Mind & Body by Samantha Nichole

Mind & Body by Samantha Nichole

Monday, November 29, 2010

Boxing

I am excited to announce that I will be subbing for boxing classes at the WAC; I have been in training for nearly four weeks, and I am finally ready to teach.

In addition to other projects, I am going to be uploading a few how-to fitness videos and/or pictures. These projects are in progress; the required technology is not always available to me.

Take Care,
Samantha Nichole

Monday, November 1, 2010

Keep Your Skin Looking Young, Healthy, and Fresh During Winter

I believe that keeping a healthy face is the ultimate answer to looking young, alert, and…well, healthy. Winter (and fall) is a tough time to keep healthy skin; the weather is frigid – especially in Wisconsin – and the freezing cold weather dries out skin in an instant. From a neutral perspective (these companies didn’t pay me) I will let you know of the products to buy and the process for keeping healthy skin in the winter.

First off, moisturizing the skin (especially the face) is most important. Moisturize your skin and face after taking a shower or washing your face. For my face, I like to use Aveeno moisturizing lotion (dermatologist recommended). The product isn’t greasy, and it works better than any other product I have tried (I have tried several). Sometimes, I choose to moisturize my face, let the lotion dry, and add another coat of moisturizing lotion; in addition, I am not afraid to try anti-aging products even though they are not necessarily intended for my demographic. I feel as though I am preserving my young skin.

After applying moisturizer to my skin and face, I use Aveda’s tinted moisturizer instead of using traditional foundation. Because winter is such a dry and harsh season, using tinted moisturizer helps to keep skin looking fresh while adding color. Furthermore, Aveda’s tinted moisturizer includes SPF. There is a chance of being sunburned in winter – ask an ice fisherman.

My third step is to apply a light coat of powder. Honestly, I don’t care what brand I use, but I found that CoverGirl is a great choice. I haven’t been disappointed, and to add color to my face I simply apply a light coat of bronzer with my blush brush. I occasionally use bronzer as blush; I feel bronzer as brush looks more natural and subtle.

Once I have come up with the appropriate pictures I will add them to this blog entry! Thank you for your readership.

Sincerely,
Samantha Nichle

Monday, October 25, 2010

You're Doing What?!

Running the Chicago Marathon in 2011!

I had a slight scare last year; I thought I had a very bad knee problem. After getting a pricey MRI and discussing the situation with my doctor, we found that all I need to do is strengthen my left knee. The pain is from the weakness of an old injury that is now healed, so I gave myself the okay to train for the 2011 Chicago Marathon.

After being inspired by how hard my father trained this year, I have realized that running a marathon is my dream as well. I am posting this because I want everyone to follow my journey AND support me through peer pressure, haha! Now that the whole world knows, there is no giving up and no turning back.

I will be blogging about my experiences, taking photos, and letting the world know about how difficult this journey will be. Naturally, I may not be a distance runner, but I know now that I have the heart to finish.

~ because you only live once ~
Samantha Nichole

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Survey!

Hey readers! Can you please, please fill out this survey for me? It will truly help me build my business.

Thanks very much,
Samantha Nichole

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Visual Journaling

I have always loved to write, and I have always loved journaling! Recently, I started journaling visually. What I like to do is take pieces of magazines I like, movie ticket stubs, or anything sentimental (but not fragile in any way) and paste it into my journal.

I truly wish I would have thought about doing this when I was a teen; I always had random notes and pieces of paper that meant something to me. I was infatuated with beauty and color. In fact, I still am.

Try this journaling method! It relieves stress, it’s a fun way to pass time, and it will help you see what your values and interests are.

Here is an example of my most recent journal entry:

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PS – I wrote on the magazine during work – I wanted to write but I didn’t have my journal. So, I simply cut and pasted my writing into the journal. I didn’t lose any of my thoughts, and it looks very interesting.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bodyworks

Hello everyone! I am so excited; starting November 2nd I am going to be teaching a new format called Bodyworks. I am going to be incorporating props (exercise bands, free weights, and a balance ball plus more) into my workouts. I am so excited to get going! The classes will be on Tuesday mornings at 9:00am. Did I mention I am excited?

PS - I hope to upload some "how-to" videos onto my YouTube account. I will tell you the account once I have actually uploaded something.

For more information about the class I am going to teach, and for a class schedule, please check out the Wisconsin Athletic Club (WAC) website.

XoXo and Peace,
Samantha Nichole

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dreaming About Serenity

Life has been so incredibly busy with work, school, and homework between; however, I have had some time to think about the studio – The Serenity Room – and when I can actually get this thing launched. Well, the answer is within the next ten years, but I think I will be able to start now (crazy!)!

The studio is going to start from my apartment and will consist of a few friends. I am so incredibly excited; Sorry guys, ladies only. Duchess, Lynx and I will be having chicas over once a month for a yoga session. No compensation required - yet. =) I am still unsure of the legalities, but I will provide tea after.

I do have much more exciting details, but I don’t want to spoil the fun!

Side note: In January I am going to be continuing my national yoga certification. The conference is going to be held in Oshkosh, and I know it will be a great time! In addition, I will be also be training to become a Flirty Girl Fitness Instructor. Click on the link for more information; I’m not sure when that will happen though. Exciting! Another addition to the studio (in time…).

Have a lovely day, and I will post soon!

Sincerely,
Samantha Nichole

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Monday, October 4, 2010

The List

This is a list that will allow you to explore what you are involved in, what you would like to be involved in; what you are doing in your free time, and what you would like to do in your free time.

Answer the questions below with your own answers. I have provided my answers as a way to help you see how the process works, and also as a way for me to see and reflect on how I can achieve my goals.

