Volunteer Project Inspiration – No-Sew Blankets

Hello everyone!

Today I have something a little different to share with you all. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you would know that I volunteer a lot through a variety of organizations and groups both inside and outside of school. For one of the volunteer groups I’m in outside of school, we often make no-sew fleece blankets. We volunteer these blankets to a variety of charities and groups of people in need; the most recent batch was donated to a local charity that works with foster kids.

It’s a super easy way to give back, and the only supplies you need are fleece from a fabric store and scissors. You choose a length and width of the strips and cut the piece of fleece on all sides, and then you tie every two pieces together into any knot of your choosing. It took me about 10-15 minutes per blanket, and I’ve made dozens over the course of all the meetings where my volunteer group worked on them. The one thing I would say to be careful of is to not make the knots too tight, since the fabric will start to bunch up and make weird rounded corners if you do.

It’s an easy and rewarding project. If you’re looking to get involved in your community or start your own volunteering, try getting a group of friends together and making a big batch of these blankets, then finding a worthy cause to donate them to. I would recommend trying to find coupons and deals for whatever fabric store you buy the fleece from it, because it can be a little pricey if you buy large amounts at a time.

I found this picture off of Google Images (credit: Virginia Club of New York) but it’s basically what the blankets should look like when tied.

I hope you consider taking on this project! It’s always nice to give back to people in your community and even though the winter’s almost over, it’s still chilly and there are always people who are looking to stay warm. I know I felt good whenever I turned some blankets in or folded up a stack I had made and saw the impact my volunteer group would have on these kids being able to stay warm.

Hopefully you guys enjoyed hearing about this fun way to give back. I love to volunteer in any way that I can, and I just wanted to pass an idea along for others to do the same. Let me know if you end up trying it, and how it goes!

Brooke

An Eternal Second – Poem by Me

Hello everyone!

The slow passing of time is a topic I’ve wanted to discuss on my blog for a long time. It was another one of those things where I didn’t know how to formulate it into a formal blog post, but I knew what I would say if I was making it the subject of a poem. I’ve been so happy to see positive feedback on my poetry, so I took this as an opportunity to write another poem to share with you guys.

An Eternal Second

tick, i hear the clock- but it doesn’t tick again. here we are in this moment together. it feels like just yesterday you and i met, yet it’s been years. years filled with memories, memories stuck to now-yellowing pages filed away in a cabinet in the back of my mind. i’ve been with you so many times while staring at a clock just like this. sometimes i’m wishing for time to go by faster, sometimes i’m praying that we can stay in this moment. if time’s going by so slow yet so fast at the same time, then all we really have is now. maybe time isn’t passing at all…

tick, i hear the clock again. i blink; the noise snapped me out of my thoughts. it’s proof the moment’s gone, but at least we’re still here together.

I hope you enjoyed this poem. I know my poem’s have kind of a weird structure/lack of structure, but hopefully that makes them more relatable and easy to understand. It makes me so happy to come up with new work that I can share with you guys- I’ve never really had a designated place to share my writing before.

Brooke

Netflix Recommendations for 2020 – Slightly Less Basic!

Welcome back everyone!

If you didn’t know already, I am an avid Netflix (and Hulu, and Disney+) binge watcher, and I’m always looking for new things to watch. I’m not exactly a TV or movie critic, but I like to talk about whatever shows I’m into at the moment, and I tend to see the good in most of the programs I watch. Netflix hasn’t gotten as much love lately but there’s still plenty of new stuff being added all the time, so here are a few of my recent Netflix recommendations.

Keep in mind that I have a fairly “basic” teenage girl taste in TV shows, so I tried not to put anything on here that was extremely basic, and preferably things I hadn’t heard too much about previously.

