5 Things to do as a First Semester Freshman that will set you up for Success

It’s August which means it is officially back to school season! If you’re starting your college career this month you’ve probably signed up for classes, ordered your textbooks, and you might even have moved into your dorm by this point. You’re probably also feeling a whirlwind of excitement and anxiety at the unknown that is your freshman year. Trust me, it’s really not as scary as it seems right now. I’m entering my 4th year of attending college classes in one way or another and I’ve learned a few things that I think are helpful for any college freshman, whether you are moving across the country or attending community college. Read this list, then take a deep breath. You’ve got this; you’re going to do great. Good luck!

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  1. Get to know your professors 2 things are true about college professors. 1. They want you to succeed; 2. If you don’t act like you care, neither will they. Going to office hours, speaking up in class, and emailing your professor with questions even if you feel confident with the material will be sooo helpful when you aren’t sure about something, and can make a few points’ worth of difference when it comes to that major assignment you really need to do well on. Professors are great people to write letters of recommendation and some will have a huge influence on your entire academic and possibly professional career so its good to make a good impression early. IMG_1885
  2. Identify study spaces Every campus has three different kinds of public areas: Social spaces (abandon all hope ye who study here), Casual study spaces (you might get some work done but let’s be real you’re just here because your friends are), and Serious study spaces (this is where you go to really get stuff done). You’ll be able to focus better in some areas than others so find out where those spaces are at the beginning of the semester to make life way easier when midterms hit. IMG_1884
  3. Don’t dismiss the easy classes You took calc 2 back in high school but for some reason, they put you back in pre-calc. Or maybe you took the easiest science class because you’re an English major so whatever but now you’re bored out of your mind. You could skip class or treat these courses as nap time or can say “Yay! Free GPA boost!”, actually put in the effort, and not be kicking yourself when you barely pass Anatomy and Physiology and your grades could really use some cushion. IMG_4346
  4. Get involved Your roommates or sorority sisters might end up being the best friends you ever have but is that a reason to pass up the opportunity to connect with that girl who loves historically accurate baking as much as you? Of course not! Try out any and all of the clubs and events that interest you. You don’t have to stay involved with all of them but its healthy (and fun) to connect with several groups that you have something in common with. IMG_2442
  5. Budget Its college, you have freedom and social events every weekend and the credit card companies won’t stop sending you offers. Use this time to learn how to handle your money while you still have a safety net and your 22-year-old recently graduated self will thank you.

Are you a freshman? What do you think will be most useful to you from this list? Have you been in college for a while? What would you add?

~Maizy

Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t truly think are really great. However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or yarn, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.

Compassion El Salvador 2018 Day 1: The Country Office and Home Visits

Out of the three-ish days we spent exploring the country of El Salvador and learning about Compassion programs, the most impactful for me was the day we visited the national office and a new center in San Salvador. The national office is full of passionate, intelligent people who are using their gifts to break cycles of poverty, exploitation, and marginalization that have been affecting their communities for generations. We had the opportunity to hear from several directors of various programs but listening to the directors of the youth development and income generation programs was especially exciting to me because those are already areas that I am passionate about and pursuing a career in.

The youth development program (YDP) was developed by Compassion in conjunction with closing down the leadership development program (LDP). Formerly, students would graduate from the child development program (CDP) at 18 years old and only those who showed the most potential would have the opportunity to enter the LDP and be matched with a sponsor to pursue a bachelor’s degree or higher. The YDP extends the benefits of the LDP to more students, allowing them to stay in the CDP until the age of 22 (except in a few countries where military service is mandatory at 18). Students in the YDP receive discipleship, mentorship, and opportunities to be involved in sports, music training, as well as higher education whether that be in a trade or a university degree. The YDP benefits students starting at the age of 12 until they graduate from the program. All but one of my sponsored children is over the age of 15 so it is exciting for me to see Compassion working to provide opportunities to more students than would have been possible with the LDP.

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These shoes were made in one of Compassion’s income-generation workshops. I bought the pink pair!

