Estoy en España!

Hi all and long time no write. Since I’ve last written here, I have in fact still been writing. My best friends and I started another blog [yes, with all the free time that I’ve had haha], LVNG Limitless, which you should all go ahead and follow ;). I love that blog dearly and being in charge of a group of 10 people and getting to edit is something I have always wanted to do, but there’s still something about sitting down in front of a  blank word document that requires no editing [other than by myself and spell check of course] that makes me absolutely giddy.

As far as this post goes, I figured I’d give the usual life update, share that I’m still alive, stressed, and thriving, but with a twist this time! I’m doing well in almost all aspects of my life

I really well actually. It’s been a while since I’ve said that and truly meant it. Mentally, I’m doing great. Physically and emotionally I am also doing great. Socially I’m doing great. This is the type of glo up I’ve needed and I’m sure how long it will last but for now, I’m doing spectacular and it’s all I could have hoped for.

This semester I made the absolute best friends to walk this Earth and they are the greatest support system a girl could ask for. I finally have what I’ve always wanted, a solid group of amazing human beings that I can tell anything to and do anything with and it feels like we’re having all the fun in the world.

I finished my semester from hell of 8 classes with a 3.85 GPA, 7 As and one damn B+ but honestly, I’ll take what I can get. I finished my term on CHAARG’s exec team, have already bought my membership for next year, and am now studying abroad in Toledo, Spain for the next 7 weeks [I got here a week ago today].

I already love Spain and my Spanish is doing a lot better [according to the many people who have complimented my skills // accents, which yes, went right to my head] and I love all of the people on my trip. My host family is great as well and they have a daughter who is also 21, and her name is also Alicia. Funny how things like that happen.

I’ve officially decided that I have no time or need for boys, no matter how many romcoms I watch and how my heart aches for that cliché shit. I’ve really come to terms this semester that I need to focus on myself first and foremost and until I can take care of myself in all aspects of my life with ease, I have no right to be trying to add another human being to the mix.

I will be turning 22 in a month from today and I’m hoping to be in Paris that weekend. A birthday weekend at the Louvre, macaron in hand… what’s better than that?

I can’t wait to keep up here with all of my Spain adventures, which surprisingly there have already been quite a few in my short week here, as well as my other adventures I take this summer before I start my final year of college. Maybe post-grad, I’ll have enough free time to keep this bad boy running like a normal blog instead of my 1 or 35 posts a month that I currently have.

It’s funny, isn’t it? I started this blog almost 4 years ago to document my college experience and transition to veganism, and here I am, almost 4 years later, talking about my last year of college and life post-grad. Really never thought I would keep up with this blog for 4 years, let alone my whole college experience but since this really is like my little child, it’s hard to give up on it when I’ve come so far on here.

Now, until my next post, head over to LVNG Limitless to check out some of my posts [as well as my friends’].

Much much much love,

Alicia

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Cloudy

As I sit here, perched in an almost empty bus without much leg room, somewhere in Indiana, I gaze longingly out of the beautiful picture window, my eyes focus on one thing. The clouds. I’ve related to clouds quite a bit recently. Or cloudy days I should say. The sun may peek out of the clouds for 10-15 minutes and during that time, all is right in the world. The other 23 hours and 45-50 minutes, gloomy, somber, dreary. That’s been my world recently.

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for the past few days but where do I begin? It’s hard for me to share how unhappy and unfulfilled with my life I’ve been. I like to come off as this happy-go-lucky, positive, individual who always has her shit together, however recently, I’ve been quite the opposite.

In my need to lead post, I mentioned how I applied for OU CHAARG’s ambassador [the equivalent of president]. By the tone of this post, you can all assume that I didn’t get it. You’ve all assumed correctly. I was crushed. I still am if I’m being honest. When you pour your heart and soul into an organization to not be recognized back; it’s heartbreaking. I could sit here and list plenty of reasons I think I didn’t get it, I could let my friends tell you the system is corrupt and that I deserved it more, but honestly… what’s the point? It’s over and done with and there’s no changing the decision that was made.

