College

  • A Month Back at College

    Hey, pretty girl!

    Well, it’s official, I’ve been back to school a month without getting sent back home. I definitely did not think that I would still be on campus still by this point in the semester. I’m grateful that my university has taken the necessary steps to keep us all safe and on campus this semester. Looking back at my time since move in, I’d like to reflect on my experiences so far on campus during a pandemic through the five things I’ve noticed so far.

    1.In-person classes feel eerie.

    I might be alone on this one, but I honestly have preferred going to my zoom courses. I feel like zoom sessions have become a lot more personable than spring. Students are required to turn on their cameras in most of my courses and professors are making an effort to spend time getting to know one another. In person just feels…off. Sitting apart in a mostly empty classroom while my professor records the lecture almost feels uncomfortable. Not to mention that when someone has a case of covid in our in-person lecture, we can’t even come to class. With courses that don’t utilize zoom and can no longer attend in person, I feel incredibly distant from the professor and the course itself.

    2.The dining hall options are majorly lacking.

    I’ll be honest, I’m pissed about the dining situation this fall at UST. For students who don’t feel comfortable eating in the dining hall, our option is to go food that severely limits our choices. There are no longer options of picking an entree from one section and sides from another. This makes it incredibly difficult to find food you enjoy, food that fills you up and food that isn’t altogether unhealthy. With the closing of my favorite dining dollar location as well (rip scooter’s) for the semester, I became increasingly upset at figuring out how I will actually utilize my meal plan to the fullest extent like I had in the past.

    3.My homework load has dramatically increased.

    Okay professors, I get it, you want us to really learn the material since we aren’t right in front of you. However, many of my professors have been assigning lecture videos, homework and requiring that we attend a zoom course on top of that. When I’m doing double the lecture time (videos and zoom), it leaves me with minimal time to actually complete the homework and understand what I am doing. Instead of letting us have time to actually learn, I feel as if professors are filling up our already busy schedules (life can be busy even during a pandemic).

    4.Residence Halls are very quiet and shut off.

    Maybe this is just what happens when you move to the apartments on campus, but I’ve met hardly anyone on my floor. Honestly, it’s rare to actually run into anybody outside of their room. While this is a good thing for covid, I believe that at least meeting your neighbors is important. I feel sad that this year has not allowed me to connect with more people like I did last year. I’m hoping that as the year goes on, I’ll be able to connect with people outside of my own apartment.

    5.Exploring the city without the pressure of partying is relieving.

    Okay, this one is actually a benefit to the coronavirus. I feel like the pressure of going out and partying has been severly reduced this semester. Obviously both of these options are not safe when following the campus prepardness plan to a T, but beyond this, I believe it has helped me to reevaluate my behavior on campus. I’m glad that I can now partake in activities with my friends that are less crazy but, instead, help connect me to my community better. For example, while I would usually spend a Saturday partying and watching the football game, I had the opportunity to visit a gorgeous Apple House in Victoria, Minnesota with Jack. It’s small things like this that I am grateful for.

    With Love, Marin

  • Navigating the Dining Hall

    Hey, pretty girl!

    When it comes to college, there is something that a lot of students are worried about… the freshman fifteen. While weight gain should in no way be your biggest concern, health and wellness have never been more important!

    Especially when it comes to fall/winter months, it can be very easy to forget (or become unmotivated) regarding your eating habits. Knowing how to navigate the dining order is one of the simplest ways to keep in control.

    I laid out a plan for outlining your meals and eating habits. With that said, you know your body best. You should never let yourself feel hungry and adjust based on your body type!

    Breakfast

    Protein : Oatmeal, Eggs, or Yogurt

    Carbohydrates : Fruits or Whole Wheat Bread

    Fats : Cheese, Nuts or Eggs

    Meal : Breakfast Sandwich (Egg, Cheese, Meat, Bread) and Bowl of Fruit

    Lunch

    Protein : Chickpeas, Deli Meat or Quinoa

    Carbohydrates : Lettuce, Other Vegetables or Whole Wheat Bread

    Fats : Avocado, Nuts, Cheese or Hard-Boiled Egg

    Meal : Mixed Greens Salad (lettuce, spinach, mixed vegetables, chickpeas, etc.) w/a low calorie dressing

    Dinner

    If you followed your breakfast and lunch habits closely, dinner (while it’s not a free for all) can be a time where you make sure you are full for the night! This will help you avoid late night snacking! Go for what will make you feel full!

    With Love, Marin

  • Being Productive AND Having Fun

    Hey, pretty girl!!

    I have been SUPER busy the last few weeks. However, I haven’t felt like I’ve been falling behind or drowning in my responsibilities. I’ve mastered the art of productivity, balancing a schedule and time management over the years. I’m going to share 5 of my tips when it comes to being on top of your responsibilities while also still having time for fun!

    Tip #1: Use a Planner

    Giving yourself a schedule helps to keep you on track at all times. I recommend getting a planner where you can keep track of your schedule, to do lists and large projects (aka the Erin Condrin Academic Planner). I schedule my weeks starting with the times I have class and work. Based on the times I am not in class, I then figure out when I have time to complete larger/smaller tasks. If I only have a short break between classes, it might be a good time to wash the dishes. If I have a longer break, I might get started on some homework and projects for class!

    Tip #2: Complete Small Tasks First

    If you have a large period of time where you are free, start with smaller responsibilities first. I have often found that if I start completing my large tasks first, I tire myself out before I can even finish that one task. It is better to get a lot of small things done and part of the big thing, then try to finish one large task all at once. Break the large task up into smaller tasks if you want to be more productive!!

    Tip #3: Don’t Procrastinate

    This goes without saying, but don’t put things off!! When it comes to mental health struggles, I understand that procrastination can stem from anxiety and depression. There are definitely times where I avoid doing a task because I simply cannot muster the motivation to take care of myself or I’m anxious about the task so I avoid it in general. The best way to avoid procrastination is simply to give yourself 5 minutes to start. If after those five minutes, you’re still not able to focus on the task, try a task that involves less mental attention first. For example, wash the dishes before starting a large essay.

    Tip #4: Turn Your Phone Off

    This one is HUGE!! I know it can be so easy to get looped into TikTok or online shopping (my roomie, Olivia, has had to take my phone from me several times so I can focus 100% on studying). Either power down your phone so you don’t get notifications, leave the phone far away from your work space or give your phone to a friend/family member so that you don’t get sidetracked while working. This will make you a lot more productive if you don’t have the distraction of your phone.

    Tip #5: Get Your Sleep

    It’s impossible to be productive if you’re running on empty!! Get the number of hours you need (cause all of us are different) to function at a high level. It is important that you keep your sleep schedule consistent as well, so that your body can get used to a routine. This will help you to sleep better and be able to focus on tasks for longer! If you really have to miss a few hours of sleep, definitely drink an Aspire Energy Drink. It will keep you energized with sustained and healthy energy (aka much better for you than Monster, Bang or Red Bull).

    Now, get to work!!

    With Love, Marin

  • A Busy Girl’s Guide to Staying Organized

    Hey, pretty girl!

    Like most of you, I’m busy. I am currently juggling a 20 credit schedule, two jobs, 3 clubs (including class president), working out, running my social media channels, studying for the LSAT, a relationship and time with my friends. On top of all of that, I still have to find time to meal plan/sleep/have relaxation time! Now, I would never be able to manage this all without my Erin Condren Planner and my organization skills I’ve picked up over the years.

    3 Tips to Staying Organized

    1. Use your planner and keep it on you 24/7!! If you know you have something going on, put it in your planner immediately.
    2. Schedule your busy/free times. I write out by exact times when I am busy and when I am free.
    3. Before going to bed at night, make sure that you are prepared for all of tomorrow’s events (aka organize your room/materials for the following day).

    Let me know if you’d like more tips on how to stay organized!

    With Love, Marin

  • “Thank God for all I’ve missed, cause it led me here to this.”

    Hey, pretty girl!

    When I first got the news that coronavirus would be sending me home from college, I was devastated.

    Let me set the scene for you: I was in an Uber on the way back from Lululemon picking up Janna’s birthday gift. The second I stepped into the Uber I received an email. My stomach dropped, knowing the rumors from the last week about being sent home due to coronavirus. The email read in bold “classes will operate fully online for the remainder of the semester.” I immediately began to tear up in the back of the Uber (overdramatic…I know).

    Questions flooded my head immediately: How would I be able to go without seeing my friends for five months? Would I really be missing the end of my freshman year dorm experience? … but the question that was looming in the back of my mind that truthfully made me tear up was … “how could I keep the boy I’m interested in, interested in me if I wasn’t hanging out with him a few times a week?”

    When I returned to campus, I sat at my desk and sobbed. Looking back, I wasn’t actually that upset about online courses. I was more upset that I would no longer be able to keep the attention of a boy I thought liked me, because I knew he would not be willing to put in the effort to talk during the five months apart (which was a MAJOR red flag). In other words, I was LOWERING MY STANDARDS FOR SOMEONE NOT WILLING TO PUT IN THE TIME FOR ME (little did I know, getting sent home would bring me the greatest blessing).

    The first couple weeks of quarantine were tough. I spent a lot of the time stuck in my own head. I thought about how life was just a few weeks prior and how all I wanted was to have it back. And what I expected to happen with my on campus relationship, happened. I was left wondering if I was being used the last few months because now that we weren’t in each other’s presence, I barely got a text back anymore.

    That is when I decided it was time to focus on myself. I spent the rest of March starting a workout routine, getting closer with God and being happy with myself.

    Now, I never believed the saying that you’d find your person when you stop looking for them, but it couldn’t have been more accurate for me. Prior to coronacation, I had met a sweet engineering boy who was visiting friends at UST but I didn’t originally want anything more than friends with him (I was too wrapped up in needing validation from the male I was talking to at the time). Quarantine gave me the opportunity to evaluate what I really wanted in a relationship (a HEALTHY bond with someone who felt like home) and who I wanted that relationship with. And I no longer just wanted a healthy relationship with anyone… I wanted it with the boy who treated me like his everything.

    Suddenly, the sweet boy I met briefly at a party, Jack, became someone I was facetiming every single night. He became the boy I talked to my family about. He was someone I felt comfortable talking to for hours and never running out of things to say. He became the boy who tucked me in via facetime and didn’t hang up until he knew I was asleep. Jack made his intentions with me clear right from the beginning – there was no confusion or playing around with my heart – it just felt right.

    Jack and I had both been in complete lockdown of everyone besides our family, so we decided it was safe for us to go out on a date! Our first date, a couple hour hike and hammocking together, turned into days at the lake, all day movie marathons, night swims, watching fireflies, meeting each other’s families and falling in love.

    The other day, on the ride home from Jack’s place, the song “This” by Darius Rucker came on the radio. When I heard the lyrics, I knew exactly why I was hearing the song at this moment.

