Monday, March 25, 2019

Spring Break 2019 Video

Hello Friends, happy Monday! I just wanted to pop on here to let you know that my video from my Spring Break trip to Cape Coral, Florida is up on my YouTube channel! I had so much fun making this video to let you all see bits and pieces of my week away. I'm hoping to share more photos from my trip on the blog in the coming days so stay tuned for that! If the link below doesn't work, you can click HERE to watch the video.


xoxo,
Ri

Monday, March 4, 2019

Second Semester Update

I'm just about halfway through the second semester of my sophomore year which is absolutely crazy to me because it feels like just yesterday I packed up my car and drove back from winter break. I know I said that last semester was the best but I'm not even halfway through this one & it's already giving the first semester a run for its money. 

I love blogging and pride myself on being able to run this website and balance my schoolwork but I would be lying if I said that blogging has been on the back burner these last few months. It's not that I'm uninspired because it's quite the opposite actually. I have so many blog post ideas that I want to share with you all but it's just difficult for me to find extended periods of time to sit down and write. I'm the type of person that has to sit down and write an entire post in one sitting or else I lose my train of thought and when I come back to edit it the next day, I have no idea where to continue. I'm the same way with essays and speeches for my classes. 

That being said, I'm sitting down today to recap a couple high points of my semester thus far. I think it's pretty safe to say that I haven't really stopped moving since I arrived back in Columbia in January and I am perfectly ok with that. I love being busy and I thrive when I constantly have something to look forward to so this semester has been good to me in more ways than one. 

S T U D E N T  T E A C H I N G

If you're new around here (welcome! I'm so happy you've decided to stop by!) then you don't know that I am a current sophomore at the University of South Carolina studying Elementary Education with my end goal of becoming an elementary school teacher after graduating.

This semester I was placed in a kindergarten classroom and I love getting to spend time observing these sweet kiddos every Tuesday morning. I was welcomed into their classroom with open arms and they always have the biggest smiles on their faces (even at 8am in the morning, color me impressed) which makes me so excited to have a classroom of my own in just over two years.


T W E N T I E T H  B I R T H D A Y

On January 27th I turned 20 (read my post about that HERE) and so far it's off to a good start! A bunch of my friends here at Carolina all got together a few days before my birthday to hang out and help me bid farewell to my teens and hello to my roaring twenties!





B I R T H D A Y  B R U N C H

On my actual birthday, January 27th, my best friends & my little and I went out to brunch at my favorite spot here in Columbia, The Gourmet Shop. I'm so grateful to have found the best group of friends who are willing to set aside studying to celebrate 20 years of life with me in the best way possible: brunch.




C L A S S E S

This semester I'm enrolled in five courses; Social Advocacy & Ethical Life (basically speech & debate), Marine Science Oceans & Society, Nature & Management of Elementary Classrooms, Schools in Communities, and Basic Concepts of Elementary Mathematics II. Three out of the five courses I'm taking are education courses which are super interesting and my marine science class is what I elected to take to satisfy my last science course requirement for my degree program and my speech class is taking care of the speech credit that I need to complete in order to graduate.


W E E K E N D  A D V E N T U R E S

South Carolina has been treating me with some beautiful days that have allowed me to study out back on the patio, play soccer with my friends, and watch the sunsets over campus from one of our favorite spots. Whenever people ask me why I chose to come to school in the South so far away from my home, I just send them a picture of the sunset with the 72º sticker on the photo.



V A L E N T I N E S  D A Y

As much as I wish I could say that I had super fun & exciting plans for Valentine's Day this year, I did not. Instead, I consumed an unspeakable amount of sugar and easily ate double my body weight in lobster mac-n-cheese that the house served for dinner that night. Then, I was in my pajamas by 8pm and watching movies with my gal pals. Fancy Valentine's Day plans? Never heard of them.


A T L A N T A

A few weekends ago I traveled down to Atlanta, Georgia with Sophie (my freshman year roommate) (do I even need to tell y'all she was my roommate last year? I feel like you all know her by now...). This was my first time in Atlanta and I LOVED it! It was so nice to get out of Columbia for a weekend and get to explore new places and treat myself to wayyy too much yummy food. #WorthIt. I wrote an entire post about my weekend trip to Atlanta which you can read HERE, if you're interested!



S W E E T  C A R O L I N E

Sweet Caroline is a philanthropy event that my specific chapter puts on here at The University of South Carolina. We partner with Be The Match and help people join the National Bone Marrow Registry to potentially save a life one day. One of my best friends, Maddie, is our chapter's VP of Philanthropy and I am SO proud of her for organizing the event this year!




D A N C E  M A R A T H O N

This past Saturday was USC's Dance Marathon and my second year participating. I wrote a post all about what Dance Marathon means to me last year (which you can read HERE) and was so excited to help contribute to the $1,038,156 raised this year for Palmetto Health Children's Hospital. While I wasn't able to stay for the full 14 hours due to midterms and big assignments that I have due this week, my heart is still so full and the short amount of time I spent at main event left me with the biggest smile on my face the rest of the day while I was studying. 



