September 22, 2017

The Time I Almost Dropped Out of Law School

Sometimes law school is tough. Here's why I stayed | brazenandbrunette.com

Well guys this post is about two years coming and every time I've sat down to write it I've ended up changing my mind because I don't want to scare off any potential law students. My opinion is that there's enough people out there saying don't go to law school that I want to be that one voice saying yes go and follow your dreams! But the reality of life is that there's bumps along the way of following your dreams, so I thought I'd share my story so that people can be somewhat prepared for the bumps or feel comforted that they're not alone if they're already having bumps. Also, for all of you who have read my old-old posts, you'll notice this writing style is back to how I used to write because it's more in diary form than law school advice form #flashbackfriday Buckle up because it's about to get real personal.

Stressor #1

This story takes place during the first semester of my 1L year which I think is by far the hardest semester of school that you'll encounter. It's a major adjustment and you're so nervous/insecure. In my Legal Research and Writing class, my professor's syllabus said that all assignments are due by 5PM and you are only allowed one late submission and anything after that is a missed assignment. This would've been fine except for on our first real day of class we were supposed to read a short case and make a brief over it, print it out and bring it to class so that our professor can make sure we know how to brief properly. But true story, I was planning on printing my brief while I was in the library over my lunch break but then ended up having a photo shoot for this pic and completely forgot and showed up to class without it. A few other students forgot too and my professor was like that's fine just email it to me and this is your one late paper. Then a few weeks later we had our first research assignment. I completed the assignment just fine but then that night at like 11:45 I'm sitting on my couch watching TV and I realize omfg I forgot to email in that assignment before 5!! FYI- this is why I tell you to set alarms for due dates. Since I'd already used my one late pass, I figured I'd just bite the bullet and take the 0. I'm a decent writer so I was pretty confident that this wouldn't fail me but I was still stressing about how this would affect my GPA and class rank which could compromise my chances of transferring. 

Stressor #2

Then we had a midterm test in Property. This was my only midterm that semester that counted as a grade and wasn't just to see how the class was doing. My professor made this 20% of our grade and it was all about future interests because he said that's always what people bomb on the final so we'd get it out of the way and not have to worry about it. Let me tell y'all something, I'm terrible at future interests. It was actually what I had to talk about during my very first law school cold call and let's just say it wasn't exactly smooth sailing. So yeah, I spent like a week watching videos and taking quizzes on Quimbee but the light bulb wasn't coming on. I thought I did okay on the test until we got our grades back. Out of 15 questions, I got 7 right, which I thought wasn't too bad until I overheard other classmates complaining because they only got 12 right and heard that a few students had gotten 14 right. When you put this on a curve, I might as well have only gotten 3 right if literally everyone else did better than me. Then I got to thinking about how bad I was going to do on the final that covers all the topics if I did this badly on a midterm that covered just one topic. 

Stressor #3

After this, back in my LRW class we were just starting to do research for our memo that we were going to spend the rest of the semester working on. Obviously since we were all new to this we all had a lot of questions for my professor and he kept referring us back to the syllabus. This is when I found something terrible. Quick back story, apparently at my old school they had had a problem with people not taking their Legal Research and Writing class seriously and treating it more like a blow-off class since it's only one hour. Their solution to this was to make a rule that if you miss any assignment then you can't take the final so essentially you're forced to fail the class. AND GUESS WHO HAD MISSED AN ASSIGNMENT. Yeah, that's right. And in the Spring you continue LRW with the same classmates and professor and work on your brief. So if I failed LRW 1, I couldn't take LRW 2 in the Spring and would have to completely retake the whole thing and be a year behind on my writing requirement. Plus failing a class tanks your GPA and ranking so now my goal of transferring was completely out the window. 

Panic

So needless to say, my literal failing of my Property midterm topped off with my inevitable failing of LRW as a whole hit me really hard and obviously I didn't take it well. I called my friends bawling and when they would offer the typical "It's okay everything will be alright" I screamed back at them about how everything would in fact not be all right because I was going to fail out of law school my first semester. Here I was in a new city 9 hours away from my family stuck with $30k of debt already and a year-long lease. Plus I had no back-up plans. I mean I was a Spanish major who wasn't fluent so like what kind of job was I going to do?? And I kept thinking about how disappointing it would be to tell my parents that I couldn't even make it four months in law school and how embarrassing it would be when everyone found out that I flunked out. TBH, this is the real reason why I stopped blogging. I was in no position to give advice and was too embarrassed to admit reality to myself let alone blast it on the Internet.

Struggling

This was also at a time where one of my friends was in the last semester of grad school and worrying about graduation/finding a job, another friend was just starting grad school and busy studying all the time, and another had just joined a new student org and gotten a job, two were having their college classes finally start to get hard, and my parents and sister were trying to plan her wedding that was in a few months. I just felt like my whole support system was too busy for me and definitely didn't understand what it's like to be in law school

