Galentine's Day Ideas

Northwest Pearls: Galentine's Day Galentine's Day is an excuse to do something fun with your girlfriends, not that you ever need an excuse to. So here are some fun Galentine's Day ideas for you to do this weekend!

  • Have a girls' night in. Have some fun food and drinks. Watch a movie.
  • Go out to dinner, just you girls.
  • Go laser-tagging.
  • See a movie at the theater.
  • Eat waffles.
  • Volunteer.
  • Take a cooking class.
  • Go for a hike.

And if you have Valentine's Day plans instead of Galentine's Day plans, then these would work for you too!

What are your plans?

Icebreaker Games

Northwest Pearls: Thistles To get to know some new people yesterday, we played two icebreaker games.

The first was a Battle of the Sexes game, and the second was Speed-Friending. For Speed-Friending we had to come up with three questions to ask that person and had 45 seconds for both of us to ask the questions. The questions were supposed to be something that would enable you to get to know them as well as possible within those 45 (really 22.5) seconds. And we had to say our name before asking the three questions.

My three questions were:

  • What's a favorite hobby?
  • What's your favorite place?
  • What's a happy memory? (This one was hard for people to come up with on the spot, so I switched it to favorite animal, I know, not as good of a question.)

Other questions people asked me that I really liked were:

  • Top bucket list item?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What's your favorite place?
  • What's a pet peeve of yours?

I really love to ask people what a happy memory, or a favorite memory, of theirs is. It makes them think and brings up something happy and I get to see what makes them happy. In college one of my friends asked me mine and it stuck with me as a good question to ask.

What are some questions you can think of to ask people to get to know them better?

Getting Through the Last Weeks of School

Northwest Pearls: Beating Senioritis My best friend asked me to do a post on getting through the last few weeks of school. She has senioritis. Bad. And her solution so far has been to drink "8+ cups of coffee a day" and to watch "Disney movies while doing homework to distract from the pain."

While totally admirable there may be other, better, ways to get through the last weeks of school. (And if you're going to graduate school, your grades matter so you can't check out.)

  • Start studying before finals week. That way you don't have to cram everything in.
  • Don't drink too much. It'll affect you the next day and probably won't be worth it.
  • Find something to relieve stress such as exercising, a massage, hanging out with friends, etc. Anytime I get stressed I know that a workout on the elliptical or a good run will help me out.
  • Have fun. It's your last bit of school and chances are you won't see these people very often from now on. Treasure your friendships.
  • Reward your studying with treats such as sweets or an episode of a show. At the end of every quarter, my bff gets a celebratory cupcake. It's something to look forward to and a light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Find the best place for you to study. You may like solitude and silence or you may like the lounge. But find a good place that you can concentrate.
  • Study in groups if that works for you. It can be fun and can help a lot.
  • Take care of yourself mentally and physically.
  • Keep your notes organized. Title, date, and add page numbers to them.

Now, to be honest, I figured out that I had a high enough GPA and knew enough of the material that I could somewhat check out for the last bit of school and still graduate with honors. I'm a good test taker and I have a pretty good memory in regards to schoolwork (I had also re-read certain textbooks throughout the semester so I would retain the knowledge) so I spent about 2.5 hours studying during finals week (I probably should have spent at least 10-15 hours studying.) But I decided that spending time with friends was more important to me than finals. My decision worked well for me. I still graduated with honors and I spent time with friends. Although, I did get lucky, the stuff I studied ended up being on the test while the stuff I didn't study wasn't. (How often does that happen?!)

And while I wouldn't recommend what I did for everyone, it did work out for me and if you know you can do it too without any consequences, it might be worth it.

Sadly there's no cure to senioritis, you just have to keep yourself motivated and in the best spirits to keep on going. You're almost there!

Have you found any helpful ways to battle senioritis?

Another Person's Success Isn't Your Failure

Northwest Pearls: Comparison

*Image source

Another person's success isn't your failure. These are words I've been trying to keep in mind. I get onto social media and see friends announcing that they got into their top grad school or that they've got an internship in Europe and I'm over here like, "I get a two day weekend this week because a trip I was going to go on didn't work out." (I usually work six days per week. Also, I'm incredibly glad I had a two day weekend. I'm exhausted.)

I graduated with a four-year degree in three years at age 20, and I currently have a paid internship in the field I want to go into as well as a side-job. And still I'm judging myself for not having a full-time career and feeling like a failure because at age 21, I haven't found a full-time career.

