I'm Thankful For...

November 21, 2017

Happy Tuesday! Thanksgiving, AKA my favorite day of the year, is just two days away and I've been thinking lately about everything I have to be thankful for. Obviously, I'm thankful for my family, friends, and the opportunity to go to my dream school; but, today I want to focus on some of the smaller things that bring me joy! I'm thankful for...

5 Resources Every College Student Needs to Write A Great Paper

November 14, 2017

Welcome back! Midterm szn is finally over, but lately, I have been completely bogged down by the number of (I think excessively) long papers I've had to write. Don't get me wrong, writing is one of my favorite things to do, but not when it's 7-9 pages on Job (I actually got super invested by page 3, but that's beside the point). When I was going through edits and revisions for my final paper last Thursday, I realized that I had devised quite a method for paper writing. Not to brag, but writing is my strong suit and I've consistently done well on my papers in college so far (knock on wood). For that reason, I'm revealing my 5 tools and tips for writing a great paper.


Outline on Google Docs

When I discovered the outline tool on Google Docs I was genuinely upset that I hadn't been using it for years. If you don't know, the outline tool allows you to use headings and subheadings to outline your paper. The great part is that once you create your headings they show up in a sidebar in which all you have to do is click on the heading to jump to that part in a paper. I use this initially to map out what I'm going to write about for each paragraph and if/when I'm writing to add notes to different sections to keep track of my ideas. It's especially helpful when you're writing your introduction/conclusion to make sure you recap all of your main ideas!

Thesaurus.com

Thesaurus.com is truly my holy grail. No matter what I'm writing, it's always open in the next tab. Not only does it help to make sure you're not using overused words like "happy" and "said," but it also helps to make sure you're not using the same words too often. For example, I'm a big fan of the words "however" and "whereas," but they shouldn't appear more than 2 or 3 times in a paper. I also sometimes come up with words that don't sound right in the context of what I'm trying to say so I use Thesaurus.com to find substitutes.

Grammarly

Grammarly is hands down my favorite/most useful tool. I have the free version, but it's installed in both Safari and Chrome and I use it at least once a day! Grammarly checks spelling and grammar, and the paid version check more advanced writing mistakes. No matter how many times I proofread a paper or even a blog post, I upload it to Grammarly and it finds at least 3 misplaced commas. This tool has saved my grade so many times!

WordCounter

Word Counter is a tool that I use when I have my final draft. I copy and paste the entire paper into WordCounter and the tool gives me an approximate speaking time (in case it's a speech) and reading level. I like the reading tool because I want to be sure that I'm not writing in sentences that are too simple so that I seem like I'm in middle school. Most of the time I get a 12th grade or college level which is the goal. I also like this tool because it can tell me what groups of 1, 2, or 3 words I use often. For example, I recently wrote a paper on perfectionism and it told me that the word perfectionism appeared 8 times which makes sense. What I don't want is to discover that I've used "basically"  or "foremost" 3-4 times.

Readable.io

Readable is another tool that I use in my final draft. It quickly scores your document and gives it a readability score based on sentence structure, length, word length, word complexity, etc. It's a combination of scores for a number of tests but I usually pay attention to the main score. I also like it because it gives counts of sentences that are lower than 20 syllables and higher than 30 (for varied sentence complexity),  passive voice counts, and cliche counts. The cliche counter is one of the most valuable parts because I often don't even notice when I've used cliche's in my writing.

What tools do you use for writing papers? Stay tuned, xx Lauren.

3 Tips for Saving Money in College

October 18, 2017

Aside from time management, which I've already shared some tips on, one of the hardest parts of college is trying to balance a budget. Being a full-time student, I don't have a job and couldn't imagine working on top of my school work and extracurriculars (shout out to all the students that do though)! Most of the money in my bank account comes from my graduation money and the babysitting that I did over the summer. Trying to find ways to make a few hundred dollars last a whole has proven to be a bit difficult, so I wanted to share some of the tips I've learned so far this year for my girls (and guys) in the same boat as me!

24 Hours in Boston

September 26, 2017

If you follow me on Twitter, then you'll know that I was in Boston for literally 24 hrs. My flight landed at 12pm on Saturday and I was headed back to the airport at 12pm on Sunday. Even though my time in the city was short, I had the best weekend I could imagine!