First

What am I involved in now?

- I am a full-time student (takes up most of my time).

- I have three part-time jobs: The Media Hub (18 hours weekly), The Wisconsin Athletic Club (three hours bi-weekly), and MKTG (occasional employment, but roughly eight hours bi-weekly).

- I am involved in Circle K International (one hour per week for meeting, and volunteer for events).

What categories does each activity fall into?

- Student: School (mandatory)

- The Media Hub: work (mandatory); The Wisconsin Athletic Club: work; MKTG: work. The Wisconsin Athletic Club and MKTG are both jobs I chose because I would enjoy them.

- Circle K International: volunteer work (optional).
Activities that take up the most of my time:

*1) School.
*2) Work.
*3) Volunteer.

What area would I like to improve the most?

- I would like to improve area 3: volunteering.

How can I improve this area?

- Circle K International makes it very easy to volunteer; I will simply continue to look for more opportunities to volunteer.

What are other ways I can accomplish effective citizenship?

- Blog about issues that are close to my heart; I can do that late at night after classes.

- Focus my school work on becoming an effective citizen in any way I can. For example, conduct a research project on women’s issues for a geography class, or focus a news article for newswriting class on an issue I am passionate about.

- Become less of a consumer; buy fewer things (that will also help me save money).

- Practice ahimsa – non-violence – daily. Show people kindness and compassion through my actions.

Second

How do I fill my free time?

- Reading magazines

- Cleaning

- Going on the internet

- Working out / Practicing yoga

Is there anything on this list I would like to do more of?

- Working out / Practicing yoga

Is there anything on this list I would like to do less of?

- Going on the internet

- Reading magazines

Is there anything missing on this list that you would like to do more of?


- Reading books

Is there anything missing on this list that you would like to do less of?

- Consuming alcohol

Goals:

*Make sure to be as specific with yourself as possible!

- Volunteer more by becoming more involved with Circle K International.

- Make a reading list to complete – also, make a timeframe to finish those books.

- Save money and my body by consuming less alcohol. For example, I will limit myself to one alcoholic beverage when out for dinner, and I will go out to dinner two times per month.

Good luck on your completion of The List!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hello Fall!

Dear readers,

As many of you have dreaded, today is the first day of fall - but don't fear! Fall is a great time to do many things. Consider this list:


1. Clean out your space: Don't let clutter overrule your life. Make sure that you have enough space to breathe, relax, and function!

2. Take a walk outside: Winter is approaching soon, so take advantage of the calm fall weather. Yes, the days are becoming shorter and cooler, but cool days are for going on a walk or taking hike, especially if one lives in the city.

3. Pick out a pumpkin: Although Halloween is a few weeks away, go ahead and pick out a pumpkin; if this one rots, get another later!

4. Assess your goals and make new goals: Summer was a great time to soak up the sun, feel good about yourself, and make future goals. Have you made those goals yet? What goals would you like to make for the fall?

5. Give back to the community: Any time is a good time to lend a helping hand. No money? No problem; donating money isn't the only way to help your community! Donate your TIME by picking up garbage, volunteering at a homeless shelter, or meeting a "little brother or little sister" at Big Brothers Big Sisters.

If you are stuck and don't know what goals to make, consider these:

1. Become more organized by keeping one planner.
2. Make sure to practice yoga daily
3. Talk to family once per day or every-other day
4. Enjoy the outdoors by going outside once per weekend (at least!)
5. Save money by only going out to eat once this month

Good luck with everything!

Sincerely,
Samantha Nichole

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Control Your Dreams

Controlling the mind can be difficult, and I am certainly no master, but I'm definitely improving. I have learned a few tricks to the trade when it comes to controlling your dreams, and I am excited to share them with you!

Tricks!

These are some tricks I learned through my own personal experience.

*Breathing Test
– To check if you are awake, get in the habit of trying to breathe while pinching your nose. If you can breathe while your nose is pinched you are obviously dreaming. Doing this in everyday situations when you see something strange can increase your chances of remembering during a dream.

*Hands – Look at your hands while you are dreaming. You will notice that they look strange, and that will also make you realize you are dreaming.

*Think About Lucid Dreaming – I truly believe that this is the most effective trick. Because I think about lucid dreams, I dream lucidly...if that makes sense.

Check out my other blog for an example of how I controlled my dreams:

www.creativewritingsofsamanthanichole.blogspot.com

Remember, when you are dreaming you can do anything. I flew with Harry Potter around an arena playing quidditch, made a hand gun out of nothing, and got to know 10 dream characters I completely made up.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Story Behind "The Serenity Room"

When I started this blog I thought that it would be an interesting development. I was right! For the past two years I have been thinking to myself, “what am I going to do with my life?” and “what am I going to do with my life that is meaningful?” I finally found my calling, and it involves my ever-existing goal of owning a business.

In 2003, when I was entering my freshman year of high school, I tried yoga for the first time. I was auditioning to be a part of the Campbellsport High School Dance Team, and I hadn’t danced for nearly four years. Yoga was a great choice – it gave me strength and flexibility. When tryouts came I made it! I was so excited; I had a boost in self-esteem, and I developed healthy eating habits, exercise technique, and a love for sports.

I graduated high school in 2007 and continued my education at Alverno College in Milwaukee. Alverno is a liberal arts college on the south side of Milwaukee. They have a unique interactive grading system as well as an awesome reputation for success in the classroom. In 2008 I tried out for the Milwaukee Bonecrushers’ “The Crush” Dance Team, and I made it. It was also during that time that I revisited yoga and enrolled in an instructor training course with the Wisconsin Athletic Club. My temporary certification was valid for the WAC, and after being hired I would have to obtain my national certification within a year. Unfortunately, after completing the six week program I decided that juggling school, work, and a gig as a professional dancer wouldn’t allow me the time to complete the national certification.

