De-stressed

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I don’t remember ever not being stressed around this time of year. Last year I was worried about passing AP exams, finding a prom dress and date, picking a college, preparing for graduation, etc. Compared to that, this year is much more manageable. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not still stressed. I have no idea what I will receive as a grade in one of my classes as its entirety is based on my essay style final exam and a paper I handed in last week. I’m also stressed over physics; my performance on the upcoming final exam will make or break both my grade and GPA. It is for this reason that I’ve been focusing on de-stressing and clearing my mind so I can study and carry out tasks to the best of my ability.

Although going to the gym helps, riding is the only real way that I can clear my head, re-energize, and make my stress melt away. It is the one thing in life (other than chocolate) that will never fail to make me happy. This past week, I’ve ridden multiple horses every day and it has felt great. It’s giving me a peek into what my summer will (hopefully) look like, filled with horses and days spent at the barn.

Everyone needs a de-stressor, a hobby, a passion, something. We cannot expect ourselves to constantly work and tax our minds and bodies. There is a major difference between being distressed and de-stressed. It is necessary to have fun and to have a release. Escaping to the barn keeps me away from school and my negative thoughts about physics. Focusing all my attention on it would not insure me a great grade; it would only stress me out, make my under-eye circles worse, and make me feel drained and exhausted. I’ll do all that I can to get through my stressors successfully but they don’t have to consume me. Getting on a horse and riding is something that always has and always will make me happy and feel ready to tackle any task placed in front of me.

 

Couple of Cuppies

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Hello, my name is Cashel Koski and I’m a cupcake addict. Living in D.C. this past year has only fed my addiction. I’ve made countless trips to Georgetown Cupcake and Baked and Wired, sometimes centering my entire day around the excursion. I always look forward to the first of every month so I can rush to Georgetown Cupcake and sample their monthly flavors. I’m even planning on metro-ing all the way to Bethesda just to try a chocolate toffee cupcake… the obsession is real.

Every time I went to Georgetown for cupcakes, I’d pass by Pie Sisters on M Street. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good pie, but cupcakes will always be my top priority. A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through a D.C. food Instagram page and saw these delicious looking pies in the form of cupcakes. I immediately clicked on the photo to read the geotag which referred me to none other than Pie Sisters.

Last Friday, I was planning on heading to Georgetown and probably picking up some Baked and Wired on my way home since I’d forgotten to place my order for Georgetown Cupcake in advance to skip the line. However, as I walked by Pie Sisters, the memory of the delicious looking Cuppies came to mind. I was feeling a bit hungry, so I headed in, “just to look” I said. The inside of the shop was furnished impeccably and had a homey feel, complete with bouquets of fresh flowers on nice wooden tables. The girl working behind the counter was very friendly and helpful. As I peered through the case at various pies, I made a mental list of all the flavors I wanted to try, chocolate pecan, vanilla cream, s’mores, jumble berry, cookies n’ cream (chocolate cream), and apple caramel. I forced myself to narrow it down to two and ended up walking out with the latter. I fully intended to hold off until after dinner to eat the cuppies, but the chocolate cookies and cream started calling my name ten minutes after leaving Pie Sisters.

I’ve never had better chocolate cream pie in my life. The crust was delicious, and when I say this, believe me since I usually hate pie crust and absolutely refuse to eat it. The whipped cream on top was sweet and firm while the Oreo dust and chocolate chips added some more sweet flavor. The pudding was smooth and rich, clearly made from scratch.

The Apple Caramel was slightly less stellar. The apples weren’t caramelized and there was too much sugar on top which prevented me from tasting any hint of caramel. The crust was delicious however… I just don’t think I’d order this cuppie again.

Overall, Pie Sisters was a total hit. The idea of a cuppie (cupcake x pie) is so clever and delicious. From the shop to the service to the incredible pies, I can’t wait to go back!

Stripes on the Potomac

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Yesterday afternoon a friend and I took a trip to Georgetown to walk around the Potomac and look for a house with Wisteria that I’d found on Pinterest. We walked from campus to the Georgetown Waterfront, up and down the boardwalk, watching crew teams speedily float by. Afterwards, we walked back up to M Street and made a quick stop at Pie Sisters for some cuppies before heading to the corner of 35th and Prospect to find the Wisteria. Unfortunately, someones car was parked on the sidewalk right in front of the white door dripping with the purple blooms. Nevertheless, they were beautiful and the smell from some pink hedges across the street wafted over to us, inviting us to sit by them and eat our pies. After our quick snack, we headed back down the hill and walked halfway over the Key Bridge… does that count as walking to Virginia? The sun sparkling on the water provided the perfect backdrop to take a photo in our matching outfits, which may or may not have been planned (wink, wink)!

