Weekend snapshot: family beach trip

For my mom’s birthday, my brother and I decided to be nostalgic and take her on a weekend trip to the beach we have visited ever since we were kids (Rehoboth!). There is just something about that beach that brings back good memories, and we were all happy to be there. Although we didn’t fulfill all of our traditions (chocolate covered strawberries… which my brother claims not to remember, how sad), and our Saturday was interrupted by a rain storm, we had a great time while it lasted. I don’t have a lot to say, other than how glad I am that I got to spend time with my family, but I do have pictures to share!

We love the beach!

-AK

P.S. my posts have been a little jumbled lately; for example, I accidentally skipped one (about being yourself in the face of criticism) and intentionally skipped one (about podcasts, because there are still only one or two that I like…); just wanted to say that I will be revisiting those topics in the future. This blogging challenge (my 7/5 post) is really just to keep myself accountable, so I wanted to do that as well as apologize to the one or two people who might actually notice that I missed those topics. Anyway, thanks for reading!

My favorite YouTubers

This is probably the easiest post I’ll ever write because today I’m sharing my favorite YouTube channels. Watching YouTube videos probably takes up 99% of my free time. I only recently realized that not everybody even watches YouTube leisurely, which is crazy to me because there are some people that I follow who almost feel like friends at this point (even if they have no clue who I am). These are some of my favorites, organized to some extent by the kind of content they tend to focus on.

Academic/ Organization:
Lipsticks and Lattes
 a law student sharing vlogs and updates about her life, as well as fashion and beauty content. But I primarily watch her videos because they always makes me feel motivated to get my life together and do my work

Holly Gabrielle – again, I watch her videos when I don’t feel very focused with my school work and I usually feel instantly inspired to be productive

Lifestyle: 

Kalel – I’m not sure if she belongs in the lifestyle or vegan category, although she is the YouTuber who originally made me decide to go vegan. But she makes a lot of other videos as well, and I enjoy her personality and find her LA lifestyle interesting to learn about

Whitney Simmons – I’ve mentioned her before as a source of fitness inspiration, but her channel also contains a lot of lifestyle content. She is super funny and inspiring!

Vegan community: 

Stella Rae – she also focuses on fitness, spirituality, and shares regular vlogs

Caitlin Shoemaker – favorite food blogger ever, I’ve mentioned her before but I actually discovered her through YouTube and I rely on her so much for food (and life, such as yoga!) inspiration

Cheap Lazy Vegan – more amazing recipes, and they really are cheap and easy!

Supreme Banana Cami is hilarious, “veganizes” a lot of very non-vegan recipes, and does some lifestyle content on the side

Avant Garde Vegan – AMAZING recipes, he teaches you how to make recipes at home that belong in a gourmet vegan restaurant, in my opinion

Beauty:

Reese Regan – she does a lot of makeup, fashion, etc. videos, but she also makes videos about college life, organization, fitness, and other topics that I find relatable. I also just find her very inspiring considering how hard she works for how young she is

Jeffree Star – this is a new addition, because I used to be intimidated by his personality. Now, I’ve embraced his boujee-ness and I enjoy watching his videos; I’m also very inspired by people who basically build their own empire which he has certainly done in the makeup industry

Self-improvement/ motivation: 

Kalyn Nicholson my all-time favorite YouTuber. I get so much inspiration and wisdom from her channel.

YesReneau – a Harvard graduate sharing her actual life as well as thoughts on various topics!

Amy Landino – focuses on achieving goals, business ambitions, social media tips, and more

Entertainment:

OJC Astrology astrology videos and tarot card readings; honestly I never used to be into this kind of thing but her videos are so accurately related to my life that I have become a big fan. It started out as entertainment but now I actually relate them to my life

Trisha Paytas – I mean, come on. Her recent saga with Jason reminded me how funny she is, and he’s hilarious too

Shane Dawson and basically everyone who is friends with him (Ryland, Garrett), just hilarious and a great person too

I could go on and on, but these are the people whose channels I pay the most attention to these days. Do you watch YouTube regularly, or prefer other types of entertainment? If so, who are your favorite content creators?

-AK

My biggest pet peeves

Today is the first day I have ventured into the city in a while, which means encountering lots of people… What a perfect time to discuss my pet peeves!

Just a disclaimer: I don’t prefer to dwell on the negative things in life. But, you don’t really know somebody until you know what bothers them, so I thought it might be fun to share some of my pet peeves. In the big picture, these things don’t matter, which makes it kind of hilarious how passionately I hate them. In fact, I find myself laughing at my own intolerance for certain things quite often. So here are some of the things that really, really bother me.

