Saturday, August 1

On the road // 30x52

The rules of the calendar do not apply when it's summer. Why, then, do I always wait until the weekend to make my outings? It seems that everyone else is having trouble shaking off their habits as well. The highway is jam-packed with cars inching their way through, lurch by lurch. Despite the distance covered being minimal, the movement is definitely trying it's darnedest to hit a maximum. The Flavor Blasted Xtra Cheddar + Pretzel Goldfish I wolfed down for breakfast aren't sitting too well in my stomach.

I'm not sitting too well either. I lean my head against the door but after awhile decide to find a different resting place before I develop a mild concussion. Hopefully I'll manage to squeeze in a nap before we arrive at 颐和园, one last tourist stop in Beijing before I'm headed back to the States. (If you added me on Snapchat @auderoylin, you'd have seen a few snapshots already :)) I remember agreeing to go with my dad because I figured that it'd be a productive and adventurous way to spend my morning. Usually I try to get as far away from tourist destinations as I can, but I decided that I needed to get over it and haul myself over there in the morning before my brain could catch up with what I was doing and protest.

My head is abuzz. Why oh why did I stay up last night? Ah yes, what other reason than because I was drafting my long-delayed Chapter Camp pt. 2 post? Yes, that was worth losing sleep over. No ragrets.

I put the thought to rest, and my body follows suit.

PS: 29. 28. 27. 26. 2524. 23. 22. 21. 20. 19. 18171615141312111009. 0807060504.

A quick note: Sorry about disappearing from the blogosphere this past week! If you follow me on social media (linked below), you'd have been updated about my VPN cutting out while I was in Beijing, so I was unable to access my blog, but I've just arrived in Seattle this afternoon, so I'm back in business! Thank you for being so patient with me; I'm in the process of replying to your lovely comments xoxo

And speaking of social media updates, have you noticed that cute top bar about monthly newsletters?? The nitty gritty are still in the works, but once it's set to launch, you(subscribers)'ll be the first to know! So what are you waiting for? Just a click of a button away.


Sunday, July 26

Chapter Camp, pt. 2

I haven't been going to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship large group meetings very consistently. There always seems to be an excuse like having some other thing I need to be at or just being "too tired" to go. Because I don't see the girls at large group as often as they see each other, I feel like I don't know them very well, certainly not as well as they know each other. Sometimes I don't even know who to talk to, except for the leaders, and that's because it's their job to welcome me.

So I surprise myself when I sign up for Chapter Camp, an InterVarsity Christian retreat. The upperclassmen who had gone before raved about it. Many of them joined their sophomore year but wished they had done it their freshman year as well. I don't want to find myself in that position, so to heck with it! I sign up. What sold it for me were the pictures from previous retreats. I saw the lake, the zipline, the blob (see above)... It's like an actual camp! Not just some program on a college campus. I've never been to an actual camp before. Seems adventurous. And like there'd be many photo opps ;)

I put my fear aside and sign up for the retreat despite there being a bunch of things I don't have to be but am worried about, because I know that this will be good for me. Signing up is the easy part. Actually following through is the hard part. But by signing up, I have committed to going, committed to the people who will be organizing the retreat. So I will go. And I'll face fear when it finds me.


Saturday, July 25

Life lately // 03

This is my last week in Beijing before I'm headed to Seattle for the last part of my summer break. And then school starts! It's always fun getting ready to go back to school, but now it's really getting close and feeling more real, which is kind of making me nervous. I'll be training with the dorm leadership team, whom I'll continue to work alongside with throughout the year, and I'll be meeting the incoming first years, for whom I'll be paving the way and hopefully befriending as well.

Ah, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. There's still a bit of summer left!

01 // The first time I watched Jurassic Park I must have been very young because I remember being frightened to death and swore never to watch it again, but with the revival of Jurassic World, I thought I'd give it another go. (I felt the same way about Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when the film first came out but now I love it, though never as much as the books.) We went on a Jurassic Park movie marathon to prepare ourselves for Jurassic World. I've now warmed up to the series, but I must say that it's also quite frustrating how there's always an idiot who screws everything up and is the sole source of conflict in each film (1. John Hammond and Dennis Nedry 2. can't remember but there must have been someone 3. Paul and Amanda Kirby). Anywho, all I have to say about Jurassic World is Blueeeeeee.

02 // There have been many times this past school year when a trip to the spa would have really done me some good, especially as a perpetually sore student-athlete. Now that I'm home, I get to take part in family trips to the spa once again, as there's one conveniently located in the clubhouse of our housing compound. Oh how I've missed this! My college student budget would never allow it.

03 // Homemade pizza! It's always such a treat to have non-Chinese food in the house, although after eating dining hall food for the past year, I wouldn't mind having a little more homemade Chinese food.

04 // Artsy picture of the "week" (these snapshots span over the course of about three weeks). I like how the taxi is peeking out behind that baby tree. I took it while sitting in the back of the car, outside of the house for once. Our parents must have been taking my brothers and I to a delicious restaurant in the city for lunch. It's one of the few ways to convince my brothers to leave the house.

