Destroying your Midterms!

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As a Bio-Physio Major, I have had my share of incredibly difficult midterms. And although there are some people who have a midterm and a final, I experience several exams for each class throughout the semester. And, girrrrl, it got me on a whole new level of stressin’. For a lot of my chemistry related classes (i.e. general chemistry, organic chemistry, etc.), we had 2 exams during finals week… Exam 4 and the cumulative final within a three hour period. Last semester, I had both those classes including their labs, along with another class and its lab, which led me to have 1-2 tests EVERY SINGLE WEEK. Trust me, it was not fun.

But, with all these experience of blood, sweat, and tears over tests, I wanted to share some studying habits I’ve gained to help YOU make it through studying to kick your tests in the butt, and avoid the unfortunate events I’ve been through.

Tip #1
Read your syllabus on the first day of school and check out your Professor’s plan for the semester. They should already have dates of hw assignments due, and when  your tests will be. Then, write all those dates in a handy-dandy planner/calendar so you will always have a good idea when you should plan to study.

Tip #2
STUDY AHEAD OF TIME. Yes, you might think you have free time. But if you’re going to waste the day sitting at home re-watching the same shows on netflix anyway, might as well get at least an hour or so of studying in because I promise you, by the time you realize it, the test will be the next day and you’re going to be up all night cramming which is not such a great route to pursue.

Tip #3
Set yourself up with a good study group. As you get further into school, you’ll realize you’ll have classes with familiar faces often. Get to know them and make a study group because it’ll first and foremost, encourage you to study more and it will give you the opportunity to both learn from them and teach them the material taught in class.

Tip #4
Re-write your notes. My organic chemistry professor loves to say this on syllabus day and I followed his advice, and honestly, it has helped me SO much. In class, I’m in such a rush trying to copy everything he goes over in slides or on the board while listening to his explanation of everything, so it ends up becoming a big whirlwind and my notes are all messy from trying to copy fast. Re-writing your notes (I even make it in like colorful ink and all neat) can reinforce all the things you learned in class and you can go over it at your pace, so that way you’re really getting to understand what it is you’re supposed to be learning.

Tip #5
Ask for help AFTER you tried doing it yourself. The best way to learn is do it yourself, then checking it. If it’s wrong or you’re stuck, THAT’S when you can ask either someone from your study group or the professor why it’s wrong or how to better help you get to the problem. The process of trying will allow you to retain it once the correct answer is found after the help. And also, asking your professor for help will allow them to get to know you better and often, a lot of good things come out of building a good relationship them!

Tip #6
The night before your test, get a good night’s sleep. It will help you retain the information (it really does) and you’ll feel refreshed when you wake up, eat breakfast, and be on your way to take those midterms!

And lastly, take a breather every now and then, and be confident in yourself! YOU CAN DO IT! (:

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Outfit in Distress

Recently, my boyfriend (James aka Owner of @PoptheTrunkApparel, check him out ya’ll) was scheduled to vendor at World of Dance Bay Area 2016. With only 1 shirt style out, he decided to get another shirt design that we’ve been talking about for FOREVER since it’s been a great trend for a while: distressed and bleached shirts. But LET ME TELL YOU, GUYS: This ish is some HARD and TIRING work. Distressing, I’ve done before on both my tees and thrifted jeans, but this was a whole other level of distressing since we were about to be making 50 shirts. FIDDY. 5-0. And on top of that bleaching them.

Of course, as perpetual college biology majors, he and I both had exams during the week which caused some set backs in trying to get the ball rolling on the distressing process. So night before the actual event, we stayed up literally all night, through the morning up until the event, making what turned out to be some kick-azzz tops (on the real).

If you try to tell me this shirt ain’t sick… then you’re lying.

Anyhow, I’m gonna basically give you a little overview of how we made these shirts (the literal blood, sweat, and tears) and then after, a little preview of how I wore it at WOD!