  • The sound of people chewing, particularly if they don’t realize how loud and obnoxious they are being. For some reason it does not bother me if they are doing it intentionally, or if it is like… unrealistically loud. (E.g., I can watch a Trish Paytas mukbang and honestly not be bothered). My tolerance for this has improved over the years (my family used to feel uncomfortable eating chips around me, and I felt bad), but I still struggle from misophonia (like actually).
  • People on sidewalks. My brother says I get too annoyed by them, which, to be honest, is true. He even came up with a term for my walking version of road rage: footpath fury. Slow walkers don’t really bother me. What I hate is when TWO OR MORE PEOPLE are walking in the OPPOSITE DIRECTION as me and ONE OF THEM REFUSES TO MOVE OVER so I have to walk ON THE GRASS OR STREET. Honestly I think this says something about them as a person, like that they either have a superiority complex (because why should I have any less of a right to my side of the sidewalk than you do and also do you drive like this?) or that they shouldn’t go out in public again until their spatial awareness has improved.
  • Speaking of driving, I really can’t handle other peoples’ driving. I don’t know why I don’t insist on driving all of the time when I go places with friends or family at this point (mostly because I can only fit one passenger) but I swear I have a million mini heart attacks any time somebody else is driving. Why can’t you slow down? Why do you have to weave in and out of traffic? Does getting one car length further ahead in 5mph traffic really help you? JW.
  • Two-step authentication: my university recently started using this and it just annoys me. This is the same computer I used the last 100000x I logged in. Why can I choose not to authenticate for the next 14 days but not indefinitely? Why can’t I opt out?
  • Passive aggression. I think this is perhaps one of the worst traits. I can admit that I am guilty of it myself at times, and when I realize that I get annoyed even with myself. It’s like being angry about someone/ something, but being too cowardly to own that anger and do something productive with it. We are adults, use your words.
  • Salespeople, especially when you purposely look away from them and walk in the opposite direction but they still pursue you. I think the purpose of them is to make me buy more things, but they honestly just make me want to leave the store and never come back again. I literally can’t focus if you’re talking to me, and you’re impairing my ability to make decisions. I only had an hour to shop leisurely and you just wasted my time. I’ll stick to online shopping, thanks.

That’s about all the ranting I can handle for one day. While all of this is true, don’t take it too seriously. What are your biggest pet peeves??

-AK

Staples for a vegan diet

Today’s post was supposed to be about how I stay organized but, ironically, I am a day behind (on my own challenge…). I thought since I am currently juggling many of my own projects at once, plus my actual work, I should review my organization routine closer to the end of this challenge, when maybe I’ll have some new light to shed on the topic. Plus, I have to catch up on yesterday’s post: staples for a vegan diet! AKA, foods I always have in my kitchen.

When it comes to fruits, vegetables, and other fresh food, I usually base my purchases on the recipes I plan to make that week. I also try to switch this up, just to get some variety in my diet. But these are some items that I almost always have.

The obvious: (to me anyway) — I always have grains and canned goods like rice, pasta, beans, quinoa, oatmeal, etc.

Fruits and vegetables: so I don’t just buy random fruits and vegetables when I go to the store and hope that I’ll use them; I am almost sure I would waste them that way. But, outside of planned recipes, there are a few things I usually have on hand: bananas, maybe dates (since they last a while), frozen strawberries, spinach, and frozen mixed vegetables.

The random: these are some of the more unique items that, while others may never purchase them at all, I am unsure if I could make it through the day without.