Being a member of “The Crush” Dance Team was a thrilling experience, and I had a lot of fun and met many people, but I needed a challenge. I tried out for the Milwaukee Bucks Energee! Dance Team (NBA) the following year. This was my second attempt at becoming a member (I did not make it in 2007 after high school graduation), and, with much effort, I made the team.

Energee! was very different from The Bonecrushers; we were required to be available for all home games (42 total, but not including pre-season), two three-hour practices per week, and various appearances. On top of it all, we were also required to learn a large number of routines – we were only allowed to repeat the routines three times, and we did two routines per game, plus short fourth-quarter routines. In addition, there were only 12 spots available per game, so our team of 20 members had to audition for each game. Nevertheless, as much as I loved dancing there was too much stress involved.

In 2009 (beginning of my second year on the team) I started practicing yoga again, but this time it was to quiet my mind. I was starting my junior year of college, working on campus, and working as an Energee! Dancer. I needed something to calm me down, and I found it.

Yoga definitely worked. This past year on the team I felt more alert during practices, I was grateful for all the experiences, and my heart was in dancing again – I lost the love for dance in all the stress of my rookie year. After finding out that yoga was what kept me sane, I decided that dancing and yoga are two very important elements in my life, and I really want to share these experiences with other people.

This past spring semester was when I started seriously exploring the option of a wellness center. I studied my resources including books about yoga, yoga magazines, and began attending classes again. Finally, I have found one of my many paths in life.

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My old apartment (where the name came from) was near the Brewers Stadium.

I brainstormed the name of my wellness center a few days ago at Moon Dance CafĂ©. My friends and former roomies Katie and James were meeting me for coffee. When the three of us lived together we stayed in a two bedroom apartment on the south side of Milwaukee, and it contained a living room with a bay window. Katie placed one of her decorative items above the entrance to the living room, and it was a sign that said “Serenity”. From that moment on I called our cozy living room “The Serenity Room”, and the name stuck.

After Katie, James and I parted ways I began driving to work. When reminiscing listening to Radio Milwaukee, it finally clicked: The Serenity Room is going to be the name of my business. My EUREKA! moment has continued to grow, and in a colorful notebook I have been jotting down notes about location, layout, services, and mission of “The Serenity Room”.

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88.9 Radio Milwaukee was our radio station of choice.

You wanna know the awesome thing? No matter where I go, or what I do, there will always be a serenity room somewhere.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Becoming a "Do-Gooder"

This summer has been amazing! I have had so much time to read, frolic in the woods, and be with friends and family. Speaking of reading, over the past two weeks I have been reading two amazing books.

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…Once School at a Time is a book written by Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin. It is a novel about how Mortensen drifted into a village in Pakistan (it was after a failed K2 climb attempt) and realized the kindness of the people in the area. He later noticed that there was no school in the village. In fact, the children were drawing in the dirt with sticks in a one-room dirt floor area. Mortensen was not a rich man, but he was inspired to help the children in need (especially the young girls), so he promised to build a school. The path to building the school was not easy, but in the end he prevailed and built fifty-five schools.

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The second book I have been reading is called Tranquilista: Mastering the Art of Enlightened Work and Mindful Play by Kimberly Wilson. Wilson is the author of Hip Tranquil Chick: a Guide to Life on and off the Yoga Mat and owner of Tranquil Space in Washington DC. This book was the best $10.00 I have ever spent, and I will tell you why. Wilson gives several tips regarding finding a balance in life. The best part about the book is that it relates so well to where I am in my life, who I am, and what I want. She talks about creative expression and how to achieve it, living great, setting goals, meditation, and she even discusses entrepreneurial tactics and how to launch a non-profit organization. These things are exactly what I would like to achieve in my life.

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Something that both these books have in common is becoming a “do-gooder”. Basically, being a do gooder is making an effort to become the best person you can be through self-discovery, community service, and kindness. One of my personal goals is to be a do-gooder, and with the help of inspiration I will succeed.

For more information about Three Cups of Tea check out the official website at http://www.threecupsoftea.com

For more information about Tranquilista check out the official website at http://www.tranquilista.com

Monday, August 16, 2010

Facebook Page Update

I realized that there wasn't much information about who I am, what I do, and what my background is. So, here is what I published on the facebook fan site.

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WHAT'S MIND AND BODY BY SAMANTHA NICHOLE?

I blog about fitness and wellness! Someday (soon) I hope to have my own wellness business with a live location. In addition to acupuncture and massage services, I will offer classes in dance, yoga, and any other format I later choose to add.

A LITTLE ABOUT ME

I am an undergrad student studying Professional Communication at Alverno College. I have three years of professional dance experience, and roughly 10 years of dance classes and dance team experience. I started taking yoga classes when I was 14 years old. My initial intention was to use yoga to gain flexibility for dancing, however, that intention changed roughly three years ago.

Once I came to college I realized that my stress level had increased; I was working several jobs, taking courses, and dancing. When I began practicing yoga again I started using it as a therapy - something to calm me down before performances, in between classes, and before I went to bed. That's when I said to myself, "I love yoga, and I want to help teach others!"

I took an Instructor Training course in yoga with the Wisconsin Athletic Club. Two years later (today) I was hired by the Wisconsin Athletic Club as a yoga instructor; I am now in the process of obtaining my national yoga instructor certification from YogaFit. It is going to be a long journey, but I look forward to continuing my education in yoga, teaching others, and strengthening my own practice.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Windmill

On Thursday evening I went to visit my parents in Campbellsport. I love visiting the area; I enjoy getting out of the city, I miss the fresh air, and I miss my agricultural community. Campbellsport’s surrounding area (the Kettle Moraine state forest and Fond du Lac County) is home to an awesome new development – windmills.

