Life Lately

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Let me start off with a short story...

I had an interview this morning, my first big-kid interview. It was just for an internship, but it was a door that, if opened, I would be taking the first steps into the career field I hope to one day be a part of. When it typically comes to opportunities such as this one, I jump eagerly at my chance and take charge. However, today ended up being a different kind of day...

I woke up despising the world around me, no longer wanting to attend the interview at all. I had let the pressures and stresses of life get to me, and as any normal college student not wanting to face adult obligations would do, I crawled into a little ball on the couch and just laid there. Right when I had practically convinced myself that I wasn't going to the interview, one of my roommates walked into the living room on her way out the door to school for the day. She told me good luck, and I told her what I had believed at that point was my final decision. And in just a few words, she managed to pull me out of a funk that I felt like I had been suffering for quite some time now:

"It's your dream, go get your dream."

She said this not actually meaning to inspire me the way she did. It was more joking-like, the kind of just-shut-up-and-do-it pep talk you get from your parents every once in a while when you whine about not wanting to do something. Either way, it still worked. After she left, I got off the couch and into my business clothes. I went to the interview, did the best I could, and left with no regrets. As tired and drained as I was, I felt like I had my edge back - and all it took was a few words.

The point to this story is that what should have been the most insignificant of sentences actually ended up turning my whole perspective around and getting me back on track. It's those little things in life that we need to hold on to in order to keep ourselves going. In the midst of trying to focus on other more seemingly-important aspects of my life, I pushed away the things that keep me sane, happy and motivated. This blog is one of those things, and I'm glad to be here again trying to make it a priority in my life once more.

So, if you could not already infer, life has been a little hectic for me lately. College is already no walk in the park, and junior year is definitely no exception. But it has all been in the pursuit of a better future for myself, and that's why I so willingly accept all the pressure that is thrown at me every day. I love every second of it, however I've let it affect how I feel these last few days and that's not okay. I sorted out my life today and made time for the things, such as this blog, that I didn't think were important enough for me to keep up with anymore. Turns out, I need this blog. This was my original dream, and even if it is no longer my number one dream, it is still a dream for me. I've always had big goals for it, and now they're just bigger than ever - and more defined; they will better represent who I am now, as I have grown from the style of my previous posts.

I want to be a resource, a guide. I want to help people while still conveying my personality and who I am through my work. And that is the future of this blog.

Thank you to all the people who have stuck around, and all of those who will continue to support me on this journey through life. A Southern Sunshine can only go up from here, and I promise you are going to love what's to come.

Stay tuned for a new post soon!

DIY Crafts to Do With Your Old Lilly Pulitzer Agenda

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Lilly Pulitzer just started accepting pre-orders on this upcoming year's new agendas (which you can check out here) and that led me to thinking, "What am I supposed to do with my old one?" Last summer, I posted about the DIY letter I made for my dorm room with my old agenda from back then. It is still in such good condition and I obsess over it to this day. I decided that I would use my old one from this past year to create another DIY Lilly craft (because can you ever really have too much Lilly?) and so I took to Pinterest to get some ideas. In this post, I have compiled a list of the crafts I'm considering - they were all just too beautiful to keep to myself! Hopefully this list will help a few of you who are in the process of recycling your old Lilly agendas as well!...

1. DIY Letter (mine shown above!)

2. DIY Canvas (Idea #1, Idea #2)

I think I'm really stuck between the coasters and the mirror at this point!
Did any of these DIY ideas inspire you to get crafty?

My Ultimate Summer Bucket List

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

This summer I have a lot of goals and new things that I want to try, and I have compiled all of them here on one bucket list! Some of these are specific to Florida and my own desires, but they are also general enough for anyone to want to go out and do too. I'll be sure to post an update for this list about halfway through the summer and one at the end as well!

1. Travel out of the state.

2. Go to Devil’s Den.

3. Go to the beach.

4. Host and be a part of a photo shoot.

5. Visit a Gamma Phi Beta house.

6. Go to a drive-in movie.

7. Have a paint fight.

8. Go to a concert.

9. Make chocolate.

10. Attend a pottery class.

11. Craft it up for my little and future apartment.

12. Go boating.

13. Have a bonfire.

14. Visit a springs.

15. Get abs.

16. Go glamping.

17. Watch a sunrise.

18. Go turtle watching.

19. Hold a baby tiger.

20. Go tubing.

21. Go to Aquatica.

22. Go to a piano bar.

23. Try rowing.

24. Go to the Keys.

25. Get a tattoo.

26. Go on a segway tour.

27. See a psychic.

28. Get a job.

29. Attend a kickboxing class/session.

30. Remodel my wardrobe.

31. Create my own blog theme.

32. Stargaze.

33. Have a picnic.

34. Go paddle boarding.

35. Take a spontaneous trip.

36. Go strawberry picking.

37. Pull an all-nighter.

38. Binge-watch a television show.

39. Run 100+ miles.

40. Attend a painting class.

41. Go on a “dream date.”

42. Find my coffee shop.

43. Go geocaching.

44. Dress up to just go out somewhere.

45. Actually get tan.

46. Jump off a cliff/high rock into water.

47. Go to an amusement park.

48. Swim with an animal.

49. Go wind sailing.

50. Go parasailing.

I'm only two weeks in to my summer and it's already shaping up to be the best one yet! What's on your bucket list for this year?

