DIY Starbucks Iced Green Tea

Law school is rough (duh). But one of the reasons it can be rough is the constant sitting without physical activity, eating crap, and drinking liquids that are usually not water.

But I found something to make it less rough! Starbucks Iced Green Tea! Ohhh my goodness, I fell in love with this stuff. Going to Starbucks to buy it was getting rough on my wallet though, so I needed to find a way to maybe come up with a recipe myself. And I DID! It saves me money, time, it’s better for me than coffee, and tastes IDENTICAL to Starbucks (because, well….read on).

The key ingredient is Tazo’s green tea with lemongrass and spearmint. It’s the SAME exact tea Starbucks uses to make theirs and it’s available at most convenient stores (I found mine at WalMart). So the taste is the same and at a FRACTION of the cost!

TIP: I like to make a gallon of it and because I like my tea SUPER cold (but hate when it gets watered down), I also pour some into an ice tray to use for ice cubes. 🙂

So here we go! 13151405_10t209472608671637_7451833511930907625_n

DIY Starbucks Iced Green Tea:

  • Gallon Pitcher
  • 8 Tazo green tea bags (I don’t think they come in family size, but if they do, 1/2 it)
  • 12-16 cups of water
  • 1 cup sugar (or honey for a healthier option can be substituted. Also use 1 cup)
  1. Boil 4 cups water in a saucepan with the 8 Tazo tea bags for 2 minutes.
  2. Take off heat and let the bags continue to steep for 15 minutes. This will make a concentrate.
  3. While that’s steeping, put your sugar or honey into the gallon pitcher.
  4. Once the tea bags have steeped, pour the concentrate into the gallon pitcher and stir so the sweetener dissolves.
  5. Top off with 8-12 cups of water (depending how strong you like it).
  6. Refrigerate to let get cold or you can enjoy it immediately with ice.

VOILA! Just like Starbucks! 😉

 

How did you like it? Do you have an awesome iced tea recipe? I always love hearing from you! 🙂 

 

 

 

 

Dear 1L Self

Dear 1L Self,

Hey there. You’re lookin’ good! I bet you’re excited, anxious, nervous and bunch of other emotions for your first year of law school. Good! You’ll feel a lot of different emotions as you go through. To prepare you a little bit for your first year, I thought I’d tell you some things:

  1. “Be prepared to apply yourself and cry in the process.” This is probably the first thing I would like to tell you as you start out. You know you never truly applied yourself when it came to school–it all came pretty easily to you. But law school is ROUGH. To do well, you have to apply yourself more than you’ve ever had to before. Which leads to…
  2. “Chica, this is TOTALLY DIFFERENT than undergrad.” By far, the hardest thing you’ll have to overcome in your 1L year is realizing you can’t get away with treating law school like how you treated your undergrad. For your bachelor’s, do you ever remember studying, going to class, or talking to your professors (other than your advisor)? And you still got good grades and good rapport with everyone. Honestly, your first semester of law school will be HARD. Like, you-will-draft-your-withdrawal-letter HARD. The reason it will be so hard, probably, will be more than just the work–it will be you trying to make law school studies fit inside your undergrad-habits-box.  You have some BAD habits you developed when it came to school, most of them being the habit to not have to do anything and it all work out peachy-keen for you. That won’t work out so hot for your first semester. Which leads me to…
  3. “Fashion? Dressing up? Not necessary every day.” Yeah, I know. Kinda disappointing. Kinda relieving. Even though some dressing up or suiting up will be necessary, most of the time it’s perfectly acceptable to go to class in a baseball cap, yoga pants and a sweatshirt. Switch it up though. Don’t go EVERY DAY all gym attire, show that you can clean up nicely.
  4. “BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP.” Just practical stuff, but WOW will you save yourself some panicked, hopeless cries if you just put all of your class notes on Google Drive or a USB every day after classes.
  5. “Learn how you ACTUALLY retain information.” You never really had to learn how to apply study skills because, as stated before, you never really had to study before law school. So for your first semester, you’ll probably just do the bare minimum in studying and your grades will reflect it. But you can bring your grades up significantly or start out with them good if you’ll  try different methods of studying and actually apply them (final grades aren’t up yet, but your midterm grades were really good so judging from that…). Flash cards, outlining, practice exams, etc…do them all to figure out what works best for you. Then stick with that method!
  6. “It’s OK to feel like a failure your first year.” For real. THIS. Everyday during your first semester you’ll probably not understand basically ANYTHING and you’ll feel too embarrassed to ask for much help because it will look like everyone else is doing awesome. But if you keep on pressing on, at the beginning of your second semester, something will just CLICK and you’ll be, like, “Oh. THAT’S what this means. THAT’S what they want.” So it’s OK if it’s taking you awhile. There are so many 2 and 3L’s that didn’t feel like they hit their stride until their 2L year. Thank God your lightbulb will likely click on at the beginning of your second semester, but if your 1L year or first semester isn’t jiving well and you feel like you’re just not *getting* it, THAT’S OK TOO. Some people just get law school as soon as they start and for some it just takes longer for them to understand how legal research and writing and case briefings and legal lingo and courts decisions and the procedural histories and how everything can come together and work. If you’re not getting it and your grades reflect that in your first year, don’t give up. You’re not alone. Just keep on pressing on.
  7. “Learn how to manage stress by learning how to PUT THE WORK AWAY.” We know, when you get stressed, you eat and breakout in nasty cystic acne. Your first semester, you’ll probably be pretty much always eating and always having a breakout because there will always be something for you to read or study and you’ll just feet like you can’t do it all. Your second semester, please exercise way more and learn that when your brain can’t handle anymore information, that it’s OK to just put it away and mindlessly watch Netflix for a few hours. This will help in managing your stress levels–just knowing that all of the reading and writing and briefing and outlining could allllllll be put away and you’re allowed to forget about it all for awhile.
  8. “You’re really really REALLY capable.” At the end of your first year of law school, when you’re walking out of your last final exam, before you lay down to sleep for a week, you’ll just have this “whoa” realization. That realization is “Whoa. I saw a lot of people drop out of school this year. But I WASN’T one of them. I made it.” It’s a for-real moment of pride and satisfaction in yourself that will make you realize how amazing you are. Relish it.

