EducationSkills

As much as we hate to admit it sometimes, we can’t all be Superman or Superwoman. Finding the time to get daily necessities done, as well as doing things just for pure enjoyment and relaxation, can be difficult. Here are some ways I multitask with my busy college schedule!

1. Work Out Between Loads of Laundry

Believe it or not, having to do your laundry can actually be a useful way to manage your time. Instead of being that one person who leaves their load in the washing machine for hours on end until you’re finally out of class, set a timer for each load that you do. You’d be surprised how much you can get done in a 30-45 minute load. Personally, it’s usually a toss-up between napping and working out, but I usually like to try to get a little exercise into my day which can be difficult when piles of homework are calling your name. Try splitting up your workout to give you plenty of time to get a few sets done and take a breather. I try to split my workout into sections and do legs during one load and abs during another!

2. Brew Your Coffee While You Get Ready

The simplest trick is the book is over-looked way too often! I can’t survive my 8:30 AM class without a hot cup of coffee, but it can be difficult to find time when you’re rushing to get there because you wanted to sleep late. Instead, make your coffee first and go about your daily routine. This will also give your coffee some time to cool off so it isn’t boiling when you go to take a sip!

3. Call Your Family While Walking To Class

That 15 minute walk across campus can really make a difference. It can be difficult to find the time to keep your family up to date on your life while being away at school, but a quick catch up here and there while walking to class can easily make your day and their day and fit into both of your schedules. It also makes the walk there a little less lonely!

4. Your Cell Phone’s Speaker Is Your New Best Friend

Whenever I’m in my dorm room eating takeout, cleaning, or doing homework, I’ll try to call or FaceTime a friend to catch up! It’s the easiest thing to do and is multitasking at its finest. Plus, if you don’t understand something on your homework you can ask away!

5. Review Notes While Catching Up On Your Favorite TV Show

We all dread that night of studying before the next-morning-quiz. To make it a little more bearable, try binge-watching that show you’ve been meaning to catch up on and review your notes at the same time. During breaks you can quiz yourself on what you just went over!

Image: Startup Stock Photos

Culture

While it may be hard to admit, girls are some of the hardest people to shop for when putting aside clothes and makeup. And with the holiday season right around the corner, it’s definitely time to start getting the shopping done! Here are five things on every girl’s holiday list:

  1. Coffee

Whether it’s a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks or a Peppermint Mocha k-cup from Dunkin Donuts, sometimes coffee feels like it’s practically our blood. The drink is not only delicious, but it’s something to swear by when waking up for 8:30 a.m. classes and needing something to warm our hands as we brave the cold.

  1. Chapstick

With cold weather comes chapped lips and that’s fun for no one. Chapstick is one of the many simple pleasures in life that we all just can’t seem to get enough of; especially when it comes in so many yummy flavors!

  1. Chipotle

Embracing the calories is all the rage when it comes to Chipotle. What girl doesn’t like indulging in some guacamole? There’s nothing like an excuse to splurge on the love of food!

  1. Uggs

We all have to admit to owning at least one pair whether we’d like to or not. And though it may be hard to admit, this fad may just be the warmest and comfiest of them all!

  1. Yoga Pants

These might as well just be a gift from the universe itself! Yoga pants are a way of life; and a way of looking put together after rolling out of bed. These are sure to keep you comfy but also stylish when the cold weather hits.

What’s on your holiday wish list?

Image: Kevin Dooley

Health

There are a lot of drinks out in the market there that you may think are harmless, but think again! A lot of these commercially-owned brands are actually incredibly detrimental to your health. Just to lay out the facts, ingredients on foods are listed from the most to least. So, if sugar is number one on the ingredient list, whatever you are eating has sugar as the greatest component. Here are a few drinks you may want to reconsider buying:

Fruit Juices

I really hope this is not your “healthy” alternative to soft drinks. Their name is the most deceiving of all. “Fruit juice” would usually imply their healthy characteristics – juice from a fruit. And even though I applaud you for selecting a freshly squeezed fruit juice, I’d like to remind you that juice from fruit is like drinking sugar. The healthy component of any fruit is to eat the fiber which then cleans out your intestines. And the vitamins? It turns out that the vitamins from fruit are not usually in the juice of it – they are in actual structures of the fruit. For example, in an orange, the vitamin C is in the white outer lining of the orange; the part that is stuck on the peeling, the part we all throw out.