I told myself that if I didn’t get ambassador I wouldn’t apply to be a regular exec member. Why did I do this? Why do I want one position over the other? It’s because, since last year, I’ve pictured myself as ambassador. I’ve had so many people say “When you’re Ambassador…” so it’s become an obvious next step for me. I was beyond excited. I’d started planning out next year already: from my team, our events, our workouts, our meetings, our bonding, my gifts to everyone, my last events, everything. Yet, when I read the  rather impersonal email I was honestly a little relieved. As gut-wrenching as it was, there was still a bit of relief that coursed through my body and I knew exactly why.

Last semester I PREACHED about how I was pouring from an empty cup how I was done pouring from an empty cup. Yet, here I am, not satisfied with any aspect of my life, STILL pouring from that same empty cup. What am I doing wrong? Am I still putting all of my energy into the wrong things?

I love so many things. I can’t recall the last time I did many of them. I love reading, writing, hiking, creating, baking, seeing my friends. I can’t tell you the last time I did any of things without CHAARG in mind. I don’t really see my non-CHAARG friends anymore, I don’t read, I haven’t written about anything besides CHAARG, I only bake for CHAARG events, etc. I haven’t been myself in far too long + it’s time that changes.

I love CHAARG, which is why it takes up such a substantial part of my life. Despite this, CHAARG is taking the biggest toll on my physical and mental health. If I love something so much, why is it doing me so much harm?

I think about CHAARG 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and I am stressed out of my mind because of it. I am in love with this organization and it’s really changed my life in so many ways, but I need to know my limits. I need to know when to put myself first. It’s time.  I’m still going to be in CHAARG during my final semester on campus. I’m going to be the best damn general member this chapter has ever seen.

Big things are coming from 2 of my best friends and myself very soon. I’m excited for it. I’m studying abroad in Spain this summer. I’m completing my student teaching abroad [not sure where yet] next Spring. I’m excited. I’m going to apply for grad school for something besides Education. I’m beyond excited. I’m going to be the best + most involved regular CHAARG member next fall. I’m so excited. I’m going to relate to sunny days instead of cloudy days. I am SO fucking excited.

So CHAARG exec, thank you. Thank you for teaching me so much, for shaping me into the person I am today, for testing me physically, emotionally, mentally, and most importantly: for giving me my two best friends.

However, it’s time to be Alicia + it’s time to make myself a priority for the first time in quite a while.

So so so much love,

Alicia ❤

A new routine

Hi all. I’m back at school and already go go go and it’s only the start of week 2. Between working double what I did last semester, 19 credit hours (7 classes), and being on the exec board of 2 orgs, I’m being hit hard with life. I’m sick already (are we surprised?) and I’m TIRED (I have been taking melatonin to help me sleep and while it doesn’t help me sleep through the night it does help me get to bed much earlier than before so I’m thankful for that). But here I am, still making time to do what I love: sitting in a coffee shop after my class got cancelled to drink a latte, eat a vegan cookie, and write while wearing very cute clothes (all of which I got for Christmas or bought with Christmas $$). Already I’ve become so thankful for the feeling of laying in my bed after not being home for 12 hours and my breaks between class when I can sit and rest for a bit. It’s the little things this semester.

I got back to Athens 2 weeks ago today to start work. As a manager, I had to be back early to set up the store, get trained, and make more money! Then class started last Monday as did all things CHAARG and 4 Paws. I’ve talked extensively about how much I put on my plate and how that needs to change yet this semester is no different. In what I dropped in exec board duties I picked up in classes and work. It has sucked quite a bit but the fact that my next paycheck is going to be over double what it was last semester is definitely a big perk.

I’m doing well coexisting with my roommates. As well as I can when we disagree over the temperature of the apartment. I’m content with 65 degrees. They prefer to have the apartment as hot as Satan’s armpit which I don’t care for but what I really don’t care for is paying for it. After our electric bill was $200 for the month of December and no one was home for half of the month, I’d had it. So, after I blatantly heard them talking about me in my own kitchen while I was doing homework in bed, I walked out, told them they could keep it as high as they wanted, but I was not paying for it. We finally agreed that I would pay no more than $30 per month (which is still excessive, but I really don’t care as long as I don’t have to argue about this anymore) and then I returned back to my room to keep on living my life. We love a good roomie compromise I suppose.

