June 30, 2015

How to Survive a Long Ass Road Trip

As picturesque as Instagram photos of road trips look, the reality is that road trips can be long, stifling, and uncomfortable. But there is a way to enjoy road tripping! Here are a few tricks I've gathered from the last weeks I've spent in the car. 

  • Plan Your Route!  A lot of people get really stressed driving new places and only relying on a GPS to get them there, and sometimes GPS goes a little nuts. I recommend MapQuest or Google Maps to plan your route and know the general direction you'll be taking, it lowers the stress level of the driver, and subsequently his navigators, about a million levels 
  • Books  The car is a great place to get some reading done whether it's required reading for a class or joy reading you want to get done on your own, magazines travel well and I recommend a Kindle for its huge storage capacity alone (I still prefer real books but they get heavy)
  • Music  Music always makes time go faster, you can create a special playlist mix for your trip, reminding you of your destination, you can listen to the radio and completely jam out or host a karaoke competition with your car mates
  • Snacks  Every good road trip needs snacks! It's better to stock up on healthy snacks before you leave so that you don't stop at every 7-11 and pick up Butterfinger Bites, M&Ms, Chex Mix etc. (Which by the way I highly recommend for road trips in addition to the fruit and nuts and healthy stuff)--also try to avoid junk food bc it smells up the car, gets everywhere, and is really comically bad for you
  • Water  It's vitally important to stay hydrated during road trips, and I really don't recommend drinking anything else. Grab some giant water bottles for everyone to enjoy the whole trip (just make time for bathroom breaks) 
  • Planned Breaks  Planning out definite stops along your route removes any unplanned veers off the highway that could bring you further and further away from your destination--it also gives everyone something to look forward to and keeps them from asking the dreaded "are we there yet"
  • Games!  Google some fun car games to play, or use an app like Heads Up!, truth or dare (hard to dare in the car), or trivia games. You could also play cards or a board game if you a) have enough room and b) a smooth enough road
  • Friends!  One of the most important things to make any trip easier! Friends will make the time simply fly by, and if you do it right your stomach will only hurt from laughing when you get to your destination.
Road trips should be fun, relaxing times--not stressful times! If you plan it right, don't stray too much from your normal diet, and try to make it fun you'll be just fine! And even if your road trip is annoying and stressful and not fun, just think about your destination! If that's not fun....I really can't help you. 

June 29, 2015

June Favorites

"Whistle (While You Work It)" by Katy Tiz -- it's literally been stuck in my head, in the best way, for weeks--the beat makes you just want to leap up and dance

Williamsburg, VA -- I loved living here (for the whole six months we did) honestly the community is great, the history abounds, and the ghost stories will haunt you long after you leave

This hairstyle looks so gorgeous! I love the way the braid sweeps to the side in a messy culmination of hair. 

Jane the Virgin -- I started watching it on the Japan-to-Detroit leg of my flight, per a friend's recommendations, and fell in love with it, it's a tellanovella making fun of tellanovellas -- you'll love it! (Rafael and Jane 5ever!)

Dried Bael Fruit Tea -- Mom and I were served this at a spa in Thailand, and literally it's the most delicious iced tea I think I've ever had (sorry Nanny!) You take some of the dried fruit, boil it for an hour, then add it to water and add lotsa sugar. Refrigerate and enjoy! There are a bunch of health benefits too. You can buy a bunch of dried bael fruit on Amazon
June 23, 2015

Camping Outside My Comfort Zone

As pretty much anyone who knows me will tell you, camping/anything outdoors and moi don't really mix. So the thought of spending a weekend camping at the race track with no wifi whatsoever? Seriously gave me the skeevies. But after returning relatively unscathed from this trip, I can honestly say....I had a phenomenal time. In fact, going to the race was the best decision I could have made!
June 21, 2015

MyTunes: Summer Jams '15

Summer Tunes
"Smile" by Sia  You can't help but perform the titular action when listening to this song, just as spunky as the original

"Girls Chase Boys" by Ingrid Michaelson  I love how Ingrid's voice really carries this the song is great! Perfect summer beat. 

"Shark in the Water" by VV Brown  I don't suggest listening to this at the beach, but it's still one of my summer faves. 

