What Comes Next

Hey y’all!!!

I know that it’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted, but my life has finally slowed down a bit and I’m so excited to be back to blogging. Over the past three months I have been in the process of applying to sixteen (I know, sixteen is totally excessive) of the nation’s coolest universities. I’ve written dozens of essays and traveled to visits and interviews. Unfortunately, I’m still not 100% sure where I will be attending in the fall (I do have a current favorite), I know that God has a wonderful plan for me and I’m excited about what’s to come. With that being said, I thought I’d use this post to discuss some of the things I’ve learned over this process.

  • Patience is a Virtue

I struggle with needing to know every detail of my life and waiting on anything is generally excruciating. During this past year, I have waited to hear back from some schools for as long as six months. Through this process I have learned that you can choose to be patient, or you can choose to fret over a date that will come eventually whether you’re worrying about it or not. Patience truly is a virtue, and while I still am not the best at waiting, this process has most definitely helped me to improve in this area.

  • Rejection Isn’t Personal

Colleges receive thousands of applications for a limited number of spots in their freshman class. Many universities receive enough qualified applicants to fill twice the size of their freshman class, however they simply just can’t accept every qualified applicant. In the beginning, I took it really personally and was dumbfounded as to why I was rejected from a school where my stats were well above their average. As I have continued through this process, I have learned that so many factors go into your admissions decision and that it is not at all personal when you receive a rejection. This journey has taught me that you don’t always get what you want or deserve, but it’s not because you didn’t deserve it or weren’t qualified enough to be admitted.

  • God’s Plan is Better

Through this process, I have been rejected by a school that I saw as my dream school. I was completely in love and the rejection hit hard, however I have since realized that I would’ve been accepted if I was supposed to go there. God has a plan for your life and throughout the past year I have found comfort in the fact that every rejection is leading me to where I’m supposed to be. It’s hard to trust in the fact that his plan is better than yours, however that is true and this journey has helped me to realize that.

The college search process has taught me countless things about myself and I hope that sharing just a few of the things that I’ve learned can help someone in the future. These past few months have been a whirlwind, but I’m excited for the future and I know that I will end up exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha

A Letter to The Stressed Out AP Student

This post is for all my high school students stressed out over AP exams, finals, exit exams, and projects. Remember – “We’re all in this together.”

If all you can think about is DBQs, FRQs, and whether you’re going to get a 2 or 3 then this is the post for you. In my opinion, the beginning of May is the absolute worst time of the year in high school. You have all the regular stress of school plus the additional stress of multiple three hour exams that determine whether you have to retake an entire course in college or not, and I know how overwhelming it is. Between cramming for exams, finishing homework, and studying for regular tests; it seems as if there just aren’t enough hours in a day.

When the stress gets to be too much and you can’t seem to think straight, it’s extremely important to be able to take a step back, relax, and gain perspective.  Will it matter if you passed AP Biology when you’re working at your dream job in fifteen years? Does it matter if you got a four or a five on AP Human Geography when you get into your dream college? Will your future husband care if you passed AP Calculus? The answer to all of these is NO.

While these exams are important, especially because in many cases you’ve spent a year preparing, they are in no way a defining point in your life. You are not defined by how well you do on one test in the first or second week of May. You are not defined by a 3,4, or 5. With that being said, I do feel that by studying smart and not overwhelming yourself it’s possible to make it through AP season without too many mental breakdowns.

 

Happy Studying and Good Luck!!

 

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha

3 Study Tips to Survive the School Year

The end of April is one of my least favorite times of the school year. AP Exams and finals are looming ominously and stress is at an all time high. During this crazy time of the year, it’s important to tell yourself to relax and breathe because the end is in sight. I only have about thirty days of school left, but the amount of work I have left to do is overwhelming. When the stress is too much and you need a break, remember these three things to help you push through and finish strong.

  • Take Regular Study Breaks

I find that it’s best to take your study break in a different room from where you are studying or you could even take advantage of the great weather and go for a quick walk outside. When you return from your break, you will be much more focused and ready to work.