Final Review: Freshman Year Goals

Monday, May 9, 2016

Last week I finished the first chapter of my book on college. It was bittersweet to leave my school after such a wonderful year, but I'm happy to be home for the next few months to just relax. Back in August, I made a list of my goals for my freshman year and did an update to see where I was standing at the end of my first semester in December. Now I'm posting to check how I did overall and see how I can still achieve some of the goals that I didn't this past year!

{The University of Central Florida}

1. Rush and be recruited to a sorority. {PREVIOUSLY ACCOMPLISHED}
All my love in ΠKE to any of my Gamma Phi Beta sisters reading this right now.

2. Be officially accepted into the Business program. {PREVIOUSLY ACCOMPLISHED}

3. Make the Dean's List both semesters. {NEWLY ACCOMPLISHED}
Hard work definitely pays off; I plan to make this a goal every semester until finishing school!

4. Find a part-time job on-campus or close by.
I am very disappointed in myself for not putting more time into finding a job this past year, but at least I am able to say that I was doing so much that it most likely would have interfered with how I performed in school and my extra-curricular activities. I did manage to score an amazing internship for the summer though, so yay for that! I have applied for about 5 jobs already for this summer and the new school year in the last 24 hours (and I'm not even close to being done), so fingers crossed that I get offered something soon!

5. Become a Student Ambassador for Leader in a club/organization. {PREVIOUSLY ACCOMPLISHED}

6. Follow a set workout schedule. {PREVIOUSLY ACCOMPLISHED}
This goal was accomplished back in the fall, continued into the spring, then fell apart a bit as the semester kept getting busier and busier. But I have resumed my normal workout routine since coming home for the summer, so I'm proud of that! (Abs are coming in quite nicely also...)

7. Be accepted as an Orientation Leader or Rho Gamma for the summer of 2016.
Always next year!

8. Make a new close/best friend (or two, maybe three!). {PREVIOUSLY ACCOMPLISHED}

9. Get at least one scholarship ("at least" because more is obviously always better). {NEWLY ACCOMPLISHED}
I was extremely blessed to receive a $5,600 scholarship from the scholars program that I am a member of at my university for my second year. I definitely did not see it coming, God is good!

10. Join and write articles for my university's Her Campus chapter. {PREVIOUSLY ACCOMPLISHED}
Check out my articles from this year here!

8 out of 10 accomplished? Not too shabby! It has definitely been one heck of a year, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Did you accomplish your top goals this past school year?

What to Do Over Spring Break

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Spring break is quickly approaching, and I couldn't be more excited to have the opportunity to just sit around and not have to worry about anything related to school. For those of you who still aren't sure how to spend your spring break this year, here are a few ideas to get you thinking that you can start planning right now!

1. Go on a volunteer trip.
A lot of organizations offer alternative spring break trips that give students the opportunity to spend their days away from school giving back to some amazing causes as well as still getting to enjoy their time off in places they've never been. Check to see if your college is offering any sort of trips this year that you can take part in!

2. Take a road (or day) trip.
A road trip with a few of your best friends is never a bad idea - it gives you all an awesome bonding experience and some wonderful memories to look back on! But if that's a bit too expensive or much for you, there's nothing wrong with day trips to places in your state that you've never been; that's what my roommates and I are planning to do this break!

3. Visit your family back home.
Spring break is one of the only times during the semester that you get to head back home for a significantly long period of time (yes, a week is a long break in college time). It's always nice to get to spend some quality time with them - and get a nice home cooked meal instead of eating out every night or having to go to the dining hall.

4. Make plans with friends.
Maybe you don't get to see your friends enough during the semester because you're too busy working hard for those straight A's, you have a job, or even both and some other third thing. Sort out your days that you want to spend with them and create some plans so you can get a dose of social back in your life.

5. Relax.
There's nothing wrong with just sitting around all day long and doing nothing but watching Netflix while stuffing your face with pizza and ice cream. Feel free to take some solo time to wind down, reflect, do what you personally want to do and really get a break from the rest of reality.

