed both in and outside of the classroom.

Thank you for reading, and if you're someone I've met through Sauk thank you especially for being apart of my journey!

-Sauk Almuni

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Monthly Favorites

Hi, friends! These past few months I decided not to do a favorites post because I either did not have a lot to write about, or my favorites from the previous post had not changed. Because of that, I wanted to make sure my next post was going to be filled with all new items, so here it is my July favorites!

If there's anything you're interested in looking into feel free to click the underlined word which is a link for the item, or of course, ask me!

I hope you find something new in this post that you like just as much as I do. As always, thank you for being here <3

-M

Music:

H.E.R. Volume 2 by H.E.R.

First, if you've never listened to H..E.R. you definitely should, she's anonymous which I love because you really have no other choice but to focus solely on the music, which is great.

D.A.M.N. by Kendrick Lamar

This album came out earlier this year and I got into a few of the more popular songs, but lately, I've been listening to the whole album through and I'm so glad I did because the rest of the album is just as good.

Kiddo by Jessie Reyez

Jessie Reyez is an underground artist who I've mentioned before about one of her songs I really like, and it turns out that song was part of an album she released this year. I've been obsessed with this album because each song is so unique and personal, but the album as a whole is still cohesive. I love it.

Food:

Steak Fajitas

For some odd reason I've been eating or craving fajitas a lot, I think because not only are they delicious, but super easy to make as well. I don't have a super strict recipe I follow when I make them, but if you're looking for a recipe this one from Food Network is pretty accurate, except I don't use tortillas, shredded cheese, or cilantro.

Corn on the Cob

I blame the summer for this recent obsession, but I'm not mad about it. Corn is delicious, it's as simple as that. Also, the corn from Selmi's is hands down the best, trust me.

Chocolate Milkshakes

I'd like to say I blame summer for this recent obsession as well, but let's be real I eat ice cream all year round, this just happens to be my ice cream of choice lately. Currently, my favorite is from Cobblestone or Arby's!

Skin Care:

African Black Soap

This is seriously the best facial soap I've ever used, it helps get rid of and keep acne away as long as you're using it regularly, which I've always felt is hard to find. Also shoutout to my friend Mariyah for recommending this to me!!

Cetaphil

If you have oily skin like myself, this one's for you! I wash my face with this every morning and night and it helps reduce the oil my face produces throughout the day, which is amazing.

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Moisturizer

Lately, I haven't been wearing makeup, but I still like to have a moisturizer on my face and this is my favorite one to use in the morning after I get out of the shower, also... a good alternative to any moisturizer is coconut oil!

Movies:

Girls Trip

Okay, this is the funniest movie I've seen in a long time. I cannot remember the last time I laughed in a theatre the way I did during this movie! If you haven't seen the preview for it, I'll link it here, but if you like a good comedy and a strong female cast, this is a good one for you!

Going in Style

This movie was not only funny but absolutely charming! It'll tug on all your emotions in the best way possible, besides that the cast is great and really put on a wonderful story about how lifelong friends rob a bank. Again, I'll link the preview here if you haven't seen it yet!

T.V. Shows:

Freaks and Geeks

This is hands down my favorite show this month, the only complaint I have about it is that there is only one season. Besides that, everything about this show is great, the cast (for example, James Franco, Seth Rogan, Jason Segal, and Linda Cardellini to name a few), the storyline, the characters, everything. In short, the show is about a girl named, Lindsay Weir (Linda Cardellini) who is exploring a clique outside of her own and all the ups and downs of that journey. I love this show and highly recommend it, especially because it can be found on Netflix!


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School

If you're reading this then I'm guessing that much like myself, you're struggling to finish out the end of the semester. For some reason, this wave always hits me after spring break and I have the hardest time trying to shake myself out of it. So whether you're like me and spring break really got you out of your groove, or you're just really looking forward to summer, or you've got a bad case of senioritis, etc., I am here to help! I'm going to list ten ways I was able to kick my motivation back into high gear and feel confident about finishing the year on a high note.

1. Get Organized

Organization is key to getting back on track, especially when it comes to assignments. For me, I use a large desk calendar and at the beginning of every month I write down what's due and when it's due. From here I try to get the easy stuff out of the way, so in my free time I'll work on assignments due that week or catch up on some class reading, pretty much anything that'll put me ahead.