Later when I met up with the guy who's essentially the guidance counselor at my school (post recapping that coming soon) I actually found out that I had been experiencing signs of depression. I was going through the motions of school but would just sit through class waiting for it to be over so I could go home; I just didn't see the point in putting in effort when I knew it was all about to be over. I stopped volunteering in class or chatting with my classmates. Since everyone in my life was really busy and I lived alone, I would go literal days without even talking out loud. It got to be extremely lonely. And then when one of my best friends was going to come see me while she was visiting her sister, I just ditched her because I couldn't make myself pretend like I wasn't dying on the inside. On the weekends I would lay in bed all day just staring at the ceiling. It even got so bad that I completely lost my appetite and I'm usually a stress eater. The only reason why I would eat was because I would get such bad headaches and get light headed so I had to force myself to eat a piece of toast and would gag at the thought of food. I also would take sleeping pills and go to bed at 10 but would just lay there wide awake until the sun came up and feel shitty and tired all the next day but still couldn't sleep. I completely lost myself and didn't know what to do. Literally the only reason why I didn't just go in to the registrar's office and withdraw is because I had no other plan and couldn't bring myself to give up on my dream even when it felt like it was giving up on me.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Finally one day after class I got the courage to go up to my LRW professor and literally with tears in my eyes explained to him what happened with that first assignment and begged him to let me submit it so I wouldn't fail the class. Luckily this professor was really chill and super sweet and was like yeah just email me! And my whole world improved. And then in Property, we started going over real property. Y'all I've been an HGTV addict for over a decade and so I already knew alllll of this stuff! Leases, HOA fees, real estate agent duties. It was so easy for me to learn! So I decided to try really really hard for that last month and cried actual tears of joy when I got a B- in my LRW class and a C+ in Property (there was still a lot I wasn't so great on). I just couldn't believe how the semester had turned around from me thinking I was going to flunk out to me somehow getting my shit together and ending in the top half of my class ranking. I have literally never felt happier or more proud of myself than when I realized that I had survived that semester. 

The moral of this saga is that there will be bumps. Admittedly, I didn't handle mine that well but I had no clue what to do. My only advice to you is don't give up and keep trying. I'm so glad that I didn't drop out (even if I was barely mentally there for a few weeks) because now here I am. I wouldn't have been able to transfer schools or have this blog or any of the other many wonderful things that's happened in my life since then if I would have just thrown in the towel. Also, use me as an example and realize that pretty much everyone around you in class, even the ones who seem like they have their life together, are struggling in one way or another because law school is literally hard for everyone. Remember that you're not alone and you're not a failure when you hit those bumps. Just anchor down and ride out the storm when it gets hard and believe in yourself no matter what. Ok... stepping off my soapbox now, but if any of you are having a rough time, just know that I'm always a comment, email, or message away and I'll be here for you because I know what it's like!!

September 18, 2017

Law School Supplements Explained


Being a blogger is so weird sometimes. The other day I was getting into my car to go to work and I thought wow how have I never written a post about what people are talking about when they're referring to supplements? and so here we are! I'm going to cover all of the ones that I can think of, but if I miss something please comment below so that I can update this! I just want my readers to be the most in-the-know students 💁🏻


Outlines


Outlines are the #1 study method in law school and because of this, everyone you meet is going to have a different opinions on outlines. So here's mine— outlines you make > outlines you get from upperclassmen > commercial outlines. Outlines are very casebook and professor specific. Outlines you make are the best because you're going to have a shitton of information to memorize for your final, so by re-reading your notes and re-writing the rules you're actually reviewing and working on memorizing the information. Outlines from upperclassmen can be helpful but only if they've had your same professor and book. If your class doesn’t use a book then the outline to that book would be full of cases that you didn’t even read and missing on a lot of cases that you are expected to know. I even have friends who have offered me their outlines because we had the same book but because they had a different professor than me, I don’t even bother because for all I know, my professor really emphasized Chapter 21 because he thought it was important but her professor only assigned 10 pages from Ch. 21 because he didn’t think it was important. That’s another big reason of why I don’t trust commercial outlines.

If you’re stressing about outlines or just want a little guidance, the best thing that you can do is join a student organization. Ask before you join what outlines they have because a good one will have an outline for almost every from a student who at least got a B. That way you know you’re getting the relevant information. My advice to you so that you don’t end up with a C- in every class is that if you do get ahold of an outline, don’t just study that! The best way to use someone else’s outline is to print it out with you (preferably double space) and then fill it out during class with any information you think should be added. That way you have less notes to take during class and can focus on listening, but then still get a lot of information in your class. And then take that filled-out outline and use that along with your other in-class notes to make your own outline. 

I know a lot of new 1Ls stress about what an outline should even look like or how to structure them, so I've uploaded my Civ Pro outline for y'all to see as an example of what you can do. Mine tend to be bare-boned and just what I want to memorize, but I know a lot of other students feel like they benefit from having full sentences and more information in theirs. Also, if you read through this after you finish your own Civ Pro class, you’ll see what I mean about how it really helps to have the same book and same professor for an accurate outline. You can view my outline example here. But if you're still stressing, Quimbee's outlines that they just came out with look like they're very straightforward and I personally do trust this company. I also know that a lot of my classmates prefer to use the Emanuel's outlines to help them.

Related: How to turn your class notes into an outline


Scripts


Another thing that organizations sometimes have for upper level students is what’s referred to as a script which is basically a whole bunch of people got together and wrote down everything from that class, that you can use to follow along and build your own outline from. Those are more helpful once you’re a 2L/3L because then you can just read their 4 pages over chapter 1 instead of all 42 pages of chapter 1 and still get the main information.

I started using scripts that I was given this year and they definitely are a big help. I read them before class and then I'm prepared for questions that my professor might ask me (you never actually look forward to the Socratic method) and it allows me to be able to juggle preparing for class, working, and mediating. The one thing that I've learned since using these is don't think you won't need to take notes since you basically have what the professor's going to talk about. I still take notes just as if I didn't have the script or else it would be really hard for me to take all 220 pages of the script and turn it into an outline. Plus, it helps you pay attention in class because it can be extra tempting to zone out when you have the script right there.


Case briefs


Case briefs are another thing that are basically essential to survive in any law school class. The usefulness of these is that it forces you to pay attention as you're reading. The bad part is that they can take a really long time when you're having to stop what you're reading and write it down. I always say that for your first few months of law school, you really should be practicing your briefing skills because you will need these as an actual lawyer. But once you've practiced enough and really just need the briefs for the Socratic method, you can use commercial briefs. 