"Black Magic" by Little Mix  One of the newest songs on this list, I don't really like the music video but the song has a nice 80s beat

"Gold" by Owl City  I fell even more in love with Adam when I saw Owl City live....and also discovered my everlasting love for this song

"Whistle (While You Work It)" by Katy Tiz  This song has been bouncing around my head since I first heard it in a Forever 21 store

"Wildest Dreams" by Taylor Swift  Sort of an ethereal vibe, this song is perfect for car-listening (and I cannot find T's voice on YouTube, just loads of covers)

"Stockholm Syndrome" by One Direction  Harry Harry Harryyyy his voice is perfection on this song, as are the rest of the guys, and the infectious beat will be stuck in your head all summer long 

"Bang Bang" by Ariana Grande, Jessie J, and Nicki Minaj  (The link is to the VMA performance which includes two other songs) This song just screams "photo shoot with your love"....or maybe only to me, it's still a great jam 

"Young, Wild, & Free" by Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, and Bruno Mars  Exactly what the title describes, this song is perfect for those who are young (or young at heart), wild (or not), and free
June 18, 2015

Think Pink

I told you I had a hair surprise for you, and if you follow me on Instagram you'd already know what it is....
Heeeeeeeere's Pinkie! 

I love to dye my hair different colors, unfortunately my wonderful school does not allowed 'unnatural' colors on someone's head (it's all a part of the 'uniform look') so this summer one of the first things I did was to have my cousin, a fancy-schmancy hair dresser extraordinaire, dye my hair pink. 

You can find her absolutely wonderful salon here, and I highly recommend it to anyone who happens to be passing through the area or lives nearby or simply wants a fantastic hair experience. 

What do you think about it? Do you like to dye your hair? 

June 16, 2015

Davidson College

After a loong car drive (really I've already been on three road trips since I arrived here....last Sunday) we arrived here in Davidson, North Carolina on Tuesday for our tour and information center at Davidson College on Wednesday.
The Tour
Our tour guides here were far less eloquent (due to nerves I believe) than the William and Mary tour guide, however they provided a good background and answered our questions pretty well. This tour session was bigger than the group at W&M but it was still pretty small and we didn't have to strain to hear our guides. 

Our entire walking tour was about an hour and a half, pretty standard for most tours, and we saw the majority of the campus including sports facilities, classrooms, the library, and a dorm.  Davidson was an all-male college until the 70s and now the ratio of women-to-men is 50/50. 

The Campus
Davidson is a very small, contained campus in a small college town, a suburb of Charlotte, NC. While certainly not as much history as W&M, the architecture of the buildings is classic southern brick and columns and it really flatters my architectural-loving side. 
The entire campus is so contained that you can easily walk from classes to the library to the cafeteria, student union, and back home without straining yourself. "Very bike friendly" is how our guides described it.
Campus safety was an issue hotly debated by our group, especially fathers concerned about their daughters. While our guides said they have never felt unsafe, I couldn't help but feel like there was less campus security features than other schools. Sure, it's a small town so there's less risk as well but still. Plus campus police have revoked privileges because although the school is not officially linked to a religion it was founded by the presbyterian church.
Fast Facts
The average class size is 15 and every class is tapped at 34 people. There are only undergraduate students, and the entire school is tapped out at 2000 students. The student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1 and our guides cited personal encounters and experiences with their professors, including a monthly pizza and Disney movie night.

Davidson is Division I athletics and competes in the A-10 conference. (Atlantic 10 conference) One specific scholarship is particularly for DI athletes at Davidson, the Bryant scholarship, however otherwise prospective student-athletes have no other distinction and attend the same classes, stay in the same houses, and get no preferential treatment. At least, none that's been mentioned.
The core program at Davidson is far more extensive than other schools I've visited. It includes a PE requirement, art, history, science etc.

The international community at Davidson is smaller than other schools, only 6% of students from 35 countries, however there are only 2000 students in total so of course the percentage will be smaller. 

Davidson superscores, has a really really solid study abroad program, and they require an additional recommendation letter from a peer that is within two years of your age and is not a sibling. They also uphold an honor code that is student-maintained.

