Abby is Abroad!

I’ve got broads in… Paris? Yes, that’s right, I’m currently studying abroad in Paris, France for the next 5 months! I have only been here for a mere week and a half, but I have already done so much and fallen completely in love with this city!

I just wanted to post to let y’all know that I have decided to make a blog specifically for this experience, AbbyBroAbroad.wordpress.com! I will be posting regularly about EVERYTHING that I do over the next 5 months! I’ve already shared about my first week, pictures from our day exploring Montmartre, and about watching my team WIN THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP! Needless to say, this experience has been great and it will only get better from here!

So, I would love it if you hopped on over and checked everything out and followed if you wanted to keep up with my travels! Also, if you have ever been to France or any surrounding countries PLEASE give me any tips/must see places, because my friends and I want to travel a lot over the next 5 months! Here is a little sneak peek at what has been going on, click on any of the pictures to make them bigger!

Avec amour,
Abby
abbybroabroad.wordpress.com

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Football & The Big Picture

As many of you may know, I pretty much live and breathe football. Growing up in Texas, high school football was a big deal. I started going to varsity games when I was in middle school. My senior year, I went to every game (home and away) and cheered my heart out in the student section, leading me to be named “Most Spirited” of my senior class. I was so sad to leave my high school football powerhouse. Then I experienced college football.

When I was looking at colleges, football wasn’t a prerequisite, but more of icing on the cake. Don’t get me wrong, I knew the record of every school’s team that I was applying to, but that was never my deciding factor. But, by the grace of the Football Gods, I ended up at Clemson University (for many reasons beside their football team). And let me tell you, Clemson football is the most exciting thing I have ever experienced. Quick note: this isn’t going to be a purely football post, just hold on a little longer.

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As (hopefully) all of you know, our fighting tiger football team went 14-1 this season, with our only loss being Monday night in the National Championship game against ~cringe~ Alabama. The game was a close one and I was pretty much bouncing off the walls the entire time. I (as well as hundreds of thousands of other people) was devastated when we lost. It was my first time experiencing a Clemson loss!

As I sat there in shock and heard people literally screaming at the top of their lungs in anger at Bama, I realized how easy it is to focus on one specific moment and lose sight of the big picture. Yes, unfortunately, we lost the National Championship (to a great team I might add) but we won 14 other games! Overall, the season was a sensational one with so many records broken. It is so easy to let one bad aspect overshadow all of the great, amazing memories that occurred before.

Don’t let one bad test or class ruin a successful semester. Don’t let one fight get in the way of a life-long friendship. Don’t let one loss overshadow an amazing season. Never lose sight of the big picture. Your life is so much bigger than just right now!

So congrats Alabama on a great game and a great win. I won’t forget the 14 other kick ass wins. Watch out Tampa, we are coming for you!

How I Got A 4.0 My 1st Semester of College

Second semester is right around the corner, and that means more late nights with friends, more dining hall dates, and more… classes. Although they are the worst part of college, classes are also the most important (my mother would be so proud to hear me say that). So here are a few things I did last semester  that got me that coveted 4.0! Note: everyone studies and learns differently, these are just a few of the things that worked for me!

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Make a friend in every class. Whether this means coordinating with your BFF to take a class together or talking with the new girl sitting next to you, it is really helpful to know someone in all your classes! Make sure to get a few people’s phone numbers and emails. This gives you someone to study with, ask questions, or get the lecture notes from if you ever miss class. Plus class is just a little more enjoyable if you have someone to laugh at the teacher with.

Clear your schedule the day before a test. I know you think you won’t procrastinate & you will be studying weeks before a big exam… but let’s not kid ourselves. College is crazy busy and even if you do prepare ahead of time, most of your studying and reviewing will be done the night before. Make sure not to plan any big events the night before, no matter how “prepared” you feel.

Stay organized.  Write down all of your homework, due dates, and exams in your planner and commit to keeping it updated all semester. Sit down and write down all the major dates the day you get your syllabus. Also add in any sports events, sorority functions, or club meetings so you can see which days are busy and when you will have the most time to study. That way nothing sneaks up on you and you can plan your busy weeks. Here are a few more planner organization tips!

Study with a friend. Memorizing facts and equations is one thing, but actually applying them is another. After you have studied for a while, find a friend in your class and take turns quizzing each other, asking questions, and explaining concepts. Even when you aren’t the one being tested, you’ll learn as you help your friend!