I’ve been eating pretty well + working out when I find the time. I definitely need to make a workout schedule but since CHAARG will be in full swing next week I will have Tuesdays and Wednesdays covered + then a good workout after work on Mondays + before work on Fridays and after class Thursdays ++ I’m all set.

Finally, this new routine of mine allows minimal time to do things I enjoy doing that I haven’t already scheduled ie. Working out. I have to do all of my homework for the week the weekend prior because Tuesdays and Wednesday I have about an hour of free time after I eat, shower, sleep, etc. and that’s not enough time to do the homework for 7 classes. My procrastination habit will really be tested this semester but as long as I can make it through this week alive, I’m going to keep all the classes I currently have and then will only be enrolled in 4 classes next fall. Making my possibly last semester in Athens (more on that later) a feasible course load allowing more time for CHAARG, 4 paws, my friends, and of course, work.

Finally, with my routine, I have a hell of a lot of applications that I’m completing. I applied to study abroad in Spain this summer, and will be applying soon to complete my student teaching in another country (not sure where yet) next Spring. I’m also trying to make these next 3 semesters a little more financially easy on my family so I’m applying to every single scholarship OU offers that I’m eligible for so hopefully I get some $$ and can do all of the things abroad that I want.


A little tidbit I wanted to add here is that  I’m also planning my next tattoo. Whenever I start a new job, I spend my first paycheck in any way that I want. I’m not sure who told me to do this but they should have kept their mouth shut. Anywho, since this manager position is technically new for me, I’m going to spend that money on a tattoo. I’m conflicted about which one I want as my list of potential tattoos is exponentially growing day to day. Currently, I’m between 3 tattoos.

  • a bolt for CHAARG – the entire exec team wants to get them together. I would get this on my inner wrist.
  • Atrevéte a … (soñar, vivir, or sentir) – This means “Dare to.. (dream, live, or feel)” I saw this graffiti on my first day in Peru + it’s meant a lot to me ever since. Therefore, I want to get it tattooed. I’d either get it done on my foot or ribs. I’m also not sure if I want dream, live, or feel. I’m leaning more towards live or feel but who knows?
  • The last option is my personal favorite and the one that means the most. It would also be the most expensive but that’s a conversation for my tattoo artist and I. I want it on my right forearm (sorry dad).  I want a person (torso up) wearing a black and white striped shirt holding a bouquet of flowers with the flowers covering the face. The flowers  I would like are a red rose, a red poppy, a yellow lily, a yellow sunflower, and a pink cantuta. All of these flowers mean something to me + I think this would be so beautiful so once I figure out how much this would be, that will determine which one I get.

If you’re still in school, I hope your back to school is going smoothly and that nothing is too stressful yet. If you’re not still in school, you lucky duck.

Hablaremos pronto,

Alicia

What I’m putting my energy into in 2019

I am a girl who loves to sleep. However, most of my best writing and ideas come to me around 2am or later. Due to this, I only get a few good ideas and write a few good pieces once in a blue moon. The other night was one of those nights. I wrote my post “Long time no write” at 2am in a bed that’s not mine, in Wisconsin because I couldn’t sleep. I also had one major life-altering epiphany at 3am, which then resulted in me changing my entire blog’s look and theme. I didn’t fall asleep until 5:30 that morning.

Ever since I got to Athens in August, I haven’t had a good night’s rest. Whether I can’t fall asleep, wake up in the middle of the night, or toss and turn so much that I wake up in pain [never knew I was 60 years old now], I have had less than 5 good nights of sleep this whole semester. At first, I thought it was a bad bed. All semester I thought it was a bad bed. Then, I went home for Thanksgiving. I still couldn’t sleep. If my comfy bed and 1923469 pillows weren’t helping then what could it be?

I realized I’m stressed out of my damn mind. I put too much only my plate. I do and I do and I do and I do and I don’t have enough time in my day or enough energy in myself to do it all. I’ve been so stressed about doing it all that I can’t sleep. I’ve been pouring out of an empty cup for the past few months and my body and life are struggling because of it: I’ve gained at least 10 pounds, struggle to get through a day sans coffee, nap almost daily, I was sick the entire semester [not joking], and it’s almost impossible for me to fall asleep or to wake up.