I personally recommend using Quimbee because that's what I've been using and I think their briefs are great. Quimbee will have subject-specific briefs. If their subject matches your subject, this is really helpful because it’ll cut out all the crap that you won’t need. They have all the major books and the only one they never got was because it was one that a professor from my own law school had written so they never got that. If Quimbee has your book, then you’ll be set and it’s amazing. Even if they don’t have your book, they might still have some of the cases. So like the book they didn’t have but then got was my contracts book but I would just search for the case and then sometimes they’d have it because it was in another contracts book. 

Related: Using Quimbee to help understand law school subjects

You do have to pay for Quimbee (put I seriously believe that you get what you pay for) but there's also Casebriefs (free) and Oyez (free). Oyez is just better than Casebriefs, but neither are subject-specific so you will get all the information. But both will give you the facts of the case and the issue and the holding. 


Practice problems


E&E stands for Examples and ExplanationsAll they are is practice problems and answers. The practice problems will really help you see how to best answer a question. And yes they're a "commercial supplement" but y'all my commercial law professor had us doing Bar prep questions as practice problems and I could easily tackle them because I remembered what the E&E had taught me. If you spend the majority of your time going through these practice problems, it will really help you understand your outline as your review it. When I study, I do about 50% practice problems, 30% memorizing flash cards, and 20% reviewing my outline. In my opinion, E&Es are right up there with outlines as far as what you have to be doing for finals. Another great practice problems options are the Q&A books. Either way, I strongly suggest you either buy some practice problem books or see if your library has any to rent. I'm not kidding when I say doing these practice problems will really help you prepare for the final and help with your timing. And if you're a 1L who has no clue what type of questions to expect on your final, these are pretty close to what you'll have.


Summaries 


Another thing that is common for people to use to study with as it gets closer to time to study for finals (which starts 6 weeks before dead day) are summaries. The reason for a summary is that you can read a quick condensed version of your class to refresh your memories. But also I know some students actually prefer to read these before class starts so that you know what you're going to learn. While I don't think this is necessary in any way, I can see how it will help calm your nerves a bit when you've already started tackling understanding the tough subjects, so it's totally up to you how extra you want to be. One of my friends had to miss about a total of 2 weeks throughout the semester because of a family illness and he used the Short and Happy books and got the exact same grade as me so even though I've never personally used a summary, apparently they can help. Another popular summaries brands are the CrunchTime books and Gilbert's Law Summaries.


Flashcards


Lastly (well of what I can think of) there's flashcards. I like to make flashcards on Quizlet of the rule with the elements on the back or the case name with the rule on the back. But I know that one thing that's really popular for 1Ls are commercial flashcards like Law in a Flash. Commercial flashcards usually go beyond what I put on mine and even have hypothetical questions with the answers on the back. The only downside to this is that they don't have explanations for why the answer is right quite like E&E or Q&A books do. But they're great to review with either on weekends or at the beginning of studying for finals. 

September 15, 2017

How to Write the Perfect Thank You

How to write a scholarship thank you. How to write an interview thank you. How to write a gift thank you. How to write a thank you note. How to write a thank you letter. How to write a thank you email. What to put in a thank you. | brazenandbrunette.com

Sorry I missed Wednesday but I'm back again friends! Today's post is all about the art of the thank you note. I'm from a small Texas town where manners are huge so I've written tons of thank you's for everything from graduation presents to buying my animal at the stock show. I know it sounds old-fashioned but you'd be surprised how much it will really mean to someone when you show a little gratitude. And if they're someone who was raised like I was, it seems very rude when you are expecting a thank you from someone and then you get nothing in return. So long story short, write a thank you! 

Personally my favorite are hand-written thank you's because they are much more personal. For those, it's really worth it to invest in some quality thank you cards and if you can, get matching self-addressed envelopes so you don't have to write your name and address over and over again. But if you have a lot of thank you's to write like with graduation gifts, it's fine to just order bulk thank you cards and then get return address labels (I promise you'll use these a LOT in life). What I always do is write out what I'm going to say on a piece of paper and then copy that word-for-word to make sure that I don't accidentally screw up and have to waste an entire card. I also highly recommend getting smear-proof pens because you don't want to give someone a sloppy thank you.


The Scholarship Thank You

If someone gives you money you better be sending them a thank you note! Don't bite the hand that feeds ya, right? Start off by addressing the full committee/organization that gave you the award, don't just thank the treasurer or whoever signed the check. If your school gave you the scholarship, you can just address it to the school president. Then go right into the thanks. Make sure you include the name of the scholarship and thank them for selecting you to receive it. Next I usually give them a quick background of who I am, what grade I am in, and what my career plans are, just so they know who it was that they're giving all this money to. After that, I usually talk about how the money will be used/make school better for me. Just something to remind them of why they were right to pick you. End it full circle by again thanking them for the scholarship and telling them how much it means to you and then sign it!

Dear Members of the Amarillo Bar Association,

I greatly appreciate you awarding me the Amarillo Bar Foundation Scholarship for the 2017-2018 school year. I was born and raised near Amarillo so receiving this scholarship felt like support from my home and encourages me to continue my legal education. I am currently a 3L and am interested in hopefully pursuing a successful career in the civil legal field. As I'm sure you're all aware of, law school is extremely expensive so I appreciate the opportunity to focus on studying rather than on taking out yet another student loan just to cover books and eventually Bar prep. Thank you again for selecting me to receive your scholarship and for supporting my dreams.

Sincerely,

/s/ Nikki Boyd


The Interview Thank You

Ok so this is probably time-sensitive so this will actually likely be an email instead of an actual note. I like to send mine the evening after an interview once I've relaxed and then it will be one of the first things in their inbox in the morning. Since this is an email, it can be short and sweet (especially since they're probably busy and have 50 other emails to read that day). The trick to this is to be professional and business like while still being warm and personal. You don't want this to sound like something you send to everyone and just replace the name.