Thanks for reading about my crazy life.

xoxo,
Ri

Monday, February 25, 2019

Atlanta, Georgia

Hello Hello, happy Monday friends! Last weekend I got the chance to travel down to Atlanta, Georgia with my freshman year roommate, Sophie, and spend a little over 48 hours exploring the ATL. I had never been to Atlanta other than driving through it on my way to Florida or flying in and out of the airport, so I was excited to get to do some exploring. 

Sophie's older sister is a senior at Georgia Tech so we stayed with her Friday & Saturday night and got to have her as our personal tour guide all weekend long which was an added bonus. Atlanta is only a 3-hour drive from Columbia so we left after our classes ended at 10:30am on Friday and made it to Atlanta with enough time to grab dinner at this fun pizza place, followed by ice cream at Jeni's. 





On Saturday we were up bright & early (does 8:30 count as early?) and walked from Georgia Tech campus to The Atlanta Breakfast Club for breakfast. Sophie & I split an order of pancakes and thank goodness we did because they were G I A N T.

After breakfast, we walked across the street to the Georgia Aquarium and spent a couple of hours walking around the different exhibits. Not going to lie, definitely felt like I was on an elementary school field trip because I hadn't been to an aquarium in so long.



After spending a couple hours wandering around the Aquarium, we headed over to Krog Street Market and found a fun mural on the side of a building and took some fun photos and took a lap through the market. We then walked a portion of the Beltline before getting back in the car and heading over to Ponce City Market.







Ponce City Market was the one place I knew I wanted to visit in Atlanta so I was super excited to get to explore for a little bit. It was PACKED but that was expected for a sunny Saturday afternoon. We grabbed a quick snack inside (y'all, I had the yummiest pimento cheese and I'm still dreaming about it) and then walked another portion of the beltline because I had seen this cool wall art (the Paris on Ponce photo below!) on Instagram and wanted to take some photos in front of it, and we also found one of the tiny doors that are scattered throughout the city.



After leaving Ponce, we drove over to Gusto to snap a few quick photos with the avocado wings mural. After that, Sophie and I got our nails done and then grabbed dinner before heading back to watch The Breakfast Club and then went to be super early because we were exhausted from a full day of exploring the city.


Happy Monday, friends,

Ri

Friday, January 25, 2019

19 Things I've Learned in my 19 Years of Life

This upcoming Sunday I get to bid farewell to my teenage years and say hello to my roaring 20's. My teen years surely weren't as bad as movies can portray them to be but the early years (13 & 14) were definitely awkward so I can't say that I'm sad to leave this stage of my life behind.

In the last two decades of my life (yikes that makes me feel old) I've learned a handful of life lessons and it only felt fitting to share 19 of the those lessons here today as I wrap up my 19th year.


1. The little things can oftentimes bring the greatest amount of joy.
Waking up early enough to see the sunrise? Watching your creamer mix with your coffee? Knocking a minute off your mile time? Life is too short to not get excited over the little things.

2. The best adventures are the ones you didn't plan for. 
For a long time, if something wasn't planned out in my planner, I wouldn't do it because it wasn't accounted for in my day. One night I decided to go against what my planner said and sat on the roof of a parking garage and watched the sunset over campus with the girls that are now my best friends. It's crazy how some of life's biggest blessings come when you least expect them. 

3. You're inevitably going to be told "No" at some point and it's ok.
You're going to apply for leadership positions, jobs, and internships at some point in your life and at some point in your life, you're going to be told no. It is 100% ok to be told no. It is not the end of the world (although at that moment, it may seem like it), life will go on, and you will grow that experience and find something that is better suited to you. Remember a couple of years ago when I was a senior in high school who was applying to colleges? Yeah, well I got denied from my top choice school. I was devasted at the time, but now, I can't imagine going to school anywhere else. 

4. Sometimes, you just can't do it all.
For a while, I thought I could be the girl that does it all. Leadership positions, blogging, maintaing a good presence on Instagram, school work, fitness, and my social life but it wasn't long before things got to be too much to handle and I broke down. It's ok to say no to some things and it's always better to do one thing well than a bunch of things poorly.


5. FOMO is real but you have to learn to say no sometimes.
I live in my sorority house this year which means I'm constantly surround by 30+ girls who are all doing different things. For the first couple weeks of the year, I would say yes and go pretty much anywhere people asked me to go. But then I got tired. I needed time for myself and I had to learn that there will be other chances to hang out my friends (after all, they live in the same house as me) and sometimes you need to put yourself and your own well being before you decide to go to Dunkin' for that iced coffee that you just don't need. 

6. The most important promises to keep are the ones you made to yourself.
This is the most recent thing I've learned and one of my goals for 2019 is to never break a promise that I make to myself. If you tell yourself that you're going to wake up and go to the gym, then do so. You made that promise to yourself for a reason and you're only going to regret it when you don't follow through on your personal promises.

