8 Tips for Online Classes

There is no doubt that this new semester looks different. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many students are working through online classes for the very first time. Being thrown into a new format is never easy. So, I thought I would share with you all of my tips and tricks to help you through your education, even during these challenging times.

First off, I want to point out that everyone is different when it comes to learning, and that is ok! Sometimes school comes more naturally to some people than it does to others, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Please do not think that your grades, extra-curricular activities, etc. define your worth. Going off of that, some majors are more difficult than others. For me, Public Relations is something that comes easily to me because it focuses more on the skills that I enjoy, rather than having to comprehend and apply complicated concepts. If you put me in a science class that involves a lot of test-taking, I would really have to push myself (science is not my subject!) Define your success through what you learn in the class as a whole, not what grade you receive.

You can be successful in anything through hard work, time management, and being kind to yourself. So, let’s get started

Read the syllabus!

Usually, on the first day of in-person classes, you will have what I call “syllabus day”. This is when professors go over the syllabus and expectations for their class. Since online classes are on your own time, professors may not make it a requirement for you to go through the syllabus. I know it is easy to want to skip this step, but I am telling you that it is essential for being prepared for the semester. 

Here’s why:

  • Because it’s an online course this is the only way to get to know more about your professor. Having a better understanding of your professor will help you feel more comfortable when you need help.
  • The syllabus gives you all the ways you can contact your professor, as well as when you can contact them.
  • The syllabus contains grading policies, so you know what assignments are the biggest part of your grade.
  • There is almost always a list of due dates for the entire semester. This can help you plan ahead.

Make a weekly assignments list.

If you know me, you know that making lists is my favorite thing to do (hence why this blog post is a list!) Every Sunday evening, I like to take a look at my classes and see what is assigned for the week. This allows me to mentally prepare and get organized, it also helps me get an idea of how much free time I will have.

Just by spending 20 minutes or so going through each class and writing down every single thing that is assigned can help prevent missing smaller assignments such as discussion posts. Your list can also serve as a checklist throughout the week to help guide you. 

Make a monthly assignments list.

Similar to the weekly assignments, a monthly assignment can help you prepare for big projects, papers, and exams. We have all been there when you check your assignments for the week, and that huge project you’ve put off for weeks is finally due, along with an exam, a paper, and several quizzes. Making a monthly assignment list can help you prepare for the month as a whole, especially if you are involved in things outside of your classes. 

As someone who is heavily involved, having an overview of my month helps me balance meetings, work, and other extra-curricular activities. If I happen to see that a week is going to be really busy one week, it gives me enough time to get excused from any obligations.

Set aside time for each class.

Online classes are convenient because you can work on them on your own time, but when you are balancing more than one, it can be easy to put them off until the end of the week. To avoid scrambling to get all of your work done before Sunday at midnight, treat each online class like it has a set class time.

Creating a class schedule helps you spread out the work throughout the week. Of course, your schedule doesn’t have to be down to the minute, but having an idea of when you want to work on things will help you stay on track. I personally have my “school time” between 2 pm and 5 pm Mondays through Thursdays. During this time I focus on my work and try to avoid my phone. Each day I work on different courses, so I can focus on one class at a time. Implementing a class schedule for yourself may be hard at first, but just like all schedules, it will get easier with time!

Email professors when you need guidance.

From my experience, online professors are almost always willing to help in any way they can, as long as you reach out to them. Throughout my entire high school career, I HATED emailing teachers and asking questions. I found it awkward, and I hated letting teachers know that I was struggling, so I never reached out for help.

With college, I am the complete opposite. Why? Because I am spending thousands of dollars on my future career, and I want to make the most out of it. As awkward as it is to email a professor, I would rather make sure that I am completely understanding the material. Especially with online classes, professors have no idea that students are struggling. It is up to you to email them if you need help!

With COVID, my professors have been even more willing to help students who are struggling in the online environment. Be honest with your professors if you are not doing your best work due to this crazy situation we are all in.

Take notes as if it were an in-person class.

You may think that since your teacher isn’t watching you, that you can just skip over the lectures and just do the assignments. If your online class uses powerpoints or videos, be sure to take detailed notes as if you were in a normal in-person class. 

I typically like going through and outlining the most important topics in each PowerPoint or video. I find that writing my notes out on paper is best for me, but I have friends who prefer typing them out. Be sure to do whatever works best for you!

Remind yourself why you are in school.

Whenever I run out of motivation, I have to remind myself why I am doing something. We all have a reason why we are studying in school, or else we wouldn’t be spending thousands of dollars and putting in countless hours of work. Reminding yourself of why you are doing something helps you visualize your goals, and makes you more willing to work towards them.

For me, I have big dreams of doing Public Relations for Disney. My dream job within the company is not an easy one to come by, which is why my dream has been a big part of my motivation throughout college. So, when you are stuck finding the motivation to do your schoolwork, think of your dream. Is putting off your schoolwork going to help you achieve that dream?

