A Week Full of Joy

The day has finally come that I post from America once again. Since my last post, I have finished my time in Florence, flown stateside, and settled back into my life in Michigan a little bit.

Throughout my last week in Italy, my travel home, and my first couple of days back,  I have felt an overflow of emotions. Multiple times I thought to start a draft, but, honestly, I had no motivation or I was overall just confused about what I was feeling. I had no idea what to expect when leaving. I was looking forward to seeing my family, yet I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. My first couple days home felt overwhelming. How was I supposed to transition back to my home when I was homesick for a place I’d only known for a short amount of time?

I found the answer to this question at mass last Sunday morning. On this particular morning, I was looking forward to participating in my first English-speaking mass since August. Luckily for me, I was home just in time for the third week in Advent. For those of you who don’t know, the third week in Advent represents joy. I will spare the details and cut to the chase; the answer to my previous question is joy.

The message during mass was all about finding the joy even in the worst moments of life. I can’t remember every detail to the homily, but the overall message of choosing and finding joy spoke to me. It is completely normal to feel all of the things I am feeling post-study abroad. Instead of letting every negative emotion or thought consume me, it is important to find the joy in even the smallest of places.

I’ve chosen to find joy in the new puppy my mom has gotten. He makes me laugh and forget about any sadness I may feel. I’ve found joy in holding my stepbrother’s baby. All the times I’ve gotten to spend with those I’ve missed, I have felt joy. Snuggling my other dogs and relaxing has also brought me great joy. My family has helped me find the joy in everything. Despite how I may be feeling, finding and doing the smallest things that bring me joy has been the biggest life-saver thus far.


I’m not going to lie and tell you that this has cured any negative feelings I may have, but I do know it makes the days a lot better. I’m thankful for the experience, but most especially, I’m thankful for my family.


Krystal, With a “K”

P.s. I have attached the link to an 8-minute video I made summarizing the last 3 and a half months.


The Art of a Resolution

3, 2, 1. . . It’s officially here, the beginning of a new year! 365 chances to become someone better. It’s that serious time of the year where no matter who you follow on Instagram or Twitter they are talking about what they are going to change about themselves physically, mentally, or what they’re going to do better. We all have that small voice in the back of our minds saying, “This will be my year,” so we promise to ourselves that we will spend less money on stupid things, go to the gym every day while eating perfectly, or some other unrealistic goal with no actual plan. All of a sudden, after week one or maybe a month, you have failed to continue towards your goal, and you tell yourself, “There’s always next year.”

Another year, another goal that you just didn’t have time for, or it was really too hard. There are a couple problems with most of our New Year’s resolutions. For starters, they are usually unrealistic; are you really going to all of a sudden drop half of your body weight after never working out or eating well a single day prior to this resolution? Are you really going to spend less money on materialistic items after you’ve never paid attention to what you buy or how much money you spend? Losing weight or aiming to spend less money on things isn’t unrealistic, but losing a large amount of weight or cutting your spending habits cold turkey is. Instead of saying you’re going to lose weight, focus more so on smaller goals, for example, packing a healthy lunch every day versus going through the drive-through every day. These small changes can work up to a larger goal. When you think you have reached that small goal make another and then another, working your way up to that larger goal.

Another problem with our new goals is that we don’t hold ourselves accountable. It’s important to write down your goals or maybe tell someone who you’re close to what you’re working towards. Doing something small like writing your goal on a notecard and sticking it to your mirror so you can see it every day will help remind you of your goals each morning. Furthermore, after making a goal do you reflect on how well you’ve worked towards it each week? Mentally telling yourself what you did well towards your goal the past week or what you need to do better the next week (or physically writing it down) can be extremely helpful when it comes to reaching a goal.

Finally, another problem we have when it comes to the goals we make at the beginning of the year is that we don’t make it a habit to change. We often want the change to happen right when we decide it, so when we don’t see the change in the mirror, our wallet, our everyday environment, or any other place we expect to see a change, we often feel like giving up. It’s important to realize that everything takes time, and practice makes perfect. You can’t expect to drink more water each day if you don’t try to be consistent about it. Practice and consistency create habit. Once you create habit you will see a change; maybe not overnight, but little by little you will see it and feel it.

Overall, the new year is a great time to take a look at your life to make a change. No matter what you decide to change, whether big or small, be realistic, keep yourself accountable, and make a habit. If you aren’t going to be serious about your goal, do you even really want to make a change that badly?


Krystal, With a “K”


Reasons I FALL for CMU

Where has the time gone? It has been about 2 months since my last blog post. In short, I have been extremely busy with school. Originally, I started drafts for some posts a couple weeks ago, but I never got around to posting them, much less finishing them.