  • Change The Scenery

If you’ve been studying for finals or AP exams for days on end then it will help you to find a new place to study. Personally I like to move my study session outside to a local park or even on my front porch. The fresh air helps me feel energized and to regain focus. Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to study somewhere unconventional.

  • Find A Study Buddy

This tip definitely varies in effectiveness based on personality type and who you choose to study with, but I am definitely a fan of studying with a friend or a group. It’s important to find a friend with equal focus and one that knows how to study. I have found that it is helpful for me to quiz others on the material because reading it aloud helps it stick in my brain.

The biggest study tip that I can share is to find what works for you. No two people study exactly the same or learn the exact same way. Be sure to be persistent with studying and never give up. Good Luck to you all as we take some of the most important tests of the year, we’ve got this!

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha

 

Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?

Today I’m here to share my favorite snow day activities that don’t involve building a snowman. If you have absolutely no interest in freezing your tail off and playing in the snow for hours on end then this is the post for you. A snow day is the perfect time to catch up on things that need to be done, but who really wants to do that? That’s what regular days are for! For the past two days I’ve been snowed in due to #snowpocalypse2016 and my friends and I have made some awesome memories and none of them involved building a snowman.

First we started our day off by attempting to make grilled cheeses, but that ended with smoke alarms going off so I won’t elaborate any more on that. After the grilled cheese fiasco we decided to try our hand at baking indoor s’mores bites. We followed a recipe from Pinterest that can be found here. The s’mores were pretty foolproof and tasted great. We ate them right out of the oven.

With our s’mores bites in hand we settled in for the evening with our “adult coloring books.” I can not tell you how fun these are, we colored for hours. I bought the coloring books at Target and you can purchase your very own here. Coloring is an awesome stress reliever and a great way to pass the time when your snowed in.  I definitely recommend giving it a try. For the rest of the night we just had a nice old fashioned sleepover. From hilarious YouTube videos (our favorite channel is wafflepwn) to devouring pizzas to dancing to our favorite Spotify playlists, we had a fantastic night.

By the third morning we all had cabin fever, but not much was open so we decided to brave the outdoors.  We planned a photoshoot in the snow. This activity involved a bit of preparation so after our sleepover we all woke up early and went our separate ways to get ready for the event. A couple of hours later we met back up, all dressed in warm coats and furs. We posed for pictures all morning. From silly faces to serious, we took all kinds of pictures. It was such a blast to get ready with my best friends and just have fun snapping pictures in the snow.

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So the next time that someone asks you “Do you wanna build a snowman?” you can say no proudly and use this post to suggest plenty of other fun activities for a snowy day.

Stay warm and sparkly,

Samantha

Playlists for Every Mood

It’s no secret that music is a great emotional escape, and that what you want to listen to depends on your mood and what’s going on in your life. Today I’m going to share my favorite playlists for almost every situation.

 

Happy – I love to listen to this playlist while driving on a sunny afternoon. It’s sure to be a super fun listen for days when you’re loving life.

  1. Sing – Ed Sheeran
  2. Shower – Becky G
  3. Whistle – Katy Tiz
  4. Shut up and Dance – WALK THE MOON
  5. Act My Age – One Direction
  6. Riptide – Vance Joy
  7. Dancing With Myself – Billy Idol
  8. Swimming Pools – Kendrick Lamar
  9. Girl Almighty – One Direction
  10. Countdown – Beyonce
  11. Happy Ending – MIKA
  12. I Want You To Know – Zedd
  13. Chains – Nick Jonas
  14. I Really Like You – Carly Rae Jepsen
  15. Honey, I’m Good – Andy Grammer
  16. Talking Body – Tove Lo
  17. Cheerleader – OMI
  18. Come On Eileen – Dexys Midnight Runners
  19. Year 3000 – Jonas Brothers
  20. Drag Me Down – One Direction
  21. Raise Your Glass – P!nk
  22. Hide Away – Daya
  23. She’s Kinda Hot – 5 Seconds of Summer
  24. Emotion – Carly Rae Jepsen
  25. Black Magic – Little Mix
  26. Lost and Found – Ellie Goulding
  27. Salute – Little Mix
  28. Cool for the Summer – Demi Lovato
  29. Take It or Leave It – Cage The Elephant
  30. Love Myself – Hailee Steinfeld
  31. Renegades – X Ambassadors
  32. Something In The Way You Move – Ellie Goulding

