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August 31, 2016

This Pom-Pom Keychain Charm
Besides the fact that I'm obsessed with keychain doodads and charms, this charm does more than look pretty! All profits from the charms sold through this website go to help end the dog meat industry throughout Asia, specifically with the Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand. This foundation helps stop dog smugglers, and all the dogs they recover go to their dog sanctuary in Phuket!
This Pom-Pom Keychain Charm Retails for $17.50 on yarkdog.com

This Blue and White Cross-Body Bag
You can never have enough bags--and this should definitely become a part of your collection. This small cross-body (or shoulder) bag has intricate stitching detail and comes in two color schemes: white with blue trim (pictured above) or dark navy blue with white trim.
This Cross-Body/Shoulder Bag Retails for $20.46 at newchic.com

These Baby Elephants Being Lap Dogs Will Make Your Day Better
Elephants make everything better. Proven fact. Baby elephants make everything even more awesome. Proven fact. Baby elephants that act like lap dogs and cuddle with humans....there are no words. Watch this and feel better about everything instantly.
Baby Elephants Video (Facebook Link)

This Mermaid Crown
Flower crowns are dead guys....now it's all about mermaid crowns. As someone who feels at ease the most in water, I'm all about this trend. I have a specific folder on my laptop purely for mermaid crowns, and this is one of my favorites. Excuse me as I drool over it some more.
This Etsy hand-made mermaid crown retails for $160 here

Storyteller, Carrie Underwood's latest album
I've been a fan of Carrie ever since her time on American Idol and as such I'm toting her latest album. Even further a departure from her sweet country girl image, this badass collection of songs demonstrates her flawless vocal range. And makes you feel like you can do anything. My favorites include Dirty Laundry, Church Bells, Choctaw County Affair, Renegade Runaway, Mexico, Heartbeat, and Chaser, among others.
Find Storyteller on iTunes
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August 29, 2016


(I don't have many photos to go with this post so enjoy this photo of me and Nami and Lauren at our friends' debut)

Whew it's been a busy few weeks! College move in was very successful, shout out to Mom and Dad for beating the heat and helping me move my stuff in. Now that I'm here in college my posts will probably be less travel-related, at least until breaks, but I promise I have some very exciting content coming for you soon! On that note....here are my top tips on What to Pack for College!

First off....don't pack too much // As a freshman/new student this could be your first time moving away from home for an extended period of time. This isn't like summer camp at all, you're actually moving your life and with that understanding we are all inclined to bring everything that reminds us from home. Don't. Instead, choose everything you bring very carefully. If you find you have more space in your room for more of your things, have your parents ship them to you! It's always fun getting mail. You could also have them bring your stuff with them when they come to visit you for the first time.

Choose your wardrobe carefully // Check the typical rainfall and average temperature of your college town before you start packing. This is where the Facebook page or knowing someone who already attends the school can really help you out. Don't bring all your summer clothes if you move in August 19th and colder weather starts September 1st. Bring clothes you feel comfortable walking a lot in and clothes that you feel are appropriate for class. A lot of people change up their style between high school and college and it's completely expected and fine to experiment and find your own personal style, but you should never feel uncomfortable in what you're wearing. If you have to tug at your clothes, feel like you have to wear a jacket, or worry about experiencing a wardrobe malfunction it's probably not great for class. Along with your school clothes, don't forget to bring outfits for weekends, pajamas, lounging around clothes, one or two party-appropriate outfits, at least one business or formal-appropriate outfit for any job interviews or internships.


Shoes shoes shoes // Comfortable comfortable comfortable. That's the only advice I have to share. You're going to be walking a lot, like a lot, so yes bring your cutest boots for the fall and your keds that go perfectly with all outfits....just make sure your poor feet won't fall off due to all the blisters.

School supplies // I am one of those people in my dorm that forgot basic school supplies. I was sitting in my first class on the first day and I realized I did not have any paper. Like at all. Nada. I had to ask for paper from someone else on the first day of school. Don't be like me (or my friend who forgot his backpack, or my other friend who didn't bring any pens or pencils) and actually make a list of school supplies you'll need. Contrary to popular opinion, not every class will be laptop-friendly so you'll actually need some notebooks, pens, pencils, and loose leaf paper. You'll also need a printer, ink, printer paper, a supportive backpack that can hold a lot, at least one binder, a good calculator, a bike depending on your college, the subsequent bike lock, a desk lamp, whiteboard, calendar, folders, daily planner, highlighters....basically pick up one of those high school shopping lists in Target and get a lot of the items on it for college.

