Around 50 students showed up to hang out and enjoy the show!
The coffeehouse was a hit! It was nice to come back from break and have something fun and relaxing to do together.]]>
My roommates and I have been preparing for a half marathon for a few weeks. It’s pretty cool. For the record, I am not a runner. I like to blame it on the fact that I’m not “built for speed or endurance” but really what it comes down to is I generally don’t like running. Or exercise. But, alas, these things are important.
Anyway, I am going to share with you all a few things I’ve found helpful as a beginning runner, to encourage you all that anyone–literally anyone–can do it.
Hopefully these are helpful tips. I don’t claim to be a fitness guru. I’m your average beginning runner who’s finding ways to love my Asics]]>
Whew. We made it through the first half of spring semester. It goes fast doesn’t it? I can hardly believe I’m closing in on the halfway mark along my journey through college! We can get into all this sentimental junk later. I wanted to write about something a little less so.
This year, for the first time, St. Thomas is offering an official string orchestra program! I found this out a little bit too late last semester to be 100% involved with it, but this spring I’ve been a full-time member! We meet from 1:30-3:10 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Our director is Dr. Matthew George, who also directs the Symphonic Wind Ensemble here at UST.
I’ll be honest, when I came to St. Thomas, I was a little disappointed to learn that they didn’t offer a real orchestra. True, a small ensemble was meeting casually once a week to play for an hour or so. But no concerts, no expectations, just a dozen kids without a ton of direction. Which is fine — but it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for. In high school, I was very very blessed to be involved with some stellar music programs. I played violin in two full orchestras, both of which were stacked with talent and passion for music. I suppose I assumed, perhaps unfairly, that music opportunities would get even BETTER when I came to college.
St. Thomas has an AMAZING choir and band program. I am not kidding. If you’re a prospective student hoping to sing or play a band instrument, this is a good place to be! There just happen to be fewer opportunities for string players.
But this year, that changed. Because now UST is growing their string ensemble. The hope is that within the next couple of years, St. Thomas will have a full-blown symphony orchestra. That, my friends, is where it’s at.
In any case, the current string orchestra has 16 members this semester. We just had a concert this week with the Symphonic Wind Ensemble over at O’Shaughnessy Auditorium at St. Catherine’s. We had a pretty awesome program: Mozart, Grieg, and an arrangement of a Colombian piece.
Here is a picture of our concert!
I thought we played pretty well!
The band, let me tell you guys, was amazing! They played some Russian music that was so great and then they performed a piece that was commissioned for them to play! The composer’s name is Victoriano Valencia and he’s from Colombia! ¡Qué Chévere! The suite has four parts, and tells the story of the Creation, the Apocalypse, and redemption through the cultural lens of South American music. I’ll be honest, I was emotionally moved by this piece! It was so profound, I can’t say it enough.
If you’re interested in listening to this piece at any time, I know that the UST band will be recording their performance of it in May and hopefully they’ll be distributing copies for those who want to hear it! It really was fabulous. I was so impressed by the talent and passion that students at this school have for music and their commitment to being excellent.
As my high school orchestra director, Mr. Eskola, would say, “When you do anything, be excellent at it.”]]>
I would like to dedicate this post to a project I’ve been working on this year with my roommate, Tessa. It is an experiment of sorts, but also a valuable life lesson.
I have a slight addiction to personal care products …
My current inventory is as follows:
… aaaand I started thinking in the fall, as I staggered down the stairs with a box full of these products, weighing approximately 5,000 pounds, that I own too much of this stuff.
I don’t think I’m the only 19-year-old girl with this problem. Tell me if I’m wrong.
Anyway, I felt very convicted about being more intentional about how much of my money is actually going into purchasing lotion, perfume, etc. So I started what I’m calling “Do-you-hear-that?-It’s-the-sound-of-your-money-being-totally-wasted project” Here’s how it works:
Based on the observations I have made thus far, here are some hypotheses:
My total expenditures on personal care products this year so far is $65.00. I have had to shop ONCE.
The lesson that I am learning from all of this is simply this: I don’t need what I think I need.
True or false: I need Bath and Body Works’ new line of body lotion!
True or false: I need to buy another moisturizer soon; it’s been about a month since I bought my last bottle.