How it’s Made
First you’ll need these tools:
– All purpose spray bottle (98 cents at Walmart. It’s $4.99 at target, so watch out.)
– Regular Clorox Bleach
– Exacto Knife/Blade
– Threadcutter (I have 2 so I pictured both of them… not sure why cause you really just need one)
– Scissors

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You can do the distressing first. We used the thread cutters to basically make smaller holes and raw cuts right on the collar (the thing that cuts the thread easily is the sharp curve, not the pointy part). The blade and the scissors were used to make cat scratches and rips in the shirt. The blade will have a straighter cut while the scissors won’t. Instead, it’d have more variation. You can even make small twists in a general area and cut the tops of the twists for little holes. We also used scissors to cut seams to have the seams hanging off the shirt.

Then, make sure you are in a ventilated area and use gloves for the bleaching part! (If it is not ventilated, you will have a headache, your eyes will burn, and you’ll regret it all.) We also had an old plastic table cover thingy we used on the garage floor for our shirt-bleaching-space. Test with water the different sprays the spray bottle has (if you turn it one way, is it more misty or is it more like a single stream?). When you get a good understanding of the spray, pour the bleach in the spray bottle, and then spray away different designs on the shirt. For the PTTA, we chose something in between and sprayed more like tiger-esque stripes all over front and back. After bleaching, we washed and dried, and it became the beautiful piece it is now!

Outfit Details

For World of Dance, I tried to go for an edgy, yet very urban feel.
With the shirt, I dressed it with:
– Bongo Distressed Jean Short (Bought thrifting)
Nike Air Max Theas
Nyx Suede Lipstick – Alien
– And as for earrings, I have a larger silver hoop in my inner piercings, and my 2nd piercings, I used smaller gold hoops. I honestly thought it looked siiiiick together. #doublehooping (let’s make it a trend)
– If you want a Pop the Trunk Apparel shirt like the one I’m wearing (it also comes in black, sizes S-XL), check out www.popthetrunkapparel.storenvy.com !

Optometry Guides Pt. 1

So, many of you might not know this, but I am currently going to school as a Biology Major concentrating on Physiology with hopes of probably making it into Optometry School. It has a lot of components that I feel would be a good fit for me and the future that I hope to have. With that goal in mind, I had the opportunity this past year to work at an Optometry Practice and learned quite a few things! So now I want to share this knowledge with you in a series called the “Optometry Guides.” Here is lesson 1:

Your Prescription & What it Means

After you doctor examines your eyes, you get a prescription which is basically a bunch of either positive or negative numbers something like this:

-1.75-0.25 x 092
or
+1.75-0.50 x 170

That first number (called “Sphere”) describes how far-sited (hyperopia) or near-sited (myopia) you are. The negative sign normally means you can’t see from afar and the positive sign means you have a harder time reading up close. The further away it is from 0.00, the worse your eyesight is and the thicker your prescription will be on your glasses. As you get older, you may also start to develop Presbyopia, which is basically when you have trouble with both your reading site and seeing from afar (which is why most people 40+ start buying bi-focals, progressives, or 2 pairs of glasses).

The middle negative number (called Cylinder) is only there if you have astigmatism, meaning that your eye doesn’t have a completely spherical shape, but is becoming a little more “football” shaped making it so that light doesn’t hit right where it normally would in the backside of your eye.

The last number after the ‘x’ is the Axis which is kind of like the measurement to give location to where that cylinder power is needed.

Surviving in Retail

Since I began working at 17, I have had several jobs. I worked in retail, food, teaching, program-coordination, and back to retail. Being so diverse in my jobs, I’ve got a good feel for what working in a service industry is all about. For all of you who are probably 18 or have never had a job before and are looking into retail, here are a few quick tips on what to expect:

Dealing with Customers/Clients
You’re going to have a large range of different customers all with a wide variety of attitudes. You will absolutely fall in love with some of them, and others, you’re going to have deep wishes of bad things upon them. You’ll be ignored and a little bossed around at times and some people will be straight up rude. But don’t let that discourage you! People are people. Tip #1 – No matter what, keep a positive attitude, stay helpful, and friendly. You’re working to make that sale and you’re trying to represent the brand that employed you in the best way. So what if they’re mean? You’re making moolah.