 

It goes so fast. It may feel like a long time, bit it ends. And you’ll feel AWESOME. I’m proud of you.

Sincerely,

I’m Now A 2L Self

 

 

 

I am back!

So between law school, the commute, and being married, I’ve been MIA. #sorrynotsorry

BUT. I did it. One semester DOWN. 5 more to go!

One semester DOWN. 5 more to go!

It was harder in ways I didn’t expect and easier in others.

The hardest parts were definitely the living an hour plus away. That didn’t make for any kind of socializing or even a whole lot of time for study. That part SUCKS. Thank God though we will be moving much closer for my second year.

Between school and studying and (it feels like) a gazillion other things we committed ourselves to, I was super MIA. Not just blogging, but with most friends and family so the idea of making NEW friends and socializing with them made my head spin, soooo I basically didn’t. So socially that sucks going into second semester.

I learned a lot of good things about myself though. I found out I’m way more flighty than I thought I was, but I also learned to be more diligent. I learned to be disciplined and that “toeing the line” is a bad idea when it comes to classes and schoolwork. I learned that I’m smarter than I thought and that I’m WAY too hard on myself. I learned (not so much learned as reinforced) that my husband is THE BEST. I learned that I shouldn’t over-commit myself and I need to steward my studies.

I’ll be honest: there were times during my first semester that I seriously wanted to drop out. Between the stress of the commute, the stress of not sleeping because of studying, the stress of not studying without giving up sleep, and the feeling of being entirely alone in this sentiment caused me to have mini-breakdowns and want to quit.

However, I think the BIGGEST thing I learned was that I’m not a quitter, that I’m capable, that I’m not alone, that it’ll all be worth it. I learned that my being in law school was a choice I made and that, even though I’m not entirely sure what life looks like beyond school, I can complete a race without seeing the end goal.

I’ve gotten most of my final grades back and I didn’t do as terribly as I was convinced I was. I didn’t do as well as I had wanted to starting law school, but, hey. That’s OK.
I really feel like the first semester was just a “crash course” for me. I feel SO much more capable and “with it” than I did last semester. I know what’s required, I know what needs to happen, I know what’s expected and that helps a lot.

Anyway. That’s a lot.
Bottom line: first semester I found things out about myself. This semester, I’m looking forward to actually applying myself.

‘Til Next Time!

 

My First Official Week!

