What We Love: Alex and Ani bracelets

If you took the time to read our About page, you’ll notice that I state that I never leave home without being embellished by Alex and Ani bracelets. There has never been a more true statement- I forget and misplace my phone more often than these babies. I own a total of 14 bangles.

The obsession started my junior year of high school, when a girl in my class sported the brand. I ended up buying one for my mom for mother’s day, and then my dad bought me the feather (this link is the updated version-mine is a few years old). From there, I started buying Alex And Ani bracelets as gifts, mostly because they go with any outfit and make me feel 10x cooler than I actually am.

Alex and Ani makes aesthetically pleasing bracelets with charms that speak to many different people. While I love the designs, they’re definitely not the best part of this company.

My most recent Alex and Ani purchase

In five years, Alex and Ani has donated over $30 million to charities and organizations, such as UNICEF and the ASPCA. These bracelets are also made with recycled metals, and are blessed by a priest and a shaman to spread the positive energy! To top it all off, they’re all made in the USA. All of the charms on the bracelets have meanings behind them, and are meant to be stacked on top of each other.

Carolyn Rafaelian, the founder of Alex and Ani, worked for her father when she was younger to create pins. She started to create the jewelry that she wanted to wear-and eventually named her jewelry company after her first two daughters.

I continually buy bracelets for my friends and family. I bought the Wonder Woman charm for myself. I’ll probably support this company until I’m 80 and dying.

The jewelry doesn’t stop at bracelets- you can buy necklaces, rings and earrings. In partnership with the NFL, MLB, Olympics and Disney, you can also get Alex And Ani’s  to support you favorite sport, team or Disney characters!

To learn more about the company’s philosophy, and how they make a positive impact, click here.

I wish this was a sponsored post, because getting royalties from Alex and Ani would be a dream come true. But all opinions in this post are mine, but I’m sure I’m not the only one this obsessed with them!

Running back to old habits

Every year on the fourth of July, my insane family runs the Kenwood Footrace: a 10k, or a 3k for the kids).

This year was my second time ever running the 10k, which is kind of surprising. I ran cross country and track in high school, but I did life-long damage to my left knee. The fear of further messing up my knee stopped me from running further.

This year when my mom called me to register for the race, I confidently said I would run the 10k.

Now, as I mentioned before, I ran in high school. My brother ran all four years, and had instilled in me (as a lot of athletes do) a weird pre-race ritual. I realized that, without even noticing, I subconsciously slipped into the habits of our old pre-race ritual.

Two days prior to the race, I ate a lot of carbs and bought way too many bananas.
The night before, I drank up two more glasses of water than usual (because the race is at 7:30am, so you don’t really have time to hydrate before hand!).
I got my “gear” ready. (knee brace, headphones, clothes, water, kt tape, etc)
I searched frantically for my lucky underwear (yep. This is a thing), pulled out my best knee brace and set up my headphones.
The morning of, I had more water (maybe 3 cups by 6:45 and then just sips after that) and a banana and protein bar.

I put Hamilton on and I ran.

This post isn’t supposed to be an instructional guide on how to successfully run a 10k. It’s supposed to show how easy it is to fall back into old habits, even when it’s been awhile since you’re last race.

Now, in this case, these “pre-race rituals” are good and healthy. Someday, I really want to run a half-marathon. I can reassure you that I’ll be doing all of the steps mentioned above.

But, some habits aren’t always super great to get back into. We slip into them without so much as a thought, and it can do more harm than good.

There’s  always a someone you shouldn’t go back to. Maybe a something. Maybe you used to drink 5 cups of coffee in a day (@-ting myself again).

This school year in London, I really hope to break the habits of napping before I study, forgetting to take the trash out (pray for Delaney because we’re rooming together), and waking up late.

There are habits that we should  run toward and keep…but others that we should turn away from.

image via gearpatrol.com

A Welcome and Reflection- Jess

This is a quick reflection on life in general…

Delaney and I want to do a journal entry type thing on here, thus I’m writing these words right now!