Over this break, I haven’t been stressed. I’ve had little to no obligations and I’ve had absolutely no trouble sleeping. Quite the opposite; I’ve had trouble getting myself up because my body is trying to catch up on all the sleep I’ve missed out from the past few months.

I cannot keep pouring from an empty cup. Not if I want to be happy, not if I want to be healthy, and certainly not if I want to make it out of college with anything more than a head of gray hair. I need to make some decisions of what I’m going to be putting my energy into from here on out and I need to do it quick so I don’t lose my shit [for lack of a better phrase].

I need to spend my time and energy on things that are important to me and remove all [well as many of those as I am in control of] of the negative, stressful things and whatever doesn’t set my heart on fire. I need to reidentify what I’m pouring my heart into so I can give 100% to what matters to me; not 10%, not 50%, not 80%. 100% of myself to what makes me happy.

So, what do I need to remove from my life? What do I need to add? What do I need to keep in my life?

To be removed:

  • In a perfect world: stress, but in a real world: any unnecessary stressors – my treasurer position of 4 paws gave me too much stress with all of my other obligations so I now run the social media account which is a lot more low-key and I still get to be part of the org.
  • Social media – I can’t really do this at all because of CHAARG + 4 Paws. I could perhaps delete certain apps and only redownload when I need to post? I’ll ponder this for a while + update with my decision.
  • People – I used to be very follower crazed. I had an unfollower app so I could see who didn’t follow me back, who unfollowed me, etc. I went though my social media [Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat…I don’t really use Facebook anymore so going through that would be a waste of time] and unfollowed and unadded people I don’t really need in my life. People from high school, tinder matches, random people who I would follow back. Anyone who if unfollowed me first, I would reciprocate. Also, I would like to stop seeing people who don’t make me happy – however, that’s easier said than done…
  • Illness – Like I mentioned before. I was sick literally from September 1st until I went to the doctor over Thanksgiving. I need to be sure I’m sleeping enough, taking vitamins, eating good food, and getting some sunlight.
  • Screen time – My iPhone now tells me how much screen time I use daily and holy god was that a shock. The amount of time I use my phone and the amount of times I physically pick up my phone is astronomical and I did not think I used it that much. I want to start using less screen time [mentioned in my 2019 intentions post] by turning my phone off for periods of time, putting it in another room, throwing it in a river… so many options!
  • Spending $$ – I’m trying to study abroad once or twice in the next year and a half and I really can’t do that if I keep spending money. Obviously, there are things I need to buy like groceries, clothes on occasion, and bills, but I really need to limit my spending on things besides the necessities for my own sanity and my wallet’s as well.

Things to be added:

  • Self-care – I need to do more than face masks and bath bombs. I think the biggest item of self-care that I could do for myself if to create a routine – morning, workout, and night – put it in place, figure out how much time it takes, and then be sure to allocate time for it in my day.
  • Reading + writing time – I have time in my day where I could be reading or writing but I spend it on my phone, scrolling through social media, etc. I want to allocate 30 minutes per day [I can switch off perhaps] to do 2 of the things that I love the most
  • Follow through – I need to figure out how to commit to the things I want to do and follow through with my commitments
  • Savings account – I have one, I don’t really use it. With the removal of spending a crap load of money, I’ll be putting the excess into my savings account.]

Things to be kept: [Obviously there are other things I want to keep in my life besides these 3, however, I felt the need to include these.]

  • CHAARG – I love CHAARG [hence why I’m in it] + I was to keep loving CHAARG so it stays
  • Blogging – Same rationale for CHAARG
  • Being unapologetically myself – I feel like I try to change myself to please others or I feel that others try to change me and I end up apologizing for being who I am. No more. I’m me and no one is going to change that.

It’s interesting to see all of this in writing. How the things I want to add and subtract from my life outweigh the things I want to keep [not sure how I feel about that…].Now I need to put this plan into action + hopefully start refilling my cup. 🙂

Are there things you want to add to your life? remove from your life?

Much love,

Alicia

18 things I learned in 2018

Hi all, if you couldn’t tell, 2018 was a pretty eye-opening year for me. I learned a ton, so I wanted to make another year-end post about what this year specifically taught me. Here are 18 things that I learned in the year 2018.


