The Great Outdoors + Best Hiking Equipment on Amazon

Trail to Sengekontacket Pond

I never thought of myself as particularly outdoorsy, but social distancing has changed that. I have always enjoyed spending time outside whether that was hiking, spending time in a beachside cabana, or kayaking on a lake, but I seriously HATE bugs! I would attempt to do my homework outside, but as soon as an ant crawled on my leg, it was time to pack up and go inside.

Intellectually, I knew going outside and getting those exercise endorphins were critical to my mental health. Still, I opted for TV, YouTube, and Instagram instead of a walk.

Since I’ve been stuck at home, I’ve taken more time to explore my soundings, walking down streets I’ve never been on and seeing neighbors I hadn’t seen in years.

Being outside gives yourself time to decompress. Think about all the content and information you take in every day. For me that’s YouTube videos, Instagram posts, episodes of 30Rock, music by my favorite bands, text messages, emails, news articles, homework, novels, textbook reading, and so much more. Spending some quiet time even if it’s only 10 mins can help reduce your mental clutter and leave you feeling less groggy.

Since I have been spending a lot more time outdoors and finally have the time to go hiking consistently. I decided to pick up some new gear. Here’s why I’m planning to buy and/or bought.

Number One: SPF jacket

This jacket both protects your skin from the sun and provides a lightweight layer for those cool moments in the shade. Also, it’s light even to tie around your waist or stuff into your backpack without weighing you down.

Number Two: Hiking socks

You cannot underestimate the importance of a good pair of socks. Enough said.

Number Three: Flat belt

Belts are great! I’m slim hipped, so I wear belts daily. This is a great belt in general, but is even better when hiking because it isn’t bulky and is light weight.

Number Four: Hiking boots

These came highly ranked on the Strategist, my go to website anytime I need to buy something online.

Number Five: Mosquito Repellent Balm

This is a wonder product! I was hiking in July in Camden, ME when I began to sweat off my bug spray. I had every imaginable insect buzzing around my ear. I felt like Zeus! (haha) This stuff is amazing. I lather it on to my neck and ears before hiking. Because it’s a balm it doesn’t just slide off with a little sweat. I highly recommend. Pro tip: Make sure you wash your face as soon as you get home from your hike because it will clog your pores.

Trails at Point Lookout in Camden, ME

Number Six: Hiking pants

Convertible pants are kinda dorky. I get it. But they are so so so functional! I was planting trees in Puerto Rico in the Summer of 2017 and being able to unzip my pants and wear shorts for when I got over heated was invaluable. Functionality over everything!

Planting Trees in Humacao, Puerto Rico

Number Seven: SPF shirt

Protect yo’ self! No, but seriously. Skincare is healthcare. The skin is the largest organ of your body. Take care of it.

 

Happy trails!

 

Sincerely,

Marie

Biology Study with Me + Tips

My Biology Tips and tricks blog post pic 4-15-20

Hi y’all!

Today, I will be sharing a time-lapse of me answering some questions to study for my upcoming biology quiz and some of my favorite tips for studying biology. Link to my study with me. 

Right now, I’m taking Honors biology as a junior. Honors Junior biology at my school goes into the same depth as AP Biology, but covers fewer topics and doesn’t really have the label emphasis that AP Bio has.

Bio has been my hardest class this year, so I’ve really had to sharpen my study skills. Here are my tips!

Read the textbook before class.

This is huge. I cannot emphasize this enough. Biology isn’t really that hard conceptually, but there are so. many. freaking. details. To keep ahead of the curve, preview the material (if you can, take notes) the night before, so you’re not totally blindsided in class the next day.

Study early and often

Units such as biochemistry, cellular respiration, and digestion have a lot of moving parts. As soon as you complete learning a concept, begin to study it even if the unit (or the test) isn’t near. This is when you should start making your flashcards. I didn’t listen to my biology teacher when she told me to study the Lewis diagrams of the functional groups every day, I got a D+ on that test. Don’t make the same mistake I did. If your teacher gives you a practice test, do it! Make sure you study before taking the review test though, so it will be a truer description of what you actually know. Do it a day or two before the test, and review your mistakes and correct them.

Go to office hours

This goes without saying, but don’t wait to the last minute to clarify a concept you don’t understand. If your teacher says something you don’t understand in class, jot it down, and go to office hours at the earliest possible time and ask about it. Teachers often explain concepts so that the largest portion of the class can understand, but they know some students won’t get it and will likely be able to explain it another way. But you’ll never know unless you try.

Online resources

I don’t think I can say enough good things about Bozeman Science! Honestly, some of the best content for AP Science classes. 10/10 would recommend. I have a system when it comes to watching online videos in biology. I watch the Amoeba Sisters first because their videos provide easy-to-follow but basic explanations of concepts. Then I watch the Khan Academy videos to get a bit more detail. Lastly, once I kind of understand what’s happening, then I watch the Bozeman Science videos to cement the knowledge in finer details.

Make comprehensive study guides

Biology is a memorization intensive class. You can’t get around studying, so you might as well get good at it. I recommend using the provided study materials such as a list of topics that will be on the test and working from there. Make study guides by using your lecture and textbook notes together to explain the topics and concepts on the test.

Good luck with biology. It’s my least favorite science, but I hope with these tips it won’t be as miserable for you as it is for me. Haha.

Buena suerte,

Marie

My Journaling Tips & Tricks

I love to journal. I’ve kept a journal off and on, mostly off, since I was about eight. For the past 5 years, I have been writing entries into my journal/dairy/whatever-you-want-to-call-it about once a month at least for multiple times a day at most. I really enjoy just writing down my thoughts. I typically journal when:

  1. I’m stressed and need a release.
  2. I’m sad and don’t want to talk to someone else.
  3. My therapist tells me to.
  4. I have very intense feelings (either positive or negative).
  5. Something awesome happens, and I just have to record it.

For journaling some of my favorite supplies are:

Journaling has been such a great way for me to get in touch with my feelings in a safe, low stakes environment. Here are my tips to be successful in journaling:

Number 1: Keep It Low Stakes

It’s absolutely OK if you don’t journal every day. I’ve gone months without a single entry – that’s okay. It’s ok if you misspell a word. Lastly, it’s ok not to journal about every single thing. One of my friends records every single thing she does every day in her journal. That could never be me. It’s also OK is you’re the person who wants to record every moment in your journal, but you don’t have to.

Number 2: Find a Style that Suits You

It doesn’t have to be perfect, pretty, or aesthetic. It just needs to be functional and work for you. Until this week, I only really ever journaled in one way; just blurting out my thoughts on a page. I don’t really even have paragraphs – just my sentences on a page. Occasionally, I write in my journal as if I’m writing to my future self, or to someone who may be reading it. One of my favorite entries are my “State of the Union” entries. In these there are two columns: In and Out. On the “In” side are things that I’m enjoying: this could be anything (people, movies, pens, activities) and on the “Out” side are things I’m over or are upsetting me. Last, is a style I’ve just recently started. One night, I was lying sleepless in bed around 12am, and I decided to journal to get all my thoughts out in hopes out actually getting some rest. But I just had too many thoughts, so I just started a numbered list of everything that was running through my head. I keep writing until I get all my thoughts out or get tired, normally the latter.

Number 3: Set a Time to Journal

Generally, I journal before I go to sleep. I do almost all of my journaling in bed, so I keep my journal on my nightstand. Setting a dedicated time to journal helps to cement it into a part of your routine.

I hope these tips can help you in writing and maintain a journal!

Sincerely,

Marie