One of the downfalls of the LDP was the high cost of sponsorship. LDP sponsorship is significantly more than the $38 to sponsor a child in the CDP and so significantly fewer people could afford to sponsor a leadership development student. The cost of higher education hasn’t gone down so in order to cover the difference between what sponsorship pays for and what education costs for YDP students many centers have started income generation workshops. In El Salvador, the workshops range from bakeries to shoemaking factories. Students set their own hours around their school schedule and can work up to 20 hours a week to earn income that helps them pay for their education. Not only are students learning useful skills like breadmaking but they are also learning entrepreneurship and how to run a business which will help them earn sustainable income no matter where they go in life. I firmly believe that dignified employment is one of the most effective ways to fight poverty and so I am thrilled to see Compassion begin incorporating that into their ministry.

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After leaving the national office we visited a center located in San Salvador where we split into groups to visit families involved in the Compassion program and eat lunch in their homes. I visited the home of Maria and her granddaughter Lucero. Lucero has been involved in the Compassion program since her center opened a year ago. She and her brother love soccer and after lunch, they challenged us to a match…needless to say they won that game and the one after it. Lucero’s grandmother, Maria supports her family by selling tortillas. She taught us how to make authentic Salvadoran tortillas and they were delicious! During our visit to the center, I was struck by how amazing the tutors and center staff are. Many of them are not paid and live in the same neighborhoods as the kids they serve but they still work tirelessly to help those kids break out of poverty. Thinking about the Compassion tutors gives me a whole new perspective on sacrificial giving!

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I’ll have another post about my trip up soon but I hope what I have shared in this post has made you as excited about Compassion’s ministry as I am! If you are interested in sponsoring a child send me an email or message me on insta or facebook! I would love to help you get started on what is truly an amazing journey!

~Maizy

Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t truly think are really great. However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or yarn, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.

 

 

 

Compassion El Salvador 2018

I’ve been wanting to blog about my trip to El Salvador since before I left but I’ve been feeling a bit like Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride when he says “let me explain. No, there is too much, let me sum up.” And I’m struggling to sum up in a way that does justice to how amazing the trip was. Everything I have to say won’t fit into one post so I’m going to break it up into posts about each day starting with an overview of Compassion International and the work they are doing in El Salvador specifically.

Compassion International is a child sponsorship organization. They were founded in 1952 by Rev. Everett Swanson to help war orphans in South Korea. Today Compassion partners with local churches in 25 countries to empower children to break the cycle of poverty. Compassion prioritizes holistic development. My favorite part of their ministry is that because they work through the local church, the kids in their program benefit from community and support from adults who care about them and interact with them daily.

Compassion has been working in El Salvador since 1977. They serve over 60,000 children in 272 church-operated child development centers. Individual countries are given a lot of freedom to make decisions that best benefit their kids and in addition to the standard interventions such as education, healthcare, spiritual support and sponsorship Compassion El Salvador provides many unique opportunities for the kids in their program. I’m going to link this PowerPoint about Compassion El Salvador if you want more information but also stay tuned for the next post because I’ll be talking about my trip to the country office!

~Maizy

Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t truly think are really great. However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or yarn, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.

 

19 Things I’ve Learned in 19 Years of Living

Happy birthday to me! I’m celebrating my 19th birthday today in El Salvador. I’m here for a Compassion Sponsor trip and I am so excited to meet my sponsored child, Nuria, and see first-hand the work Compassion is doing! Our itinerary is pretty full so I’ll most likely be a bit MIA online but I still wanted to write a post ahead of time for today and stay tuned for posts about my experience in El Salvador in the coming weeks!

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19 years, in the grand scheme of life, isn’t a very long time but I’ve had enough time to learn a little bit about life so in honor of my birthday I’ve decided to share (in no particular order) 19 things I’ve learned in 19 years of living.

