What I've Been Up To Instead of Blogging

Hola amigos!  I know it's been a long while since I posted anything, and my excuse is a combination of being too busy but also somewhat lazy and uninspired.  I've had some pretty fun adventures since you last heard from me, so I just figured I would fill you in.

SPONTANEOUS SENIOR SPRING BREAK

I generally am not the type of person who values tradition, because it's always exciting to change things up from time to time.  However, spontaneous spring break trips are a tradition I don't mind at all.  Last year I booked a 2 day/1 night trip to NYC a week in advance and had a super great time.  Thanks to my grandma and aunt, I got to book a flight to Florida on a Monday and fly down the very next day to crash their vacation.  It doesn't get any more last minute than that!  I got to join them in Anna Maria Island for 2 nights, and we even got a bonus night in the Tampa airport hotel after our flight was canceled!  We sat on our deck and watched the sun rise and set every morning and evening, swam in our beautiful private pool, and walked up and down the beach many times.  I'm still really pale, but it was a much-needed break from the cold weather up here.  After arriving in Detroit, I was greeted by a long walk from the terminal to my car through multiple inches of snow, wearing Birkenstocks and no coat.  I'd be happy to fly back down to Florida any time!   

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MUSICALS, MELODRAMA, & MICHIGAN BASKETBALL, OH MY!  

There weren't really any more big events that took place in the last month or so, but some other highlights included seeing a few different musicals, Lorde's Melodrama World Tour, and watching the NCAA Championship Game in Ann Arbor.

My family loves seeing musicals, and Les Mis is definitely a favorite.  This was the musical my high school did my senior year, and I played in the orchestra.  Between all the tech week rehearsals and performances, I have probably seen it over 20 times and have every song memorized.  I also saw it on Broadway 3 or 4 years ago and cried the entire time.  Even though our high school performance was pretty good, seeing the professionals perform is obviously so much better, so I'm glad my family got to go!

A couple of weeks later, my family saw my sister perform in Beauty and the Beast.  That is definitely not one of my favorite musicals, but she did a good job.  That same day, I also saw In the Heights in Ann Arbor with a friend and my other sister.  This was put on by an entirely student-run theatre organization and it was very impressive.  As we were looking through the program while we waited for it to start, we realized that these kids are probably going to be on Broadway in a few years!

I'm actually really impressed with myself because I left the house to do something fun on a school night twice in the past week, instead of being boring and going to bed early!  The first night was to see Lorde at Little Caesars Arena.  This was the first opportunity I had to go to Little Caesars, and WOW it's nice.  The second night out was watching the Michigan basketball game at Crisler with some friends.  Even though we left early because we were losing, I'm glad I went!  I think the only other time I watched college basketball was in 2013, the last time they were playing in the National Championship game.

I decided that for the rest of the semester, I need to go back to my old schedule of sitting at home so I can study - only 26 more days until graduation!  Adios!

Authentic Storytelling

When my sisters and I were little, I remember that my mom would have us pose for pictures that she would take with her camera, but my dad would always be simultaneously recording for a minute or two at a time with his old clunky video camera.  We were well aware that he was taking a video, but in most cases I think we would just continue to stand there and smile at him.  I never understood why we had to have both photos and videos.  Wasn't one or the other good enough?  My mom would sometimes get pictures printed and we would get to look at them, but we never got to watch the videos my dad took.  Even though I didn't appreciate these clips of our memories at the time, I've definitely learned to appreciate their value over time.

Three years ago, I bought a pretty basic GoPro before going on a family vacation to Mackinac Island and the Upper Peninsula.  At the time, I had no idea what I was doing.  I just threw a memory card in the camera and started recording pretty much anything and everything.  Some of the footage I recorded is pretty useless if you're using it to make some artistic masterpiece.  For example: a clip of my mom opening the door to our hotel room, Caroline and Victoria failing to row a boat across a river, about 15 minutes of footage of me almost crying because I didn't want to jump off a cliff into Lake Superior.  When I got home, I spliced together the clips and turned it into this mediocre movie that I was proud of at the time.  Check it out!