My first week is down!

Before I talk about my first actual week of classes, I’ll start by debriefing on last weeks boat cruise which was SO beautiful and a lot of fun! It was a blast to be able to hang out with my peers and my husband and just chill out with great food and drinks after a very long orientation.

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That being said, I’m shocked by how much I’ve learned in just a few days. At the same time, I feel like I must be doing something wrong with how easily it’s all coming to me. I don’t speak up in classes much (when I’m put in the spot or I put myself on the spot, my neck and chest gets really red and patchy and it makes me self conscious so there’s that), but I feel like a sponge in classes and I seem to retain almost everything. I was confused on how to brief cases at first, but I did a few this weekend and it isn’t hard at all.
I have a larger assignment due this week I’m a little nervous about, mostly about the citation bit of it, but I can seek help from the teachers assistant and another guy so I’ll definitely be taking advantage of that!

As for the fashion end, I’ve been thrifting this weekend and found pretty much everything I’ll need for this fall and winter minus a few things like boots and accessories. An updated wardrobe for $50? That’s how I shop, yo.

Before I got my new stuff, these are a few outfits I wore to school this week. I’ve seen girls in everything from denim shorts, flip flops, and loose tees to pencil skirts, heels, blouses and jackets. I’ve opted for something in between, some days a bit more casual, some days more business casual.

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The biggest adjustment so far has been the relationship-side of it with my husband. He’s been really busy suddenly with his photography business taking off WAY faster than we anticipated and I don’t have time to spend with him during the week so I see him a day or two on weekends between getting homework done.

I’ve really felt my love languages shifting in this new season to some of my lowest ones becoming my highest, which is a really big change for Geary and I since we’ve always had the same highest love languages of time and touch. I commute too, about an hour and a half each way as I hit rush hour in the morning and evening so that doesn’t help things. It’ll be harder for us this week as I leave around 7 most mornings and get back before 6 in the evening, but he works 3pm to 11pm all this week so we’re literally not going to see each other at all until this weekend, which we are going to be spending the weekend with an amazing couple we know (which we are crazy excited for since it seems like forever since we have seen them!)!

My husband has been amazing though. He’s so supportive and helpful, despite not getting his relationship-needs met. He’s seriously the most unselfish human being I’ve ever met and I’m really thankful that we got married before I entered law school. I don’t know if I could do it without him. Ok, I’ll stop gushing haha!
The upside is that we really appreciate the time we do get together and we make sure to keep it very intentional. We definitely aren’t losing are honeymoon-ness, hehe!

Sometime next week I want to re-do our spare bedroom (which has just been a humongous, terrifying room of random stuff piled on top of each other) and actually make it into a office/studio space for Geary and I.
We will see how that goes! IKEA here we come!

Law School Orientation: Everything You Need to Know

orientation

So orientation is just as hectic as I thought it would be.
Instead of posting about what I’ve been up to (I might do that this weekend), I’m going to make a list of what every law student should know and be prepared for for orientation…

1. Dress nicely. You don’t have to wear a suit, but don’t go in shorts and tennis shoes. You’re meeting your professors, peers, and deans. These people will not only be with you for the next 3-4 years, but also be invaluable networking assets. Make a good impression by dressing nicely throughout your orientation.

2. Do the readings they assign over the summer. In the “pre-classes” during orientation, your professors have prepared and spent hours getting ready, so it’s not only a sign of respect, but it’ll gilet you brownie points if you come in prepared and ready to discuss.

3. Socialize. I admit, this is a hard one for me. I don’t have an easy time just randomly approaching a gaggle of girls and integrating myself. It’s uncomfortable and awkward. But do it. If you can, do it on the first day.

4. Go ahead and just bring the stuff you would bring to class. Notebook (I’ve seen everything from legal notepad to huge binders with loose leaf paper inside), pencils, pens, etc…

5. Bring gum. Or mints. But make sure you have something. You’re going to have to many people you’re talking to, the last thing you want is to have bad breath.

6. Water. Bring it. A big tumbler or a few water bottles. You’ll need it/want it and water fountains are hard to find in your law building.

7. Have a printed copy of your schedule. A lot of the “pre-classes” have you divided up from the beginning and you’re going to want to know who your professors are so you know where to go for orientation.

