Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Study Skillz

Studying has never been something I'm good at.  I never had to in high school but oh boy is MIT a different story.  It seems like all my time is spent doing problem sets and studying.  Thing is, I never knew how to study.  I'm a master at getting work done, I can power through papers and problem sets like nothing.  Studying is a different story.  It lacks structure.  It lacks instructions.  It lacks a to-do list.  It lacks an end.  That was the key, without a clear end I never knew how to start.  From the beginning of course.

Yes I'm aware how neurotic I am that I make lists of everything...
I started a system where I go through all of my notes from start to end, and on a blank piece of paper put down any equation, constant, vocab, anything I'd need fast and often in an exam.  This is my cheat sheet.  Each exam I make a new one starting from scratch, and modifying it based on what I figured out I needed to know on previous exams that I failed at.  (It may be worth pointing out that all of my ChemE exams are open note, open book.  Don't be envious, it just means they can ask more obscure things.)

Then I go through and tab my textbook.  Any table, equation, sample problem that looks useful gets a sticky note label on it.  I usually do this as I go (yes I do read the book during normal weeks.  I'm a goody goody), but sometimes I fall behind, so I make it task 2.

Lastly is practice problems.  First I redo all my old problem sets.  These have the most potential of having material you will see again.  It's why they give you the problem sets.  Often they're also harder than the exam will be, so if you can do these you'll likely pass the exam.  Lastly practice with old exams.  I say do this last because if your professor is anything like mine they switch the covered material drastically each year.  Old exams are almost guaranteed to either not have enough material, or have things you didn't cover.

The end.  That's when I stop studying and relax.  Rereading and rereading and doing the same problems over and over and over doesn't help.  Spending too much time on one thing just makes you nervous.  So relax, do other work, and walk into the exam like what up I got a big, erm, you know (keeping it PG!)
Good luck and happy studying!

Any study tips you have?  I'm always looking for more.  Let me know ;)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sweater season

It's finally getting cold in Boston!  I love this time of year, reminds me of Syracuse with grey skies, unpredictable weather and seasonal affective disorder.  Joking aside, I am happy I can wear long sleeves without getting super overheated.  That also means it's time for sweaters!  I love sweaters, so soft and comfy.  They're like super classy pajamas. Unfortunately with a couple exceptions, my sweaters are all super old and mostly cotton.  I think it's time to get some grown up sweaters.  Here's what I've been looking at.

I may have to go shopping this weekend and stock up.  The weather is getting a little unfavorable.  

What are you wearing this fall?  Let me know ;)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Current Loves

As I've said before, my love is fleeting.  It seems like a good time to update my Current Loves and introduce you to my latest obsessions that I use as crutches during the week.

2 Broke Girls:  Now that Breaking Bad is over I need something to fill my braindead times and this is quickly becoming my new favourite.   I've been with this show since the beginning actually and I really like the direction it's gone in.  Now that the girls have a more stable work situation the writers are more free to give Max witty one liners and show off Caroline's Wharton skills.  Rather than asking myself each week "I wonder if the shop will close" I've been asking "I wonder what crazy marketing scheme they'll come up with next" which is always a better way to start an episode.  Here's to another great season!

Warby Parker:  They made my list last time, but I didn't actually own their glasses yet.  I've had the Baxter pair for about two weeks now and I only take them off to sleep!  They're so comfortable, it's nice to go the whole long day I have without my eyes drying out.  They're also adorable!  I've gotten so many compliments from my friends and random strangers.  Nothing like a random gay guy on the street telling you he loves your glasses.  That's when you know you're a winner.

Reeses Peanut Butter Pumpkins:  So my secret (not really)  ultimate joy in life is Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs that they sell during Easter.  I'll buy no joke like 10-20 bags of them.  Frozen Reeses is the best thing on Earth and I love them so much that Doug has actually taken to buying Reeses Eggs in April, freezing them, and giving them to me for Christmas (which is totally awesome).  The pumpkins are almost as good, but the peanut butter-chocolate ratio is a tad off.  They'll work for now though.  That'll do pig, that'll do.

Green Tea:  I'm not too good at handling caffeine, so tea is a must.  This green tea has been a life saver.  There's nothing better than having something warm to drink right after you wake up.  Green tea is also supposed help promote long life.