Cool. I guess here’s what I’m trying to say to all you readers: in college, one doesn’t exactly have an abundant disposable income. It’s easy to get sucked into buying copious amounts of nice-smelling substances, but at least in my opinion, it isn’t worth it. Save the money and put it aside for books or, if you’re cool and social unlike me, spend it on fun outings with friends. The general public doesn’t care if your legs are luxuriously moisturized, they don’t notice when your armpits smell like pears, and they can’t tell the difference between Sensual Amber and Twilight Woods. So use whatcha got and don’t be wasteful
In any case, here we are, hurled headlong into spring semester. Personally, I have really struggled with keeping up with the fast pace of homework, meetings, deadlines, friendships, applications, emails, yaddayaddayadda …
And this semester, I have resolved to change.
ORGANIZE ALL THE THINGS!
Realize that historically this is NOT. NOT. NOT. my forte. However, I’m willing to change and give it a good go. Here is my plan of action:
So, basically, that’s how I plan to stay on top of things this semester. Hopefully this AIRTIGHT plan will prevent me from getting behind.]]>
Tonight’s musical selection? The Weepies’ second album, “Say I Am You.” No joke, cracks my top ten all-time favorite albums list. Maybe even top five. Check it out here.
I am not here to lie to you people. J-Term RULES. I’m not taking any classes this month so I can just BE. Mind you, I’m finding ways to occupy my time. Here’s what I’m up to:
1. Finishing up my application for study abroad next fall semester – Catholic Studies in ROME. Fun fact: I hate airplanes. Like, it’s sad. It is almost enough to dissuade me from study abroad altogether. But, no. Get thee behind me, irrational fears. If it’s God’s will for me to go to Rome, then he’ll provide the Grace for me to get on that plane for 9 hours or whatever forsaken length of time it is.
2. Sculpt Yoga – $50 ain’t bad for eight hour-long sessions of kick-your-butt yoga, cardio, and strength training. Apparently Jillian Michaels whipping me into shape just isn’t enough, because I felt like I hadn’t worked out in months during the first class on Tuesday. Today I went easy on myself and used 2-lb weights. You jest, but doing six million reps with 4-lbs in each hand is no easy task. Plus, I don’t want no massive bulky muscle-man arms when this is all over. Lean and mean, baby!
3. Reading – I love getting to choose the books I read. Right now, I’m working my way through Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With The Wind,” and I am LOVING IT. I doubt I would like Scarlett O’Hara very much were I to meet her in person, but she is just so darn charming in the book that I can’t help loving her. Sneak peek: Next on the reading list is “Brothers Karamazov.” Can’t wait!
4. Basketball and Tennis – Some of my housemates, our friends at the men’s house, and lots of other friends get together periodically for pickup games of basketball at the AARC on campus. It’s a great opportunity for me to show off my mad hops. (Not to be bragadocious, but I was a regional free-throw champion when I was 9 years old. It’s okay if you’re jealous.)
It’s gonna be a tough wake-up call when spring semester rolls around …]]>
Again, I apologize for my lack of communication via this blog. I have been meaning to write but, alas, finals week kind of kicked me in the butt. For anyone who doesn’t really know much about finals at St. Thomas, I don’t know if it’s all that different from any other college, but basically it’s four days of TESTS AND PAPERS GALORE. It’s actually quite a wonderful time for those who paid attention and worked hard consistently throughout the semester. Yes, there’s a bit more pressure, and maybe I’m just a nerd, but not having class, getting to spend all day studying with friends, and drinking lots of coffee is a wonderful way to spend the last few days on campus.
In other news, I successfully completed my second year of No Facebook November last month. It’s pretty amazing how much more productive I can be when I’m not mindlessly perusing my cyber “social life” for hours on end. I realized how much I resent what Facebook has done to my life (blame it on Facebook, I know …) In all seriousness, I was able to cut paper-writing time virtually in half because the constant distraction of social networking just didn’t exist.
Then, I had a revelation: Why stop after November ends? Especially since Facebook is the last thing I need once finals start. So I decided to stay off of Facebook for 25 more days. Let me tell you, it was a wonderful decision. Even now that school is over, life is better without it. I think that I will reactivate my account after Christmas, but I’m going to really, really, REALLY try to limit my time. Now that everyone is home for January, it will be nice to have Facebook to stay in touch. In general, though, I like it much better when my life is based in, well, real life.
As far as Christmas goes, my family is spending the holiday in Nashville, TN. We drove down here and arrived last night around 6. I was a little concerned about having Christmas without snow, but as many of you know, there wasn’t much snow to be missed this year. St. Paul was brown as it comes when I left campus on Tuesday.
I am so confused by this weather. Last weekend I walked from my house to Coffee Béne (about half a mile) in a light sweater and I was actually WARM. It was the craziest thing. I’m definitely not complaining, though. A late start to winter is going to shorten up the tail end and make it a lot more bearable.
