2018 intentions update

Hi everyone and happy Friday! Yesterday I got a comment on my July intentions and realized that the year is now over halfway gone. Last year I made a 17 in 2017 update post because I wanted to hold myself accountable for my goals + resolutions so that’s just what I’m going to do today! Let’s see how disciplined I am at a list I almost never look at !!!!! ( sense the sarcasm haha?)


EVERY DAY

> 1 hour of journaling//meditation//reading /// this one is totally not happening. It has been the past 2 weeks and a bit at the beginning of the year but I always forget about reading (re: my last post) so I’ve been sucking at that. Hopefully, with my newfound reading love, I’ll be better at that.

> 64 oz of water /// I’ve been kicking booty at this one. I’ve upped my water intake to 128 oz every day and hit even that almost every day!!!

> Exercise /// With CHAARG’s Bootycamp and my morning walks I do this almost every day, however, some days (usually weekends) I don’t do much of anything

EVERY WEEK

> Coffee//Lunch//Workout with someone /// lol this hasn’t happened. I do love this idea so it looks like I’m off to text some friends of mine

> Write /// I write at least once a week… at least something. Whether it be an intro to a book I’ll never finish or I blog here… I get those creative juices flowing somehow.

EVERY MONTH

> Read one book /// HAHAHAHAHA I’ve read 3 books this year (working on my 4th) so maybe if I read enough books during July and August that will counteract my garbage self from the pasts 6 and a half months.

> Discover a new podcast series /// I have 4 podcasts that I’ve been listening to, but I WOULD LOVE SUGGESTIONS SO DROP ME A COMMENT OF YOUR FAVE(S)

THIS YEAR

> Go on a vacation /// My trip to Florida so check

> Take care of my physical and mental health /// This will always be a resolution of mine and some days I am better about it than others and that’s okay.


How are you all doing on your New Year’s Resolutions?

❤ Alicia ❤

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High school ruined me

Hi all and long time no write.

I took a nice weekend trip to Ohio at the start of the month, and that paired with some family issues I’ve been pretty lackluster when it came to writing.

Something I’ve been doing quite a bit more recently is reading. I just finished The Happiness Project last night (more on that to come) and I started wondering why I don’t read more often. I love reading, I love writing, yet I don’t do it nearly as often as I’d like.

When I was part of my high school’s yearbook, I did almost exclusively design. I edited captions and stories, etc. but only because I was an editor and therefore it was my job (despite the thrill I got from turning a paragraph of spelling and grammatical mistakes into a perfect package complete with sparkly bow).

But, you all may be thinking… Alicia… you run a blog, you must like writing. And I do, I adore writing, immensely, it gives me a way to be creative without wanting to rip my hair out over my inability to draw anything better than a stick figure. So, then why did I refuse to write copy for my yearbook unless absolutely pressed to by my writing editor? Well, in my opinion, it’s because I was conditioned to believe I hated it.

School, high school, in particular, forced you to read and write things that you have little to no interest (or at least think you don’t) in and it is downright dreadful. Having to read books that you have no interest in, then having to write a 3-5 page essay in 45 minutes on a book you hated and therefore skimmed is almost worse.

I can remember being in elementary school after visiting the library that week, cozying up in my bed on a Friday night with Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty and staying up until the early hours of the morning to finish it because I WANTED to. No one told me to read the book, no one even recommended the book. I read that book because I wanted to. I read that book so many times and for a while, it was my favorite book… maybe it was because it was one of the only books with large font in my library… I’m a slut for large font. Whether I liked the book or merely the font size, there were many more books after that in which I read and loved doing so, but one day it stopped.

In 4th grade, I won a short story contest (and even got it turned into a claymation movie by my advanced class) with a 2-page short story called “Where’s Coco?” My sweet little white dog (based off of the American Girl Doll mascot Coco might I add) who went missing on Friday the 13th… in October nonetheless. While I can’t remember how it ended, I do remember that the title was written in a yellow polka dot angled Word Art font and that it was riveting to my entire class, which is why it won… obviously.