Summer of 2017 has been exponentially different. I feel like the ghost of my past selves are running around everywhere. Like, if my life were a movie, you’d see flashbacks of my self running around, giving the audience exposition. Which is cool, I guess, but also kind of sad. (Note that most of my friends from home are in different places this summer.)

My favorite consistent moments in my days have been texting Delaney about this blog, preparing for London and watching The Flash with my dad. (Oh Yeah, Delaney and I are studying abroad in London this fall, so we’re obviously going to blog about that!)

It’s just kind of weird being home. It sometimes feels like freshman year didn’t happen, except of course it did because I don’t want this past year to be a dream. A weird dream, but nevertheless a good dream.

See, freshman year of college was like a party that everyone was invited to. And I definitely had some party fails, I definitely should have studied a little bit more, but it was still the best celebration I’ve ever been to.

Anyway, as of June 28th, I have less than a month of working (as a small group leader, marketing intern and Teacher’s Assistant), and it feels good. I work 8-5, and I wish I didn’t, to be honest, because I feel like I’m wasting perfectly good tanning time. I think this beats working in retail, though, because I used to work at American Eagle and it was fun but stressful. “Busser” was my favorite job title because I got to talk to customers a lot. (Getting free food during shifts was also a big plus).

When the time comes for me to work a 9-5 job, I’ll have to choose something I really like. I wish I could sit and try coffee and read all day, or become a professional traveler and literary critic. (I just looked it up, and if this blogging thing explodes then I can just blog and travel which would be really cool). But if that doesn’t work out, I’d really love to work for a marketing firm.

Or Disney.

Here’s a numbered list on why this internship is amazing for career advancement but hard
1.)I’d much rather be reading posts on Rookie
2.) I’m writing articles on conferences for payment professionals.
3.) My tolerance for people that aren’t tech-savvy is low

Props to me for making this more of a rambling than a reflection.

I’m going to count my “freshman year was a party” analogy as a short reflection.

The point of this is to welcome you (whoever you are) into this little corner of the internet. So, hopefully you feel comfortable and you want to come back after I babbled on about work and school.

I feel overwhelmed by the though of being haunted by my own ghost has thrown me off. This has made me feel a little more existential than I want to. It’s making me feel like I should go back to Loma and be different in the spring, so I don’ have to experience this feeling again.(I was thinking of taking martial arts because I’ve never taken it before. Maybe modern dance because I’ve taken it before and I was awful?).

That is the definite perk of going to London-there’s not a past-me lurking behind every corner!

-Jess

“A Court of Thorns and Roses” Review

A Court of Thorns and Roses...

My friend finally succeeded in getting me to read this book…(it took a year, because I couldn’t get through the last book she recommended me).

I developed a deep love for fantasy and science fiction books around 13, starting with Harry Potter (I got on the Hogwarts Express later than most) and made my way through Ray Bradbury’s sci-fi, Cassandra Clare’s world (I still need to get Lord Of Shadows…oops!), held my breath through the Mara Dyer Trilogy (if you don’t want a Noah Shaw YOU ARE LYING!!) and cried my way through the last Gemma Doyle book (Libba Bray, if you ever read this: I haven’t fully recovered and that was almost three years ago). Side note: I’ve also read every Sarah Dessen book except the last two so if anyone wants to buy them for me, I won’t object.

I went through this weird phase of not wanting to read YA books for awhile, so I stuck my nose in Hemingway, Watership Down and books by Christian Authors, which can be discussed at a later time.

After freshman year of college and getting my head out of whatever air of arrogance I held, I sat down and read this book in roughly 2 and a half days. A Court of Thorns and Roses has definitely convinced me that one is never too old for a bit of YA…

A Fairytale Twist

book review
source: google images…

After the first 15 chapters, this definitely felt like a Beauty and the Beast spinoff. (That’s because, ahem, it kind of is). I was kind of in love with the main character, Feyre though. For a fairy tale retelling, she’s definitely not what you would think of a typical princess. She’s strong, bitter and a hunter. It was not at all what I was expecting.

