6 Blog Posts That Will Help You Become a Better Person Today

I am all about self-improvement. There’s nothing more satisfying than watching yourself grow into the best person you can be. I’m always on the lookout for a great post that will help me create better habits for myself, and I collect them on my Pinterest board, Better Life Habits. These are the best posts that I’ve found so far.

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1.) 5 Resources That Will Improve Your Productivity (and ASSASSINATE procrastination)

This list is a roundup of 5 great apps and products that will help you focus more and procrastinate less. I am the queen of procrastination, so tools like these are really helpful for me.

2.) 5 Steps To An Insanely Productive Morning

When I have a great morning, the rest of my day is great too. Getting a solid morning routine down is the key to setting yourself up for a productive day, and this list has some great ways to spice up your morning routine.

3.) 21 Ways to Become an Early Morning Exerciser

Waking up early to exercise is one thing that I always want to do but find myself struggling to follow through with. This article is packed with great tips for people who are horrible at making themselves exercise in the morning.

4.) 5 Things You Should Do Everyday–Even When Life is Stressful

This is my favorite blog post right now. Too often, I notice myself going into “survival mode” where I just focus on assignments that are due and things that need to be done immediately. This post is a great reminder of the little things that should be done every day so that they don’t pile up and make you feel overwhelmed.

5.) 15 Ways to Feel More Powerful in 15 Minutes

On those days when I wake up and don’t feel confident, I notice that it quickly spirals into a Netflix day. Although I’m a huge advocate for having a good Netflix day every once in awhile, watching Netflix all day when you have important things that need to be done is a massive waste of time. Instead of curling up in a ball, try these ideas to help you get your confidence back.

6.) 23 Ways to Treat Yo’self Without Buying or Eating Anything

When you’ve had a really productive day, there’s nothing better than rewarding yourself for your efforts. But often, when that reward involved eating junk food or spending a lot of money, you end up regretting it. This list is great for the days when you just deserve a treat but you don’t want to feel guilty about it later.

If you’re interested in more posts about self-improvement, check out my Better Life Habits board on Pinterest. I’m always updating it with new posts.

5 Things I Love About Being a Hawkeye

This is the third post in my Colleges: Pros and Cons series! Check out 5 things I loved about UCCS and what I loved about SLU. Coming up, I will feature what Cody loved about the Air Force Academy, as well as a list of dislikes for each school. But for now, let’s focus on how great it is to be a hawkeye!

UI

When we had Cale, we had two choices: Cody would have to legally give up his paternity so that he could continue going to the Air Force Academy (more on that later) or we could transfer to the University of Iowa where Cody could join their Air Force ROTC program (and we would live only an hour and half away from both of our families). The choice for Cody to leave the Academy was tough, but the choice to come to Iowa was easy, and we are so happy about our decision! We arrived here in January 2015, and we will both be graduating next school year! I have truly loved living here in Iowa City, and the university has offered me a lot of opportunities that I have been very grateful for.

1.) The University of Iowa is huge! I know that some people aren’t into huge schools; I really enjoy it for several reasons, but I’ll just tell you my top two: (1) A huge student population equals a huge alumni network. There are Iowa grads in every state, and it creates an instant connection when you meet someone with the same alma mater. (2) The possibilities are endless when it comes to student activities. There is every club you could possibly imagine, and if you do manage to think up a different one, you can create it!

2.) The professors actually connect with the students. This was honestly true for SLU and UCCS as well, but I’m especially impressed by it here because it is such a huge school. Most professors are dealing with hundreds of students every day, yet every professor that I’ve had has managed to learn my name by the end of the semester. As a person who is shy and not typically outgoing, it really touches me when someone reaches out to me and makes me feel seen. It makes me feel like my presence in class truly matters, and that’s a great feeling to have.

3.) The sporting events are fun, even for a person who doesn’t like sports. I do not like football at all, but even I have fun at the football games here. It’s so much fun to see an entire state come together to root for your school! Neither SLU nor UCCS had football teams, so this is my first experience with college football, and it’s been pretty cool. They also have other teams that are great, and it’s fun to be able to see the slightly more obscure sports like gymnastics and wrestling.

4.) Iowa City is the third UNESCO City of Literature in the world. I love to read and write, and this is the city of readers and writers, which is really great. The public library is gigantic, and the local bookstores are perfect. The best part of all of this is that successful authors are constantly coming to Iowa City to speak about their books and even do readings of their latest work.

5.) Iowa is my home. I loved living in Saint Louis and Colorado Springs, and I plan to spend the majority of my life moving around and traveling, but Iowa will always be where my heart is. In my experience, most people in the world are kind-hearted when you get to know them, but it’s the Iowans who wear their kindness on their sleeves. Cody, Cale, and I were in a minor car accident in the fall, and the kindness of the strangers around us was astounding. Immediately after impact, a man behind us jumped out of his car and ran up to make sure we were okay and to inform us that he was calling 911 for us. Our car had to be towed, but because we had Cale and his carseat, neither the police car nor the tow truck would be able to safely transport us. A couple who were about to head home from the gym asked us if we needed a ride home, and then gave us their phone numbers in case we might need transportation later on. Of course, this could have happened anywhere, but this is just the type of thing that Iowans do for one another, and that’s pretty amazing.