    I didn’t understand it way back when
    But sittin’ here right now
    It all makes perfect sense

    Every stoplight I didn’t make
    Every chance I did or I didn’t take
    All the nights I went too far
    All the girls that broke my heart
    All the doors that I had to close
    All the things I knew but I didn’t know
    Thank God for all I missed
    ‘Cause it led me here to this
    .”

    Had I not been sent home from covid, I may never have ended up with my favorite person in the world (which is why it occurred this way).

    So now, let me set the scene for you: I’m sitting in my bed at midnight in Jack’s sweatshirt that he let me borrow to protect me from the mosquitos on the way out to my car. I send a goodnight text and hug my pillow knowing that I want to make Jack the happiest man in the world, fully knowing he makes me the happiest girl.

    The girl crying in an Uber months ago would’ve never pictured my life like it is right now. I may not have understood it then, “but sittin’ here right now, it all makes perfect sense.” I “thank God for all I missed,” because He “led me here to this” beautiful love. Now, sometimes things don’t make sense to us right away, but remember that every single moment happens for a reason. And Jack, I got sent home so we could fall in love, and I am holding you to that promise you made to never break my heart.

    With Love (mostly to Jack though), Marin

  • Back on Campus & Insights into College

    Hey, pretty girl!

    I recently moved back on campus and it feels so nice to be back in my element! I moved in one day later than last year, but have over a whole week before classes start to settle in. I’m a welcome days leader for the freshman and have been working hard the last few days training to welcome them onto campus. In my training, I’ve been thinking a lot about advice I would’ve wanted coming into college last year. I’m giving the incoming freshman ten pieces of advice when it comes to college.

    Tip #1: Sort your items into sections when you pack.

    Unpacking didn’t take me nearly as long as I thought it would, because I sectioned my items into where it would go into each section of my room (ex. closet, bed, dresser and desk).

    Tip #2: Leave your door open/reach out to people on day 1.

    It can be intimidating to leave your door open the first week, but it truly is the best way to meet new people. It gives people an easy way to meet you and makes you appear more open/friendly! I definitely would have closed myself off a lot more if I left the door shut.

    Tip #3: Participate in the Welcome Week events.

    These events are silly/childish, but they really do help you get comfortable at school and meet new people! I didn’t end up being friends with many of the people I met at these events, but it was nice to see familiar faces from the events while walking around campus. It makes you feel more at ease and at home on your campus.

    Tip #4: Get your partying out during Welcome Week.

    Soon enough you’ll be drowning in homework – even on syllabus day – so if you want to party, get it out during welcome week! Just refer to tip #9 if you choose to make this decision.

    Tip #5: Get involved in clubs right away!

    Most of the friends outside of my main friend group/upper classmen friends came from joining Student Government. Find a club you are passionate about and you are likely to meet others with similar interests! However, this is not high school, so don’t just randomly join clubs because you think it will look better for a resume. Trust me, less clubs but more involvement looks a million times better.

    Tip #6: Try to avoid only hanging out with your HS friends.

    I notice a lot of students clinging to their high school friends during the first few weeks. While this is a comfortable choice, it is not going to help you grow as a person and meet new people. Try to branch off from these friends, as if you all make new friends you can meet TONS of new people!!

    Tip #7: Go to the dining hall with friends.

    This is a bit tricky with coronavirus, but the dining hall is one of the best ways to get to know people. One of my current roommates this year, Skyler, I really got to know well when she began stacking salt and pepper shakers in the dining hall (her crazy energy is why we’re friends). It’s an easy place to make conversation and will help you get closer to people.

    Tip #8: Be adventurous and get out of your comfort zone.

    Most of these tips involve doing something that may make you nervous or uncomfortable. I was SO on edge the first few weeks at college and worried about forming a friend group. Use the nervous energy to your advantage because everyone is nervous!! Funny story – during an early move in event with the Honors Program, I didn’t want to drink the pop we were given with lunch because I said I didn’t like it much. One of the upper classmen assistants gave me great advice and said, “college is all about new experiences, even with the simplest things like drinking pop.” .You will enjoy college so much more if you push yourself to enjoy all the new experiences you have in front of you (even if it’s just a carbonated beverage).

    Tip #9: Don’t make decisions you will regret.

    Keep it legal and remember that you WILL run into people on campus again, don’t make things awkward for yourself. That’s all I have on that.

    Tip #10: Be yourself!!

    THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT!!! If you pretend to be someone you are not, you will find yourself extremely lost! If you are yourself, you will find your place at college. It is a fresh start, but fresh starts are not for faking your personality.

    You got this girl!! Good luck in college!!

    With Love, Marin

  • What He Does: On Raising your Standards

    Hey, pretty girl!

    I’ve always been a huge fan of Rachel Wammack’s music. While not one of the most well known country musicians, I truly believe she deserves a lot more hype! When she released her new song on August 14th, I listened to it ASAP. The lyrics were my absolute favorite – she totally hit the point that you should never lower your standards in a relationship. The reason I love Rachel’s music so much is because she is so honest to her life in her song lyrics and speaks her truth. This really comes out in the second verse.

    “What other guys do had me pretty much believing

    Settling was standard

    ‘Til God gave me a man that sees

    All the love that I give

    All the love that I’m worth…”

    “What He Does” by Rachel Wammack

    I often hear a lot of girls say that “all men are trash” (guilty that I used to do this). I believe this song is a great song because it acknowledges that there are men that will treat you the right way, even if many other guys haven’t before. You should not settle for a guy who treats you “good enough” when there is a guy who would treat you like his whole world. Don’t settle for the boy who texts you after midnight, date the man who calls you “beautiful….baby,…just because.”

    Now, girls, this goes the other way too. You need to be reciprocating healthy relationship behavior. You need to spoil him too. You need to give him all the love that he is worth too. Relationships go both ways and both sides need to be giving it their all for it to be a strong, healthy relationship.

    With Love, Marin

  • Fall 2020 Clothing Haul: 10 Back to School Basics

    Hey, pretty girl!!

    Happy back to school shopping!! I shared and linked 10 different basic back to school outfits all $100 and under.

    Outfit Type #1: Basic Tee and Jeans

    Black V-Neck Tee and Light Colored Jean

    Outfit Total: $67

    Sizing Details: XS in top (TTS), 25 in bottoms (size down 1)

    White V-Neck Tee and Medium Wash Button Front Jean

    Outfit Total: $67

    Sizing Details: XS in top (TTS), 25 in bottoms (size down 1)

    Outfit Type #2: Nicer Top and Jeans

    Black Satin Cami and Dark Wash Jeans (15% student discount at Forever21)

    Outfit Total: $100

    Sizing Details: S in top (TTS), 27 in bottoms (size 1 up)

    Outfit Type #3: Bodysuit and Jeans

    Black Turtleneck Bodysuit, Ripped Medium Wash Jeans and Burberry Dupe Scarf (5% student discount at Nasty Gal)

    Outfit Total: $75

    Sizing Details: 4 in Top (TTS), 26 in bottoms (TTS)

    Outfit Type #4: All Things Skirts/Dresses

    Purple Skirt and Crop Top Set (10% student discount at Beginning Boutique)

    Outfit Total: $75

    Sizing Details: Size 4 in both (TTS)

    White Bodysuit and Denim Skirt

    Outfit Total: $40 (10% student discount at Forever21

    Sizing Details: S in Top (TTS), 25 in bottoms (TTS)

    Bottoms are unlinkable from Pacsun

    Babydoll Dress

    Outfit Total: $20

    Sizing Details: XS (TTS)

    Outfit Type #5: Loungewear for Zoom/Pajamas

    Pajama Set

    Outfit Total: $35

    Sizing Details: Size XS (TTS)

    College Sweatshirt and Spanx Leather Leggings

    Outfit total: $98 (10% off first purchase at Spanx)

    Sizing Details: Size S (TTS)

    With Love, Marin

  • Tips to Reduce your College Textbook Cost

    Hey, pretty girl!

    College is EXPENSIVE!! You pay for housing, classes, meal plan, activities etc. and on top of all of that you have to pay for textbooks! College isn’t like high school where the textbooks are provided for you. Often times you have to fork out a couple hundred dollars per semester on the materials you need for class. After a year at college, I’ve figured out some money saving strategies when it

    Tip #1: Wait to buy your textbooks until your professor tells you what to buy.

    Typically, the college bookstore for your school will give you a list of “required” books for your course prior to syllabus day. I made the mistake of buying all my books early first semester and quickly learned that “required” may not actually be true. Many professors will recommend these textbooks to you but tell you that they don’t actually use them/aren’t necessary. Wait until the professor gives you the instruction on whether to buy them or not before you purchase anything!

    Tip #2: Don’t buy your textbooks from your college bookstore (unless you absolutely have to).

    The college bookstore overprices absolutely everything!! Avoid buying your books there at all costs. I have found that Amazon is typically the cheapest in regards to textbook prices. I use the ISBN Number to be sure that I am getting the correct book for my class. I have yet to have accidentally ordered a wrong book. If you can’t find the ISBN anywhere, then you can resort to your college bookstore for purchasing the materials.

    Tip #3: Buy the textbooks and sell them back instead of renting them.

    One thing that many people believe saves them money is renting textbooks instead of buying. Now, if you don’t have the money upfront to buy the books, renting can be the better option. However, if you do have the money to pay for it upfront, it ends up saving you money if you buy and sell back your textbooks. When you rent, you are losing the money you could’ve made by selling them. This website here helps you to determine which textbook buyback site will pay most for your book.

    Going to college means that you will need to pinch pennies wherever you can! I hope my tips help save you money this fall and in coming semesters!

    With Love, Marin

  • It’s Always What You Didn’t See Coming

    Hey, pretty girl!

    Growing up, I was always told that “you’ll find love when you stop looking for it.” Now, I would always pray to God for my person and tell Him I wasn’t looking anymore so that He would send me that person. I think every one of us has done this at some point, fully knowing that we are hoping God won’t notice we were 100% still searching. While we all do this at some point, He truly knows all. I find it so silly that we do this knowing that God already has a direct plan for us and we will receive on His terms and when He sees fit for us.

    I was guilty of praying that I loved myself and I was ready for a deep relationship, time and time again. In the months prior to quarantine, I had lost my connection and patience with the Lord almost completely. I started believing that I could go find my person without His help and ignore every red flag He was sending me that I needed to be patient and it was not my time quite yet. When March 17th hit and I was moving my entire life out of college and back to my childhood bedroom, I realized that while I had progressed in some ways at college, building an outer layer of confidence and self love, I was anxious and untrusting of Him on the inside.

    I was prepared to go through the five months of quarantine, before heading back to college, by myself. I was prepared to be working, blogging, reading the Bible and exercising – things that I believed would help better prepare my confidence and self love for a fulfilling relationship. I quickly learned to love the time I had by myself and who I was as a person.

    And I guess whoever told me that when I “stop looking for love, I’ll find it,” was right. Because this time, my relationship was just so unexpected. However, I don’t know if the cause of finding love is that you stop looking for it. I believe that God’s timing is so good and so above what we expected, that it’ll make any season of your life just that much better.

