Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Picks for Fall

Cooler temperatures have settled upon Columbia. It's a welcome relief from the heat wave we had been experiencing, and the rain that has come with the cooler temperatures was much needed. It looks like I am going to have to pack away my critter shorts, Jack Rogers, and tank tops relatively quickly (aka have my mother bring me more clothes when she and my Dad come for parents weekend.) I think the cooler weather is here to stay!

I have no complaints! I love dressing in layers, wearing cute and cozy scarves, layering sweaters over buttons ups, pairing fun socks with my riding boots, and choosing from one of the many coats in my collection. I love the presence of thick cable knits, quilted fabric, and dark leather. I can't wait to experiment with some new fall looks!

I decided to pull some cute fall pieces from a few of my favorite stores. It's just a sampling of what I'm coveting for Fall. Bring on the cooler weather!

Are you as excited for fall as I am? What are some items you can't wait to get your hands on?

Stay Stylish, Stay Classy, Be Creative.


Friday, September 13, 2013

I Love my Bike

As a college freshman, I don't have a car with me at school. Back at home, my two sisters and I shared a car, so it wasn't going to be fair if somebody got to bring the car to school with them. I haven't driven a car in over a month, and I haven't missed it, although, I was never a fan of driving.

It's not as if I need a car. Campus is very navigable, and everything I need is right here on campus. The downtown area is in walking distance if I want to escape campus to eat out, go shopping, or take in a movie. 

Although I don't mind walking, I'd much rather bike. I'm so so so glad my dad convinced me to bring my bike with me. It's such a timesaver! I can leave my dorm 10 minutes before class instead of 20 if I ride my bike. I can be on time for tightly scheduled classes with my bike. I can make it to the library (my second home) in 3 minutes on my bike. I can bike to the Walgreens downtown in 90 degree heat in pursuit of Tollhouse cookie dough on my bike (Yes, that happened.) I LOVE MY BIKE!

I'm so lucky that Mizzou, and the city of Columbia as a whole, is so bike friendly. There's an abundance of bike racks around campus, so finding a place to lock up your bike is easy. There's also several bike "service stations" around campus that provide access to bike tools and air for bike tires. Most of the roads on campus are extra wide so that bike traffic can ride along the sides. Many of the streets in Columbia have individual bike lines, especially on extremely busy stretches of road. 

Back at home, I really only viewed my bike as a way to get exercise. I would go on bike rides almost every morning, but never used my bike as a form of transportation. Now that I've used my bike as my primary form of transportation, I definitely prefer it over traveling in a car (at least for short distances).

I think I was also inspired by my trip to The Netherlands and Belgium this summer. In The Netherlands, there are more bikes than there are people. In the cities, there are bike lanes everywhere. In cities such as Amsterdam, it is easier (and more economically) to navigate the city by bike.

Besides using my bike to get around campus, I'm also planning on using it to take recreational rides. My mom visited last weekend, and we took a bike ride to a nearby trail at a park. We had a great ride!
The only downside is that a lot of my friends don't have bikes, so they can't go on rides with me. However, I think that's changing at the end of the month when my roommate Erin and my friend Kelsie are both getting bikes.

Mizzou has done a great job of providing a safe environment for bike riders, including safety education, bike registration, and free bike repairs. I wouldn't want to navigate campus any other way!

P.S.- Speaking of safety, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE wear a helmet when you bike. It doesn't matter how fast or slow you are going or where you are riding, or how skilled of a rider you are. It only takes a matter of seconds to catch the edge of a curb, hit gravel, or be involved in a traffic accident. Wearing a helmet might not be the most attractive, but it can save you from a serious head injury. I fell off my bike in Belgium this summer, and I'm so lucky I was wearing a helmet when it happened. I hit a brick wall and could have suffered a serious head injury. 

In the spirit of my love for biking, I've compiled some cute bike-inspired items:

Do you bike a lot? Did you bike a lot in college? If you're a current student, do you have a bike with you on campus?

Stay Stylish, Stay Classy, Be Creative


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Family Matters

College has been going really great so far. I've been so busy with classes, getting involved on campus, and getting adequate sleep, that I honestly haven't had that much time to think about my family and how things are going back home.

