Shopping Ban Update No.2

First, some updates about Marie Speaks. Posting 3 times per week isn’t super feasible for me right now, so for the time being I’m only going to post once per week on Wednesdays! Thank you so much for reading, and I appreciate your time!

I’m about a month into my “shopping ban”. Honestly, I’m really over buying stuff in general. Like I’m tired of shopping. I have bought  a couple of essentials so far. 


In my original list of approved purchases bras were one of them. Recently, I’ve worn out a couple of my bras, so it was necessary to replace them. I got two of this style

Whitelines Notebook

This is the only school supplies purchase I’m making this year. This was also an approved purchase. I’m planning to use this notebook for my calculus class this year. I’ve used graph paper notebooks since freshman year, and I really like them. However, Staples changed their graph notebooks and now the lines are too dark, and I can’t make out my writings in pencil. That’s why I’m trying Whitelines this year. 


For my brother’s seventh birthday, he asked me to crochet him a blanket. So I bought 5 skeins of the Bernat blanket yarn in Crimson. I’m really excited to start this project. I’m planning on using this pattern from Daisy Farm Crafts, my favorite crochet website. 

Tennis Skorts

This one is a bit of a sketchy purchase. Like did I really need it?!? I’ve been taking golf lessons every weekend and going to the driving range once a week, so I needed some golf club appropriate apparel. Also, this skort is $15 and adorable! Academy Sporting Goods is my favorite store of all time!! When I lived in Texas, I did a solid 75% of my shopping there. 


I recently ran out of hair conditioner. I’m looking to replace my typical shampoo with a co-wash. Of course, I’ll still shampoo but less often and use this co-wash instead. Honestly, as I’m writing this, I’m realizing I still haven’t gotten any conditioner… whoops!


My grandma offered to buy me some clothes for back to school. I know I’ll likely need another pair of jeans, but I’m waiting until it gets closer to the fall to get them. But I did get this belt which is cute, and I think will go well with my sweaters. Again, this is kinda a sketchy purchase, but my grandma did buy it for me, so I guess I didn’t break my shopping ban?!?


I got these *adorable* masks from the Gap. Originally, my school was going to do hybrid, so I needed to have enough for every day of the week. Now my school has switched to remote learning which I’m actually pretty happy about. I think it’ll be nice to have the options though for when I do go out. I’m hoping that once a week or so I can go out to Starbucks or something. There’s one walking distance from my house. Also, I think this glass tumbler from Target is super cute!

Face Countured Masks

Pleated Masks

Athleta Masks

So, there you have it folks! What I’ve bought so far. I’m proud to report that I haven’t bought any stationery or unnecessary clothes thus far! I’m doing this, and I am going to be successful. Or at least I hope.

10 Secrets of Highly Effective High School Students

Successful people have habits. Successful high school students have habits. While they may not be secrets, not everyone knows or understands these important habits. My goal is to share the wealth. Here are some of the most helpful strategies I have learned over my *illustrious* high school career. 

1. Writing it Down

When in doubt, write it down. Your teacher said something you didn’t understand – write it down. You thought of an interesting idea for an essay – write it down. You don’t understand how to do a certain problem – write it down. Keeping a log of questions and/or ideas will help you when you have a chance to ask your teacher. Also, it can shave off time brainstorming an essay when you’ve already come up with a couple ideas. 

2. Using a Planning System

I say system because depending on who you are that may look different. I’m planning a blog post on various different planning systems, but the fundamental underlying idea here is to keep track of your assignments. Don’t be the person who is constantly asking what the homework is. No one likes that person. That person gets ignored. Don’t be that person. 

3. Establishing Positive Relationships with Your Teachers

Your teachers are your friends. Treat them with kindness and respect even if you don’t really like them. For example, I hated one of my teachers (truly the most incompetent person I’ve ever met), but I was still nice to him and he bumped my final grade up from a B+ to an A-. Moral of the story: be nice to your teachers. Also, if your teachers have a good impression of you, they’ll be more likely to give you extensions on assignments and generally make your life easier. 