  1. There are not enough hours in the day – Use them wisely.
  2. Sometimes professors are nice enough to bump up your grade by .75% to get you a 4.0
  3. Knowing how to cook at least 5 things and having those ingredients readily available is vitally important to keep you from eating out every night
  4. Sometimes a night out with friends is the only thing you need.
  5. Other times, a night in with a bath and a good book is what you need
  6. While face masks and bath bombs aren’t the epitomai of self-care… they definitely make you feel like you have your life together
  7. Use your planner! Unless you want to schedule 4747 things in the same 45 minute period.
  8. There are few things better than baking on a Sunday morning while drinking coffee.
  9. Cold brew coffee is a gift from the Heavens
  10. Coffee from a coffee pot at home is also a gift because you are still caffeinated and $4 richer.
  11. A hike is never a bad idea
  12. Neither is yoga
  13. You may never know what happened between you and that person you were once so close with. Accept that fact and move on.
  14. Harry Potter World is 10x cooler than you’d expect it to be.
  15. Always choose comfort when wearing shoes for over 12 hours. Those blisters you have for the next week are NEVER worth all that pain
  16. No chip manicures always seem nice BUT they’re $40+, always chip AND one nice bottle of nail polish is less than $10. So, treat yourself for special occasions but a DIY manicure will, in the end, make you and your wallet feel much better.
  17. Your dog can never have too many toys.
  18. Put your phone down and be in the moment. You can answer those texts or play that game in a few hours.

What did you all learn in 2018?

Much love,
Alicia

2019 intentions

In one of my previous posts, I remarked at how I was not going to be making a huge list of resolutions, which I’m not. I am however going to be creating intentions as I did last year. These are different than goals [thanks to CHAARG for introducing these to me] in the sense that they aren’t necessarily accomplished. Instead of “Don’t use my phone when I’m with friends” I would say something along the lines of “Try to live in the moment when with others.” It’s more ambiguous and less strict because odds are, I’m going to use my phone when I’m with others to text someone back, take a picture, check the weather etc. However, by saying to live in the moment, I know I mean to not have my eyes glued to my phone and be refreshing twitter and Instagram when I don’t need to be. These intentions are also usually not something you do once like “Get a 4.0” but more like “Never put your grades on the back burner and remember to always be learning.” These are obviously 2 completely different things but if I were to put “Get a 4.0” and I got one A-, I would beat myself up about it for weeks. Whereas, with the latter, I know that even if I get an A- or two, I put my all into my learning. So, now that the resolution vs intention lesson is over; here are my intentions for the year 2019.

  • Follow through on things I begin.
  • Get stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  • Never put my grades on the back burner and remember to always be learning.
  • Try to live in the moment when with others.
  • Pour my heart into the things I am passionate about.
  • Write; as much as I can, when I can.
  • Read; as much as I can, when I can.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things – foods, cultures, ways of living, etc.
  • Put effort into all of my current and future relationships.
  • Make an effort to use less screen time, especially during the week.

These are my 10 intentions for 2019 and always. What are yours?

Much love,

Alicia

2018 year in review

Hi everyone and happy last day of 2018. This year absolutely flew by + It’s a little bittersweet that it’s ending, however, I’m hoping 2019 is everyone’s best year yet! Just like last year, I wanted to make a little year in review to showcase my 2018 [especially these past few months with no posts]. Here was my 2018!


In January, I headed back to Athens to begin my second semester at Ohio University. Nothing significant happened to me, but my roommate got a boyfriend (sort of…) so go her!

I met some amazing people through CHAARG in February and worked out with 2 of my best friends for the first time! Crazy how time flies. OU also flooded and we got a 3 day weekend because of it! February consisted of a lot of interviews, a lot of rejection, and a lot of teaching myself how to handle it. It was rough during the time but I’ve learned so much because of it. Rejection is never easy but sometimes those things just weren’t meant to be.

Fest season began in March. I’d never experienced a “darty” quick like OU in my life. It’s very crazy and hectic but with the right people can be fun! I also headed home for Spring break in which I did pretty much nothing besides catch up on homework and hang out with my dog. It ended with the CHAARG formal [in which I was given the award of “Boss A$$ Bitch”] and me being chosen to be on CHAARG’s exec team.