I brought that camera on a lot of different adventures over the past couple of years.  That one went to Mackinac Island more than a few times, the UP, New York, Washington DC, Rome, Florida, and the Bahamas.  Then I got a new camera, and that one has been through Canada and New England and most recently Israel.  My next adventures for this summer and fall are currently being planned, and of course I'll be taking my camera with me.

Going back to the sweet memories of childhood, yesterday at dinner, we were looking at videos my dad took on his phone when we were on our family road trip to Denver in 2010.  We saw 10-year-old Victoria climbing up on a massive rock and posing like a super hero once she made it to the top, heard our high pitched screams as we waded in a freezing cold mountain stream, and reflected on how happy I am that I no longer look like 13 year old Madeline.  I don't think I had ever seen these videos before, but it was nice getting to relive these moments briefly.

All of these videos I've mentioned are probably the most authentic representation of our memories that we have.  If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a video must be worth 1,000,000.  I don't remember exactly how I was feeling when we were hiking through the mountains when I was 13, but you can definitely tell I was pretty annoyed and angsty by the look on my face when I became a Junior Ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park.  We can smile and pose for a picture as much as we want, but I'm convinced that a video will always be more valuable because it's telling a more authentic story.  You can see exactly what we're doing and how we're feeling, and I'd much rather hold onto all my memory cards of camera footage than an album full of pictures of perfectly posed smiling kids.

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We have been talking a lot about authenticity in one of my marketing classes, and how consumers will only buy your product or service if you tell them a good authentic story.  If you want to read a good book about marketing via telling stories, check out All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin.  It's a quick and easy read, and it has a lot of interesting examples of stories that brands tell.  I'd be happy to let you borrow my copy once my grandma is done reading it!  While videos of my family aren't going to sell you anything, but video content is becoming more and more popular in marketing because consumers crave authenticity.  Video content also captures people's attention, evokes emotion, and is more memorable than just text or audio.  I'm going to keep recording and editing videos (even though they aren't always artistic masterpieces) and maybe in the future, this hobby could turn into a career.

P.S. I started editing a new video yesterday and I intended to post it here but it's not exactly done, so stay tuned and it will be up soon!

Things I've Learned After Deleting My Social Media

Happy 1st Sunday of Lent!  It has been 5 whole days since I decided to go social media free!  Since I got a Facebook account 9 years ago, I don't think a day has gone by where I haven't logged in and sat there aimlessly scrolling, when I should have been doing something more productive or meaningful.  I don't even want to think about how many hours I have spent on social media in 9 years.

I tried this back in December so I wouldn't be able to procrastinate as much during finals week, but it was completely unsuccessful.  This time around, I am so motivated to keep it up.  I know I said in another post that my motto for 2018 is "new year, new Madeline" so maybe this is the key to getting my life together!!  That would be so exciting!!  I know there are a lot of people out there who have done similar social media detoxes and written about it on their blogs, but I just wanted to share what I've experienced so far.

It's easiest to completely cut yourself off.

Like I said above, I have tried to limit my social media usage in the past.  The last time I did this, I deleted all the apps off my phone, but could still log in on Safari.  I also decided that Pinterest wasn't *real* social media, so it was okay if I still used that whenever I wanted.  That fake social media detox lasted for about 8 hours, and by the end of the day, the apps were all back and I was constantly distracted again because I have no self control (oops).  Deleting all the apps, changing my passwords, and blocking sites on my computer is definitely better because I'm not even tempted to log in anymore.

I'm not as distracted during the day.

This is kind of an obvious effect, but I'm really excited about it!  I don't reach for my phone at a red light to check my notifications.  I wasn't late to work or school this week because I watched too many calligraphy videos on Instagram when I should have been getting ready.  I was able to get so much reading and homework done because I had no way to procrastinate.  It's kind of embarrassing to admit how addicted I am to my phone and how much time I waste every day.  Yesterday afternoon I took a nap and read a book for fun because I had free time.  It was a great day.

I don't get any more sleep than I used to.