Don’t psych yourself out!

Online classes are just like normal classes. You are still doing lectures, you are still reading the chapters, you are still putting in the work. The only difference is that you are not physically in a classroom with other people. Remind yourself of that and don’t psych yourself out!

So many of my friends have told me, “I just can’t do online classes,” and have used that as an excuse to not do their best work. When you continue to tell yourself that you can’t do something, it makes it harder for you to succeed. Start telling yourself that you can, because you can do online classes! It may not be the easiest way for you to learn, but sometimes you need to put in a little more effort to overcome obstacles. You can do this.

I hope you all found these tips helpful, I am wishing you all a great semester! For more study tips, check out my post, 6 Tips to Conquer Finals During Quarantine.

~Katelyn Sinclair

10 Ways To Get Prepared For Back To School — Rosethorns and Honeydew

September is rapidly approaching… which could only mean one thing, it’s back to school season! Whether you’re dreading the classes and work or excited to tick off another year, this post is here to get you prepared for school. 1,634 more words

10 Ways To Get Prepared For Back To School — Rosethorns and Honeydew

Plan With Me: New Goals

One of my favorite things to do is to create goals for myself. It helps me reflect on what I really want to be spending my time on and gets me excited for what the future holds. The tough thing about goals, though, is holding yourself accountable to achieve them. When creating my goals for this new semester, I thought it best to share them all with you in a way to stay motivated.

Below are a few of my goals, as well as the techniques I plan to use to help accomplish them. I encourage you to read them in hopes that you become inspired to create and plan new goals for yourself!

Become a Morning Person

My first goal is to become a morning person. This summer, I stopped participating in morning routines and wouldn’t roll out of bed until 10 or 11 am. With school starting back up again, I think it’s best to start a schedule that will allow me more time to work during the day.

Ways I plan to accomplish this goal:

  • Stop using screens by 10 pm on weeknights
  • Going to bed by 11 pm
  • Waking up at 7:30 am every morning

Start Each Morning with a Devotional

I find that being able to start my day in the Word has done wonders for my anxiety. When I positively begin my day, I feel like I can carry that feeling with me for the rest of the day. Lately, I have been getting in the habit of doing my daily devotionals right before I go to bed when I am tired and not as focused. By sharing my mornings with God, I hope that I will be able to grow closer to Him.

Ways I plan to accomplish this goal:

  • Set aside time to read my Bible before starting the day
  • Adjust my phone settings to where I cannot get on social media before a specific time, so I don’t put off doing my devotional. 

Read Every Day

Ever since quarantine started, I have noticed that my weekly screen time has increased quite a bit. I used to spend around 5 hours a day on my phone, but now, I am averaging around double that amount, and I am embarrassed (especially since most of that time is scrolling through Instagram). To lessen the amount of time online, I thought it would be fun to pick up reading again. Not only will I consume less media, but I plan on reading books that will teach and inspire me.

Ways I plan to accomplish this goal:

  • Set aside an hour before bed to read
  • Set app limits so I don’t get distracted and go on my phone
  • Research and purchase books that interest me

Stretch Every Day

My entire life, I have always struggled with flexibility. Even though I danced for fifteen years, I was never even able to touch my toes, let alone do the splits. By stretching every day, I hope to feel better both physically and mentally, and maybe be able to do the splits in the future!

Ways I plan to accomplish this goal:

  • Add stretching to my morning routine
  • Set aside 20 minutes a day to stretch
  • Make sure that I am holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds while breathing to improve.

What do you hope to accomplish for the rest of this year? Let me know in the comments below. 

10 More Things to Stream During Quarantine

A few months ago, I compiled a list of some of the things I had been watching during the quarantine (click here to read). Well, since you all seemed to like that post, and we still have a lot of extra time on our hands, I thought I would share a few more of my quarantine streams. So, let’s get cozy and start talking about a few of my favorite shows and movies!

Movies

Hamilton (2020) on Disney+

I am sure most of you have seen Hamilton by now, or at least have been told by someone that you should watch it, but if you STILL haven’t seen it, go watch it now! Musical theater is very special to me, and it is remarkable that one of the biggest shows in Broadway history is easily accessible for the world to see. I hope that with the popularity of this film, we will get access to more Broadway shows in the future. So if you haven’t seen Hamilton, what are you waiting for? Do not “throw away your shot” at seeing this incredible piece of theater.

Star Wars Movies on Disney+

I was “a girl who had never seen Star Wars” for the longest time. I grew up not understanding the hype, without actually giving it a try. When they released Rise of Skywalker on Disney+ back in May, I made it a goal of mine to at least watch the first few movies. After watching The Empire Strikes Back, I was a changed woman. Let me tell you, Star Wars is worth the hype, y’all! Of course, I did prefer the original trilogy over the prequels and the new films, however, I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed all of them. If you do plan to watch all nine movies, make sure to watch them in release date order (episodes 4,5,6,1,2,3,7,8,9). 