I did see a robin the other day, though. Apparently this little guy’s migratory instincts are a little flipped around this year. Understandable.
I suppose I should make like Santa and wrap it up :B … DORKY JOKE.
Merry Christmas to all of you!
I’m at Coffee Béne right now working on a final paper for my CATH 101 class, and I forgot my headphones that allow me to block out coffee shop music and listen to my own stuff. So I was kind of bummed about that.
But these are the last four songs played here:
I’ve Got This Friend – The Civil Wars
Fire and Rain – James Taylor
In Your Arms Acoustic – Kina Grannis
When The Stars Go Blue Cover – Ryan Adams
Dude. I think I’m going to go hug the barista right now. I LOVE YOU COFFEE BENE.]]>
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I sure did. For the first time in my life, I made pumpkin pie. Two of ‘em. And they got soaring reviews from the fam’. For some reason, I also decided to shop on Black Friday. Just to be clear, I really really hate Black Friday. It’s the grossest display of first-world consumerism in all of history. Hearing on the news that people get shot or trampled to death over Barbies and DVDs is seriously unsettling.
In any case, I did go. It was awful. The only reason I went was because I had to buy hand weights for Jillian Michaels. (P.S. Day 19 today; I have to post again about Jillian because she is amazing!)
So now it is Advent. Yesterday was the second week of Advent. My housemates Colleen, Tessa, and I went to IKEA on Saturday to buy some fancy candles for our Advent wreath; we got three of these big layered purple candles that smell like berries and a pink one with purple swirls.
I LOVE CANDLES.
So anyway, we have a pretty wreath now. Last night we decorated the house with Christmas ornamentation while listening to classic Christmas songs on Pandora. There are so many tree lights around our house now. And some tinsel. I was really questioning whether tinsel was a good idea because it’s extremely messy and annoying, but in the end it’s pretty, and that is what really matters in this instance.
Our house is officially prepared for the Christmas season. I even tried egg nog for the first time on Saturday …. aaaaand it was disgusting. So.
The next weeks will be interesting with studying and papers aplenty. Good luck to all ye students and I’ll be posting more often, I promise]]>
So I have been writing about my personal experiences in life a lot lately. I suppose that’s the expectation as a blogger. However, today I’m going to switch gears.
I really like music.
Yup. Who doesn’t?
Okay, I am like most people my age in the fact that I enjoy listening to, sharing, and learning about new music. If you’re interested in my favorites, you’re more than welcome to listen to my radio show at kustradio.com on Sundays from 4-6 PM (as if I have not advertised this enough recently).
But the one thing I despise about music is how expensive it is. It’s especially inconvenient when I know that I will MOST LIKELY enjoy an album, but it’s not certain. Then, spending hard-earned money is a little bit of a leap of faith.
On the other end of the spectrum, torrents and file-sharing sites are somewhat popular among young adults. Unfortunately, these methods of collecting mp3 files is illegal. Even burning CDs is illegal in most cases.
What is a music-loving, law-abiding college student to do?!!
In the interest of saving money and following the law, I introduce to you (if you aren’t already aware of its existence):
It’s like iTunes meets Pandora meets Rhapsody, basically. All three music powerhouses in one radical software.
All you have to do is download it from the Spotify website and it will save to your applications.
This is why I think college students can NOT go wrong with Spotify:
1. It is FREE. If I need to say more, well, it’s your problem.
2. Spotify uploads all the music you already own in your iTunes library or, if you want, all the mp3 files on your computer. So you don’t have to totally start over gathering your music collection.
3. You can add virtually anything that you could find on iTunes (and even more) to your library FO’ FREE. All you have to do is “star” albums, songs, or entire discographies.
So, for example, if I wanted to add Florence + the Machine’s new album to my library, I would just click on the button that says “star” at the top. Boom. It is mine.
4. College students basically always have access to free Wi-Fi. If this does not apply to you, it may be an issue. However, I’m relatively certain that all normal college campuses have free, FAST internet connection anywhere you go. (At least we do at St. Thomas, so YOU SHOULD GO HERE.)
5. It has a really cool “social” feature. You can upload playlists that all your Facebook friends who have Spotify can see and listen to. So you can show off your amazing taste in music.
If you aren’t convinced, well, good luck ever finding true happiness
For the road, here’s a music recommendation for the night:
The Reckoning by NEEDTOBREATHE.
This album is amazing. Enjoy!