Obviously start off with Dear Mr./Mrs. Whoever. Then again the first thing you want to do right out of the door is thank them for taking the time to meet with you/call you/however y'all did the interview. Then hit it hard on the personal. If you two have something in common, throw in how you appreciated meeting someone you have something in common with. If you talked about anything interesting, do a follow up on how you're still thinking about it. If they cracked a joke, let them know how much you appreciate them making the situation more comfortable. Just find a way to connect with them and work it into the letter. Next, do a quick elevator pitch one last time because after all this is still a future employer. Even just a little mention about how you can fit the job description that they described during the interview can help you sell yourself one last time. Just don't make this a cover letter disguised as a thank you. And then easy-peasy end it by thanking them again and maybe even wishing them a good day. Since you've already spent the entire letter thanking them, I think the best salutation is Best or Sincerely instead of another Thank You since at some point you get redundant. And if this is an email, there's no use to do your name and then the 4 spaces because you won't be singing this.

Dear Mr. Sir (ha Holes reference),

I wanted to quickly thank you for taking the time to get to know me yesterday. Interviews can be stressful, so I am grateful for how comfortable you and Stanley made me feel while we were talking. Office has been my top choice because the work experience you offer coincides exactly with the type of law that I hope to practice. The values-based culture and focused environment of Office is what excites me the most about beginning my legal career here [we had talked about their values a lot in the interview]. After learning more about the responsibilities and requirements of working with your in-house counsel, this externship feels like a perfect fit for me. I know that this would be a job I would enjoy and learn first-hand what it takes to be successful at providing counsel for a company while maintaining positive relationships with its clients. Again, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me and have a great Tuesday.

Sincerely,

Nikki Boyd 

The Gift Thank You

People sleep on gift thank you's but if anyone over 30 gives you a gift, write them a thank you. This is you investing in future gifts because if you write them a thank you then they'll like you more, and if they like you then you'll get more gifts! But for real though just be polite. In the words of James Franco, this letter will be same same, but different from the others. The basic formula will be, thank them for the gift, tell them how you'll use it/how they gave such a great gift, most likely you know them so throw in something personal, and then thank them again.

Dear Boyd Family,

Thank you so much for the laundry hamper that you gave me for graduation. It seems like no matter how often I do laundry I always end up with a full hamper so I am grateful for the large and sturdy one that you picked for me! I know that I will be getting the full use out of it daily. I also wanted to thank you for taking the time to watch me walk the stage. I can't wait until Nikki graduates next year and I can be there to cheer her on as she gets her diploma. Thanks for supporting me for these past four years and always welcoming me as if I were a member of the family.

Sincerely,

/s/ Nikki Boyd

Nikki Boyd


See guys, all it takes is 10 minutes out of your day and 1 paragraph to be a good person! Of course you can always stretch these out to even a paragraph per part of the formula if you ever need it to be closer to a page long. Just remember that the key is to make it personal! Make sure that you remind them of who you are if you think they won't remember you and make sure that you connect yourself to the adressee and whatever it is you're thanking them for. Just remember that even though it's tempting to get lazy, people can always tell if you're being insincere and they'll recognize if you say the same thing to them twice. Get in the habit of writing a thank you note for everything and boom look at you adulating. Plus, manners never go out of style! 

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September 11, 2017

Fab Fit Fun Subscription Box Review

Fab Fit Fun subscription box review. FFF review. Is Fab Fit Fun worth it? What is Fab Fit Fun? Should I get Fab Fit Fun? How much is Fab Fit Fun?  Fab fit fun unboxing. Try Fab Fit Fun. Fab Fit Fun coupon. Fab Fit Fun discount. Michael Stars Ruana review. bkr Little Water Bottle review. Spongellé Bulgarian Rose Body Wash Infused Buffer review. RealHer Playbook Eyeshadow Pallete review. LUV AJ Full Bloom Lariat review. Dr. Brandt Pore Dermabrasion review. Briogeo Rosarco Blow Dry Protection Heat Protectant Crème review. Manna Kadar Lucky Lip Locked Stain review. Milly Zip Pouch review.

After a little back and forth, I decided to subscribe to Fab Fit Fun this summer! I had just got paid so I made the jump and subscribed for a full year of boxes, one each season (you get a discount for paying yearly). I'm at the awkward part of law school where I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, yet I still feel like school will never end (probably since I've been going to school non-stop since I was 3). I thought the FFF box could be a little reward to myself for making it through each of these next semesters and then surviving each few months in the real world after that. 

I signed up too late to get the Summer 17 box (bummer), so instead they sent me the Editor's Box. After messaging with Libby of Blondegalese, who I've designated as my FFF go-to guru, I've found out that the Editor's Box is basically like your welcome package and has a few items that were popular in the last box plus some other little extras. I've finally played around with all of my items long enough that I can write about them! The Fall 17 boxes are shipping this week so if you're interested in FFF, sign up now 😄


The FFF company

First off let me say that this is a great company! I got excited and subscribed to FFF before Libby had the chance to send me a referral code so I could get $10 off my order. All I had to do was email them explaining what happened and give them mine and Libby's email address and they retroactively applied the discount for me!

Not only this, but their site is great. You get access to a ton workout video. Plus they send out little emails with everything from tips on how to use the products you receive (styling inspo) to recipes to articles on how-to life from the FFF magazine. I wish they would include this little magazine in our boxes though instead of it just being all online because I forget to go online. The only little booklet they include is just an insta roundup from people posting pictures with your box (maybe someday I'll make it on here). So overall, yeah I like the company behind the box.