I judge myself too harshly. I constantly compare myself to others and I envy them and where their lives have taken them. But it's something that I, and maybe you too, need to work at.

Here are a few ways I've come up with to keep thinking positively:

  • Dwell on your accomplishments. Don't be arrogant, but know that you have worth and you have accomplished things.
  • Stay off social media (this will be hard to impossible for me, I love to blog and I use my Facebook for work, but I know that I often compare myself to my friends on social media.)
  • Remember that everyone is different. They live differently and they have different goals.
  • Know that everyone has flaws.
  • Know that everyone has bad things that they're going through that you don't know about. Just because you don't know what they're going through, doesn't mean that they're not struggling.
  • Be grateful for what you have and who you are. There is no one out there like you. You are unique and loved.
  • And a little Bible verse for those of you who this may help: Jeremiah 29:11 "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" This helps me because it reminds me that I'm being looked after and loved.

Do you have the same problem as me? What helps you to not compare yourself?

Greenbluff, Spokane, Washington

Greenbluff Leaves Greenbluff Spokane Trees

Last week I went and visited some friends in Spokane. As excited as I was to see them, I was almost as excited to go to the farming area known as Greenbluff. We took the mandatory boots-in-leaves photos and I returned to a gorgeous tree-lined driveway to take some photos there.

Greenbluff OOTD


*Photo credit to A.R.

Greenbluff is known for its pumpkin doughnuts and apple cider. A friend of mine and I drove up and went to The Harvest House to buy our doughnuts and cider. I also bought some huckleberry jam, honey, and a bottle of huckleberry wine (that was delicious.)

Here's a photo of the doughnut making machine. I bought a dozen of them and managed to bring eleven home to my family. (I'd had a big breakfast. Last year I think I ate five-ish at once.)

Greenbluff Doughnuts

Last year my family and I bought our pumpkins at Greenbluff. There are multiple farms open selling doughnuts, cider, apples (that you can pick yourself), vegetables, etc. It's a fun place to visit if you're ever in Spokane in the fall.

Where do you like to travel in the fall?

Keeping up on Homework in College

In high school I kept all of my homework and due dates in a leather planner. It worked well. But in college I moved everything to Google Calendar. Each week I would take the homework due in all of my classes for the next week and put it into the task list. So, for example, for Interactive Journalism, when I had a blog post due, I would write IJ Blog Post 1. I went through the syllabus and kept a few major assignments towards the bottom of the list so they were always somewhere in my mind.

That was how I stayed on top of my homework in college. I also took to writing down what I wanted to accomplish each day, and each day of the weekend. When I was really on top of it though, I would work over the weekend to work on the whole next week's homework. Sometimes I finished, sometimes I didn't. But it was a great feeling to have all the homework done for the whole week.

Sometimes, when I couldn't do it all over the weekend, I did the day it was "assigned." So after Monday's Interactive Journalism class, I would do the homework due for Wednesday's class.

And at the very least, I would do the homework the night before. I don't think that I ever the did the homework the morning of except for once or twice. It's not worth it.

What I originally tried to do was to start homework on Friday afternoons so I could have Sunday's off. But what my friends would do was save their homework for Sundays. And it's not much fun to do homework while your friends are hanging out, or, alternatively, to have free time while your friends are frantically studying. So I fit my schedule to theirs and saved my homework for Saturday mornings and Sundays.

With all of this, I was able to stay on top of my homework,

Hope some of this helps you out with your homework!


While In College

The last semester of my last year of college, even a little before that, I was aware that I didn't want to graduate college. I was only there for two years, and I completed my entire bachelor's degree in three years. But I was about two years younger than most of the graduating seniors and most of my friends were sophomores or juniors in school. So I wasn't happy about graduating. I made the best of it and tried not to be sad, but I do wish that I had spent all three years at this school, or that I had done one more year of college at that school. But I didn't, and I saved myself and my family a bit of money. Here's some advice I have for you as you're in college:

Don't try to please everyone because you can't and you shouldn't bother. This is something that I have to work at, but it's something that everyone should keep in mind. God loves you for you and that is enough and you have to realize that that is enough. His love is so much greater than anyone elses'.

Find a group of people you enjoy being with. I had friends that I loved being around. I was me around them. Just be yourself and find a group of friends.

