My Holiday Checklist

My Holiday Checklist

Staying organized during this hectic season is key.

The holiday season is upon us, and if you are any kind of merry celebrator, then you probably have a list or set of requirements in your head that for the majority, needs to be fulfilled in order for you to have some semblance of peace, joy, and happiness during this festive season. Budgets may be pressing, the food too tempting, and your patience trying, but rest assured, with a bout of courage and a continuous practice of saying, "no," you should be fine. However, if you find your checklist remaining unchecked, then also keep in mind that spontaneity makes way for wonderful possibilities. Sometimes, having things go unplanned can bring about better results. So keep your head up, and stay merry!

1. Make my first New Year's Resolution

...and why would I do that so early on in the game, you might ask. Well considering my marvelous, nonexistent aptitude of refraining from devouring every scrumptious dish set on the table - that number on the scale before the Thanksgiving feast will become my weight goal for next year. Doubtlessly, I will be packing on a new pound or ten and that will be okay. It's okay to enjoy the food, because sometimes, some dishes only get served once a year. Therefore, it's okay to gain a few as long as I lose them in time before the next holiday season hits.

2. Check my list & check it twice

Because budgets are a pain and I have to make sure everyone is on that list and no one is left unaccounted for. A sad Aunt Sally is the last thing I would ever want as she might hold it against me, making for a very unwanted - and awkward, family gathering.

3. Get through my book stack (or piles)

If you are like me, you probably have an accumulating pile of books since the semester had begun. With school work and life stealing the spare time I would normally have for reading, I found myself simply adding to, but not depleting, the stack of books shelved into the various caches of my bedroom. Thanksgiving and Christmas break will create just that perfect opportunity to become a literate recluse.

4. Be nice

Not saying that I'm not nice, but sometimes, I find it always good to remember to be more tolerant during the holiday season. I'm not the only one going through the seasonal stress of gift giving/searching and party preparations. The holiday season is the perfect time to practice being more patient with others. Learning to be the first one to apologize or just letting the other person get the gift instead, helps to simply just create a better atmosphere for everyone to enjoy the holidays. (It might even get you some extra presents from Santa too, who knows.) However, if the temper doesn't stop rising - remember, walking away from the situation before it escalates will always do.

5. Avoid family feuds at all costs

No, not the game - but if it helps to diffuse the tension, then by all means - I won't rule out the option of playing it! While this goes with the idea of being nice, I believe that by remembering to respect everyone's opinions, for example - about the recent election, then I can spare everyone from picking up arms, (or culinary), and shouting for their opinion to be heard and accepted. Also, if I'm not the one instigating the argument, then it is also good to make an attempt to keep one from happening. Someone thinks that Trump shouldn't have won the electoral college votes? Well, just casually bring up those Joe Biden memes to detract from that hot subject.

6. Make a schedule/ Plan ahead

So, Martha has her Christmas party on Tuesday and Jim is having one on Thursday. The Secret Santa exchange at work is occurring on Wednesday night, and the team is having a holiday dinner Friday right before the Christmas auction at - !

By calling or sending a text ahead of time to confirm dates and writing it all out on a planner or two - plus adding it onto your cell phone's calendar - makes for a more organized holiday season. Missing out a party or gathering can take a hit to your reputation, and knowing myself, I would rather feel stressed over all the social events rather than forget one was even going to happen on a certain day.

7. Binge watch all the shows I've missed

It is inevitable, but sometimes I will find myself lagging behind a television series or four and am forced to evacuate the dorm room because the subject has been switched to the latest 'Walking Dead' death. So better to catch up now before it gets too far in the game.

8. Get the tree

Sometimes, getting the Christmas tree from the attic or the farm can be a hassle, but it is a necessary duty which has to be fulfilled before December hits the family. Being the one to fetch it creates an inner turmoil, but eventually, I have to push myself to climb that creaking ladder or drive to that frigid farm to fetch the centerpiece of the house. The bright side is, once it lands itself on the living room floor, the holiday music starts blasting and the house becomes enveloped in a festive, colorful mess.

9. Clean

Not entirely sure if this is just exclusive to my family, but once November hits, my mother makes it an obligation to go into a cleaning frenzy before Thanksgiving week drops on our doorstep. For this reason, I find myself having to rise up earlier than usual during break and help out my mom in the fight against everything that is dirty and messy. (Which, in her opinion, includes my room).