    I didn’t expect for a brief encounter to turn into nightly FaceTime calls that turned into 1am drive homes from each other’s houses. I wasn’t looking for love. I was looking for myself. And that’s when I met Jack.

    To you, this picture may just be a picture

    Just a prarie with some flowers

    Just a blue skyline

    Just some trees trailing off in the background.

    But to me, this photo is a moment

    It’s Joe Pyeweed and Monarcha Birds

    It’s hiking on trails and ducking under barbed wire

    It’s firefly watching and tasting sweet honey off a shared spoon.

    To you, this photo is a picture.

    To me, it’s what I prayed for years to recieve.

    And it’s in moments like this, that I wish I could stop time to hold onto them for just a little longer, before making even more moments I want to freeze in time. Because God chose this to be the time I received what I had prayed for years for, because He knew when the right time was. One of the greatest joys in life is when you receive something you’ve been praying for, and watch God elevate your prayers to a level you never even imagined was possible.

    With Love, Marin

  • Five Items you 100% Need for College

    Hey, pretty girl!

    Going to college as a freshman, it’s hard to know exactly what you’ll need. You’re planning for a new lifestyle that you haven’t even started yet! While it is easy to know some basic things you’ll need, it always helps to get some input in on items you may not think of to bring but are definite musts! I made a list of five things I would not have put on my original list to bring to college but ended up using a ton!!

    1. Slippers

    These cozy slippers from Amazon were an absolute life saver! These were super easy to slip on when visiting my friends in other rooms (especially during the winter when the hallway would have wet footprints), using the communal bathrooms and grabbing my food from the Uber Eats vehicle at 2 am. Since you will be spending a lot of time in your dorm room, (especially with zoom/hybrid classes) I definitely recommend picking up a pair of these slippers!!

    These slippers run true to size! Size up if you want a comfier/looser fit! I have them in white, grey and pink!

    2. Pop Up Dish Rack

    When my mom came home with a pop up dish rack and tub, my immediate response was “Mom, I’m going to be eating in the dining hall!! Why would I need that??” I took it to college anyways with the intention of never touching it. Well, I quickly figured out how necessary this dish rack was! The dining hall quickly got sickening and I enjoyed eating snacks/breakfast in my room better. The dish rack was a great place to keep dirty mugs from coffee, silverware and bowls from microwavable foods. This helped to keep my roommate and my dirty dishes organized until we had time to wash them!

    Moral of the story, listen to your mom’s advice on items to bring to college!!

    3. Mini Steamer

    If you’re thinking of bringing an ironing board/iron to college – PLEASE DON’T. Trust me, investing in a mini steamer is so much smarter and a space saver. I’ve used this steamer over fifty times during the past school year on professional clothes and wrinkles that occur from keeping a lot of clothes in minimal dresser/closet space. This one here heats up and is ready to go in less than five minutes. It’ll make sure your clothes look polished without taking up the room of an ironing board.

    4. Sleep Mask

    This one is a big one if your roommate and you have different class schedules or your windows don’t have blackout curtains! In college, your sleep schedule is bound to revolve around your class schedule. This sometimes means that you may need to get a nap in during the afternoon or go to sleep earlier than your roommate(s)! It helps to make sure you can get your sleep, without having to inconvenience your roommate to turn all the lights off if they stay up later than you.

    I bought a Warmies sleep mask that can be heated for a few different reasons. Heating it up can give it a duel purpose as a hot pad for cramps and using the heat to ease my stress level when placed on my forehead.

    5. Reusable Coffee Cup

    You probably already own one but you might have heard that you shouldn’t bring extra cups/unnecessary space taking items! If you’re going to bring any sort of mug/cup, a reusable coffee cup should be the first thing you pack! Often times, colleges will give you discounts at their coffee shops for using a reusable cup. These cups are also convenient to use as a cup for water from the drinking fountain to bring back to your dorm room.

    I recommend getting a personalized cup from Etsy so that you don’t lose it/mistake it with someone else’s (plus personalization is just more fun)!!

    With Love, Marin

  • DIY College Dorm/Apartment Decor: Flower Vase for Under $15

    Hey, pretty girl!

    College is expensive! And when you add on the cost of buying items for your new room on top of tuition, it can be a lot. Going into college, especially with people on Pinterest and TikTok showing off their super extra dorm rooms, there can be a lot of pressure to intensely decorate your room. While you want to make your room feel like a home with some decor, there are ways to do it without breaking the bank. This simple DIY vase can be made for under $15 and is perfect for fake or real flowers!!

    Step 1: Buy a Welch’s Sparking Juice, acrylic paint in the color of your choice & fake/real flowers.

    Step 2: Drink the juice and clean out the bottle (be sure to get rid of the sticky residue from the label).

    Step 3: Paint the bottle with the acrylic paint. Let dry between layers until you reach your desired color.

    Step 4: Once the vase is completely dry, cover with Mod Podge to prevent chipping.

    Step 5: Put flowers inside and enjoy!

    With Love, Marin

  • Going Back to School Amidst the Pandemic: Thoughts, Concerns and Predictions

    Hey, pretty girl!

    The countdown to going back to school is about a month away for most of us – high school and college kids alike. Back to school time is already stressful enough with planning for housing and class schedules, along with remembering how to time manage.

    The addition of coronavirus has made everything 1,000,000 times more confusing. I made this post so that I could share my thoughts, as well as create a space for others to comment!

    My current thoughts are as follows:

    In regards to living on campus this fall, I am buying the bare minimum needs for my apartment (with only a little bit of decor items to make the room slightly more homey). For anyone who knows me super well, I love to go full out with decor typically. However, I don’t want to buy a lot of decor that I might just end up bringing home in a few weeks if classes go completely online again. I decided I’ll add more things if we end up staying at school longer (which would be a happy surprise)!!

    When thinking about moving to online classes, I am mostly sad. I enjoy the in person time with my professors, even if via zoom on campus or with only 1/3 of my classmates. However, I am also aware that I have the resources to complete online classes. I feel for the students who don’t have access to the internet in the ways that I do. Shutting down schools again and moving to online courses would 100% have a large detrimental effect on low income households and due to years of systematic racism, harms the community of Black students the most. It is hard for me to support staying at school if it is not safe, but also hard for me to support schools expecting their students to obtain wifi and technology at home. It is a privilege to have access to these things. EXPECTING a student to obtain access, or already have access, shows directly how the school system favors its white students. I acknowledge that I have this privilege and want others to evaluate their privilege in online schooling as well. Specifically for the high school, where students have the option to return online or in person, homes without access to the internet are forced to send their children back to school. Since the pandemic is still in full force, this is directly putting those children who truly don’t have a choice of online/in person in danger of contracting Covid. I have found myself complaining about online courses in the past, but I am grateful I have the option and am aware that many don’t. The link here helps donate to children who don’t have access to technology for online school. Please use this link to help donate.

    Mentally, the unpredictability of fall has my anxiety spiked! I have zero ideas how to plan for this fall (like everyone else) and I’m the kind of person who plans weeks in advance. Not being able to schedule things out in my planner for upcoming weeks will definitely be my biggest challenge this fall.

    What are your thoughts/comments/predictions?? Share with me!!

    With Love, Marin

  • 5 Things You Should Expect in a Relationship

    Hey, pretty girl!

    When it comes to relationships, it can often be reflected that women “expect too much.” This usually includes actual date nights, picking you up at the door, bringing you surprise gifts, posting you on social media, communicating with you in a timely manner etc. Okay, now reread all of the things I just listed. ALL OF THOSE ARE SO SIMPLE AND YOU ARE NOT EXPECTING TOO MUCH!! When it comes to a healthy, happy relationship, it is crucial that both you and your partners treat each other in this way.

    Below I have listed 5 key things you should expect from any healthy relationship and ways you can carry these characteristics out.

    Respect

    Respect is essential for a relationship to remain healthy and happy. This is especially true when it comes to arguments – even when the argument gets heated you should NEVER start using name calling or disrespect towards your partner. This is one sure way to cause anxiety and second thoughts about your partner. It’ll cause them to wonder if you truly mean those things and were too afraid to say them.

    Some ways to show respect are: defining what you want in the relationship early, communicating what is working in the relationship, only using positive words with your partner and explain your feelings without getting upset.

    Time

    If your partner is not willing to give time to getting to know each other, dating, and communicating with you in the short term, it will definitely not occur in the long run. Time is something you should expect in a relationship. These time boundaries can be different for every couple and based on the duration of the relationship.

    Some ways to give time to your partner: Weekly or monthly date nights, checking up on them in text

    Generosity

    Generosity comes in many different forms: mental, emotional, financial and material support. Supporting one another in a relationship is a sure way to create an intimate bond. This is because when your partner (healthy relationship) is aware that you care about them when they are in need, they will reciprocate for you when you need the support.

    Some ways to show generosity: Asking how your partner is, bringing home a surprise gift, understanding how your partner deals with stress

    Communication

    Okay, communication is the NUMBER ONE NECESSITY in a relationship. Without communication, you have no relationship. Communication needs to begin at the very first date. If your partner seems to constantly be flaky over text message at the beginning of the relationship, imagine how they would be in marriage? Exactly.

    Some ways to ensure you are communicating: Did you let them know your availability? Do they know what you want out of this relationship? Do you know what they want? Do you express your feelings with each other?

    Affection

    Affection is a way to spice up a relationship. When the relationship is new, affection tends to be very easy. However, as you spend more and more time together, it is crucial to keep the spark by being affectionate with one another. Affection typically builds both intimacy and trust in your partner.

    Some ways to show affection: Physical affection, posting your partner on social media, complimenting your partner.

    BABY YOU ARE GOLD, SOLID GOLD!! Don’t let anyone treat you like anything else. You deserve a healthy relationship like this (and more).

    With Love, Marin

  • On My Side of the Fence

    When I was listening to every Dan and Shay song in preparation for their concert (before Corona postponed it) I fell in love with the song “My Side of the Fence.” (Y’all I swear it is 1000x better than “Speechless”) Listening to the lyrics, I envisioned the kind of love I wanted. I even told myself that I would wait for that kind of love and not accept anything less. However, at that same time, I was very distant from God and fulfilling Christ’s word, as well as being filled with anxiety and negative self image. I knew that I would not be able to find that kind of love until I began to work on correcting those things.

    Attending St. Thomas, and taking theology class last fall semester, I began to get closer to the Lord than I had been in an incredibly long time. That’s when I realized that that there was a reason why I had ended up at this smaller, catholic college and not a large public one. In high school I had made it clear that I didn’t have time to learn religion on top of all my school work, because school was my top priority over Him. While that was not a good excuse, now God was making a point to me that since religion was now part of my school work, I had an opportunity to learn and grow in my faith, while also focusing on my schoolwork.