Most of the vitamins and minerals in apples are in the peeling of it. Fitting the puzzle pieces together?  Fruit juices are not always the best choice. Moving forward, commercial fruit juices are definitely an aisle you want to steer clear of. If you really look, most fruit juices will state their disclaimer, “contains X% of fruit juice.” If you ask me, I would like my fruit juice to be 100% fruit juice. That would only make me wonder what the other % consists of. In addition, the sugar content is out of this world high. Most brands are packed with artificial sugars or sweeteners to help boost its flavor. Ever hear of high fructose corn syrup? Check out the ingredient list. Many fruit juices, especially the infamous Welch’s brands, are packed with them and oftentimes are on the top of the ingredient list. For this reason, try to choose the juices that are 100% juice.

Sweetened Coffees

Coffee overall is not healthy, though it is not incredibly unhealthy either. It has its pros and cons, but sweetened Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts coffees like the ones you see in all of your co-workers or classmate’s hand every morning really get your body screaming for help. White chocolate mochas, McCafe frappes, peppermint white chocolate mochas, pumpkin spice lattes, crème brulee coffees, coolatas, mint chip mochas, caramel macchiatos, au bon pain’s vanilla lattes, toffee mochas, mocha lattes, etc. all sound fabulous and lip-smacking; however, they’re also fatal to your health. A grande peppermint white chocolate mocha from Starbucks has 75 grams of sugar, 60% saturated fat, and 520 calories. The ingredients in these drinks are not only packs with all kinds of harmful sugars but they also contain a great deal of detrimental chemicals and vague ingredient labels such as “natural flavors.” What are natural flavors? Aren’t they unnatural if they are only flavors? Are these drinks all delicious? Absolutely! But are you drinking the elixir of life? Not quite.

Flavored Waters

The point of water is for it to be unflavored, neutral and thirst quenching. Why would anyone want their water to be flavored? If you’re one of those people, here are a few facts about flavored water. Many contain a great deal of the “natural” and artificial flavorings mentioned above. They also have high amounts of sugars, sweeteners, and added nutrients like Vitamin C. According to Business Insider, “Natural flavors are created from anything that can be eaten (i.e animals and vegetables), even if those edible things are processed in the lab to create flavorings. Artificial flavors come from anything that is inedible (i.e petroleum) that is processed to create chemicals of flavorings.” Making these flavors in the lab instead of actually extracting them from the actual fruit, spice, or herb is much cheaper and faster. Vanillin, for example, is extracted from cow waste while artificial strawberry flavor is chemically similar to that found in an actual strawberry. As you can see, many flavors do not actually come from their implied source. You’ll be surprised with a little research!

Soft Drinks

Soft drinks are perhaps one of the unhealthiest drinks you could consume. The first big point is that sodas contain a very high amount of sugar. One 12 oz. can of soda can have 39 grams of sugar which is more than the amount of daily recommended sugar intake for both men and women. Almost all contain high fructose corn sugar which stresses the pancreas and leads to spiking blood sugar levels which in turn affects the way your body produces insulin, a sugar stabilizer, and can eventually lead to many problems like diabetes. Sodas cause dehydration by not only serving as a water replacement, but they also contain a great deal of caffeine which acts as a diuretic, causing the body to have less water and fluids. Like many of the previously listed drinks, sodas can be deemed to contain “empty calories” which in turn causes weight gain. Lastly, phosphoric acid derives from rocks and is found in these soft drinks depletes calcium from your bones and also blocks calcium absorption which can then lead to osteoporosis. It also causes tooth erosion. Not fun, my friends.

