Chop chop!

I have always HATED getting my hair cut. I don’t know why. It’s probably similar to why I don’t like going to the doctor or going to the dentist. I’m not quite sure why; I just don’t like it.

A few months ago, I had been wanting to get my hair cut for a while – I didn’t even like my previous cut to begin with. I’d been putting it off though, because I just really don’t like going. And besides, I never seem to have time for that sort of thing. So I decided I was going to attempt one of the bravest things I’ve done (yes I’m kind of a wuss, so this really is one of the bravest things I’ve done) and do it myself! I’ve actually really been wanting to learn because as a kid, I always wished my mom could cut my hair.I watched a couple of video tutorials and away I went.

Here are the videos I watched, in case you’d like to try it yourself sometime!

Cosmopolitan

Carina from YouTube

I didn’t follow exactly what they did…I kinda just trimmed and trimmed and trimmed while I watched some episodes of Psych (classic me, “multi-tasking”). I was pretty pleased with how I did, considering I had never cut hair before. Except for this one time in 8th grade when I cut my own bangs and they reached like the middle of my forehead. Yeah. It was bad.

Anyway, so, after my lovely success story, I decided to try it again. This time I wanted to cut it short. I put my hair in a pony tail so I could cut enough to donate. Here’s the video of me freaking out as I cut off my loooooong pony tail.

(Side note: If you watched the video, you may have noticed a large black speck floating around on my camera. I don’t know what it is. Sometimes it moves to a different spot, sometimes it disappears altogether . . . it’s quite the mystery. If you can explain it, please tell me!!!)

Everything was exciting and great and whatever, until I took out the pony tail and realized what it looked like in the back . . . the front was great, and exactly what I wanted. The back, well, I wish I could show you a picture, but it was so awful that I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture. I don’t have a warranty on my phone, so I didn’t want to take any risk of breaking the camera. Ha.

My lovely angel roommate did her best to fix it, but it was pretty much beyond repair already at this point. She got it good enough that I could go to class in the morning. Then I went to a salon and got it touched up. I’m not saying I’ll never cut my own hair again, because now I know what not to do. That’s valuable knowledge that I need to utilize! Ha, ha. All joking aside, I really do think I’m going to continue cutting my own hair, at least when it’s longer and I’m not doing anything fancy. I’ll leave the shorter cuts to the professionals, though.

The final product!

Anyway, in case you were wondering, I do love the new hair. It’s like the “accident” child that ends up becoming the favorite, or the cooking mishap that turns out delicious. Success!

Journaling Tips

Last night I was exhausted.

I hadn’t gotten nearly enough sleep all week, I was stressed about homework and tests coming up, and I didn’t even want to think about the mountain of laundry I’d been avoiding. (Of course, I couldn’t avoid thinking about it anymore when I had to put on my laundry-day pants today. You know, the ones you only wear when all the others are dirty).

laundry

So of course, instead of solving the tired-ness problem by going to sleep, I decided the best option was halfway lay down on my bed, distract my roommate from homework, and complain about all the things I need to do instead of doing them. Classic college logic. Of course, when you’re emotionally and physically worn-out, logic doesn’t exactly come in first place. Either laziness or its close cousin, time-wasting, usually wins.

After successfully procrastinating going to bed for about an hour, my hand started reaching, almost without my thinking about it, towards my beloved-yet-often neglected friend, the journal. I don’t know what it is about my journal that makes it so difficult to open, yet so difficult to close. Once I start to write, it’s so therapeutic that I just can’t stop.

This is terribly selfish of me, but I don’t write in my journal for the sake of posterity or whatever, I mostly do it for my own well-being. Maybe I’ll eventually compile it all into a personal history that can be more easily read by my grandkids (that’s the hope) or my million cats (that’s probably more likely). I’m at least 99% sure that no one would understand my journals anyway (especially the cats. Unless by the time I’m old, cats have learned to read. That would be both awesome and incredibly frightening).

catlady

It’s amazing what journaling does for me. That’s why I want to recommend it to everyone else as well. And since I know how terribly, terribly, hard it is to start (seriously, I don’t understand why it’s so hard), I thought I’d throw out a few tips that have helped me.