    Following this class, I made a promise to myself in the new year to grow in my faith. For me, this looked like putting my anxiety on Him instead of bearing all the weight myself. When I felt like things were hard to handle, I took out my bible and read a chapter (or two or three), put on some worship music and, most importantly, prayed.

    Now, I had been praying for years, but not like I was this year. Before, I had prayed in a way that was more like a mutual deal than actual trust. I prayed that “I would do X if God would do Y.” However, I realized that God wasn’t a genie to grant my wishes and by praying in this way, I wasn’t truly trusting Him. So I learned to pray in a different way. I began to pray for what I had and for what I knew I was one day going to have through trusting His process.

    I am not going to act like this change was easy for me. As soon as I returned to college from January-term, I began to accept life without the Lord again. I was okay chasing boys instead of them chasing me. I was okay with not praying. I was okay with living with anxious thoughts. But when I was losing sight of Him, a new door had opened. I was removed from college. I was removed from every distraction taking me away from Him.

    And when I gave the time to Him, suddenly it seemed like things became a lot less heavy on my soul . I felt my anxiety lifted and a lot more at peace with the person I am. I began to set goals for myself and manifest them into existence through prayer and ultimate trust in what God had planned for me. I saw growth in my self confidence, my mental health was more at ease, I found myself only accepting of proper male behavior towards me and my side hustle was taking off.

    When I began to start getting rid of what God would not approve of, I found something (someone) that fit into my new mentality. It seemed so strange that it took a pandemic for me to manifest the “My Side of the Fence” type of love that I new I wanted to give to someone else, and also have in return. Over quarantine, my current boyfriend (I’ll introduce him to y’all super soon we just need to have a photoshoot together) treated me like no one else ever had.

    He face-timed me on the daily, kept his promises on contacting me, didn’t constantly ask “what’s up” but instead found deeper conversation, he made his intentions with me clear, and most importantly, he treated me like a man of God would. And yet, for a while, I still found it hard to leave the person who wasn’t treating me like that, behind.

    During that time, I opened up a book I had bought many months before and hadn’t gotten around to reading, “A Love Letter Life.” One quote stuck out to me, almost like I was meant to read it.

    “We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing.”

    Jeremy Roloff, A Love Letter Life

    It had got to the point where staying in the confusing relationship I was in was causing me greater pain than it would be to move on. So I did what the quote told me to and made a change. I’m so incredibly grateful I did because I found that “My Side of the Fence” kind of love because I was no longer accepting less than that…

    Back in November I wrote a blog post on what I’d say when I found my person: “I’m a whole. You will never complete me. You will simply be an addition. You’re not going to be afraid to chase me. You won’t be afraid of my confidence, intelligence and self love. You will be deserving of me. And I will be deserving of you. And when I meet you, I’ll know.”

    I have some updates to that statement…

    Yes, I am a whole on my own, but life is a lot more fun with you in it. I was wrong, you’re not simply “an” addition. You’re THE addition that I never want to lose. You weren’t, and still aren’t, afraid to chase me. Both my and your confidence, intelligence and self love blend so well together. You are deserving of me. And I am deserving of you (y’all for me to say this is crazy I never think I deserve something this incredibly good). And I may not have known at first when I met you that you were my person, but I wholeheartedly do now. And…

    You’re the rain on the roof in the summer

    You’re the leaves in the fall changing color

    You’re the whisper I hear in the thunder

    On my side of the fence

    You’re the reason my heart’s beating faster

    You’re the tears falling down from the laughter

    You’re the only one I’m after

    I pray you also find this kind of love.

    With Love, Marin

  • Moving into your College Apartment/House with Ease

    For many of us college students, leases start at the beginning of June. While many of us don’t move into these locations until late August, there are benefits in moving your stuff in early so you’re settled in right away! Whether you’re traveling from out-of-state or only live a little ways away from your college town, moving can be extremely stressful. The stress that comes with moving can involve physically transporting everything you need from point A to point B, or it could be that the items you brought with you are difficult to transport into your new living space on your own. With the addition of coronavirus and minimizing travel, many people are wanting to limit the number of family members helping to move you into a new place. I know that many of my friends have been struggling to try to move into their new places completely on their own with items such as futons, mattresses, coffee tables, mini-fridges, and more.

    Especially if you’re like me and you’ll be moving into your very first apartment, it can be incredibly stressful to know how you should prepare to pack and move your items! The whole experience is challenging enough for those with experience and can be even more nerve-wracking for those of us moving out for the first time.

    “I won’t be able to carry in my large items by myself.”
    “I can’t fit all my items in my small car.”
    “I can’t assemble this new piece of furniture I bought!”

    If you find yourself saying any of these things, or more, consider letting a company with 15+ years of experience help you out!! And if you’re looking for someone to truly make your moving experience memorable and painless, Relief Moving Company is who you should look to!

    Relief Moving Company is located in Blaine, Minnesota. Another branch of Relief Moving Company is located in Ham Lake, Minnesota. This company is dedicated to helping you save money, protect your valuables, provide fast and friendly service, give Relief Moving Company is located in Blaine, Minnesota. This moving company also is located in Ham Lake, Minnesota. This company is dedicated to helping you save money, protect your valuables, provide fast and friendly service, give you free supplies, and communicate well with you during your move. This company provides so many different services for you! Whether you need help with a long-distance move, packing items, or moving items into your new college apartment or house, Relief Moving Company is for you! Relief Moving Company can help you out on your move if you’re local, in-state or even if you’re out-of-state. This means that truly anyone can experience a move with Relief Moving Company.

    There are so many convenient features that Relief Moving Company offers. I know for me the most annoying thing when moving is packing up all of my smaller items! I always get worried that I won’t pack something correctly and it’ll break or get dirty during the move. I would never have to worry about this with Relief Movers because not only can they help you pack, they even provide free shrink wrap so your furniture doesn’t get dirty on the move. Coming from someone whose biggest concern is always my closet and clothes, one of my absolute favorite things that Relief Moving Company does is provides free wardrobe boxes to use on the day of your move!! This will help you transport clothes on hangers so you don’t have to rehang every single item! (It’s also so much better than the trash bag hack that leaves your clothes wrinkled and falling off the hangers)

    Now how do you go about hiring Relief Moving Company? The process is actually quite simple.

    Step 1: Go to http://www.reliefmovers.com
    Step 2: Utilize their home page function asking about your home! Select where you are moving, how many beds, how far away you are, where you are moving from and to, and lastly, what date you are moving.
    Step 3: Hit submit and a Relief Moving Associate will contact you with a quote!
    Step 4: Enjoy how easy the moving process is now that you have an experienced, dedicated, and kind crew helping you! They will truly make your moving experience more about how exciting this moment is rather than stressful!!

    After navigating their easy webpage, I myself am looking into using Relief Moving Company when I move into my on-campus apartment this fall! After doing all the moving this year on my own, with the help of my mom, I know how difficult and time consuming it can be! I am ready to sit back and let the process be a lot less painful and a lot more relaxing!

    The best way to contact Relief Moving Company is to go to their website and give them a call!! Please drop any questions you have in the comments below so I can direct you to the right person.

    This is a sponsored post.

    With Love, Marin

  • Summer Romance Novel Roundup

    Hey, pretty girl!

    One thing that always gets me in a summer mood is romance novels. Reading used to be my absolute favorite thing and I have newfound time during quarantine to read again. Since I know we are all looking for something to do during this time, I decided to list all of my favorite romance novels.

    1. You’d be Mine by Erin Hahn
    2. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
    3. The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce
    4. The Moon and More Sarah Dessen
    5. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
    6. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
    7. Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Riguad
    8. Once and For All Sarah Dessen
    9. If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley
    10. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

    Enjoy reading!

    With Love, Marin

  • Signs He is Playing Games with You

    Hey, pretty girl!

    When it comes to dating, especially in college, it can be extremely difficult to figure out what someone wants from you. And even when there are a million red flags, it can be incredibly easy to overlook them. I compiled a list of things that can come off as “mixed signals” but are actually just big red flags that he is playing games with you.

    He says that he “doesn’t know what he wants right now”

    • If he uses this excuse, it’s usually because he’s trying to keep you around as long as possible. If he tells you that he doesn’t want a relationship, he won’t be able to keep you. This does not mean “I’ll want to date you eventually” (I cannot emphasize this enough)!! This is just a sign that he is NOT MATURE enough for a real relationship.

    He is a dry texter/doesn’t respond in a timely manner

    • This is one of my personal biggest pet peeves. I think of myself as an incredibly busy person. When I was back at school I juggled working off campus, student senator responsibilities, class AND social time with my friends. However, I always make time to text back the people I care about. If he’s not texting you it’s because he doesn’t want to, not because he’s too busy.

    He communicated with you via snapchat for months

    • Ugh snapchat. If a man cannot ask you for your number please realize that he is not a man, he is a boy. Snapchat is fine for communication at first. However, if you’ve been going on dates/talking/hanging out for months and he STILL contacts you only via snapchat… girl that’s a sign that he doesn’t view you as long term.

    He doesn’t plan real dates

    • I feel like this is an obvious one, however there are implications with this. Just because he plans a date doesn’t mean that he is doing it out of love for you. He might be using it as a way to come off like he cares. If you notice that every time you start to distance yourself from him that he takes you out on a date, he is using it as a way to keep you hooked.

    He mentions his ex quite frequently

    • If he mentions his ex at all on the first date, RUN!!! This is a sign that he probably isn’t over her and that she is on his mind a lot. While it is healthy to not completely cut an ex out of your life (aka burning photos and pretending it never happened), if he still has posts up with her and is mentioning her in convos…he’s going to use you to get over her.

    His friends don’t even know what you guys are

    • If he liked you, his friends would know! If he doesn’t bring you around your friends, this is a clear sign he doesn’t see long term. But what if he does bring you around his friends?? This can caused mixed signals, making you think that he wants you in his life for longer. However, if you’re hanging out with his friends and THEY don’t even know what you are, he’s playing games.

    He doesn’t make an effort to call/ft (especially right now)

    • Especially right now in quarantine, it is almost impossible to communicate and have a lively conversation with someone via texting. He probably doesn’t have much going on right now, so if he doesn’t even give you once or twice a week to call/ft, then he was never in it for you as a person.

    Girl, know your worth. One boy’s “I’m not ready for something serious” is another man’s “I’ve been praying for a girl like her.” Wait for that.

    With Love, Marin

  • Motivation for your Monday: Episode 7

    Hey, pretty girl!!

    Sam Hunt’s new album is my absolute favorite thing ever (and it was perfect timing with quarantine)! One of my favorite, and most relatable, songs from the album was track #11: Breaking Up Was Easy in the 90’s.

    This song has such a good message in regards to modern relationships and their direct connection to technology. It seems like it’s hard to escape your own self doubt when technology is constantly connecting you to another person. It can make starting, keeping and ending relationships a million more times difficult than “the 90’s.”