Although some may not like the windmills for various reasons (obstructing scenery, harming birds, etc.), I believe they are a great alternative for clean energy. Do I believe we should only use windmills? No, but some of our clean energy sources could come from wind.

Copy and paste this link into your browser for more information: http://www.ecw.org/ecwrtesults/443-4.pdf

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The new landscape of Wisconsin.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Michelle Phan and Homemade Pore Strips

Here is a little something I wanted to share with everyone! Michelle Phan, a professional make-up artist known for her clever YouTube videos, posted a video on how to make homemade pore strips. It's pretty awesome and inexpensive, therefore I wanted to share it.

Ingredients:

- Milk (any kind)
- Jello powder

ENJOY!

*PS - The video is a little large for my page. I couldn't figure out how to shrink it, sorry!

Motion Sickness Remedies for Less

Instead of paying $5 - $10 for motion sickness medicine, make your own. This motion sickness remedy is all natural; you can refill the bottle at any time. All you have to do is apply a small amount of oil to your wrists and sniff, or smell the oil within the bottle.

The secret ingredients are:

Peppermint
Basil
Lavender
Grape seed oil

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My mother was the genius behind the concoction, and I promise it works! This oil has helped me endure car rides lasting up to four hours, and it's something anyone can make at home.

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^ Dad & Mom ^

Additional Car Sickness Remedies:

Chew on a piece of peppermint gum
Ask to be the driver, or to sit in the front seat
Wear sunglasses
Drink water often
Another beverage that helps car sickness is coke (in moderation)
Try to cheat the sickness by falling asleep

*TIP: Keep a basil plant. It smells great, makes any porch area come alive, and can be used for cooking and herbal remedies.

GOOD LUCK!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tricks to Conquer Migraines

Because I have been blessed (sarcasm) with migraines, I have some background in treating them once they have started. If your migraine has already started, there is not much that can be done, but there are a few things that can make your experience less grueling. Here is a short, but effective, list of tricks to conquer migraines.

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~Basil

Tip 1: Treat it like you have the flu, and put a damp cloth on your head. This feels soothing, as if the pressure is being lifted from your forehead.

Tip 2:
Turn off all the lights, and hang out in a dark room. Make sure there is little-to-no light in your space.

Tip 3:
Sit up straight against the wall. If you lay down, the blood will rush to your head.

Tip 4:
Relax all muscles in your body. Neck, shoulders, arm, hands, abdomen; thighs, calves, and feet.

Tip 5:
Aromatherapy. My mom made a great mixture for me – grape seed oil and basil. Put some on your wrist.

Tip 6: Breathe. If you aren’t breathing your body will become tense, and that intensifies the migraine.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Quotes

I love quotes. Inspirational quotes, motivational quotes, and quotes that make you think. Here are some quotes I ♥

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“Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.” - Betty Smith

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." - Deuteronomy 31:6

“Change leads to disappointment if it is not sustained. Transformation is sustained change, and it is achieved through practice.” - B.K.S. Iyengar

“Each day is a new canvas to paint upon. Make sure your picture is full of life and happiness, and at the end of the day you don't look at it and wish you had painted something different.” – Anonymous

“When you see a man of worth, think of how you may emulate him. When you see one who is unworthy, examine yourself.” – Confucius

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” - Psalm 34:14

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Surveying Your Life

It’s a good habit to check in with yourself every once and a while; being in tune with your wants, needs, and ambitions will help you become a happy and fulfilled person. Here is a list I gathered from my favorite book, Hip Tranquil Chick by Kimberly Wilson – follow along and put your own rating in each of the categories.

Areas of My Life

• Home-life (9)
• Career (8)
• Self-care (7)
• Health (7)
• Relationships[& Socialization] (6)
• Creativity (5)
• Finances (3)
• Spirituality (3)

- Rate each category 0-10 based on your satisfaction. 0 means not satisfied at all, and 10 means you are completely satisfied.

- Next, take the bottom three categories and make a list of things you can do to improve these categories.

Creativity: Choose to write, draw, decorate, or choreograph daily

Finances:
Get another job (in progress), and spend less than I make

Spirituality:
Become more involved in my college’s campus ministry (in the works!)

*Once you are finished filling out your needs and goals, reflect on them.
-Are these goals realistic?
-How can I make my goals become a reality?

Try doing this at least once per month. Once you finish a goal, start a new one!

Best of luck,
Samantha Nichole

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Brain Bootcamp

Keeping your brain working is by far one of the best ways to stay happy, healthy, and alert! Here are some ways to improve your brain’s fitness.

1. Play games! Here are a list of games:

Sudoku

Crossword puzzles

Solitaire

Cranium

Monopoly

Scene it

*When playing games, only play for roughly 15 minutes at a time. Any more could become tiresome and addictive.

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2. Meditate. According to healthandyoga.com (physical benefits are nearly word-for-word), meditation has the following benefits:

Improves general health – meditating help blood flow, and thus increasing the amount of oxygen your cells receive.

Improves concentration – meditation conditions a person to focus on something. Thus, strengthening the mind.

Physical Benefits

Lowers oxygen consumption.

Decreases respiratory rate.

Increases blood flow and slows the heart rate.

Increases exercise tolerance in heart patients.

Leads to a deeper level of relaxation.

Good for people with high blood pressure (brings the B.P. to normal).

Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate.

Decreases muscle tension (any pain due to tension) and headaches.

Builds self-confidence.

It increases serotonin production which influences mood and behavior.

Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression, obesity, insomnia and headaches.

Helps in chronic diseases like allergies, arthritis etc.

Reduces Pre-menstrual Syndrome.

Helps in post-operative healing.

Enhances the immune system.

Research has revealed that meditation increases activity of 'natural-killer cells', which kill bacteria and cancer cells.

Also reduces activity of viruses and emotional distress.

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3. Learn something new every day! According to lifehack.org (modified slightly), some benefits of learning new things are:

Broader perspective in general

Increased skills in adaptation

Inspires creativity

Deepens character, thus one becomes inspiring to others

Increases confidence

Makes life worth living

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Personal Story! As a dancer I have discovered that learning a large amount of routines in a short period of time has increased my ability to take on tasks, learn things quickly; understand my body, and handle stressful situations, including deadlines.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Update on Weekend of Technological Silence

This past weekend I engaged in an experiment called technological silence. My weekend of silence was awesome, to say the least. I had a great time with my family in Sister Bay, WI; I had the chance to appreciate the outdoors, my family, and silence.

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My immediate family and I only stayed for two nights, and my extended family stayed through this week, so on the first morning my father, uncle, brothers, mother, and I decided to go to the beach. I decided to take in the fresh air by running to the beach - it was roughly a 4 mile jog. Once we arrived we jumped in the water right away. The sun was so hot, and the cool Lake Michigan water was amazingly refreshing! In the late afternoon my mother drove our family back to the rental home. I took a shower, and had time to sit and talk with her about decisions, thoughts, and much more; I also took that time (before dinner) to journal and catch up on my own thoughts in privacy.

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This past weekend was a great opportunity for me to reconnect with my immediate family, extended family, and my own thoughts. Without the distraction of my cell phone, e-mail, or text messages, I was able to relax and forget about my other life in the city. Luckily, I will have the opportunity to do this again at my favorite state park campground, Mauthe Lake, just minutes from my hometown of Campbellsport.

Food for thought: “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Financial Wellness: Stretching Pennies

As a college student, there are some weeks (or months) that aren’t as pleasant as others, specifically when it comes to finances. These past two months have been rough. I took a summer course - it was the best, yet worst, decision I have ever made. The course itself, digital publishing, was very helpful, fun, and it allowed me to be creative. However, I wouldn’t call it affordable.

Although this summer has been financially difficult, I do not let it get in the way of my summer fun! In fact, this has been the best summer since I graduated high school, and I have spent the least amount of money on leisure activities, shopping, and going out to eat. Here are some ridiculous tactics I used, and continue to use, to stretch pennies.

1.If you have a magazine subscription, don’t buy perfume or cologne. It’s included in your magazine subscription. Virtually any fashion or lifestyle magazine (Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Elle, etc.) has free samples of perfume, and they can be used for more than smelling. Cut the strip of sample out of the magazine, and rub it along your wrists. Bingo! Dior for 99 cents per issue.

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2.Order appetizers as your meal and water as your drink (sad, but it works).

3.Cut coupons ONLY for products you already buy (unless the deal is amazing). Consumers are often lured into buying products only because there is a coupon for it.

4.Reduce the amount of clothing you buy. Clothing is a disposable purchase, mainly because fashion changes so often.

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5.Accessorize to make new outfits!

6.Check out the clearance rack first.

7.Go to the beach. It’s free (usually), and it’s a perk if you can score a volleyball net.

8.Eat dinner at home. Restaurant dining can be very pricy, and fast food is unhealthy, so cook something delicious at home before going out.

9.Order Applebee’s $1.99 Long Island Ice Tee. One drink at a night club can cost close to $10.

10.Sell used items on Ebay or Craigslist.

11.Take your bike places instead of driving your car. Gas costs money.

12.Buy store brand food. Most name brand products taste similar, such as milk and bread.

13.Unplug technology and turn off all lights when leaving the house or going to sleep in order to save on your energy bill.

14.Use cash as much as possible in order to feel the full weight of your purchases.

15.The most effective way to save money is by reducing purchases!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Weekend of Technological Silence

This weekend (starting Friday, July 9th through Sunday, July 11th) I am going to be taking a weekend of silence. A weekend of silence is three wonderful days of no cell phone, computer, e-mail, or anything else that has to do with communication technology (especially Facebook, Twitter, and texting).

Silence has been used by many people to get back into the real world, focus on life, and simply relax. This weekend I am also going to be camping in Door County, WI. I believe this experience will help connect me to nature, give space to think, and also help me bond with family!

On this retreat I am going to be keeping a journal (separate from my personal journal). The journal may be slightly poetic - possibly cheesy - but I hope it encourages other people to try weekend of silence. I am going to be publishing my writings and feedback about the experience on my blog site, www.samanthanicholeblog.blogspot.com.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

5 Simple Ways to Take Care of Yourself

Leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about getting your daily take of vegetables, drinking water, and working out in moderation. The little things in life matter. With that being said, I have come up with a list of 5 simple ways to take care of yourself. Enjoy, and please comment.


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1.Wear a seatbelt. According to autoweb.com “the NHTSA estimates that 9.500 lives are saved each year by wearing a seatbelt.” Enough said.


2.Turn off the TV. Get off the couch! Spend time with family, do something outside, or simply relax without the company of electronic entertainment.


3.Think positive. Check out this article I found on MayoClinic.com (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/positive-thinking/sr00009). According to the article,
“Positive thinking helps with stress management and can even improve your health.” I know it may not always be easy, but try to think on the bright side.


4.Talk less on your cell phone. Studies have found that cell phone usage correlates with brain cancer and tumors, and this information is abundant - it can be found in several different reliable sources such as Science Daily, Medial News Today, and Cancer.org.