Being Real with your Customers/Clients
When you’re helping someone at your store, it’s great that you have the mindset to make a sale, but it helps a lot when you’re being real with them as well because you want to make sure that what they are getting and spending money on will make them feel good once they get out of the store. You don’t want them to feel regretful and not come back. If a dress is unflattering on a client, tell her that, and tell her why it’s not the right choice for her. But also, have some solutions on the back of your mind on what else you can give her that might look better. If you think she looks bomb in another dress that she has on, tell her that too, and if she’s unsure, give her accessories or shoes and all that to give her a better idea of the great possibility the dress provides her.

Looking your Best
In most retail stores, you have to dress a certain way. When I worked at Hollister, I had to wear their clothes and have a relaxed, beach feel. Now at BCBG, I have to dress more professional. Both had its limitations, but they both still required me to show off my personal style. If you don’t have a uniform and think that you can come to work in a way that’s not presentable, it’s just not going to be a good day for you. As a sales associate/stylist, customers and clientele will look to you for fashion advice. If you’re not looking your best, most likely, they’re not going to trust you to give them that advice which may not help you reach the sales you need that will then lead to a pep-talk from your manager.

Monetary Mirage
While working in retail, you get to see the newest arrivals and you also get to see when things go on sale. Because you’re working, you’re gonna think “I’m working to make money, so I’ll be able to spend on these, especially because I get a discount.” Makes sense right? But what you don’t realize is that you’re spending a whole lot more of money than you think and a lot more than you would if you didn’t work in retail. Another thing is where you’re working can have an effect on how you spend. Hollister was priced with $20 for a shirt and $40 for pants, and by working there, I thought anything higher was a rip off, and anything at these prices were fine. When I left and worked at other places, I saved more money because I realized $20 for a shirt is pretty pricey when I could go to F21, HM, or thrifting for it for cheap. Now, working at BCBG Max Azria, I see large prices all the time with sweaters priced at $198. And I sell to people who think that’s a good price alllll the time. So now $100 price tags don’t scare me as much… WHICH IS SCARY because now I have the mindset that I can spend that much even though I honestly don’t have or even make that kind of money. Next tip: Monitor your wallet and spend wisely. Know what you can actually afford or else you’re working to pay for your own paycheck.

Your Managers
I’ve had managers on different ends of the spectrum, let me tell yah. I’ve had really amazing ones, ones that were just…. not great, ones that kind of flipped flopped, and ones that I just didn’t talk to ever. At Hollister, my managers changed ALL the time. I only had 2 favorites that moved on to higher positions, and the rest either ignored me or had favorites. At the food place, I had the BEST manager and I still say hi to him all the time. At my other work place, it was almost like a surprise every day where either she’d be really nice, or the exact opposite. My current managers are honestly the coolest and most relatable I’ve had thus far. Regardless of what kind of managers you end up with (although, I hope they are great ones), you wanna make sure you have a good relationship with your manager and make sure you stand out. Be attentive when they train you and let you shadow them, and work hard. This person will observe you, could give you a raise, and could one day be your reference for a bigger position so you don’t want to burn bridges with them.

These were just a few tips that I feel like you should definitely keep in mind while applying or if you’re starting your first job! If you’ve worked in retail, comment below other tips for those looking for a retail job! (:

Disney Hotels Guide, California

So you want to stay at a Disneyland Resort? There are 3 Disneyland Resorts in Anaheim, California: The Grand Californian, Disneyland Hotel, and Paradise Pier and my family and I have stayed at all three of the resorts during our visits there. They are all incredibly awesome and staying at a resort gives you some real Disney perks in comparison to staying at an outside hotel. (I’ll be making a post about this later!) But what I’m going to lay out for you here are the “goodies” and “baddies” about each Disney Hotel to hopefully help you better decide which hotel you want to stay at!