8. Have about $50 extra cash on you. Random little expenses will be mentioned (like a locker rental or other textbook that wasn’t mentioned) that you’re going to want or need, so make sure you have cash or checks on you to just get it done.

That’s about it, I think! If you do these things, you’ll be great. 🙂

Today is the Day!

today

Orientation starts today!
I’m so excited. My mom is just as (if not more) excited than me. Love you, mom! 😉 11920524_10207447875374570_1339175173_n

I’ve been spending the last two days reading my advanced assignments for tomorrow (which is the beginning of classes…kinda. I’ll explain later in this post). It’s CRAZY how much reading there is! I mean, I knew there was a lot, but dang. There’s a lot.

Honestly, it’s all really fascinating. If you’re a law student who has advanced readings, I strongly advise you do them. Before I started reading, I felt not-so-quite up to the task before me (my husband and mom say it’s just because I’m too hard on myself, but they’re supposed to say things like that, right?). After reading, I feel way better about how my undergrad prepared me. Seton Hill is really great for preparing their students for graduate school, and I definitely see that now in what I’ve been reading what it takes for law students to succeed. Now I believe I’m going to do well. It’ll still be hard, but I’m not so intimidated now.
OH! And so far, the most interesting assignment I’ve done is watch the documentary Hot Coffee (for Torts class–which I have a good feeling might be one of my favorites). If you have a chance, watch it. It really opened my eyes as to what kind of field I’m getting myself into. 11880148_10207447844013786_753276812_n

As for fashion, clearly I wasn’t the only one wondering what to wear for orientation. A bunch of students were posting and asking what we’re expected to wear (especially for tonight which will be the first time we meet no only our peers, but also our Dean’s and faculty). The instruction is to wear something nice, but casual. No suits, but to “keep in mind we’re meeting” important people. So I’m wearing a maxi skirt and a tank top with a khaki jacket overtop.

So what does orientation look like?
Well.
It looks like hectic.

Tonight, as previously mentioned, I’ll be meeting my peers, deans, and faculty.
There’s also a family and friends reception too that my husband and mom are coming to. I’m not quite sure what that part is exactly, but I’m assuming it’s for family to come see where their student’s will be and meet some of their “peoples”.

Tomorrow is when the hectic-ness begins.
Tomorrow I start class at 9:30 (ugh 1 hour commutes) which goes until lunch (provided), and then more class until 4:30. Then a student organization fair (which I may or may not attend. I mean, how much time am I really going to have to dedicate to a club?).
All of the classes on Thursday and Friday are technically “pre-classes” to analyze our first assignments (that are due Monday, the ACTUAL first day of class).

Friday is much of the same as Thursday, except that in the evening, all of us 1L’s (1L is a first year law student) are going on a boat cruise thru Pittsburgh. YAY! I’m really excited for that!

So that’s my life right now! I’ll be blogging again later tonight to debrief on the first day! 🙂

So for you law students, I know you have a lot going on, but here’s a to-do list from me: 
1. Watch Hot Coffee.
2. Read your advanced assignments. 
3. (Not a to-do, but a nice tidbit) Jeans and a blouse/collared shirt is a good-to-go outfit for orientation.

My Attempt to Prepare

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Today I woke up with the motivation and excitement to get all my law stuff (parking permit, locker rental, books, supplies, etc…) done and ready to go for Wednesday (which is the first of three days of orientation).

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So Geary and I drive to Duquesne and I get my parking permit no problem (which is probably what I was most stressed about because they apparently sell out faster than ice cream in hell). Then I go to get my locker rental application/assignment. Le sigh. Apparently the lady who handles that is out of the office until Monday and she took all the applications with her.
So I then go to the bookstore to get all my textbooks and supplies. No go. I didn’t set up a book voucher from financial aid (my own fault I didn’t look that up ahead of time) so I couldn’t get them then. However, I get to have fun doing it all online now and then go pick them up tomorrow! Seriously. Textbook shopping is like a strategy game for me. I have so much fun.

BUT despite only getting 1 thing out 4 I wanted to, Geary and I had a lot of fun walking around and exploring my new home for the next 3 years. My campus is beautiful and has so many really awesome quotes about the Holy Spirit everywhere.                              IMG_3468

Oh oh oh! And, I know this is really silly, but I have a FOLDER with my NAME on it in the law building for professors to drop of things for me. Is it weird that that totally makes me geek out?