With mom’s weekend, finals prep, and CHAARG coming to a close, April was a whirlwind. Trying to squeeze as much time in with my friends before heading home for the summer, more fests, and simultaneously trying to not fail all my classes was rough but I conquered. I ended the semester with all As [one A- but who’s counting?] for my best semester [grade wise and others] yet!

Upon returning home on May 1st, I had a whole lot of nothing to do. The lady I nannied for the summer before, who ensured I’d have a job this summer, didn’t get a job herself so my service to them was unneeded. I applied for a few jobs that were close by but none of them wanted a college kid who would only be there for a summer or two. So, I was left jobless and bored counting floor tiles in my kitchen. Nevertheless. I spent May catching up with high school friends, celebrating my dog’s 2nd birthday + 1st gotcha day and reacclimating to my life at home.

Did somebody say road trip? In June, my family + I took a road trip to Orlando Florida to visit Universal studios for the first time! We stopped in Chatanooga TN to see Ruby Falls, St. Augustine Florida to see one of the oldest colonial cities in the USA, hit Universal for 3 days, and then back up to Sarasota Florida, to visit some family friends. I was able to live out my dream of being a witch in Harry Potter World, turn 21 + enjoy my first few legal drinks poolside, and get some much needed Vitamin D. I was able to finish off the month with some FREE tickets to see Harry Styles [the love of my life] on tour with a good friend of mine!

Back to school already? Nope! In July I did make a trip to Ohio, but for reasons besides school. I visited my friend Olivia + her friend Kennedy in their hometowns for an early birthday celebration for Olivia. It was cool to see where they are from, spend more time with their dogs than with them and meet their families.

I headed back to school 2 weeks early in August. It was nice to be back in Athens when there’s no one else around. It’s peaceful and the feel, in general, is much different than the following 8 months. I was able to bike a lot, go to the gym a lot, see my school friends, do CHAARG stuff, and then also do early move in for my work. Finally, school started. I had a whole one day with my business classes, realized it wasn’t for me, headed right back to the education building, switched my major back and it was as if my business career had never happened.

Once I was back in the swing of things with all of my education classes, my education friends, etc. I was able to focus on working hard in all aspects of my life. On September 11th I did a stair challenge with some CHAARG girls. We ran the number of stairs that were in a twin tower building to remember the lives lost on 9/11. It was HARD but I’m so glad I did it because it was SO motivating doing that with other CHAARG girls. That following Tuesday, I broke my pinkie finger, I was lifting an 85 pound ball of cement, picked it up wring, and then it landed on my pinkie. 6 weeks in a splint, a lot of pictures, and some makeshift physical therapy to learn how to bend it again, + I was healed.

 

I began my student teaching in October. The school was 50 miles away and I had to get 40 hours there, so 8 or so time throughout the remainder of the semester, my friend Sara and I would drive there, grab coffee, and then do some student teaching to get ourselves one step closer to an education degree. Also in October, I participated in the NEDA walk, where I was a top overall donor and helped CHAARG become the highest group donor.

November started out strong with Dad’s weekend, in which my dad and I drank a lot of coffee, watched a lot of movies, and just hung out for three days. The following weekend was the CHAARG retreat which was just as magical as I imagined. I put SO much effort into that retreat + everyone loved it! The month ended with my being home for Thanksgiving, dying my hair again, and catching up on sleep


The semester ended just as every other one does; my orgs ending, an ungodly amount of group projects, and a lot of work. I got promoted at work so I am now a Student Manager which is very cool. I ended the semester with a 4.0 and then I headed home for the rest of December which is where I am now, surrounded by a lot of good people and a lot of good food.


I hope your 2018 was even better than mine!

Much love,

Alicia

Letter to a CHAARG skeptic

Hi everyone + Happy August 1st! Today is the best day ever because CHAARG memberships are officially open!! I stayed up until 11 last night [I’m usually in bed by 9 since I wake up early] to get mine + something I’ve noticed is that some people are hesitant to buy a CHAARG membership // think CHAARG isn’t for them. So, from one ex-CHAARG skeptic to a current, here’s why you should join CHAARG [or at least give it a shot].