Rocketman (2019) on Hulu & Amazon Prime

Elton John has always been one of my favorite artists. In fact, a lot of his songs are actually on my list of all-time favorite songs. When I saw that it was being added to Hulu and Amazon Prime, I was ecstatic. I had gone to see it twice in the movie theater when it was released, and I was excited to watch it again. The thing I love most about this biopic is how personal it is. Instead of just playing Elton’s songs, they matched each song to a specific point in his life, making the lyrics of his famous songs tell his story. In a way, it was like watching a piece of musical theater. I also loved seeing the cast perform the songs, versus lip-synching to the original. Plus, Taron Egerton’s performance is outstanding. If you are a fan of musicals or even just love Elton John, give this movie a try!

I Still Believe (2020) on Hulu

As a Chrisitan, I have to admit that I have never enjoyed Christian movies. Maybe it’s the former actress in me saying this, but, Christian films are almost always low-budget movies with predictable scripts and horrible acting. When I first saw commercials for I Still Believe, I was surprised that Riverdale actor KJ Apa was playing the lead. Personally, I was interested in seeing him in something that wasn’t, well… Riverdale. When I saw it on Hulu, I thought “might as well give it a chance.” 

Five cries later, and I have to say that this is probably the best romantic movie I have seen in a long time. In my opinion, it was a more realistic version of The Fault in Our Stars (2014), it had a decent script with believable actors, and it had a great message! Even if you do not share the same beliefs as me, I would still recommend this film. I think they did a great job focusing on the story-telling aspect while implementing Christianity. If you do give this movie a try, make sure you have some tissues nearby! (This is coming from someone who rarely cries in movies.)

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) on Disney+

I’m going to be honest here, I have never really liked Sleeping Beauty. It’s probably my least favorite Disney Princess movie, and when Maleficent (2014) came out, I had no desire to watch it. Through my old internship, I actually got a chance to go to a screening of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, before its release and ended up really enjoying it! Going in, I had no expectations of it being good, I was honestly shocked when they announced they were releasing a second Maleficent movie because I didn’t think the first one had great reviews. When they put this movie on Disney+, I rewatched it with my family and they loved it as much as I did! 

After watching this film, it encouraged me to watch the first movie. Unfortunately, the first film is not available to stream anywhere, but you can rent it through Amazon. In all honesty, this movie makes me hopeful for the future of Disney’s live-action films. I hope they continue adding to the stories of their original characters, instead of just creating copies of their films. If you feel like you’ve run out of things to watch, definitely check out this movie!

Shows

You (Netflix)

I am not one for thrillers, but wow, did this show get me hooked during the first episode. You is about a man who becomes obsessed with a woman, to the point that he is willing to do anything to make sure nothing gets in the way of his relationship with her. This show is psychological, sinister, and just plain creepy. Yet, it’s addictive to watch. I will say this show may be hard to watch for some people, and it is definitely not good for children. My boyfriend and I both got overly cautious when we were watching this at my apartment, but we still thought it was a great show to binge!

Interior Design Masters (Netflix)

Does anyone else just crave a good competition show every once in a while? If you do, check out Interior Design Masters on Netflix! It’s only one season long, and it is a friendly competition between Interior Designers. I loved seeing all of the creative things people could do with a space. Warning: you may want to redecorate your house after watching it!

The Politician (Netflix)

As a Public Relations student, I find this show so fascinating. The Politician follows a young high schooler with big dreams of becoming the President of the United States. We see everything he is willing to do in order to improve his image and his campaign. Yes, this show is overly dramatized and not a reliable representation of politics, but it is so interesting to see the way people act and what they do in order to move up in the world. This show also made me think a lot about the political topics I am passionate about, which is so important, especially during an election year. Ben Platt is great in this show, and he even sings a few songs which are a nice touch! Definitely check it out if you need a new show to binge.

Fosse/Verdon (Hulu)

If you can’t tell already, I love musicals. Growing up, I did a lot of theater and dance, so when I found out they were making a show about Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon, I just HAD to watch it. Bob Fosse is the famous choreographer behind musicals like Pippin, Chicago, Sweet Charity, and Cabaret. There is no doubt about it that his choreography and direction had a huge impact on musical theater. This show is so incredibly well done, and was nominated for several awards. If anything, watch this show for Michelle Williams. Her performance as Gwen Verdon is phenomenal, and she deserves all the praise she has received for this role.