  • The Circle – This is a Netflix original, and I got hooked after the first episode. It’s a little cheesy at times, but it’s basically a social media competition where 8 people live in separate apartments isolated from each other and can only communicate through this chat platform called “The Circle.” They compete for popularity and people get “blocked” out of the house and replaced. There’s only one season out, but I’m hoping more is coming soon.
  • Greenhouse Academy – This isn’t a new show but it’s another Netflix original and I don’t hear people talk about it often. I believe a new season is in the works, which is exciting since the last one ended on a major cliffhanger. It’s basically a mystery show that takes place at this uniquely structured boarding school for geniuses. I’ve always wanted to go to boarding school so that was the draw for me at first, but I genuinely enjoyed it.
  • Cheer – I guess this one could be considered basic if you think about all the media attention it has gotten, but it holds a special place in my heart because of my experience with cheerleading. Although I was a high school cheerleader, I also had an experience on a competitive team (nowhere near the level of Navarro, of course). The documentary series follows the ups and downs of Navarro College’s national champion team and their big competition in Daytona. I highly recommend it even if you’re not a cheerleader.
  • Big Mouth – This cartoon focuses on the struggles of puberty, and it’s absolutely hilarious albeit pretty inappropriate at times. I enjoyed it as a lighthearted show before bed, but I didn’t follow along with the storyline too closely. A few of my friends are completely obsessed with it as well, so it’s worth a look if you like cartoon shows like Family Guy and the like.
  • Yummy Mummies – This is completely random, but one of my friends suggested it to me because she found it hilarious and she knew I would be down to try watching anything. It’s a reality show covering the lives of these absolutely insane Australian moms and moms-to-be, and it’s like The Real Housewives on crack. Again, it’s not new, but I haven’t heard anyone talking about it so I figured I would share.

Let me know if you guys have any underrated Netflix recommendations or if you end up watching any of these and enjoy them. As I said, I’m always down to try out a new show 🙂 I get through shows embarrassingly fast as well, so I’m sure I’ll have some new recommendations soon enough…

Brooke

How to Exercise After Quitting A Sport

Hello everyone!

It’s been almost a month since my cheer season ended (you should read some of my older posts about cheer if you’re new to my blog), and it’s been really nice to open up so much free time in my schedule. However, I’m definitely not the most in-shape person and I would rarely exercise outside of cheer practices, so I’ve been left to figure out how to stay in-shape and get myself outside and moving. I know this happens to a lot of other high-schoolers and college students when they quit a sport and are left with no physical activity scheduled into their life for the first time in years, so I figured I would talk about how I’m dealing with it and what I think could help others.

A lot of my friends who also ended their high school sports “career” as well ended up joining a gym. I think this is awesome if it works for you, especially if it’s a local gym since lots of other kids your age/your friends might go there as well, but I wasn’t interested in spending the money and committing to something I probably wouldn’t take full advantage of since I can’t drive yet. However, if you can afford it and you’ll be motivated to go, getting a gym membership is a great idea, especially if you have a gym buddy or two.

For those looking to go a different route, I’m in the same boat as you. It’s super important to keep being active, not just for the sake of looking in shape, but for your physical health and mental well-being. I always notice that being outside and doing physical activity reduces stress since it lets off steam. If you’re unathletic like me, I recommend starting with walks around your neighborhood or local park just to get outside. If you want something a little more intense, you can do jogs/runs.

If you’re looking for a fun weekend physical activity, I highly recommend hiking. I’m lucky enough to live in California with tons of hikes of varying difficulty that are accessible year-round, but I’m sure you can find some spot near you as long as the weather is favorable. It might not be something you have time to do everyday, but it could be a way to switch up your typical weekend hangout with friends while getting outdoorsy. I enjoy hikes because the beautiful views usually outweigh any fatigue I may experience.

If all else fails, just try something new. Popular options are cycling classes (SoulCycle is definitely the most well-known one, but I believe the owner or someone associated with the company has some questionable publicly-expressed values), yoga classes, Zumba classes, or other forms of workout classes. I’ve never tried any of these, but I hope to in the near future since a lot of my friends rave about them and there’s a lot of different options near me.

As far as my personal physical activity right now, I actually got transferred into a PE class for the rest of the semester/school year, so I’m outside for at least an hour a day doing some form of exercise. It kind of sucks to add another class after having a few weeks experiencing going home from school earlier and not having cheer, but I still need one more semester of P.E. credits and if I finish out this semester P.E. class, I’ll be done with that. It’s also actually kind of nice to having some form of physical activity built into my schedule again.

I hope this helped you out or at least made you realize you’re not alone if you’re young and trying to figure out how to stay in shape and active after quitting a sport. I feel like sports are such a typical part of the high school experience and being involved in one was a part of my identity at school for so long, but I’m glad to be able to move on with my life and explore new things- new ways to exercise is just one tiny portion of that!

Brooke

Speed of Light – Poem by Me

I apologize for the bad quality- it’s straight from Google Images. Here’s the prompt list that inspired this poem.