Seeing as I have been at school for almost 2 full months now, I thought it would be a good idea to let everyone know why I love my school. Fall is my favorite season with all the football, pumpkins, warm flavors, cooler weather, nature’s beauty, and so much more. Spending my falls on the beautiful Central Michigan University campus makes life that much sweeter.

Central Knows How to Tailgate

Anyone who knows me knows that I love football. Whether Central does well or not, there is something to be said about wearing my favorite maroon and gold around campus screaming “FIRE UP CHIPS” everywhere I go.

Central’s Campus

picture from cmichphotostore.photoshelter.com

If you have ever been lucky enough to walk through CMU’s campus during the peak of fall you know that this campus is beautiful. Between the maroon and yellow mums placed around campus to the rows of trees boasting their fall colors, there is so much beauty on this smaller Michigan campus. I try to savor as much time along the colorful paths before winter comes to town.

There is Always Something Going On

The beginning of every new year means every club on campus wants you to join. There are so many ways to get involved on campus, especially during what ends up being the busy season. Clubs offer various opportunities to volunteer, join them, and best of all free food. People and clubs are always outside of the UC offering ways to get to know campus better.

Even More Fun Off Campus


The second one leaf on a tree changes from green to orange or yellow people go crazy with anything fall related. Central is surrounded by a community that also offers activities during the fall. There is a local pumpkin patch as well as small businesses that offer fall fashion or fall inspired foods and beverages. Not to mention, there are various parks where you can enjoy even more of the season’s beauty with a nice walk or even hammocking under the falling colors.

As you can see, there are multiple reasons I love my school and its community. There is something unexplainable about the feeling I get when walking around my campus on a sunny day with the colors all around me. As we celebrate our 125th anniversary as a university on campus I hope that students, alumni, and future students fall for the traditions and beauty that is CMU.


Krystal, With a “K”

The Satisfaction of Planning

What is it about the start of a new year or school year where the planners are displayed at every endcap in Target that makes you lose track of the reason you are actually there? For me, I always buy a planner that is supposed to last two years, but once the new school year comes around I’m drawn to Home Goods’ “Back to School” collection where the desk organization supplies are all pretty and neat. Maybe it is just me, but the planners take up a whole side of the store; big ones that are monthly, small ones that are monthly/daily, and a whole shelf and a half more of endless patterned options that you didn’t know you needed. Seriously though, I can’t say no to a new planner for back to school.

This years’ choice of a planner is a simple, perfect bind (an actual type of book bind), navy blue one that says “stay the course” with a boat wheel above it in metallic gold. It even has one of those stretchy pieces of fabric to keep it closed and the pages protected. Despite the cute design, I picked it because of the monthly overview and each week is broken down so that I can see each, individual day.

Planning is something I usually do 110% or not at all. The beginning of a busy school year is where I’m at my full force of planning. I don’t know why I end up losing my so-called planning spirit because there is something to be said about opening it up and seeing exactly what you have planned for each day. Even on my busiest days where it looks like I have time for nothing but work or schoolwork I am able to see that there is time that I can spend doing something for myself. I like to see my homework all written out so that I can check it off when I finish an assignment, and once I’m done seeing an empty list on my day is so satisfying.

I think that a lot of people either don’t want to plan because it can seem like a lot of work and overwhelming. Also, it can feel like you aren’t enjoying the moments that life has to offer. Some people might say that they have nothing to put on a calendar so why even bother. Don’t get me wrong, planning can feel like you’re wishing time away when you open it up to months down the road to add a vacation or appointment to the schedule, but for me, having a plan lets me get things done which opens up more time for myself, friends, and family later on.

The famous Phoebe Buffay “pla” quote

Now, I wish I had the actual time and the money to create my own planner or buy a massive one with countless stickers to use as a key for what I’m doing each day but I just don’t. I wish that I had that much in me to plan, but the satisfaction for me is lost when I overdo it. The number one reason that I plan is to make sure that I’m on some sort of track for my goals. If I want to reach some type of goal or be successful I try to plan and make goals in my planner which keeps me a little bit accountable because when I open up my planner each day I see that note to myself to keep going.

If you don’t have a planner or you don’t even know where to start, take a trip to your local Target and buy one that fits your personality, or simply search Pinterest for easy ideas. There is no right or wrong way for planning, so go crazy or simply write down a goal. Whatever you do, make it your own.


