JUNE FAVES

As far as months go, June is one of my absolute favorites.  My birthday, Father's Day, and the first weeks of summer vacation wrapped into one month:  it's a surefire winner.

Although this past month didn't exactly pan out the way I was envisioning (nothing in life ever really does), it was still an experience worth remembering:  full of lessons, obstacles, happy days, and wonderful people and things.  Now I'm here to wrap up a handful of those wonderful things that I couldn't have lived without during the past thirty days--without further ado...

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1. My Camera:  Without a doubt, my Nikon D3300 has been one of the best gifts I've ever received.  I'm still very much a beginner photographer, but everyday I make just a bit more progress towards being fully confident with handling all of the various settings and controls.  I may even be able to switch over to "manual" mode before the end of the summer!

2. Chacos:  Never has a better casual outdoors shoe been manufactured.  Although these shoes aren't meant for everyone (or every occasion), they are wonderful for balmy summer days spent outside.

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 6/19/16 -- 6/25/16

If I had three words to describe this week, they would be as follows:  nerve-wracking, relieving, and exciting.  That's quite a bunch to fit into one week.

For anyone who remembers reading about my driver's ed fiascoes, I have an ending to complete the story:  I passed!  You have no idea how relieved I was when my instructor handed me that certificate. I've definitely learned a good deal about procrastination from that event.

Later in the week, I drove around a bit, worked on a few school assignments, and even went to work with my dad (meeting his coworkers--now that was exciting).  I topped everything off by seeing a movie with my family yesterday--nothing could have been a better ending to a pretty great week.

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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
Two of my favorite posts I've ever written were recently published on The Undeniable Life.  If you're a fan of Kate Middleton or classic books, you should give them a look!
These gorgeous photos of Santorini have convinced me to put Greece on my ultimate bucket list...

THE BENEFITS OF DOING NOTHING

The act of "doing nothing" has a pretty negative connotation in everyday conversations. It's pretty easy to see why: with all of the high-achievers and motivators being praised as model adults and the Netflix-obsessed "stereotypical" teens being subtly jabbed at by society, it's no wonder that many people cannot stand the idea of not doing anything for a set amount of time.

I'm definitely one of those type-A overachieving students who basically schedules out her days to the minute (as seen here), so I completely understand. However, I've started to realize something this summer: doing nothing is not always a bad idea.

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In my personal experience and through a bit of research, I've found a few practical reasons why setting aside downtime can actually be beneficial, so if you think it's high time for you to take a break, read on.

1. To Relieve Stress: This is perhaps one of the greatest aspects of downtime that I've experienced. For some reason unbeknownst to me, stepping back from a slew of tasks allows me to forget all of the stress that accompanied them. To sum it up: if you're feeling stressed, try to allow yourself some time to take a break from whatever is causing the stress.

2. To Give Your Brain a Break: According to researchers, doing nothing actually allows the brain to recuperate and, in a sense, recharge. Taking a break shifts the brain's focus off of a few time-consuming tasks to many miscellaneous ideas; this shift does wonders for your mind's overall health and energy levels.

TEN LESSONS FROM MY FATHER

I'm back, back, back again with a treasure trove of wisdom, courtesy of an important person in my life. You read about my mom's no-nonsense teachings, and in honor of Father's Day, you're about to experience my dad's side of the story.

My dad has this uncanny talent for making me laugh even when I'm terribly upset;  in fact, he has that effect on nearly everyone he meets.  He excels at making the people around him more at ease, and that's a skill that all of us could learn.  Read on to discover more of my dad's practical and comical advice.

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Lesson One:  It's okay (even when it doesn't seem like it).
Whenever I am extremely upset or frustrated about something, my dad is the first to say those three words:  "It is okay."  In the heat of the moment I tend to disagree with him, but looking back, he is always right about putting things into perspective.  Don't let yourself be completely pessimistic concerning the outcome of any situation, even if it looks bleak.