We were given a prompt to write a mystery story. Nothing more nothing less. I poured my heart and soul into that story because I am such a sucker for mysteries that I got that all done in one day (I do that with essays today but more so due to procrastination rather than passion). If I could muster up the idea of an American Girl Doll dog going missing and also find the dedication AND motivation to finish this story, why did I not write anymore? Why do I struggle to blog, when I adore writing? Why?

The answer to this is that high school ruined me. Plain and simple.

Something I always wanted to do was to be a teacher. I didn’t know I wanted to be a teacher because I hated learning, or at least I thought I hated learning.

Something I love is learning. So, why did I hate learning if I love learning? Pretty contradictory don’t you think? I think something that myself and so many others my age have come to realize is that high school is not about learning anymore, it’s about getting grades satisfactory enough to get accepted into the university of your choice.

I cannot tell you a single thing I learned from my junior year of high school other than the fact that I can read The Awakening in 90 minutes. The 90 minutes before I had to write my final exam on that book I may add. I can’t tell you so many things I ‘learned’ in high school because I did not learn them.

I memorized them hours before I needed to know them, regurgitated them onto a scantron or scratch paper, and then one by one, they were discarded into my brain garbage can (told you I didn’t learn much in high school).

High school was never about learning, yet I didn’t realize that until much later. I thought I hated learning because high school made learning the last thing I wanted to do.

It wasn’t until my year off that I realized that learning was fun. I learned more from the 6 and 8-year-olds I nannied than in my entire AP US history class. I learned more in my time in Peru than I did Honors Physics.

Learning doesn’t always take place in a classroom. But learning should always be fun.

How fortunate are we to learn that the moon’s orbit affects the seas’ tides? How fortunate are we to learn that you really can start a sentence with And or Because?

I wish high school hadn’t ruined me. I wish I knew my passions 4 years ago. I wish I never thought I hated the things that set my soul on fire. But here I am, still undecided on my life choices with the same fire and passion I had for reading, writing, and learning but this time.. I know I have it.

Alicia

July intentions

Hi everyone and happy July! The year is halfway over and it feels like just yesterday I was ringing in the new year and now we’re halfway done! Crazy how fast time goes by (even though time is an illusion but whatever). You all know the drill, here are my goals/ intentions for July!


  1. Finish CHAARG Bootycamp // I’m doing this workout guide along with Insanity and Bootycamp ends at the end of July so I want to give it my all and finish strong!
  2. 120 oz of water  daily // you already know
  3. Organize everything I own // This is an ongoing process. A month ago I cleared out a lot of stuff I own and now I need to organize it!
  4. Keep planning for CHAARG // I am SO excited for fall and getting back to school and in order for me to be prepared… I need to get planning!
  5. Get everything for my apartment bought + ready // I move into my apartment August 11th, so naturally, I want everything ready to go by August 1st.
  6. Start DIYing // I keep watching DIY videos + I’m so obsessed! I want to start DIYing things for my apartment and back home
  7. Work on training my dog // She is such an angel in the house, but she’s crazy on walks. I need to get her to keep her cool around bunnies, squirrels, and other dogs!

What are your intentions for July?

❤ Alicia ❤

June wrap up

How in the heck is June already over? How the heck is 2018 already halfway over? This year has flown by more than any other in my opinion and once school starts 2018 will be over before I know it. Let’s see how well I achieved my goals in June


  1. Plan for CHAARG // I’ve been doing a bit of planning here and there, working on retreat, socials, etc. It’s hard planning things in 1 day when people don’t email you back but I’m working on it
  2. Start CHAARG Booty Camp or Insanity // I’m almost done with week 2 of them both, and I will be taking a mini-break in a week or so because I’ll be out of town but I’ve already planned it so I won’t be missing a workout!
  3. Eat better // I’m eating much better, eating out much less, and making almost all of my own food
  4. 1 gallon of water daily // Doing so well on this!
  5. Figure my whole major thing out // I’m in every single class I need for the fall which is all I needed!
  6. Read // I haven’t finished a single book. I’ve been in a weird funk and the last thing I’ve wanted to do was read… I started one and I just haven’t had the motivation to finish
  7. Go to bed earlier // Most nights I’ve been in bed by 9 and sleeping by 10 but other nights (weekends) I haven’t been asleep until 1 or 2… Balance I guess?
  8. Less screen time // This hasn’t been happening but I’m working on it I guess haha.