Flashback to last August when I got yet another notification from the Ohio University Class of 2020 facebook group from an organization trying to get more people to join. However, this org was different… it was CHAARG. CHAARG is a health + fitness organization that aims to liberate girls from the elliptical + show them that fitness can ++ should be fun by creating opportunities to help them ‘find their fit.’

I like working out, I thought, so I clicked on CHAARG’s website to dive deeper. Reading about Elisabeth [CHAARG’s founder] to Sarah Clem [the director of expansion], + the rest of CHAARG’s story I was sold. A group of like-minded women being fit, hanging out, + enjoying the college experience together is what everyone wants… right?

Well, I somehow ended up scrolling through the OU CHAARG hashtag on Instagram + immediately began feeling anxious. The girls in this hashtag did CrossFit, lifted in the boy’s section of the gym, had run marathons, + more + what had I done?? I did the stair stepper [when the elliptical got boring] + the gym machines with at home workout videos when I was too anxious to actually go to the gym.

What if I didn’t fit in with these girls? What if they hated me? What if I wasn’t ‘fit’ enough? About 100 more what if statements flooded my mind until I was so overwhelmed that I closed my computer. Maybe CHAARG wasn’t for me? I’d think it over, of course, + put it on my to-do list before I left for school “Buy CHAARG membership ?”

After going back to that same hashtag probably a dozen times, I caved about a week after school started + bought my first ever CHAARG membership. Once I received the Welcome Packet on the 1st of September my nerves really started to set in. Those what ifs started to hit me like a train again but I couldn’t back out. I paid $45 so I was going to be a member.

That next week was sample small groups [a small group meets once a week for the whole semester with the same group of people on the same day + time to workout, grab coffee, etc.] + I was terrified to go to one. So, naturally, I went to the last possible small group that I was free for. Friday morning at 8:15 am. The night before I texted that small group leader Rachel to let her know I’d be attending + we designated a spot in the gym to meet.

That next morning, bright + early I walked to the gym, probably shaking so hard people could’ve asked if I was cold in the late summer heat.

However, the second I stepped into the gym + saw Rachel [who was probs wearing avocado patterned leggings] I knew I was going to be okay. Rachel [+ everyone else in CHAARG] is so kind, caring, + so positive it’s hard to not love her. We did an arm workout

Rachel + I at formal this past semester

+ ran on the treadmill for a while as we talked about anything from school, CHAARG questions, family life, etc. until it was 915 + she had to get to class.

I went back to my room, showered, + forced myself to go to a ‘meet the exec’ event at Front Room Cafe an hour or so later to meet Leah + Megan, the then event coordinators. Once again, I was still nervous, much less nervous after I’d met Rachel, but nervous nonetheless. I walked into frontroom, + immediately noticed Leah from the OUCHAARG hashtag + walked over to her + the others at the table. Leah, Megan + I talked about the sameish things I talked about with Rachel: school, CHAARG, home, San Diego, etc. I told Leah that I had just come from Rachel’s sample small group + she said that Rachel had put in their groupme that she met the sweetest girl at her sample SG that morning [ME] + I almost fell on the floor from flattery if I’m being honest.

At this point, I was in CHAARG. That next Tuesday was the CHAARG Welcome Party [which I get to plan this year.. CRAZY] + guess what ?!? I was nervous as shit AGAIN! I walked into whatever building, into whatever room + sat down next to an actual human. I didn’t sit far in a corner + I didn’t make sure to leave TONS of space in between me + another person, but I sat next to a person.

My first CHAARG event + photo

That person happened to be Sydney, my now CHAARG bestie. Sydney + I also made small talk as usual and took the picture you see to your left. Ever since that night, Sydney + I have sat next to each other at every CHAARG event I’m forever grateful I stepped out of my comfort zone because I met her!

Now, as I share all of this + while it seems that all of my nerves were calmed… they weren’t. I went to every small group that semester except 1 [?] + every social that I didn’t have a class conflict for, yet I didn’t go to a single studio spotlight [we contact studios in our area to come + teach class for our members to help in finding their fit]. I was terrified I wasn’t fit enough to do System of Strength + Pound. That I still wouldn’t fit in + so… I never went. I made up the excuse that I had a class conflict or I would get my Eventbrite ticket + cancel it last minute [I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to do that first semester… whoops].