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Also, I’ve officially signed up for some yoga (I’ve decided this will be my stress-relieving activity every law student blog says to have), bingo nights (easiest way to get gift cards and friends), craft nights (because…why not?), and I’m thinking about going to a kayaking thing. We’ll see if I end up going to any of them…
I’ll end with this side note: EVERY woman I saw was dressed totally professional and all way older than me. I’m a baby. A yoga-pants-flip-flop-sequin-tank-top-wearing baby.
So now I’m way more concerned about law school fashion than I was before. I even emailed one of the law offices asking, “This may seem trivial, but is there a dress code? What do other law students wear? What is suggested attire for the boat cruise (they’re taking all 1Ls on a Gateway clipper boat cruise the last day of orientation-YAY) on Friday?”
And they responded with “business casual is suggested.” BUSINESS CASUAL?! Do they know how BROAD the business casual fashion spectrum is?!

The biggest thing I will blogging about in the upcoming school year is what law students should actually wear. There is nothing, no blog or website or Instagram, about what is OK law school attire.
I will fix this ginormous law school oversight.
Until then, I’m just going to go in skinny black slacks, blouses, and nice maxi dresses.

My Application Miracle Story

imageDISCLAIMER: I tend to goof off if I’m not challenged intellectually. Hence my total lack of, er, academic drive?

Since I was 15, I’ve always known I wanted to go to law school. At 16, I decided I wanted it to be Duquesne. For the past 7 years, it’s been my dream to go to Duquesne.

I graduated with a Bachelors degree in History last year from Hogwarts (not really. Seton Hill. But, dang, it’s close enough. We have quidditch, man). I really goofed off in my undergrad, how I graduated with decent grades is beyond me. I really believe that God has always been like “fine, goof off, I’ll give you your degree JUST to get you into law school”.
I took my LSAT (once) the fall before I graduated and got engaged to my wonderful Geary. I didn’t study, took one Prep LSAT just for kicks and ended up getting a 155 on my LSAT (which is pretty mediocre, but still I was proud of for not knowing what the crap I was doing).

I took a year off to plan my wedding with my then-fiancé-now-husband and didn’t really know if I was going to go to law school this year as I wanted to spend my first year of marriage just being married.

Turns out, as much as I adore my husband and as fun as marriage is, I’m the type of person that I HAVE to be moving towards some sort of goal to really feel fulfilled. So, I applied to the law school I had decided I’ve always wanted to go to: Duquesne.
I applied with an application that I barely completed (with a recommendation letter I wasn’t sure would be very good and another recommendation letter from the Provost of Deans from my undergrad university, so it was about 50-50), with a mediocre LSAT score (I didn’t have time to wait to take another LSAT if I wanted to start this fall) in June (the deadline is March), and didn’t apply anywhere else.

I know, I know. So far, my law career seems to be off to a pretty shaky start.

However, by some literal miracle, 3 weeks later I received my acceptance letter.
Honesty alert: I cried more tears of joy and relief than I cried at my own wedding. Hehe.

So not only did I get in somehow, but a week later, I receive my financial aid award. My first full year of law school is totally covered (scholarships, grants, some government loans).

Half of a law students struggles (getting in and paying), I don’t even have to deal with now. #blessed

My goal now is to have THE highest grades so I can get a full-ride scholarship for my second and third year of law school and not have to deal with loans at all.

For God’s favorite, it isn’t that hard. #channelElle

Hello world!

 

 

So I’ve decided to start blogging about being a law student!

My goal is to blog about my law school experiences, everything from studying habits (what works and what doesn’t) to what to wear (goodbye to wearing pj’s to class. RIP undergrad).
I’m anxious and excited and I’m pretty sure I’ll be the whitest white girl to enter Duquesne (yes, Elle Woods is my spirit animal).

I officially start classes August 24th, although there’s a mandatory 3 day orientation the 19th-21st which is filled with pre-classes to understand and complete our advance assignments (that are due the first day of class…).

I still need to go back to school shopping. Fresh notebooks, pens, highlighters…sigh. I love shopping, but ESPECIALLY back to school shopping (can I get an amen?).

I have a lot of preconceived notions about what to expect with law school. I’ll probably write down that long list tomorrow though. Stay tuned! 😉

((“What, like it’s hard?”
Name that quote! ))