What are your plans for spring break this year?
Hope everyone has the most amazing time!

Monthly Motivation: February 2016

Monday, February 1, 2016

I am not a big movie person. That's not to say I don't like them, I just can't seem to ever get myself to sit through them a majority of the time without wanting to check my phone or do something else. So when one of my roommates had the sudden urge to watch the first Harry Potter movie and found out I hadn't seen most of the series, that urge suddenly turned into a challenge to watch all of the movies. I was obviously a little hesitant at first - I had little problem with the idea of watching just one, but the entire series? Refer back to the beginning of this paragraph with that. But I actually found myself really enjoying the movies. And I additionally fell even more in love with Emma Watson than I already am in the process. A fierce woman who has managed to achieve many remarkable feats as well as initiate some incredible movements over the years, she truly shines at anything and everything she does - from even just her first Harry Potter movie, you could tell she had tons of potential.

{Photo Source}
Emma Watson is today's inspirational feature for one of my newest segments on A Southern Sunshine known as Monthly Motivation. My reasoning behind Monthly Motivation is to really kick the month off right with quotes from someone who has recently inspired me, and maybe sometimes just some amazing quotes that I've found lying around in general. For those of you who don't know, I'm a huge quotes person - I have a running note in my phone that I have been documenting quotes on for the past 3 years now (one of these days I'll get those transferred onto a Word document...). I believe quotes have the potential to change an entire person's mood and sometimes attitude towards life as well as their actions; whenever I need to be reminded to be happy or I need a bit of motivation, quotes are always there for me! Here are a few of what I believe are Emma's best quotes to help get you through this lovely month of February...

"All I can do is follow my instincts, because I'll never please everyone."

"I don't want other people to decide who I am. I want to decide that for myself."

"I've probably earned the right to screw up a few times. I don't want the fear of failure to stop me from doing what I really care about."

"But it's a journey and the sad thing is you only learn from experience, so as much as someone can tell you things, you have to go out there and make your own mistakes in order to learn."

"I want to be a Renaissance woman. I want to paint, and I want to write, and I want to act, and I want to just do everything."

"I'm going to do what I want to do. I'm going to be who I really am. I'm going to figure out what that is."

"I just try and surround myself, for the biggest proportion of time that I can, with people who make me feel normal, because constantly feeling abnormal is quite difficult."

May your February be filled with love and happiness!
What/Who is your motivation to get you through this month?

A Very Simple Update

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Things are a'changing around here, and I'm just going to get right into things today.

In my New Year's Resolutions post a few weeks back, I said I wanted to make my blog more of a priority in my life this year. Even though it may look like I didn't commit to this goal since I haven't really published much since coming back to college for the second semester of my freshman year, I can guarantee that I was not kidding.
I came back to school this semester thinking I had a schedule for my life set and ready to go, and then the unforeseeable happened...

Opportunities kept coming.

I literally feel swamped right now with everything that is suddenly happening for me. Now, don't get the impression that I'm not thankful for every new chance that has come my way these past two and half weeks of school already because I definitely am. I am always up for anything that allows me to stand out as a leader and improve upon my skills while additionally enhancing my assets for the future, but that's what has been keeping me from really committing to my blog lately.
(That, and I have a little bit of blogger's block.)

But I'm ready to follow through now. And although that means every once in a while I may possibly miss a post, I know that it'll be fine. I'm fully aware that I am a student first and a blogger second, and my more dedicated readers will respect that.

Until I know for sure that I can completely commit, I will be cutting down my posts to only two times a week on Tuesdays and Fridays. I may or may not have occasional posts on Sundays, but I need to ease myself back into my original Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule. If you really love me that much and you absolutely need three posts a week or you'll just die, I am a writer for Her Campus here at my college which I publish for every week. Feel free to check that out here.

My blog is additionally still undergoing a bit of work that I started back over the winter break, but it's gaining momentum. I have a professional camera for pictures now, so I'm extremely excited to get to put that to use in my posts from now on. I've been very focused on expanding my networks while I've been away from my blog these past few days and I have actually gained an enormous amount of followers on my social media accounts. For more info on those, click on the icons to the right of this post next to the image of myself (follow me on Pinterest and you'll definitely see a follow back - I'm kind of obsessed).

I take my goals very seriously. I'm not the kind of person who creates a resolution for themselves and then forgets and moves on from it after a week. You'll be seeing a lot more of me again around here starting now, and that's a promise.

Here's to a prospering year for A Southern Sunshine!

5 Ways to Start the Semester Off Right (With Checklist!)

Monday, January 4, 2016

A new year for college students means a new semester. With a new semester comes new memories and opportunities... and unfortunately stress. I'm here today to provide a list of 5 things you can do as soon as the semester starts in order to hit the ground running and keep you from worrying too much - all in an ordered checklist that you can even save to your computer/phone or print out for memory!