2. Time Management

With so many distractions today it can be hard to manage our time wisely, because of this I try and designate time throughout the day for not only tasks that need to be done, but for fun stuff like social media or Netflix. Whenever I'm at school and have a break that's strictly work time, mostly because I get so much more done in that environment. When I get home from work I usually eat dinner so while I'm doing this I'll watch an episode of a t.v. show or scroll through social media, this way I feel like I've had time to relax. Once I'm done with dinner I'll sit in my room, set my phone aside, and focus on my work.

3. Sleep

There's nothing worse than sitting in class and trying to keep your eyes open, not only do you risk being messed with by your teacher, but you could miss out on important information. Which is why getting enough sleep is important to staying motivated. The more rested you feel, the more energy you'll have throughout the day!

4. Reward Yourself

If you're the type of person who needs some sort of incentive to be motivated, this one's for you. Make a solid list of tasks you need to do and once you finish the list scroll through social media, take a walk, go to the mall, watch a movie, anything you like to do that would feel like a reward, do it!

5. Believe in Yourself

The harder you are on yourself, the harder everything you're trying to accomplish is going to seem. You've made it this far, which proves you have the skills you need to be successful. If you're having trouble believing in yourself, know that I believe in you! You got this!

6. Check Your Friends

I one-hundred percent believe in the saying, 'you are who you hang out with' so step back and take a look at the people you've chosen to surround yourself with. Are they pushing you to be and do better or are they holding you back from reaching your full potential? I can tell you from personal experience that this is a big one, I wouldn't be where I am today if I still hung around people who held me back.

7. Music

Something that really helped me get motivated was finding a good playlist to listen too while I studied or worked on homework. You can make your own like I did, or Spotify has pre-made playlist you can listen to!

8. Do Not Disturb

Ninety-five percent of the time my phone and computer are on do not disturb and while my friends and family hate me for it, it's the best way to get my work done. Essentially what this feature does is silence any notifications coming into your phone or computer. Now, if that isn't enough of a reason to not check your phone, try leaving your phone in a different room from where you're working that way you're less inclined to check it every five minutes.

9. Remind Yourself Why You Started

This is what really put everything in perspective for me and pushed me to get back in gear. We all have reasons why we're going to school, mine is because I have big dreams that I want to achieve and I know that going to school is going to get me one step closer to those dreams. What's yours?

10. Look Towards the Future

Think about how much better you'll feel knowing you finished your semester with good grades and no stress about having to retake a class or anything like that. Or if you're a high school senior, or a student transferring to a university, you don't want that university to rescind your admission because you checked out a few weeks before school was out. Push through and thank yourself later!

I hope you found something here that can help you finish out this semster on a postitive note, and know that I'm cheering you on!

Sending lots of love and luck on all your final papers and exams,

-M

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Monthly Favorites

Month to month I always find new music, food, clothes, and many other discoveries that I love because of this I wanted a place to document it all. Not only for me but for you as well! If there's anything you're interested in looking into feel free to click the underlined word which is a link for the item, or as always ask me!

I hope you find something new in this post that you like just as much as I do. As always, thank you for being here <3

-M

Music:

The Divide album by Ed Sheeran

I have been listening to this album on repeat non-stop and I haven't gotten tired of it yet, it's so good and I find a new favorite song each time I listen to it. You'll feel all the right emotions and it's the perfect album to listen to on a road trip.

I Got You by Bebe Rexha

This song has fun memories tied to it, I even said that before these memories were made I actually didn't care for this song. But every time I hear it now I smile, plus it's fun to sing along too!

Intro by Kehlani

The first track on every one of Kehlani's albums are called 'Intro' they can be anywhere from a minute to two minutes long and they're of her talking, I don't know what it is about the intros, but I really love listening to them.

Shutter Island by Jessie Reyez, an amazing underground artist

Jessie Reyez has one of the most unique voices I've ever heard in an artist, her music is hard to explain, but she has two of her very own songs that you should most definitely check out! I've linked my favorite above.