Do something extracurricular. I attended a few clubs off and on, and when it came to applying for scholarships, I wished that I had been in more clubs. But at the same time, I chose to spend my free time with friends and people. I love to be around people. I could have done that in a club, but I just didn't. I did do intramurals spring of my senior year, I did soccer and ultimate frisbee. I wished that I had done intramurals every semester of college because I had such a blast playing with my friends. I don't think we ever won a game, but hey, we had fun. And that's what matters.

Have fun. Don't make yourself do something that you hate or something that isn't you. That goes back to being you. And please, don't do anything stupid. But have fun. I went out to far too much fro-yo and coffee/tea just so I could hang out with people. I chose to spend money I had, but probably should have spent wiser, to go out. And while I could have gone out and not gotten anything, I decided to spoil myself, because college only happens once. Just please, don't do anything stupid.

Realize that this is a unique time in your life that won't ever be replicated. You are going to be surrounded by people your own age who are in the same stage of life as you. So enjoy it. Don't wish it away. I was talking to another senior about how once graduation comes around, you wish for another year (or two). But when it's not coming for you, you can't wait for summer to come. You're so ready to be done with school. Personally, I was dreading summer for months. My friends were all excited for it, and I was happy that they were happy, but I didn't want it to come around because it meant the start of adulthood. I enjoyed my last few months though and am incredibly grateful for the chance to go to my school.

Do you have any more suggestions for undergraduate college students?

After College

I graduated college last week and have been home for about four days now. I don't know what to do with myself. I'm taking the summer to just hang out and adventure and to do some things that I've been wanting to do, but I am having trouble adjusting from lots of people 24/7 to just having family around. I have all of these grand ideas for this summer, but what can I do in the meantime? For an extrovert whose friends are all at their homes, far away, or whose two best friends are close but in school and working, what can one do? I've been brainstorming ideas to make new friends and to find ways to occupy my time this summer. Some of my ideas are:

  • Volunteer; find a cause or an organization I like and volunteer there this summer
  • College group; while I'm out of college, I graduated two years earlier than the people my age and a church college group would be one way to get to know some of the people my age in my area.
  • Community college classes; one of my least favorite ideas, but it's an idea. Take classes that I want to take this summer to learn some fun skills, like photography.
  • Learn to sail; this has been on my bucket list/to-do list for the last three or four summers. Maybe this summer it'll actually happen.

I just have to adjust to being away from college. I keep on thinking to myself that I just have to occupy myself for the next three months until I see my friends again, but then I remember that I'm done with school and I won't be going back. So in light of that, I have to adjust and make new friends to hang out with instead of writing blog posts on a Friday night. Have you had to adjust to life after college?

Makeup Does Not Define Us

I've had bad acne for years, probably around eight years, it's only now getting better. I've been reliant on makeup since it was acceptable to wear it. But last year I did a week without makeup, and when it was over, I went back to wearing makeup, a little more comfortable without it, but not really. This year one of my friends challenged me to not wear makeup for another week. She and one other friend did it with me. At first I was uncomfortable and I wasn't as social as I normally am, although I was also having a bad couple of days so that may have been part of it. The second day, Tuesday, was the worst day of all seven. I ended up in a friends' room practically in tears about how I felt I looked. Both of the friends who lived there thought I looked fine and was overreacting (which I was.) They made jokes and made me feel better. (Thanks N. and J.!)

After that the week got easier. It got to the point where I didn't need to wear makeup, but I just wanted to wear it to feel pretty again, which still isn't a good point, but it's better than where I started it. I was okay not wearing it, but I just wanted it.

Finally Monday came around and I could wear makeup again. So I did my eyeliner and mascara before putting on foundation. And then I put on foundation and looked at myself. I didn't like it. So I took off the foundation and went around for the day without it. And I felt beautiful. I felt more beautiful without foundation than with it. I went without foundation for the rest of the week and felt awesome. I didn't use foundation again until I had to get pictures taken and go shopping for a graduation dress (gotta love those harsh lights.) I do still use mascara and eyeliner, but I can go without them now if I need to.

My friends didn't treat me any differently, other than to say that they thought I looked the same, just as good, or better, without makeup. I needed the encouragement from them. (You rock A., E., L., J., N., C., and J.!)

I'm proud to say that I now feel pretty with or without makeup. It's taken me a long time to get here, I can be very insecure about my looks and especially my skin. But now that I'm here, I'm staying. Makeup does not define us as women. Our actions define us.