Michael Stars Ruana

I'll be honest with y'all, when I first pulled this out I thought it was just a lightweight scarf/shoulder wrap and was like yeah I probably won't be using this unless I travel back to Europe. But then I found the little slits on the side and realized that this is perfect to turn into a skirt cover-up for going to the pool. Usually I wear a sorority tank over my swimsuit so I did feel a little overdressed, but I got a lot of compliments on it from all the other girls in sorority tanks! My goal is to take a much needed beach vacay or cruise after I take the Bar next year and I'm already planning on packing this with me.




bkr Little Water Bottle

This is a glass water bottle, but I'm not too worried about breaking it because it comes with a cute neon-pink rubber sleeve which is basically like a koozie. I've only used this for water once because I drink well over a gallon every day (it's like the one healthy thing about me) and I drank all of this in like 15 minutes while chatting with a friend. But I've found a better use for it! It's now my go-to bottle to pack orange juice in when I pack a brunch picnic and need mimosas. The mouth hole is a little small so if you do this make sure you get a funnel!



Spongellé Bulgarian Rose Body Wash Infused Buffer

This has been Ryan's favorite thing that I got haha! I shaved and then used this up and down my legs and he said it makes my legs sooo smooth. I even convinced him to use it a little on his feet because they're scratchy and I'm glad that it works on guys too. I've been using this one bath a week since I got it and it still hasn't fallen apart so it's definitely long lasting. PS- if you watched the live boxing video, I realized that this is what made the box smell so good



RealHer Playbook Eyeshadow Pallete

Makeup was the number one reason why I didn't want to get FFF because I don't need a box of makeup since that's always been my mom's go-to stocking stuffer for me at Christmas. At first when I got this I was like well I don't really need this and was a wee bit annoyed that I'd paid for something I didn't need. 

But then I remembered how I had been planning on buying a new travel-size Naked palette to keep in my travel makeup bag and now I didn't have to! This summer I've decided to keep a bag of smaller makeup items that are always packed so that I don't have to be constantly loading and unloading all of my makeup for each trip, so this worked out perfectly. The only thing that I thought was a little weird about this was that the lid said Do Your Squats and I'm just very confused as to why that's on a makeup palette?? 




LUV AJ Full Bloom Lariat

To be honest with y'all, this was my least favorite item that I got in my box. On the little survey they had me do, I put that I didn't really want that much jewelry because besides my Kendras or my pearls I usually don't wear jewelry. This is like a body chain and I don't really have a reason to wear those but I do wish I would've had it when I went to Vegas. The reason why I it's not my favorite is because the chain chinks really easily and I tried hard to make it straight for the picture but I just couldn't get it to go.



Dr. Brandt Pore Dermabrasion

I was instantly excited when I pulled this out of the box because a beauty blogger that I follow has mentioned this before and she has pretty expensive taste so I knew I was getting a steal with this! I've been using it just once a week since my skin gets dry easily, but I can really tell a difference. My problem area is always my nose so I was really excited when I saw how well this cleaned out and minimized my pores. 

One warning about this product- don't use it right before a big day. I had originally planned on using it on my back-to-school spa night but couldn't wait and ended up using it that night and I'm glad I didn't wait! Even though I clean my face daily with my Clarisonic, this made my face breakout pretty bad. But that's a good think and it wasn't because it was a reaction or anything, it's just that it got all the junk that was down in my pores. I'm glad that I got all of that out and my skin was really great for the first day of school!




Briogeo Rosarco Blow Dry Protection Heat Protectant Crème

This was another thing that I was super excited to pull out! I'm trying to grow out my hair right which means I'm trying to go longer and longer between hair trims. See normally people tell you to actually go get your hair trimmed if you want your hair to grow out, but what they're really saying is that you need to get rid of your split ends. But a better strategy would be to just prevent split ends so there's nothing that needs to be trimmed. 

My hair stylist told me that if I wanted to stop getting so many trims, I would need to start using a heat protectant on my hair. So long story short I've been wanting to get this before I got it and I just hand't gotten around to it. I got my hair trimmed right before I got this and ever since I have been using this after every shower. Because of work, I basically have been either straightening or curling my hair every single day and my ends are still smooth AF so I'm very happy I started using this.


Manna Kadar Lucky Lip Locked Stain

At first I wasn't sure I'd even like his because it looks a lot more like lip gloss than lip stain. When I was like 15 I was obsessed with Victoria's Secret lip gloss, so I feel like a decade later I should definitely be passed that. But luckily this isn't too glossy (although it is shiny) and the color is a great color. I had been planning to just buy some makeup here and there so that I could fill up my makeup travel bag without having to spend a lot of money, but it looks like FFF is helping me out. 


Milly Zip Pouch

This was another item that really made me wish that I was going to the beach real soon. This pouch is actually surprisingly big and it can definitely hold a full swim suit. It's actually kind of smart to have so that you can change into dry undies instead of sitting in a wet suit all day so I'm excited to get to use this. Besides just using it as a swimsuit bag, it also would make a great makeup or toiletries bag while you're traveling! 



So that is all that was in my first FFF box and I'm excited that I should get my Fall box this week already! If you want to try Fab Fit Fun, you can sign up here or just click the picture below!


September 8, 2017

25 Things You Don't Know About Me

So you guys tomorrow I turn 25 and now I'm just waiting for the quarter-life crisis to happen any minute now haha. To celebrate this milestone, I wanted to write a post about 25 pieces of life advice that I've learned in the past 25 years but really all I could think of is everything happens for a reason (because it does). Anyways so then I decided that I could instead share a little bit about myself with y'all for this post. | brazenandbrunette.com

So you guys tomorrow I turn 25 and now I'm just waiting for the quarter-life crisis to happen any minute now haha. To celebrate this milestone, I wanted to write a post about 25 pieces of life advice that I've learned in the past 25 years but really all I could think of is everything happens for a reason (because it does). Anyways so then I decided that I could instead share a little bit about myself with y'all for this post. 

Ever since I decided to not be an anon blogger once my blog turned one, I've wanted to share some tidbits of my life with y'all so that I'm not just some rando to you. I've seen a few bloggers that I follow do posts similar to this and I always love them because it makes reading the blog more personal. So here we go!