Get a journal that you LOVE. If your journal is just a spiral-bound notebook or your brother’s old one that he started, never finished, and ripped the first pages out of, you might not be very excited to write in it. However, if you spend a little time and money picking one that fits your own personal style, you’ll be much more tempted to pick it up and start writing. When I see a journal I love, I buy it and keep it on the shelf until I need it. That way I have motivation to finish the one I’m currently using.

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This is my current journal. I love how big it is. Cheesy but inspiring quotes are always nice, too.

Consider a “Line-A-Day” journal, or create your own system. I have one of those 5-year, one-line-a-day journals, where you just write something small each day. This might not work for everyone, but I love it. No matter how tired I am, I can always take 30 seconds to jot down something interesting about the day. Sometimes it’s just one word. But It makes me feel at peace knowing I’m keeping a record of my life. Then, when something important happens, or when I’m more in the mood to write, I crack open the big journal and expound. If you create some sort of schedule for yourself like that, your chances of keeping it up are a lot higher.

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Write stuff you’ll actually care about remembering. I absolutely love reading back through my journals and reading about funny things my brother did, or how excited I was that a certain boy talked to me, or who I was spending time with. I also love reading about spiritual experiences I had, because sometimes I can trace parts of my testimony back to those experiences, even though I had forgotten what happened. I also like reading crazy stories that I retell, so I can make sure I am telling it how it really happened (you know how stories  tend to change over time . . . that’s why my brother has, apparently, gotten at least 20 feet of air while tubing). Then, some things are just tedious to read about. In high school I would say “so today was pretty good, I did some homework, but I’m really tired, bleh” or something. Did I really need to write that down? Try to look at yourself in the future and wonder, what would I want to know about today? What am I likely to forget if I don’t write it down?

George Washington's diary entry about when the U.S. Constitution was signed.
George Washington’s diary entry about when the U.S. Constitution was signed.

Be as honest as you possibly can. It’s one thing to sugarcoat, edit, and alter what we say to other people. You know, we automatically respond “good” when anyone asks how we are. We often end a conversation about something difficult in our life with “but it’s okay, everything’s going to work out fine” even if we aren’t so sure, and it’s not okay. If we want to keep this up for the sake of social acceptability, fine. But it has no place in a journal. If you’re trying to really get how you feel out on a paper, don’t act as if you’re talking to a girl you sit next to in class or someone you’re on a date with. This is just you and your own brain. Like I said, I don’t plan on letting anyone read my journals, ever.

Anne Frank may have been just like me, and didn't want anyone to read her diary. But what if she had never written it?!
Anne Frank may have been just like me, and didn’t want anyone to read her diary. But what if she had never written it?!

Consider doing more than just writing. Once a friend of mine told me how she liked to use sketchbooks or journals with unlined paper, because she felt that the lines restricted her. I’ve thought about that ever since. I love using paper that isn’t lined because sometimes you want to write bigger for emphasis, write small enough that no one can read over your shoulder, or illustrate what you’re feeling by drawing. I’ve never considered myself an artist–my drawing skills are, well, we don’t even have to talk about it. But sometimes I draw some sort of diagram or just really big words to express what’s happening. I love journaling that way.

anthro - prospero journal 1

I hope that you all go out and buy a beautiful journal, write eloquently about the important details of your lives, and reap the benefits of doing so. Just kidding. I know that my saying all this stuff probably won’t convince you. Now you just know what you’re missing out on if you don’t write in your journal!

BYU’s Best Kept Secrets

In honor of Homecoming this past week, I decided to write about my beloved school, BYU. If you are a BYU cougar yourself, you might find this useful. If not, you still might find it useful. If not, oh well. Go cougs!

After beating Boise State
After beating Boise State

Brigham Young University is enormous. With over 30,000 students, it’s easy to feel like you’re just another head in the cattle herd, plodding along. It’s also hard to stay on top of everything and feel like you’re successful, especially when everyone else also worked hard to get here and is academically talented.

However, since it’s such a large university, BYU has a lot going on. You never stop hearing about clubs, sports events, arts performances, academic programs, chances for free food, other activities, etc. that can be fun to participate in/watch. And one of my favorite parts about BYU is that every department, building, and organization is full of “secrets” that can make your experience awesome if you know what they are. Here are just a few of my personal favorite “secrets” (that aren’t really secrets, I’m not exactly a detective).