  1. If you have money, you need a budget
  2. Wear sunscreen. You’ll either tan or you won’t but either way, it’s better than a sunburn now and skin cancer later.
  3. My mom was usually right
  4. I need Jesus
  5. Sometimes self-care means bubble baths and chocolate and sometimes it means eating your vegetables and cleaning your room.
  6. Colorado tap water is the best but enough ice makes almost any water drinkable.
  7. A few genuine friendships are better than many shallow ones.
  8. Don’t let what you think of as “just your personality” limit you. Introverts need community and extroverts can benefit from spending time alone.
  9. The attitude you choose makes a huge difference in any situation
  10. If you can’t articulate the argument of someone you disagree with, you don’t completely understand why you believe what you believe*
  11. Surround yourself with people who will respect your values and encourage you*
  12. But also don’t put yourself in a bubble. Make sure you have people in your life who look and think differently than you do.*
  13. You’re not supposed to feel stressed all the time. If you are always stressed out, take a break, go for a hike,  breathe, then see what changes you can make so your stress is lighter.
  14. It’s actually way easier to find time to read than you think, keep a book in your purse or download an e-reader app on your phone (If you need a place to get started  a lot of classics are free to download to your Kindle or the kindle app!) and whenever you have a few minutes and would normally open up social media now you can open a book.
  15. Stressful things are always worse at 11pm. Go to bed, you’ll be better able to figure everything out in the morning.
  16. Don’t try to dress/look/act like everyone else figure out your style and own it.
  17. Phone calls are essential to adult life. You don’t have to like them just learn how to get through them and communicate without sounding like you’re in pain.
  18. On a similar note, being the first one to reach out/initiate a friendship can be scary but it’s so worth it.
  19. Be kind. Life is hard enough without people tearing each other down so strive to be the person who builds people up.

*10-12 are courtesy of my bff who is amazing and way smarter than I am.

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So there you have it! 19 things I’ve learned/am in the process of learning. What are some life lessons you’ve learned recently? Share them in the comments!

~Maizy

Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t truly think are really great. However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or yarn, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.

Fashion Friday: Rescue is Coming A Casual Look for Summer

Happy Friday!

Today I have a super casual tank top and shorts look for you. During the summer I have a few go-to pairs of shorts and a rotation of t-shirts that I basically live in. This tank top is a pretty new addition to my closet from the store I’ve been running for my internship. I do e-commerce for a counter-human trafficking organization called The Exodus Road and I love the message of this shirt and that it supports rescue for people caught in modern slavery.

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I don’t think I own a pair of shorts that didn’t start out as jeans or long pants. When I shop for shorts the fit is always awkward and they are either too short or too long. For the past couple of years, I’ve just been buying jeans at thrift stores and cut them into shorts that way I have total control over the length.

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Top: The Exodus Road (black is sold out but they also have it in mint!) 

What is your go to summer outfit? Tell me in the comments!

~Maizy

Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t truly think are really great. However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or yarn, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.

 

Florals for Summer

Hello Friends!

I have been absolutely loving big floral prints lately, can we take a moment to talk about Rifle Paper Co.’s collection with Keds because I’m a little obsessed. When I saw this dress on Poshmark I knew I had to have it. The bright color, florals, and off-the-shoulder style just scream summer!

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I stumbled on these shoes at a local thrift store recently. They don’t have any kind of logo or brand marking on them but they are so adorable and the soles were completely untouched when I bought them!

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This look would be perfect for a summer wedding or any other special occasion during the summer. I didn’t find this exact dress online so I’ve rounded up a few similar dresses that I also love.

This one from Reformation has an adorable ruffle and buttons down the skirt that I love.

I don’t think there is anything more summery than this shift dress covered in poppies from Jessica Rey.

This dress from Passion Lillie is so sweet, you can’t get more pretty and feminine than pink florals.

What is your favorite look to wear for summer? Let me know in the comments!

~Maizy

Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t truly think are really great. However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or yarn, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.

My Favorite Clothes to Hike In

Hello friends!

Last month I shared my four favorite day hikes in Colorado so today I thought I’d share what I wear when I hike. How you dress is a huge part of staying comfortable and safe while hiking. In general, I like to make sure that my base layer is something that will be comfortable if it gets wet and dry quickly. No matter how long your hike is or where you are going you will also want to pack a jacket or sweater for warmth and a waterproof layer. Currently, I use this rain jacket, but I also always have a rain poncho with me which you can get for a couple of dollars and can be reused if you are careful. For my warmth layer, I use a quarter zip pullover from Nike that I received as a gift for years, when it wears out I will probably replace it with something like this Smartwool baselayer (sized up so I can wear it as a sweater) or this Patagonia sweater.