7. Instagram is a highlight reel.
This is something that took me a long time to learn. Do not compare your behind-the-scenes to others highlight reel on Instagram. Social media is full of perfectly exposed, expertly saturated and stunningly cohesive photos, and while I also will admit that I do spend time editing my photos and care about the appearance of my feed, I stopped taking myself so seriously and it's made a world of difference. I'm not saying that I don't still try to remain professional and maintain the high standard that I hold myself to but I've stopped worrying about the small things. Is a photo a little over-exposed? Sure. But does it make me happy and do I have a fun story to share with it? Yes. So I'm going to share it. Once I learned to stop posting to please others, it became less of an item on my to-do list and more of something I look forward to every day. 

8. Everything happens for a reason.
My response to almost any setback in my life is "everything happens for a reason" and I can't think of something that I believe in more than I believe in this. 

9. You need to make yourself happy before you can make others happy.
In order to spread the happiness, you have to have the happiness. Simple as that.


10. Running is extremely therapeutic.
Thanks to an unseasonably warm day last month, I picked up running and I haven't looked back. Not only is running beneficial to my health and fitness, but it's also beneficial for my mental health. Running is a way for me to put whatever I'm doing on hold for an hour or so and get outside and just be myself. I just put on a good playlist and run like the wind (except not really. homegirl over here has bad knees so we jog like a light breeze, in intervals).

11. It's ok to cry, and sometimes, it's even necessary to cry. 
I'm a firm believer that there are few problems that can't be fixed by a good cry. While I don't like to cry often (I mean, who does?) sometimes I just need to let myself breakdown for a minute or two and then when I'm done, I tell myself that whatever it was that caused my breakdown is now in the past and we can only move forward from here.

12. You don't need to take yourself so seriously 24/7.
It is perfectly fine to allow yourself to have some fun sometimes. My entire freshman year of college I was very hesitant to attend social events because I was more worried about editing a paper for the third time or making sure the formatting on a blog post was exactly the way I wanted it. At the beginning of my sophomore year I was on FaceTime with a friend of mine from home and he told me that "you're only in college once" and while I am by no means and in no way, shape, or form, a party animal (quite the opposite actually), I realized that it was ok to have a little bit of fun with my gal pals on the weekends and that sometimes it was ok if I didn't wear an Instagram-worthy outfit for a day. 

13. TJMaxx & Marshalls have the best workout clothing. No discussion necessary. 
Y'all, the quality is 10/10, the price is unbeatable and there are so many different options. I'm not joking when I say that easily 80% of my closet is from TJMaxx and Marshalls. I also just can't justify spending ridiculous amounts of money on clothing that you're wearing to workout and sweat in. 

14. Shoot your shot. Let's be real, if you don't send that text message now, you're never going to. 
I don't think this one needs much of an explanation. If you've already worked up the courage to type out a message to someone, save yourself the regret and just hit send. Life is too short to not tell people how you feel and it's too short to constantly be wondering "what if?"


15. When you meet people that allow you to be your true self, keep them around.
People like this are hard to find these days so when you come across someone that genuinely cares about your wellbeing, doesn't judge you, accepts your flaws, and checks up on you, keep them around. The world could use more people like this.

16. Crush by David Archuleta is an extremely underrated song that needs to be brought back.
This song is such a bop, it came on while I was running the other day and it's been on repeat in my car ever since. Let's bring it back, please and thank you.

17. If people want to be in your life, they will make an effort to be there.
If someone really wants to talk to you, they'll make an effort to do so. This is a two-way street, though. If you want to spend time with someone, you also shouldn't be afraid to reach out to them.

18. The best things happen outside of your comfort zone.
You don't grow when you stay within the boundaries of what you know. Enough said.

19. It is never too cold for iced coffee. 
Did we really think I could go a whole post without mentioning coffee? Yeah, me either. It can be 32º outside and you can bet your bottom dollar that I'll be ordering an iced coffee. Never too cold.


Cheers to 20 years,

Ri

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Five Years

Today marks 5 years since I sat myself down on the couch during a snow day and created Northern Prepster. I was a freshman in high school who knew absolutely nothing about blogging (heck, I barely even knew how to work my new computer at the time) and I didn't have the slightest clue as to how much this blog would do for me.


The last 5 years have opened so many doors for me, lead me to meet and connect with hundreds of incredible individuals, work alongside brilliant brands and get to share my crazy life happenings with the most supportive people. 

From the very bottom of my heart, thank you all SO much for making the last 5 years of Northern Prepster truly incredible. I'm not the same person I was when I wrote my first post (thank goodness) and I have this blog to thank for that. I've blown myself away with the things I've accomplished in the last couple of years and can't even imagine what the next years will bring. 

Cheers to 5 years & many more to come,
Ri 



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