Though I did play assassin once and hid inside this weird Y artwork thing on campus
Though I did play assassin once and hid inside this weird Y artwork thing on campus

1. Free New York Times/Wall Street Journal
Did you know that in the HRCB (where the Kennedy Center is) you can pick up a free copy of the NY Times every day? You can also have free access to it and the Wall Street Journal online as long as you are logged in on your BYU account. Guys, even if you don’t care about the news, this is something that millions of people pay for that you can have for free.

2. Sensory Lab
On the first floor of the ESC you can get paid to eat food. Is there are more ideal situation in life? The nutrition students are always doing taste-test studies and need panelists. You can sign up online here.
I’ve only gone once, but I got paid $5 to eat a bunch of different types of mashed potatoes and rate them according to taste, texture, appearance, etc. So basically, you get paid to eat, you feel super official, and you get candy. Win-win-win.

3. The BYU App
Not only can you see your schedule, your ID card, and all that other boring stuff, but the BYU app is your gateway to all kinds of vital information. You can see where the closest microwaves, bathrooms, and vending machines are. You can see what is stocked in each vending machine, too (you’ll understand how important this is if you’ve ever gone to get your vital pre-test chocolate milk and there was NONE LEFT in the vending machine!!!).
There’s also a feature that lets you see where the open-access computers are on campus and how many are available in each place. No more awkwardly scanning the library and trying not to make eye-contact with that one guy you hoped you would never see again after freshman year.

4. Open Mic Night at The Wall
If you ever want a free, entertaining musical experience, head over to The Wall on a Tuesday night at 8 pm. People just show up, write their name on the chalkboard, and play one or two songs. Sometimes you discover great local bands, sometimes you hear rappers in kimonos, and sometimes there is even a rare stand-up comic. Anything can happen at open mic. (Plus, The Wall has Italian sodas, soooooo).

5. Free Pizza . . . Free Pizza Everywhere
If you’ve been going to BYU for more than approximately 2 days and you haven’t gotten free food yet, you’re doing it wrong. Any day of the week you can find free food, especially pizza. If you even go to a meeting about volunteering for NSO, you get pizza. If you go to basically any club opening social, you get free pizza. Or donuts. If you go to institute, there will be food.
There’s even an app to tell you where to find it at all times—it’s called BYU Lunchbox.

Example of free food (your major probably has one of these and it's great)
Example of free food (your major probably has one of these and it’s great)

6. Free T-shirts . . . Free T-shirts Everywhere
Just like food, there are always t-shirts being given away. I’ve gotten two within the first couple weeks of school alone—one for downloading a free app, the other for posting something about BYUSA clubs night on Instagram.
You can also get one from Women’s services this upcoming week if you do their 10-day challenge (uh, probably just if you’re a woman, though). More info here.

I'm probably wearing a free BYU t-shirt under there
I’m probably wearing a free BYU t-shirt under there

8. Student Wellness Website
Guys, admit it, college is stressful! Life is hard, things happen, and even though we pretend to have it all together, things just fall apart sometimes. BYU’s student wellness website is full of resources. They have a lot of great stress-relief exercises and reminders, things you can print out to keep your mindset healthy, relaxation recordings, and much, much more. You can also get free counseling if you need it (though I think they get pretty full during the semester and that’s why they have so many online resources). Even if you think your problems aren’t severe, it doesn’t hurt anyone to do relaxation exercises. Visit the website here.

What a beaut
What a beaut

9. CLUBS!
If you ski or snowboard, you absolutely need to be a member of Freeride Academy. They do a free showing of TGR’s movie every year, you can get discounts on season passes, sometimes you get discounts for waxing or ski merchandise . . . plus the t-shirts are always cool (not free, but cool). I love skiing so that’s usually the only club I really participate in, but there is probably a club for one of your interests. I know you think you don’t have time for that sort of thing, but sometimes it’s worth it to be involved in something outside of just school. We aren’t meant to be zombies who only study all the time, and it’s also good to participate in things that will only be available to you while you’re at BYU. You can see all the clubs online here.

Skiing, back before my sister was taller than me :(
Skiing, back before my sister was taller than me 😦

10.The 100 Hour Board
This website is so entertaining. You can ask any question, and one of the writers will answer it within 100 hours. People ask everything from advice about classes, confusion over church doctrine, and random activities that happen in Provo. It’s really fun to read some of the popular questions from the past. Plus, if there’s something you absolutely can’t figure out, this is the place to get an answer! Check it out here.