Tangled:  Guys, this might be the next Aladdin.  I LOVE this movie and may or may not watch it on repeat occasionally.  See my review of it if you aren't convinced it's amazing.

Jenna Marbles:  I don't know if it's because I need something mindless on when I'm working or whatever but I freakin love her videos.  I've seen all of them.  I especially like her Miley Cyrus video.  Dude also don't even get me started on Miley Cyrus, but I do love the parodies she's inspired.

What are your loves lately?  Let me know ;)


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Passion

I've been realising that school and classes have this uncanny ability to really kill your passions. Don't get me wrong, I'm not sitting in my room all depressed with all the joy sapped from my life, but I am starting to see how doing something for credit and full time can ruin your enjoyment of it.  
I am an engineer.  I always have been ever since I was small.  I'd observe the world around me, see how it could be made better, break things that worked and fix things that were broken.  My mom loves telling me how as a six year old I told her how spoons make your reflection upside down because of the way your picture bounces off the angles (not bad for someone who can barely read!).  I'd read about nuclear plants, ethanol fuel and cloning.  I was truly interested in engineering.  I joined the science team in high school and would look forward to it every afternoon as a way to explore and go beyond the trivial material of a high school student.  My favourite memories of high school involve my team, and I'll never forget how proud I was to be on a nationally ranked team.
Me and my coach.  I still keep in touch with this wonderful woman.
 Without her I wouldn't be where I am today.
And then I got to MIT.  Engineering became my life.  I'd wake up to it, stay up all night working on it, and sometimes it even haunts my nightmares.  I used to jump at any opportunity to learn more, now I pine for a chance to give my mind a break.  I'll be frank, I hate school.  I'm counting the weeks until I graduate and I'm going to leave Cambridge and never look back.  Graduate school is absolutely not an option, I'm getting out of academia as fast as I can.  On that note though, I have nothing but good memories of MIT in terms of my personal life.  Classes are murder though.  I'd have killed in high school to be able to learn Transport Processes or Fluid Mechanics, and now I'm finding any way to take as few classes as possible.  This makes me a little sad that school somewhat killed my passion for engineering.
My nights now look like this
I'm starting to be ok with it though.  I know I'll love my work when I'm away from school (and making boatloads of cash won't hurt. As my dad used to say "money can't buy happiness, but it's more comfortable to cry in a limo than on a bike").
I've also found new passions.  I love writing this blog.  It means so much to me that so many people are interested in my ramblings.
I'm planning an amazing vacation as well.  You wouldn't think it could be time consuming enough to constitute a new passion, but trust me traveling abroad takes a fair amount of planning (especially when you're poor!).  I've also started taking more time to learn French.  I want to make it more than just my minor, and I've been taking time to read up on history, cinema, and other cultural things.  Reading websites in French has also definitely improved my skills, which is such a plus.
I've also decided to become more serious about sporting clays.  I've been taking practices more seriously and reading theory behind how to shoot well.  You'd be surprised what a mind game skeet is, but it's been satisfying to see improvement.
I'm slowly starting to find new passions while accepting that engineering is a job for me, not a lifestyle.

What are your passions?  How are you keeping sane in school? Let me know :)



Monday, October 21, 2013

Head of the Charles

Head of the Charles was this weekend!  This and Marathon weekend are the two big to-do's in the area that I look forward to every single year.  With a lot of my friends being current or former rowers, it's always a big weekend for us.  I live right on the river near the starting line, so I'm always in on the action right off the bat all weekend.  It's lovely to see all the boats getting ready to go and see all the teams from all over the world get pumped.  I took yesterday afternoon to go hang out near the water and see the races.  I ended up walking the entire course and taking a seat right near the finish for most of the afternoon.
Found an amazing place to sit
I got a nice cup of hot cider and watched our teams cross the finish line.  In between races I had a chance to walk around and see some of the booths set up.
And that's when I saw it, the Brooks Brothers booth.  While it is somewhat beyond me who would be at the regatta and be like "you know what I need?  A $300 sweater to carry around near the world's grossest river", I felt compelled to go in.  The reason?  The KJP table of course! 
I'm not going to lie, I was slightly star-struck when I saw Sarah Vickers in real life in person.  My friends laughed at me as I took about five minutes to build up the courage to go say hi.  You see, I'm a kind of shy person deep down, and it felt slightly stalkerish to be like "oh hey, I know you from the internet and you have absolutely no clue who I am but let's take a picture together."  Truth is though, she's kind of a role model for me.  Not only is she wonderfully dressed, but she and Kiel grew a company from the ground up to an incredible level of notoriety.  What is there for a 20 year old not to look up to?  I've followed her blog, Classy Girls Wear Pearls, for a couple years now and am always impressed, so it was a real treat to meet her in person.
Who'd have thought one day I'd be courageous enough to ask
a stranger to take a picture with me?
She was so nice and even took a moment away from her booth to take a picture with me, which was very generous because their custom HOCR bracelets were selling like hot cakes.  Personally though I was in love with the Vicker's Bow bracelets.  One day when I'm not student poor I'll get one!  They are just too cute!

