TEN CLASSIC HOLIDAY FILMS

Hello, hello!  It's wonderful to see you again!  Yours truly is on winter break and finally has a bit of time to relax--and write blog posts, of course.  All of the newfound time I have on my hands has reminded me of one of my favorite holiday traditions:  watching movies with my family, surrounded by glowing Christmas decorations and too many holiday sweets.

In recent years, there have been some solid holiday film releases and remakes, but none of them quite defeat the classic films released during the past century.  If you share this nostalgic opinion, or if you're simply in the mood for a timeless holiday movie, check out the films below (some of my absolute favorites):
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1. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Would any holiday film list be complete without this classic of classics?  If you'd like to watch a Christmas movie with lovely acting and a heartwarming message, start here!

2. The Bishop's Wife (1947)
One of my middle school teachers played The Bishop's Wife in class a few days before winter break, and I remember thinking then that it was one of the most romantic films I had ever seen.  You can't go wrong with this classic (or Cary Grant, for that matter)!

FEAR

Note:  Before I get into this post, I wanted to explain my lack of activity on this corner of the web.  Like so many high school seniors before me, I am immersed in stacks of college applications and senior year homework.  Of course, these will always be my first priority, but when I have extra time on my hands this semester, I'll try to hop on over!

Ever-constant, ever-changing:  fear is an integral component of the human experience.  Fear can be frustrating because of its dynamic nature;  it doesn't always appear in the form of a demonic poltergeist. For many of us, it comes as an inevitable phone call or the first day of a new job;  it's an important presentation deadline or the "submit" button on a college application website.

I've known fear that was light but distracting, and I've known fear so paralyzing that it hindered my ability to speak.  Neither type is particularly endearing--but no matter its form, fear can always be overcome.

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You see, fear has a very negative connotation in most of our minds.  I'm sure that glancing at the previous paragraphs is enough to give you a clear picture of the feelings that fear evokes in me.  Part of the dilemma, however, is this distinct way that we characterize fear.  Ultimately, we overcome fear by embracing it, and it's rather difficult to embrace something you hold in an unfavorable light.

A BIT OF INSPIRATION

Hello, hello!  The month of August has been accompanied by a flurry of back-to-school activities and adjustment periods--I'm sure that some of you understand exactly what I'm talking about!  Even though I only just finished up my first full week of the school year, my mind and body seem to believe that I've been attending class for at least two months:  a hectic two months, at that.  All that being said, nothing helps me overcome stress like a healthy dose of verbal inspiration;  hopefully, the following quotes will alleviate your worries--just as they did mine!

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"The world won't care about your self-esteem.  The world will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself." -- Bill Gates

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." -- Anne Frank

"Do more than belong:  participate.  Do more than care:  help.  Do more than believe:  practice.  Do more than be fair:  be kind.  Do more than forgive:  forget.  Do more than dream:  work." -- William Arthur Ward

FOUR AUDREY HEPBURN FACTS

Audrey Hepburn remains one of the most admired women of the twentieth century, and if you've glanced at a picture of her, you'll begin to understand why.  Although most regard her as a supreme fashion icon and actress, her life consisted of so much more than gracing cinema screens and twirling in black dresses.  Because she is an icon to so many, I wanted to shed light on some lesser-known facts about Audrey and the actions that truly make her a person worth remembering.

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1. First and foremost, she devoted much of her later life to a humanitarian cause.
Audrey Hepburn was named a UNICEF goodwill ambassador in 1988, just five years before her death.  No partnership could have been more fitting;  indeed, Audrey was one of the first children to be aided by UNICEF's predecessor, UNRRA, during the 1945 postwar liberation of Holland.  As such, she felt deeply connected to UNICEF's mission and traveled abroad to aid and raise awareness about impoverished children in communities across the world.

A GUIDE TO TACKLING INTERNSHIPS

It seems like every college-aged blogger I follow is participating in a summer internship--but who can blame them?  Summer is the prime time for gleaning work experience.  If you're planning on following in their footsteps in the future, this is a humble guide crafted from my experiences as an intern that is meant to curtail any fears you have about starting an internship on the right note.

A little background behind my own internships:  the first one I completed was part of a curriculum at my high school that involved doing modified clinical rotations at different healthcare practices for several hours each week.  I'm currently job shadowing at a local veterinary referral hospital that performs specialized surgeries and emergency care.  Now, without further ado:

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1. Start With Good Communication:  Nothing is quite as perilous as being unsure of the details behind your internship:  basic snippets ranging from the workplace uniform (provided there is one) to the entrance you should use.  If you are truly serious about pursuing an internship, take the initiative to find the answers to these questions at your workplace--the sooner the better.  Doing this will make future endeavors much easier.