4. Learning How to Talk with Adults

You have to learn how to advocate for yourself. Once, I got the first step of an 8 part question wrong. Consequently, the rest of the problem was wrong. My teacher took off half credit for the entire problem. I lost about 15 points on an 80-something point test. When I got my test back, I asked him to give me points back on the questions that I got wrong but had the correct process. In the end, I convinced him that my score didn’t reflect my knowledge of the subject. He agreed and ultimately ended up giving me about 10-12 of the 15 (lost) points back on my test. It raised my grade significantly. Being able to have these sometimes difficult conversations with your teachers will only help you in the long term. 

5. Never Being Afraid to Send an Email

This one is two fold: one don’t have a stupid email like That’s just a bad idea. It was fine when you’re ten, but now you’re in high school. Eventually, you’ll likely be using your email to contact college admissions representatives and future employers. Give yourself a professional email. You should aim to include your first name and last name in your email address if possible. If you must include numbers, consider using the last two digits of the year you’ll graduate high school. Second: Check your email. As a high schooler, you should get into the habit of checking your email at least once per day. Lastly, err on the side of formality. Your teacher won’t be offended by an extra “please” or “thank you”, but they will be by the lack of such pleasantries. When in doubt, say it in the most polite way possible and move on. Remember the worst that can happen is your teacher says no. For example, I asked my APUSH teacher if there were any opportunities for extra credit via email. She told me no, but said she appreciated the politeness of my email. That was my worst-case scenario, and it wasn’t really that bad at all. 

6. Finding What Times You Work Best and Modifying Your Schedule Accordingly

I learned in my freshman year that I work best in the mornings. For me, my brain begins shutting down for the day at 1pm. From there, my concentration and pretty much everything else just gets steadily worse. By the time I get home at 4 o’clock on a normal day or 6 o’clock on a day with extracurriculars, I’m exhausted. Generally, I’ll only have energy for less taxing homework such as Spanish vocabulary worksheets, textbook notes, or easy readings for English class. I do this stuff first. Then I’ll try to go to bed as early as possible so I can wake up around 5:00-5:30AM to finish the more mentally taxing homework such as chemistry and math problem sets. I also make sure to always have at least 4 study halls per week each semester to ensure I’ll have at least an hour at school each day to get some work (or sleep) in. 

7. Learning How to Take Organized Notes

This is super important. It is the underlying foundation of your academic career. Students must be able to take their teacher’s words and the texts from the various sources (slide shows, textbooks, readings) and condense it into a useful study guide. Having good notes aids this process. 

8. Using Outside Resources

This is really helpful when you are struggling in a class. For example, in my AP Chemistry class, I always needed extra practice. I used the textbook and found an AP Chemistry test bank pdf online. Now, I had extra opportunities to practice and identify weak spots. For a history class, that could mean looking up timelines or articles to make sure you understand exactly what happened and why. If you don’t know the answer, look it up! Most teachers will appreciate that you tried to find the answer yourself and only came to them when you were stuck. That shows your teacher that you took initiative and care about your studies.

9. Paying Attention in Class or at least Attending Class

Most of us have to pay attention in class to understand what’s happening. For some people, they can go to class, fall asleep and still get straight As. I am not one of those people, at least, not in most subjects. I do love a good nap in Spanish though! Even if you don’t want to, just go to class. Even if you don’t pay attention to the vast majority of the lecture, at least you absorbed a tiny bit of information and got marked present. Sometimes that’s the best you can do, and that’s fine. 

10. Forming Mutually Beneficial Relationships with Classmates

This is so important! You need to make friends in your class. These are the people who you will create study guides with, quiz each other with before big tests, complete projects with, and more. These people don’t have to be your best friends, but they can be extremely useful. For example, I have a great friend, Sophie, who was in my US History class. Anytime I missed class, she sent me the notes from class, and when she was out, I sent her the notes. Over time, Sophie and I have become great friends, but it all really started with having Freshman World History together. 

Good luck!



I Broke My Shopping Ban

I have a confession.

I broke my shopping ban. 

Am I surprised? No, not really. 