This isn't to say that I don't miss my family. I miss seeing my mom, dad, brother, sisters, and dog on a daily basis. There are nights where I wish we could all gather around our kitchen table and enjoy a family meal together. I try to call my mom at least once a day, and talk to my two sisters every other day. I talk to my brother and dad at least once or twice a week. We try to incorporate FaceTime when we can, which is great because then I have the opportunity to "see" my dog, Chester. 

I was so lucky to have my mom and Grandparents come and visit me at Mizzou this past weekend. I hadn't seen my mom for almost a month. We had a great weekend together. There really is nothing better than family. It was so much fun to show my mom and grandparents all of my favorite spots around campus and introduce them to my new friends. Having my mom around was therapeutic and took my mind of some of the stress that surrounds college life. 

I got out of class Friday at about 1:00, so I met my mom and Grandparents at Shakespeare's, a well-known pizza joint near campus. After this, we took my grandparents on a tour of the campus since they had never seen it before. It was such a beautiful day!

After that, my mom and I went to Marshal's and the Gap Outlet store. I hadn't been off campus in a few weeks, so it was so nice to take in some new scenery and go shopping. On Friday night, we had dinner at the Heidelberg with some of my friends, as well as my roommate and her parents who happened to be visiting as well.

On Saturday, my mom and I woke up early and took a bike ride to a park near my dorm. It was a beautiful morning. We then rode to downtown Columbia and had breakfast at Kaldi's.

Delicious Quiche at Kaldi's. I still have some leftovers in my fridge.

On Saturday afternoon, we made a quick Target run, and then took a drive to the small town of Boonville, Missouri. It's about 20 miles outside of Columbia. We ate at a diner for lunch, and then made our way to Warm Springs Ranch.

Warm Springs Ranch opened in 2008, and the breeding of the Budweiser Clydesdales occurs here. It's a beautiful farm and the horses are majestic creatures. They offer a little tour, and my grandparents showed interest, so we took the one hour tour. It was a very informative tour and a great way to spend the afternoon. 

Clydesdales that are expected to foal in about two weeks.

My grandparents, my mom, and I, posing with Duke after the tour.

This Clydesdale was so precious! He was only about three weeks old.

We were lucky enough to see Hope, the star of this year's Budweiser Superbowl commercial.

Outside the barn with my Grandparents

I highly recommend Warm Springs Ranch 

On Saturday night, we went out to eat at my favorite Thai Restaurant in the District. After dinner, I returned to the hotel to relax and take advantage of the comfy hotel bed.

Having my mom and grandparents visit was so nice. It was great to see them and introduce them to my new friends. Taking a day to get off campus and relax was also much appreciated.

I can't wait to see my dad, mom, and brother on family weekend at the end of the month, and I'm in the process of planning a trip to visit my two sisters at their respective universities.

Has your family visited you at college yet? Do you plan on going home to visit them?

Stay Stylish, Stay Classy, Be Creative

Monday, September 2, 2013

The First Few Weeks of College

I've been attending college classes for two weeks now, and I've been living on campus for about three weeks. The time has flown! I feel like I've been living in Columbia for a year.

The past three weeks have been amazing! So much has occurred in this short time span, and many of the experiences I've had have reinforced that Mizzou truly is the right place for me.

1. My Honors Learning Community
I am so glad that I chose to live in Schurz Hall. Schurz is a traditional style hall, and a majority of the floors are reserved for students in the Honors College. As a member of the Honors College, students are required to maintain a minimum of a 3.3 GPA and take at least one honors course each semester. This makes for a dynamic community within the hall, and most of the individuals are very focused and driven. This isn't to say that we don't like to have fun though! I've met some really great people from all over the country, who are majoring in a variety of subjects. The community style of the hall ensures that there's always people coming and going, and the lounge on the floor is always buzzing with activity. I love Schurz because the people are fun-loving, well-rounded, yet serious. Most people have a major picked out and are on a path to achieve their goals. It's so great to be surrounded by individuals who share your interests and values, as this is a motivator. Our hall is a little bit further from the center of the campus than some of the other halls, but I find this to be great. We can escape the craziness of some of the other parts of campus, and don't have to deal with crazy partying and excess noise.
I'm also a member of a journalism FIG (Freshman Interest Group) within the Honors Learning community. This has been a great way to "shrink" the size of campus and connect with people. We have a one credit hour class per week where we explore all the J-School has to offer. Most of my friends are from my FIG, and so far it's working out great!