Hello everyone!

I was searching through Google images looking for poetry prompts again, and I found this list above that really inspired me. I was particularly intrigued by the speed of light one, so I’ll be sharing a poem with you guys based on that today. I’d also like to thank you guys for the support I’ve received from my poems thus far.

Speed of Light

3.00 x 10 to the eighth meters per second couldn’t feel any slower in the dark but it’s fast enough to bring us together while we bask in the glow of a humid summer day. i think love might travel faster than light because it’s too easy to fall into it- it’s not even considered traveling when you’re in free fall. light casts a shadow on your love; it’s hard to look past the rays of sunshine and and accept the darkness. but in the end, light travels and we’re stuck on the ground. in both the light and the dark, it’s you and me.

I hope you enjoyed this poem. Please feel free to send me any feedback or suggestions for future poetry prompts, as I’m always looking to improve my work and try new things 🙂

Brooke

Life Hack – Student Discounts

Hello everyone!

If you’re a student like me, you might not even be aware of the possible money you can save while shopping. I’m going to make a quick list of student discounts you can get, and most of them will be through UNiDays, a free account you can sign up for to get student discounts from various stores. Here’s to saving money and getting your education 🙂

  • Topshop – 10% off
  • UGG – 10% off
  • Coffee Bean – 10% off
  • Tilly’s – 10% off
  • Princess Polly – 20% off (limited according to UNiDAYS’ site)
  • Pacsun – 10% off
  • Oh Polly – 15% off
  • Nasty Gal – 50% off (limited)
  • Missguided – 50% off (limited)
  • Lulu’s – 10% off
  • Levi’s – 15% off
  • Kate Spade – 15% off
  • Grubhub – 20% off
  • H&M – 15% off
  • For Love & Lemons – 15% off
  • Express – 15% off
  • Drybar – 15% off
  • Doc Martens – 15% off
  • Dolls Kill – 15% off
  • Cotton On – 15% off
  • Casetify – 15% off
  • Asos – 10% off
  • American Eagle – 20% off
  • Apple – I’m not 100% clear on the discounts, but I know there’s a student rate for Apple Music and other discounts

You can register for UNiDays as a high school student, but I know certain discounts like the Apple ones are intended for college students. If you’re a college student, I’m sure there’s even more discounts at local restaurants and stores near your campus. Take advantage of these deals while you’re still a student!

Brooke

Starting New Projects and Expectations

Hello everyone!

This is going to be a little positive affirmation and advice to any teens out there who have an idea for a project they want to execute but are scared to start. I was in your shoes before I started this blog, and I’m still in your shoes because I have tons of other ideas I would love to make a reality but am slightly scared of them failing. I know it’s hard, and that’s why I’m here to tell you it’s possible, and not nearly as scary as we think at first.

I now feel silly that I was so scared to start up my blog, because it was actually so simple! It’s pretty small so it’s not that big of a deal to maintain, but I was still so scared just because everyone makes you think that starting something on your own is scary. Yes, some things are scarier than others- starting a business or anything that’s more high-risk would definitely be a lot more work than me deciding to start this blog, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

It’s so important to have people that support you and help you get through the first couple steps. Once you do that, it’s really not that hard to keep going! You’ll learn so much from the process of being a self-starter, and hopefully you’ll have some tangible results that you can look at and be proud of.

Another misconception I see a lot is people thinking that starting your own club, business, nonprofit, social media presence, etc. is either a total success or total failure. They might be scared it’s going to fail at first, but if it works out, they have super high expectations of it growing to be huge and famous. These high expectations can completely come true with the right mindset, work ethic, and timing, but things aren’t so black and white. There’s definitely an in between- you can have a YouTube channel with a few thousand subscribers that’s successful but not huge, and you can have a business that’s profiting but is only local. It shouldn’t make you unhappy with your progress if you’re trucking along but not an overnight viral success.

It can be really hard to get yourself out of that slump of feeling like your accomplishments aren’t big enough, and you’re not succeeding at the level you would like to, but don’t let yourself get discouraged. Remaining positive and working to grow your idea in the future will lead you to reach those goals eventually. Don’t lose hope or faith in yourself 🙂

I believe that each and every one of you has the potential to launch a project that can help people in your community in some way. If you find yourself wanting to make a difference, don’t be afraid to start!

Brooke

My Stationary & Writing Essentials

Welcome back everyone!