Am I disappointed? Yes. 

Here’s what happened 

The First Time

My dear friend, Ben, came to visit and we purchased matching sweatshirts. I still think the sweatshirt is adorable, and it reminds me of good times. I don’t regret this purchase at all. Now, I definitely don’t need any more sweatshirts, but I love the reminder of my friend and the memories we made. Although souvenirs can just be wastes of money, resources, and space, I really like this one and think it’ll contribute positively to my life.  Pro Tip: don’t feel pressured to buy a souvenir for every trip you go on. If you see something you like and it’s practical, then I think you should get it. For example, when I went to Europe for the first time (a big deal for me), I didn’t actually bring back any souvenirs, and I don’t regret it at all. But for a simple trip, I got a sweatshirt. You do you! 

The Second Time

I made another impulse purchase of clothing. This time it was a dress from Target. Ultimately, I ended up wearing the dress (twice so far), and I really like it. It actually did fill a gap I had in my wardrobe for a comfortable, easy to wear dress that I actually enjoy wearing. I know I got caught up in a scarcity mindset because the dress kept selling out, so I let my brain trick me into thinking “I have to get this dress immediately before it sells out again!” Overall, I’m not proud of myself for succumbing to impulse buying, but I’m happy with my purchase. 

The Third Time

I was shopping for some double sided tape and kraft paper for my high school memories scrapbook that I’m making. Those were approved purchases, but my buying a 0.5 Papermate Inkjoy Gel Pen was not. This is the purchase I’m the most disappointed in myself in even though it was the cheapest. I have no need for another black gel pen. At this point, it’s just excessive. The worst part is that I haven’t even touched the new pen! In line with what I told myself earlier this month, I will not be purchasing anything from JetPens next month.

The Fourth Time

The last time I broke my shopping ban was buying these adorable greeting cards from Target. I literally have no excuse for myself. I was upset over an argument with my mom, and I let myself get tricked into emotional spending. I have made use of the cards by writing letters to my friends, but I really didn’t need these. 

The Takeaway

I am far from perfect (ofc) and still working on being a mindful consumer. I want to do and be better, and I’m working towards that. Part of that, is being very specific about my needs. For example, if I have a random thought for example “remember to purchase dish soap” then I add it to my running shopping list in my notes app. That way I always know exactly what I need to buy, so when I’m shopping whether that be online or in person, I can do my business then leave ASAP. This is all in effort to lessen my temptation to buy unnecessary items by decreasing my time shopping and browsing. 

I’m working on being more mindful. I encourage you to do so too!



What You Need to Know to Crush the SAT: Reading Edition

Honestly, the reading and writing part was the easiest for me. It’s also one of the hardest parts to prepare for (or for which to prepare if you’re really into grammar).

My First and Best Tip: 

Read, Read, Read!

You should practice reading high level articles, books, and such to prepare yourself. I’d recommend reading from the following publications

  • The New Yorker
  • The Atlantic
  • The New York Times (specially the Saturday Essays)
  • Foreign Affairs
  • The Council on Foreign Relations
  • The Washington Post
  • The Wall Street Journal

You should also challenge yourself by reading some fiction. Here are some books my English teacher recommended:

  • Wuthering Heights – Bronte
  • Invisible Man – Ellison
  • Infinite Jest – DF Wallace (This one is a beast at over a thousand pages!)
  • The House of Mirth – Wharton
  • Another Country – Baldwin
  • The Recognitions – Gaddis
  • Americanah – Adichie
  • A Gesture Life – Lee
  • The Good Earth – Buck

You may also want to review the SAT vocabulary words especially if you feel that you don’t have a very robust vocabulary.

Here’s a link to a list you should definitely check out by, one of my favorite websites for all things test prep.

You may also want to review grammar rules. Here’s the link to the book my school recommended.

To improve your grammar, try talking like you write. Often, we talk in a modern vernacular, but when we write, we do so in a different academic writing style. By attempting to talk as if you’re writing an academic paper, you force yourself to pay close attention to your grammar. I tend do this to make sure I avoid run-on sentences when speaking.