05 // It's been raining like mad. I've forgotten that this is typical of a summer in Beijing. Usually I'm never here over the summer, so I've never experienced this weather for myself. Funny how I've left Beijing, but this summer I'm spending my whole time here. I don't think I'll be doing that again next summer. I was hoping to see my old friends from high school here, but they're all over the place so there's really no point. And it hasn't been very much fun being mosquito bait.

06 // The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan. Here's a cheeky little sneak-peek of my spontaneous trip to Japan this summer. Hopefully you'll be seeing a whole post about it on the blog sooner rather than later, rather than six months later like my post about winter break in Japan was. I've only just finished editing all my photos from Chapter Camp (two months ago) and Florida (seven months ago), so those will be making their appearances first. Until then, hold on tight!

07 // In our natural habitat, lying on the couch in front of the TV with our laptops, having the occasional snooze. In case you didn't catch it in my previous post, we've burned through House and The 100, and now I'm making my way through ❤ Downton Abbey ❤, which I'm thoroughly obsessed with.

08 // #basic Starbucks Instagram shot. It was just me and my mom carrying all these frappuccinos, which I thought was a funny sight and warranted a picture. The iced matcha latte is still my favorite, but I've also been enjoying the new honeycomb crunch mocha frappuccino.

09 // Making pancakes with my baby brother! Well, he's not a baby anymore and in fact he's taller than me now, but he'll always be the little one to me. Maybe I'm just in denial that I'm the shortest one in the family. Anyways, it was so much fun making pancakes with him! We had fun trying to make the most circular and golden pancake, but as you can see, we had a few mishaps along the way.

What have you been up to lately?

PS: 02. 01.


Thursday, July 23

Back to school links

I tried holding off writing this post because who wants to be reminded about school over summer break? Seriously, don't you want to just smack people who talk about grades over summer break? Or really any time? But I think I've held off for long enough. It's already the end of July, and I have to be back at school by August 21 for dorm leadership training and classes start on September 2. Better to be prepared than in denial and then have school hit you like a bus! But let's not get all down in the dumps. Getting ready for the school year can be quite exciting, especially with a dorm room to decorate...

ONE // Min lilla hall för kanske sista gången (translation: my little hall for perhaps the last time)

I lived in a double last year, but as a Peer Mentor this coming year, I will be in a single. Last year my fabulous roomie did all the decorating--my half of the room was naked in comparison for reasons--but this year I'm taking charge, since, well, I don't have a roomie to mooch off of anymore. I've been waiting for this in eager anticipation even before the school year ended, channeling my energy by creating mood boards with Tumblr and Pinterest. When creating a palette, find indirect inspiration.

There isn't a lot of space in a college dorm room, so you'll have to make the most of it. We're all familiar with the idea of exposed storage, perhaps displaying clothes on a bellhop instead of stuffing them in your closet (x) (x) (x) (x) (x) (x), but have you ever thought about hanging things on rebar? I also love how Sebastian sticks his notes upon hanging brown wrapping paper rather than traditional cork board, although I'd never say no to a cork board wall. Spruce up your wall by turning it into a gallery.

The most effective way to free up space in your room is to go minimal and simplify your life. There's a bunch of junk in my room at home, and I brought a fair amount of it with me to college. I didn't notice how much I had until I needed to pack everything up in boxes for storage at the end of the school year. I was able to weed out my things by keeping only what sparks joy, but I still have some excess goods to sort through. Over my next three years of college, there will without a doubt be keepsakes I'll want to hold onto, but my advice is to collect experiences, not things. With oversized photo booth prints?

Add personal touches with DIY projects. Give your room some life by adding a plant or two. If you're not gifted with a green thumb, you could opt for the adorable cactus pincushion, no water required. But c'mon... SUCCULENTS!!! Stick your mini succulent garden in a wood base terrarium. Dress your walls with faerie lights and garlands (macrame yarn and clay phases of the moon) and did I say faerie lights? My favorite project has got to be the papier-mâché animal head. It's also perfect for any bibliophile.

TWO // Fairy toast, three ways

It's almost torture every time a recipe pops up on my Bloglovin' feed because, living on campus, I don't have convenient access to a kitchen. All I have is the kettle in my room and the microwave, toaster, and refrigerator in the pantry hall. To save us the fate of munching on nothing but cereal all day because we can't bother walking to the dining hall, I've rounded up some heaven-sent no-bake/cook/etc. recipes.

Mug cakes are my go-to because minimal ingredients are needed, they're quick, and I like mugs. And cake. Try these pumpkin pie, almond butter and cinnamon, and chocolate mug cake recipes. They'd also make great birthday presents, because who doesn't like cake? Find a nice mug to gift them, cook up a mug cake, and stick a candle on top (just for decoration though because no open flames). More dessert options are raw apple pie, single-serving apple crisps, and pumpkin cream donut sandwiches.