How did your goals for June go?

❤ Alicia ❤

Next stop? Platform 9 3/4

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope you are all enjoying your week so far. If you read my last post, you may have noticed that I completely ignored my entire trip to Universal. I did this so I could make an entire post dedicated to Universal Studios and all of its glory!


My family and I arrived in Orlando Sunday night (after driving from St. Augustine), checked into our hotel room, went for a dip in the pool, and then hit the sack to save our energy for our 3 days at the parks.

My Monday morning wake up call was about 5:30 (thanks dad) so that we all could shower, eat, and chug some coffee and still get to the park at 8am when it opened (we got early entrance because we stayed on a Universal resort… highly recommend!!)

First and best view

The first thing we did was head to Diagon Alley to ride Escape from Gringotts. Another thing I would totally recommend doing first thing in the morning (honestly just do both Harry Potter Worlds first because it gets SO crowded later in the day) because the line was a breeze so early but we went back later and the line was much MUCH longer.

Entrance at Escape from Gringotts

Since we were running to the roller coaster, I wasn’t fully able to appreciate Diagon Alley in its glory, however, when we emerged from the ride (as a changed woman I might add because it was INCREDIBLE) I was completely in awe of Harry Potter world (and was still in awe each time we came back after). The attention to detail, how interactive the whole park was, and how I actually felt like I was getting ready to go to Hogwarts; after I bought my books, wand, and robes of course.

After we had thoroughly explored Diagon alley (don’t you worry we come back 2 more times), we took the Hogwarts express to Universal’s Island of Adventure, which held Hogsmeade. Just as Diagon Alley had done, I felt submerged in Hogsmeade. They captured everything, from the snow and icicles adorned by each building, to the various characters, to Moaning Myrtle in the bathroom, everything felt, looked, and smelled real.

There were 2 rides in Hogsmeade, The Forbidden Journey and the Flight of the Hippogriff (nothing special… just your typical kiddie ride). We rode the Forbidden Journey first. This ride navigates you through Hogwarts, where you can see Dumbledore in his office, moving pictures, the Gryffindor common room, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione sharing a bit of information about what the ride will entail. Once aboard the ride, you begin soaring through Hogwarts (you’re told that you’ll be watching a Quidditch match), battling dementors, seeing dragons, dodging the Whomping Willow, and getting an earful from Draco Malfoy. This ride is pretty much stationary, tilting you up, down, and every which way, moving when scenes change to shake it up with real-life figures (dementors, trees, etc.). Finally, you make it through the ride where Dumbledore and the entire Gryffindor Quidditch team thank you for helping them with the game. This ride was my personal favorite across the 2 parks because of the tilts, turns, movie screens along with actual moving parts.

Hogwarts!

Once we mustered up the courage to leave Harry Potter World (you wouldn’t want to either… trust me) we explored the rest of the Islands of Adventure park, riding the Jurassic Park water ride (kinda cool kinda scary and I didn’t even really get wet), seeing lines quickly getting longer before we decided to just ride the rest of the rides in this park early the next day, grabbed lunch, and then heading back over to Universal Studios.

Once back at Universal Studios, we explored LA, New York, London, and San Francisco (the park is divided up into cities) before going on the Race Through New York ride (hosted by Jimmy Fallon), a 3-D ride where you literally do not move but it 100% feels like you’re bouncing around New York streets, rocketing to the moon, and falling from 75 story buildings. To finish off this day at the park, we went on the Shrek 4-D ride where Lord Farquad somehow comes back to life ????? and we have to kill him again ???? before retiring to our hotel, grabbing dinner, waited for the pool to reopen post lightning scare, and then hitting the sack early for a long day ahead of us.


Tuesday was definitely the longest day of activities for us (I walked more Monday though because of all of the exploring we were doing). Our day started out once again at 5:30-6:00 with our assembly line of showers, teeth brushing, getting dressed, coffee drinking, getting HYPED for my birthday, etc.