For my outfit, I wore a peplum pinstripe top, paired with white jeans and white heels. I sensibly brought a pair of comfortable white eyelet Keds to change into for all the walking around we did (9 miles)! I also broke out my Kate Spade cross body that I picked up in TJ Maxx last weekend for 75% off. I’m completely obsessed. From the scallop detailing to the clever clasp to the vibrant color of the soft leather, it’s the perfect bag. The only “downside” is that there is a little compartment inside that I accidentally placed my phone into and when I couldn’t find it, proceeded to have a mini heart attack and ping my phone when it was inside my bag all along… oops!

Decision Day

By May 1st, college bound high school seniors everywhere will decide on a school and submit their deposits. Last year, I made my decision that very day. It was a choice that completely changed my life and that will continue to influence it as the years go on.  I was completely torn between Boston College and George Washington. Nobody in my family knew what I would decide; in fact, my grandparents had a bet going on which college I would choose… and for the record, Grandpa won. Looking back, I regret my decision, but at the same time I know it was the right one and am glad I made it. Picking a college is tough; here are some things I wish I knew last year that would be useful for anyone trying to do so.

There is no right decision, but the school you pick will significantly impact your life, the people you meet, the degree you pursue and the job you will eventually get. This being said, do not take this decision lightly.

Make the decision for yourself. It’s hard not to ask your parents what to do, but at the end of the day this is your decision and you have to make it for yourself. Last year, I knew my parents each had their opinions on where they thought I should go.  I thought Mom wanted me to go to GW so I’d have more options even though she actually wanted me to choose BC.  I thought Dad openly wanted BC, since  I’d be close to home and on a campus he’d toured and felt comfortable with even though he actually wanted GW for the dorms. I can’t tell you how many times I asked my mom to tell me where to go and how many times she refused. What she did help with was listening to my thoughts about each school and helping to create a pros and cons list, a tool that, in my opinion, is crucial to making any big decision.

Don’t make it based on finances. Based on the situation, this one may or may not be feasible. In fact, making the decision based off of finances may make the decision 10x easier. However, the best way to choose a school is by picking the one you’ll be happy at. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending how you look at it) GW and BC would’ve cost the same amount for me which made my decision harder and ensured it was my own.

Don’t be a follower. You are the one who is going to be living at this school, you are the one moving away from home, and you are the one who is seeking an education. Make your own choice in your own best interest, not anyone else’s. Just because your best friend is going to a school they’re in love with doesn’t mean you should follow them there and hope to fall in love with it.  Don’t follow your friends to college! No matter where you go, you’re going to make new friends and probably won’t even end up talking to the people you followed there. Chances are, you’ll end up wishing you went to your own dream school and end up transferring out.

Don’t let your comfort zone limit you. Coming to DC was totally out of my comfort zone, which is why I chose GW. BC was the epitome of my comfort zone: a closed, Catholic campus close to home. Every time I visited GW, I felt overwhelmed by the size of the city and could never find my way around the campus. Meanwhile, when I visited BC, I knew where everything on the campus was to the point that I was already bored with it. Even though moving 7 hours away from home instead of 1.5 scared the living daylights out of me, I knew I had to do it to grow as a person and become more independent. Once you arrive on campus, you have to adjust and because you’ll be forced to make it work, you will. You’ll adjust, function and grow comfortable with your surroundings (even the insane city driving). You’ll adjust to college just like you adjusted to high school.  The best experiences that you can grow and learn from involve taking a chance and stepping out of your comfort zone. Just go for it. 

Go with your gut. On paper, both schools were a good option for me and I couldn’t justify picking one over the other. I loved them both, yet I made a choice. After mass on May 1st, my priest asked me where I was going next year and I jut said George Washington. I didn’t even know that I’d made up my mind yet, it just came out. An hour later I was committing to GW.

Remember you’re going to have to live there. This doesn’t mean pick your school based on the dorms, but if you’re claustrophobic, picking a school that has tiny dorm rooms and communal bathrooms (like BC) probably isn’t the best choice. Conversely, if you like to cook and are a picky eater, picking a school with no kitchens (like BC) probably isn’t too wise either.

If you do regret your decision, you can always transfer. All summer and over winter break there was nothing I wanted to do more than transfer to BC, be close to home and get away from GW. However, looking back I’m glad I didn’t. Although part of me is still uncertain whether or not I made the right choice, I know that there is no right choice… there is not right or wrong way to go in life and you have to make the best of what you decide. However, if you are absolutely miserable with the school you chose you can always transfer… just wait until after the first year, not semester, to make sure you’ve fully adjusted and are absolutely certain you want to switch schools.

When it comes down to it, the decision is yours and you’re going to have to live with it… for four years. Think back to who you were freshman year of high school and how different you are now… college is going to be the same way. The school you pick will shape you in one way or another. Your college is going to become your home and your classmates are going to become your family.

Only 2.5 weeks left until decision day… GOOD LUCK!

Getting Outside

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Spring weather has finally arrived! Because the weather here in D.C. has been sunny and over 60 degrees, I’ve been making sure to get my daily dose of fresh air. Although it’s difficult while living in a city, especially since the ‘freshness’ of the air can be questionable, it is still important to get outside and get some exercise! I’m still addicted to working out daily in the gym but I know that once May 15th arrives and I head home, I won’t be seeing an indoor workout until the fall. Here are some fun ways for you to enjoy the great outdoors while being somewhat active this spring!