As you all know, I love to write. Between blogging, my creative writing, and schoolwork, I do a lot of it. Therefore, I’ve learned a lot about what writing utensils I like best and what other things I like to have to make my writing process go smoother. I know there’s a ton of stationary addicts and studygrams out there, so I thought this would be an interesting post to do. I’m not too much of a stationary enthusiast beyond studygram stalking on Instagram, but I do enjoy having nice pens and such, so keep reading if you want to see what I use.

Before I go into my list, I wanted to clarify that none of these are actual “essentials.” Although I prefer to use these items when I have a more formal and organized set-up while working, when ideas flow I will write with whatever I have, just trying to get my thoughts out on paper. You obviously don’t have to buy expensive stationary or have a perfect desk set-up to be organized and write well, so don’t take this post as me saying that 🙂

  • Pilot G-2 pens (0.38 mm) – These are my all-time favorite pens for taking notes and doing school work. I’ll use the 0.5 or 0.7 mm versions as well, but the 0.38 is my favorite because it’s easier to write small.
  • PaperMate Flair pens – I mainly use these for school projects and notes, but I like having so many color options in a thicker pen. I don’t like using these outside of school purposes though, because then their thickness becomes inconvenient.
  • PaperMate ClearPoint mechanical pencils (0.5 mm) – I do not like writing in pencil, but if I am, it’s with one of these. I’ll use the 0.7 mm but I like the 0.5 mm better. I like that these take a pretty long time to go through lead, and they just don’t get as dull as other mechanical pencils.
  • Post-It note mini tabs – I don’t know if this is really stationary, but it’s another main thing I use for school work and organizing paper at home. What I mean by “mini tabs” is the ones that are super small and you can stick out of a book or a notebook just to mark your place- I do this in my school books when there’s an important quote or to separate sections of the book for easy flip-throughs.
  • Zebra Mildliners – I finally hopped on the bandwagon by asking for these for Christmas, and I love them. They’re really fun to practice calligraphy with once you get the hang of it as well. I kind of just use them for fun and my creative projects, but they would definitely be great for school notes too.
  • Zebra Sarasa pens – My mom accidentally ordered these instead of the Mildliners at first, but she ended up keeping them because she liked them. They write smoothly and I have a whole pack so there’s a lot of color choices- I’ve enjoyed them thus far.
  • Rocketbook reusable notebook – I’ve talked about this quite a few times on my blog and I have a full-blown review that you should go check out if you haven’t already, but it’s a super convenient way for me to write down to-do lists and other things I don’t intend on keeping without wasting paper. I also like to do creative writing in here sometimes.

I will say I also have a 3-pack of the beloved Muji pens (0.38 mm) that I got for Christmas, but I haven’t used them on a daily basis so I’m not sure what I think of them yet. I’m sure I’ll love them based on how much everyone else does though. I know I’m no stationary expert, but I do know what I like, and I enjoy trying out new pens and other cute things.

I know all of these things are pretty basic in the stationary world, but it’s genuinely what I like to use. Let me know if there’s any less-basic pens you think I need to try, as I would love recommendations 🙂

Brooke

Review – Philips Sonicare Toothbrush

Hello everyone!

Around the holiday season, my parents got a set of Sonicare toothbrushes for the family. I’ve used a couple different electric toothbrushes over the years, and I was using an Oral-B electric toothbrush before I received my new Sonicare. The Sonicare I have is probably one of the most basic models- it’s the Sonicare Series 2 for plaque control, which you can get on sale for $40 here. If you’re in the market for an electric toothbrush but don’t want to spend a ton of money, keep on reading to hear my thoughts on this Sonicare!

The first few times I used the toothbrush, I was really impressed. I have pretty sensitive teeth and gums yet it didn’t irritate them (sometimes electric toothbrushes do since the bristles move at such high speeds), and my teeth felt really clean after using it. I liked that the toothbrush actually stopped after the two-minute timer went off so I wouldn’t lose track of time, since my Oral B’s toothbrush had a timer but didn’t have that feature. My teeth looked a lot whiter during the first couple weeks of using it, so I was very pleased.

As I’ve used the toothbrush more, I don’t see as much of a clear difference in quality between it and the Oral-B toothbrush I had before. I’m still pleased with it since I believe it’s $10-20 cheaper than my previous toothbrush and I like the timer feature a lot. However, my teeth definitely don’t look as white at the moment (could be other reasons, but I’m not really sure what), and I have to charge it quite often. I’ve started just keeping it on the charging dock whenever I’m not using it, but sometimes it still seems a little slow certain times I’m using it.