1. My name is not Nicole. 
My parents used to jokingly call me "just Nikki" when I was little because when I introduced myself to people they'd always ask if my name was short for Nicole and my response was always no it's just Nikki.


2. My parents also call me Mouth of the South because I have a tendency to talk really loudly, 
especially when I'm telling a story.


3. I also have earned the nickname Picky Nikki because I'm a very picky eater. 
The picky-eater-safe dish of chicken strips and french fries? No and no.


4. If I could only live on one dish for the rest of my life, it'd be Torchy's chips and queso. 
Oh and probably a taco too to add some nutrition in there.


5. I grew up in a farming town of about 3,000 people so I have a very different upbringing from all of my friends. 
When I'm drunk or when I'm home or especially when I'm drunk at home, I get a pretty heavy hick accent.


6. I have one cat, Pip (it was Pippa but then I found out she was a he). He was a stray that I cat-napped my 1L year. 
I also have a dog Squirt (named after the turtle in Finding Nemo) who stays at my parents house because they have a huge backyard.


7. Sometimes I regret being a Spanish major because people always assume I'm fluent. 
I switched majors my junior year so while my grammar is 👌🏼 my vocab is still a little limited.


8. I'm covered in freckles. 
I even have freckles on my lips, palms, and the bottom of my feet.


9. Because I was born on 9/9, I have always had a hard time knowing if you're supposed to write the date or the month first. 
Living in Spain worsened this because they do it opposite of the US. 


10. I'm a Methodist. 
Say it with me now— opening our doors, sharing Christ, and making disciples.


11. Easter is my favorite holiday. I love everything about it!!


12. I have like 4 friends because I always prefer to be really, really close with a few people than just close with a bigger group.


13. Don't let me blogging fool you. I'm incredibly shy in real life. 
All of my friends know that if we go out to dinner, they'll have to go ask the waitress for me because I won't on my own.


14. I have never seen or read any of Harry Potter. 
I know everyone loves it but I just never got in to it as a kid. 


15. Whenever I sneeze, it's like 6+ times. 
I actually sneezed several times instead of crying when I was born. 
Professors even have to stop lecturing until I'm done because it's so disruptive 😳 
and people always think I'm like really sick or something. 


16. I'm the baby of the family and absolutely live up to that stereotype. 


17. I jokingly refer to myself as a "medical miracle" because when I was little my doctor looked at my growth charts 
and told my mom that I'd be lucky to make it to 5 foot. 
Yet here I am, exceeding expectations at 5'2"


18. I tear up every time I see a chubby baby or a bunny because I'm overcome with cuteness. I seriously can't control it.


19. I'm obsessed with Apple products and force all of my friends to download the public betas with me. 
(if you want to too, here ya go)


20. I actually don't like surprises. 
I'm too nosy so I don't like not being in-the-know, even if it's a surprise for me.


21. My drink is a Chilton. It's the unofficial official drink of Lubbock.


22. I love Texas country. Casey Donahew Band's Moving On is my shit.


23. I have a blood-curdling scream. My friends won't watch scary movies with me because they say 
my scream is scarier than the movie.



24. If I wasn't pursuing law, I'd probably want to be a pilot.
One of my life goals is to get my pilot's license.


25. I absolutely love traveling! I've been to:

Cruises: Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, Grand Cayman, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, MexicoPuerto Rico 
Mission trips: Ecuador
People to People: England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales 
Study abroad: Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Morocco, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain (plus Canary Islands and Gibraltar), Switzerland

September 6, 2017

Small Apartment Cleaning Checklist

Small apartment cleaning checklist. One bedroom apartment cleaning checklist. How to clean your apartment. What to clean in your apartment. Spring cleaning checklist. What to clean in your apartment daily. What to clean in your apartment weekly. What to clean in your apartment bi-weekly. How to clean in your apartment monthly. What to clean in your apartment seasonly. How to clean your apartment. | brazenandbrunette.com

Happy (late) September! Ryan and I spent all of this weekend cleaning so that we could enjoy Labor Day off. Actually, we clean a little every Sunday and then at the beginning of every month we do a deep clean. Then once it officially becomes Fall, we'll do an even deeper cleaning. It's a lot easier to just stay on top of your cleaning schedule then you never feel overwhelmed by all of it. Plus if you're renting, this is really important to make sure you don't get charged a cleaning fee when you move out or at least you won't be stuck scrubbing stains off your bathtub. PS I recommend you first get some cleaning gloves so that your hands don't dry out from all the cleaning. 


Daily

Make bed - It's a little thing to do everyday that's quick and easy but is sooo nice to come home to!

Turn dirty clothes right-side out and put in hamper - If you go ahead and flip your shirts the right way, that will make folding and putting up your clothes that much easier. Except for your jeans, those actually was better inside-out because it prevents fading.

Put dirty dishes in sink/dishwasher - Make sure that you rinse them off or else the days-old food will really make your place start stinking.


Top off pet's water - I have
this water fountain for my cat (but it works for dogs too) and it constantly circulates the water to keep it fresh This means my cat actually drinks a lot of water so every day I have to top it daily.

Wipe crumbs off counters - This is super important! If you don't wipe down your counters every day, you're going to end up with a major ant or gnat or cockroach problem.

Pick up trash and throw it away - It keeps your house smelling and looking nice when you don't have empty chip bags or dirty paper towels lying around.


Put everything back in its place - If you do this every day, it should never really take you longer than 10 minutes. Put your shoes back in your closet, pack your backpack, hang up your jacket and boom your place looks tidy AF.

Weekly

Wash sheets - My advice to you is to never do the sheets past like 8PM because then you're either going to be too tired to put them on later or even worse you'll be stuck staying up late just so your sheets can dry. In case you're wondering, I really like using Tide pods for laundry.