Food:

Halo Top ice cream

OKAY IF YOU LIKE ICE CREAM AND ALSO LIKE EATING HEALTHY THIS IS FOR YOU. This ice cream is considered a healthy ice cream because it's super low on calories compared to normal ice cream, but the best part about it is that it actually tastes like normal (maybe even better?) ice cream! I swear by it, we get our at Kroger!

Green beans with garlic salt

This is delicious, enough said.

Toasted bread with butter and cheese

A super simple breakfast meal I picked up in Sweden, I eat mine on wheat bread with swiss cheese, also delicious!

Yellow bell peppers

My mom says they all taste the same, but I say she's wrong. The yellow ones are my favorite and also taste wonderful with garlic salt, quinoa, and grilled chicken!

Clothes:

Beanies

My go to winter hat! Stylish, warm, and always good at covering up bad hair days. Plus they're always super cheap!

Chance the Rapper 3 Hat

I love repping my fave rapper, just like my beanies, this hat is a go to. Plus it's a great conversation starter, I cannot tell you how many people came up to me and complimented me or asked me about it when I went shopping! Also shoutout to, Stevie Woods for buying it for my birthday!

University of Illinois Baseball Cap

I don't even need to explain this one, of course I'm going to rep my future school! GO ILLINI!

Long Coats

Okay I have been obsessed with long trench-like coats, they make any outfit better, they're cozy, and I love them.

Black Slip-Ons

Pretty much the only shoes I wear, so much that I have two pairs. They look cute with everything and are so freaking comfy it's unreal.

Chelsea Boots

If I'm not wearing my black slip-ons I'm wearing these, these are my favorite pair of shoes to dress up an outfit and are also comfy af.

Oversized Round Sunglasses

Trust me, this link you're going to want to click. All the sunglasses on this website are 5 DOLLARS! I've been obsessed with the oversized, black, round ones, but I'm sure there is something for everyone here.

Make-up:

NYX Micro Brow Pencil

Perfect tool to get them eyebrows on FLEEK

Mary Jo K Lip Kit

I love a good red lipstick, especially one that makes me feel like I can change the world. But if you're not as in love with K Jenner as I am and don't want to spend that much on a lip kit, here's a link to some dupes!

Revlon ColorStay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin

Not only as this foundation lasted me a lot longer than any other foundation I've had, but it creates a nice smooth and flawless finish. I seriously am impressed every time.

Books:

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

This book has been circling around the internet for a while now and I finally decided to pick one up and I'm so glad I did, it's a short, inspirational, relatable, and heart-warming read, I read it in less than thirty minutes, so it's definitely worth your time!

Movies:

Get Out

If you like suspense, and plot twists this one's for you! It had me on the edge of the seat the entire time. Must see!

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Me

Anyone who knows me knows I have a huge heart, I care about everyone with everything I have and often wear my heart on my sleeve. There’s isn’t much I wouldn’t do for the people I love, this got me thinking, how can I put so much love and energy into my relationships, but not into myself? So, not too long ago I decided to start practicing more self-love. And while there are definitely days where I’m happy, I don’t think that technically qualifies as self-love. Especially when those days where I feel happy I definitely at the least, have makeup on. Which is sad because a lot of the times where I don’t seem to love myself have to do with my appearance. Whether I’m not wearing makeup, not comfortable in what I’m wearing, or have messy hair, I always seem to be less happy with who I am. While I love getting dolled up I much rather prefer to be at home in sweats with no makeup on, so I sure as hell better love myself like that. This isn’t necessarily something you achieve just by waking up one morning and deciding you’re going to love yourself, I think it takes time, patience, positivity, and practice. Because of that, it’s hard to decide where to start without feeling overwhelmed, so I decided I’m going to start doing more things that bring ME happiness. Like reading, expressing my style, and editing pictures and videos. I often find myself doing things which bring others happiness and while that’s nice to do I think it’s important to not forgot to focus on myself as well. This is my life and no one’s going to get me where I want to be emotionally or physically except me so I need to make sure I’m taking care of my happiness as well as others. I’ll always care about people and want to do whatever I can to make them feel good, but now I’m just adding myself into that category. I’m going to start treating myself like I treat my best friends, it’s like this quote I saw: “When you find yourself, you find home.” I need to feel at home within who I am. With that said, here’s to me!

