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Essentials You Should Carry If You Refuse To Take A Bag With You

Okay, sometimes, I get really tired of carrying a bag with me to every single place I go. I mean, I do get that I have a lot of stuff to carry, but sometimes, I want my arms to be completely free from the burden of carrying a purse. So to paraphrase the title of this post: what should you take with you to wherever the heck-istan you're going if you aren't going to carry a bag?

First of all, if you aren't going to take a bag to wherever you're heading to... Wear something that has a few pockets! Jeans would be a good idea.

Now that we've straightened that out, you should take:

Your phone! Duh!

Tuck your phone into your jeans back pocket and voila. You won't even feel that it is there. Just be careful when you're pulling your pants down to go pee, 'cause your phone might just drop into toilet bowl. Yikes. But other than that, tucking your phone into your back pocket is an ingenious idea. I do it all the time. Even when I have a purse with me.

A little money

Put your money into one of your pockets just in case you need some cash. I always put my money into the front pocket of my jeans. The pocket is very tight, so there's little chance of the money falling out. Other times, I put my money into a pocket on my jacket where there's a little flap so the money doesn't escape from me.

Hair tie and rubber bands

Diamonds Hair ties and rubber bands are a girl's best friend. You can tie your hair up when your hair is getting in the way. You can use it to secure random things... As essential as hair ties/rubber bands are, they're also super easy to carry around. Just slap a hair tie around your wrist like a bracelet and put a few rubber bands into a pocket if you think you need them.

And... that's it! I've stripped down everything you usually put in your purse to just the bare essentials. Simple, right? But do you think I missed an important item? If so, comment below and let me know.

-Barista Mia-

Image: Summer Skyes 11
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Why Gapping (Taking a Gap Year) Might Be a Good Thing

So I decided to not go to college this year, which pretty much sucks. I sooooo wanted to get away from Korea, but I guess I'll have to wait another year. Unfortunately, I can't afford to go to college, so I'm taking a gap year and will apply to a bunch of different schools next admissions round as I pray for a different result.

When I first came to the realization that I might have to take a gap year, I was extremely disappointed. I hated living in South Korea and I just couldn't wait until the day I could start ALL over. I even deactivated my current Facebook account so that I could make a new one in college. Yes, I was and still am that desperate to leave my current life behind. But the only option I have is to take a gap year. Thankfully, now that my head has cleared a little, I'm starting to see that gapping might be a good thing.

Because if you take a gap year...

You mature

Students who go straight from high school to college often lack the maturity needed in an independent environment like a university. Instead, those who take a gap year, learn so much about the world and acquire more wisdom during their time off.

You have a new story to share

You can share a story with your college friends a year or two later about your adventures of teaching ESL students, learning French in France, or going on a world expedition with a group of complete strangers. Whatever you do in your gap year, it's going to make for an interesting story to tell.

You learn more about yourself

When taking a gap year, you have the opportunity to do whatever you want with your life for an entire year. If you've never danced, you can dance. If you want to earn money, you can get a job. You'll find new interests, new hobbies, and you'll even learn more about your own personality and limits. This could help you so much when you finally enter college. You'll have a better idea of what you want to do or what you want to be.

You'll be more thankful for the opportunity to study

Research shows that students who take a gap year are more likely to not take their education for granted. Having this mindset, you're less likely to spend all your energy on partying and skipping classes and more energy on doing things that are actually productive. Of course, this doesn't mean you'll end up having no social life. What I mean is that you're more likely to have the wisdom to balance your social life with your academic life.

Besides these four benefits, there are so many more advantages to taking a gap year. So definitely consider it! It'll be fun and worthwhile :)

-Barista Mia-

Image: justine-reyes
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Last Minute Mother's Day Gift Ideas

I'm a horrible person when it comes to gifts. I never prepare birthday presents, Christmas presents, or the like, until the last minute. I know most people think of what to get their parents, boyfriends, best friends, etc. weeks or even months ahead, but my ADD brain isn't wired to do that. I procrastinate. Even when it comes to gifts. Thankfully, though, although I'm bad at buying gifts before D-Day, I've become a sort-of expert on buying last minute gifts.

So now that Mother's Day is on its way (already?!), I decided to share some last minute gift ideas for those of you who, well, forgot to buy her a present.