Sports Drinks

Although sports drinks can revamp electrolyte levels, they also have their cons. Their acidity and sugar content cause tooth decay over time. Sports drinks are meant to be consumed when you work out. If you are not exercising when drinking them, they may call for some serious weight gain. They have a substantial amount of carbs in them and high amounts of carbohydrates at once can cause your insulin levels to increase and in turn, causing fat storage. They also contain high fructose corn syrup which is not only harmful for your pancreas, but it is also a contributor to obesity, decreased brain function, diabetes, and liver fibrosis.

Energy Drinks

When it comes to needing energy, you either go for coffee or a convenient energy drink. This goes for high school students, college students, and employees trying to meet deadlines. However, they can lead to weight gain because of their high sugar content. The mix of this sugar and crazy-high caffeine levels can lead to cardiovascular issues which are associated with a quicker heartbeat and increase in blood pressure (or god forbid, heart failure). These drinks also cause anxiety, irritability, and jitters due to their ingredients.

When it comes to choosing a drink, there tend to be many frustrating and misleading information. I would suggest sticking to water. You can never go wrong with water!

What are your favorite healthy drinks?

Health

I’m sure you’re well into your semester and the homework has been piling up. It’s getting a bit hard to get up in the morning, isn’t it? Last time, we discussed the joy that is waking up to tea or coffee. But, you thought, there are so many types of teas and coffees and the menu at Starbucks is so intimidating! Well, let me help you out a bit:

Coffee.

Ah, yes. The traditional, reliable, sometimes too bitter coffee. Don’t get me wrong. Coffee smells lovely. But I have a weak tummy, so coffee is no good for me. There are people who drink this stuff black, or they get some with a bit and milk and sugar. Coffee helps you stay alert, and is a sharp wake up call for those who really need it.

Espresso.

It’s the coffee without the sugar and milk. It’s black, strong, and short. Bam! Drink at your own risk. It’s a dose of caffeine and I’ve met people who get headaches from these, so take care when ordering one of these.

Americano.

Espresso + hot water. Watered down espresso. You can take it with milk, but a great way to drink it is to take it iced.

Mocha.

Espresso + chocolate. It also has steamed milk, but it’s stronger than a cappuccino. It’s good to try something new, and most people just get coffee in the morning, so this might be a good alternative if you want to try something new!

Cappuccino.

Coffee with steamed milk, nice and frothy. It’s good for someone with a sweet tooth because you can add some chocolate on top. It’s not as strong as coffee, but is stronger than a latte.

Latte.

Coffee but less bitter. It’s really sugary and I don’t see people in my morning classes drinking these very much. After all, it’s just like a cappuccino but with much, much more milk so it’s not too strong, but it tastes nice and fluffy! The pumpkin spice latte is all the rage these days…

Frappuccino.

This is a classic Starbucks drink. Coffee + flavoring (strawberries, pumpkin spice, whatever)+ice+whipped cream. It’s the large drink you would see people holding in the street with all the stuff on top. It’s really amazing, with all the variations of flavor ranging from vanilla to mint, depending on the time of year and location and whatever Starbucks is marketing at the time. Unlike the above drinks, this one is trademarked, but I’m sure there are other coffee places who make similar beverages.

*Coffee is good against type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia. It is also helpful with certain cancers and heart rhythm problems, as well as strokes. All the drinks listed above have coffee in them, so take your pick!

Caffeinated tea.

The slightly weaker wake up call, but a wake up call nonetheless. Black tea, green tea, they both have caffeine like coffee, but not as much. Tea in general is good for your health, and it fixes things up in your body so it’s good to drink if you’re feeling sick and you’re not sure if you have a cold. It’s a bit more gentle than coffee, but still has a boost.

*Green tea health benefits: improves blood flow, lowers cholesterol, prevents heart-­related issues such as high blood pressure and heart failure, prevents against Alzheimer’s disease related plaques, helps healthy cells grow, and creates a calming effect through a chemical called theanine

Herbal tea.

My favorite is herbal tea. They’re good for sensitive tummies or for when you’re feeling super sick but you have a test and you can’t miss it. They’re teas like ginger tea or fruit teas, and don’t have caffeine. They can be more gentle, like camomile, but may not wake you up. It depends on how you feel and what you need, but sometimes you just want to hold a cup of warmth in your hands, and this is perfect for that.