And here's to you, I hope you've found the love in yourself I'm working to find

-M

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Adventure

As many of you may know, I recently took a trip to Norrköping, Sweden to visit Sara Lidetoft, a foreign exchange student at my high school my senior year and my best friend. This was the most spontaneous trip I've ever taken, which I actually was really happy about because there wasn't that long of a wait beforehand! Along with being spontaneous, this was also going to be the longest trip I've ever taken and I was going to be alone. Needless to say, the nerves were building up days before the trip. However, all of that went away once I finally landed in Stockholm and met up with Sara. It had been a year since we had seen each other, but - as cheesy as it may sounds - it felt like we were never apart. I was so happy when we got back to her city and I was able to see where she was from, her home, and her family. I always felt like this was a piece of our friendship that was missing and hated that she knew all this about me, but I didn't know that about her! Our first two days were pretty chill, a lot of catching up and a lot of talk about what the next few days had in store. The next night I was really excited because we were going to stay the night at her friend (and mine now too <3) Anna's house! That night we made Swedish tacos together, talked, and watched a movie, overall a perfect girls night! The next morning I walked upstairs and saw Sara and Anna making Swedish Pancakes for breakfast, which were delicious! After this Anna dropped me and Sara off to walk around the center of the city a little bit where we had a fika (coffee break YAS) and then walked back to her house and relaxed until later that night when Klara and Anna came over! All in all, that night was an A++ and I'll just leave it at that <3 The next day was the perfect day for to stay in, watch movies, relax, and just talk, which is exactly what we did, and in all honesty that was one of my favorite days of the entire trip, girl time with your best friend is so important. Later that night Sara had an event she had to go to for school, so I went out to dinner with her parents and can I just say I have never felt like more of a foreign exchange student than that night, and it only made me want to pursue studying abroad so much more, on top of the fact that it was such a nice night with her parents! And the good nights just kept coming as Sara, Anna, and Sanna (another amazing friend of Sara's and mine now too!) and I went and stayed the night at Sara's country house, which was beautiful! Since they had shown me Swedish tacos, I thought I would show them some authentic Mexican tacos, with salsa, and guacamole, which we all made together and turned out delicious, and they liked it too, which I was super happy about! In the morning we took a walk down by the water, took some pictures together for International Women's Day, and headed back home. A few nights later, Sara, Anna, Klara, and I all hung out again, but this was a much more chill night which could not have been more perfect, we went and got a fika in a coffee shop, something similar to what we do at home, talked a lot, then drove around, playing music, singing, and just hanging out, also similar to what we do at home and it was beyond perfect, definitely another one for the books! This was also the first time I tried MAX, a Swedish fast food restaurant, and it was really good! It reminded me a lot of culvers! As my trip came to and end Sara and I spent our last two nights together in Stockholm and while this was very exciting and fun, I actually had a lot more fun in her hometown, it was so nice to see her home and where she comes from. Plus I knew that being in Stockholm meant that we were going to have to say our goodbyes, which was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. Nonetheless, this was hands down the best trip I have ever taken, and while I left a little bit of my trip out I feel like the most important parts which are closest to my heart are all in here. I miss everything about Norrköping already, but I'm happy I have a visit and a beautiful country to look forward too in the future.

With lots of love and thanks,

-M

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Me

*takes a deep breath as I begin to type this first post* Not so long ago I found a love for writing, not only does it help me release my thoughts, but it makes me feel closer to the world, as strange as that may sound. Lately, I've been feeling as if there is no one I can really turn to to talk about everything going on in my life, and that's something I really like sharing with others! Because of this, I've decided to steer away from my private, password protected blog on Tumblr I've had for the longest time and turn to something more public where my family, friends, and whoever else can read about everything going on my life. Doing this makes me both anxious and excited (hence the beginning of this post) but I'm trying to get past the anxiety of it all because this is something I've been wanting to do for a while and was inspired by a friend to finally do it. As for content, you can expect to find posts which range from late night thoughts, to politics, to school, and everything in between. I want to try and be as authentic as possible, which also scares the hell out of me because the world can be a mean place, so I'll just say this - please no hate, if that's what you're here for, take that energy and use it for something positive and productive.

Much love to you all, thank you for reading this, and thank you in advance for the support.

-M


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