 

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This look is pretty similar to what I usually wear for day hikes especially when the weather is warm. United by Blue makes the cutest organic cotton graphic tees and these shorts are so comfortable.

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I’ve had these Merrell hiking shoes for about two years and they are amazing. I have hiked 10+ miles in these with no blisters and in way less pain than when I was hiking in just tennis shoes.

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Tshirt United by Blue, Shorts Under Armour layered over these shorts, Sports Bra Under Armour (similar), Shoes Merrell, Socks Smartwool

Do you like to hike? What are your go-to clothing pieces to stay safe and comfortable on the trail? Tell me in the comments!

~Maizy

Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t truly think are really great. However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or yarn, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.

Colorado Summer Bucket List

June is here which means summer is coming fast! Most summers feel like they fly by and when the school year hits I feel like I didn’t fit in everything I want. To help keep that from happening I put together a summer bucket list. Some of this list is of activities that I want to do this summer and some of it is of activities that anyone should definitely do at least once if they are in Colorado during the summer time.

(1) Visit Rock Ledge Ranch

Rock Ledge Ranch is a living history site located right by the main entrance of Garden of the Gods. While visiting you can experience life in the Pikes Peak region with the Ute Indians, on a homestead, on a working ranch, and on the country estate of General William J. Palmer’s sister in law. The 4th of July is a really fun time to visit but going on a weekday will give you more time to explore the houses. The park is open Wednesday-Saturday from 10am-5pm and admission is $8 for adults.

(2) Visit the Denver Art Museum

I visited the Denver Art Museum a few years ago and they had a really cool textile exhibit that was under construction at the time. I’d love to go back and check it out. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 with a student id

(3) Visit the Denver Botanic Gardens

The Denver Botanic Gardens has multiple locations but the York street gardens in Denver have a succulent garden and a rose garden that I love to visit. Tickets are $12.50 for adults and $9 with a student id.

(4) Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

I don’t stop talking about Rocky Mountain National Park so I’ll just link to two of the posts about my favorite hikes there. 4 of my Favorite Day Hikes in Colorado, Colorado Travel Guide: Rocky Mountain National Park. A day pass is $20 for a car.

(5) Hike a fourteener

Colorado has over 40 14,000 ft mountains! Read these two posts before you go and if you don’t feel ready to hike one, you can still visit the summit of Pikes Peak by driving up the Pikes Peak HighwayHiking Pikes Peak: My First Fourteener!, Five Things to Know Before You Go Hiking To drive the highway it is $15 for adults or $50 with a car of 5 or more people.

(6) Go camping

You can camp in Rocky Mountain National Park which makes number 4 more convenient. I also love camping near Glenwood Springs or in Eleven mile canyon.

(7) Go hammocking

Swinging in a hammock is one of the most relaxing things ever. I have this ENO and you will probably want straps as well.

(8) Cycle Glenwood canyon

The River trail goes through Glenwood Canyon along the Colorado River but make sure you go in July or later because the river floods the trail during spring run-off season. The Rio Grande trail goes between Glenwood Springs and Aspen.

(9) Go tubing in the South Platte River

This is another thing you should probably do later in the summer because the rivers in Colorado are COLD early in the season but if you pick a warm day tubing down the river is a blast!

(10) Hike the incline

One mile of old railroad ties that start in Manitou Springs, CO and climb almost 2000 feet in elevation. Olympic athletes and amateurs alike love this hike. I’ve done it once and once was enough.

Have you done any of these things? What would you add to this list?

Also, did y’all know that I have an email list? That’s right! If you want access to exclusive content (including my weekly favorites starting next Wednesday!) plus a free pdf version of this list sign up here!

