A Letter To My Cousin

A Letter To My Cousin

Sometimes the best things in life are given to you.

People say that we start and end with family. In the end, it is your family that will be there to support you no matter what. My dad always said that your family members are your biggest fans, and he couldn't be more right.

Sometimes we don't know how lucky we are. I came to this realization when I was listening to the radio and the popular song, "See You Again," came on: How can we not talk about family when family is all that we got? The lyrics struck me in a weird way, and I started to really think about my cousin. I am so lucky to be able to call one of my family members, not only my cousin, but also my best friend.

This is an open letter to my best friend, thanking her for all the memories, laughs, and support throughout my life.

Dear Cousin,

I don't think I've ever taken the time to thank you for all the things that make me lucky to call you my best friend, and I don't think I will ever be able to. But here's a start:

Thank you for being born 19 years ago and giving me a built in bestie.

Thank you for enduring, and even encouraging, my Dylan Sprouse obsession.

Thank you for filling me in on all the family gossip.

Thank you for sitting by me at every holiday dinner at Grandpa's house.

Thank you for all the countless trips up North.

Thank you the numerous photo shoots we had, just to find a new profile picture.

Thank you for loving me when I loved gauchos.

Thank you for being a shoulder to cry on during the loss of family members.

Thank you for teaching me that boys suck.

Thank you for making the drive to my house all those nights.

Thank you for introducing me to pistachio ice cream.

Thank you for helping me annoy all of our older cousins.

Thank you for not making fun of me when I knew zero lyrics to a song, but chose to sing along anyway.

Thank you for laying on the beach with me with me even when your skin started to blister.

Thank you for accepting that my wardrobe consists solely of leggings.

Thank you for making me laugh until it hurt.

Thank you for letting me stand on the right side of every photo because you knew it was my “good side."

Thank you for surprising me with a visit at college.

Thank you for being my date to formal.

Thank you for sharing my love for bacon.

Thank you for staying in with me when everyone else was old enough to go to the casino.

Thank you for accepting that we will be late to everything when we are together.

Thank you for reassuring me that we will be each other's maids of honor.

Thank you for always bringing cornbread to family functions.

Thank you for accepting that my room will never be clean to your standards.

And, thank you for being you. I can't imagine my life without you.


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Prep These Snacks for Healthy On Campus Treats

Easy to Prep, Easy to Take With You

Eating healthy on a college campus can be a bit of a chore, especially when you’ve got fast food places every few feet, and the college meal plan doesn’t exactly offer the healthiest options. Snacks are normally limited to whatever you can get out of the vending machines, so chips and candy bars are a staple. If you want to eat a little healthier, here are some healthy snacks that you can prep easily to take with you to class, the dorm room, or wherever you need to go — even if you don’t have a kitchen to cook in.

Fresh Fruit

Most fresh fruit needs to be refrigerated, but you do have some options if you don’t want to haul around a portable cooler or lunchbox to your classes.

  • Apples are awesome sources of fiber and can be stored in a bag or backpack without refrigeration. Other tree fruits — pears, peaches, nectarines, etc — can also work, though you might need to be a bit more careful with someone of these. They’re soft enough that they might squish in your bag if they end up under a textbook.
  • Bananas — A potassium powerhouse, these little self-wrapped fruits are perfect if you need a quick pick me up during the day.
  • Citrus Fruits — Oranges, Tangelos and Mandarins are great little snacks, as long as you have somewhere to dispose of the peel when you’re done.


This might seem messy, but apple sauce packets designed for small children can be a great way to carry a healthy snack with you without the need for a spoon. If you’re handy though, you can turn the foil lid of a regular applesauce cup into a spoon with a few twists! As an added bonus, many of these packets contain other fruits and some even contain vegetables.

Green Bean Chips

These sound a little odd but hear us out — dried green beans have the consistency of potato chips while giving you all the nutritional benefits of regular green beans. You can buy them pre-packaged (check your local farmers market if you don’t see them at the grocery store) or you can make them yourself, just by drying them for a few hours in a cool oven.

Fresh Vegetables

These might require some refrigeration, but you won’t need anything more than a cutting board and a good knife to prepare them. Some good vegetable options might include:

  • Carrots — alone or with hummus or dip, these snacks keep for quite a while in your bag, making them ideal for between class snacks.
  • Celery — while it doesn’t have a lot of nutritional value, it’s super tasty when paired with peanut butter or other nut butters.
  • Sugar Snap Peas — a tasty treat with a hint of sweetness, these can be eaten raw and whole or dried into chips.

Any fresh vegetable you can chop up and stick in a container can potentially be a good snack. Some of the softer vegetables, like tomatoes or cucumbers, should be stored with a cold pack though to keep them fresh.


Most nuts, like almonds, cashews, peanuts, and walnuts, are packed full of good protein and fiber to keep you going throughout the day. They also don’t need any refrigeration, so you can stash them in your bag and forget about them until you need them. If you get bored of one type, it’s easy to mix them up. They’re also a great addition to any trail mix.

Just be careful to enjoy them in moderation. While nuts are good for you, they can also be high in calories.

Nut Butters

If crunching on nuts in a quiet lecture hall doesn’t appeal to you, try switching to nut butters instead. They have all the nutritional benefits of the nuts themselves, come in a variety of types, and can be spread on just about anything. Make a nut butter and jelly sandwich, eat celery with nut butter, or spread it on crackers — the sky is the limit. Stick to natural or organic nut butters though — these usually don’t have any additives, which makes for a healthier snack.


Don’t start loading up the butter. Without all the extra toppings, popcorn can be one the healthiest snacks in your arsenal. Invest in a cheap air popper — they’re about $20 at Wal-Mart and take up very little counter space — and pop your own. It’s okay to add a little bit of butter, but you don’t want to make it equal the stuff you can get at the movie theater.

Protein Bars

These aren’t always the healthiest option, depending on the brand you choose, but they can do in a pinch and many are flavored with chocolate or other sweet options, making it easier to pick up a protein bar instead of a chocolate candy bar. Look for brands that are low in processed sugars and made with all natural ingredients.


This savory spread is made from chickpeas, which are high in protein, and can be paired with just about anything. Dip carrots or pretzels in it, spread it on crackers, or use it as a replacement for mayo on your turkey sandwich. Hummus can be high in salt, depending on the flavors that are added to it, so enjoy it in moderation. It does also need to be refrigerated, so stash your hummus in with your fresh vegetables or other cold snacks.

Snacking on campus doesn’t need to be entirely unhealthy, even if you do enjoy your chips and candy bars. Supplement your snack regimen with a few of these healthy alternatives to help you lower your sugar intake and keep you energized so you can get to all those early morning classes!

Cover Image Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/citrus-fruit-food-fruit-oranges-207085/

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To My Beloved Starbucks, Thank You

I could not do it without you.

Dear Starbucks,

I cannot thank you enough.

You have truly helped me survive school, work, and just life in general. I truly enjoy the whole Starbucks brand.

Since I have been in college, you have always given me a good place to study. There are two Starbucks on my campus and each has just the right amount of noise, the smell of coffee, and always enough sunshine or lighting to read or write.

I have never met anyone who works at Starbucks who I have not liked. I am sure being a barista is a stressful job, and the things I have seen people order and ask for are absurd. However, I have never seen a Starbucks employee not fulfill these needs with a smile.

If only your drinks were always 50% off, I think you would truly fulfill my greatest dreams.

Respectfully Yours,

A Coffee Lover

Cover Image Credit: Max Pixel

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