For my birthday, I requested that we eat at Harry Potter World (because if you’re going to have your birthday at Universal, you might as well have it at the best part) so we ate at the Three Broomsticks at Hogsmeade. We had a cute little bird join us for a few minutes, who finally left after she figured out we weren’t going to feed her. I tried pumpkin juice for the first time (very good BUT SO SUGARY) and enjoyed a nice first meal of my day.

Well what did you expect? Pumpkin juice?!

Right after breakfast, we hurried around the park trying to get in all of the rides we wanted to ride but didn’t want to wait long for. These included the Kong, Fast and the Furious, and Hulk rides. The Kong and Fast and the Furious rides were basically the same just different plots. You’re on a bus, there’s a conflict, and the driver and you have to save the day. Neither were that great to me. Had we waited 85 minutes for the Kong ride the day before, I would have been highly disappointed. The Hulk coaster was definitely very cool. Your standard roller coaster: first drop, upside down, corkscrews, a photo taken at the WORST second, etc. It was nice to ride a real roller coaster in the midst of all of the CGI and 3-D features.

We were then taken back to our childhood days as we visited Dr. Seuss’ world. We rode all 3 rides (carousel included), visited all of the shops, and reminisced about the good old days. We were the only group there without a kid under the age of 10 but we didn’t care.

By this time today, our feet had begun hurting again so we took the Hogwarts express (the only way to get from park to park without leaving) to head back to Universal Studios.

There, I had my first legal drink in San Fransisco at a wharf-style restaurant, before returning to our hotel for some more drinking and a dip in the pool.

Once we were feeling up to it we headed back to Universal’s city walk for dinner. We ate at the Cowfish (contradictory since I’m vegan I know), a restaurant with the most amazing black bean burger and veggie sushi I’d ever had! My mom then proceeded to tell the wait staff (without my knowledge) that it was my birthday so I was sung to in front of the whole patio of people. Was I embarrassed? Yes. Will I remember it forever? Also, yes. Happy 21st birthday to me!


With much chagrin, my time in Universal had to come to an end. That morning, after packing up our car and checking out of the hotel, we got into the park early so we could ride Escape from Gringotts again only for it to break while we were on it (we got to ride it again). We took the Hogwarts express one final time to Islands of Adventure where we ate at the Three Broomsticks again (my mom bought us a meal plan for the trip and we’d only used half of it so we had to spend it all today and that restaurant accepted it), rode The Forbidden Journey again, explored the rest of what we hadn’t seen, including a SpongeBob store and an E.T. ride (which was actually super adorable). We completed one final lap of the park, grabbed some Ben and Jerry’s and a few trinkets before making our way out of the park.


Have you ever been to Orlando? What parks did you visit?

❤ Alicia ❤

Road trippin’

Happy Monday everyone! As most of you know, I spent 2 weeks ago in Florida. What some of you may not know is that my family and I road tripped there, making a couple stops along the way to Universal and one on the way back! I’d never been to the three cities we visited so I wanted to share my road trip experience and the places we visited.


Chatanooga Tennessee

While I’ve driven through Tennessee many times (on trips to Florida) + I’ve visited Graceland in Memphis but I’d never been to Chatanooga. My parents always remarked on the “Come visit Ruby Falls” signs when approaching Tennessee but we never decided to pay it a visit. However, on this road trip, we wanted to see what Ruby Falls was and if it was worth the extreme advertising.

So, after 9 is hours of driving ( and lots of bathroom breaks) we made it to Chatanooga and headed over to Ruby Falls.

Ruby Falls is a 145-foot high underground waterfall inside of Lookout Mountain. It was discovered by Leo Lambert in 1928 while drilling.

After taking an elevator down 100 or so feet, we walked through this cave (guided by our very southern tour guide Doug) for about a mile seeing various cave structures before reaching Ruby Falls, which was definitely worth the extensive advertising. Once at the falls, we watched a light show which lit up the waterfall which played along with some music!

Sadly, we had to walk back to the elevator an head back up into the heat. However, despite having to re-enter the 90-degree weather, we were able to see lookout mountain which is basically just a deck that looks out to all of Chatanooga.

