Life

  • 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

  • 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

  • Halloweekend Episode 1 : TV/Movie Character Costumes

    Riverdale

    If you’re looking for couples costumes, trendy costumes or something that generally fits your overall style – Riverdale is your best bet. These costumes can range from classy to sassy to flashy.

    Veronica Lodge : Simple black dress, pearl necklace, black heels, dark eye makeup, curled hair.

    Betty Cooper : Sweater, jeans, flats/booties/sneakers, soft makeup, pony tail.

    Cheryl Blossom : Red dress, choker, red lipstick, curled hair.

    Jughead Jones : Black tee, black jeans, flannel for waist, jean jacket, beanie.

    Archie Andrews : White tee, jeans, letterman jacket.

    Gossip Girl

    With the reboot recently announced a few months ago, this is a perfect throwback costume to reminisce our old favorite characters and celebrate the new ones to come.

    Blair Waldorf : White dress top, black skirt, high socks, flats, headband

    Chuck Bass : Full suit, dress shoes.

    Dan Humphrey : Kackis, dress shirt/casual polo, jacket over the top.

    Clueless

    Currently there is a major throwback to 90’s clothing. This is the perfect way to incorporate trendy clothing with a costume.

    Cher : Plaid Dress or Skirt/Blazer Set (Check Forever 21 and Target)

    Mean Girls

    This movie is basically a classic, and is perfect if you want a group costume for you and your new college besties! There are two ways you can use this movie for costumes.

    Talent Show Costume : Need a group of 4 for this one. Y’all all know the costume. To simplify it : red dress, knee high black boots, black ribbon for belt, black gloves.

    On Wednesdays We Wear Pink : Need a group of 3 (or 4) for this one. Decorate yourself a burn book and mix-match different color pinks with whites.

    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

  • "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

  • "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

  • 2020 Vision

    Hey, pretty girl!

    I love the feeling of a new year, it always gives me a clean state to get a jump start on my goals. I’m not a huge new year’s resolution gal, but I do like to make a list of my goals for the upcoming year! (I bet you can guess what one of my goals was for this year-hint:this website). But this year, it’s time for not only a new year but a NEW DECADE.

    This decade could be filled with SO many life changing events for me as I go into my 20’s and I am excited. While I’m praying for some 1920’s revival fashion, I’m awestruck that the next 10 years could be when I graduate from college, secure my career, meet my future husband or bring life into this world. While that is slightly terrifying, it’s thrilling to think about! Going into this decade I was only in third grade! And y’all, that feels like yesterday…time only moves quicker too.

    Since 7 is my favorite number (past softball number), I wrote down 7 goals for each of the following categories.

    My 2020 Blog Vision

    • Acceptance to RewardStyle
    • Publish 40 blog posts
    • Post 200 photos to Instagram
    • Get a brand deal/collaboration
    • Double Instagram followers
    • Attend a local blogger event
    • Make money off of blogging

    My 2020 Vision

    • Work on positive self talk
    • Create healthy relationships
    • Have the best second semester everrr
    • Make some $$$$
    • Love with my whole heart
    • Donate some clothes/shoes
    • Read and listen more

    My 2020’s Vision

    • Graduate with honors
    • Get into law school
    • Secure my dream job and help others
    • Create forever friendships (or relationships)
    • Become a mom (God willing)
    • Live in every moment
    • Be myself

    With Love, Marin

  • Recap of 2019

    Hey, pretty girl!

    For my recap of 2019, I decided to show it in photos. I would’ve never guessed a year ago how different I would be today because of 2019. From speech team to graduation to college life, 2019 was one for the books. Here we go…

    Joined speech (best decision of my life) and found my home on the info team! Highlights were quarter finals at Harvard and 11th place at NIETOC.
    Traveled to Nashville for spring break and explored the city I want to call home someday (Vanderbilt law school???)
    Did prom the right way – aka with the besties – and killed my feet in 5 inch heels.
    Graduated alongside my best friends and achieved my lifelong goals of graduating valedictorian and the ability to speak at graduation.
    Partied it up all night at the class of 2019 overnight party – aka played ping pong for way too many hours and ate TONS of junk food. First of much junk food because… grad parties.
    Moved on to the next chapter (college baby 🤪) with my besties and I going in 3 different directions… ready to make some new besties to add to the squad.
    Met my roommate aka my BEST FRIEND. The Honors LLC at St. Thomas did me well with the friend market.
    Road on a riverboat through STAR programming, hijacked the music & danced on the dance floor because no one else was.
    Got voted in as a student government senator and met 2 more of my good friends! Little did I know we’d be going to a casino together soon 😉
    TOJO 2019!!!!! Who cares if we lost? Tommies still do it best, am I right?! Also football boys are cute sooo really just went to the game to see them.
    ANOTHER football game – same reasoning as the previous but this time it left my body completely frozen.
    Partying it up with my mf gals all semester!! Can’t wait for second semester 😉

    2020 – Bring it On.

    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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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