I was really looking forward to getting a full 8 hours of sleep every night!  Pre social media detox, my usual nighttime routine involved getting ready for bed around 10pm, telling myself I'm going to fall asleep right away, then switching between Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, and Reddit for hours until everyone else is asleep and there are no new fun updates for me to read.  Now, I still plan on going to bed around 10pm, but I end up online shopping and watching ice skating videos on Youtube.  I'm thinking that this won't be a long-term problem, because I will eventually run out of money to spend, and there are only so many ice skating videos I can watch.

Overall, I think this has been pretty successful.  I'm not going to lie, I still plan on checking my accounts once a week on Sunday to look at any notifications.  After 5 days, I had 20 notifications on Facebook, 15 on Twitter, 4 on Instagram, and more Snapchats than I could count.  Hopefully after cutting social media out completely, I won't be as tempted to use it constantly after Easter.  Feel free to text me any good memes/viral tweets I'm missing out on!

Face Mask Friday Flashback!

Hello, friends!  I hope you're ready for my first Face Mask Friday Flashback post.  Like I mentioned in my intro post, I'll be telling you about all the exciting things I did the past few days, and giving you a review of a face mask I tried.  This was a pretty boring week because I had 2 midterms and a presentation (all on the same day!), and a million and one things on my to-do list at work.  There wasn't much time to do anything fun, because I was mainly concerned about just making it through the week.  After so much stress, walking out of work on Friday evening felt SO GOOD.  I got to leave on time, it was still sunny and decently warm, and I had the whole night to do whatever I wanted.

Of course, the first thing on my Friday evening agenda was stopping at the store to buy wine!  Even though I turned 21 (aka twenty-fun) a few months ago, I still know nothing about how to pick out good wine.  All I know is that I usually dislike red.  I know you're generally not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I most definitely judge a bottle of wine by its label.  Look how pretty it is!  I told my mom yesterday that my new dream job is to design wine labels.

After stopping at the store, it was time for a bath bomb and face mask!  One of my friends gave me a bath bomb from Lush for my birthday, and I finally got around to using it.  I don't even know which one it was, but it smelled good and made my skin soft.  I have used a bath bomb maybe two other times in my life, but I might start buying them more often.  Last week when I asked my sister for face mask recommendations, she told me to get Mask of Magnaminty, also from Lush.  If you can't tell already, I really like Lush.  This has to be one of my favorite face masks I've used so far!  It exfoliates, moisturizes, and smells so great.  Plus, you don't have to keep it in the fridge like other masks from Lush, which is pretty convenient.  Please go buy one because you won't regret it.

I ended my night watching the Olympics, and cried maybe 3 times because figure skating makes me emotional.  It's fine.  I love the Olympics so much, I signed up to volunteer at the 2028 summer games in Los Angeles.  I have no idea what I'll be doing 10 years from now, but I'll make sure to save up my vacation days that year and keep July 21-August 6 free.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

 
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Bullet Journaling

Over the past few years, I have switched between many different expensive planners, hoping the more money I spent on them, the more organized my life would be.  Guess what?  It never worked!

Freshman year of college, I bought the Lilly Pulitzer agenda because I thought the patterns and colors were fun.  The next year, I got the Emily Ley Simplified Planner after seeing it a stationary store and admiring the simple design.  Junior year, I tried the Erin Condren Life Planner because I loved being able to customize the cover with my monogram and choose a weekly layout that worked best for me.  This one also came with stickers which was a bonus!  Senior year, I gave up and bought an $8 planner at Homegoods because I decided that a planner was never going to help me get my life together.  This was probably a good financial decision.

Following my "new year, new Madeline" motto for 2018, I really am trying to become more of an adult and keep track of my weekly schedule, to-do list, and all the important events that pop up from time to time.  A friend from work was telling me about her bullet journal one day, and she was saying how easy and fun it is.  If being organized is easy and fun, I figured I should try it.  Also, it's completely customizable.  Crossing things off my to-do list brings me so much joy, so of course I wanted space for a to-do list on each day.  If I wanted my weeks to start on Monday instead of Sunday, I could do that too.  Since I could design this to fit my needs, I really have no excuse to give up.  I checked out a couple different options for journals but settled on a Moleskine because it was on sale.  I definitely didn't want to make the mistake (again) of buying a fancy planner and then never using it after a few weeks.