The University of Iowa isn’t where I originally intended to get my degree from, but it has quickly become my home, and I am so happy to be here. Comment below if there are any questions that you have about Iowa, SLU, or UCCS, and don’t forget to check back for the rest of the series!

5 Things I Loved About Going to the University of Colorado Colorado Springs

This is the second post in my Colleges: Pros and Cons series. My first post featured the things I loved about SLU. Check back for the rest of the posts in the series. I will be covering the University of Iowa as well as the Air Force Academy in upcoming posts, and I will write about what I didn’t like about all four universities as well.

UCCS

I transferred to UCCS in January 2014 so that I could live closer to Cody as he was attending the Air Force Academy. It was a pretty scary move; I went from living three hours away from my family in Saint Louis to living about fourteen hours away in Colorado Springs. Despite the fact that I missed my family a ton, I had a blast at UCCS, and I loved living in Colorado Springs. Narrowing this list down to just 5 was tough!

1.) Colorado Springs is one of the coolest cities in the U.S. Seriously, where else can you get such a vibrant mix of conservative military-oriented people along with super progressive hippies? And it isn’t only the people who feature wonderful differences; the city itself is the perfect mix of a modern urban city-scape and old-fashioned wilderness. In just fifteen minutes, you can either be at the heart of the city or exploring the base of the mountain range.

2.) The Garden of the Gods and Manitou Springs are right down the road. The Garden of the Gods is a beautiful rock formation filled with easy to walk pathways and sidewalks. It is gorgeous, and you won’t be satisfied just exploring it once. Manitou Springs is the quirky little sister to Colorado Springs. It’s a small town filled with touristy shops and street art. It is so much fun to go spend an afternoon in Manitou.

3.) The class sizes are small. I’ve tried to avoid writing about facts that the schools themselves already advertise, but UCCS did a remarkable job of keeping their class sizes small. My largest class was a lecture with about 70 people in it, and even that had a lab section that met separately and had less than 20 students. Every other class I was a part of was small enough to enjoy class discussions and get to know everyone’s names. As an English major, classroom discussion is what helps me truly learn the most, so I really appreciated being a part of classes that were small enough to have discussions.

4.) The University itself sits on its own hill overlooking Colorado Springs. One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen was the sun rising and setting over the mountain range as I walked to or from class. The views that UCCS provides are absolutely incredible. I took pictures almost every day my entire first month there.

5.) The whole city has a strong military community, and a genuine sense of patriotism. Colorado Springs always had parades for important holidays such as Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, and it was nice to see the community turn out to support our troops as well as take pride in our country. As someone who is going to be a military spouse, this may have been more important to me than it would be to most people, but hey, who doesn’t like parades?

My experience in Colorado Springs was something I’ll never forget. Let me know if there’s anything that I forgot to mention, and don’t forget to check back for the rest of the posts in this series!

5 Things I Loved About Going to Saint Louis University

This is the first post in my Colleges: Pros and Cons series! In the near future, I will write about the Air Force Academy, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and the University of Iowa. These are all schools that either I or my fiance have attended, so we will be able to provide personal reviews of them for those who might be interested in attending.

One of SLU's many gorgeous fountains--I took this picture on my first day.

In the fall of 2013, I entered my freshman year at SLU. It was my second choice university (I didn’t get in to my top choice, but that was okay, because I still ended up in Saint Louis, which was my goal all along). I applied to SLU in the early fall of my senior year of high school and got my acceptance letter sometime in October or November.

1.) The school follows the Jesuit mission. Something that students at SLU hear constantly is “service before self,” and that’s a phrase that I continue to try to live by. SLU prides itself on the fact that the vast majority of its students do volunteer work, and many classes at SLU require students to volunteer.

2.) The campus is gorgeous. SLU’s campus is filled with beautiful architecture and landscaping. Because it was founded in 1818, many of the buildings on campus are quite old, and they provide a lovely contrast to the newer buildings. SLU is full of wonderful fountains, and it is a joy in the spring time to see the fountains running and the flowers blooming.

3.) The dorms aren’t horrible. Some friends of mine attend Western Illinois University, and I was very surprised when I visited them once to discover that their dorm rooms were filled with rickety old furniture that seemed like it would fall apart any time. Although SLU’s dorms aren’t amazing, they do have decent furniture and they aren’t really that bad to live in. My bed was actually the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on!

4.) The location is amazing! I worked at New City School while I attended SLU, and I was able to bike to work every day through a few really neat residential neighborhoods as well as one street filled with hipster-y restaurants and businesses. To top it off, there was a metro station just a short walk away from campus, so it’s possible to get nearly anywhere in the city without a car.

5.) It was private and slightly separated from the surrounding community. Now, I’m not trying to imply that the surrounding community was somehow bad or that I didn’t want to be a part of it, but it was nice knowing that I could walk safely from the library to my dorm at midnight and the only other people that I would encounter would be fellow students. I’m currently attending the University of Iowa, and although I quite enjoy the atmosphere here as well, I do sometimes miss the way that SLU is its own small community within the larger community.

Don’t miss the next post in this series, and let me know of any questions that you would like me to address either about SLU or any of the other universities mentioned above!