10. Enjoy your family and friends

...and remember to breathe. Sometimes, the holiday season is the only time I can see some of my friends and family, so it's important for me to have the time to be able to reach out and enjoy their presence. The holidays has become such a materialized season, so it's important to have the ability to step back from the chaos to reflect and enjoy the people and moments. Enjoy the time you have with your loved ones and never lose sight of the real treasures of this season.

Cover Image Credit: Albert Lam

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20 Important Reminders For All You Girls About To Turn 21

The early twenties can be an extremely stressful time for women.

I have come to find that the years of my early twenties have been among some of the best years of my life.

Moving away to college, going to concerts and bars with my friends, wild frat parties, beach days, becoming a college cheerleader, getting my first real job as a personal trainer (offering potential for a career).

While these have been some of the most fun and exciting years of my life they have also been some of the most stressful. Pulling multiple all nighters in a row, and still getting a D on an exam, constantly taking two steps forward and three steps back, feeling a want to be independent, and the struggle it takes to get there, quitting cheerleading, anxiety about my post college plans, and fading in and out of friendships and relationships.

The early twenties can be an extremely stressful time for women. Women are two times as likely to suffer from depression or an anxiety disorder than men. Additionally, research shows that depressive disorder may be appearing earlier in life in people born in recent decades compared to the past.

I've compiled a list of things for all girls in theirs twenties to remind themselves.

1. No one knows what they're doing and if they say they do, they're lying.

So many women compare themselves to others, when in reality, you can't actually know what anyone is thinking, or more so what actually goes on in their life. So stop worrying about feeling like a hot mess comparing yourself to the girl who seems to have it all together.

2. Every minute you spend thinking about someone else is a minute you lose to spend working on yourself.

Facebook and Instagram stalking your ex-boyfriend or ex-best friend is pointless, especially if they're no longer in your life. Focus on yourself and the people you currently have around you supporting you.

3. You don't need to find your "future husband" right now.

You have plenty of time to find someone to spend the rest of your life with, which is a long time. Your life timeline is longer than you think, and looking for someone rather than looking for the right someone can be the difference between a happy marriage or a divorce.

4. Don't think of relationships as, "if we're not getting married we're eventually gonna break up."

Be thankful for the time you spent with or have to spend with that person. Cherish those memories while they last even if they may eventually come to an end. Remember, "when one door closes another one opens."

5. Do the things you love, break the rules.

Don't settle for a job you hate just because it makes you a lot of money. At the very least, continue to do the things you love on the side; painting, singing, dancing, football, whatever it may be.

Keep doing the things you love. It will be your saving grace and will keep you sane.

Don't be afraid to be who you are and break free from societal roles, it's OK to be different, the most successful people don't care what other people think and aren't afraid to be themselves and stand out from the rest of the world.

6. You need and deserve a break.

Work hard but don't burn yourself out. It's easy to get caught up in your daily grind, but take the time to do things that relax you, or go out with your friend.

Remember, you're twenty-something, not forty-something.

You're not tied down. Now is the time to have fun, make mistakes, and be reckless once in a while.

7. Put the time in.

With whatever you wish to achieve, put the time in don't expect life to give you handouts. Don't quit when it gets tough or you think you won't make it. If you put the time in and get what you want to do done, you will be successful in life.

8. Relationships are the hardest part of life, don't dwell on them.

Relationships whether its family, friends or a romantic partner, relationships are the hardest part of life. Just be attentive, listen to other people and hear them out.

Use your intuition and leave behind the relationships that are negative. Being nostalgic never helps, if you don't let people go you'll never be happy with your current life.

9. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

If the first two times you try something it doesn't work out, take a different approach. Trying to get something done the same way and failing each time means you're doing something wrong.

You'll ultimately just pick up learned helplessness. It's not that you're incompetent, you just need to take a different approach.

10. You most likely won't marry your first love.

This is generally the case, and it's OK. Sure, being "high school sweethearts" sounds all nice and mushy, like the perfect fairytale, and for some people, this is the case.

But it's good to experience different people. If I never had breakups I would have never found out what it felt like to be treated well.