Flowers and a card

Okay, okay. Flowers are such a simple gift. But hear me out, okay? Have you ever met someone who hates flowers? No. Duh. Flowers are gorgeous, beautiful, and very easy to get by. No one can ever hate on them. But since flowers are so cheesy to give, write a card as well. A heartfelt card will make anyone's day.


A quick trip to the mall is all you need. You can never go wrong with jewelry. Bracelets, necklaces, earrings... it doesn't matter. Buy her something shiny and nice.

Cook for her

What's your mother's favorite meal? Bring out a cook book and cook it for her. Even if it turns out disgusting, it's the thought that counts. And I bet ya that your mom will think it's adorable. If you can actually cook the thing, that's even better. Mind, it doesn't have to be your mom's favorite meal, it can be anything tasty.

Do all of her chores for one day

How would you feel if all of your chores were done by someone else for a day? You'll feel refreshed, grateful, and happy, right? Right. So why don't you do all of your mom's chores for the day? It's a great idea and won't cost a cent.

Take her on a date

Watch a movie together and have dinner at a nice restaurant. Mothers love to spend time with their kids. Show her that you love her and that you care about her. It'll be an oh-so-special time you two can spend with each other.

So these are my last minute mother's gift ideas. Do you have any that you think I should add to the list?

-Barista Mia-

Image: Jen Novotny
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Before Exams

It always happens to me. I feel absolutely fine the night before an exam, but I wake up with this sickening feeling. I don't know if applies to only me, but I have compiled a checklist of stuff to before an exam.

1) It goes without saying, get some good sleep. But I am surprised at the amount of my classmates who don't abide by this golden rule. It becomes quite easy to study into the early morning when you're running out of time, but there comes a point where enough is enough, and the best thing to do is get some sleep. Make sure you have multiple alarms ready and at least one family member prepared to get you out of bed by whatever means necessary if you're the type to sleep in.

2) But before you turn in for the night, make sure your bag is packed with everything and anything you might need. Pens, pencils, erasers, tippex, ruler, highlighters, calculator. Not only do you need to bring all this stationery, but there are other objects I find essential. Always bring water to the exam, being hydrated can make a world of difference. Also, bring a watch. I once made the mistake of assuming there would be a clock in the exam hall, but I was seated in the one seat in the hall where you couldn't see it!

3) Get up in the morning with plenty of time to relax. Eat whatever breakfast you prefer (for me this is cereal and coffee) and never even think of skipping this oh-so-important meal. Keep calm, double check your bag, and get dressed comfortably for the exam. Just don't try to cram stuff into your brain. If you're going to do any studying, make it tiny bits and pieces: rereading a story or poem for English, going over some math formulas. Nothing that'll stress you or put you in a panic.

If you've got an afternoon exam, try to not stress out. I, for one, have my maths exam in three hours and am feeling quite panicky. I'm just trying to kill time and not panic. As I find writing calming, I've been writing this to settle my nerves and use an extra half hour. In fact, my leftover time is now an adequate amount to get ready to get to school and take the exam. So anyway, for all of you who are about to take an exam... Good luck!

-Barista Ellen-

Image: Francisco Osorio
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3 TV Teen Comedy-Drama Series You Need to Watch

1. My Mad Fat Diary

This is one of my favorite series of all time. Actually, it is my favorite. It tells the story of Rachel “Rae” Earl, a teenage girl who struggles with many problems such as obesity and low self-esteem and writes a diary to keep herself together. This show will change your life. What Rae writes about will become your life motto.

This series hasn’t got any flaws. The cast is perfect, the dialogue is credible, the graphics are enjoyable... You have to watch it. Plus, there are amazingly hot guys that will break not only Rae’s heart but also yours. Don’t worry; there is always Finn to save the day. (God, that boy is handsome).

I have laughed, cried, thrown pillows at the screen and wasted a ridiculous amount of tissues while watching the show so, yeah, that’s how good it is.

Unfortunately, there are only thirteen episodes and it is unknown if there will be a third season. Personally, I don’t mind how it ended and I really don’t want this series to turn into those shows where great relationships are destroyed just to keep it interesting. On the bright side, the thirteen episodes won’t disappoint you. In fact, you might feel the urge to watch them over and over again. (Who doesn’t want to see Finn shirtless at least three times? P.S: Yes, I have an obsession with Finn. You will have it too if you watch the series.)

Oh, and did I forget to mention that the series is set in Lincolnshire? Get ready to listen to that fantastic British accent. 