Good luck and remember the College Board IS the devil.





I Just Discovered Classical Country Music, and I Think I’m In Love


Sony Music Masterworks YOYOMA-album-cover

Not Our First Goat Rodeo, by Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile

A few weeks ago, I had the house to myself. And as one does, I asked Alexa to play classical music.

Background: I’ve been really into classical music lately. Since quarantine, I’ve been listening to SO much music – but the constant flow of lyrics was beginning to feel oppressive. It felt like sensory overload – I wanted to listen to music but sans words. Words were too much; they required too much brain power. I can’t be the only one who occasionally feels this way.

Anyways, back to the original story, on like the third or fourth song, Alexa played “Waltz Whitman” by Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile. The song can best be described as blue grass classic … I think? Honestly, I don’t know the official genre, but I love this song SO MUCH!

It’s just really good. When the song picks up tempo, my heart soars along with it. It reminds me of texting a crush – that rush of dopamine when they text you. It’s just really good! So good.

Also, this is the *perfect* study music. It’s upbeat to keep one from falling asleep and has no lyrics to not distract one. Okay, but have you been writing an essay and ended up writing down the lyrics of the song instead of your actual, you know, essay?!? Cuz, um, same. This is why I try to avoid music with lyrics when studying. 

I looked around some more, and Yo-Yo Ma, Mark O’Connor, and Edgar Meyer actually made another album together.

Appalachia Waltz, by Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Mark O’Connor

I love these albums because it’s still beautiful instrumental music AND it isn’t reminiscent of the classical music I was conditioned to sleep from my years in daycare.



What You Need to Know to Crush the SAT: Math Edition

f What You Need To Know To Crush The SAT_ math edition

Here is the second installment in my series on test taking and prep strategies for the SAT. My parents paid an arm and a leg for SAT prep, so your parents won’t have to! 😉

General Test Taking Tips

Test questions are ordered from easiest to hardest.

The test is ordered from least missed questions to most often missed questions. For the grid-in problems the difficulty resets. So as you go on from the first grid-in problem to the last grid-in problem, the questions will get progressively more challenging.

You can either focus on doing as many easy problems as possible with reasonable assurance that you got them correct.

OR, you could focus on the hardest problems first then do the easy problems because the easy problems should take less time therefore you can put them off until later when you have less time, assuming that because they are easier, they should take you less time to solve.

When in doubt, skip it! Come back to it later.

Skip problems that take you more than 2 minutes to solve.

If you see a problem you know how to solve (but will take you a long time) or have a vague idea how to solve, skip it.

If you see a problem and you don’t immediately know how to solve it, skip it.

How to Save Time

The test answers choices are generally listed from least to greatest or vice versa. If you need to fill in a value, start with one of the middle values. Then you can go up or down if that answer choice doesn’t work.

Don’t show all of your work if you don’t need to. You won’t get partial credit for showing your work. If you can do it in your head quickly and accurately then do it and bubble in the answer immediately.

Know when it’s going to be faster to plug in the various options versus solving for the correct variable.

Getting Better and Avoiding Making the Same Mistakes

Identity areas where you are the weakest and categorize your weakness into the following categories

  1. Silly mistake (ex. simple addition error or mixing up values)
  2. Knowledge based: you didn’t know how to solve that problem
  3. Ran out of time

Avoiding Making Silly Mistakes

  1. If you’re making a lot of silly mistakes, SLOW DOWN.
    • This may seem counterintuitive, but you have to give you brain the time it needs to function properly. I’d recommend taking practice tests so you can get used to the stress of working under time constraints.
    • Also, double check your work if you have time.
      • Generally, I double check my answers before I go back to answer the really hard questions.
  2. If you missed the question because you didn’t understand it and/or know how to solve it, use Khan Academy to learn how to solve questions like that.

The Most Important Tip I Can Give You

All the questions on the test are weighted the exact same. One will not count for more or less than any other, so focus on the ones where you’re absolutely sure you can obtain the correct answer.