Hollywood (Netflix)

This show has a very similar feel to Fosse/Verdon, which is probably the reason I enjoyed it so much. Hollywood is about aspiring actors, writers, producers, and agents trying to make it in the Golden- Age of Hollywood. What I loved most about this show was the fact that they included a lot of real Hollywood names and history. They also touched on a lot of issues that are still current today. Representation in Hollywood has been an issue since the beginning and sadly is something we haven’t fully overcome. In a way, this show shines a light on actors like Anna May Wong, Rock Hudson, and Hattie McDaniel, who faced a lot of challenges in the movie industry. Overall, this was a great mini-series to watch and has an excellent cast!

I hope you guys enjoyed these suggestions, I really enjoy creating these for you! And if you need more suggestions, be sure to check out my previous blog post 10 Things to Stream During Quarantine. What are you currently watching? Let me know in the comments!

~Katelyn Sinclair

5 Small Ways to Grow Closer to God

Within the past year, I made it a priority to grow in my faith. I wanted a close relationship with God that would last a lifetime. During the past few months, I made some small changes in my life that I believe have helped my relationship with God grow. So, here are a few ways you can grow closer to God in your everyday life!

1. Switch Out Your Music With Worship Music

I am not saying you have to completely get your favorite playlists, but the next time you turn on music, try turning on a worship playlist. This is something I started doing back in January and, I’ve learned to love it! Instead of listening to the Hamilton soundtrack (for the millionth time) in my car, I turn on some worship music. For someone who is not a fan of driving, I’ve noticed that it makes my drives a little less stressful! I’ve also started listening to worship when I am studying or working, again, I feel as though I am a little more focused and relaxed.

2. Turn on the Verse of the Day Notification

This is one that is so simple, yet so important! Sometimes one verse can change your entire day, so why not get a little taste of what God is trying to speak to you? I have found so many incredible verses through the verse of the day on the Bible App, which has helped me feel closer to God.

3. Listen to Christian Podcasts

If you are like me and are trying to get into listening to podcasts, try listening to Christian podcasts! I know that my church, as well as many others, post their weekly services on apps such as Spotify and Apple Podcasts. This is a great way to catch up on weeks that you missed church, or relisten to your favorite messages!

A few of my favorite Christian podcasts:

4. Write Out Your Prayers

Feeling stressed about something? Take a second to write it down and then pray about it. No matter how big or how small your prayer is, God will listen. I suggest writing down prayers because it gives you a few moments to actively pray about it. Plus, writing it down helps you remember it.

I love to write my prayers in a small journal, that way, I can pray over the same things later that evening. This also helps me look back and see which prayers were answered, and which ones haven’t!

5. Follow Christian Bloggers/ Influencers on Social Media

We are what we consume. Think about who you are following. Are you following people who inspire you? Or are you following people who are making you feel poorly? If you are constantly consuming negative media, you are going to start feeling negative emotions. 

A few months ago, I noticed I was mostly following people who I compared myself to. I found myself wishing I looked the way they did, wanting what they had, and comparing my life to theirs. Back in April, I did a HUGE unfollowing of people who did not bring me joy in any way. I unfollowed a lot of celebrities, huge Instagram Influencers, Youtubers, you name it. I then started following more people who had similar values as me and people who genuinely inspire me. Now, I love going on Instagram. I learn new things every day, I feel more engaged with the community I created, and I am inspired to share more about myself on that platform.

A few of my favorite Christian Ladies on Instagram:

***Of course, I cannot list ALL of my favorite bloggers but feel free to check out who I follow!

I hope you all enjoyed this list! These are small things you can incorporate in your everyday life, and grow even closer to God. Are you already doing some of these things? Let me know how it has impacted you!

8 Tips to Creating a Productive Schedule

It’s July– can you believe it? It feels like just yesterday that we were all getting ready for the new year by making new resolutions, and here we are more than halfway through 2020. How crazy is that?

Since it’s the first day of a new month, I thought I would play on the mantra “new months= new goals” and share some ways to make the most of 2020. With that being said,  here are 8 tips to help you create a productive schedule!

Pinpoint Your Goals

Before I start scheduling, I always ask myself: Why do I want to be more productive in the first place? I mean, there has to be a reason I want to be able to get more things done each day. Then I ask myself: What are those things? Doing this helps me come up with personal goals for myself to pinpoint what I want to spend my time on. 

They say that you make time for what’s important to you, so treat this as a way to write down what you want most out of your life. Goals can be personal (like becoming more active, wanting clearer skin, reading more, etc.) or they can be professional (like growing your business on Instagram, learning a new marketable skill, etc.)

When pinpointing goals, remember that fewer goals can go a long way. It’s so easy to get excited and pinpoint 100 things that you want to improve, but it’s not realistic. You want to make sure that you can accomplish your goal and not set yourself up for failure.

Brainstorm Ways to Accomplish Your Goals

After pinpointing my goals, I like to brainstorm ways to help me achieve them. This way, I can schedule new activities into my routine to help me stay productive.