Don’t forget…

Orange juice, milk, and water. Remember those? Elementary school breakfasts always had these, and for good reason. People who are busy from the moment they wake up are really doing something to their bodies, and it’s good to give it the nutrients it needs.

I hope you find the drink that suits you best, and to try new things once and a while if you dare. Be healthy and hydrated, and don’t forget to eat too!

*research of health benefits found from wedMD.com

Image: Nomadic Lass, Flickr

HealthWellness

Morning, kids! The school semester has officially started. Whether you’re in high school or in college, I’m sure you’re having a great time hitting that alarm and rolling out of bed. I’m not. I think it’s awful.

As a senior in college, let me tell you now: it doesn’t necessarily get easier as you get older. But you figure out ways to trick yourself into believing it does. Something I like to do when I first wake up is think about what tea I want to drink the morning. Yes, tea.

Lying in bed, I’m still enjoying the comfort of my pillow and blanket. But I translate that into a good cup of tea, and that makes me want to get up more. Some people drink coffee, some drink tea, some drink orange juice or a smoothie. Whatever you like, let that be what helps you get up in the morning.

Here are some things to think about when you’re getting your tea and coffee, especially if you’re just starting a routine:

1. Find something easy on your stomach. I know some people who can’t have cold things in the morning, and then there are people who drink iced coffee in the winter.

2. Drink something that doesn’t make you crash. Some people can handle their coffee intake, but then they’re knocked out on the desk or drooling in front of a professor five or six hours later. Take everything in moderation, including your caffeine.

3. Switch it up. A different milk, a latte, Earl Grey. I usually get English Breakfast with milk and sugar, but sometimes it’s good to break the routine and try something new. The morning cup of joe, like college, can provide a routine and stability. But sometimes changing things up can be healthy and refreshing.

Tea and coffee may seem like a small thing, but small things can make life easier and enjoyable. Once winter comes, it will be comforting, and during the spring, it will be reliable. Have a good semester!

Image: Unsplash

CultureEducationSkillsTravel

The past couple of days have been a whirlwind in our nation’s capital. As I shared last week, I was honored to receive the Congressional Award Gold Medal yesterday. From the dinner to the actual Medal Ceremony, it has been awesome getting to see more of D.C., as well as meeting the other amazing medal recipients. If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you’ve seen a behind-the-scenes look at what I experienced. I thought I’d share some more details about the pictures here in a diary format. Let’s begin!

Tuesday, June 17

Penn Station

 7:00am – Rise and shine! The train for D.C. left bright and early, and the journey officially kicks off with a delicious breakfast sandwich, apple juice, and a full itinerary for the next couple of days.

Train view

8:00am – The view from the train is perfect for zoning out and seeing America zip by. Love views like this when I want to focus on absolutely nothing.

Working on the Train

 9:00am – Enough zoning out. It’s time to get some work done! With a full to-do list and more posts to write, the train is the best time to concentrate on the task at hand. It’s like being at the airport – there are many ways to stay productive.

National Geographic Society

 2:00pm – No time to waste now that I’m here in D.C.! Made a super cool stop at National Geographic HQ for an awesome upcoming Professional Spotlight. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 18

Constituent Coffee Russell Senate Office Bldg

8:00am – Another early D.C. morning! I trek to the Capitol to meet for a Constituent Coffee with Washington’s Senator Patty Murray. It was a pleasure meeting her and other Washingtonians.

Gold Dinner 2014

 8:00pm – The first official Congressional Award event: the Gold Medal Dinner. I took Catherine, who has earned her Silver Medal, and we met really inspiring youth from around the country. We also heard from some pretty incredible speakers, including Kevin Liles, the Honorable Ron Kind, and Chris Jordan.

Lauren holding CA medalist book

 9:00pm – Here I am holding The Congressional Award Medalist book with other medalists’ stories and speaker information. The energy of the room was contagious!

Thursday, June 19

Carpet from Ceremony at Capitol Cannon Caucus House

 9:00am – The time has come for the Congressional Award Gold Medal Ceremony! This carpet design caught my eye, and I couldn’t not snap a quick picture before going through security. I felt so official just standing on this carpet.