Go to class AND pay attention. Going to class is only half the battle. Once you are there, put your phone away, close any distracting sites down on your computer, and actually pay attention! It’s pointless to show up if you’re only going to watch BuzzFeed videos all class. Here are some tips I found on how to get the most out of a lecture.

Use your resources. Take advantage of any free tutoring, workshops, practice tests, and professor office hours. In high school, I always thought I was “too good” for tutoring, but I have come to realize that is NOT true. Whether you have one specific question or don’t understand an entire concept, don’t be afraid to ask questions and use any tools your school provides.

Bonus Links:
15 tips to succeeding academically
Helpful resource list for 25+ subjects

What is your best studying advice? Good luck this semester- make it the best one yet!

Camp Diaries No. 1

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Today, I write to you from camp. I have been working at Laity Lodge Youth Camp for two and a half weeks as a videographer. Yes, somehow, my dreams have become a reality & I actually get paid to film and create videos in the most gorgeous & love-filled place in the entire world (please refer to above picture). Glory to God.

Living at a summer camp is like nothing else in the world. I feel like I am learning something new here every day, and it seems almost selfish for me not to share these revelations with others. So, as people pass on their wisdom to me, I will (try) and pass it to all of you, with the occasional addition of a ridiculous camp story that could only happen at LLYC.

Today, I got a letter in the mail from a friend (note: handwritten letters mean the world to me. Take some time to actually write out a letter and mail to to someone. It really shows you care). She is young, but years wiser than I am. She wrote:

While in Guatemala, God showed me the beauty of being a kid. When your time at Laity Lodge fells more like work than play, find ways to be a child. I’ve always struggled by pairing “child” with “immature”, but that’s not what God says.

These words spoke so true to me, and I think they can be applicable in so many situations. Sometimes, children can be the best examples of living a joyous life. When work or school overwhelms you, take some time to be a kid again. Observe the world you are in. Scream with laughter. Let God fill you with a joy that can only come from Him.

Today, I am thankful for intentional friends like Alayna, and for the beauty of snail mail.

Staying in Shape with Orange Theory

It seems like every month I am trying out some new way to try and stay in shape. Well I think my search has come to an end! Have y’all tried Orange Theory Fitness? I’m obsessed! (You may have seen me tweet about it). I am not a very athletic person, but I do try my best to stay in shape. I’ve been going for two months now, and let me tell you, it is the perfect workout!

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I love everything about it. The classes are kinda large, but the instructor does a great job at paying attention to everyone. Each class is only one hour, but the workout is great! A usual work out consists of 30 minutes of cardio on a treadmill, and 30 minutes divided between the weight room and rowing machines.

Their theory and method is innovative, and it works! Orange Theory gives you a heart rate monitor, and your heart rate is displayed on a screen inside the gym. This always pressures me to work harder when my heart rate falls! The goal is to keep your heart rate in the Green or Orange zone during your workout. Green is where you burn the most calories, and orange means you’ll continue to burn them after the workout is ended! (They do a better job of explaining all of this on their website). They send you a report after each workout. Here is mine from my last workout!

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The best part about Orange Theory is anyone can do it! I am always one of the least athletic people in my class, and I never feel bad about it! On the treadmill portion, you can choose to power walk (me), jog, or run. Each weight room exercise is explained in detail and can be tailored to your skill set. I didn’t have to have any prior workout knowledge! Trust me, if I can do it, you can do it. The first session is free, so I would go to a local studio and sign up!

What is your favorite way to stay in shape? Have you ever been to Orange Theory? How did you like it?

P.S. I wasn’t paid to say any of this. I just really like their workout!

Kate Spade Sale Wish List

I have a weakness for Kate Spade. They have a sale going on right now and I want to buy everything. There are so many cute things for a steal, plus free shipping! I love all the colors and fun designs! But I have to control myself, so instead of filling my online shopping bag, I made a wish list of a few of the things I want from their sale.

Kate Spade Sale Wish List

Love Notes Bow Bangle || World Map Scarf || Yours Sincerely Pen & Note Card Set
In The Shade Pendant || Lily Avenue Carrigan || Harlequin Trouser Set
Cedar Street Nika

What is your favorite product from the sale?

P.S. I have been working on something really big! Be sure to check in next week for exciting news!

