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Almost Christmas (2016) HD

Director : David E. Talbert.
Writer : David E. Talbert.
Release : November 11, 2016
Country : United States of America.
Production Company : Universal Pictures, Will Packer Productions.
Language : English.
Runtime : 111 min.
Genre : Comedy, Drama.

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‘Almost Christmas’ is a movie genre Comedy, was released in November 11, 2016. David E. Talbert was directed this movie and starring by Kimberly Elise. This movie tell story about A dysfunctional family gathers together for their first Christmas since their mom died.

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How To Read Effectively: A Guide

It may seem that all it takes to remember something from a textbook or a book is vigorously taking notes. There are a few other factors that affect the way we learn from a text. With the help of a small guide I’ve purchased recently, Reading & Making Notes by Jeanne Godfrey (also in this post), I’ve come up with a few helpful points on how to read effectively and make it worth your time.

How to Read Effectively

Decide how to read the text

First, decide what your goal is when you read the text: do you want to just scan it to find some specific bits of info? Or maybe get the general idea of the entire text? Or perhaps you need to understand it really, really well, so you need to read it closely? If you want to read effectively, this is the first step!

Summarize what you’ve just read

Summarize every couple of paragraphs (or however you want to break it down) so you know what you’re reading. Don’t copy the text or try to include every.single.word., but if there is something worth noting, then note it.

Take notes, but…

Again, don’t write down everything when you’re taking notes (here are some techniques!). This will take too much of your time and eventually the notes won’t be as good/detailed, because you’ll get super tired. Take notes if you see some information that is the reason why you’re reading the text. If it’s a key term that you don’t know and want to jot down, use your own words! That way you’ll know you understand what you read. It may seem a bit difficult to learn to take notes and read effectively at the same time. I know my first instinct is to write down everything I see because it all seems important. However, it’s the next thing that really helps to wrap it all up.

Reflect and Read Effectively

Reflect on your readings. It’s one thing to read and memorize word-by-word, but it’s another to analyze the text and think about it critically. Every once in a while, stop and ask yourself: what did you just read? What did you learn from it? What was useful to know? What do you disagree with? And what didn’t you understand? (Perhaps write that down and ask in class, btw)

I think we all have different reading methods, but sometimes I find it quite hard to remember the facts, think critically and analyze all at the same time. Some texts can be just super boring to read, while with others I forget that I have to take notes. The key is to determine why you read what you’re reading and what you need to get out it. After that (with a bit of practice, perhaps), it will be easy-peasy!

For some more reading tips, read this really old post of mine

Must-Bring Makeup for Travel

My makeup bag has a ton of makeup, some of which I only reach for once in three months. However, there is a handful of products that I use on a daily basis, which are also the ones that I take with me on every trip. With a semester-long university exchange coming up, I am slowly starting to write my packing list.

On a ‘good skin’ day, I try to wear something light to let my skin breath. The L’Oreal Visible Lift CC cream (light/medium) does a great job in correcting redness and giving me a natural and radiant glow. Most of the time I need a little extra coverage under my eyes and some very red spots, which is when I go for my Physician’s Formula concealer (light). The green cream works well for softening the redness and the concealer itself has great coverage. I also really like the Pixi Correction Concentrate – it’s perfect for covering up under eye circles. And of course, to finish off with a glow, I use Benefit’s High Beam Highlighter on my nose and cheekbones.

On the days when I need more coverage or maybe when I am at school or work for too long, I make sure to put on some primer. The Smashbox PhotoFinish Primer Light works super well for oil control. I recently bought the second pack from Ulta. With the primer set first, my favorite Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation (20 Beige) stays on my skin flawlessly.

Lastly, a little bonus – Clinique’s All About Lips has been a life savior for me this winter. It dries super quickly on the lips and creates a smooth, non-sticky, natural matte finish.

I tend to grab these items with me on every trip, this 6-month long exchange being no exception. Hopefully these will last me the whole time and I won’t need to bother with looking for new packs!