5.Avoid alcohol in excess. Alcohol is a depressant, and can alter one’s judgments. However, alcohol in moderation can sometimes be beneficial. When dealing with red wine, a study found that people who drink in moderation have a boost in brainpower, and “moderate drinkers had 23% reduced risk of mental decline compared with nondrinkers.” That’s a drink for thought. This article was found at the Web MD website: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/wine-how-much-is-good-for-you.

Until next time,
Samantha Nichole

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Yoga Practice: Issue 2, Yoga as Therapy

The spring semester of my sophomore year of college I was in a course that helped me learn now to interact with small groups. One of the group presentations was extremely fun, and my group’s topic was wellness. We each decided to touch base on how we personally achieve wellness. I picked yoga, and my group members were surprised – they thought I was going to pick dancing, which happened to be my second choice.

During my research I discovered that yoga has more physical benefits than I was aware of. I am unable to find all my class research, so I found a website that listed the same benefits as I found originally. According to www.yogabasics.com, practicing yoga as therapy can help conditions such as anxiety, arthritis, asthma, back pain, colds and the flu; depression, insomnia, headaches, and many more conditions. Personally, yoga has helped relieve me of headaches and back pain, but also anxiety.

As a dancer, student, and a person who works too many hours, anxiety is something I struggle with. During the school year I will sometimes have more than one dance performance per week (not including practices), and finding the time and patience to handle all the stress that comes with it is tiresome. I have found that the more often (and closer to my performances) I practice yoga, the more relaxed and focused I am during my performances.

Therefore, yoga is my favorite therapy. Since anxiety is my biggest obstacle, I use yoga to counteract it. When struggling with anxiety, I typically stick to the sun salutation (surya namaskar in Sanskrit) series. According to www.yogasite.com/sunsalute.htm, the sun salutation consists of 12 different flowing poses. The 12 different poses listed on YogaSite.com are pictured below, but I took pictures of myself doing the poses, instead of the stick pictures on YogaSite.com. In my research I didn’t necessarily find the sun salutation recommended for anxiety, but I use the sun salutation as a way to counteract my anxiety.

Here is the sun salutation series.

Pose #1 (feet should be placed flat on the ground, toes spread apart; mine weren’t because the wood was too hot)

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Pose #2

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Pose #3

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Pose #4

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Pose #5

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Pose #6

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Pose #7 – Whoops! My tag was showing

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*After this pose, lunge forward and come to standing.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

☼ Mind & Body ☼ is now on Facebook!

Hello devoted readers! I am happy to give you some news - ☼ Mind & Body ☼ is now on Facebook ☺ It is listed under "Mind and Body by Samantha Nichole."

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“Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.” (www.thinkexist.com)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Make the Most of Summer

Sometimes I feel as though summer goes by too quickly (ahem, especially in the Midwest). In this blog post I have come up with various ways to make the most of summer, and I have posted three common dilemmas: working too much, having time but not money, and having no time or money.

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Photo by Christine Hawley

Dilemma 1: I work too much

• Make a list of all the things you would like to accomplish.
• After making the list, make up a schedule. For example, “Mondays: Work until 6pm, go to the beach until sunset; Tuesdays: Work until 6pm, go for a run until sunset.”
• Make crock-pot meals. Almost anything can be cooked in the crock pot. For recipes try www. busycooks.about.com
• If you can afford it, then cut some hours, or take vacation.

Dilemma 2: I have the time, but not the money

• Try picking up odd jobs! This is especially common with college students. A website to try is www.kellyservices.com
• Considering most summer leagues such as volleyball, softball, or baseball cost too much money, make a league with a group of friends. Find a time and day to get together, meet up, and play the game. This will be great for your budget AND your social life.
• Avoid bars and nightclubs. Although going out is a lot of fun, especially in the summer, avoid going out because it simply costs too much money.
• Make plans for a potluck barbecue with friends and family. Have everyone bring a dish to pass; invite people over for summer fun at a minimal cost.
• If you are an athlete, take your workouts outside. That is a cheap and beneficial way to stay in shape. Check out my earlier blog post named “Exercising Outdoors.”
• If you have a gym membership, make the most out of it and take some classes! Quitting your workout mid-class is difficult. In addition, you can make some great friends who share similar interests, thus improving your social life.
• Start blogging, that’s what I did!

Dilemma 3: I have no time, and no money

• Something has to go. Maybe it’s the extracurricular activities, and if that’s the case (provided you feel overwhelmed), then cut something out.
• If you really need the money and you are working a lot, then unfortunately survival comes first. However, if you do find yourself with some free time, then take advantage of it. Check out Dilemma 1 for some options.
• Check your diet – make sure that you are eating healthy foods that will give you energy, so you can enjoy any free time you find yourself having.

I hope this was useful. Happy sunbathing my friends!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Exercising Outdoors

Exercising outdoors is one of my favorite things to do. Fresh air is rewarding and rejuvenating, and there are other fitness benefits to getting a good workout in the sunshine. 1– Wind, uneven terrain, and the sun add factors that will help tone your muscles. When the sun is warming you, and the wind is giving you resistance, your body is working harder. 2– Water bottles, park benches, and other items can be used as resistance.

Here is a simple workout that can be applied outdoors – without the need for gym equipment.