  • Stevia: the relation to the vegan diet is basically that white refined sugar is often not vegan (it can be processed with bone char), but I choose it instead of other alternatives because I like it and think it’s more natural than some others. I drink a lot of coffee and tend to bake or make other things requiring sweetener, so I always need stevia!
  • Silk soy creamer: I’ve tried many dairy-free creamers, and this one has to be my favorite. I used to be a big fan of the vanilla Coffee Mate creamer (if I did choose to taint my black coffee with any kind of cream), and I think the vanilla silk creamer is a decent alternative. The hazelnut flavor is always nice.
  • Almond milk: another thing I use in almost everything, or just drink on its own. I usually prefer it to other kinds of milk alternatives.
  • Nutritional yeast: if you haven’t heard of it, it is basically a type of yeast that adds a cheesy/ nutty flavor to foods. I really like it, but many people think it is completely disgusting, so I might be alone on this one…
  • Proteins: I always have some kind of protein, such as tofu, tempeh, or a meat alternative on hand.
  • Nuts/ Lara Bars/ other to-go snacks: sometimes, despite my best planning, my meal prep options don’t work out or I have a long day away from home and need something to bring with me. I like nuts and Lara Bars because they are calorically dense so I don’t need to bring a lot of them with me in order to have a healthy snack later in the day.
  • A billion spices: while everybody’s cabinet would probably ideally be stocked with spices, it doesn’t always work out that way. However, a vegan diet would be quite boring without an abundance of spices (to me, anyway) because that is where most of the flavor comes from in vegan food. Spices are the variety of life. Wait, I don’t think that’s how that goes…
  • Sriracha: like the spices, it makes some otherwise bland foods bearable or even great! I usually have many sauces for that same purpose.
  • Coconut aminos: similarly, I use these for added flavor, although I also use it sometimes for stir fry or even to replace soy sauce.
  • Coconut oil: while we are on the topic of coconuts, I should mention coconut oil, which is known on Twitter for being used for literally everything so it should be no surprise that I have it in my kitchen at all times.
  • Lemons: one thing that is oddly difficult to find is vegan salad dressings. Plus, who wants 174833298 bottles of salad dressing laying around when you could just make your own? Mixing lemon juice with some other ingredients (tahini + nutritional yeast, or olive oil, etc) can be a great alternative! On the other hand, they’re great to have in case you want to add lemons to your water, tea, etc.
  • Apple cider vinegar: this is usually my vinegar of choice for dressings and many recipes, but I also sometimes mix it in with water, stevia, and some cinnamon for a tangy drink in the morning that is supposed to be good for your digestion, among other things.
  • Popcorn: when I was a kid, I came home from school every day and ate popcorn. Now I tend to do more of an Olivia Pope thing where I eat popcorn for dinner with some wine… *shrugs*

What do you keep in your kitchen at all times — anything unusual?

-AK

15 random facts about me

  1. I’m not the biggest fan of art, like visual art such as paintings or sculptures. I love the purpose it serves but I really don’t feel much when I look at it.
  2. My middle name is Duvall, and I used to have nightmares about devilish looking things that I called Duvalls chasing me around.
  3. I’m really good at learning choreographed dances, such as for cheerleading or dance lessons, but I just don’t know what to do half the time when I’m at a party or concert.
  4. I’m a clean freak… but really only about the stuff I can see (not in cupboards, drawers etc)
  5. I used to think boredom was a sign of unintelligence or intellectual laziness. I still largely think this, but have been finding myself bored more often recently. I can’t figure out if I’m getting dumber or lazier.
  6. I still sleep with the teddy bear (Little Bear) my dad gave to me the day I was born.
  7. I really don’t care much what other people think about me, but I do care a lot about how the things I say and do make others feel, so I filter myself a lot.
  8. My favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird.
  9. Sports are something that I genuinely want to like but can’t enjoy without feeling like I’m wasting my time.
  10. Similarly, I really don’t love movies. They take up a lot of time for little reward, and I’ll only really watch them if I’m extremely bored or as a way to spend time with friends or family. I don’t have any problem binge watching a good TV show, though. My favorite shows in the past few months have been Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Jane the Virgin, This Is Us, and Queer Eye.
  11. Polly Pockets > Barbies … they were my whole childhood.
  12. I have a guinea pig named Rutherford. He was going to be named Ruth Bader Guinea until I found out he was male, but it still kind of works because Rutherford B Hayes and he eats a lot of hay. ***
  13. There is *always* a song playing in my head, even if it is faint. I refer to this as my background music. Sometimes I don’t even have any thoughts running through my mind, only the music. I thought everybody was like this for a very long time.
  14. I “wear my heart on my sleeve.” I have no interest in being cryptic or unclear with others about how I feel, and this is true even with people who aren’t my very close friends. If I’m upset, excited, worried, anxious, and you’re around me, you’ll know. This is because I also want others to feel like they can share similar things with me.
  15. I have a candle obsession and it’s almost impossible for me to do work without a candle lit, as it’s been a part of my focusing ritual for a long time.

Like this post or comment below if you would be interested in hearing more random facts in the future 🙂

-AK

***P.S. this is Rutherford.

July playlist

Just a quick (and late) little post to share my playlist for the month. I usually organize music not by genre, but by the time period in which I listen to particular artists or songs. In my opinion, there are enough pre-made playlists by genre if I’m really in the mood for a certain type of music. I like my approach because it allows me to go back and listen to a playlist from a previous month and feel transported back to that time in my life.