Another thing to consider is the price of brush head replacements. My Oral-B replacement heads were around $7 for a pack of two, but most of the places I’ve found that carry these Sonicare replacement heads are $8 for one. This would outpace the $10-20 initial price difference of the two toothbrushes really quickly, so it’s something to consider if price is a concern, or if you like to replace your brush heads more than the average person.

My overall thoughts are that I would rate this toothbrush a solid 8/10. It’s not too pricey, so I wasn’t expecting a ton from it- at this price point, you can’t really expect fancy features, and that’s fine with me. I’m glad I have it and I do enjoy it more than my Oral-B for the time being, but if you’re considering whether to make the brand switch, I don’t think it’s really necessary unless you’re comparing more expensive toothbrushes and there’s more discrepancies in features. I would get whatever is the best deal while you’re shopping.

Hopefully this helps any of you toothbrush enthusiasts! I know it’s something weird to review, but I’m kind of obsessive about dental care since after getting my braces off eight months ago I really want to take good care of my teeth. I’m also willing to try any toothbrushes and toothpaste that will make my teeth look whiter and cleaner, since I have naturally yellow teeth and nothing really helps. Let me know if you have any recommendations 🙂

Brooke

Why Your Attitude in School Matters

Hello everyone!

As we’re getting deeper into the new semester, I figured it was time for another school-related post. I’ve talked a little bit about having a positive attitude towards school and learning in general before, but never in detail or as an isolated post topic. I’ve tried to be really positive going into this semester, and I would definitely say it’s paid off so far. If you want to know how changing your attitude can make all the difference in your classes, keep on reading.

First of all, I want to make a reference to the Law of Attraction since it can easily explain why a shift in attitude regarding any topic can completely change that area of your life. If you’re giving out positive ideas and energy, the universe will reflect that in the energy you receive and the events that occur in your life. If you want to know more about the Law of Attraction, watch the documentary The Secret on Netflix, or look it up on YouTube to see people’s simpler explanations of it. If you’re aware of the Law of Attraction, I highly recommend you try your best to utilize it, especially in the area of schoolwork. It completely changes your perspective on everything if you make it work.

If you shift your attitude towards learning to be more positive, your classes will usually become so much more interesting! You’ll find learning new things exciting, and you will be grateful for the educational opportunities you have at school. If you focus on the stress and workload of school, it will never seem fun; think of the reasoning behind why we go to school. You’re gaining valuable knowledge, eventually going to graduate and go to college/out into the world if you’re already in college, and do exciting things using that knowledge you now have.

I’ve always been a super curious person who loves to learn about all sorts of things. It amazes me how many different subjects there are in the world that are interesting, and there’s so much to learn about each one (and so many levels of deeper understanding and detail). I like to think of myself as a sponge at school, trying to absorb everything so I can learn even more things in the future- I also think of high school as a stepping stone to my future. I’ve been excited for college since forever (and I’ll probably go to some form of grad school) and high school is a major stepping stone to get into college.

Thinking positive doesn’t just alter your mood while at school- it can also make an impact on your grades and other results. If you’re excited about the content you’re learning in class and being an active participant, you’re more likely to remember the content and be motivated to study it so you can do well. It’s a lot easier to learn when you’re immersing yourself in the knowledge and genuinely trying your best to be interested in it. Tests and other assignments will still be stressful, but looking at them as a chance to test your knowledge and prove to yourself that you’ve been working hard helps a little. You have to want to do well and put the work in, but once you do, there’s no stopping you with the right attitude!

I think being positive also helps a lot when you’re studying. If you’re trying to cram and getting discouraged because you feel like you don’t know anything and you’re going to fail, your mental state will only get worse and you probably won’t do too well. If you remain calm, tell yourself you know this stuff, and study effectively with a clear head, it’ll be much easier to remember the material on test day. Remember mind over matter- it actually does make a huge difference. When you’re well-rested and feeling good going into a test, you’re less likely to blank or make stupid mistakes.

I hope this post inspires you to shift the way you talk about and approach school and learning in a school setting. Let me know if it ends up making a difference- I’ll continue updating you guys on my journey with positivity 🙂

Brooke