11. You're not 16 anymore. Don't expect your body to look like you are.

You're no longer a teenager, your body is different, your hormone release is different, don't expect an effortlessly flat stomach, thigh gap, and size zero.

It's not gonna happen.

Your bones are bigger and your structure is wider and it gets more difficult to stay in shape as you get older. Focus on being healthy, not a size zero.

12. People who want you in their life will be in your life.

Don't waste your time on people who don't care, or constantly blow you off, put you down or hurt you. You don't deserve it, and neither does anyone else. If they don't make you a better person, if they don't make you happier, let them go.

13. If someone tells you "you can't" show them that "you did."

Don't let anyone interfere with your dreams, they're your dreams to achieve, and if you want something, and you put in the work it takes you will get it!

14. Someone will always have more.

There will always be a girl who's prettier, smarter, funnier, skinnier, richer, more athletic. Base your success off of how much progress you have made, not by comparing yourself to someone else.

15. Things are just things.

Things do not equal happiness. Experiences and successes do! Sure that new Triangl bikini is nice, and you deserve to treat yourself to tangible items, but at the end of the day, they are just things.

16. People change, and so will you.

Your life changes dramatically year to year, especially during your early twenties, a time of many new beginnings and opportunities. Things are inconsistent, and people change and move away. Don't let this upset you, and don't base your happiness on other people.

They're just people after all, and they make mistakes. People can't always be reliable.

17. Take it one step at a time.

I like to look at my life like driving at night. Your headlights can only light up a small portion of the road ahead of you. You can let what you can't see coming scare you, or you can follow the road as you see it and worry about the obstacles when they come into view.

This is something I try to focus on when I have anxiety.

18. It's OK to be selfish.

To an extent, yes. Sometimes I have a problem with putting others before myself, and yes this is a good thing in moderation. You need to be well for yourself in order to help others.

19. Follow your intuition.

Your gut feeling is more accurate than you think. If you have a good feeling about something, take a chance on it. Failure is better than wondering if you would have succeeded.

20. You will figure it out.

I know it's a time of so many uncertainties and financial instability, but just keep treading water and you'll eventually make it to shore.

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12 Thoughts Impatient College Kids Are Having Before Thanksgiving Break, As Told By 'Parks And Rec'

"I need you to text me every 30 seconds that everything is going to be OK" -Leslie Knope


Stressed beyond belief? Frantically running around from class to on-campus event to work? Constantly mentally and physically exhausted wishing Thanksgiving break would be sooner?

Yeah, me too.

College kids, I feel your pain. I truly do.

1. "OK, so I'm guessing professors must hangout together and talk on a daily basis or something, considering they assign every huge assignment ON. THE. SAME. DAY.

2. "If I keep looking at my planner I'm probably going to give myself a nervous breakdown." 

There is nothing better than your color coordinated, anxiously filled planner full of due assignments and events that you would rather skip, and instead cuddle in your bed.

3. "Should I go get a drink at the bar with my friends to forget about all the responsibilities I have?"

Drinks with your friend at the local bar is always a move.

4. "I could really go for a homemade dinner right about now instead of a bowl of ramen and peanut butter sandwich."

Let's face it, nothing beats mom's cooking! Soon enough we won't need to cook for ourselves meals that aren't legit real meals.

5. "Why did I chose to come to college again?"

I ask myself this question every day...

6. "I haven't been home in so long my dog probably already forgot who I was." 

7. *To my friend who needs even more emotional support and encouragement than I do during these over-exhausting times*

We all have our people that know how to make us smile and encourage us to do well when all we want to do is sit and watch Netflix!

8. "The only thing I'm looking forward to is seeing my boyfriend for the first time in over a month."

Long distance relationships suck, am I right? There is truly nothing better than reuniting back at home with your significant other and spending the holidays together away from all the distance and stress of school!

9. "I wonder how long I can go without doing my laundry before I go home so I don't have to waste all my quarters." 

Lets just hope we can last long enough so Mom can take care of our laundry for us when we get back!

10. "I can't believe I just got assigned a 10 page paper the day before I leave for break..."

11. "I just genuinely don't think I can continue this lifestyle anymore."

If I take one more midterm... I really think I will lose my mind.

12. "I have an assignment due the Monday we get back from break..."

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