Lesson Two:  Take your time, and don't rush through things.
Honestly, if you have to do some sort of task, it is much better to give yourself the time to do it well rather than rush through it and face the consequences of a shabby job.

SIXTEEN QUOTES THAT CHANGED MY LIFE

It's not every day that a girl turns sixteen, but nonetheless June 15 was my sixteenth birthday.  To celebrate my ascension into this new phase of my teenage years (and the fact that I can finally sing "Sixteen Going On Seventeen" from The Sound of Music), I've rounded up a few of the words and sayings that have truly impacted me over the course of my short life.

They have challenged my ideas, fueled my passions, and even given me hope when I didn't think life had any to spare.  I have no doubt that the quotes can speak for themselves, so without further ado, let's begin.

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For dreaming and doing:
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

"Dream no small dreams, for they have no power to move the hearts of men." -- Goethe

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 6/5/16 -- 6/11/16

I know I'm a day late on my weekly update post, but I was rather preoccupied with the ACT yesterday morning (and afternoon);  standardized tests and blogging just do not mix, unfortunately.

In my sphere of the universe, the days have been bright and productive, the hydrangeas have been blooming marvelously, and the corgis have been even more energetic than usual.  In short, it's been a lovely week, and I hope the following week is even lovelier on account of my birthday looming on the horizon!

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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
This post sums of the beauty of the Italian coasts of Positano just incredibly!
A quirky pair of espadrilles is a perfect summer staple, right?

A HAPPY BALANCE

Contrary to popular belief, this post will not be discussing diets or various lifestyles--if it were, we'd all be in serious trouble.

Today I'm writing about a concept that I love, along with another concept that my fellow blogger, Gabby, loves.  The two are directly related and, if properly balanced, result in a happy and fulfilling life.  To cut to the point, today's topics are idealistic dreaming and happy living, ideals that most of us fantasize about and cherish. However, it's essential that we establish a healthy medium between the pair in order to really achieve happiness.

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Allow me to elaborate.  Last summer, I promptly decided that I would spend my days being completely productive:  studying up on various subjects, researching colleges, and improving my blog content.  I practically scheduled out every day to the minute, positive that all of that productivity would lead to tremendous things.  I had distinct goals in mind:  completely redesign the blog, gather together everything I could possibly need for college application time, be rather close to scoring perfectly on the ACT (among other things).

SUMMER INSPIRATION

Something about summertime gets all of the human population into a frenzy;  for example, in some European countries nearly everyone takes a month-long break from jobs and other responsibilities to embrace summer's sunshine.  I can't exactly blame them because I, along with several other bloggers, have been just as excited about the season's arrival.

We're all linking together summer-related posts in order to honor the sunny days ahead;  I opted for sharing a few of my favorite summer-related items (I'm already envisioning days spent by the pool).

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High-Neck Swimsuit -- Pineapple Float -- Playing Cards -- White Drop Earrings -- Lace-Up Espadrilles -- Swim Tunic

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 5/29/16 -- 6/4/16

I feel like a horrible blogger for saying this, but I feel obligated to say it nonetheless:  life has quickly overrun my plans for becoming a blogger extraordinaire, and it has done so in the form of two tiny words:  driver's education.

Everyday from the morning hours to the late afternoon, my head has been jammed with car facts, driving techniques, and boating details.  As soon as I've escaped that world of gory wreck documentaries and nightmarish simulators, I've headed home to hop behind the wheel and accumulate more driving experience.

Long story short, this blogger hasn't had any time to devote to blogging (or much of anything, if I'm being honest). To conclude, my blogging may continue to be a bit sporadic throughout the month of June, but I'm working on establishing a set schedule;  I won't abandon you without a word!

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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
If I didn't already own a wonderful planner, I would probably be deciding which of Lilly Pulitzer's new agendas to purchase...
Are you thinking about studying abroad in the near future?  Check out this list of unique study abroad destinations (I'm definitely considering Budapest and Zagreb)!