The Grand Californian Hotel and Spa
Goodies
– Biggest Perk: LOCATION
– Closest hotel to the parks
– Features a special entrance for guests that directly enters California Adventure
– Only Hotel with a Spa = Mandara Spa
– May have a view of the fireworks show, view right over downtown disney (I’ve previously stayed right above the World of Disney Store with a view of fireworks)
– Can view California Adventures too
– Accommodate family of 5 with bunk beds
– The best Lobby/Lounge area of the 3 hotels (even better during Christmas)

Baddies
– Most expensive of the three.

Other Features
– Chip & Dale Critter Breakfast
(Includes Brother Bear Characters, Chip & Dale, etc.)
** Random note: A few years ago, we saw Tim Burton and his family check-in to the Grand Californian

The Disneyland Hotel
Goodies
– The Disneyland Hotel is the most recently renovated of the three
– May have a view of the fireworks show depending on how high you go (Suggest floors 8 and above). Also have a view of Downtown Disney or their super awesome pool. In my most recent visit to Disney, we stayed here on the 9th floor facing Downtown Disney and got to watch the fireworks and could see a little bit of the world of color.)
– During Halloween, my extended family and I stayed at a 2 room suite with a family room in the middle that had a pull-out-bed. It was spacious and comfortably fit 10 of us.
– Every room has the light up headboard of the castle and fireworks that plays “A dream is a wish your heart makes” (it’s AWESOMMMEE).
– The hotel is closest to the monorail (which ends in Tomorrowland).
– Has the best themed pool area! (Grand Californian’s is kind of plain, and Paradise Pier is currently undergoing refurbishments)

Baddies
– Unless you take the monorail or go through Grand Californian, you HAVE to walk through the entire Downtown Disney to get to the parks or back to hotel.

Other Features
– Goofy’s Kitchen
Includes Goofy, Chip, Dale, Aladdin, Genie, Mice from Cinderella, etc.
– Each of the 3 buildings have a theme: Fantasy, Adventure, and Frontier. And if you stay in the special themed suite at the top of each building, the suite is full-out decorated in the theme!

Paradise Pier
Goodies
– Cheapest of the three hotels
– May have a great view of the “World of Color” Show (I’ve watched the whole show from my room before) and of the CA Adventures park.
– Leaves better snacks than the other 3 hotels (while the other 2 hotels only leave you chocolate coins, this hotel also gave us Mickey rice-crispies and made animals with our towels).
– On the website, it says that you can watch the fireworks show from the pool deck, but I’ve never done that before.

Baddies
– Furthest of the three hotels ** You have to cross a street and go through the Grand Californian to get to the parks.
– Hotel is not as modern as other two hotels

Other Features
– Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey and Friends
Includes Lilo, Stitch, Mickey, Minnie, Pluto

Sorority Myths

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As August is creeping upon us, it means that school will be starting soon! And, for all my National Panhellenic Sisters, that means recruitment is well on its way (at least for MOST of you, I know some schools do recruitment in the spring).

For all you ladies, freshman or transfers, that are maybe questioning what Greek Life is about, this post is FOR YOU. And for the people who might lack knowledge on Greek Life in general, this is ESPECIALLY for you as I am about to drop some knowledge on the reality of what a sorority is.