Loving Lavender

August 22, 2017
Miss Lauren Alston wearing a lavender romper from The Impeccable Pig with a black and white cardigan

Hi everyone! I cannot believe that this is one of my last outfit posts of the summer and my last post at home before I move to D.C. The big move is the day after tomorrow and I have spent every spare moment in the last week double checking my packing lists and repacking everything so it will fit in the car on the ride up! I've had such a relaxing summer and I'm so blessed to have been able to spend time with my friends and family before I leave.

Sun(flowers) and Stars

July 14, 2017
Miss Lauren Alston wearing Stargaze Jewelry Solace Necklace at Sunflower Field

Welcome back everyone! I want to start off by saying that the inspiration for today's post comes from my girl Shannon over at Prep Avenue! In one of her recent posts, she shared some pictures from a sunflower field in Raleigh and she was kind enough to share the address when I asked!

Sun Days feat. Warby Parker

July 2, 2017

Welcome back everyone! I hope you're enjoying the first Sunday of July because I know I am, the temperature in Chapel Hill is 90 degrees! Whenever it's this warm, I hate spending the day inside. I love going to get (vegan) ice cream, sitting outside with a book, or even just riding around town with the windows down (that was such a great rhyme). When it's bright outside, sunglasses are a necessity and my go-to brand is Warby Parker!

The Balanced Blonde // Soul On Fire + Jordan Younger Interview

June 29, 2017
Miss Lauren Alston listening to The Balanced Blonde's Soul on Fire Podcast

Today I'm sharing my favorite podcast at the moment: Soul on Fire. I've been listening nonstop for the past week and I'm in love with Jordan Younger (AKA The Balanced Blonde) and what she stands for. Her podcast episodes are always interesting, inspiring, and unique (she featured an animal communicator)! If you're interested in health, blogging, yoga, etc. definitely tune into her podcast which is free on iTunes. 

Sweet Treats in Capitol Hill | Seattle

June 26, 2017
Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream Pints and Cups

Molly's Moon's Homemade Ice Cream is so aesthetically pleasing! They make the waffle cones right in front of you and the "used tasting spoon" can is super cute. I got the vegan scout mint ice cream with a chocolate hard shell! They buy tons of girl scout thin mints every year to use for this flavor.

Ferry to Bainbridge Island | Seattle, WA

June 23, 2017

One of the things we knew we wanted to do in Washington was take the ferry! Since we just wanted a day trip, we settled on Bainbridge Island which was a short ferry ride away. My mom took my dad to a distillery for a little Father's day date, so my siblings and I got to explore the island by ourselves for a couple of hours.

Pike Place Market | Seattle, WA

June 20, 2017
Public Market Center sign in Seattle

Pike Place Market is a must-see in Seattle. There are so many shops with fresh food and unique trinkets. It's the perfect place to spend a few hours, or even the whole day!

The Perfect Spring Break Outfit

April 6, 2017
Miss Lauren Alston bicycling in Madewell dress

If you saw Monday's post, you know exactly where I went and what I did for my spring break. What you don't know is that I accidentally under packed (by a lot) and ended up having to go shopping for another outfit. Luckily, I found the perfect dress in Madewell. 

Spring Break 2017 | Miami, FL

April 3, 2017
wynwood walls miami, florida

Good morning! I'm back in reality now, unfortunately, so today I'm sharing a recap of last week's spring break. We ate the best food, stayed at the best place, and had the best time! Thanks for reading! Come back later this week for a fun outfit post from my trip!

Kylie Cosmetics Kylighters

March 13, 2017
Kylie Cosmetics Kylighter in Salted Caramel
Happy Monday everyone! If you've been reading for a while, you know that I'm a pretty big fan of Kylie Cosmetics. I have and love her Posie K Lip Kit, as well as a few of her other products. Recently, I've been obsessed with highlighters so when she announced that "kylighters" were her new product I was too excited! 

Book Talk: An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Col. Chris Hadfield

February 16, 2017
A review of Col Chris Hadfield's An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

 I've been reading An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth for about a month now, and I'm barely halfway through it. It's actually not too long, but I've been struggling to find the time to read it. I'm still going to share it with you because from what I have read it is amazing! I'm not and never have been a fan of non-fiction, especially not when it has to do with space travel. This book is different because while it's full of true information regarding astronauts and space travel, it's also a memoir of the life of Col. Chris Hadfield.
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