1. Cleanse and Prep to Start Over
Clean out your backpack/tote, folders, and even your laptop files and email accounts. This is the first step to starting off your semester organized and ready to go! Additionally back up/store any old course work or notes that you think you may need in the future, you never know when they could come in handy again one day.

2. Buy The Supplies You Know You'll Need
When it comes to school, all I ever really need are the basic necessities: pencils, pens, a 5-subject notebook, printer paper and ink. Flashcards are additionally nice to use for studying purposes and a planner is always a plus for sorting out my hectic schedule. It's easy to know what I'll need before even entering the class most of the time, because most courses don't really require too much in this day and age besides a steady internet connection and Microsoft Office applications. Get the basic things that have always worked for you so that you have items to start off with, and if there end up being other items on your syllabi that you need, you can just go out and grab them later!

3. Utilize Your Syllabi
As soon as you receive your class syllabi, start filling dates in on your calendar or agenda. If you prefer not filling that kind of stuff in ahead of time, keep the assignment schedule parts of your syllabi in a safe place that you know you'll look at often; I like to hang mine on my bulletin board above my desk, that way I can see them every single day and cross off completed assignments as I go. Creating a combined assignment schedule of all your classes is also a great idea that I have heard works for many students that I will be trying out this semester.

4. Order Your Textbooks
If there is anything I learned my first semester of college, it's to make sure to not order my textbooks until after my first class when my professor expresses whether or not I truly need the textbook(s) listed for the course. Had I waited and also chosen to purchase from other outlets besides my school bookstore, I could have saved hundreds of dollars. Don't make the same mistake I did - wait until you know for sure that you need the book before you purchase it, but also don't wait too long.

5. Schedule The Extra Time Around Your Classes
Now that you know when your classes are and how much time you should dedicate to completing each course's assignments each week, you can finally schedule any extra time you want to leave yourself for all the other stuff in your life. From extracurricular activities to me-time, make sure you provide yourself with opportunities to have a break from your everyday life of school work. A consistent schedule will keep you balanced and less stressed!

What actions are you taking to make this semester your best one yet?
With a productive and positive attitude, remember that you can do anything. Get out there and make this term great!

New Year Resolutions 2016

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy 2016, readers! As we all know, a new year calls for new resolutions, and that's what today's post is on. This year I feel as if mine are very intricate for some reason; maybe it's that they require a large amount of commitment compared to my past resolutions. I love a good challenge though, so I'm excited to get moving on them. Here are my 2016 resolutions...
1. Make my blog more of a priority.
These past few months, I had a rough time getting adjusted to everything I was trying to commit to. Now that I have had the chance to experience what a typical busy college semester is like, I am able to coordinate my time more accordingly so that I may add my blog back into my daily life and contribute to it way more than before. I hope to really enhance my blog this year and bring it many more opportunities as well.

2. Focus on my health, physically and mentally.
I can definitely without a doubt say that 2015 was the most stressful year yet. I had countless moments where I thought I was going to lose it, and I don't ever want to feel the way I did this past year on a day-to-day basis ever again. Additionally, I got back into working out on a regular basis and I feel inspired to focus on my physical health even more too.

3. Establish my presence, both in the organizations I am a part of and online.
When I first enter anything, I start off very shy. People assume I'm the quiet one when in reality I can talk to people for hours on end, and they don't figure this out for a very long time. I have yet to believe that I've truly established myself in all the clubs I am a part of, and I'm looking to finally do that this year and never have to suffer through that shy phase ever again with anything I do. Online presence is also a part of the presence reasoning and is obviously just great for any blogger.

4. Truly define my style and wardrobe.
I've been looking to establish my style for the longest time, but a whole brand new wardrobe involves money obviously. I have been slowly adding and replacing articles of clothing so that I can transition over to what I want my style to be, but I'm looking for this year to be the year that I finalize it.

5. Become whole.
There are many different ways to define what being whole means. To me it means being at peace with yourself and really embracing who you are and understanding your surroundings, using appropriate knowledge towards your decisions and life choices. Some people find wholeness through their religion, personal selves, and many other methods. In order for me to find wholeness, I believe it's going to take me feeling as if I am achieving in all important aspects of my life to the best of my own ability. The reason I say my own ability is because I know there is no perfect, but that if I'm doing the best that I can, that is enough. Becoming whole is my next step towards embracing my positive outlook on life that I accepted a few months back.

What are your resolutions for the new year?
If you're worried about sticking with your resolutions, don't be - I'll be posting some really helpful tips for keeping up with them soon. May 2016 be the best year yet for all of us!

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