Love Songs – These songs are so sweet and I’m obsessed with them.

  1. King of Anything – Sara Bareilles
  2. Love Song – Sara Bareilles
  3. Nobody Love – Tori Kelly
  4. I Choose You – Sara Bareilles
  5. Fall For You – Secondhand Serenade
  6. Still Into You – Paramore
  7. I Want Crazy – Hunter Hayes
  8. Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
  9. Beating Heart – Ellie Goulding
  10. Stay – Rihanna
  11. Lay Me Down – Sam Smith
  12. Happy – Marina and the Diamonds
  13. Little Things – One Direction
  14. Fool’s Gold – One Direction
  15. You & I – One Direction
  16. Seasons of Love – Glee Cast
  17. A Thousand Miles – Vanessa Carlton
  18. She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5
  19. 18 – One Direction
  20. Adore You – Miley Cyrus
  21. Where Do Broken Hearts Go – One Direction
  22. JOY – Ellie Goulding
  23. Goodness Gracious – Ellie Goulding
  24. Crazy in Love – Sofie Karlberg
  25. Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
  26. Night Changes – One Direction
  27. The Heart Wants What It Wants – Selena Gomez
  28. I’m Not The Only One – Sam Smith
  29. Love Me Like You Do – Ellie Goulding
  30. Come & Get It – Selena Gomez
  31. Leave Your Lover – Sam Smith
  32. Happy Ending – MIKA
  33. Glitter In the Air – P!nk
  34. Take Me To Church – Hozier
  35. Let Her Go – Passenger
  36. Lovin’ So Hard – Becky G
  37. Someone New – Hozier
  38. How Long Will I Love You – Ellie Goulding
  39. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
  40. Hold My Hand – Jess Glynne

Sassy – This playlist is so fun to jam out in the car to. It’s the perfect sing along playlist.

  1. Breakaway – The Hollywood Soundtrack Band
  2. When I Grow Up – The Hollywood Soundtrack Band
  3. Love Story – The Hollywood Soundtrack Band
  4. BO$$ – Fifth Harmony
  5. What Dreams Are Made of – The Hollywood Soundtrack Band
  6. Rich Girl – Gwen Stefani
  7. Worth It – Fifth Harmony
  8. Bass Down Low – DEV
  9. Lovin’ So Hard – Becky G
  10. I Will Never Let You Down – Rita Ora
  11. The Tide Is High – Atomic Kitten
  12. Don’t Cha – The Pussycat Dolls
  13. Strut – The Cheetah Girls
  14. My Humps – The Black Eyed Peas
  15. Sk8er Boi – Avril Lavigne
  16. Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield
  17. Breakout – Miley Cyrus
  18. 7 Things – Miley Cyrus
  19. Crazy in Love – Beyonce
  20. The Best of Both Worlds – Hannah Montana
  21. Party In The U.S.A. – Miley Cyrus
  22. Play My Music – Jonas Brothers
  23. Aaron’s Party – Aaron Carter
  24. Good Morning – Chamillionaire

Chill – This playlist is definitely my favorite. It’s awesome for a plethora of occasions but I love to listen to it when I’m chilling or driving by myself.