    In current times, we worry about getting left on read by our crush. We worry about that not getting that ft call. We worry about checking snap maps to see if they are actually where they said they were. We worry about stalking their Instagram seeing if they like their ex’s recent picture…and the list goes on.

    This seems to have escalated with the addition of social distancing. Relationships that were already confusing enough have an extra added level with complete physical separation from the other person. And the fact of the matter is, we are “a product of our generation.” While we can be so much more connected to our significant other than the 90’s, that might not be a good thing. We aren’t meant to dive into things too quick and when technology gives us access to view another person’s highlight reel on social media, telling us where they are and what they’re up to, it can make us feel more insecure about why they are allotting their time like they are.

    While it seems to be almost impossible to stay out of our own heads right now, here are some tips when it comes to relationships mixing with technology.

    • Set certain times to talk – text convos are meant to die out after an hour or two but it’ll be so much better to converse without someone lacking in response because it isn’t a convenient time for them.
    • Say what you mean – don’t send mixed signals or play hard to get, especially right now. You can end up hurting someone’s feelings or driving them further away.
    • Avoid checking location – this doesn’t apply as much right now. However, if you have to check someone’s location, there is probably a bigger trust issue that needs to be addressed.
    • Give yourself a reality check – why are your thoughts so consumed by the situation? If you can pinpoint what’s bothering you, it might help you to address the overall problem.

    With Love, Marin

  • “We’re Only Young Once” : Recap of the First Half of Second Semester

    Hey, pretty girl!

    The last couple weeks have been crazy to say the very least. While I’m sad my freshman year (on campus at least) had to end like it did, I still had a lot of memories with my favorite people. Because I loved the way I compiled my first semester memories into life lessons, combined with some inside jokes with me and my friends…I decided I’d do it again.

    So here’s 19 things (in honor of COVID-19) I’ve learned so far this semester.

    1. Super Bowl Sunday hits different with a janky tv signal, DP doughs, bacon wrapped water chestnuts and your besties.
    2. When boys hurt your feelings, take a drive with your besties to get McDonald’s at midnight and scream the lyrics of “Hot Girl Bummer.”
    3. Balancing work, school and activities isn’t all that bad if you can time manage well.
    4. Customized Girl online makes sashes with WHATEVER you want it to say on it (seriously whatever you want. Do with that what you will)
    5. If all of north campus has a blackout after you just said you needed mental crisis time, do run around campus AND jump in the puddles that caused it AND watch light saber battles AND sneak into closed buildings AND go to a rave in the basement of Ireland.
    6. When your man lets you drive on Valentine’s Day, don’t agree to it if you’re bad at parking (you will make a fool of yourself)
    7. Red tik tok LED lights (need I say more?)
    8. Sometimes you need your best friend to walk you from Dowling Hall to Brady Hall, even if there is only a Koch Commons in between.
    9. De-lofting a bed is NOT a two person job. I repeat NOT A TWO PERSON JOB (especially if one of those people is useless aka me)
    10. It’s okay if you fall for a boy at the most random time but aren’t ready to tell him yet.
    11. You know you and your roomie are best friends if you sit on a coffee table and talk about life instead of talking with everyone else at the work party.
    12. Cannolis from Buca Di Beppo hit different.
    13. Once there is a warm weather day, Minnesotans refuse to put winter coats back on. (10 degrees again?? IDC it’s spring now!)
    14. ICE CREAM AND WAFFLES IS AMAZING (thank you Haison)
    15. It doesn’t look like you’re doing the walk of shame if you constantly dress up in heels on a Saturday or Sunday morning.
    16. No matter how much I hate walking there, the dining hall isn’t all that bad.
    17. Sitting on someone’s lap in an Uber because not everyone would fit otherwise is HIGHLY uncomfortable unless you’re like 5’1.
    18. If (hypothetically) your school were to only offer you 20% back on tuition because of an epidemic, the best response is to “borrow” a toilet paper roll holder from the communal bathroom.
    19. And when the world goes crazy, and all seems to be gone, go on a midnight walk with your best friends to the cliffs to talk about life and soak up your last freshman seconds together.

    With Love, Marin

  • To the Freshman

    Wow.

    The last week has been insane.

    In the last week, I’ve said goodbye to the dorm room I made my home, my best friends and the life I created for myself. And I know a lot of you have too. So this one goes out to the college freshman, class of ’23 (I broke it up into sections and shared some of my freshman year mems so I don’t forget them).

    We don’t have it as bad as the seniors in high school or college, but I get that this is hard. We braved an entirely new part of our lives – living without our parents, making all our own decisions, meeting tons of new people – just to be uprooted once we were settling in. The only way to explain this entire thing is that … it sucks.

    But it WILL be okay.

    We have more years living without our parents, more years to make all our own decisions and more years hanging out with all those new people that we turned into our own version of family. This was just the beginning and we will have more time than just this year.

    We took on welcome week (let’s talk about how annoying the great tommie get together was tho).

    Memories: Big “thrill” factory (it was not big or a thrill lemme tell ya), walking to the cliffs at midnight to find David (just for him to be leaving once we got there smh), Roller-Skating (tyler and joey you two owe your friendship to this), five girls one can (really Ireland?? You can do better), the chapman’s (need I say more?), and Quinn and I ditching midway through Tyler’s party for some reason.

    We braved our first semester of college classes and got involved.

    Memories: My very first college class was Macroeconomics with Professor Wu and it lasted exactly 10 minutes (we love how chill the econ department is), I met some of my best friends through student government (Sophia and Haison I love y’all, we will always have the freshman semi formal in our hearts), and the honors retreat (if you were in the sauna I will have a permanent bond with all of y’all).

    We explored the city that was now our home.

    Memories: Even if that meant hopping on the shuttle (running to Greg’s added to the experience, if you took an uber there you are WEAK), Black Coffee & Waffle Bar and Bark slap (sorry for the Olivia verbage), and walking to the river at 2 am to look at your city gives you a completely new perspective on the city (sorry Nolan that we had to interrupt your sleep for girl time).

    We created relationships and bonds.

    Memories: I can say that, without a doubt, I met the people that I never EVER want to leave my life.I can’t even name all of the people that made my freshman year such an incredible experience. If I gave you more than an hour of my time per week, just know you mean something to me. I love y’all more than you even know. UST wouldn’t be home with all of you.

    I, personally, left high school never feeling more satisfied with myself. I really truly didn’t think I could go up from there. I thought high school would be my peak. I was incredibly wrong. UST in seven months created more memorable moments for me than four years at Eagan.

    And I believe that’s something important to acknowledge. We may think that when one chapter ends, the next won’t be as good. It won’t be the same, that’s for sure, but that doesn’t mean it won’t meet or exceed your expectations. So next year I might not be living in Dowling 546, I might not have brunch every weekend at the View, I might not be able to run over to Brady hall whenever I need attention…but it could be even better that that.

    So here’s to having no regrets (well except that first week of school when Olivia and I didn’t run through the fountain. Olivia, we are doing that the first day we get back). Freshman year may be over, but we have so very much to look forward to.

    Class of ’23, we got this.

    With Love, Marin

  • Love Me Like a Girl

    Hey, pretty girl!

    Kelsea Ballerini’s new album, “Kelsea,” came out yesterday. As someone who’s been waiting for this album for months, I was incredibly excited that it came out during quarantine. It was definitely something to look forward to.

    While all the songs in this album are deep and relatable beyond belief, one song resonated with me during this time. Losing all my close girl friends this week was so very hard. Especially with the current women’s empowerment on Instagram, I believed this song was one to bring to everyone’s attention.

    After hearing the song “Love me Like a Girl,” I realized why it was so hard to leave my friends. Girls tend to form an incredibly deep bond with one another. While we all appreciate the males in our lives, sometimes we wish they would just be a little more like our gal pals 😉

    I copied the lyrics below and left my own thoughts on Kelsea’s words below them. The audio of this song is linked on the song title, as well.

    Love me Like a Girl Kelsea Ballerini

    Sometimes I don’t like what’s in the mirror
    Uncomfortable standin’ in my skin
    Yeah, sometimes I feel a little broken
    Doesn’t mean I need to be put together again

    So, when I’m cryin’
    Baby let me cry
    Don’t fix it
    Don’t try to make it right

    I wish you could love me like a girl
    I wish you could love me like a girl
    Cause my friends, they don’t hurt me, baby, not like you
    Yeah, I wish you could know me, baby, like they do
    I wish you could get inside my head
    Baby, maybe then you’d understand
    Why I wish you could love me like a girl

    I know, you don’t mean to be insensitive
    And I know, you’re never tryin’ to brush me off
    The truth is me and you, we’re wired different
    So it makes sense sometimes we get crossed

    So when I’m cryin’
    Baby pour some red
    When you want to kiss it better
    Listen instead

    I wish you could love me like a girl
    I wish you could love me like a girl
    Cause my friends, they don’t hurt me, baby, not like you
    Yeah, I wish you could know me, baby, like they do
    I wish you could get inside my head
    Baby, maybe then you’d understand
    Why I wish you could love me like a girl
    I wish you could love me like a girl

    I love the way you make me feel like I’m safely
    In the palm of your hand
    And I love the way you hold me, in the dark, babe
    Yeah, just like a man

    But I wish you could love me like a girl
    I wish you could love me like a girl
    Cause my friends, they don’t hurt me, baby, not like you
    Yeah I wish you could know me, baby, like they do
    I wish you could get inside my head
    Baby, maybe then you’d understand
    Why I wish you could love me like a girl

    We’ve all had those moments where we just hate how we look. It can be so frustrating to just look in the mirror and pick apart every small detail of yourself. Girl friends understand that. Even when you’re frustrated crying because your hair won’t function, they don’t downplay the situation. We are all wired to comfort each other and understand these insecurities.

    It can be hard for guys sometimes to understand this type of insecurity because they are just “wired different” than us. So if your man doesn’t get why you’re upset, don’t blame him. He can’t “get inside [your] head” and he doesn’t “mean to be instead.” It’s just something that us girls grasp, and sometimes we just wish our men would understand.

    Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate our men. One thing our girl friends can’t do for us is give us that “in the palm of your hand” sort of feeling. So guys, try to love us like our friends do. Watch how they treat us. And that starts with “listen[ing] instead.” Let us cry when we need to. But don’t stop giving us that manly love either, we appreciate that too.

    With Love, Marin

  • Motivation for your Monday: Episode 4

    Hey, pretty girl!

    Important quote for y’all:

    “You’ll eventually reach a point in your life where you start to realize your own worth and you’ll find that you won’t take shit from anyone anymore because you’re strong enough to know that you straight-up deserve better.”

    That I do. You do too. We all deserve the best of the best. Don’t settle for less.

    I wrote this in my “Motivation for Your Monday: Episode 2” but I think it’s important to be repeated (with modifications in italics). Say it with me : I’m okay on my own. I’m strong. I’m confident. I’m smart. I’m beautiful. I KNOW my self worth and I won’t let another person treat me how I’m absolutely not supposed to be treated. I deserve the world.