In short it was a lovely weekend, and I'm looking forward to what the rest of fall has in store for me.

Have you ever been to HOCR? Dropping by Boston sometime soon? Let me know :)


Friday, October 18, 2013

Tangled

I realize I'm really late to the game on this one, but I've recently fallen in love with the movie Tangled.  Like I've said before, I have no shame when it comes to watching movies repeatedly in the same week (or day #sorrynotsorry).  Even though it came out years ago, I only just now got around to watching it.  Honestly, if you haven't seen it you need to.  I don't care how old you are; my boyfriend and I are 20 and we both love it.
how adorable right?
Aside from being just absolutely freakin adorable, it's also very relatable.  One of my favourite scenes is when Rapunzel alternates between having no regrets about leaving the tower and being incredibly guilty about it (I've totally done that on more than one occasion)


I think Rapunzel is now my favourite Disney princess.  She's so innocent, yet sassy.  Somewhat helpless in the classic Disney way, but so resourceful at the same time.  She's definitely a more three dimensional character than Disney usually churns out.  I was really impressed at the complexity of the storyline, as well as how dark it got.  For once Disney stayed somewhat close to the original story (they don't stab Flynn's eyes out though, thank god, he was adorable).  I think since the story was a little darker than normal it made it easier for an older audience to stay engaged, but the humor and Rapunzel's demeanor were still light enough to entertain children.
Yeah I've had conversations like this too
I recommend everyone watch this movie.  The end made me (and Doug) cry, it was that cute!  Besides, you'll learn just how useful a cast-iron pan can be.

Have you seen Tangled? What did you think? Let me know ;)

Minimergency Kit

I've been eyeing these minimergency kits every time I walk into J. Crew.  They seem like the most genius idea ever.  There are so many times I've needed something in a pinch but left it in another bag.  I am a serial bag changer, I hate carrying the same bag all the time but I ALWAYS forget something I need in the bag I last used.  $13 for a little bag seemed way out of the question for me, especially because I couldn't see myself needing some of the things in there.  The solution?  DIY of course!
I have TONS of little bags that I get for free from Clinique during bonus days, so why not make my own personalized minimergency kit?  It worked out wonderfully and I love having a little kit that I can easily transfer from one bag to another.
Check it out. (I'm experimenting using my own pictures, bear with me)

Clinique Happy Travel Perfume:  I got this from a Bonus day and I never leave without it.  I hate going out without wearing some perfume, but I always forget it when I'm in a rush.  This travel size it barely a burden at all and has plenty in it so I can forget as often as I do with no problems.

Tampons:  Ok, this is a personal one that I have a problem with.  I am a tampon hoarder.  I usually keep 3 or 4 tampons in each of my bags like a squirrel hides acorns for the winter.  In an attempt to only have a normal amount of tampons on my person, I stashed 2 in my kit and took the rest out of all my other bags.  So far I'm doing well.

Band aids:  You NEVER know when you or someone else will need a band aid.  It's good to be the hero and always be prepared.

Friction Stick:  I recently discovered this stuff and it has seriously been a life saver! Swipe a little on your heels and no more blisters!  If you're walking a lot (read: if you live in Boston or NYC), you will need to use it like once an hour, but at least it looks nicer than bandaids on your heels.

Five dolla dolla bill:  You never know when you'll need cash.  $5 is small enough you won't miss it, but could get you out of a pinch.

Sewing kit:  So I stole this fro a hotel (you do it too, at least I didn't take the towels!) and have needed it a couple times.  Buttons pop, and once the strap on my shoe tore.  It's nice not to be the girl with her shirt stapled shut.