Inverted Push-Ups

STEP 1: Use a park bench (in my case I used a bridge) and keep your arms a little more than shoulder width apart

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STEP 2: Do a regular push-up! This exercise is virtually the same as a normal push-up

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Leg Dips

STEP 1: Use a park bench, short wall, fence, or any other object that’s a natural fit for your leg. Place the top of your food on top of that object, and place your hands on your waist

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STEP 2: Bend your knee, and dip. Keep the body upright – you shouldn’t feel any strain in your knees. If you do, you are probably dipping too low

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Water Bottle Tricep Extension

STEP 1: Your body should be leaning forward slightly. One hand is on the hip, and the other hand is holding the water bottle at the hip

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STEP 2: Extend the arm backward. Don’t overextend the elbow (some people, like me, are able to do that)

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Water Bottle Upper Arm Exercise

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STEP 1: Stand with feet shoulder width apart. One hand is on the hip, and the other hand is holding the water bottle
STEP 2: Lift the arm, and your hand should point down – it should look the same as if you are holding a bucket. Look toward your arm to make sure your arm is straight, and in line with your shoulders (no higher)


TIPS:

1 – Carry water when exercising outside. Your water bottle can be used in your workout sequence, but also remember that drinking water is extremely important - drinking water has many benefits, such as reducing muscle cramping.

2 – When running outside, try to stay away from traffic. Fumes from cars and trucks can enter the lungs.

3 – Check the weather so you don’t have to shed layers during your workout.

Good luck!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Yoga Practice: Issue 1

Stress

Stress can take over any person’s life, whether it’s from work, family issues, money, or somewhere else. Practicing yoga can reduce symptoms of stress - stress can be channeled and transformed into positive energy. In this blog I am going to show you some meditation techniques that worked for me, and I truly hope they work for you!

These exercises can be done anywhere, but if you are at work try to practice in private (on break in your car, or in your office with the door closed). Although sunlight is wonderful, shutting the blinds may help relax you.

Breathing and Relaxing

1. Start off by realizing that you are becoming stressed or anxious (always remember that awareness is the first step to solving a problem).

2. Close your eyes. Take in deep breaths, slowly through the nose, and count to 5 (give-or-take). Then exhale out through the mouth for another 5 counts.

3. Pay attention to the muscles in the face and neck. Are you tense? Are you clenching your teeth? If so, relax those muscles (p.s. – through personal experience I have found that I am more likely to get a migraine if my face muscles are tense).

4. Now work your way down your body – are your shoulders stiff? Relax them. Are you clenching your fists? Open your hands, and face your palms up toward the ceiling. Pay attention to your body’s internal needs as well. Use the rest room if you have to, in fact, you should do this as soon as you realize your need to go.

Sequence of Relaxation Poses

1. Legs Across Chair – In your office, break room, park bench, or wherever. Lie on your back, lift your legs, bend your knees, and rest your calves on a chair. Remember to release any tense muscles.

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2. Legs Against Wall – Slowly come to a seated position, and push the chair away. Lie on your back, lift and straighten your legs, and place the legs against the wall vertically. Relax.

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3. Child’s Pose – Bend your knees and release your legs to your chest (back to knees to chest), and roll over to one side. Slowly move over to child’s pose – legs tucked in, head resting down, arms can either be extended or tucked to the sides.

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4. Knees to Chest – To transition from child’s pose, slowly roll sideways, go to your back, and tuck your legs in. Bring your knees to your chest.

I truly hope these techniques help you. They helped me!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Make Working Out Fun

In general, people prefer to be in shape, but hate working out. Through experience, I have found that working out is more enjoyable when I don't realize I am working out.

With that being said, I have compiled a list of fun ways to work out! Calorie statistics are found from: http://www.eddieoneverything.com/sports/how-many-calories-does-activity-x-burn.php

1. Volleyball

Bump, set, spike!

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Picture: http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/VjXrdUWn8V6/Olympics+Day+3+Beach+Volleyball/0A2c0wzOgxA/Larissa+Franca

Estimated calorie burn… (Calories depend on weight; 130lbs to 190lbs)

Beach: 472-690
Competitive, or indoor: 236-345
Noncompetitive (6-9 members), or in the water: 177-259

2. Soccer

All the sweating will pay off in the end.

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♥ Beckham

Picture:
http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/02_01/becksMS0902_468x370.jpg

Estimated calorie burn…
Casual: 413-604
Competitive: 590-863

3. Mowing the lawn

I am talking about the push-mower. Hello green toes...

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Picture:
http://www.briggsandstratton.com/images/site/safety_lawn-mowers.jpg

Estimated calorie burn…
Push mower: 325-474

4. Frisbee

You can play Frisbee anywhere! On the beach, in the yard, or in the park.

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Picture:
http://www.tinypic.com

Estimated calorie burn…
General Frisbee game: 177-259
Ultimate Frisbee: 207-302


5. Dancing

Do it in the club, take some lessons, or while you clean the house.

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♥ Dirty Dancing ♥

Picture:
http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/film/dancing460.jpg

Estimated calorie burn…
Aerobic, ballet, modern, or twist: 354-518
Fast ballroom: 325-474
Slow ballroom: 177-259
General dancing: 266-388

"What lies before us and what lies behind us is nothing compared to what lies within us." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Fitness: The Benefits of Exercise

Most people believe that the key to losing weight is diet and exercise in moderation, but why should all people exercise?

To begin, exercise is not only important for the sake of appearance – it is also good for the brain. Web MD, a credible online resource for health, said that “exercise can not only reshape your body and make you physically fit, it may also cause positive changes to your brain.” The site also posted a video about a study performed to help prove this theory. Female monkeys were placed on treadmills 5 hours per week for 20 weeks, and they were tested throughout this period. The video stated that “there is a noticeable increase of blood flow to the monkey’s brain during the activity, and that blood flow carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain” (http://www.webmd.com/video/exercise-and-your-brain).