    Now guys, here’s a little one for you. Say it with me: I will treat women with respect. I will not utilize, manipulate or lie for my own benefit. I will treat women the way I would want my future daughter to be treated. I will act like a man, and not a boy, because this is 2020 and I live in a progressive society where women are not objects to be played with.

    So here’s to knowing what you deserve. Girl, you deserve the world. You deserve the upmost respect from any man in your life. If he doesn’t respect you, then he does not deserve you. Most importantly, don’t “let it slide.” Lying, cheating, manipulating or using you is INEXCUSABLE. There is zero way to come back from that!! There are a million guys who would and WILL treat you how you deserve. Don’t waste time on the ones who don’t.

    With Love, Marin

  • Gifts to get your S.O. for Valentine’s Day

    Hey, pretty girl! (and guys tuning in trying to figure out what they should buy)

    For Her

    1. Barefoot Dreams Blanket
    2. Scrunchie Apple Watch Band
    3. Heart Initial Necklace
    4. Starbucks Reusable Cup
    5. Rose that lasts for a Year
    6. Heart Shaped Sunglasses (Use my link for referral)
    7. Pearl Headband
    8. Jewelry Box
    9. Pink Handbag
    10. Anything cute & cheesy (chocolates, flowers, stuffed animal…)

    For Him

    1. Custom Leather Airpods Case
    2. Temp Control Smart Mug
    3. Wool Running Shoes
    4. Winc Subscription
    5. Something cute & cheesy (guys like to be spoiled sometimes too)

    With Love, Marin

  • Nothing Good Gets Away

    Hey, pretty girl!

    I was scrolling through Pinterest tonight and saw a quote that completely resonated with me.

    “If it is right, it happens. The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.”

    Upon seeing this, I knew I wanted to write a blog post covering this topic. While it’s a little too late for a Motivation for your Monday post, it looks like this can be a Thoughts for Tuesday post.

    The first thing that comes to your mind when you see this post is probably the thing you’re currently rushing in your life right now. Is it a relationship with someone you’ve liked for a while? Is it an opportunity in your activity/sport/job? Is it reaching a personal goal you set for yourself?

    No matter what thing your brain is worried about, it is important to establish patience. I’ve been one to always wish and pray for things to come to me quicker, making deals with God and wanting things to come sooner to be than in His plan.

    However, upon recently listening to a sermon, I learned something important that I felt tied really well with this quote. In a podcast from Berean Baptist Church, given by Tony Manning, this quote resonated with me …

    God has a plan that provides the backdrop for our lives. He is in control.

    If God is in control, what is the point in hurrying things? Every single moment of your life has a purpose. If we try to rush the learning moments God has given us, the “good” thing will not feel as special. Instead of spending time focusing on things we don’t have YET, focus on the moment you are in and the purpose it is serving.

    I make it sound so simple – just be patient. But, I understand, it’s not that easy. However, when we beg God for the things we want, it is evidence that we aren’t quite ready for whatever that thing is yet. In time, however, we will be ready.

    It’s easy to be anxious about receiving the things you want, especially when you feel like it should be your turn to receive. But what if we cut that anxiety part out of the picture? Wouldn’t life be so much simpler if we just lived our lives praying for what we have, preparing for what we are to receive?

    And that is where this Pinterest quote comes in. Don’t worry about rushing things. If you are meant to receive the thing you want, you will.

    With Love, Marin

  • TBT High School : The Club that Changed my Life (1/18)

    Hey, pretty girl!

    Senior year I made a decision that will forever affect my life. Instead of playing softball, I decided to join Eagan High School’s Speech Team (with a little push from the best head coach ever Mrs. Joni Anker). I was placed in the category of Informative Speaking (the one w/the boards if you’re familiar with speech).

    I was nervous beyond belief at our pre-season mock tournament. I stumbled on my words and felt SO inexperienced…until someone said a few simple words to me (you know who you are). “You are going to well this season.” After that one comment, I began to loosen up. And that’s where the season all started.

    The reason I posted this today is exactly a year ago I competed at my first tournament. The start of a long journey to who I am today.

    The season was a wild ride filled with 6 final rounds, a novice championship win, 2 national tournaments and one of my speech coaches getting married during my practice. Speech gave me a different feeling than softball did. I was so supported regardless of how I did. I never felt put down or worthless. I felt empowered.

    My coach always lifted me up. Something I never had before.

    Now, that doesn’t mean speech wasn’t always easy. At sections, my anxiety got the best of me. I stumbled over words I ever had before and I didn’t even know why. One of my teammates (you also know who you are) was in a round with me and made eye contact with me and helped me regain control of my speech. You jeopardized your own ranking in that round by helping me, but in that moment you made me understand that we were a team still. Speech, from the outside, didn’t look like a team sport. However, speech gave me a greater sense of teamwork than softball ever did.

    Walking into the last tournament of the season, I had everything to gain and nothing to lose. NIETOC was the midwestern nationals and I had earned enough bids to attend. I truthfully thought I’d get demolished…this wasn’t the Harvard National Tournament…you had to be in final rounds to get to NIETOC. When I saw my name on the octofinals list, I was shocked beyond belief.

    Every single final round at NIETOC, I spoke every single word like it was the last time. Every time I saw my name pop up on the next final round board I was in shock. How in the world could I, of all people, be going this far at a national tournament? It was because I spoke every single word like it was the last time.

    Since speech, I’ve trained myself to speak with purpose in my daily life. Every single word matters. Every word has a purpose. Instead of a ten minute time limit, however, I have my finite lifetime.

    Novice turned 11th place at a national tournament? Yeah, that’s pretty cool. But you know what’s even cooler? Fragile girl turned confident woman.

    I owe speech team for helping me find my voice, my worth and my place in this world. Even when the whole world seems to be breaking around me, my words are something that I will never, ever lose. If you’re looking for a home to express yourself or are just debating on whether to join speech, especially if you go to Eagan, join. It’ll not only help your writing, communicating and leadership skills, it’ll help you become more…well…you.

    A love letter to speech : I wish I could’ve joined sooner, but I wasn’t meant to. I was meant to only know you for long enough to love you and not dread you. You were something new but something that had always been within me. The awards in the end aren’t what you gave me. You gave me new friends. You gave me self worth. You gave me a chance to speak at graduation. You gave me the truest form of myself.

    With Love, Marin

  • “Love somebody who ruins your lipstick, not your mascara.”

    Hey, pretty girl!

    When I asked what y’all wanted to see more of in 2020, I got quite a few responses of “relationship advice.” The other day when I was doing my makeup, a Runaway Jane song came on my phone. This country group is known for their female empowerment songs but this one – “Lipstick” – really spoke to me.

    So often women are told that love is “supposed to hurt sometimes.” But love shouldn’t hurt. And the analogy of how a man affects your makeup is a really good way to put this.

    If he ruins your mascara – drop him. But if he ruins your lipstick …. now that’s just him doing his job.

    I think it’s time to change the phrase that love hurts sometimes. Love isn’t easy, by any means, but if it hurts then it isn’t the right love. And your person will “fall right outta the blue,” because “he’s out there looking for you.”

    With Love, Marin

  • How to Get a 4.0 in College

    Hey, pretty girl!

    Disclaimer : These are things that have worked for me. I am giving my best advice and the strategies that I’ve implemented to help me achieve my goal GPA. Sidenote – a 4.0 is not necessary!

    Also because some of y’all might not believe my GPA, here is a little proof

    Going into college, I made a promise to myself: reduce my overall stress level. Senior year had me frail and broken. While I was motivated in previous years, it seemed to heighten with the added stress of only needing to maintain my GPA for one more year to graduate valedictorian. During my senior year I had lost unnecessary weight and was consumed by anxiety.

    While I decided to keep my same method of studying (typing my notes into question and answer format to study off of), I decided to change the amount of time I would study. Instead of burning myself out studying for 7 hours straight, like I would in high school, I would take a break whenever I could tell I wasn’t able to 100% concentrate. I would return to working on my homework when I was able to.

    5 Quick Tips for a Perfect GPA

    1. Break up your homework and study sessions w/free time!
    2. Create study guides (please please please don’t just reread your notes to study!!)
    3. Ask questions you don’t understand and answer the ones you do in class.
    4. Go talk to professors about your essay when you’re in the process of writing – they might grade it a little easier.
    5. Go into every quiz, test and exam knowing that the final result is now out of your control so you can relax!

    Detailed Look at How I Study

    Example Study Plan

    Example Study Guide

    Another important thing that I’ve learned about myself in college, skipping meals and sleep to study is NEVER okay and causes MAJOR HARM to your mental health. Please eat and sleep. Your GPA won’t matter if your health is failing.

    With Love, Marin

  • “He’s Chasin’ Me”

    Hey, pretty girl!

    My favorite pastime is pulling up the Apple Music top country playlist and hitting shuffle. Using this method, I have found my all time favorite songs and artists that I wouldn’t have heard of otherwise.

    During one of my music searching sessions this week I came across a song by an artist I hadn’t heard of before – “Chasin’ Me” by Caroline Jones. Upon hearing the lyrics of this song, I was immersed in the accuracy and relatability of the lyrics.

    I am a strong believer that if someone wants a relationship with you, they will make a conscious effort to get close to you. They will not give up (no matter how many times you left them on read..whoops, my bad…but I like you now so take a hint).

    It seems impossible or unrealistic at times to believe there is someone out there perfect for you AND willing to give you the love you deserve. This leads a lot of people to just settle.

    “They will change eventually.” “I wish they were just a little more like me.” “It drives me crazy when they do (insert something).” “They don’t give me the attention I want, but it’s good enough.”

    All of the above comments are signs that you are not in the right relationship. If you don’t feel like your partner is 100% your person, then don’t hold onto them. There will be someone more right and more deserving of your love.

    Make your person chase you. But, more importantly, chase him too.

    “But now I’m the one who’s losin’ my cool. And butterflies make me feel like a fool. I’ve always been the one in control. But that boy just does something to my soul.

    He’s chasin’ me.”

    With Love, Marin

  • Motivation for your Monday: Episode 4

    Hey, pretty girl!

    I was struggling to think of topic for this Monday. Typically, I jump on a concept that is currently nagging at my mind, but I honestly could not find something… UNTIL I was messaging my college friends while hanging with my high school ones.

    In that moment, I realized how incredibly blessed I am to have two great friend groups full of people who love and support me. Six years ago, I definitely would not have thought this would be my reality. Middle school, for me, was a time where I had truly felt like I didn’t fit in. Now here I was, surrounded by people accepting of who I’ve become.

    Friends are second family. Having great friends is truly something that is a blessing to be grateful for. However, having great friends who support you no matter what, are ever better.

    This got me thinking… what if we were all each other’s friends? What if we all treated each other with the kindness and respect that we give to our friends?

    Conclusion : this world would be a lot less cruel, dark and hateful.

    Now, you’re going to say to me, “but what about the people who I CANNOT be friends with.” I challenge yourself to understand why they behave the way that makes you unable to be their friend.