Wash whites - I used to not use bleach for my whites because I was once spilled bleach everywhere and burned my hand and ruined my shirt and so obviously I swore it off. But then I found Clorox bleach packs so that completely solved that problem! And now I'm back to my shirts actually being white instead of an ivory color.

Wash lights - If you're not sorting your clothes by colors, you should really try it! It will keep your lighter colors like yellow from getting dingy from the other colors. Also make sure to use a color catcher and it will really help keep your pastels the right color.

Wash darks - Did you know there's actually laundry detergent just for darks? It will really keep them from fading so you don't end up with that awkward is-it-black-or-is-it-navy color.

Wash towels - With towels I always make sure to use a little extra fabric softener because anything that's rubbing against your bare butt needs to be super soft!


Clean toothbrushes - Mix a few teaspoons of baking soda with warm water and let your toothbrush head sit in the water for like 10-15 minutes and it will get out any toothpaste that's stuck between the bristles.

Wash dishes - I usually go through about a load of dishes a week. If you don't stay on top of this then you'll end up with a dishwasher and sink full of dirty dishes. And if this sounds like a lot of work, jus know that in the long it's actually cheaper to wash plates than use paper ones. I really like the Cascade dishwasher pods because I always end up spilled the liquid everywhere (you'll see I'm a big fan of pods/packs > liquid haha). 

Take out trash - I get these Febreeze scented trash bags that really help your house not smell like garbage and then I only have to throw it out when it's actually full and not just because it stinks. 

Sweep all hard floors - You'd be amazed at how much dirt and hair and crumbs will end up on your floor in just a week. And if you let this slide then your socks are always going to be getting dirty.

Clean pet food and water bowls - This is something that I think too many people skip over. Bacteria can grow in their bowls if you don't stay on top of keeping them clean. Plus, you wouldn't want to be using a dirty dish either!

Disinfect counters - Hopefully you're wiping the crumbs off the counter daily, but you also need to use disinfecting wipes every now and then too. Even if you're not cutting up meat on your counter, they're still going to get dirty and you don't want to get yourself sick because some bacteria got on your sandwich on accident.

Vacuum all carpet - At least get you a cheap little vacuum cleaner and do this weekly or else your floors will get nasty and you won't even be able to see it!

Clean out car - It doesn't have to be much, but throw away trash and take anything inside that doesn't go in your car. Then you never have to be embarrassed when you give someone a ride.

Bi-weekly

Wash duvet/comforter cover - If you have a pet, make sure to run a lint roller over it first just to keep your washing machine from being filled with hair. Then I turn mine inside-out to protect the stitching and wash/dry it on the gentle cycle. Same thing as washing sheets tho, and don't do it too late in the day.

Clean toilet - If you don't have one already, get you a Clorox cleaning wand and use that thing. This didn't seem too important to me until Ryan moved in and one day after he left the seat up I saw how much mold was starting to grow around where the water comes out! Now I make sure to clean all the way up under there every other week.

Wash makeup brushes - I use Sigma's brush cleaning mat and will just put it in my bathroom sink and then rinse my brushes with warm water and dish soap. It keeps makeup from getting caked in between the bristles and makes sure that there's no bacteria growing in them. Then just stand them up on a hand towel to dry.

Wash bath mat - For the same reason as the dishes drying mat, make sure that your bath mat gets washed frequently, too. I have this bath mat and I just throw it in the wash and then will hang it (and the drying mat too) over the shower rod to air dry. 

Scrub stovetop - Baking soda + Dawn dish soap + white vinegar is amazing y'all! If you let burnt on food stay on your stove until you move out, you're going to have to put in a lot of elbow grease. So about every other week I just scrub mine to make sure that nothing gets too bad.

Disinfect sink - Super simple to do... just wipe your sink down with a disinfectant wipe. 

Wipe down microwave - This is another thing that will only get harder to clean the more you let it sit. You can just fill up a coffee cup with equal parts water and white vinegar and heat that up for a few minutes until it steams and then wipe everything down with a sponge (watch out because the mug will be hot). Or you could just get a microwave cover and then you'll almost never have to clean it. 

Wash drying mat - I have just a plain drying mat for my few hand-wash-only items. Since it's usually only covered in clean dishes it doesn't have to get washed that often, but I still wash it about every other week so that I can be sure that I'm not putting clean dishes on a dirty mat.

Check fridge and throw out expired food - Here's a money-saving tip I learned from the Skimm— the expiration dates are more of suggestions than hard rules. So if something is past the date but still smells really fresh, then you don't have to throw out still-good food! Another way to make your food last is to use these Rubbermaid storage containers that are made to keep fruits and veggies from rotting as fast. Another thing that I use is the Blue Apple absorbing packs. I just throw one in each drawer and they work crazy well!

Clean door mats - I'll take mine outside and shake them off about every other week just to make sure that it's not hoarding dirt or anything else. I'll also use the hose on my vacuum to gently suck up anything that's loose. PS, here's the door mat that's in some of my Insta pictures. Mines a little torn up because my cat likes to use it as a scratching board haha.


Sweep patio - If you haven't noticed from my Instas, I looove eating outside on my patio! It's just so much nicer to sit outside and enjoy the day. But it's kinda gross to sit outside on a dirty patio so every now and then I make a point to go out there and sweep the dirt back where it belongs. 

Monthly 

Clean windows and mirrors - Honestly your windows probably won't get dirty enough for you to have to clean more than once a month (I only even have 3 windows). Just go ahead and use glass cleaner on your windows and mirrors to make everything bright and shiny.

Dust bedroom (night stand, dresser, mirror, bed frame, lamps, fan) - Usually I can by with making one duster cloth clean my whole living room and bedroom since the rooms are fairly small. Just go around and dust everything in your room to prevent you from having bad allergies.

Clean bathtub - Spray your whole tub with Scrubbing bubbles and let it soak. Then just come back with a sponge and wipe it all down. Now you have a mold-free and ring-free tub.