Let’s say you want clearer skin. How are you going to get clearer skin? You can start by researching the best skin care routines and products. After researching, you can plan a skincare routine of your own and add it to your daily routine.

Let’s say you want to improve your photography skills. How are you going to improve your photography skills? You can set aside time for you to research, watch Youtube videos, and practice each week. 

Identify Your Likely Distractions

If you ask most people what gets in the way of their productivity, it’s most of the time going to be distractions. I cannot tell you how many times I have said I am going to work on something and then give up due to getting distracted.

Be aware of your distractions and plan around them. If you’re like me and get distracted from your phone, turn it off or put it in another room. If you get distracted from noise, try listening to music to help you focus.

Plan in a Way That Works For You

Actually scheduling and planning out your time is different for everyone. There are so many tools to help you plan, but the tricky part is finding a way that works for you.

I personally like physical planners to plan out my week and month as a whole. For me, it’s easier to plan when I am aware of things that are scheduled further in advance, so I avoid over scheduling. However, sometimes I have a hard time getting small tasks done when I use that technique. So, for smaller daily tasks, I like to create daily checklists for myself.

You could also go the digital route and use digital calendars, such as Google Calendar or the calendar on their phone. A lot of my friends use this technique so that they always have their planner on them and can set up reminders.

This tip is crucial to help you properly plan out each day. I recommend experimenting with these different techniques to see which one works for you!

The next 4 tips are from Karen Chen of Rosethorns and Honeydew:

Hello, lovely to see you! My name is Karen Chen from Rosethorns and Honeydew (https://rosethornsandhoneydew.com/). I am an aspiring author from beautiful BC, Canada, and my purpose is to help my readers achieve success in their academics, self-love, and creating a productive lifestyle. You can find me at my blog, Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest

Visualize Your Day Each Morning

Each morning when you wake up, run through your ideal day in your mind – what you’ll do, at what point in the day you’ll do it. Don’t be afraid to be specific with the time frame! When we have a plan for the type of day we want to have, it’s much easier to live out that reality rather than fumbling and looking for the next thing to do.

During this time, visualize your goals for the day too. What are some big projects you want to progress on? What kind of mood would you like to maintain? One of my biggest goals is often to slow down and enjoy what each day has to offer rather than rushing through on autopilot. Visualization is the first step to living out your ideal day – and it only takes a couple of minutes!

Have An Inspiration/Motivation Triggers List

Do you ever have those days where you can’t muster up the motivation to take on anything? This is where a motivation triggers list comes into play!

Motivation triggers are actions that give you that spark of inspiration to get started on a task. Brainstorm up 5-7 things and keep that list nearby, where you can cycle through the ideas whenever you feel unmotivated. They may be different for everyone, but here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. Talking to similar-minded people and see what projects they’re working on
  2. Listening to upbeat music
  3. Tuning in to your favorite podcast (Goal Digger, TED Talks Daily, and The Lavendaire Lifestyle are some amazing ones)
  4. See a visual representation of your goals (vision boards, travel vlogs, ticket stubs)
  5. Set a timer for 10 minutes and clean up the space around you

Be Flexible in Your Schedule

Oftentimes when we have a back-to-back schedule and we miss one thing, it can be easy to feel like the whole day has been thrown off track. 

A tip for scheduling is to always give yourself some “buffer time”. Simply schedule tasks loosely, around 10 minutes longer than they usually take. This will let you enjoy your day rather than burning through the tasks, and remember, if you miss one scheduled timing, keep going. It’s just a pressure set on us by ourselves, don’t let it stress you out too much!

Bonus tip: pick 2-3 big tasks to tackle throughout the day, and spread these out in your schedule! Fill the rest of your schedule with smaller tasks or rest times, this will give you a balanced and restful day.

Set Out Certain Days For Certain Tasks

Did you know you can be more efficient when you group similar tasks together? For example, if you tackle a blog post then suddenly transition to cleaning the house, it will take your brain some time to process. 

If you have a lot of tasks in one area (cleaning, work, projects), why not set out a certain day for those tasks every week? For example, Mondays are my planning days, while Tuesdays are my writing days. I find it much easier to do all the similar tasks in one day rather than sprinkling them throughout the week!

Another great way to make sure you’re up to date on everything is to have a life admin day. This could be a weekend, where you tackle all the little things that have been piling up through the week (scheduling appointments, cleaning, email responses, etc). Here’s to being prepared for the new week!

Get to Know Me

Hello friends, I thought it would be fun to take a short break from my regular content to answer some of the questions you had for me!

Why did you start a blog?

There are so many reasons! One reason was that I wanted a creative outlet. As a kid I was very involved in creative activities (dance, theater, art, choir) but when I started college, I wasn’t able to continue those things. Another reason I started my blog was for personal growth. I wanted a place where I could communicate my thoughts and feel more confident in my writing. Lastly, I wanted to gain experience in content creation because it is what I want to do for a career someday!