Krystal, With a “K”




The Coffee Shop Hop

Wow! I simply cannot believe that I have been home for two months now. The time sure does fly by quickly. Since my last post, I have been trying to be more of a “doer” and less of a watcher. The easiest way for me to be this doer type was to look at the things that inspired me in life. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I have quite the obsession with coffee, and now that I have been working at my local Starbucks for about a month I have become even more of a “coffee connoisseur.”

With that in mind, I decided that one way for me to get to know the city that is just 20 minutes away from my house was to spend more time there. The best way I knew to do this was to look at all the attractions it offered. With one google search, I noticed the numerous coffee shops in and surround Grand Rapids. It was then that I got the idea to try as many of these coffee shops as I possibly could this summer.

After buying a cheap journal, writing a list of coffee shops on the west side of the state, and telling my closest friends about my idea, I was ready to go. Since creating this journal I have been to a handful of the coffee shops on my list and I still have so many left. At each coffee shop, I give the journal to the friend that accompanies me (I’ve yet to go alone yet) and they fill out an entry describing what they like or dislike about the visit.

So far, I’ve had a ton of fun going on these mini adventures that are within driving distance from my house. This has been a good way to strengthen some relationships with old friends and new ones, as well as giving me space to work on homework for my summer classes. In reality, I know that I won’t be able to finish my list, but the idea of trying new places and different kinds of coffee is so fun.

If you want to be a doer for the rest of your summer, look to your favorite things for inspiration. Below are some pictures of or at the coffee shops that I’ve tried. Here’s to a summer filled with good coffee and better friends!


Krystal, With a “K”

**Disclaimer: I have seen other people do this in my area, so when I thought of the idea I did look back to some of the places they went**


Sweet Summertime

The trees are full, the sun is out, and the bees are buzzing. The air is warm, the flowers are blooming, and everyone seems to have an extra “pep in their step”. It’s summer!

This seems to be the time of the year that everyone dreams of. Warm nights spent by the lake, the nightly routine of roasting marshmallows over campfires, weekend festivals, concerts, and so much more. As we say hello to the summer sun there is so much to do, for instance, hanging out with friends, cleaning up the yard, attending graduation parties, and working that dreaded summer job to pay for school.

With all the crazy excitement of seeing the friends I’ve missed, making money once again, trying to regain my summer “glow”, and soon start my summer classes it can feel like I have no time for anything and that I can slowly see my summer passing before my eyes. Now, I know what you may be thinking: “Krystal, you’ve had extra time off because you’ve been out of school for almost a month and what do you do anyway??.” Well, let me tell you that summer isn’t all fun and games anymore, and I am sure that every adult to read this would laugh and say “Welcome to the rest of your life!”

As of now I have been working two jobs, cleaning my aunt’s house along with random babysitting on the side, and trying to hang out with my family and friends as often as I can. I won’t lie and say that I haven’t been overwhelmed, because I have. With two jobs that don’t give me a consistent schedule (which is not their faults), friends who also work and have their own lives, and family who seem to hang out whenever you work, my life can sometimes seem like it is all over the place.

All these thoughts have been constantly running through my mind this past week, so I have completely decided to take my life day by day. This doesn’t mean that I don’t look to the future because this girl needs to have some things planned out; it’s just who I am. I decided that each full day off from work I will try to catch up with a friend or my family or maybe I will hide out and watch Netflix all day. My life is way too short to drown in something that doesn’t make me even the slightest bit happy and a teeny bit sane. I’ve also decided to try new things, places, and adventures to enjoy the free time that I do have this summer.

Even when life can seem like an endless, repetitive movie where you seem to work the same job every day, for me, it is important to make the most of it all. You never know when your last day will come, and although that seems super morbid, we often see too many who leave us unexpectedly. So, let’s make the most of every “bad” day, every great day, and all the in-betweens. Don’t be afraid to drop something or someone who doesn’t make or bring you a little bit of happiness each day, and don’t be afraid to be utterly and completely yourself. Do something for yourself and someone else every day. Overall, just find your happy and follow it.

Here’s to a summer full of love, happiness, adventure, and the people who help you achieve all three!

“Nights when we kept dancing, changing all our plans, and making every day a holiday” -Onerepublic


Krystal, with a “K”

Dear College Friends

Dear College Friends,

At this time last year, I had no idea you even existed. I had no idea that you living just a few doors down from me would be a lifesaver. I had no idea that we would become friends over the mutual hate of a class, and that even though we don’t see each other in class every single day doesn’t mean we aren’t friends. I had no idea that you would push me out of my comfort zone to meet new people and try new things.