We only had one night in Chatanooga, so after leaving Ruby Falls, we ate dinner at the Waffle House, swam in the hotel pool, and hit the sack for another long day of driving Saturday.


St. Augustine, Florida

Driving to Florida from Chicago is honestly one of the worst things ever. You start driving at 4 am, don’t stop until it’s dark, and then finish however much more the next day. Not this time though!

We drove about 9 hours day one, and about 7 hours from Chatanooga until we reached St. Augustine, the oldest (colonized) city in the United States.

We arrived in St. Augustine at about 5 or 6 in the evening on Saturday, so we opted to relax in our hotel and just swam and ate dinner to gather up our energy for another long day on Sunday.

Sunday morning, we packed up our stuff and headed to the heart of St. Augustine. Initially, we thought we would be visiting the Spanish Fort, but found SO much more.

The Spanish fort was incredible, made of coquina (Spanish for small shells), and aged wonderfully. I loved learning about how so many tried to take down the Spanish, yet the coquina held up and no one succeeded in entering the fort.

Once I’d had my history lesson for the year, my family and I all wanted to see more of what St. Augustine had to offer so we decided to take a trolley tour of the city. The trolley tour is something I would 100% recommend to anyone who visits. On this tour, you’re carted around St. Augustine for about an hour, seeing historic buildings, museums, Flagler College, plantations, restaurants, specialty (chocolate factories, wineries, boutiques) shops and so much more! I wished we had more time to hop off at every stop to see everything St. Augustine had to offer. If I ever go back, I’m definitely going to make sure I spend at least 2 whole days to see everything (and eat everything!). Sadly, our time in St. Augustine had to come to an end. Onto Universal!


Sarasota, Florida

Something I never wanted to do was leave Orlando. Universal was all I could have hoped for and more (in my opinion better than Disney World) but eventually, we had to part ways. On the way back (well sort of out of the way) we visited Sarasota for a few days to visit some friends of ours. They retired to Florida a few years back and they are loving the laid-back atmosphere of Florida, and so did I. Their house was cute and cozy with a lovely lanai off the back. To top it off, they have 2 Shih Tzus and they’re both vegan (for health reasons) so needless to say I was in heaven! We spent the first full day there just relaxing, swimming in their community pool, and eating good food.

We were exhausted and had hurt feet so doing nothing was the only thing on our agenda for the day. However, we ended up going to the beach to see the sunset, shelling, and taking really cute pictures!

Day 2 of our visit we woke up bright and early, hit the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru, and drove about an hour to Myakka River State Park see some alligators! At the State Park, we took an hour-long airboat ride around the river and got to see so many birds, fish, and alligators.

My sister and I agreed that we hadn’t picked enough shells the night before so we wanted to go to another beach to find some. This next beach we visited, however, had a rather pathetic selection of shells and it was excruciatingly hot so we decide to head home, pack up our stuff, and hop in the pool to prepare for the 20-hour drive that would happen over the next 2 days.


Have you guys taken a road trip lately?
❤ Alicia ❤

My Summer bucket list

Happy Summer (again) everyone! These past few days haven’t felt very summery (it’s been raining nonstop) so to get myself in the ‘summer spirit’ I wanted to make a bucket list for summer of some things I want to do!!! Some of these I know I’ll get done and some are there for days when I don’t have anything to and want some inspiration for something to do.


  1. Read 10 books
  2. Try new foods (I’m getting a super cool vegan cookbook soon and I can’t wait to make some recipes from it)
  3. Journal
  4. Unplug at 8pm for a week (and hope it continues)
  5. DIY something
  6. Have a picnic
  7. Go hiking
  8. Go to a farmers market
  9. See a movie
  10. Have a bonfire
  11. Train my dog
  12. Tie-Dye
  13. Do a day without technology
  14. Minigolf
  15. Watch the sunrise
  16. Write a letter to a future me
  17. Make a vision board
  18. Make nice cream
  19. Reorganize my room
  20. Get settled into my apartment and ready myself for school

What are some things you want to do this summer?

❤ Alicia ❤