Good Qualities
  • Davidson is an ├╝ber expensive liberal arts education, but happily I can report that Davidson has a need-blind admission process, meets 100% of demonstrated need, and, here's the really great part, are 100% no-loans.
  • I love the size of the classes at Davidson, ranging from one person in a class (seriously!) to 34 max in labs and lectures. I also love the ratios, both gender-wise and faculty-to-student. 
  • The study abroad program at Davidson is really fantastic and a huge percentage of students utilize the program and earn class credit. 
  • The relationship our guides and administrators reported to have with their teachers--close, professional relationships with teachers really work for me and I love the ability to foster those in an educational environment. 
Not My Favorite Qualities
  • I was not as blown away by the library and the resources available for students at Davidson as I was at, say, William and Mary. (I actually wrote 'lackluster library' in my notebook on the tour)
  • The core program really concerns me here at Davidson, mainly because of how extensive the reach is. Physical education is something I celebrated never having to take again once I left 10th grade, so the idea that I'm faced with that again isn't ideal, however our guides mentioned there are several different ways to achieve your PE requirement, including yoga, pilates, or beach volleyball so I'm sure I could find something if I had to (which I do, it's a requirement).
  • The campus security, or lack thereof, sort of concerns me because even though I trust the honor code and the fact that this is a small campus and a small town I still feel like you should always be secure on campus, including police, someone to walk/drive you home late at night, and the 'blue light system' more fully instrumented.
Overall I got an okay feeling from Davidson, I absolutely love some things but am slightly ware about other qualities. I will have to think more about applying to Davidson. 

Next Up: UVA, JMU, and Washington & Lee
June 15, 2015

How to Get the Most Out Of Your College Visit

A lot of information is passed along during college visits, so here's a list of tips and tricks that can help you get the most out of your visit. 

  • Take Your Time   You'll be spending 4+ years at whatever university or college you choose so it's really important to make sure you love not only the school, but the town surrounding it. Try to spend at least one day and night or more in the town, go out and explore, get a feel for the local culture and try to picture yourself living there
  • Notebook   You'll see this a lot, and it's a great tip: bring a notebook with you so you can write down thoughts and questions as you think of them....after visiting several colleges in a short amount of time you'll forget what you loved about each unless you write it down
  • Interviews and Class Tours   Many schools offer interviews when you visit and sometimes you can sit in on classes during the school year: if you're visiting during the summer this is normally not available for you however this is a great way to get a genuine feel for classes
  • Info Session   An information session is pretty standard for those taking tours, it usually lasts less than an hour and includes a sit down with an administrator, teacher, dean, or student to give background on the college and take any questions--it's a great place to fill up your notebook with notes 
  • Research!   The night before you visit the school do more extensive research into your intended major, what you love about the school, and any questions you might think of. It's a really great place to get some solid background before you actually take the tour. Also try to brainstorm any questions you may have and write these down in your notebook so you remember to ask them. 
  • Questions   Ask questions as they come to you! Don't be afraid to ask about classes, dorms, teachers, students, clubs, sports, financial aid....anything! This is what the tour is here for!
  • Dress   Don't lose or change your personal style, just go more conservative and dressy-casual for your tour. You want to present your best foot forward for this tour so covering up maybe more than is normal is better. Think dresses with jackets, blouses or formal button-downs with jeans or formal pants....depending on the weather vary as you go. Also: comfortable shoes! These are an absolute must, don't make my mistake of wearing new shoes on your tour--hello blisters!
Overall just trust your gut about the school. If you visit and you just aren't feeling it, you can't picture yourself attending for four years and spending some ungodly amount of money for an education....don't apply. Simple as that. The way you fit the school is just as, if not more, important as the academics you are going for. Getting a good education is not worth being miserable for a big chunk of your life--there are plenty of other schools you'll feel right at home at. 
June 12, 2015

The College of William and Mary

The beginning of my College Tour Series! I started off my visits with a blast from my past: The College of William and Mary located in Williamsburg, Virginia. I spent six months living in Williamsburg, attending a very haunted middle school that I absolutely loved, before moving on to a different part of the state, where I met Amrita! All's well that ends well. I have a lot of fond memories in Williamsburg and it was lovely to be back.
The Tour
Our tour/info session group was very small, which I appreciated. Small groups = more individualized attention + a better ability to hear the guide. The morning session had something like 70 people in it! We had about five other prospective students with their parents/family members and it was lovely.

Our guide is a rising sophomore at William and Mary and she was so bubbly and outgoing her positive attitude was infectious! She walked backwards the entire tour, no small feat considering the amount of roads crossed, uneven brick, and people she could crash into. A Biology major, she provided us with tidbits, facts, and general information about the college as we walked around campus including classrooms, labs, dorms, dining halls, and the historically infamous Wren Building. Fun fact: the Wren building is the oldest building in America still used for educational purposes. 

The Campus
WM's campus is absolutely gorgeous. Of course, I adore history and j'aime Williamsburg so I was destined to love it but truly this campus is breathtaking. Fun fact: Thomas Jefferson is an alumni and there are statues of him around campus.
the Wren Building
one of the dorms
the Sunken Gardens (I remember watching a music festival here when I was really little--I split my pants open sliding down the brick staircases!)