Hairties! I work in labs and have Hermione Granger hair.  Hair ties are a must and it's great to always have backups.

Chubby Stick in Mega Melon:  Lipstick is another thing I forget before I leave the house.  This shade is pretty neutral for my skin and matches most of my clothes.  It's nice to have when I realise I did all the rest of my makeup and left without putting on lipstick.  Additionally, it's super moisturizing, so always looks smooth and feels nice to wear.

Mini makeup bag:  I stash it all in this adorable little makeup bag I got from a Bonus Day.  Super handy right?  As they say, the best things in life are free.

Have a minimergency kit of your own?  I'd love to know what you have in it!  Let me know ;)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day-cation all I ever wanted

I went on my first day-cation on Monday.  Sure I've been on day trips with my parents and such, but there is nothing that makes you feel more independent than renting a car and just driving.
We decided on a whim to go to Maine for the day, see the coast, and pop by L.L. Bean.
I am such a great driver
I had an absolute blast!  We drove up Route 1 from Boston into New Hampshire and onto Ocean Boulevard.  The houses there are gorgeous though I'm not sure I'll ever be able to own waterfront property.  It was nice to walk around and see the water, enjoy some quiet outside of the city.  The trees were absolutely lovely!  I lost my appreciation for fall when I was still living in New York, but now that I don't have them anymore they are once again unimaginably beautiful.  I guess you don't know what you have until it's gone right?  I could have spent all day smelling the crisp air and looking at the red leaves.
We got all the way to Freeport to get some Bean Boots for Doug (can you believe he didn't have any yet?!) and ended up getting some delicious hand cut doughnuts from a shop right outside (I'm a sucker for doughnuts).
We has lunch at this cute little tavern called Gritty McDuff's in Freeport.  The beer looked amazing, brewed right there, but unfortunately it wasn't an option for me so I opted for some French onion soup and tea to warm me up.
It was just a tad bit chilly inside

It was the most fun I've had in a while.  Who knew it would be so fun pretending to be on vacation for one day?  To top it off we came home and had a nice dessert of toast with Biscoff spread.  Absolutely a lovely day.

Do you day-cation?  Where do you go?  Let me know ;)




Monday, October 14, 2013

Warby Parker Glasses

So as I've mentioned before, I'm not really a glasses person.  I've been wearing contacts since I was 13 and only wore glasses right before bed.  I thought they made me look like a librarian and a dork.
After long days going from class to lab to office hours, my poor eyes had had enough.  I decided I needed a nice pair of glasses to wear near the end of the day.  Enter Warby Parker.
A few of my friends recommended them to me and turns out there's a store right on Newbury Street near me.  I checked them out online first and decided I definitely needed a pair of statement glasses like they had. 
So a little secret: my insurance doesn't cover my eyes anymore.  No big deal.  Warby Parker works with the nicest optometrist who has a practice right there in the store!  I popped in and for $90 I got a new prescription (mine was over 2 years old and MIT was going to charge me $160 to get one at Student Medical!)
I took the prescription and walked across the hall and got fitted with some beautiful frames.  I am in love.  I bought these Baxter glasses for $95 right then and there, handed them my script, and the glasses were delivered to my door in a week,
I swear I haven't taken them off since I got them!

Aren't they gorgeous?  I am seriously in love.  I haven't worn my contacts in days and may only wear them biking and in lab from now on.  I highly recommend you check out Warby Parker.  Even if you don't have a store near you, they ship "sample" frames of your choice to you for free to try on!  I'm a huge fan!
I also got this nifty travel case for my contacts.  Now I can take them out when I'm out and about, which I'm really appreciating.
It's shaped like an elephant!

I've gotten so many compliments lately and my eyes are also singing me praises.  Check out their online shop and maybe you'll convert to glasses too.

Do you wear glasses?  What are you wearing? Let me know ;)


Monday, October 7, 2013

Current Obsessions

So for those who don't know me, my interests are fleeting.  I latch on intensely onto a few things every week or so then forget about them.  With this week being as stressful as it is, I've really been using my stupid obsessions as a crutch.  Doing problem sets and studying all night is much more bearable when you listen to the same song over and over while rotting your teeth straight out of your head.  No, losing dental insurance does not stop me from eating candy like it's my job.  For your own entertainment, and because I really like making lists, here are a few things I'm currently in love with.