What were you like as a kid?

Quiet, shy, self-conscious, timid, anxious. I lacked a lot of confidence when it came to social situations, which is something I’m still working on. College has definitely helped me become more confident, though!

Have you figured out your calling in life?

Yes? No? Maybe? 

I like to think we all have several different callings in our lives, not just one!

  • I was called to write more content about my faith, so I transformed this blog into something that would share God’s word with others. 
  • I was called to study Public Relations because it’s a career that allows me to combine my hobbies and passions. 
  • I am called to spread kindness and positivity through social media. 
  • I am called to be a good Christian, daughter, friend, girlfriend, student, worker, etc. everyday.

What kinds of things really make me laugh?

Silly things!

  • Puns
  • Dad Jokes
  • Animal Videos
  • Vines

What’s your favorite place in the entire world?

Disney. Everything about it brings me so much joy. The food, the smells, the rides, the music… heck, even the hot pavement on a humid 90-degree day. The amount of detail and hard work that goes into making everything magical is so inspiring to me!

Who is your best friend and why?

My boyfriend Mitchell. He supports me endlessly and loves me unconditionally. He makes me a better person (+ he makes me laugh!)

What is your favorite movie of all time?

I don’t know if I have a favorite movie? There are so many incredible films that are so fascinating to me, which makes it impossible for me to choose one

When I think of a favorite movie, I think of ones that genuinely make me happy (rather than ones that are critically acclaimed, if that makes sense). So here are a few that make me happy:

  • Mary Poppins
  • Roman Holiday
  • La La Land
  • Hello, Dolly!
  • Enchanted
  • Elf
  • Singin’ in the Rain

 (can you tell that I like musicals?)

Which Disney character do you relate to the most?

Belle mixed with Rapunzel. I think I have Belle’s heart and passion (and looks) with Rapunzel’s personality and creativity.

What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?

Drive to a new area or city with a friend, find a cute coffee shop, converse over lattes, take pictures, and thrift.

Do you have any pet peeves?

People who consistently cancel plans last minute. Life happens (getting sick, something popping up, etc.) but please do not make plans that you plan on canceling!

What’s something that is a dream of yours but fear holds you back?

I’ve always wanted to be a Broadway actress! I started dancing when I was 3 and then developed a love for performing. I performed in a lot of musicals during high school and even went through the “college audition process.” After being rejected from 6 programs, I feared that if I pursued theater I would not make it, so after a lot of thought, I switched majors. 

There’s still a part of me that wonders what would have happened if I stuck it out, but I think God knows what he is doing in my life! Who knows? Maybe I’ll get to do PR for a Broadway company. Maybe I’ll be the next Jessica Vosk, quit my Public Relations job and land a role on Broadway. Maybe I’ll perform with a community theater. Whatever happens, I believe God planned it that way.

What is a long term goal you have?

I hope that in the future I can move down to the Orlando, FL area to work for the Walt Disney Company. My dream job would be doing PR for the parks. In order to achieve this dream, I hope to be doing the Disney College Program sometime in the near future to get my foot into the company.

How do you stay positive at a time like this?

By constantly reminding myself that positivity is a choice. You can either sit there and complain about everything that’s going on or you can find the good in the situation. For example, being in quarantine has given me time to rest and work on my blog! At any other point in my life, I would not have been going through 2020 with a positive mindset. I’m not positive all the time, there are days where everything that’s going on has a huge toll on me, but knowing and trusting that God has a plan for all of this is what keeps me going. 

How do you stay in God’s word?

This is one that I struggled with for the LONGEST time. There are so many things that have helped me!

  • Going to Church regularly (now with a lot of churches doing online services, I have no excuse not to go!)
  • Downloading the Bible App and setting reminders to get in the Word
  • Doing Bible Plans on the Bible App (there are SO many to choose from and you can also do them with friends!)
  • Listening to Worship (Hillsong’s Spotify Radio is where it’s at)
  • Listening to Christian Podcasts and Church Services on Spotify

Thanks to everyone who submitted a question on my Instagram, I hope you enjoyed learning more about me!

~Katelyn Sinclair

Cincinnati Coffee Trail

Bored during quarantine? Want a way to get out of the house AND support local businesses? To support my favorite coffee shops in the Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati area, I thought it would be fun to create a “coffee trail” for you to explore new local shops. This trail can be accomplished within a few hours and allows you to see several different spots in the Greater Cincinnati area! If you don’t want to finish the trail all in one day, no worries, just treat it as a list of new shops to try, whenever you get the chance. If you are not from Cincinnati I encourage you to create your own coffee trail in a city near you.