This isn’t high school anymore, and you guys quickly helped me realize that we need to grow up a little, meet new people, and learn something new about ourselves.

I won’t lie, some of my best friends here at college probably have no clue that they mean so much to me and others didn’t necessarily like me at first. Being placed on the floor that I was in the dorms and the class sections I got into full-heartedly reinforces my belief in the fact that everything happens for a reason. I truly believe that the people I have met and bonded so well with were put into my life each for a different, but very specific reason.

The people on my floor have taught me so much about myself, the person I strive to be, they’ve challenged me to think outside myself, and more. The people who have lived with me or right next to me have pushed me to be myself because there isn’t anything better than being comfortable with the things you do and the person you are. Each personality on my floor is just that; a big personality. I feel lucky to know people who are so unique and who unwillingly deal with me every day. It is crazy to me how everyone on my floor is so different from me in the facts of where we came from and how we were raised, yet we are all so similar that it just kind of works. I know that we will never have another “Dungeon” like this again, but I feel overwhelmingly blessed to have been put in this room, with the roommates that put up with me, and the neighbors that became my best friends. I never knew that the first time I meet them, less than a year later my heart would ache at the thought of leaving them for the summer.

The people who I consider friends in my classes have helped me to branch out in different ways. Before college, I thought I was such a people person because I could talk to anyone about almost everything. Once I started to attend college classes I felt like a voice lost in the a sea of other voices, so I talked way less in classes and kind of thought that I wasn’t as good at making friends as I thought I was. This all changed when I was put into groups in certain classes (thank you professors) or I sat next to the same person everyday in certain lectures. I am so thankful for the implied “unassigned assigned seats” rule because without that I don’t think I would have made some of the friends that I have. It’s funny that just by sitting in the same seat everyday I found people who have so much in common with me. The people in my classes may not know that they had such an impact on my first year but I think that the only reason I can remember certain classes is because of these people.

To all the others who happened to stumble into my life; whether it be through a mutual friend or by my pure luck, thank you for the endless laughs and adventures. I feel sad knowing that I have to part with the people I meet and came to love in the past couple of weeks, but I have faith that we will stay connected. I am lucky to live near so many of my new friends, and I hope we can hangout at some point this summer.

I really am sad to leave all these people I once called strangers, and I don’t know what it will be like not seeing them every day. I do know that we live in a generation where those who are important to you can and have the abilities to keep in touch, and I am confident in the fact that I will stay in touch with the ones who took the time to get to know me and love me during this first year.

Thanks for everything,

Krystal, With a “K”




Spring Break 2017- Texas!

Although I have been back from my spring break for almost a month now, one of my goals was to share my love for the state of Texas with all of you, so here it is!

My dad’s brother lives about an hour outside of Houston in The Woodlands, Texas. My aunt and my cousin, who is in between my sister and me, also live there. It just so happens that all three of us ended up having the same exact spring break for the first time ever, so we definitely wanted to see each other.

When I describe The Woodlands to people I usually describe it as a bubble. This is mostly because there is a clear difference when you cross over the town’s lines into another. I have visited Texas multiple times now, so I love to go and see what has changed since the previous time that I have been there, hang out with my family, and find new things to like about Texas.

When I went to Texas last year we road tripped to a gas station in Madisonville called Buc-ee’s. Now, you are probably wondering why we would make the drive to a gas station but this is not your regular gas station. They make their own foods there, have a lot of tourist shopping, as well as the gas station pumps. The trip to Buc-ee’s includes stomping to see the Sam Houston statue and shopping at an upscale retro feeling flea market type of store called Annette’s Touch of Class. Since we made this trip without my sister last year we wanted my sister to experience more of Texas, so we took a morning to show her the infamous gas station everyone talks about.

One opportunity that I took advantage of this year was attending the Houston Rodeo at NRG stadium. I may be from a small town in Michigan where we go to the fair, have too many cornfields, and other things people consider to be country, but nothing could have ever prepared me for the Houston Rodeo. This was an all-day affair. We started around 11:30 with shopping the vendors that sold anything and everything from hand-made jewelry to official cowboy hats. We also walked around to see the animals and got to see chickens hatch. After that, we ventured outside to the food area where there were various tents full of any kind of fair food you could think of. I ate a funnel cake and a footlong corn dog so you could say I was in heaven. After eating we went to the carnival, and this wasn’t just any old carnival. There where four ferris wheels, a section dedicated to games, and more carnival rides in one place than I had ever seen in my whole life. We spent a good three to four hours there before making our way to the actual rodeo part inside the stadium. This was legit; bull riding, cattle roping, and way more. The opening ceremonies were so extravagant that they took about 15 minutes. After the official rodeo, there is always a concert which we did not stay for because Old Dominion, who was supposed to play, was replaced because they had a family emergency to attend to. Overall, we did not leave until almost 9:30, which would have been later if we went to the concert too. I 100% recommend the Houston Rodeo for anyone who has nothing to do and money to blow at the beginning of March.