Equations to Master

You should be familiar with all the you learn in algebra 1 and 2. Some ones that you should definitely know are

  • Parallel, perpendicular, and intersecting lines
  • Point slope form
  • Equation of a circle
  • Quadratic formula

Skills To Master

  • Splitting the middle
  • Combing like terms
  • Factoring quadratics
  • Similar triangles
  • Expanding polynomials

Good luck with the SAT! Always remember that the College Board is THE devil.



Currently Coveting No. 4

Having just announced my shopping ban, I felt a bit hypocritical writing this book and online window shopping. Ultimately, I came to this conclusion: this blog is my creative outlet and one of my creative hobbies is creating fun and pretty and outfits. Honestly, most of these outfits are so different from my usual uniform of jean shorts and a T-shirt – I like living vicariously through these Currently Coveting posts.

currently coveting no.4
Today, we have a navy gingham midi wrap dress from the Gap, strappy white sandals from Target, tassel earrings from The Tiny Tassel, a necklace from KJP, and an adorable hair scarf from H&M.

dress | sandals | watch | bracelet | necklace | scarf | earrings

Gingham Wrap Midi Dress

I hate midi dresses. I love wrap dresses. I’m not sure if I’d love or hate this dress. I do think this is would be the perfect introduction into midi dresses, as I tend to stick with mini dresses.

Strappy Sandals

I think I saw Kate from Lonestar Southern wear these. Honestly, I don’t really remember, but these sandals are adorable nonetheless! I could actually see myself wearing these with a nice little sundress in the summer.

Michele Watch

I was introduced to this brand by Dorothy from Prep in Your Step. I wouldn’t buy this $2,300 watch for myself, but it sure it pretty! Also, I’m not a big fan of metal watches – I definitely prefer leather watches.

Kate Spade Enamel Bracelet

I love a good enamel bracelet! So clean, so classic, so chic! You can’t go wrong.

Me wearing enamel bracelets when I met Ayanna Pressley !!

Hair Scarf

I love hair scarves! Love. Love. Love. I think a cute scarf in your hair totally elevates your look. 50% of the time, you can find me with a scarf in my hair. Pro tip: you can use hair scarfs to tie up your hair (like a hair tie) when you run out of hair ties. 

Pearl Necklace

This necklace is actually really similar to a necklace my mom gave me that I wear almost every day. I love how simple and classic it is – I can literally wear it with anything. And I have!

Tassel Earrings

Generally, I am *against* tassels  in all their forms, but these are acceptable (and cute). These earrings are from Tiny Tassel. This is a Black owned company based out of Charleston, SC! We love to support Black owned businesses!



Making Content to Consume Lists

A few days ago, I came across a massive post on Carly the Prepster’s Facebook Group. It was a list of small bloggers and micro-influencers. I clicked on every link with the intent to follow, read, or just check out all of the blogs listed.

I didn’t get to it that day, so when I opened my computer the next day – I HAD 30 TABS OPEN. Now, I’m the kind of person who gets super stressed out when I have too many tabs open. It’s just visually overwhelming and urgh! I’m just not a fan.

Then I had an idea! Eureka! (I’m like basically Pythagoras now!)

Shout out to my friend Joaquin for sharing this meme with me!


Anyways, I made a content to consume list in Notion, my new replacement for Notes.

I started by making a new page within my one of my notebook in Notion aptly titled “Notebook”.

Screen Shot 2020-06-28 at 12.21.07 PM


Next, I created two separate pages within the content to consume page: instagrams and blogs. In hindsight, I probably should’ve just made two separate sections for instagrams and blogs on the same page. But if it’s not overly complicated, then did Marie really make it? I think not.

Screen Shot 2020-06-28 at 12.21.40 PM


Last, I just used bullet points to make my lists. I like to hyperlink the text. To do this, select the text you want to link, while the text is selected press command + K and voila! A box should appear and you can paste in the link and press enter.


Later, I combined the two lists onto one page to simply matters. Overall, like this layout much more.

Screen Shot 2020-06-28 at 12.36.29 PM


Happy list making! (But for real, how can list making not be happy?!?)