Things from home // Bring a few of your most prized mementos to school with you. A few of your favorite stuffed animals, pictures from graduation or your spring break trip with family and friends, your favorite blanket that you always cuddle with on the couch during cold winter days....anything that reminds you of home and the people that love you. It will ease the hard days and brighten the best days. Personally I have my Mom's perfume (one of her emptier bottles) and just one whiff brings me back to her hugs.

xx
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August 18, 2016


Hi everyone!

I know I haven't posted in a while and I just wanted to check in with you guys! I'm moving into college tomorrow actually and so that's the reason I haven't been able to post--things have been so hectic trying to get ready for this big life adjustment. I promise I'll be up and posting as soon as I can after I've moved into my new space and have everything settled at school. 

Thanks for understanding! This blog has always been my happy place and I look forward to this next chapter of my life and my blog, especially along with you butterflies. 

xx

Kate
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August 12, 2016

Getting a tattoo is a big step for everyone. You're inking a permanent design on your body. Permanent. As in, forever. Now of course you can cover up the design and there are ways to get tattoos removed (for a lot of money!) but for the most part: you ink it, you're stuck with it. As such, there are several important things to know before and after you get a tattoo.

Look at this gorgeous moon design

Fall in love with your design at least twice // A lot of people have different methods for making sure the tattoo they want is really the one they're ok seeing forever. You can set your phone background to a picture of the tattoo, tape a print out of it around your house, even get a service such as inkbox tattoo to make you a custom temporary tattoo that you can position as you would a real one to see how you like it. In addition to all of these I suggest finding a picture of something similar to what you want online, or draw it yourself, look at it for a few days, make sure you love it, then put it away. About a week or two later go back to the picture and see if you still have that flush of I want this inked on my body. If so? You're usually good to go. 

Pick your artist carefully // Tattoo artists usually have specialties. For example, if you want a portrait of your grandmother on your arm, find a tattoo artist who does good portrait work. If you roll up to an artist who is better at landscapes and want them to portray your grandma in a realistic way you might end up disappointed. Neither you or the artist wants that to happen--after all your tattoo will always be an advertisement (good or bad) for the artist! Look up several different parlors, read lots and lots and lots of reviews, and actually walk into the shops to have a talk with your would-be artist. Make sure the parlor is clean, don't be afraid to ask about it! Whenever someone begins a tattoo make sure they use sterilized needles they pull out of a sealed package in front of you. If you don't see the package, ask! They should use new everything, seat covers, paper towels, everything to prevent infection. Ask if you're not sure. Pick an artist from all of your research and set an appointment--keep in mind the bigger and more intricate the tattoo the more appointments (and money) you'll need.

Save your money // Tattoos, at least the good ones, cost money. Now, the small crescent moon on my foot that I got in Italy cost about €40-€50 (around $50 US dollars). Amrita got flowers behind her ear and hers was around €50-€60. Small tattoos will obviously cost less than the bigger tattoos, although if you have a small tattoo but it's very intricate detail work it will cost more than a more basic small tattoo. Of course this doesn't include tip--always tip your artist. They're performing a service for you and most of the money you pay for your tattoo goes to their rent, ink and other materials etc. Tip your artist what you find to be appropriate for your entire experience--how comfortable they made you, how they listened to what you wanted, and of course how you like the finished product.


Don't over-think the procedure // A lot of people say something like "oh I'd like a tattoo but I can't take the pain". Don't let the idea of pain stop you from getting a tattoo because, and take this from a big wimp like me, most of them don't hurt! Of course, this is very dependent on where you're getting a tattoo. The chart above does a good job of outlining pain levels although can be a little misleading because the ability to handle pain differs from person to person. For me, I got my foot/ankle tattooed, it wasn't really painful. More...uncomfortable with a few spots of "oh this is not nice". Amrita meanwhile was lying on the table on her side getting her head tattooed and yelled out "Dude it doesn't hurt at all!" Bring a supportive friend with you (only one! Don't crowd the parlor with your entire squad, a surefire way to distract/irritate your artist), bring some headphones and listen to music, and unless you're getting a very bony area the pain won't be too bad. Your ribs are generally the most painful area of the body to get tattooed because the bones are so close to the skin. Of course, if it's getting too painful for you don't hesitate to ask the artist to take a little break--they don't want you passing out or vomiting as much as you don't want to. Also: don't plan to get drunk and get a tattoo--any properly licensed and ethical tattoo parlor (aka the one you want to tattoo you) won't tattoo a drunk person.