The American Heart Association also encourages people to work out. According to their official website, “physical exercise has many benefits and should be a regular part of almost anyone’s life” (http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=11081). The website also suggests the following exercises: brisk walking, swimming, biking, jogging, rowing, cross-country skiing, hiking or stair climbing. Team or court sports such as basketball, soccer, football, tennis, squash and volleyball are also aerobic activities. These exercises are most-beneficial to cardiovascular health. Some other sports, such as golf and bowling, don’t require enough effort to make them beneficial to one’s cardiovascular health.

There are many, many other benefits to exercise, and they are not limited to improving one’s appearance. For more information, I highly recommend the resources listed below.

AmericanHeart.org
WebMD.com
Fitness.com (a women’s magazine)
MayoClinic.com

Friday, May 7, 2010

Like, Stop Saying "Like"

America is facing a large problem, and I am not referring to the economy or war. The word ‘like’ is misused every day. This word is contagious, and spreads quickly through the media; especially reality TV and talk shows. Those who use the word ‘like’ incorrectly, and too often, are seen as being hard to understand, or even in some cases unintelligent. This word is misused daily, and has managed to spread its way into the vocabulary of many, if not most, Americans.

‘Like’ is thought to have originated from Southern California in the 1970’s, and it was originally referred to as “valley speak.” The phrase is most often heard from young people, but it’s also heard in adults. Although ‘like’ is often times used incorrectly and too often, it is believed by some people that the word is harmless. Because the English language changes often, ‘like’ could just be another change to the English language. Also, some see it as an ‘all-purpose word, and again, it’s perfectly harmless.
Nevertheless, ‘like’ is a word that is supposed to be used to compare something. For example, if a news anchor were to say, “The intense black-Friday shoppers ran to Wal Mart’s doors like a pack of hungry wolves.” It can also be used do describe if you are fond of something, for example, “I really like your tie.” Unfortunately, people are not using ‘like’ in these proper contexts.

‘Like’ in today’s context is used in a way similar to ‘um.’ It is a filler word, and it has no purpose. What people don’t realize is that ‘like’ is not necessary at all, and often times intellectual pauses are good things. Intellectual pauses allow for the speaker to gather their thoughts, and they also give time to the audience to soak in the content. If President Barrack Obama said, “Our troops are like, going to Afghanistan and like, will do a bunch of like, good things to protect our country,” people would have a hard time understanding the president, and because of his incorrect, poor communication skills some could believe him to be unqualified for presidency.

Using this filler-word also makes people sound uncertain as they talk. When a person is ‘winging’ a speech it is sometimes very easy to tell: they may stutter, use many ‘ums’, and also use many ‘like’s. Therefore, if a person is talking about an intellectual subject, the audience is less likely to listen to them because they sound as though they are hesitant about their own ideas. So, how did a habit this harmful to communication make its way into American vocabulary?

“Probably nothing has spread the L-word so quickly as American television has. Turn on your set nowadays and see how far into the talk show and celebrity interview you can go without hearing that hiccup vocable” (Grambs, 2007). Television is the source for most information in today’s society – since it is such a large part of society bad habits are spread like wild fire. It is interesting to hear your favorite celebrity talk about their lives, so once they start talking one automatically tunes in. It is also intriguing to see how other people live their lives (reality television), and since the general American public is the culprit for this word, television helps the phrase spread.

Listening in general is how this word is spread so quickly. ‘Like’ is contagious because Americans cannot go a day without hearing it being misused. “Listening is a complex process, part mental and part behavioral” (Brydon, Scott 2008). Since people hear the ‘like’ word improperly so often, it is hard not to use it improperly. People listen to content they are interested in, and since this ‘like’ word is coming from entertainment it is easy to soak in the material.
What can people do to refrain from using the word? First, realize the word’s existence. The first step to solving a problem is realizing there is a problem. Second, know exactly how the word is supposed to be used; lastly, read scholarly literature – literature is edited; therefore there should not be many grammatical errors. So, now it is time to make a conscious effort to eliminate the improper use of ‘like.’ There are several examples of this, and many of these examples are found on the internet.

An English-teacher-in-training and writer named Nicole Dixon wrote an article for the publication Time Out New York. She, like many other people, made a conscious effort to stop using the word after realizing her problem. “At first, my like-free sentences sounded to blunt, with a new, ugly rhythm that tripped me up. Ugh. After a week, I was still slipping up about thirty times daily, but I’d identified my problem” (Dixon, 2009, para. 2).

The incorrect use of ‘like’ is mostly due to a bad habit, spread rapidly through American television sets. Often times, those who use the word incorrectly and too often have a hard time making statements, because their audience is confused by their jumble of filler words. Because ‘like’s purpose is used in the wrong context, it is meaningless and therefore has no purpose. Something that Americans can do is realize that they are incorrectly using the word, and from there make a conscious effort to fix the problem.

References

Grambs, D. (2007). The Like Virus. New York: Pearson Education, Inc.

Brydon, S.R., & Scott, M.D. (2008). Between One and Many. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Dixon, N. (2009). No Saying Like. Time Out New York. Retrieved November 2, 2009 from
http.://newyork.timeout,com/articles/features/25498/no-saying-like

Aaronson, L. (2009). Valley Girl Talk. Psychology Today. Retrieved November 4, 2009 from http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200510/valley-girl-talk

Welcome

First off, I just wanted to say “welcome” to my blog! This is my first blog, and post, so I am very excited. Although my profile information and description seem very poetic, I assure you that I am genuine person. My favorite food is macaroni and cheese, my favorite movies are 10 Things I Hate About You, Blood Diamond, and Across the Universe, and I hate asparagus.

I hope to explore many different topics in my blog, share some poetry, and simply share my ideas with others. In the process, however, I hope to have some fun ;)

XoXo,
Samantha Nichole