I love Beauty and the Beast, and fairy tales in general. So this dark, take on the story is refreshing and unexpected. It feature a strong female character (not as strong as Hermoine, but J.K. Rowling has set the bar high!), a dynamic side-kick named Lucien and the beautifully written male lead, Tamlin. I also really appreciated her use of minor characters, creating mini plot twists within their stories.

While I love the main characters, a certain secondary character kind of stole my literary heart in Rhysand. He appears to be the bad guy with a heart of gold… (EXPLANATIONS! I NEED EXPLANATIONS!)

The story…

The story follows Feyre unknowingly  committing a crime and going to live in the land of faeries. If you know Beauty and the Beast, you know the gist! Feyre is a bad ass, a savior, a hero…and despite her illiteracy, an intelligent main character. While the underlying “Beauty and the Beast” story is still there, Mass added an unexpected twist, proving Feyre to be a character worthy of praise and emotional investment. There is love, (warning!) sex, darkness, spring, and a weird tattoo. Cool!

I held my breath through one of the chapters (you know which one). I was completely living in Feyre’s world all day as I finished the book, hoping I’d know what to do if I were ever in her shoes. (Because I totally live in a YA novel. *sigh*)

A Court of Thorns and Roses: Rating

My rating for A Court of Thorns and Roses has to be like an 8.5/10. While I really enjoyed it, and it ended my reading block, I wasn’t completely enraptured in the story as other books. I’m sure I’ll appreciate it more after I read the next book, but this wasn’t one of those books…

The books where you stay up all night reading it, and immediately tell 5 people about it because YOU JUST NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT. After watching Die Hard, I was snapped back into reality. (side note: I’m still living in the Harry Potter Universe after finishing the series for the first time six years ago.)

Now, I’m simply a nineteen year old with opinions. So feel free to comment your thoughts and add recommendations in the comments bellow!

x,
Jessica

 

 

 

 

college

Advice for College Freshman (From Recent College Freshman)

Getting ready to start college for the first time is both exhilarating and frightening at the same time.  Everyone around you says that college contained some of the best years of their lives, but also some of the hardest times of their lives.  Amid this mix of dichotomies, it can be hard to know what to expect, and even harder to prepare yourself for beginning college.  So we, as recently promoted college sophomores, have some advice on how to prepare for your first year at college, what to expect, and how to hopefully make the most of the first year.

Some of it is basic (like how to make milkshakes at the dining hall, or, as our school likes to call it, the caf), but hopefully also some meaningful stuff to.  When I was preparing for school, I read a lot of advice articles, and I could never really find what I was looking for.  I learned a lot of practical things, and got some good advice, but nothing ever went very deep-so, without further ado, here is the list of college advice I wished I had.
(Also, for more as we go along our way, check out upcoming posts from us on the Journal Entries page!)

Tips to Freshman Year Of College

1.) Don’t be afraid of people- Okay, I know this sounds SO silly! But it’s true- starting new somewhere can be really frightening! Point Loma organizes a “Get Acquainted Party” (affectionately nicknamed the “Get Awkward Party”), where all incoming freshman and transfers get thrust onto the soccer field and attempt to meet each other. It can be really intimidating, but s0 fun! A few people I met on the field are friends that I’m still pretty close to. Talk to people when you’re moving in-introduce yourself. You’ll be living around these guys for a long time! Remember that everyone is feeling the same influx of emotions- anxiousness, awkwardness and a lot of pressure. Be yourself, and meeting people will come easy. We promise.

freshman year
Two of our sweet hall mates this past year for a “hall photoshoot” we did at sunset!