Clean shower head - Take some CLR, pour it in a little Ziploc baggie, then use rubber bands to hold the bag around the shower head and let it soak. This removes all of the mineral build-up and will fix the water spraying everywhere and you'll get way better water pressure. 


Replace water filters - My Brita filter usually lasts me about a month and then I need a replacement filter. I just get in the habit of getting a new one and replacing it at the first of every month and then I never forget.

Dry Swiffer hard floors - Since I'm sweeping to get the big stuff up weekly, I really only have Swiffer once a month to make sure that I'm getting all the extra little dirt and hair. 


Wet Swiffer hard floors - If you have fake hardwood floors like me, you might get some weird black spots on the floor from when you've spilled things. I use a wet Swiffer pad to scrub these off. I only have to wet Swiffer (basically mop) once a month because I only have a tiny section of hardwood floors in my bathroom and kitchen so there's not much to really get dirty.

Clean oven - If your oven has a self-clean setting, then this is super easy because all you have to do is lock the door and set this and let it sit for a few hours. If not, the good ol' Dawn and baking soda and vinegar mix will do just fine. Scrub really hard to get the burnt food off or else it's going to get stuck on there real bad.


Clean dishwasher - Pour about 2 cups of vinegar into a big mug and leave that mug in the middle of the top rack. Then run it on the hottest setting to clean any grime.

Clean washing machine - Pour about 3 cups of vinegar into the machine and then run it through the hottest setting (I also use the extra rinse cycle). This will break down anything that's built up in the machine.

Vacuum around washer and drier - Put the hose attachment from your vacuum to work and get alllll that lint and fuzz that's trapped in that little space. If you know you've lost some buttons or other small things down there, just cover the hose with a sock and you'll pick it up without sucking it into the vacuum. 

Disinfect fridge - One at a time, empty out and remove the drawers from the fridge. Wash them with warm soapy water and repeat. Then take a sponge and wipe down the shelves, too. 

Clean garbage disposal - Take a half lemon and run it around the sink. Then just run the lemon down the disposal. The acid is cleaning everything, your sink will smell all clean, and the lemon rind is cleaning off the blades in the disposal. 


Rinse out trashcan - Just because you use trash bags does not mean that your trashcan doesn't get dirty! Make sure you take it outside and hose it down or even rinse it out in your bathtub. It'll be sticker than you'd think.


Vacuum under furniture - I always find a few pens or highlighters when I vacuum under the furniture. And sometimes when I'm moving furniture to vacuum, I'll discover a better layout that I like more. 

Vacuum under couch cushions - Under the cushions is something that's easy to forget but is a major magnet for crumbs. Just basically vacuum all around and in your couch.

Dust living room (TV, shelves, tables, lamps, fan) - I use the Swiffer dusters and love them! Once a month I just go to town and then for the rest of the month my apartment doesn't look like some dusty attic. 

Wash car - Wash off the dirt and then vacuum it out. Don't forget to wipe down your dashboard, too. I also change out my air freshener at this time and then my car always smells fresh.

Seasonly 

Wash pillows - I only do 2 pillows per load just so that I don't overload it. But all you have to do is wash them in regular detergent plus a half cup of baking soda. I run mine on the delicate cycle but change the settings to pre-soak and do an extra spin. Then just dry in the drier on delicate with a few tennis balls to keep it fluffy.


Wash duvet/comforter - I literally do the same thing as what I do with pillows. Just make sure that you check the tag on yours to make sure the settings are right, it will all depend on the material it's made out of. Oh, but you might want another tennis ball since this is so big.

Clean mattress - All you really need is the Dawn/baking soda/vinegar mix in a spray bottle (go easy on the baking soda so it's watery enough to spray). Scrub it in if you need to and then just vacuum it up once it dries.

Vacuum baseboards - Go around your whole place and, where possible, run your vacuum hose over the baseboards. They'll look brighter without all that dirt and you'll probably pick up some spiderwebs as well.

Replace toothbrush head - Even though I clean my toothbrush weekly, I still replace it every 3 months so that I'm not using one with worn-out bristles. I actually subscribe to Quip so I get a new brush sent to me right when I need it and now I never forget to do this.

Clear out bathtub drain - Get you some Draino because I promise you there's a ton of hair clogging your drain. If your shower ends up with you standing in an inch of water then you might have to do this more often. Even if your shower isn't backing up, I promise you it will drain so much faster after this. And then prevent this from happening so much and get a Tub Shroom to catch the hair before it even goes down the drain (I clean mine weekly).

Clean out freezer - Throw away any food that you don't even recognize or know that you're not going to eat. Also throw away any food that has freezer burn. Then empty your ice machine and rinse that with soapy water. 

Wash curtains - Yep you can wash these and really you should be because it's so easy for dust to stay on these. Just follow the instructions on the tag to make sure you're doing what's right for the material that it is.

Wash rugs - Your rugs are probably way nastier than you realize because these can be really tricky, if not impossible, to vaccuum. I always wash mine on delicate and then hang it over a shower curtain to dry. I recommend you do this first thing in the morning so it can have all day to dry before you have to take it down to shower.

Replace air filters - This is another thing that people always forget. If you live in an apartment complex, check with maintenance because usually they'll give you one (and probably install it for you) for free. If not, just take out the old one and bring it with you to the store and make sure you get the same one and then pop the new one in.

Clean vacuum - Most vacuums have removable parts that you can take apart and clean. Definitely find the filter and rinse that out really good under your sink and let it air dry.


And that's all I really have to clean! I know it sounds like a lot, but really it's just a couple of hours each week and then my house is basically always clean. I went ahead and turned this all into a one-page printable checklist for y'all! You can just print it out and if you want, you can even get some self-laminating sheets and turn it into a dry-erase checklist. Get the free apartment cleaning checklist here!

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