A little bit of background:
I was 18, got into a 4 year University, and all I wanted to do was make friends and get involved. My school is a commuter school and it’s by the city so it’s not exactly super school spirited; the community isn’t that strong and a lot of people don’t live on campus, therefore, my goals of making friends and being involved was a difficult challenge and it was more challenging because I was shy. However, my first ever college roommate, Jessica (she’s awesome guys), was the one who introduced the thought of joining Greek Life to me. When her Dad was in college, he was in a Fraternity and gained so much networking opportunities that he’s still in touch with some of this Fraternity members to this day. She was the one who made me come out to the info night and sign up for recruitment. Before, when people said “Greek Life” or “Sorority/Fraternity”, I thought about all the horrible things you see in the media – crazy partying, lack of academic achievements, bullying/hazing, etc. It was because of these things that I THOUGHT that I was totally not interested in joining. Then came recruitment and I fell ABSOLUTELY in love with the REAL idea of what a sorority was: an organization of amazing women who provide you with long-life friendship and support as well as real-life experiences that help prepare you for the future. Four freakin’-awesome years later, I finished my last semester as a collegiate member and am now sharing with YOU what a sorority is all about.

Myth: “You pay for your friends.”
No matter what organization you join, you pay dues. You wanna join the community service organization? Well you have to pay a $20 membership fee. Sorority is the same exact concept, but the membership fee is just…well, much much larger than that. BUT, there are many reasons why. Personally, my sorority, Alpha Phi International Fraternity, is an “all inclusive” organization. “All inclusive” meaning that you would never have to pay anything extra for an event happening; for example, everyone’s favorite event: Formal. The bus ride to and from the venue, the food, the spot for your date, and so on is all paid for in your dues. That sisterhood event that’s coming up? That’s paid for in your dues. You don’t have to worry about any extra payments to go to an event other than just paying your membership fee. So what you’re really paying for is to do cool stuff. The friendships you make, however, are completely authentic and genuine. There are plenty of women who maintain incredibly strong, long-lasting friendships all because they had an opportunity to meet through organizations like the ones the Greek Life provides. Real friendship and support like the ones made in sororities are priceless.

Myth: “It’s all about the partying/boys.”
Sorry, but L.O.L. people. Sororities themselves are for the most part “dry” meaning they don’t serve alcohol at events (and trust me, to even get wine served at a classy gala event held by a sorority has to go through crazy paperwork, advisor approvals, and risk management). You are in college and, chances are, 90% of people at your school are probably partying. And majority parties don’t “go through” Greek Life. Plenty of parties happen and word gets out to a lot of people. But when one person in Greek is invited, they come with all their close friends who might just be fellow Greeks. And truth is, the male fraternities might just throw a party, but many times, all girls (Greek or G.D.I.) are welcome (sorry, boys). So if you think a sorority hosts big ragers under their organization and think that that’s all they do, then you have it all wrong.

Myth:”Your grades get worse.”
If you were to look up the GPA of most Greek Organizations, I think you might be shocked at how intelligent the women in sororities are. Heck, for the past 3 years, my chapter has has a cumulative GPA of 3.2. I’ve even seen so many crazy achievements from women who go on to do amazing things academically and with their careers. Anyway, sororities often have a position called the “Director of Academics/Scholarship”. This lucky person gets the special job of motivating and rewarding every woman who succeeds academically. Some things that were implemented were a required number of time-recorded studying hours, cookies as rewards for every proof of an “A” on a test or paper taken, gift cards for those who never skipped class as well as those who recorded the most hours of studying each week. I had the honor of this position my first year in Alpha Phi and I suggest, if you’re a new member and want to get involved with a leadership position, Director of Academics is a GREAT way to go (:

Myth: “It doesn’t help you in the real world.”
We all know that in an organization, there’s a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, etc. or at least some form of a leadership model/structure. What most people don’t see or know is the actual intensity of the structure is and the extensive duties each must fulfill and all the other opportunities that can be extended to you upon joining large organizations such as National Panhellenic Sororities. From Director of Academics, I was elected President the next year and little did I know what I was in for, but, boy, it sure did prepare me so much for the real world and I loved every minute of it. But here are a few things you didn’t know about the amazing leadership foundation, growth, and preparation this experience gave me and, I’m 110% sure, to many women across the country. I had to oversee 6 departments who executed numerous events such as scheduling for community service, philanthropic events, sisterhood bonding, and so on. Every woman in a leadership position had to plan detailed events, keep open communication with their VP, me, advisors, international headquarters, and any venue/food/merchant they worked with. They had to create risk management plans, stay within a budget, and satisfy a group of 130 women’s needs that were going to attend whatever they had planned. Even if a woman didn’t have a designated position, there were committees to join and that also gives a large amount of experience. Sororities also allow you to go to conferences in your area that allow you to meet other women-leaders who want to accomplish amazing things and to learn from scheduled seminars to learn how to execute your ideas. I went to a biennial convention where I met all 165 Chapter Presidents at their Universities with their Volunteer-Advisors as well as inspirational women who were recognized for their incredible achievements not only in their career but to their services to the U.S. and the world. I remember one key speaker, Emily B., was a student from Duke University, an Alpha Phi sister, who at 19 was the mission director and lead mechanical engineer for a multimillion dollar Time Capsule to Mars project with NASA. One of my sisters has done above and beyond in marketing jobs and I honestly can’t think of something she hasn’t done yet because she really has done everything (worked with Giants and Super City, etc.) Girl is a LinkedIn QUEEN and gave us a little workshop on how to better our own profiles. Her name is also Emily and I feel like she can honestly epitomize “hard-work”. It is women who are like both Emily’s that have drive and passion to do great things that join entities like a sorority and come out with a community of awesome networking, life-long support, and recognition for continual achievement.

Myth: “Hazing.”
I can’t speak for other states, but, in California, there is a law against hazing or any acts that can be considered has hazing. Universities in California take it seriously and at my University, at least, the entire Greek community had to sit in a seminar that talked about that law and why it’s in place and we also had to sit in on extra seminars talking about Title 9, overseeing the Health of the Chapter, being a bystander, etc. National Sororities everywhere also seriously discourage hazing which is why they’re so strict and detailed with our vocabulary-usage (i.e. new members instead of pledges) and risk management papers. We really DON’T do it. When I joined Alpha Phi, I only was asked by older members to hang out, study together, get food, or go explore the city, and often they paid for me if money was involved. We also were rewarded with free stuff if we educated ourselves about the history and values of our sorority. When I got my Big Sister, it was like a whole week of being showered with love and goodies which I got to do for my 5 Littles whom I love a whole lot! (S/O to Natacha, Michele, Ashlee, Kennedy, Saoirse, and my grands/great-grandlittles. Love you, little sunshines!)

Myth: “They’re only into themselves.”
This one gets to me quite often. Like I’ve said before, sororities do MORE than just events like Formal or sisterhood bonding. There are philanthropic events, community service, and, heck, we had a department devoted to Campus Affairs which helped our sorority stay informed about things happening at school and in the community as well as encouraged us to support our school teams, student government, the nearby high schools or community centers, other greek organizations, and so much more. Many girls were even involved and had high positions in other organizations. We’re all regular women with just an extraordinary support system of other motivated women with limitless dreams. There’s no reason for a girl to give you the cold shoulder, not help you out, or snub you. And if they do, they are unworthy of the letters they represent.

Sororities are really fun and worth-while, so if you’ve been debating on signing up for recruitment or haven’t even thought about doing so before, I hope this encourages you to do so and to research which sorority is best for you! We all have opportunities to do great things and joining something like this is just another milestone to help you in achieving those things with other people like yourself. I loved my experience so much and wouldn’t have changed it for the world. And to all my Eta Theta Chapter sisters that might just be reading this: I love you and keep up all the amazing things you’re doing!

If you have any other questions on the topic of Greek Life, leadership, other myths I never mentioned, or even about my own sorority, Alpha Phi International Fraternity, feel free to comment below!

Alpha Phi Mission Statement
“Alpha Phi is a sisterhood of women supporting each other in life-long achievement.”