And what's college without alcohol? Jk, I don't drink, but it's cool that I have the option to. Well actually I legally don't, but people don't reallyyyy expect you to abide that. Okay maybe they do but whatever. These double-stuffed Oreo Jell-O shots are sure to be a hit. If you're going for sophistication, perhaps pair your wine with fancy cheese balls. For those who want to live on the safe side of things but still want to have fun, here's a quick guide to making any kind of mocktail, with a few recipes to get you started. A healthier option would be this budget juicing recipe. Or go really healthy with a salad jar.

THREE // How to overcome the midday slump

I haven't had any responsibilities this summer. My days are a blur of TV shows (I've burned through House and The 100, and I'm making my way through Downton Abbey), photo editing, reading, and Goldfish. I'm a little worried how I'm going to get back in the swing of things once the school year starts. Chances are I'll be slumping all day, so I've condensed some productivity tips for quick motivation:

+f*ck the shoulds, do the wants (just do the f*cking dishes)
+get inspired by other people (getting out of a funk)
+be curious (enthused learning)
+play devil's advocate (daily habits to be smarter)
+think big picture, celebrate little milestones (stay motivated working)
+use people's names and remember personal details (7 habits of highly influential people)
+never touch things twice (11 habits you should definitely steal from ultraproductive people)
+closing a tab is the new crossing off (most annoying productivity tool)

Shameless plug: Find more of these "condensed mantras" on Twitter @auderoylin. Come say hi!

FOUR // How to stop a panic attack

Being in a rigorous academic environment away from home can get even the best of us. Believe in yourself and all that you are. Don't fall prey to the imposter syndrome. You chose this school and they chose you. You deserve to be here. Of course it's natural to be scared, and in fact, if you're not scared, you're not doing it right, because all the best things involve taking a risk.

Nowadays there's more online transparency about anxiety disorder, so we understand that for some people it's not as simple as telling yourself to calm down, that everything will be okay. I get anxious now and then, but I wouldn't say that I suffer from anxiety. I can't empathize and say that I know what it's like, so I've found some tips from people who might have a better understanding of it than I do.

Suspend mis-belief: "The things happening in the world around us don't revolve around us, and aren't part of a story. They're just happening. Often, it's all random, but to deal with this chaos, we try to make sense of it as part of a story. We create meaning where none exists."

This reminds me of a quote I discovered via Marevoli by John Corey Whaley: "Life, he says, doesn't have to be so bad all the time. We don't have to be anxious about everything. We can just be. We can get up, anticipate that the day will probably have a few good moments and a few bad ones, and then just deal with it. Take it all in and deal as best we can."

When you feel overwhelmed, take your own advice, just start by doing one thing, and let whatever you get done today be enough. Break routine. Know when to walk away and start something new. Listen to these 10 TED Talks for when you feel totally burned out. Get a good night's rest despite stress using tricks like left-nostril breathing. Do some sneaky exercise because endorphins rock.

FIVE // High five New York

Dat leap doe. I hope it put you in the mood for approaching strangers and making new friends. I know that I need as much encouragement for this as I can get, so maybe you do too. I grew up with the same people from fifth grade until twelfth, never changing schools as mine ran from pre-K to twelfth, so I didn't need to worry about making/having friends for eight years. I didn't need to try. I could be totally and completely myself. They'd understand if I didn't want to go out, without thinking any less of me.

But now really calls for all the extrovert in me. My chapter leader was driving me back from Chapter Camp, and, you know road trips, we got to know a little more about each other. I've always thought that she was an extrovert, but I found out that there's more to her than meets the eye, as there usually is with anybody. She told me that at heart she's an introvert, but she can be an extrovert when she needs to be, because that's the kind of character her job calls for. It's not that an introvert shouldn't be themself, but that a little step out of their mind is helpful in reaching out to others and bringing them in.

During my first few weeks of college, I, alone, would sometimes sit with people (and even groups of people) I didn't know. I just walked right up to them, asked if I could take the empty seat, and introduced myself as a helpless first year. That was usually enough to spark conversation and it was what I relied on. I'm so glad I had the balls to do that as the new girl. Now I'm a sophomore so I can't really play that card, and sometimes I'm the one introducing people rather than the one meeting someone new.

Still, my greatest fear is not having anything to say, especially with people I don't know. Even with people I do know, I'll ask them how they're doing, they'll say they're fine, and in my head I'll be like, okay cool, nice talking to you too, so next time, instead try asking, "What did you do today?" For more conversational tips, check out these 9 TED Talks to inspire smart conversation. If all else fails, you could make a fun placemat that gives you potential topics to begin conversations with. lol

BONUS // A three year old delivers the most intense motivational speech of all-time
+27 times Squidward perfectly captured the college struggle
+70 things you can score with your student ID
+tipping etiquette guide

Are you ready for the school year? We got this! :D

PS: every year, many, many stupid people graduate from college. and if they can do it so can you.,
part two and bonus of FF7, part three of FF5, part five of FF4, part one of FF3, part three of FF2


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