Offices in Cannon House

 11:45am – Walking through the halls of the Cannon Caucus House. Everything is so…impressive.

Catherine and Lauren by reflection pool

 12:05pm – Catherine and I standing in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool. Can you spot the Washington Monument? Can’t wait to be here again next year when she earns her Gold Medal!

Lincoln

 3:30pm – I have the afternoon off! I walk to the Lincoln Memorial, and as usual, am in awe of its impressive size and beauty.

This week has been amazing, to say the least. Thanks for coming along on the journey with me, and I hope you enjoyed the sneak peeks!

EducationSkills

Let’s face it: interviews are stressful! There’s no denying that interviews lead to increased anxiety, rushes of adrenaline, and panic over not knowing what to say. Use these tricks below to help you shine and prove why you are the best candidate for the job.

Basics:

1)   Maintain eye contact.

2)   Give a firm handshake.

3)   Remember to smile.

4)   Arrive ten minutes early.

5)   Dress appropriately.

When in doubt, dress nicer than you think you need to. Looking sloppy is the easiest and quickest way to start off on the wrong foot.

6)   Bring an extra copy of your résumé*.

*Don’t necessarily keep this in front of you, but have a fresh copy stowed away in a bag or briefcase. Use your own judgment to assess whether or not to offer a copy to the interviewer.

7) Keep a notebook and pen in front of you.

Not-So-Basics:

8) Ignore that little voice in your head.

There is a common saying that we are all our own worst critics. That little voice in your head telling you that you aren’t prepared enough, that you aren’t qualified for the position, that you aren’t ready, IGNORE it! Switch off the emotional voice and focus in on the pragmatic one. Don’t stand in your own way! You can do this!

9) Prepare, prepare, prepare.

Carpe likes to prepare in two simple ways: personal and professional.

For the personal preparation, update your résumé. Make sure it is up-to-date with the most relevant information (i.e. if you are now a sophomore in high school consider removing random activities from before freshman year; if you are now a sophomore in college consider removing anything from high school that does not highlight an important personal asset). Take a look at Purdue University’s Online Resource for how to create a great résumé.

Secondly, prepare professionally by doing thorough research on the company you are interviewing for and the people you are interviewing with. Two good places to start are on Linkedin and through the website of the company or group you are interviewing with.

10) Have information in front of you.

Create “cheat sheets” for yourself. Print out a copy of your own résumé and highlight the three main parts that stand out. This will provide you with a quick reference for your personal agenda (see below). Warning: don’t look down at paper for more than a quick glance to guide your thoughts. You want to keep the conversation flowing.

11) Set a personal agenda.

Before the interview begins, decide on a couple standout points that you want to work into the conversation. It could be as simple as a fun fact about yourself to help the interviewers remember you, or something more specific like the latest project you worked on and how it challenged you. Depending on how long the interview lasts, try to work in 1-3 important points that you believe will set you apart from the rest of the competition.

12) Send a reminder e-mail.

Sending a brief and polite e-mail the day before an interview can be a good way to make sure the interviewer is still available to meet. Let them know what you will be wearing and reiterate that you are excited to speak with them in person. Sending this short email will help sooth your nerves the night before.

13) Send a follow-up email.

Always send a follow-up email or card to thank the interviewer for his or her time and consideration. I would recommend sending this follow-up a few hours after the interview or early the next morning.

14) Offer to pay.

If you are meeting for coffee or a small meal, offer to pay. It is appropriate to spend about 5 to 15 dollars.

15) Be able to confidently answer, “Why do you want to work here?”

You need to know why you want the job. If you can’t think of a reason right away, reconsider if you are aiming high enough or following a true passion. At Carpe we pivot all the time to follow what inspires us, and you should do the same.

16) Don’t be afraid to ask, “Why should I work here?”

You matter. You are valuable. You are going to be contributing to a team and working hard, so ask the tough questions and don’t be afraid to demand what you deserve.

No matter how informal or formal an interview is, these steps will help guide you in the right direction.

How do you prepare for an interview? Let us know!