2. Know Your Purpose:  Stemming from the above advice, being unsure of what your daily tasks consist of is a nerve wracking proposition.  Similarly, standing around awkwardly while desperately trying to find someone to direct you is not the best way to establish yourself at a workplace.  It's quite simple to prevent this situation from occurring:  just ask a few key questions about your role at the workplace.

LIFE UPDATES

If you've read any number of my posts, you may have guessed that I enjoy keeping myself busy (as illustrated by my borderline-excessive use of the word "hectic").  When the second semester of my junior year arrived, a new state of hectic-ness accompanied it--the likes of which I had never experienced before.  As a result, blogging slipped down to the bottom of my hefty priority list and stayed submerged there for six months.  Like I mentioned in this post, I sincerely hope that a six-month break will never again be necessary.

Now, on to the fun part:  answering some unspoken questions about my hiatus and what the future holds for the blog.

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Tori, where have you been?
Great question!  Quite simply, I've been studying.  Especially during the month of April, my time was monopolized by studying for AP exams.  On the off chance that I wasn't occupied by studying or some other task, I didn't feel up to doing anything more than lounging around.

What are you doing now?
This summer is certainly going to be a busy one (surprise, surprise), but I feel much more optimistic now that I have a definite break from school.  One of the most exciting developments has been my opportunity to do a modified internship at a local veterinary hospital.  I spend several hours there each Tuesday observing procedures and surgeries.  I'm also taking online precalculus as a review for an upcoming AP Calculus class.  To top it all off, I'm studying for a national health science competition that I'll be attending in a week.

JUNIOR LESSONS

Hello there!  I'm back after taking a much longer break than I'd intended.  I dearly missed writing for this little corner of the Internet and sincerely hope that a six-month absence will never again be necessary. More on that subject will come at a later time, but for now, let's focus on two of my favorite topics: school and life lessons.

The American high school experience teaches many things besides the obvious STEM and humanities concepts.  After my completion of each year, I've reflected upon the broader life lessons that were highlighted during my academic experiences.  It took me quite a while to ponder my "Junior Lessons" because my junior year was the most difficult--and most rewarding--year yet.

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1. Happiness is a choice, not a random event.
Ever heard the mantra, "You must choose your own happiness"?  It sounds idealistic, but it's true.  Each morning, you have to be bold enough to decide whether your day is going to be a happy one;  you cannot sit idly by and wait for happiness to drop in your lap.

2. Time management is the key to productivity.
Whether you are a student or a graduate, this much is true:  learn to manage your time effectively, and you've overcome an obstacle standing in the way of future productivity and success.

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 1/15/17 -- 1/21/17

Hello, lovely readers!  I apologize for my absence over the past week;  even though Monday was a holiday, the following week days still managed to be a little hectic.  My days have been full of reading (Into the Wild has been pretty good so far), studying (for the ACT, AP exams, a healthcare competition...), and watching various medical procedures (at least I'll know what to expect if I need to have a colonoscopy).  However, I always anticipate turning back to blogging, as it is my favorite creative pastime. Nothing quite compares to a good dose of HTML coding and link gathering!  Speaking of links...

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Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
As someone who has always wanted a white kitchen, I loved this video about alternatives to that beautiful (although somewhat impractical) strain of marble that has gained so much popularity...
Five females from history that should have their own miniseries--now that's an idea to pitch to BBS!

THE FIVE BEST EATS AT DISNEY WORLD

What better way to start off a new blogging year than to write a post about two of my favorite nouns: food and Disney World!  It's easy to think that Disney is just like any other amusement park franchise in the food category;  however, you can find so much more than just run-of-the-mill hamburgers and popcorn in all of the parks.

On our recent Disney trip, my family and I made a point to try some of the most interesting snacks available in the four parks--needless to say, we weren't disappointed (although we may have felt a little bloated). Without further ado, here's a roundup of the best and most unique snacks we tried during our stay, sans popcorn and hamburgers.

1. Macarons

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Where:  Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie, Epcot's France Pavilion

Beautiful packaging aside, these classic macarons were a tasty treat and (an added bonus) easy to carry throughout the park.  Plus, if you're a blogger, it's pretty difficult to resist colorful cookies prepped for a photo opportunity.

BEING A PREP FOR A WEEK: 1/1/17 -- 1/7/17

Well, the first complete week of January has already produced a little chaos--but I suppose it just wouldn't be the same without a hint of life's surprises.  I'm relieved to be back in school after a long break.  There isn't anything quite like getting back into a routine and getting things accomplished (thrilling, I know).  If this week is any indication of the rest of the year, moreover, I think I'm pretty excited about 2017.


Now, on to some of my favorite links from the past week:
One of the best articles I've read this week is all about being beautifully human in the new year;  number one is my absolute favorite!
Anxiously awaiting the arrival of this lace-up top and this v-neck sweater (each is under twenty dollars!)...