    Situation #1 : The toxic friend who causes detriment to your mental health.

    Situation #2 : The friend who is not being a friend for reasons that you may be unaware of.

    Obviously, these are not the only two scenarios when it comes to friends. However, it is important to acknowledge the distinction between these two friend behaviors. In the case of the second, we must understand to be empathetic of those around us.

    Keep the following quote in mind when determining between the two situations :

    And I’ll leave you with this – let’s be friends. Reach out to me and I’ll be here. It’s our job to be each other’s support, regardless of how well you know each other now. There is always the potential to GET TO KNOW each other.

    With Love, Marin

  • Takeaways from a Semester in College

    Hey, pretty girl!

    Phew, finals are over. I am prepared beyond belief for six weeks without school! First semester of college has taught me a lot. These last four months have been chaotic and I wouldn’t know where to begin…so I compiled some of the life lessons I’ve picked up on.

    25 Things I’ve Learned during First-Semester

    1. I should’ve appreciated welcome week and not having classes more. Like a lot more.
    2. Having a randomly assigned roommate was the best decision I ever made – luv u so much Olivia.
    3. College can turn even the most organized person into a procrastinator.
    4. The dining hall loses its pizazz after like week two, but eating is important so don’t skip meals.
    5. Don’t stay friends with just your high school friends. It is so much fun to have two different friend groups that can come together.
    6. Waking up before 7 am is now impossible.
    7. Take advantage of the on-campus/off-campus activities. You pay for those with student activity fee money!!
    8. Frat parties are not like the movies but still fun??? (idk yet I’m debating on that one).
    9. Communal bathrooms are not that bad. Except when you have to squat in the shower or someone threw up or a girl flushed their shirt down the toilet…ok yeah…it’s not good either.
    10. Getting involved on campus can connect you with some pretty awesome people who you wouldn’t be friends with otherwise (freshman class cohort > everything).
    11. Going home is weird and my bed is more comfortable at my dorm.
    12. Don’t download dating apps.
    13. On second thought…do download them (you’ll have some good stories).
    14. On a related note, public first dates!!! I cannot emphasize that enough.
    15. Repeating number 1 because it’s important – I SHOULD HAVE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF WELCOME WEEK.
    16. After fall break time just moves quicker. No, I do not know why.
    17. Coffee either occurs all day for a week straight or you forget what it tastes like – there is no in between.
    18. The CASINO on a Monday night – that’s all I got on that one.
    19. Going to the gym is no longer to get fit. It is purely to avoid other responsibilities.
    20. I shouldn’t have wasted so much money on uber and uber eats….
    21. The entire boy’s dorm building has a weird smell…
    22. Roll Toms sounds better on the tongue than Ski U Mah.
    23. Yeah, counseling is “available.” But like…your crippling mental health can wait until spring semester though! We will put you on the wait list!!
    24. Finals week has no rules. PJ’s to class? Acceptable. Running on pure coffee? Not just acceptable, but you’re THRIVING.
    25. End the semester the way you started it. Even if that’s chaotically walking to the Mississippi River at 1 am to look at stars.

    With Love, Marin

  • Motivation for your Monday : Episode 2

    Hey, pretty girl!

    For this episode of Motivation for your Monday, I want to focus on the idea of self worth and acceptance of yourself while single.

    First things first, you are not defined by your relationship status. You are not defined by how many people hit on you. You are not defined by how many boyfriends you’ve had. My point? you are not defined by ANOTHER PERSON.

    Our society teaches us that we need another person to “complete us.” But the truth is, you’re not a half waiting to become whole. You have always been a whole. Another person will never truly make you feel complete; only true acceptance of yourself can make you feel that way.

    I understand it isn’t that simple. We won’t just wake up one day and feel complete. And it’s not easy to see the best in ourselves, especially when we are constantly comparing our lives to those around us. Acceptance and forgiving others for their flaws is easy to do, so why is it so hard to do for ourselves?

    Well, it could be because we know ourselves better than anyone in the world does. We expect so much for ourselves and hold a level of perfection that is simply unattainable.

    “I want to get married by 25.” “I need kids before age 30.” “I cannot be alone for the holiday season.”

    It never hurts to have a plan, but in the same respect, our lives aren’t supposed to follow a plan. If everything followed our plan, life would be pretty boring. Imagine it like this – you follow a very strict diet and never spontaneously deviate from it – boring, right? Same idea. Let life be like that chocolate bar you ate for lunch.

    Back to the point….. I told myself that if I started a blog, I’d always be honest. And honestly, I wish I would follow my own advice. The truth is, no matter how pretty someone’s Instagram page is, they have insecurities too. My insecurity stems from difficulty accepting myself while single.

    I’m about to get really vulnerable y’all so hold onto your hats. I am insecure about the relationships I’ve had with men. Or rather, the lack of them. It can be self defeating to feel like you’re never the girl a guy wants to date. I constantly have felt that because I am not afraid to be myself, I scare every boy away from me. And that, my friends, is my insecurity. I can tell myself over and over again that “men do not determine my happiness,” but I struggle to believe it. I feel like I’m constantly waiting for someone to sweep me off my feet and be my Hallmark movie ending instead of being okay on my own.

    And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’m not the only one who is constantly searching for the person who’s supposed to jump into my life and change everything – waiting for my “other half.” But I’ve made a mindset change tonight. I’m not going to wait around and you shouldn’t either.

    Say it with me : I’m okay on my own. I’m strong. I’m confident. I’m smart. I’m beautiful. I KNOW my self worth and I won’t let another person’s opinion take that from me. Anyone who passes on me is NOT worth my time (subtweet).

    I challenge you to find your self worth. Find the place where you thrive best and give it everything you have. Your future partner will admire your passion, not be intimidated by your self acceptance.

    Remember : The only person who deserves you, is the person who thinks they don’t. Never settle for less.

    Now, to the girl who is lost when it comes to love : blare Born to Fly by Sara Evans a couple times. I promise it’ll hit you on a whole different level.

    And to whoever my person is : I’m a whole. You will never complete me. You will simply be an addition. You’re not going to be afraid to chase me. You won’t be afraid of my confidence, intelligence and self love. You will be deserving of me. And I will be deserving of you. And when I meet you, I’ll know.

    With Love, Marin

  • St. Paul Travel Guide

    Hey, pretty girl!

    Welcome to St. Paul!! My new city!! While I haven’t had a second to do all the touristy things that St. Paul has to offer since starting college… here’s my bucket list (also including some things that I’ve done since I’ve grown up close by)!

    #9 – @seniorsbysarahchacos

    1. Black Coffee and Waffle Bar

    2. Minnehaha Regional Park

    3. Exploring Grand Avenue

    4. Saint Paul Farmer’s Market

    5. Wabasha Street Caves

    6. Como Park Conservatory

    7. Hi-Lo Diner

    8. Fitzgerald Theater / Ordway Center for Performing Arts

    9. St. Paul Cathedral

    10. Izzy’s Ice Cream Shop

    With Love, Marin

  • Takeaways from a Month in College

    Hey, pretty girl!

    After a month of living at UST, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve begun to settle into college life. While some expectations I had for college were true, others were completely and totally inaccurate.

    Dorm Life

    First of all, don’t even try to schedule a bedtime. It won’t happen. Literally never. However, you will not regret the 4 hours of sleep because it was probably for a good reason. The dorms are socializing central, leaving you meeting so many new people. I was terrified of communal bathrooms coming in, but truly they are a lot better than you think AND you meet new people at the same time. Roommates are awesome (just be respectful to each other) and turn the space into your own mini home.

    Schoolwork

    There is a lot of reading and outside of classwork. College isn’t harder than high school, it’s just more. DO NOT procrastinate (I say as I write this blog post while procrastinating my two papers)! But seriously, don’t. You’ll regret it. Professors are also there to help you, so participate by raising your hand and get them to know you! You will thank yourself later.

    Meeting New People

    I was terrified of meeting new people in college. I was worried I would not be able to make any friends, or I had forgotten how to make friends. However, a month into college I have a well-established friend group with people who support me! While it’s not always that easy to make friends, it pushes you out of your comfort zone and helps you grow as a person. If your school offers small dorm communities with people of similar interests, I 100% recommend it. The Aquinas Scholars Honors Living Learning Community was the best decision I ever made!

    With Love, Marin

  • Tips to Creating a Dorm Room that Feels Like Home

    Hey, pretty girl!

    Up next in the college blog series – dorm rooms. Some of us prior to college cannot wait to live in a new space with new people! Others of us (aka me prior to college) was worried about sharing a space with another person, not having enough room in the closet and feeling like I wasn’t “at home.”

    After week one, room 546 (that’s me) was labeled the room that had everything. And we did have everything : aloe, drying racks, vacuum, snacks, etc. But, over the last few weeks, I’ve also been able to figure out what has truly made my dorm room feel a little bit more like home.

    I used the same bedding and color scheme I had at home.

    I decorated my wall with photos and signs to make the room less empty.

    I put marble contact paper on the doors to cover up the boring wood color.

    Now, these three things may seem super simple, but they make a huge difference. If you’re worried about being “home-sick,” start here with these things. Things that gently reminds you of home are the best things to bring with you.

    With Love, Marin

  • 10 Things to Keep in Mind with College Welcome Week

    Hey, pretty girl!

    When it comes to college welcome week, we all have a lot of misconceptions. What I’ve learned the last week…

    1. Move-in is a disaster if you don’t organize.

    2. It will take you a couple times to figure out how to lock and unlock your door.

    3. You will make friends. Let me repeat that – YOU WILL MAKE FRIENDS.

    4. Communal bathrooms kind of feel like public restrooms, except you have to give obligatory good-morning’s and good-night’s.

    5. If you really are all about the parties, you’ll be able to find them. But if you want to chill in your dorm and watch a movie with friends, you’ll be able to do that too.

    6. Naps are a necessity.

    7. Desserts in the dining hall are good. Eat them… just not every meal.

    8. Getting into a routine is more difficult than it looks.

    9. Go to the events. They’re fun if you make them fun.

    10. After it’s all over, you desperately don’t want classes to start.

    With Love, Marin

  • “The Night Before, Life Goes On.”

    Hey, pretty girl!

    When Trace Adkins’ “You’re Gonna Miss This” comes on your radio 5 times in the last three months, it’s the world telling you a little something. Y2Kountry, thank you for helping me realize my current state of sadness that high school is really over – just like that. 

    I am writing this blog post for anyone who’s struggling to move on to the next big step in their life. Especially those of you moving into college really soon…like me…tomorrow (ahh). 

    High school is only four years long. Each class, day, and week passes slowly, but each year goes by so fast. I felt like I wished those four years away. I wanted to grow up, go to college, and move on. And once I walked across the stage, all I wanted was to relive the four years all over again. Yet, what we all need to realize is that those will not be the “best years of our lives.” There will be so many more great, and better, years. 