Make sure you have the proper supplies for taking care of the finished tattoo // Tattoos are open wounds when they're finished and you have to treat them as such. Leave the bandage the artist applies to it on for as long as they tell you (for my little tattoo it was 2 hours before I could take it off) and ask your artist what they recommend to put on it. We put vaseline on our tattoos at the recommendation of our artist. Use the cream for the first few weeks a few times a day and every time before you get in the shower to preserve the ink. It's completely normal if you see a little ink runoff in the first shower after you get your tattoo, don't panic. A scab will form over your tattoo--do not pick at it. If it itches try lightly slapping the skin so you don't pick the scab off--infections happen this way. Let the scab fall off by itself. Your tattoo is healed! After this I would recommend using the cream just a little bit longer and if your tattoo is somewhere that gets a lot of sun use sunscreen to prevent fading.

Prepare yourself to face a lot of varied reactions // If you love your tattoo that's all that matters. However, a lot of people don't like tattoos because they think they're unprofessional so unless you work (or plan to work) in a place where tattoos are accepted and celebrated, you'll have to position your tattoos where you can cover them with normal work clothes. Unfortunately this usually means no hand, neck, arm, lower leg tattoos. Besides the work angle, if you're very concerned about how people will treat or view you once you have your tattoo, don't get one. After going through all the research, spending the money, and taking the time to get a design you like, worrying about what people are going to say about it shouldn't even be on your radar. Of course, it's normal to worry about what your family and friends will say but if you are very concerned about being harshly judged by them or by strangers, to the point of wearing clothes that specifically cover your tattoo when you're not at work, don't get the tattoo.

xx

These are my suggestions on things you need to know before you get a tattoo! Do you have a tattoo and want to share your own thoughts? Thinking about getting a tattoo and want to chat? Let's talk about it below!
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August 9, 2016

I threw this together when I was still living in Manila and to date it's one of my favorite lunches. This recipe can be prepared ahead of time, made in a giant batch for the week, and is perfectly simple yet perfectly scrumptious. I'm talking tuna salad. 

What You'll Need (for 2 servings)
1 tuna steak--I buy frozen tuna steaks and defrost them as I use them
1 package of fish taco seasoning
1 tomato
1 jar of sliced peaches in their own juice (not fruit cocktail)
Any lettuce, spinach, kale, romaine that you prefer for the salad

What To Do
Defrost your tuna (if frozen). There are multiple ways to do this, the safest probably being leaving the unwrapped tuna in a bowl in the fridge for a few hours. If you forget to pull the tuna out the night before you can defrost it easily in the microwave.

Follow the instructions on the fish taco seasoning/marinade and coat your fish appropriately.

In a large pan on the stove, heat a small bit of olive oil and place your tuna in the middle. Flip the tuna to cook all sides, and make sure the tuna is cooked in the middle. I do this by making a small cut in the tuna and checking the inside.

While your tuna is cooking you can prepare your salad. Wash your lettuce and set aside in bowls.

Dice the tomato. Toss tomato pieces with lettuce/kale etc. Chop peach slices into 2 or 3 pieces each and toss with lettuce and tomato mixture. Use as many peach slices as you'd like, I don't use the entire jar so usually one jar will last 3 or 4 salads.

Once your tuna is finished cooking remove from heat. Allow tuna to cool a bit before cutting into pieces and tossing with salad. 1 tuna steak will usually yield two bowls of salad.

Done! This should make 2 bowls of salad and they store easily in the fridge in an airtight container for about 3 days.

You can easily add cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, almonds...really anything to customize this salad! It has a very fresh, summery taste and since the peaches are jarred you can make this all year round! It's quick, simple, yummy, and very healthy. 

xx

Let me know how this works for you and any yummy additions you would make!
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August 4, 2016

This is where you finally understand exactly what those catchy Credit Karma commercials are talking about

I move into my college dorm in 15 days. 15 days. 15. As expected, I've been preparing myself for everything college has to offer me, including the chance to see what being an adult actually entails (albeit it while still knowing my parents can bail me out if necessary). So...what does being an adult actually mean?

A lot, it turns out. I thought learning to drive a car was a big responsibility (it is btw) but to be a functioning adult requires a lot more than a drivers license. Of course, as a college freshmen I'm not expected to have it all figured out yet, but I've been thinking particularly about finance and adulthood as I thought about college so I decided to share my thoughts with you.

A few weeks ago I opened my very first bank account! It was a little celebration in the bank...I even put Aggi's face on my card! Then the woman that helped me open the account mentioned something about a credit card...I froze. Thankfully Dad spoke up and assured her I wasn't even close to ready for a credit card.
Look at her cute little face!

Credit cards are how you get your credit score (everyone I'm sure has seen the Credit Karma commercials) It's so easy to mess up the all-important credit score that will forever be associated with you. Accidentally miss one payment or go over your limit and things can get out of control very quickly. It can be really difficult to recover from something like that, so here are my top tips for young adults regarding credit cards and finance.