July makes me think of upbeat, colorful music. Therefore, my July playlist is composed of songs that I could see myself driving around to, with the top down, feeling happy and free. Here is my July Playlist .

I’m going to keep adding to this playlist throughout the month, so feel free to follow on Spotify if you like this kind of music 🙂

-AK

5 lessons I learned in college

College was not long ago for me, and I am already nostalgic about it; I really miss that time in my life. As a student living on campus, I felt like I had the world at my fingertips and was surrounded by possibilities. I learned so much in my classes, and I enjoyed the academic aspect of my life. One could say that I was, and am, a nerd. However, now that I have the gift of retrospect, I can recognize that some of the important lessons I learned as a college student didn’t involve my classes at all. The mix of being in an environment with so many opportunities and also trying to figure out my first few years of actual adulthood led to interesting experiences, and if I were advising an incoming student, these are some things I would want them to know.

  1. Time is valuable and your most important resource. Once you spend time, there is no way to get it back. Time can fly by so easily, and to be happy and healthy we need sleep, exercise, and social interaction. However, balancing the three as well as your academic work can feel impossible. I recommend finding a time management method that works for you, to avoid those days where one moment you are talking with your friends in the common room and the next it is 10 pm and you haven’t even started your work that is due tomorrow. (Soon I will be writing about how I stay organized, so look out for that if you find this challenging!)
  2. There is no formula for success in your chosen field, and there is no one path that will bring you to the desired destination. This became extremely apparent in every career center seminar I was forced to attend attended. Successful professionals would participate in talks and panels and discuss their “nonlinear” career paths and how life never really goes as planned. There are some things you can do to make this reality less intimidating and more exciting. Learn how to think about your strengths in terms of what skills you have and why they make you unique, not just in terms of your specific job “experience.” For example, I had several internships in DC, where I worked making some Excel spreadsheets and gathering historical documents about people who nobody has ever heard of. When I decided to attend graduate school, rather than apply for jobs straight out of college, I could have marketed these skills as “proficiency with Excel and ProQuest,” or I could have emphasized how these experiences taught me to see research as a puzzle waiting to be solved, and how my drive to solve that puzzle in addition to the practical skills I’d learned made research a natural fit for me. Which one do you think sounds more appealing?
  3. The importance of your GPA really varies depending on your specific goals. I personally prioritized my GPA over almost everything else, including the social aspect of college, because I wanted more than anything to go to law school and I knew I wouldn’t forgive myself if I slacked in any way that could make me a less appealing applicant. I didn’t end up attending law school, but I did decide to go to grad school, where my GPA was also important. But say I’d decided to apply for jobs instead. Having a fantastic GPA certainly wouldn’t have hurt, but having a great or even good GPA might not have made any difference when paired with useful internship experience. The difference between the amount of work a student would put in for a 3.75 versus a 4.0, though, would make a difference in their college experience. Remember that there are trade-offs involved in any decision that you make, and learn how to determine which option is most valuable to you personally, and why, rather than relying on what is conventionally recommended.
  4. Thinking of your classes as an opportunity to learn, or even as a game/ challenge, makes them far more rewarding than regarding them as an obstacle you need to overcome just to receive a diploma. This is similar to having an “I get to do this” attitude rather than an “I have to do this” attitude. It may just sound like a cheesy line your high school teachers or coaches throw at you, but viewing your obligations as opportunities makes them feel more worthwhile. Many, many people cannot attend college, or even attain lower levels of education, due to financial or other constraints. If you are lucky enough to be in a position where you have the option, you should recognize your privilege and appreciate the opportunity to learn as much as possible.
  5. Your success depends largely on how you play the cards you’re dealt. If you attend a large university where it’s nearly impossible to develop a personal relationship with professors, you might need to get creative about communicating with your TAs and classmates to really understand the material. If you attend a small liberal arts college that nobody has ever heard of (me), then you might benefit from participating in activities that get you involved in the broader area and expanding your network. If academics do not come very easily to you, finding a passion or a club where you can gain leadership skills might increase your desirability to future employers. Maybe instead of trying to be a jack-of-all-trades, find opportunities that align with your strengths and do what you can to downplay your weaknesses. Nobody is great at everything, but being really good at one thing gives you a unique edge.

What are the most important lessons you learned as a college student?

-AK