What products do you always bring with you on trips?

Overcoming Shyness in College


Most media shows the ultimate american college experience as a never-ending party. Okay, I exaggerate, but when I think of how my college days “should” be going by, it’s nothing close to what they actually are. Part of the reason for that is because I am shy and an introvert – I’d much rather spend some quality time on my own than parade my social awkwardness in front of people. Unfortunately, because of this, I feel like I am missing a lot of chances that I could be taking during my time at UW.

With a huge study abroad trip coming up, I figured it’s a good chance for me to boost my attitude a bit and take the opportunity to get busy, go out and socialize (starting my life with a clean slate, people!). So at the risk of sounding a little pathetic, I prepared a short checklist of things I’d like to do and improve upon during the next 6 months in England.

1. Be More Social

Yeah, I know it’s easier said than done. But in order to meet more people it only makes sense to force yourself to talk a bit more, be in public places more often. Joining an interest group or a club (at school or even on Facebook… but only to get event notifications!) can be a great start.

2. Challenge my comfort zone

Throughout high school, my teachers kept repeating that all great things happen outside of your comfort zone. I think I became anxious just thinking about getting out of it 🙂 Although I’d like to say that now is a great time to start challenging myself, I now realize that there’s never the ‘right’ time to do it. Little by little, in small steps, it’s possible to overcome yourself and do something you haven’t done yet any day. This quote sums it up perfectly:

“As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal.”

– Robert S. Sharma

3. Cut Down on Electronics

O the time I wasted on my phone, Facebook, Netflix, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter…We all have this list. When I think about all the times I stayed home to watch a show instead of going out somewhere, I cringe! Sure, texting and messaging friends is cool and feels almost real, but think about all the opportunities around us we are missing just to stare in those tiny screens! This goal is pretty simple, and hopefully will be easy to achieve. Maybe the international data charges will play on my side!

4. Participate in Class

I always have a ton of questions in class, but always feel like they’re not important enough to ask. So instead of raising my hand or going into office hours afterwards, I tend to forget them. In the end it not only affects my grades, but I also lose the chance to meet curious students with interesting ideas in my classes. Having an open mind and broad horizons really helps in life, and it starts with meeting people like that to get inspired.

~ These goals are not super-specific for a reason: everyone has different comfort zones. Whatever or wherever they are, I think it’s totally normal to feel uncomfortable in some situations and confident in others. But that very confidence can open so many doors that it’s just a shame to realize that an opportunity has passed by and I didn’t take it because I was afraid to make a step above my comfort level. Overcoming shyness is a slow and difficult personal process, but it can be done little by little. Be brave, take chances and seize the day, people!

What do you do to overcome your shyness? Any goals for the following year?

Study Abroad Update – November 2015

Study Abroad November

Hey everyone, long time no post! Thought it’s about time to check in with ya’ll, as I’ have some great news!

Remember that study abroad program I began telling you about? Well, it’s happening! I have been officially accepted to study at University of Sussex in Brighton, UK! I will be embarking on this fabulous adventure in late January and will study for a whole semester there. Strangely (or not), most of my thoughts are about travelling and seeing England, not studying. Hopefully I’ll remember my 4 classes when I’m there.. 😉 I will use this site as a blog space to keep track of all the things happening and posting some photos, so stay tuned!

The process of applying, interviewing and getting some paperwork approved took a while – since about Spring. My choice fell on a full-on university exchange in the UK because I chickened out about the language barrier (second choice was France), and after a summer trip to London I am realizing that I won’t regret this decision. The application process was fairly easy – all it took was an essay and a short, informal personal interview with the Study Abroad director. After that, a couple weeks of waiting and ta-da, I’m in! I was surprised at how easy it was to get in – apparently all it took is a thought-through essay to show that I am serious about going abroad and have done my research. After that, I signed a contract that obligated me to pay whatever fees come and submitted an actual application to University of Sussex. According to Mike, the Study Abroad director, that was just a formality, since UW has an exchange agreement with Sussex and I’ve been accepted already. Phew! After that it was just a long, long wait until I got an official letter of acceptance from Sussex. Now I’m moving on to the next couple of phases – applying for a visa and arranging housing.