Don't even think about a credit card until at least your junior year of college or you're working a steady job // There is no reason for a college student to have a credit card. Honestly none. As someone over the age of 18, I've already received a lot of offers from companies promising low fees and high lines of credit if I were to open a credit card with them. Don't fall for it! At this age we don't need a credit card and we also don't need to think about how to build our credit score. Just say no to credit cards.

Now to understand why credit cards can be so damaging, you have to understand the difference between a credit and debit card. A credit card is something a  credit card company will give to you and extend you a line of credit with. For example if you get a credit card that has a $500 line of credit, you can purchase things up to $500 on that card. Then, you pay back the $500 to the bank that gave you the credit card, usually by the end of the month. You need to pay at least the minimum balance on your credit card every month in order to not affect your credit score. A debit card, or bank card, is a card that is attached to your bank account. However much money you have in your checking account is how much money you can spend on your debit card. There's no paying back anything at the end of the month because the purchase is made immediately out of your account! Your pay check and whatever income you have will be deposited into your checking account (unless you designate something different).



Set up a savings plan // Most banks offer this in a very simple way: every time you make a purchase or payment using your debit card, meaning money is taken out of your checking account for something, a fixed amount will be transferred into your savings account. For me personally, every time I make a purchase with my bank card, $1 dollar is taken out of my checking account and put in savings. It's a really simple way to increase the amount in your savings so if an emergency ever pops up and you need money, you have it!

Track your purchases // Let's say someone steals your wallet and starts using your bank card around town. Do you know which purchases are theirs and which are yours? You should! Without even looking at the statement breakdown of exactly what was purchased you should be able to look at the total amount in your account and know right away if it is right or wrong. Use an app, use a notebook, use a spreadsheet...use anything and record all of your purchases. Plug in the amount you start with, any deductions, any deposits, and don't forget to account for any money transferred into savings automatically! For me, I just have to remember to add one dollar to all of my deductions. Simple. Done and done. This also helps you avoid over-spending your money so you're not stuck in the Target line with a bunch of would-be purchases and a big Declined sign on the credit machine. Not fun. 

Have a steady stream of income // Before you even think about getting a credit card, make sure you have a way to pay for it. If you're still getting a $20 allowance every week that's fine! We're not fully adults yet! Take all money offered from Mom and Dad and Grandma and Auntie Anne as long as you can! (my Mom is laughing reading this somewhere) Just don't get a credit card. Have a part time job for the summer until you go back to school? Don't get a credit card. Work full time at Rico's Pizza and take home a pay check every week and expect to work there for a while? Ding ding ding! You qualify.
What you see on the homepage of Credit Card Insider

Pick the right credit card for you // So you've decided to get a credit card. As long as used responsibly, credit cards can be very beneficial and some can afford you several perks. If this is your first credit card, I suggest finding a card that is specifically for students. They're made for people who don't have any credit score yet, usually have no annual fees, offer lower lines of credit (so less to potentially screw up), and come with the understanding that you're new at this so a few hiccups at the beginning are generally okay. Any time you get a credit card you need to decide which company and which card is perfect for you. Don't listen to the commercials--do some actual research! Some cards offer airline miles, some have a points system, some do cash back--pick the one that is best for you. Credit Card Insider makes it incredibly easy to find the perfect card for you. They recommend the three best cards they can find based on all sorts of criteria: if you're looking for a student, business, travel, reward, or prepaid credit card, your current credit score, and even the company you want to do business with. Check them out here.

Understand how to reasonably build your credit score // Alright so you finally have your first credit card. How do you not screw it up? First of all don't buy those ultra-adorable pair of shoes you saw online--or that years supply of hot chocolate. Those are purchases I would label "debit". Pay for them right now, and don't worry about finding the money for them at the end of the month. The safest way to build your credit score when you first open a credit card is to only use the credit card to purchase small things you know you can pay back at the end of the month. Need a pack of gum? Credit card! Want a slurpee? Credit card! That $300 rare collectable action figure? Debit card!!! 

Every single adult in my life has stressed to me over the past six months how important it is to not give into the credit card flyers that promise trips to Bermuda* if you only open an account because it can do so much damage to the credit score that I will need one day to rent an apartment, buy a car, buy a house...things like that. Don't screw up your credit now, take it from all the adults in my life. 
(*Bermuda, Kansas and only after you earn 20,000 points) 

Thanks to Credit Card Insider for inspiring this post.

xx

What are your thoughts on credit cards? Have one and want to share your thoughts? Let's chat below!
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