My first semester, I applied to be CHAARG’s Treasurer [+ didn’t get it]. Naturally, I was pretty disheartened by it + I actually thought about not returning to CHAARG spring semester. I was angry that I hadn’t gotten the position + that I hadn’t gotten that life-changing or eye-opening CHAARG experience others had had… was CHAARG really not for me?

However, I knew I needed to try again. Just because CHAARG didn’t work out in my favor first semester didn’t mean I wasn’t going to give it another go. I bought my spring membership on Black Friday + made a promise to myself that I would go to EVERY SINGLE CHAARG event that I could because I was sad + upset that CHAARG wasn’t changing my life the way it changed everyone else’s + that’s just what I did.

Spring semester I realized one very crucial CHAARG fact that no one tells you: CHAARG can’t change your life if you don’t let it. I had to put in the effort with CHAARG in order to receive that life-changing experience in return

My first semester of OU sucked [I actually contemplated transferring again]. I only talked to my roommate, CHAARG girls but strictly at CHAARG events, + some work people. I didn’t eat. I only worked out during small group. I self-harmed time + time again for the first time in ages + I was all around not happy. It wasn’t OU’s fault but more so mine.

Syd + I post pound!

I was unhappy before OU so it’s no surprise I was still unhappy in Athens. I wanted CHAARG to change my life so dearly because I hated it but I wasn’t willing to put in the effort.

CHAARG changed my life 2nd semester because I made it do so. I went to every studio spotlight + found a love for Pound, Yoga + Zumba!! I went to every small group + social ++ I met so many kind + passionate people ++ I used CHAARG to my advantage so it did change my life.

I eat now. I workout now [for fun + not for a punishment]. I can walk in public without music or talking to someone on the phone. I can talk in front of people. But most importantly, I’m happy now.

are any of our eyes open? the world may never know

CHAARG isn’t this scary thing that only people who do CrossFit or participate in bodybuilding comps can be in. CHAARG is a place for anyone + everyone who have a passion for mental, phyiscal + emotional fitness whether you’ve just started this journey today or 15 years ago.

Remember this: CHAARG can change your life, but only if you let it.

❤ an ex CHAARG skeptic.

Review: The Happiness Project

Hi everyone and Happy Tuesday! As I mentioned in one of my last posts, I recently finished Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, and I decided to share my review with you all!

This book shows Rubin’s journey through her 12 month-long Happiness project. After realizing that she isn’t as happy as she wanted to be, she set intentions, created secrets of adulthood, paradoxes of happiness, and set off on a journey of being happier. She deals with family frustrations, work frustrations, and more but she always remembers her goals and tries her hardest to not be set off her path and be the happiest she can be.

First off, I should say that I loved this book. I found myself, multiple times, thinking “Wow I do that and I want to stop.” or “Wow, I’ve never thought about doing that but I should.” and also “I love doing this so why don’t I do it already?”

There were 2 chapters of the book I didn’t really care for, April “Parenthood” and August “Contemplate the Heavens” were the two. I’m 21 so I don’t plan on having kids anytime soon (if at all) which is why the parenthood chapter I didn’t resonate with. Also, the Heavens chapter I didn’t care for because I’m not religious or care to learn about religion so while I liked reading about the comical life of Saint Therese in the convent, I wasn’t really feeling the rest of the chapter.

However, all 10 of the other chapters I absolutely loved. March, July, September, and October’s chapters about work, money, books, and mindfulness were my absolute favorites in the whole book. I have so many pages folded over in the book of quotes, ideas, and inspiration for my own happiness project (look for a future post about this soon)

My absolute favorite part of this book, however, is the extra material section at the end of the book. Throughout the book, Rubin mentions her secrets of adulthood and paradoxes of happiness and at the end, she adds a list of them all so that the reader doesn’t have to go back and find them one by one. She also adds tips and tricks for life and a little guide on how to start your own Happiness Project which I will definitely be utilizing sometime soon.

All in all, I would highly recommend this book. I now want to read another one of her books, Better Than Before because I’ve heard rave reviews on that one as well. I also highly recommend her podcast “Happier with Gretchen Rubin,” as I am learning a lot from that podcast just as I’d learned from her book.


What book(s) // podcast(s) would you recommend to me?

❤ Alicia ❤

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