2. Awkward

Hello, America! Awkward is also a teen comedy series that focus on the life of another teenage girl, Jenna Hamilton, who attempts to commit suicide (actually, it was a mistake). This series is addicting, lovely and funny. You cannot contain a laugh while watching even one episode of this brilliant show.

As you can expect of this kind of genre, there are also handsome guys to make your heart melt. This series will brighten your day with genuine jokes and spontaneous characters. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind going to Jenna’s high school every day.

3. Misfits

And back to Britain! God, you guys are on fire. Misfits is a brilliant comedy series which follows the life of a group of young offenders who obtain supernatural powers after a strange electrical storm.

It’s funny, painful, crazy... it’s everything you need.

So that’s my list, lovely people. Now, go get some popcorn and enjoy the series. (Have I already mentioned that Finn is really, really hot? I have? Wow. My obsession is growing strong.)

-Barista Alexandra-

Imag: My Mad Fat Diary still, Awkward season 3 poster, Misfits poster
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Sometimes, things just don’t seem to go your way. If anyone realized that lately, it’s me. I recently had a move, which would be hard enough in and of itself, but I was escaping a tough family situation, and am now living with someone I hardly know. Sounds fun, right? Maybe you’re not in the same situation but have been feeling really down lately. I’m just starting to learn, barely, what can get me going again.

For those of you in a similar situation, here are what has helped me get me back on my feet. Some of these things are going to seem counterintuitive, or even contradictory, but the thing is, different things work for different people, so I’m going to throw them all out there.

Music- happy, or sad

One night I was being all moody until my friend started playing Rainbow Bunchie. If you haven’t heard it, it’s the most cheerfully stupid song ever, accompanied by a bouncing rainbow... thing. For some reason it made me crack a grin and I had an instant mood whiplash, but the good kind.

But then again, sometimes, especially if you feel like you need your feelings to be validated, it’s helpful to listen to sad/angry/deep/dramatic music. Sometimes I feel too poopy to rock out to my favorite uplifting songs and I go temporarily emo (which I personally find is really fun, and a side of me I like to explore on occasion).  You might have to try a few different songs before finding out that fits your current mood.

Talk with your friends

Maybe you have a friend who you can tell EVERYTHING to, and who’ll give you awesome advice. That’s a really good thing, and I have a friend like this. But even if you’re friends are the type who would rather tickle attack you or play video games the entire time, just go with it. Even hanging out, not talking about anything important- or even not talking much at all- can really help. But if someone can actually help yousort out your problems, all the better.

Ask someone who is wiser than you

Speaking of advice, here’s a thought: especially if you’re young, your friends may very well not know what the heck they’re talking about. So as cliché as it may seem, going to someone older or more experienced can make a lot of difference. I’m not saying your friends don’t have good ideas- they might have great ones!- but it’s also good to check in with someone who’s had more life experience, like a parent/guardian, older relative or even a counselor, if you feel so inclined (they can be good because you don’t know them personally and they have confidentiality agreements). Sometimes even just having someone to listen to you, who doesn’t get ruffled by whatever mood you might be in (I always cry when things get really personal) can be really, really great.

Take your mind off it

Instead of lying in bed all day glaring at the ceiling, try getting up and doing something. Rock out to your favorite play list while you clean the house, or take a walk, or get some of your friends together and have a pizza party. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you stay safe and get your mind off things. If you can get something productive done somehow, like chores or a workout, you’ll feel even better. Which reminds me...

Seriously, try working out

The endorphins released from working out can improve your mood by a whole heap. And this isn’t just some science-y thing, I’ve felt this myself. If you aren’t used to working out, start out slow and gradually build up your exercise tolerance. You’ll be healthier and happier!

Smile. Just try it!

And if all of this doesn’t work, just remember: you WILL feel better sooner or later. Maybe it won’t be today, or maybe it won’t be this week- heck, life is hard and sometimes it really hurts!- but you’ll see the sunshine one day, and it may be sooner than you think, or at a time or place you don’t expect. I really like the song “Smile” by Vitamin C (yeah, I like old geeky music, lol). I was upset this morning and I have to admit, it’s hard NOT to cheer up at least a little when you hear a song telling you that yes, life is tough, but smile, okay?! And the best part is, if you DO smile, your body will be a little happier just from that simple act. So smile, even if it feels stupid. You might be surprised. Because life really is, in the end, one confusing but wonderful surprise after another. So try to enjoy the ride. I will.

-Barista Nicole-

Image: Steven Zwerink
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