Things to note before you begin:

  • This list goes in order from the NKY shop, to the shops all the way in Hamilton, OH. Depending on your location, you may want to switch up the order.
  • A few of these shops are not open on Sundays!
  • Some of these shops may have different hours due to COVID-19, so do your research and plan accordingly. (I’ve linked each shop’s website to help you plan!)
  • These are just a few of my favorite shops, I know that there are a bunch of shops in between the trail that I encourage you to add to the journey! (Also feel free to add them below in the comments)
  • Lastly, HAVE FUN, drive safely, and wear your face mask!
graphic of a trail

Carabello Coffee- Newport, KY

Photo of caramel latte at Carabello Coffee

First stop, Carabello Coffee in Newport, KY! My favorite shop for when I’m at school. It is the cutest and coziest place, perfect for studying. I recommend trying their caramel latte hot, or any of their seasonal drinks.

Address: 107 E 9th St, Newport, KY 41071

graphic of a trail

Coffee Emporium- Downtown Cincinnati

Photo of coffee cup from Coffee Emporium

Second stop, Coffee Emporium! I have only been to the Coffee Emporium in Over the Rhine, but there is a second location in Hyde Park (if that is closer for you!) I recommend trying their Milky- Way Latte if you love chocolate and caramel coffee.

Address: 110 E Central Pkwy, Cincinnati, OH 45202 or 3316 Erie Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45208

graphic of a trail

Cavu Coffee- West Chester, OH

Photo of iced coffee from Cavu Coffee. It is sitting on a marble table next to a vase of flowers

Third Stop, Cavu Coffee! Cavu is a little bit of a drive from Coffee Emporium, but it was my favorite shop when I was in high school. I recommend their Kitty Kat Latte (hot or iced), it’s incredible.

Address: 7755 Cox Ln, West Chester Township, OH 45069

graphic of a trail

Kala Coffeehouse- Mason, OH

Photo of a latte in a mug on top of a wooden table. It is next to a plant and a journal.

Fourth stop, Kala Coffeehouse! My favorite place to get coffee with friends. They have an incredible menu of drinks, sandwiches, and more. My “go-to” is their Iced Cashew Coffee and Eggwich sandwich, but you really can’t go wrong with anything on their menu.

Address: 4503 US-42, Mason, OH 45040

graphic of a trail

Coffee Cup Overflowing- Hamilton, OH

A coffee cup that says "Coffee Cup Overflowing" and has the name, "Kate" written with a marker. It is sitting next to a vase of flowers

Our fifth stop is Coffee Cup Overflowing in Hamilton, OH! This is such a sweet shop over by the Bridgewater Falls shopping area. They always have a great seasonal menu, so be sure to try one of their specialty drinks!

Address: 6544 Winford Ave, Hamilton, OH 45011

True West Coffee

Last, but certainly not least, is True West Coffee. This was the FIRST coffee shop that I fell in love with, and the shop that started my obsession with coffee. It is such a cozy and beautiful shop that holds a special place in my heart. I recommend their mocha (iced or hot) and their True West Salad.

A coffee cup sitting on a table. It has the True West Coffee logo and also has "mocha" written on it with permanent marker

Address: 313 Main St, Hamilton, OH 45013

I hope you enjoy these shops as much as I do! Be sure to comment if you have more suggestions, I would love to try new shops myself.

~Katelyn Sinclair

Let’s Talk About Perfectionism

Let’s talk about perfectionism. What is perfectionism?

Perfectionism: refusal to accept any standard short of perfection.

I have struggled with perfectionism for almost all of my life. I noticed a need to be perfect in every aspect of my life, whether it was school, dance, theater, social media, you name it. Even when writing this blog post there was a little voice in my head telling me that it wasn’t good enough and that I should start over (again). In some ways I am very thankful for my perfectionism, it has given me a fantastic work ethic and attention to detail. I often pride myself on being a perfectionist during interviews because of all the good qualities associated with being a perfectionist. However, there happens to be a lot of dark qualities to those struggling, which leads to a sense of failure.

I can think back to the first time I realized that being “perfect” was getting in the way of my success. I was in third-grade about to take a multiple-choice math test, and I was apprehensive. It wasn’t that I wasn’t prepared for the test, I was a smart kid and knew the material, but I let comparison and perfectionism consume my thoughts. When I was given the test, I remember reading the first question and having to read it again. I probably read that question 100 times over and over again because I couldn’t get myself to choose an answer. I was too scared I was going to choose the wrong answer. I sat there on the same question, while my classmates started to turn in their tests. My hands trembled, my face turned red, I looked around and realized I was the only one still working. I quickly scrambled to finish the test by filling in answers. My fear of failure caused me to fail.

