First Day of Summer

Summer is officially upon us and the heat is not holding back. Maryland has a lovely climate that ranges from sweater weather to dripping with sweat within a weak. However, living in Maryland also means getting to eat blue crabs coated in old bay all summer long. This summer I am hoping to venture out of my comfort zone, aka couch and binging shows, to try new adventures.

St. Michaels Crabs

When my boyfriend and I first met we made a list of all the things we would like to do as we were becoming friends. A few things we never managed to do have made their way on to a short bucket list of things I would like to accomplish over the next few months before school starts back up again.

  • Trip to Eastern Shore
  • Going for a hike
  • Water tubing with friends
  • Visit Harry Potter World at the Universal Studios of Hollywood
  • Exercise 3 times a week
  • Trip to Virginia Beach
  • Read a decent chunk of my to be read list
  • S’mores!!!
  • Try a new recipe each week
  • July 4th BBQ
  • Finally ride a rollercoaster

We shall see how this goes, but hopefully well so that I can share these experiences.

Best,

Shannon

 

Beauty and the Beast

If you sang the title in your head then we’re off to a great start. Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorites growing up and Belle was absolutely my favorite princess. She was also a book nerd and then to top it all off they cast EMMA WATSON to play her! I mean c’mon what could be better then the actress that played Hermione and showed girls everywhere you could be strong, smart, and beautiful. Now that the DVD is out it seems safe to assume most have seen it, but just in case below this is spoilers.

Beauty and the Beast

I will admit that I wasn’t sure what to expect from this movie. I can’t remember the last time I watched the animated version and I loved the live action Cinderella they did. Maleficent was also done beautifully. I had three favorite parts to the movie:

  1. Emma Watson: Her voice was gorgeous and the changes she brought to the character were subtle but appropriate for Belle’s character.
  2. Beast (Dan Stevens) singing Evermore: I will admit that I cried during this scene. His voice was gorgeous and the imagery as he sang was powerful.
  3. Ballroom Dance: Both of the dances were beautiful, but hearing them sing and go into the ballroom in her gorgeous yellow dress I gasped. Cinderella’s dress was breathtaking and they definitely did Belle’s justice. Also, Cinderella’s wedding dress at the end of the movie was breath taking and when Belle stepped out for the second ballroom scene I was in love with the flower detail on her dress.

What was your favorite part of the Beauty and the Beast movie?

Best,

Shannon

 

Last Minute Father’s Day Gifts

Buying gifts for guys is way harder than it should be. However, knowing them well can give you a few niche categories to buy from. Whether its buying birthday presents, or in this case a Father’s Day present, the men in my life would likely appreciate a gift found on many cultivated lists, but would prefer something else. Instead I thought back to his favorite things and activities and knew I could find a better gift that way. As a kid I always opted for something handmade or socks, since that was all he asked for. Recently, I have been opting to purchase him a hat from somewhere a visit or to represent my university. Here are my tips and tricks to buying a gift for any man in your life.

Orioles Game

Favorite Hobby

What is his favorite hobby? This one is easy, because there is always something they could want for their hobby. My Dad loves to cook or golf, which means I opt for a new kitchen tool or an addition to his golf bag. My Step-Dad really likes to read and while we have tons of books he still wants more so a gift card or a book are the perfect gift for him. My boyfriend plays a card game called Magic The Gathering, so I’m able to buy him packs of the cards for a present. His dad plays with him, but this year we opted to help him rebuild and revamp his garden in the backyard. These gifts are good if you want to give them something to enjoy by themselves. However, if you want to make it something for you two to enjoy together it is simple to alter them. I bought myself a deck of MTG cards once and played with my boyfriend as a present, I went out to a driving range with my dad, and I got a book for my step-dad and I to both read.

Favorite Entertainment

Entertainment is a good one, because it is something to enjoy as a group, just the two of you, or by themselves. This year my boyfriend and his brother took their dad to an Orioles game, because they love baseball and they were playing the Twins – first game he ever took them to see was Orioles vs. Twins. Sporting events are a solid choice, however if that isn’t their favorite form of entertainment there are some other options. Grab their favorite movie and make dinner in or head out to a restaurant and a movie as a nice night out. Maybe they prefer playing games (video or board), if so pick up a new game and work your way through it together or ask him to teach you how to play. This year a few things I considered were putt putt, bowling, or a trampoline park.

Life Appropriate

Where are they at in their life? Often times you see present lists based on the age someone is, but the point in life they are at is the best indicator for what to buy. Sometimes people need things to relax rather than to be professional or vice versa. Knowing what is going on in the life of the person you are buying for is key to getting a good gift. My dad just got a new apartment, so home goods would be a great gift. Something simple, such as spending time together, can be exactly what a person needs.

Also another tip is to get one bigger present and then wrap smaller presents that contain their favorite candy, food, cheep movie, game, etc. The best thing to do is give yourself a budget and act like your building a gift basket. How can you best capture their favorite things in one basket?

Have a wonderful Father’s Day!