Lorde:  OMG I jumped on the Lorde train recently and it's been my Hotel California, I can't leave.  I have all her albums and play them on repeat while I work.  For some reason I'm barely human and actually can listen to the same ten songs on repeat all day everyday but whatever.  She has a gorgeous voice and the music is calm enough that I don't get all worked up (talking to you, Roger Waters!)

Biscoff:  These are my current not so guilty #sorrynotsorry pleasure.  I was introduced to these from my French professor who is from Belgium (they call them Speculoos in the Francophone world).  Delicious.  They're a spiced shortbread like cookie, basically ginger snaps if ginger snaps were good.  I eat them all day.  There's also a biscoff spread thats basically a cream form of the cookies and is as addictive as nutella.

The Little Drummer Girl: This is my current read and I'm really enjoying it.  I really like spy/espionage/thrillers and have read some Le Carre in the past.  I'm a fan of this one because unlike most spy books you read, this one isn't set during the cold war and doesn't really concern Russia.  It's all about Israel and Israeli/ Arab relations.  Really strikes home as a first generation American with an Iraqi mother and lots of friends fro Israel.  I highly recommend this book.

Bandolino Pumps:  I got these bad boys for a whopping $20 on black Friday last year and I LOVE THEM.  They are comfortable, don't give me blisters and are super cute.  They match any nice dress I have (I wore them to a formal a month ago), but also aren't out of place with jeans and a nice sweater.  Anytime I need to impress my boss, advisor, or a professor, I throw these on with what ever I'm wearing and WHABAM! Instant professionalism I totally didn't just roll out of bed and drink a Redbull to be able to even follow this conversation.

Warby Parker Glasses:  I'll tell you a secret.  I used to hate wearing glasses.  Like hate hate hate.  I like showing off my eyes and I hate peering through a lens, then down at my paper and shifting my vision.  Then I found Warby Parker.  The glasses are big which means they cover pretty much my entire frame of sight.  They are also super cute and affordable, only $95 a pair!  I like the Baxter pair shown above because they make me look like Indiana Jones when he's a professor.  I feel smarter.  I'm also a fan of not having to wear my contacts from 8am to 1am while I work.  My poor little eyes were getting so dry.  NOT ANYMORE.  Indiana Jones is in the house!

What are you in love with?  Let me know :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What's in my bag?

So a lot of the blogs I've been reading have really been championing the Kate Spade Beau Bag.  I am in love, honestly.  However, for me at the moment it's not very practical.  I'm a student, as much as I hate to have it define my style, sometimes it has to. I bike to class, sometimes it rains, sometimes I'm in a rush, and sometimes I have a lot of crap and don't want to kill my back.
My go to is my backpack.  It's waterproof, comfy, spacious, everything a NYC apartment isn't.  I'm a fan of the Four Wheel Jive (aweeesommmee name) backpack from EMS.

Four Wheel Jive

Mine isn't blue, I got a fugly mustard yellow one.  Sometimes ugly things call to me, not gonna lie.  I've had it for three years, no one else has one and I can always find it.  It's never failed me.  So I was thinking, why do the "what's in my purse" blogs I love so much have to be restricted to pretty bags?  I SAY NO!  I say I'm going to tell you about all the crap I throw in my bag whether you like it or not!
So here goes :)
Agenda || Wallet ||Travel Size Hand Lotion || Travel Size Kleenex || Hand Sanitizer || Travel BandAids || My favourite pens
Burt's Bees || Flash Drive || Fresh Scented Gum || Lipstick || Highlighters || Trail Mix || Hair Ties


Some highlights,  I ALWAYS keep Burts Bees, a hair tie, hand sanitizer and pens in my bag no matter what.  These never leave my bag, and in my opinion are necessities (I keep these in every bag I own).   As someone who works in a lab, hair ties are always on my person.  I also bring multiple pens everywhere because it sucks when one craps out on you when you need it.
  Everything else is kind of particular to me going to classes (like having snacks all day so I don't get hungry and eat someone) and things I accumulate in my bag as I become an old lady.

I adore "what's in your bag?" posts.  Any excuse to hoard things.  Send me yours :)