Cause school isn't just about this (btw this was from my 2 classes spring term along, kill me)
Cause school isn’t just about this (btw this was from my 2 classes spring term alone, kill me)

Well, there you have it. As if you needed some more things to compete for your time, here you have a few more ideas. If you have any great BYU best-kept “secrets,” let me know and I’ll include them in the next one!

aubsglaz’s Comprehensive Guide to Overall Health

To understand why I’m writing this, read my previous post about health: What Does “Healthy” Even MEAN? Part 1: Why You Should Care

On another note, my social media name doesn’t work too well in the possessive. Oh well. We’ll talk about that some other day, because today is a special day. It’s the day where you get the most brief, real, and hopefully (but no guarantees, okay, I’m no expert) useful guide to health.

I know swimsuit season is ending, and frumpy sweater season is right around the corner (hooray for sweater weather!), but that doesn’t mean taking care of yourself isn’t important anymore. If you disagree, go read my last post. Or, for that matter, any health book ever written. Good health contributes to overall happiness year-round and has a lot more to it than just weight.

The toughest part about being healthy, for me at least, is knowing what really matters and what doesn’t. I’ve tried to read, watch, and listen to what a lot of different people say. A lot of opinions conflict, but a precious few tips have remained generally consistent across the board. Those, as well as things that have personally helped me to feel better, are what I’ll include here.

1–Love yourself! This is more important than you think. If you don’t care about yourself, why would you make sacrifices to stay healthy? Don’t be hard on yourself if you aren’t where you want to be yet. Nothing ruins a diet (or any health plan) quicker than guilt and remorse. And remember that your goal should be to be happy: not to have a body just like someone else’s. Like I mentioned earlier, health means much more than just weight.

food 

2–Water. Drink a lot of it, especially when you sweat. I tend to drink a lot of water, so when I don’t, I notice a big difference. It helps a lot in the morning, as well. I know how hard waking up can be (NOT a morning person here), and chugging a glass of water when my alarm goes off gets me going each day.

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3–Exercise. I think we all know that we should exercise. But actually implementing a consistent program is tough. I’m still working on this. I’m usually great for a couple weeks, then I get lazy, then I start to feel awful, so I start again, then I get busy or tired, and I don’t keep up with it, and so goes the cycle . . . sound familiar to anyone? If not, I commend you for your dedication. If so, I think the key is to not expect too much of yourself. Doing something is better than nothing. Instead of feeling like you have to set aside an hour or more to go to the gym or run several miles, you can go for a short run/walk or do a Tabata workout (they are only 4 minutes) or other forms of HIIT. (I’ll actually be writing a follow-up post about this).

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4–Natural and whole foods. I’m not going to say that everyone needs to vow to never again buy or consume anything that is not 100% natural, organic, raw, and vegan. Only the most determined of people can keep up an extreme regimen like that, and it’s just not reasonable or desirable for everyone. We could all afford, however, to include more natural foods in our diet. If you think about what you’re putting into your body when you eat processed, pre-packaged, and fast foods, it’s a little bit scary. People were meant to eat what comes from the earth, not from a lab. I’m not going to tell you to eat a certain number of vegetables, fruits, etc. each day, because I know that ends up just sounding like a to-do list and it’s tough to keep up with. Just keep it in mind as you make daily food decisions. For example, you could decide to eat some salad with your dinner instead of frozen french fries. It takes about the same amount of work/time/money but your body will be much happier.

ron-swanson-11

5–Sleep. I know, you’ve heard it before. I know, it’s basically impossible when there is so much to do every single day. But my sagely (hah) advice is: figure out how much sleep you need every night in order to be happy and productive the next day. For me, it’s at least 8 hours. For some, it’s much less. Whatever it is, remember that it’s more worth your time to get that amount of sleep than to stay up doing something else. For me this is really hard because I get this big burst of energy at night and I suddenly feel like doing everything. Then, I pay serious consequences in my classes the next day . . . it’s a good thing that I’m writing this to remind myself that I need to work on this!

sleeping

Well I think we’ll just leave it at those 5 for now. I hope this is helpful/motivational for some of you. If not, let Andy from Parks and Rec be an inspiration to you.