~Maizy

She is Priceless

According to Sheryl WuDunn in her book Half the Sky, there are an estimated 107 million missing girls and women in the world. 107 million women who should be present and identifiable in the population but are not. 107 million babies who were killed in the womb or abandoned after birth, 107 million children who were married off way to young, 107 million adults who were trafficked or murdered.

I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. I believe that every person is created by God with value and that that is very clear in the Bible.

Genesis 1:27 says “God created man (meaning mankind) in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

And in Psalm 139:13-14 King David of Israel says “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows very well.”

From the story of Hagar, to Esther and Ruth, to Mary, and the woman at the well, and Mary Magdalene God shows how He loves women and that He values them enough to use them in His plan of redemption for the world. Despite that for all of history women have been marginalized, abused, treated as property, and told that they were less valuable, capable, and intelligent than men.

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That is why I love the work that Mercy House is doing in Kenya. They are providing a safe home, medical care, counseling, and education to young mothers in dangerous situations and loving on their babies.

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That’s why when Elizabeth, the young woman I sponsor through Compassion wrote me a letter and told me that she had graduated from secondary school and would be attending college soon, I almost cried. I was more excited for her than I was when I graduated. (Also, we’re both business majors and I’m super excited about that too)

Women are priceless and when they are empowered to reach their potential they have the ability to transform the world.

At this point you might be asking yourself “what can I do?” and I strongly encourage you to find a way to lift up the women in your life and community. That might mean encouraging a high school girl in your church and letting her know you see her hard work and potential, saying thank you to your mom or another woman in your life. It could also mean donating a few hours of your time volunteering at your local women’s shelter or pregnancy crisis center.

Want to take it a step further? Sponsor a girl or woman in poverty. I love Compassion International because they work through the local church and empower people to care for children in their own communities. I also love that you are able to write letters and build a relationship with the child you sponsor. Other organizations that offer sponsorship are Indigenous Ministries, who work with refugees in Iraq and Mercy House who offer the opportunity to sponsor a woman in their transition home in Kenya.

Another option? Buy fairtrade products. Women in poverty don’t want a handout, they want a job. When you buy a product that was made by a woman rising out of poverty the empowerment you are supporting is incredible. This rug and these bracelets are made by the Grandmas of the Mercy House babies, enabling all of them to move out of the slum into clean, safe homes, send their other kids to school, and even in some cases bring kids home from indentured servitude.

 

DIY Cold Brew

Happy Friday! I usually do a fashion post on Fridays. However, because the Rana Plaza anniversary fell at the beginning of the week I decided to switch my posts and today I’m sharing how to make your own cold brew coffee.

Some of you might have tried cold brew from Starbucks or another coffee shop and you might not have realized that it’s actually really easy to make yourself. It is super easy to make with supplies you probably have at home and is a great zero-waste and time-saving coffee option.

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To start you need a jar with a lid, (I use a half-gallon canning jar but you definitely don’t have to make that much) and ground coffee. If you aren’t grinding your own coffee you don’t need to worry about this but if you are, set the grinder to the coarsest setting.

Using a 1-to-8 ratio, add your coffee grounds and water. You can use warm water (not hot!!) to make it brew faster but I just use lukewarm tap water.

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Put your jar in the fridge for at least 48 hours.

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When you are satisfied that your coffee has brewed long enough pull it out of the fridge to filter the coffee grounds out. You will need some kind of bowl, it’s easiest if it has a pour spout; and a filter, I usually just use a wire strainer like in the picture but this time I decided to try to use a paper coffee filter like for drip coffee. The paper filter ended up taking way longer but it filtered the coffee much more thoroughly.

Pour the coffee over the filter into the bowl. Dump the coffee grounds into another bowl to compost them. Pour the coffee back over the filter into the clean jar. Repeat that process one more time or until you don’t get any more coffee grounds in your filter. If you use the paper filter I recommend that you wait until the last time you filter it because it does take a while.

Make sure you end up with all the coffee back in the jar, pour yourself a glass, add your favorite milk/creamer/flavoring and enjoy!

Do you like cold brew coffee? Have you ever made it before? Tell me in the comments!

~Maizy

Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t truly think are really great. However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or yarn, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.