Best,

Shannon

Your Best Paper

As everyone comes to the end of their semester some of us are facing a variety of finals to test our knowledge from the semester, whether it be a test, paper, or final project. To me papers are the hardest part of college not just because they’re frustrating to write, but also because every professor grades differently. Today I am providing my tips on how I have mastered writing my papers, as well as adaptations for each set of rubric requirements.

Writing Your BEST Paper

Start Early
Depending on the extent of the paper you will determine how long you need to complete the paper. As soon as I get assigned a paper I pull out the rubric and make a few notes when they discuss it either on syllabus day or during lecture. While I may not start the paper that day I also put down my first idea for the paper topic before I forget it. I usually give myself a week for each paper and about 2-3 weeks for a research paper (depending on the extent of research needed).

Outline
Everything I do involves an outline, but for papers they are crucial. As you collect information from the book, lecture, or the internet I add it to my main points on the outline as I work. This helps immensely when you go to form these facts and ideas into actual paragraphs for the paper. Personally, I keep my outline as questions with bullets or main points with short sentences to get the most information into the outline without actually writing too much.

Office Hours
If there isn’t an opportunity to ask questions about the paper in class or if you have extra ones I always take advantage of office hours with my professor or teaching assistant. Usually my outline makes its way to these appointments for review and to ensure I am understanding the paper prompt correctly. This is extremely beneficial after reading through their specific rubric and making sure you are meeting their grading requirements and main points when writing.

Rough Draft
Sitting down to actually write the paper can be hard, but your outline has done most of the work for you. The major point now is just turning it into eloquent sentences based on your bullet points. If you are trying to reach a page limit do not opt for inserting extra fluff. Look back at your outline and see if there were points you left out when writing or further elaboration of an aspect that could be provided to the reader for better understanding. I often wind up adding more to my introduction later based on everything I wound up writing.

Peer Review
I always have my boyfriend or a friend read my paper before I turn it in. Every time they find a typo or a grammatical error that I was self correcting as I read. It can also be helpful when writing persuasive papers to see if it actually persuades them or a research paper to see if they learned more.

Submit
After all of those steps I make my final edits and check with the syllabus to ensure all of the formatting is correct (cover page, font style, page numbers). Finally I submit it on our university’s online education platform or print and staple it for class. *When printing from a google doc the formatting can change so be sure to check your printed out version before submitting.

What are your tips for writing a paper?

I’m Feeling 22!

I’ve known in the back of my mind that my birthday was coming, but for some reason I wasn’t getting excited or making plans. This may have to do with it being a very stressful semester and having a packed week with my birthday being just one more thing I have to do. It can stink to have your birthday during the week. I had a paper due, a class debate, two 2.5 hour classes, an hour meeting between, and was supposed to be attending a two hour event after all of that. I started to stress about my birthday and think I was going to get stuck alone running between a million things. So I said no to what I could and made plans to head home to spend the night with family and friends for dinner. Last year I sucked it up and sat through class on my 21st birthday and decided this year I wasn’t going to miss out again.


School is important, but I only get to turn 22 once and want to appreciate it. Making that decision also led me to plan trips for the summer. I have been so focused on school and work that I have been forgetting to live my life. You always hear elders say that you only get to be young once and I want to make sure I can look back and know that I appreciated the years when I could. As a result I have made a bucket list for my twenty second year of life!

  1. Take a trip to the beach with family
  2. Visit my best friend in Los Angeles
  3. Visit my best friend in Nashville
  4. Go to Disneyland or world (I’ve never been to either)
  5. Go to Universal for Harry Potter
  6. Work on the book I’ve been writing in my head
  7. Volunteer with a local charity
  8. Live a healthier lifestyle (diet, sleep, and exercise)
  9. Take advantage of moments with others
  10. Get outside more with my puppy

When my boyfriend and I first met we made a big bucket list of all the things we were going to do. As we started checking them off the list we also started dating and more things got added. I stumbled upon it the other day and saw there were a few things we never managed to cross off that I might tackle this year.

What are you hoping to accomplish this year? Any suggestions for my list?

5 Facts About the Blogger

The thing I most dreaded at the beginning of each semester is the awkward ice breakers that professors come up with. As a teaching assistant I never made my students do it and just let them be social on their own terms. However, I can see why they do it (most of my students preferred not to talk) and so here are five facts about me to act as an ice breaker for the beginning of this blog.

IMG_0188

  1. I attended the University of Maryland for my Bachelor’s degree in geography and am currently working on my Master’s in international development policy with a focus in non-profit management and leadership.
  2. I have a love for turtles, which can be represented by the unhealthy amount of turtle knick knacks in my apartment. Also, it helps that my school’s mascot is a diamondback terrapin.
  3. Currently living in the D.C. area and am from Maryland. I’ve lived in Maryland for most of my life and as such have a healthy obsession with our flag.
  4. Reading is my favorite hobby and you can almost always find me with a book. I will admit to getting sucked into books and forgetting the world exists until I reach the final page.
  5. I’m curious what the world has to offer us and plan to share what I find right here.

In my junior level english class our professor had us sit in a semi-circle and the first person said their name, major, and favorite hobby and then the next person had to say everyone before them…I was second to last.

Whats the worst ice breaker you’ve ever had to do? Do you have a favorite?