    It can be a scary concept to grasp. People we’ve known for thirteen years could suddenly turn into people we will never see again after graduation. Some of us are naturally ready to move on. But, if you’re like me, you’ll spend too many late nights breaking into tears over the idea of it. 

    It’s taken time, but what I’ve come to terms with is that you cannot start a new chapter without ending the last one. High school may be over, but there are so many more chapters to be written in my life. Instead of being sad over what has happened, I decided to be grateful for the many memories and stories I will be able to cherish for my entire life. 

    But, when your friends leave for college, cry. When you get dropped off at college, cry. When you miss high school three years down the road, cry. But make those tears about the happy moments you’ve shared, not what you’re losing. 

    For those of you still in high school…

    • Be yourself
    • Have fun as often as you can
    • Study like crazy
    • Go after what you want
    • Slow down, it goes fast

    Songs to get you in the feels for move-in day

    • Trace Adkins – “You’re Gonna Miss This”
    • Carrie Underwood – “The Night Before (Life Goes On)
    • Hailey Whitters – “The Days”
    • Carrie Underwood – “Don’t Forget to Remember Me”
    • Kenny Chesney – “Don’t Blink”

    With Love, Marin

  • Madden’s Travel Guide

    Hey, pretty girl!

    I don’t know if it’s just a Minne-girl thang but there is nothing I love more than trips to the lake. Due to a legal convention, I’ve had the joy of lake life for a few days every August. Three years ago, the convention was moved to Madden’s Resort on Gull Lake – and let me tell y’all – I get more excited for these trips than large vacations!

    Our Room

    This is the upstairs area where I stayed with my sister @photosbyjannajo

    Steamboat Bay Sunrise Villa

    • 2 Queen Beds on the main level
    • 2 Twin Beds on the upper/loft level (the best view of the sunrise)
    • 2 Bathrooms (1 on each level)
    • Kitchenette
    • Balcony w/Lake Views

    On-Resort : Things to Do

    • Waterskiing
    • Paddle-boarding
    • Swimming (Lake/Pool)
    • Fishing (Boat Rentals Available!)
    • Outdoor Waterpark
    • Visit the Tennis/Croquet Club
    • Golf
    • Do a Photoshoot (explore the resort to find a gorgeous flower patch)

    Around Town : Things to Do

    • Shopping at Westgate Mall & Fun Sisters Boutique
    • Horseback Riding w/Outback Stables
    • Zip-lining at Mount Ski Gull
    • Cuyuna Mountain Biking
    • Northland Kart Kountry Family Fun Park

    On-Resort : Where to Eat

    Quick Service:

    • Parfecto Pizza
    • Madden Bros’ Market (strawberry-banana smoothie is SO good)
    • Chrissy’s Ice Cream Parlor

    Classic Dining:

    • Fairways
    • The Lobby Cafe

    Fancy Dining:

    • Mission Point
    • The Classic Grill

    Around Town : Where to Eat

    • Grizzly’s Wood-Fired Grill
    • Ernie’s on Gull
    • El Tequila Mexican Restaurant (tacos are THE best food ever created)
    • The Boulder Tap House
    • Rafferty’s Pizza

    With Love, Marin

  • Desk Organization

    Hey, pretty girl!

    A week ago I started stocking up on all my school supplies! I don’t know about y’all, but organization and starting out with brand new notebooks is the BEST feeling! And desk organization is one of the easiest ways to help start off the year right.

    I purchased all my organizers at Target and plan to set up my dorm desk like my setup below! Keeping your desk organized and clean is a surefire way to stay focused and on-task. A messy desk space leads to distractions and loss of focus.

    Example Setup

    Binder

    Tape dispenser

    Stapler

    Planner

    Pen/Pencil Holder

    Wall Organizer

    Magnet/Whiteboard

    Magazine File Holder

    Laptop Stand

    With Love, Marin

  • Clothes for College

    Hey, pretty girl!

    College is fast approaching, which means its storage bin and packing up your closest season! With small rooms, closets and overall space in general, it can be tough to decide what to bring with to college!

    This list includes just the “must need” items – be sure to bring your favorite fall pieces along with this. Remember : you can always go shopping once you’re in college.

    With Love, Marin

  • UNiDAYS: Utilize your College Deals

    Hey, pretty girl!

    One of the only good things about being a broke college student, is that many stores offer deals to help you out in this crazy time. The hub for a lot of this deals is an app – UNiDAYS.

    If you don’t already know about UNiDAYS, you can use your college email to sign up (even if you aren’t actually moved into your dorm room yet) and have to verify your account.

    After this process it’s basically a free for all. The app features things like : deals near you, scholarship opportunities, percentages off at high end stores and gift-card like promotions.

    My Favorite Deals

    Kate Spade – 15% Off

    Express – 15% Off

    Frye – 20% off

    Lulu’s – 10% Off

    Apple – Free 6 month Apple Music Membership, 20% discount on Apple Care and Free pair of Beats with a iPad/Mac Purchase

    American Eagle Outfitters – 20% Off

    Forever 21 – 15% Off

    College only lasts so long! Save the money while you can and enjoy all the deals this new chapter in your life unlocks!

    With Love, Marin

  • Nashville Travel Guide: In 10’s

    Hey, pretty girl!

    When you step off the plane and into Nashville International Airport, you immediately know you’re in music city. With Nashville becoming a booming metropolis for all music, tech and bridal parties – Nashville is the place to visit right now!

    @photosbyjannajo

    Where to Stay:

    When my family was in Nashville for spring break, we opted to stay in an Airbnb. With bigger groups (aka over 4 people) it can be hard to find a hotel room. While I wished we stayed closer to the inner-city, this was a quieter area and was only an uber ride away to many top visiting locations!

    1) This specific Airbnb that we stayed in had the cutest Nashville decor and made you feel right at home. Other great extras things included board games, record player and lighted mirrors.

    2) Hilton Nashville Downtown

    3) Airbnb Nashville Cottage

    4) Sheraton Music City Hotel

    5) Airbnb Contemporary Apartment

    6) Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center

    7) Airbnb Townhome with Outdoor Space

    8) Dream Nashville Hotel

    9) Airbnb Apartment on Broadway

    10) Onmi Nashville Hotel

    What to Do:

    1) Grand Ole Opry Tour & Show

    2) Madame Tussauds

    3) Tour of the Ryman Auditorium

    4) Nashville Zoo (you can pet Kangaroos!!)

    5) Explore the Opryland Hotel (this is where I purchased my cowgirl boots)

    6) Johnny Cash Museum

    7) Belle Meade Plantation Tour

    8) Shopping in the Gulch (this is where the angel-wing mural is wink wink)

    9) Country Music Hall of Fame

    10) The Parthenon

    Where to Eat:

    1) Milk & Honey (grab morning coffee before shopping in the Gulch)

    2) Corner Bakery Cafe

    3) Aquarium Restaurant

    4) Hard Rock Cafe

    5) Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse (a lil on the pricey side but so worth it)

    6) Corner Pub Downtown

    7) Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery

    8) Sam’s Place (if you go anywhere on this list, GO HERE AND ORDER THE HAND-BREADED CHICKEN STRIPS – you will thank me later)

    9) Savannah’s Candy Kitchen

    10) Goo-Goo Shop

    With Love, Marin

  • Pajama Try-On Haul

    Hey, pretty girl!

    I’ll be the first to admit – I love wearing athletic shorts and mix-match tees to bed. And then… I realized I would be sharing a room (and a bathroom) with people I barely knew this fall – let’s say, it was time for a PJ wardrobe update.

    For all of you girls heading to college this fall and starting the endless slumber-party that is dorm life – search no further than Target and Amazon (sizing details will be at the end).

    1. Transition PJ Set

    These Target pajamas are the cutest mauve tank/short set ever! Not only are they made of the softest material ever, it also doesn’t completely look like a pajama set. So if you’re looking to go to the laundry room or the dining hall – it’ll just look like lounge wear.

    Also, in case you haven’t heard, most dorms are constantly hot from the amount of bodies in the building. However, if there happens to be a cool evening, you can purchase these matching pajama pants to go with the set.

    2. Collared PJ Set

    If you’re looking to pretend like you have the adult-thing figured out, I highly recommended the Target collared PJ set featured on my Instagram. The material is soft on the skin and perfect if you’re looking for more coverage in your pajamas. I have it in grey and navy, but it also comes in a classic black!

    3. Collared Nightgown

    This Target nightgown has the same style as my collared pajama set, but it for the girls who like the feel of an oversized t-shirt. If you’re taller, I recommended sizing up so that you can walk to the communal bathrooms without flashing anyone!

    4. Slippers

    For lounging in a dorm room or going to a slumber party – slippers are a must! If you are using them frequently though, they need to hold up. These slippers have been recommended by SO many bloggers I follow – and let me tell you, they live up to the hype.

    I purchased the cream colored slippers in a size 9-10 (they run a tad small)!!

    5. Fuzzy Robe

    For after the shower when you just want to stay warm – this robe is so affordable and so cute! It’s on the longer side too, so you don’t have to worry about minimal coverage.

    6. Silk Robe

    If you’re looking for a robe that a) won’t make your hair frizzy and b) looks sexy, this is the robe you want! It comes in a variety of colors and is soft on your skin.

    7. Eye Mask

    For mid-day naps and when your roommate stays up late studying, eye masks are a necessity. This one from Amazon comes in so many colors (matching any girl’s style).

    Sizing Guide : I recommend getting everything in your true size… EXCEPT TARGET. Target tends to have a larger than typical sizing range – for example, I’m typically a small. I size down to an extra-small in Target clothing!

    @photosbyjannajo

    With Love, Marin

  • Dorm Room Essentials

    Hey, pretty girl!

    Planning for college can be tough, especially if you’re a first born like me! For now, this should help you out with buying stuff for your room, a college packing list will be coming soon!

    With Love, Marin

  • Summer Reading List

    Hey, pretty girl!

    Ohhh summertime… the time to read all the books you didn’t have time to read during the school year! To finish off this summer, I rounded up two types of books: motivational and romance. Both are perfect for summer reading by the pool, at the park, or during a thunderstorm.

    I put an asterisk next to the books I’ve already read (and loved). I plan to read the rest of these books this summer. So join me in grabbing a book from this list and get into full-blown summer cramming mode!

    Motivational/Self-Love

    A Love Letter Life by Jeremy & Audrey Roloff

    Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

    Imperfect Courage by Jessica Honegger 

    *Own Your Everyday by Jordan Lee Dooley

    Perfectly Imperfect by Ailsa Robson

    Summer Romance

    Eyes on Me by Rachel Harris

    Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith

    If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberly & Austin Siegemund-Broka

    *My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

    Night Music by Jenn Marie Thorne

    *Once and For All by Sarah Dessen 

    The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen (YES, this is her new book!)

    The Stand in Boyfriend by Christina Benjamin 

    *The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

    Side Note: Do NOT judge a book by its cover.

    With Love, Marin