  1. JOY – Ellie Goulding
  2. The Words – Christina Perri
  3. Human – Christina Perri
  4. The One That Got Away – Acoustic – Katy Perry
  5. See You Again – Wiz Khalifa
  6. Elastic Heart – Sia
  7. Somewhere Only We Know – Lily Allen
  8. Drops of Jupiter – Train
  9. Someone Like You – Adele
  10. Unconditionally – Katy Perry
  11. Who Says – Selena Gomez
  12. Leave Your Lover – Sam Smith
  13. Say Something – A Great Big World
  14. I Choose You – Sara Bareilles
  15. Only You – Ellie Goulding
  16. Beating Heart – Ellie Goulding
  17. Young and Beautiful – Lana Del Rey
  18. Lay Me Down – Sam Smith
  19. A Drop In The Ocean – Ron Pope
  20. Figure 8 – Ellie Goulding
  21. Chandelier – Sia
  22. Lean On – Major Lazer
  23. Someone New – Hozier
  24. Clocks – Coldplay
  25. How to Save a Life – The Fray
  26. Gravity – Sara Bareilles
  27. Big Girls Cry – Sia
  28. Shake It Out – Florence + The Machine
  29. Flashlight – Jessie J
  30. Almost Lover – A Fine Frenzy
  31. Dog Days Are Over – Florence + The Machine
  32. Oceans – Hillsong United
  33. Girl Crush – Little Big Town
  34. Your Biggest Mistake – Ellie Goulding
  35. Wild Child – Kenny Chesney
  36. Your Song – Ellie Goulding
  37. No Bravery – James Blunt
  38. Photograph – Ed Sheeran
  39. Crystal Ball – P!nk
  40. Reflections – MisterWives
  41. I’m A Mess – Ed Sheeran
  42. Better Together – Jack Johnson
  43. Skyscraper – Demi Lovato
  44. On My Mind – Ellie Goulding
  45. Hey There Delilah – Plain White T’s
  46. Stand By You – Rachel Platten
  47. Don’t Forget Where You Belong – One Direction
  48. Hello – Adele
  49. I Run to You – Lady Antebellum
  50. Army – Ellie Goulding
  51. You Found Me – The Fray
  52. Over My Head – The Fray
  53. Gonna Get over You – Sara Bareilles
  54. Breakeven – The Script
  55. Used To Love You – Gwen Stefani
  56. Big Girls Don’t Cry – Fergie
  57. If I Were a Boy – Beyonce
  58. King of Anything – Sara Bareilles
  59. Arms – Christina Perri
  60. She Used To Be Mine – Sara Bareilles

For the rest of my playlist collection, be sure to check out my Spotify account at smayb-us.

 

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha

 

 

5 Reasons Your Usual Starbucks Tastes Much Better in a #RedCup

The geniuses behind Starbucks’s fantastic marketing strategy released the 2015 red cups yesterday, and have managed to once again take America by storm. Every year since 1997, Starbucks has released a uniquely designed holiday cup that becomes available on November 1st each year. The craze behind the red cups is second only to America’s PSL obsession. Coffee (or frappe) lovers across the nation rejoice when the red cups become available, as this not only marks the start of the holiday season, but also signals the return of some of the best seasonal flavors.

  • It’s Coffee Weather

I don’t think anyone can deny that lattes, espresso, and mochas taste much better when the temperature dips below forty. Cold weather allows coffee to serve as more than the perfect subject of your snapchat story, it now serves a functional purpose.

  • You Feel Festive

Nothing screams holiday more than shopping and checking off items on your to-do list while toting a latte in a red cup.  Just seeing hundreds of red cups in the hands of shoppers makes me feel jolly.

  • You Can Enjoy Your Drink (mostly) Guilt Free

The holiday season is when most tend to toss the diet books and delete their fitness apps. While working hard to change your figure is awesome, I do believe there is something to be said for this time of year where you can just let yourself relax and indulge.

  • You Need The Caffeine

The reason many people fall off their health bandwagons during the holiday is because everyone is busy, busy, busy (the amount of pies, cookies, and cakes available may also have something to do with it!) There’s holiday parties to attend, cookies to bake, and presents to wrap. The holiday whirlwind is the perfect excuse to allow yourself to enjoy a reasonable (or a much too large) amount of caffeine.