My new friends and I at Tiger Walk, a Mizzou tradition where all the incoming freshman run through the historic columns on the quad.

2. The Missouri School of Journalism
It's no secret that one of the driving factors behind my decision to come to Mizzou was because of the excellent journalism program. The program was the first of its kind when Walter Williams founded it 1908. There are 6 emphasis areas, and over 30 interest areas within those emphases. After sophomore year, I will need to declare an interest area. At this point, I am not exactly sure what emphasis area I want to declare, but I am exploring all that the J-School has to offer. I am currently enrolled in J1010, which is an introduction to careers in journalism. We have had some very interesting faculty members speak about their fields of expertise, and several more are scheduled to lecture throughout the course of the semester. The J-School has so many connections both domestically as well as internationally, and this aids in getting jobs and internships. The program offers its students real life experience (called "The Missouri Method") and depending upon your interest area, you will have the opportunity to work at The Columbia Missourian (newspaper), Vox (magazine), KOMU (television) KBIA (radio), and AdZou and MOJOAd (strategic communication). This gives students valuable real life experience to make them more appealing to employers after graduation. The faculty at the J-School are some of the best in the country, having been published countless times, and the majority of them have worked at major publications, media outlets, or television stations. In addition to taking courses in journalism, I am also going to try to write for The Maneater, the student newspaper at Mizzou, and I've also joined the Mizzou Chapter of the American Copy Editors Society.

Beautiful, Wonderful, J-School.

3. The Campus is AMAZING!
When I took college tours in high school, the physical campus was often what stood out to me the most.  I'm not advocating making your college decision based off of the campus alone, but it sure is a bonus if the campus is nice. MU's campus has a tons to offer, is gorgeous, and is in walking distance of downtown Columbia. We have everything we need right at our fingertips, but Columbia is never far away if we feel the need to escape the everyday.

Some of my favorite spots (so far):

Ellis Library

I have done all my studying at Ellis. I am one of those people who requires near silence to study, read, and digest material. Ellis has been my second home these first few weeks of classes. The first floor is great for when I have work that I need a computer for, as there is a big study space with plenty of computers (that way I don't have to lug around my heavy laptop.) The upstairs is perfect for when I need a little but more peace and quiet to study or do a reading assignment. I haven't ventured to the third floor yet, but plan on doing so soon. 

From my Instagram: The second floor of Ellis. So tranquil! 

 Memorial Union/Lowry Mall

At MU, we are lucky enough to have two student unions. Memorial Union is the older of the two, and from what I've observed tends to be more calm. There is a small cafe inside run by Campus Dining Services, as well as a Starbucks. There's plenty of tables and couches to eat or study at. I've gone on a Sunday morning when the library wasn't open, and it's the perfect place to get some studying done. During the week, it's a great place for me to grab a quick lunch of snack between classes that are on Northeast campus. Right in front of Memorial Union, across Hitt Street, is Lowry Mall. Lots of fairs and markets are set up here, and its always bustling with activity during the day. The benches and low concrete walls on the side of the mall make it the perfect place to take a break and eat a snack between classes. 

Jesse Hall and Tiger Plaza

Jesse is one of the most photographed buildings on campus. It's shining dome can be seen from around Columbia, and it's often featured on literature and websites promoting Mizzou. It houses the admission office for the University, among other uses. Directly in front of Jesse, to the South, is Tiger Plaza. Tiger  Plaza consists of a bronze statue of a tiger, as well as a fountain. It's such a pretty sight at night, when Jesse is lit up as well as the fountain. My goal is to "ride the tiger" and swim in the fountain at least once before I graduate.

Mizzou has been so good to me during these first few weeks, and I can't wait for the adventures ahead. Stay tuned!

A few more shots from the first couple of weeks:

So lucky to have a Newman Center on campus

Lucky to have my friend Hanna here with me!

Blessed to have such a great roommate! We get along so well!

Yes, I successfully did my first load of laundry

New Mizzou swag for game day

Football is a culture here. Faurot Field on opening day.

First Mizzou football game with the gals!

Are you a college freshman? How have the first few weeks treated you?

Stay Stylish, Stay Classy, Be Creative.