2.) That being said: Find your “tribe”- Honestly, freshman year wasn’t super great for me until I found a solid group of friends. For awhile I knew a lot of people, but I didn’t have many people I could really depend on and hang out with. So truly, be yourself. Talk to the people in your classes, form study groups, hang out with your hall, and talk about what you love. You’re almost guaranteed to find someone else with a strange obsession with existentialism (@DELANEY)

3.) Surviving the Caf- Guys…caf food sucks. And, the freshman fifteen is very real (hi, Jess here- I gained 5 pounds the first month of college…. !!!!!!!!) Second semester, my coworker taught me how to get creative in the caf. She mixes things up from the salad bar ( my personal favorite- a base of green beans, garbanzo beans, spinach with a variety of whatever vegetables are available. Put some oil and vinegar on top and it’s actually pretty good!
I know the unending ice cream and cookies look amazing, but trust me, they’ll be there tomorrow. You don’t need to grab some every night (I’m literally @-ing myself).

4.) On dorm food- You know what’s good? Trail mix. Blueberries. Bananas. Coffee. Granola. Yogurt.

college
A breakfast Jess would consume regularly this past semester…plus coffee! duh!

Cereal. Almond milk. Carrots. Oatmeal. (Jess’ must-haves in her mini fridge)

5.) Exercise- Having someone to work out with always makes it more fun and better. Delaney is my #1 running buddy (friends you run with>>>), my friend Tayler was fun to go to the gym with and Hanna would use the elliptical or spinning bikes while I did the stairmaster.  It may seem like yo don’t have time to exercise, but making time to do so was a huge stress reliever and a cool way to hang out with friends outside of a study room (especially during finals)

6.) Studying- Finding a new place to study was always helpful and fun! Coffee shops, hammocks and the library were my favorites. Studying with Delaney was always efficient because we’d study for about half an hour, talk for a bit, get back to studying, talk, study…the works. In classes that I struggled with (I’m looking at you, microeconomics), I would take class notes, watch videos (ACDC Economics!), skim the book, take book notes and then add to my class notes. Doing this took a lot of work, tome and effort, but the payoff is good! Plus, taking breaks was always good!

7.) Study Breaks- Call your parents, or grandparents, or a friend from home. Take a long walk. Go for a run. Work out at the gym. Journal. Read. Write. Talk to your hallmates/study buddy. Eat a snack/meal. Have a dance party. Draw. Stretch.
*I really don’t recommend watching Netflix or Youtube, because unless you’re super disciplined, you won’t get back to studying!college

8.) Take Advantage of Mental Health Service-Most colleges offer some type of mental health services.  Don’t be afraid or hesitant to take advantage of them.  College is a time for figuring things out about yourself and life.  It can also be a very stressful time, whether that be from classes, relationships, unfortunate trauma, or prior issues.  Whatever the case, it is a whole lot braver to tackle your issues head on with trained professionals than to ignore them or downplay them.  It can be scary to do so, but it is so much better in the end.  Even if there is not a specific issue you are struggling with, it is always possible to learn more about yourself and how to be a healthier person.

9.) Realize That it is Sometimes Not You-College can be tough, especially as a freshman, as you are constantly around old friends, new friends, acquittances, and strangers.  Take it from me, living on a college campus feels like you are in a whole different world, and that campus is the whole world at times!  This can be a good thing, but it also makes every action that people take and everything they say seem really personal.

It is important to remember that not everything has to do with you.

People make decisions, form opinions, make new friends, and act in the ways they do for their own reasons.  Everyone is growing up, and everyone is just trying to figure out this thing called life and this thing called adulting.  Realize that most of the time, even if things seem persona and personally affect you, it often doesn’t have anything to do with you and you didn’t do anything to make it happen.

10.) Remember that This is Only the Beginning-It is tempting at the start of college to want to be different than you were in high school, to want to try new things, and to want to have different kinds of friends.  This can be a good thing, but it is important to remember that not everything has to happen at once.  You do not have to change all at once, you do not have to start everything at once, and everything does not have to happen right away.  In fact, this is impossible, as time can only contain and change so much.

College is four years for a reason, and you will change and grow throughout that whole time.  So don’t be afraid to make mistakes, to fall back into old habits, and to maintain some imperfections.  Change and growth take time, and perfection is highly overrated (trust me, I’m an INFJ).