I was really discouraged at the beginning.  At this point, it was already about halfway through January, and I decided it wasn't worth it to start bullet journaling halfway through the month.  I also generally hate my handwriting, can't doodle very well, and didn't have any fancy pens.  I should also mention that my friend from work is a graphic designer, so of course I had extremely high expectations for myself after seeing how cute hers turned out.  It took me days to actually write in it.  There were a few nights when I tried to set up a monthly calendar and ended up throwing the journal across my room because the line I tried to draw wasn't perfectly straight.

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The night of January 31, I felt like I was under pressure because if I was going to start this, it had to be on February 1.  Once I got started, I actually really enjoyed setting everything up!  After doing 2018 cover page, I wrote out my annual calendar with important dates listed next to each month.  This was fun because I got to think of all the exciting things I have coming up in the future.  It was also kind of scary because I have no idea what I have to put on my calendar after I graduate in April!  The second half of the year is completely blank!  After that, I thought it would be fun to make a cover page for February.  Then I did my monthly calendar, and then the weekly layout.

I'm really hoping that this becomes a habit over time, and I guess I can give you an update on how it's going toward the end of the month.  Feel free to check out (and follow) my bullet journal inspiration Pinterest board. I'll be trying to incorporate some of those cute elements into my March pages so it's a little more attractive.

Do you have a bullet journal?  Feel free to share your experiences or recommandations in the comments!

Hello, friends.

Hello, friends, and welcome to my blog! 

Generally, I feel like people who blog are super interesting, have cool stories to tell, or are extremely knowledgeable on certain topics.  I personally do not feel like I meet any of those requirements.  I also don't particularly enjoy writing in the first place.  At this point, you may be asking:

SO WHY ARE YOU BLOGGING? 

This blog is part of a class assignment.  I'm in my last semester at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and I'm taking a digital analytics and content marketing class.  I had absolutely no idea what I was signing up for when I registered for this class, but I'm actually looking forward to it (and I didn't just say that because my professor is probably reading this).

I came up with the name Mochas with Madeline when my professor said we had to blog about something we enjoy.  In my free time, I like to sit in coffee shops.  I also like crafting, cooking, or anything DIY.  And finally, my favorite part of the week is Face Mask Friday.

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Since those are some of my favorite things, from here on out, my posts will fall into three different categories.

#1. COFFEE SHOP CONVERSATIONS 

It is my goal to make it to as many metro Detroit coffee shops as I can by the end of the semester.  I have a few favorites that I visit regularly, but I am always ready to try something new.  Plus, I only have so many more days to study in coffee shops before I graduate in April!  My goal with these posts is to highlight some things I like about each establishment.  As of right now, I'm thinking about rating the coffee, the aesthetic, things like the amount of seating, light, and power outlets, and overall experience.  And I'll probably think of more categories as I visit.  Think Four Weddings but for coffee shops.

#2. TRY IT TUESDAY

Since I love doing fun creative things, but never make time for it on a regular basis, I am most excited for Try It Tuesdays.  I love Tuesdays as it is because I don't have to work, I get out of class early in the day, and This is Us is on.  This is going to make them even better!  I have a growing list of artsy projects, recipes, and other things I'd like to try and I'm excited to share the results (even if they aren't Pinterest-perfect).

#3. FACE MASK FRIDAY FLASHBACKS

Coming home on a Friday night after work or class has to be one of the best feelings in the entire world, and it's even better when I know I have a relaxing night ahead of me.  Anyone who knows me well knows that face mask Friday is a very important ritual for me.  Since I am going to be reviewing coffee shops, I might as well start reviewing the face masks I use every week.  I will be partnering with my good friend Maria Radu (www.themariaradu.com) for these posts.  Maria knows so much about skincare and makeup, so she can recommend products to me.  Hopefully she'll be nice and give me some good ideas!  In addition, I'll be giving you a brief update about my week, and I'll try to make it as interesting as possible.

So that's just a brief overview of what you can expect from me over the next few months (or for forever if I love being a blogger).  I hope you enjoy!