  • Go to the beach: it’s not too hot or crowded yet, and the frigid winter winds are gone! grab your dog or best friend and go for a walk or a frolic down the beach!
  • Ride your bike: Every day that I’m home I bike 10 miles, even in the winter when it’s below freezing! Now that the weather has warmed up, I’m dying to get back at it. There are so many good paths or places to bike, even your yard is the perfect spot.
  • Be a tourist: This one is especially easy in D.C. This past weekend I visited the Botanical Gardens, wandered around the mall and walked to the Tidal Basin to see the Cherry Blossoms! Even if you aren’t in a typical tourist destination, head over to a cool building or a park you’ve never visited!
  • Walk to dinner (or for cupcakes): It’s now warm enough for this to be enjoyable again! I can’t wait to walk along the waterfront of Georgetown on my way to pick up cupcakes this spring.
  • Go ride (a horse): It’s officially polo season and the footing is thawed and ready to go. The snow has also melted so the woods are ready for trail rides!
  • Climb a tree: You’re never too old to do this, it’s fun and a quality upper body workout.
  • Tumble outside: Get on your lawn and do some flips, hand stands, yoga, anything! Even roll around on the ground, spin, or run in circles. Just have fun!
  • Have a picnic: Fresh air and fresh food go together like springtime and flowers. Fruits are also starting to come back into season and there’s nowhere better to enjoy them.
  • Go for a walk or hike: I’m already planning out hikes to go on this spring! One of these weekends I’ll be hiking surrounded by bluebells and hopefully climbing a new mountain to a scenic lookout.
  • Go to a playground: Swing sets are a personal favorite of mind. Just make sure you don’t try to join some children at recess… If playgrounds have too many germs for your liking or you don’t want to be seen on one, find a nice limb and build a swing in your yard for instant hours of entertainment!

Botanical Blooms

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What a fun day at the D.C. Botanical Gardens! My RA planned the trip with another hall, but I was the only one to show up from my building which worked out because I was able to make friends with some awesome people! It was so much fun to walk around and explore the gardens. After getting “rained” on one too many times by the indoor humidifiers, we headed outside to look around before going to the Library of Congress and getting our cards! That’s one item off the bucket list! Unfortunately, I forgot my license so my card is “unverified” and expires on the first of April.

On the metro back, a strange man was sprinting back and forth through the car while the train was in motion, as well as laying flat on his back in the middle of the aisle and asking people for crack and money. At one stop, he ran off the train to the opposite platform; I thought for sure that he was going the kill himself right then and there by throwing himself onto the tracks but he didn’t, thank God, and instead, ran right back onto our train. You never know what you’ll encounter in D.C. Every day’s an adventure; that’s for sure.

Outfit Details: Dress- Lilly Pulitzer Brewster T-Shirt Dress (similar), Shoes: Kate Spade Keds

Spring Break in Sarasota

This year’s spring break began with snow both in DC and at home. The frigid, gloomy weather only has me continuing to reminisce about last year’s spring break trip so I decided to share how I spent my time in Sarasota, FL last April. It was such a fun trip and managed to be jam-packed yet relaxing!

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On our first night there, we took a walk down to the beach to watch the sunset. We only stayed for a couple of minutes because we were exhausted, but it felt nice to get some fresh air and feel the sand between my toes. The following day, we visited Selby Gardens and spent the afternoon walking around. I had so much fun climbing trees, looking at tropical flowers, walking around, and especially chatting with my Grandpa and Mom. We even had lunch in the peaceful gardens; it was so good.

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Our favorite activity on this trip was driving around the coast and trying to find cool beaches. Although we ended up at the local one most of the time, it was fun to discover different spots.  I spotted an interesting looking beach from an overpass bridge near Longboat Key and pulled off the road immediately. The beach was so cool and covered in old trees and driftwood! My Mom and I almost got trapped by the tide coming back but it was worth it!

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Another activity we frequently did on this trip was drive around Sarasota and visit the state parks. We first visited Oscar Sherer State Park to walk around and explore. It was fun to walk around and climb trees, but without a bike, this park was not somewhere that I could spend a lot of time. On our way out, I discovered an old trestle which was extremely exciting because I’m obsessed with trestles.

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The following day, we road-tripped to Myakka River State Park. We climbed above and through the canopy, saw alligators, and frolicked in trees. It was fun to drive through the park and see how the Florida forest differed from that in Rhode Island. Highlights of the day included getting stuck in a tree and seeing a mommy alligator with its baby!

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Before I knew it, my time in FL had ended and I watched our final sunset through the car window. It was absolutely breathtaking. The next morning, we made a quick visit to the Ringling Gardens before getting on a plane and heading home. It was such a fun trip and I’m dying to go back and see my Grandparents.

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