Do What You Love

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In Kindergarten, we had a career day where everyone showed up to school dressed as what they wanted to be when they grew up. There were countless doctors and firefighters, even a gymnast. I dressed as a teacher. Yes, as a six year old, my dream was to teach. As school went on, and elementary school transitioned to middle school, I quickly realized teaching was not my calling. Now, teaching would probably be number one on my list of “Jobs I Will Never Ever Have”.

This summer, I am blessed with the opportunity to work in the field of my current dream job! I get to combine my love for adventure, Jesus, and videography to work at Laity Lodge Youth Camp! I have been hired to be on the media team as a videographer. I will be filming campers as they have the best two weeks of their lives, and creating a video for them every session. This is seriously a dream come true; I get to work in the place I love doing what I love! God has blessed me with this opportunity to serve Him with my talents and skills.

With that being said, I think it is important for people to do what they love. I know that I probably won’t be able to spend the rest of my life creating videos for a living, but I am so thankful for this time time I do get to spend enjoying the work I do. And, who knows, maybe this is the start of a life-long career (fingers crossed)!

What is your dream job? What did you want to be when you were younger?

Lilly Agendas are Here!

This season’s Lilly Pulitzer agendas were released yesterday! I don’t know about you, but I love writing down everything I need to do and crossing things off as I accomplish them. Lilly Pulitzer makes my favorite planners ever- they come in great sizes (I always get a large), there is plenty of space to write everything you need, they keep you super organized, and they are super cute!

I just ordered mine in the Wild Confetti print. I can’t wait to get it in and start planning my year!

2015 Lilly Pulitzer Agendas

Which agenda is your favorite this season?

Father’s Day Gift Guide 2015

If you are anything like me, you wait until the last minute for everything… including buying gifts. Well, Father’s day is this Sunday! So if you are still searching for the perfect gift, here are my favorite gadgets for the world’s best dad.

Father's Day

Daniel Wellington Watch || Personalized BBQ Grill Tools
Travel Poker Set || Engraved Money Clip & Leather Wallet
Chromecast || Crate & Barrel Pilsner Beer Glass || Ray-Ban Sunglasses

What are you getting your dad for fathers day?

101 in 1001 Update!

101 things in 1001 days

What better way for me to fill you in on all the craziness of the past four months than by a 101 in 1001 update!

For those of you who don’t know, 101 in 1001 is an idea I borrowed from the lovely Mackenzie Horan at Design Darling. Pop over to my 101 in 1001 page to see what it is all about, see my entire list, and get started on your own!

So here is a quick recap of the past few months of my life, as well as an update of my 101 in 1001 list. 36 completed, 65 to go!

9. Go to 5 concerts (5/5)
I already had 3 concerts in the bag, but recently I got to see Ed Sheeran (!!!!!) and Kenny Chesney! As expected, Ed’s concert was almost a religious experience. He was so good! Plus, a guy got up on stage in the middle of “All of the Stars” and proposed to his girlfriend. Yeah, I cried.

Ed Sheeran concert

Ed sheeran concert 2kenny chesney concert

22. Float the river
For my best friend’s birthday, all of my friends and I piled into cars and took a short road trip to San Marcos to float the river. We had so much fun! But no trip can go without a hitch. As we were leaving one of my friends locked her keys in her car and we had to wait 2 hours for someone to help us get them out. We made the best of it and had a parking lot party!

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25. Visit 5 new cities
I visited two new cities recently: Managua, Nicaragua & Estes Park, Colorado! These were both big trips for me, so both will get their own posts soon. Until then, here is a picture from both to give you a sneak peak!

Nicaragua

estes park, colorado41. Go on another mission trip
As I mentioned before, I traveled to Nicaragua to serve the sweet people of that country in March. It was too amazing of an experience to summarize in just one paragraph. More info coming at you soon!

47. Pull an all nighter
After getting up at 4:30am for an 8:00am graduation, I stayed up all night with all my friends at Dave & Busters for project graduation! If your school holds project grad, I would highly recommend going to it. I had tons of fun hanging out with my high school for them last time. Plus, I won a gift card!

78. Graduate high school
I’m officially a college girl now. Enough said!graduation

I did a few more things, and have plenty left still to do, so don’t forget to visit my 101 in 1001 page to see my complete list! What is the last thing that you crossed off your list? And if you don’t have one yet, what is one thing that would be on your 101 in 1001? Let me know!