I wish I could say that that was the only time I let my perfectionism get in the way of my success. Throughout all of high school and college, I strived to be the perfect student, the perfect daughter, the perfect girlfriend, the perfect employee, the perfect blogger, the perfect actor, the perfect dancer, the perfect photographer, the perfect sorority woman. The need to be perfect was making my life anything but perfect. It’s like I was running towards something that I would never reach. And even though I was tired emotionally, physically, and mentally, I couldn’t stop running towards that “perfect life”.

So why am I writing this? Mostly because I wanted to share a little bit about my personal struggles, but to also bring awareness. I have seen a lot of judgment when it comes to my perfectionism, most people don’t realize it’s not something I choose. I get a lot of backlash for worrying about my work, obsessing over small details, and caring about what others think of me.

Others pride themselves in being “a perfectionist” because they like things to be detailed and organized. What they don’t realize is often linked to mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

“the higher the perfectionism is, the more psychological disorders you’re going to suffer,” says Sarah Egan, a researcher on perfectionism at Curtin University in Perth, Australia.

Overcoming perfectionism is not an easy task, it is something that I continue to struggle with myself. By taking small steps of confidence, I am slowly but surely creating a happier lifestyle. Even this blog post is a step closer to overcoming perfectionism. I know it is far from perfect but I am becoming more accepting and trusting of myself. If you find that the need to be perfect is getting in the way of your happiness and success, I encourage you to seek professional help.

Remember, you are doing the best that you can and that is enough.

~Katelyn Sinclair

My Testimony

Everyone has a story, and there is something so incredibly inspiring about a person sharing their story truthfully and authentically.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to build an immense connection with God by doing daily devotionals. I decided to pursue the Bible in One Year 2019 with Nicky Gumbel to help me with this goal of mine, 150 days later, and I haven’t missed a day. This is a pretty big milestone for me! Within the past year and a half, I went from being far from Christ to spending 150 consecutive days with him. This journey of mine has led me to think a lot about how much I have grown and has encouraged me to share my story with all of you.

I have always considered myself a Christian. I was baptized when I was a baby, I went to church on Christmas and Easter, and I thought that there was a God. I spent my entire childhood and teenage years telling myself that I was a Christian, but I never fully understood what that meant. I especially didn’t understand the importance of having a relationship with God.

Throughout High School, I liked calling myself a Christian. I thought to be a Christian was a way to be part of something bigger than myself, plus, a lot of Christians I knew were nice. So, I surrounded myself with friends that were also Christians. These friends had similar values to me and were very encouraging when I questioned my faith. Looking back, I believe God put those people in my life for a reason and I am thankful for them. To this day, they are still some of my closest friends.

My freshman year of college, I knew I still wanted to consider myself a Christian, but mostly to stay out of the party scene. With that being said, I still tried to surround myself with friends with similar values. Pursuing Christ was never my top priority, I put most of the things above my faith such as school, work, relationships, and my sorority. I soon found myself feeling overcommitted, and struggled to keep up with everything.

By my sophomore year, I had overworked myself to the point that depression and anxiety had overruled my thoughts. I was stretched so thin that I could snap at any slight inconvenience, which, surprisingly, did not make me a fun person to be around. Being busy made it extremely difficult to develop meaningful relationships, I was frankly too busy to hang out with anyone. Every once in awhile I would find a small moment to devote time to others, but I would often find myself anxiously complaining to my friends about what I had to do next.

Eventually, all my relationships had had enough. I found a lot of my friends drifting away from me, and who could blame them? I had nothing to offer in the relationships. I started living my life completely alone. I would walk to class alone and I would sit alone at all the dining halls. I rarely spent time outside my dorm. There were days where the only person I talked to was myself, and I was not a joyous person to talk to.

I came to a realization one Friday night in my dorm. I had been alone for so long that I had hit rock bottom. That evening I was mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, crying, and telling myself that I was the reason I had no friends. That I was the reason no one invited me to hang out or go to parties or get dinner or watch movies or do facemasks, or whatever else I scrolled through that night. I felt like I was physically forced to live a life of loneliness. I threw my phone at the end of my bed and cried into my pillow. And then a miracle happened.

Minutes later I grabbed my phone from the end of my bed and went to open the Instagram app, I remember wiping away my tears while waiting for the app to open. When it opened, I didn’t see my Instagram feed, I saw this:

Picture of Bible Verse: Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up."

I didn’t open Instagram, I had opened the Bible app. I realized at that moment that opening the Bible app was not an accident, it was God seeking me. Almost as if he was stopping me from comparing myself to other people on social media. He knew that scrolling through Instagram was only going to hurt me more. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 was not a coincidence either. It was God telling me that through Him, I would never be alone. He would always be there to help me up.

Before that moment, I was living in pity. I was the one who had pushed so many people away, including God, and that was why I was living my life alone. When you live your life without God, you find yourself falling with no one to help you. That night I cried out to God and asked Him to never let me live my life alone again, and ever since that night, He has been by my side.