Our tour of the campus was pretty all-inclusive, including the Ancient, Old, and New parts of campus. So even if you don't care much for history or old buildings, you don't have to worry about W&M being outdated or stuck in history--new construction is going on and the classrooms are all very modern.
Traditions ranging anywhere from 300 years ago are still upheld and celebrated in new, modern ways: an annual concert takes place including performers like Wiz Kalifa and Ludacris. Old lore and legends still stand, such as the story surrounding the mystical Crim Dell. Legend has it that if you walk across the bridge with someone, you are destined to be with them forever. If you walk alone, you are destined to be alone forever. The only way to break this bond is to push the other person off the bridge.
Find this photo on my Instagram--this is the Crim Dell bridge

Fast Facts
Class size ranges from 20-30 for normal classes to 100-200 per lecture class. 99% of classes have under 100 students in them, and 200 is the absolute limit a class can have. Personally I found 20+ students a little much for a class, although I know they have smaller classes occasionally. 

The majority of the dorms are without air conditioning. If you have severe allergies or asthma (or other respiratory problems) you can have a doctor write a note to get a window unit that you have to purchase yourself but most students survive with fans.

The honor code is strictly followed here. Not so much that they enforce it, but rather each student is said to take it upon themselves to keep the code that says honesty and integrity prevail above all. "I can leave my laptop, my books, all my stuff at my table in the library and when I come back after lunch I know it will all still be there." Says our guide. 

W&M is Division I athletics, they superscore SAT scores, have a really solid library and resources available for students, a freshman seminar, and a unique approach to orientation.

Good Qualities
  • They superscore your SAT scores--this means they take your best scores in reading, math, and writing from any/all SATs you've taken and put them together to create one big, great score. 
  • Freshman orientation happens the week before classes do--you are already living on campus and acclimated to everything before you even start going to class. This orientation also isn't just boring information and speeches, a great deal of time goes into social mixers and making friends. 
  • The freshman seminar course--every freshman is made to take this class, which seems to be smaller than normal classes, and our guide absolutely raved about it, she said it helped her to really get a feel for the school and learn to really love W&M
  • The study abroad program--W&M offers a lot of opportunities to study abroad, including a partnership program with St. James where you spend two years at W&M and two years in Scotland to earn your degree. 
  • I absolutely love the town of Williamsburg--the history, the architecture, the ability to walk almost it.

Not My Favorite Qualities
  • William and Mary is a research based college--with something like 70% of students undertaking a research project in their undergraduate program. However, W&M research expands much further than traditional lab and science based research in that you can research in any field you are taking/interested in and that's a major plus. 
  • The class size--kind of peaked my 'not really loving that' response however, as my wonderful grandmother who took me to Williamsburg pointed out, these classes are still a lot smaller than other colleges and their class sizes. 
  • A core program--there is a core set of classes everyone must take, however as the admin leading the information session pointed out, William and Mary chunks their classes into thirds: one third of the program is the core, one third relates to your major/minor study, and one third is pure electives. That's a lot of choice. 

Overall I left William and Mary still loving the school and very happy with my experience. I got good vibes from our guide and I plan on applying next year.

Next Stop: Davidson College in North Carolina
June 8, 2015

Essentials for a Long-Haul Flight

Having just arrived home from the longest-day-ever (aka a 27-hour in-transit journey where I leave Sunday morning and arrive Sunday night) I figured I'd make a post about all the essential things to have when traveling these long distances. Keep in mind these are all carry-on items so any liquids need to be within restrictions etc. 

June 1, 2015

May Favorites

Criminal Minds: not only is the show completely brilliant at scaring the shit out of me, I've fallen in love with Dr. Spencer Reid
American Sign Language: finally making good on my resolution to learn sign language....I hope to become fluent by next January
Kenza Zoutien: one of the major players in the fashion blogger world, her blog is mostly about her days and her company and I, like millions of others, cannot get enough!
Fed Up the Documentary: Amrita first introduced me to this when she spilled that Oreos have carcinogens and paint thinner in them--I watched the documentary and was so shocked I made a complete life change: little to no packaged foods and very little added sugar in the foods that I do eat. Well worth a watch! FYI: It will scare you.
Tile Print Top and Shorts: inspired by TSwizzle and her abs-ulous crop top looks, I love this two-piece set from Forever 21