Study Abroad Program Options

From what I saw, there were several options to choose from at UW. All study abroad programs broke into three categories: exchanges, faculty-led programs and affiliated programs.

  • Faculty-lead programs are themed and planned out by professors at UW. Basically, you sign up, pay a certain fee and go. The classes are set, you are with the same group of students and professors the whole time and your day schedules are known from the time of application.
  • University Exchanges are much  more liberal. Here universities switch students: 4-5 UW students go to Sussex and Sussex sends 4-5 people to UW for a semester or two, whatever they choose. In my case, we have a group of 4 girls from different majors going for the same amount of time. In this case, I will be studying at Sussex as if I am a Sussex student, taking regular classes and all, all the while getting my usual number of credits from UW. If I take any specialized classes needed for my major, they will get transferred later. I am just going to pay my regular tuition and housing fees, as if I am studying at UW.
  • Affiliated Programs: these are based on independent programs and are usually for a higher fee. As in the case of faculty-lead programs, the schedules are all planned out and you know what your group will be doing, everything is very well structured. You can also choose the programs based on your area of interest. The only downside I saw in this option is the super high fees, but I guess everything pays off in the end because the food and living accommodations are included in that fee.

Visa Info

For most students participating in an exchange, like moi, there is a visa requirement. Since it’s not just a touristy activity, but you’ll actually be living and eating and sleeping and studying in a foreign country, it is required that you have a student visa. I will provide examples based on the UK visa processes, as it’s the one I am most familiar with.

UK Visas

Since I personally will be going only for 5 months, I am applying for a short-term study visa. This type of visa is needed if you are going for up to 6 months and not planning on working while studying. I figured this is the best fit for me, since I want to use all my time soaking in the student life at Sussex instead of working. The Tier 4 visas, both child and general, are for international students studying and living in the UK for more than 6 months. This type of visa gives you the opportunity to work as well. These are the main differences for the UK visas as I understand them, so keep your fingers crossed for my application!

That’s about it for now. Next step is to mail in all my documents to the English consulate in New York and reserve a place to live in at Sussex 🙂

Thank you for everyone’s patience! Happy Thanksgiving for those living in the States and for those who don’t, stay strong – it’s almost the weekend!


butter LONDON Iconoclast Mascara

This week I was lucky enough to find Butter London’s new Iconoclast Mega Volume Lacquer Mascara! The name is a mouthful, but it’s totally worth trying out.

The promise: “300% Increase in volume with one coat and no Clumping, Smudging or Flaking”
The cost: $20.00
Why it’s cool: the brush shape lets you apply mascara precisely, it doesn’t clump and doubles the volume.
*Comes in the same line as the Iconoclast Infinite Lacquer Liner

After using this mascara for a few days, I think I can safely say that it does what it’s supposed to do: volumizes the lashes quite a bit, doesn’t clump too much and holds the curl really well. My one little note is that it’s definitely not water resistant. My eyes tend to water a lot, so every time I get some tears, the mascara on the bottom lashes starts to run just a tiny bit. This isn’t a real problem for me, though, a slight swipe with a tissue can fix it in no time.

The photo below is with me wearing two layers. I’m quite happy with how long and poofy it makes my eye lashes look, so will definitely use this one for a while now!
Iconoclast 1 and 2 layersHave you tried Butter London’s new Iconoclast mascara and eye liner? What do you think? 

Bare Minerals Powder Foundation Review

If you’ve been reading this blog for some time now, you know that I am completely obsessed with complexion makeup, like foundation and primers. I’ve heard a lot of wonderful things about the Bare Minerals Powder Foundation, but after my good friend Lauren recommended it to me a few days ago and I found a great starter kit at Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty, I couldn’t resist buying it. How is it possible to save any money for travel when there is so much makeup around me?  Read More