  • It Makes You Feel ALL The Holiday Feels

Walking outside into the crisp air, while sipping a peppermint mocha just SCREAMS holiday!! Enjoy some Starbucks this season and I guarantee you’ll be humming the tune to “Jingle Bell Rock” all day long.

We’re all at the starting line of a marathon holiday season; it’s time to sit back with your Starbucks and enjoy the ride.

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha

Fall Bucket List – Lexxie Beckmeyer

Hello beautiful people of the Internet! My name’s Lexxie Beckmeyer, I’m a recent grad from Western Kentucky University (Go TOPS!) studying up on all things Advertising, Branding, and Internet. I’m currently living in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, working as an event planner, all while trying to learn how to “adult” one step at a time. I blog over at my personal site lexxiebeckmeyer.blogspot.com, where I share passions, obsessions, honesty hours, and lessons. If there’s a few things you need to know about me, it’s that I’m obsessed with my fur baby princess cat Izabella, Pinterest speaks to my soul (fill free to stalk), I’m a good cup of joe and quotes enthusiast, and J. Crew makes up half of my closet. Thank you to Samantha for allowing me this chance to guest blog, and remember… may your coffee be hot and your eyeliner be even.

Take long walks and hikes.

The fall months, especially where I’m from, are beautiful. Nothing beats all the colors of the fall, especially when Mother Nature provides them. I want to take advantage of that scenery this year, along with the cooler weather, and enjoy some of the best views of year, while getting some extra steps into my day!

Find the perfect pumpkin bread recipe.

I’ve been really in to exploring the kitchen and new recipes lately, and pumpkin bread is on the top of list of things I want to make. Many hours spent on Pinterest will be utilized.

Build up my sweater collection

These are some of my favorites for this season. Fall fashion is so fun and cozy.

Nasty Gal Just Female Carla Wool Poncho Sweater

Show Me Your Mumu Overtop Sweater:

Stock up on fall-scented candles

Bath & Body Works Flannel

Bath & Body Works Pumpkin Cheesecake

I’ve never been one to find my “signature” scent, but I’m known for loving smells that are warm, spicy, and inviting. Anything with hints of vanilla, baked goods, or musk is what I love, pretty much, everything to smell like, including my household. And fall time brings out the best! So it’s a goal to stock up before the season ends.

Utilize my camera.

I purchased myself a Nikon camera as a graduation present, and I haven’t taken the opportunity to learn how to fully work it. With it being one of the most gorgeous times of the year, I think this will be my best chance at learning a new skill and taking some great photos.

Attend as many football games as possible.

It’s the season of my favorite sport, so I must take advantage. Go TOPS and Cincinnati Bengals!

Take advantage of the local farmers’ markets.

These past couple of months for me has been all about eating healthier and fresher, and what better what to get the freshest at your local providers? Cincinnati has the oldest, still-running market, and it’s a treasure I want to experience more while I’m still here.

Go to a pumpkin patch.

Though cliché, there’s nothing more exciting than going to a field of pumpkins during the cooler months. Though I’m still researching some in my current town, I will be making sure I visit the one located in my college town to stock up on their homemade breads and apple cider slushies. If you live in southern Kentucky, make sure you check out Jackson’s Orchard.

Catch up on the lately horrible flicks.

I always believe I’m one of those rare souls that love a good jumpy movie, even the bad ones. So many new scary movies are set to be released and I can’t wait to dive into them. There are obviously the classics too. Perfect for a cool night, or as a stay-at-home date!

Visit local Halloween attractions.

Every place has haunted houses and attractions, and I’m determined to visit mine. Cincinnati always provides some great ones like the U.S.S. Nightmare and King’s Island’s annual Fear Fest. Make sure you see what your town has coming!

I hope y’all enjoyed Lexxie’s fall bucket list. Go out and enjoy the most beautiful season of the year!

Stay Sparkly,

Samantha