Other than the main event of the Houston Rodeo, we spent a lot of time relaxing in the hot tub, eating good food, and enjoying each others’ company. We did spend some time shopping because there are some shops, like Alex and Ani, that my sister and I don’t have up north, and because who doesn’t love shopping?

One thing that we usually do when I visit is to drive around looking at the different styles of homes. They are all very upscale looking and have a large amount of character, in my opinion. Anyone who knows me knows that I love houses, and although my life’s goal doesn’t include the biggest, coolest house (although what would be wrong with putting that on the dream  list?) I do love to get ideas for when I can even think about a home (so I’m talking many years need to go by, like I need to pay for college first).

Texas is not a normal destination for college spring breakers, but I am so glad that I made the trip. I love seeing my family, and I love a relaxing week I hope that you guys can make it to Houston during the Rodeo at some point; it is a must see!

-Krystal, With a “K”



Drop Everything and Go

The kind of person that I strive to be is the kind that can have a fixed schedule and follow their daily routines, yet if given the chance I would drop everything and find that next adventure. A couple of weeks ago, I was this person.

As I am sure many of you have been annoyed by or noticed, I am obsessed with not only country music, but also singer/songwriter Thomas Rhett. I had the chance to see him when he performed alongside another favorite of mine, Brett Eldrege, in 2015 for the Suits and Boots Tour. It was from then on that I decided I love country music and especially Thomas Rhett.

When Rhett announced his first ever headline tour in September I decided that I had to go. My roommate and I joked about it for months saying even though we have no money and the tickets are way out of our price range we will make it work. We continued to blast our favorite songs by him in my car and live like we were about to go to Thomas Rhett when he finally came back to Michigan.

When February (the month of the concert) rolled around we still had no tickets and whenever we looked at the prices they got more and more expensive. Our dreams of jamming in person to his new album were slowly being derailed, but never the less, I kept looking. For some reason I knew that this would happen, I just had to figure out how.

Fast forward to the night before the concert. My best friend knows me so well that when someone posted on his university facebook page about selling tickets he sent the post to me. When I told him to ask this girl about the tickets he thought I was crazy but he still contacted the girl. As it turns out, my roommate and I got the tickets, and we bought them about $100 less than they were being sold for online!

Excited doesn’t even begin to describe what we felt that day. We went to all our classes that Thursday in anticipation of the concert at night. After my last class, we quickly grabbed what we needed and made our way to Saginaw for the first night of the Home Team Tour.

Once we got to the venue, we still couldn’t believe we had gotten the tickets and that we were actually there. After we found our seats at the very back of the floor in the small arena, our hearts were racing. A little bit into the concert the people sitting around us got up, left, and never came back, so my roommate and I were alone in a row that should have been filled with people.

The opening acts were great, but from the moment Thomas Rhett came out on that stage we were jumping up and down, dancing all around, and breathless from screaming the lyrics to our favorite songs. We were having a blast, and I really kept thinking that my life couldn’t get better than this. Oh boy, how I was wrong!

Not even 45 minutes into a night filled with pure joy, Thomas Rhett moved from the stage to a small square stage at end of the arena. We were literally less than 2 feet from him. These seats that were originally out of our price range then were considered to be “bad” floor seats, eventually turning into front row tickets. My heart was so full, and I realized that life is all about the moments that ignite a fire in your soul.

The moral of this long, drawn-out story is that sometimes it’s okay to be crazy and drop everything for something that makes your heart beat so fast you feel like you might die of happiness. Take chances and go see your favorite artist in concert, or drop everything to go visit the people you love. No matter what makes you happy, it’s okay to forget your worries and responsibilities for a while and fill your heart to the brim.


Krystal, With a “K”

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Where I Am

I feel like I should let anyone who reads my blog know where I am at in case they wonder why I haven’t posted too frequently lately.

I am currently going into the fifth week of my second semester as a college freshman. I have made a step towards where I want to go in this crazy life by choosing a major that I believe will suit me best throughout all that I want to do. The major I chose is called Integrative Public Relations or IPR. It is a big fancy title for someone who doesn’t want to spend their life as strictly a journalist or someone in only public relations. The degree requires a lot of communication, broadcasting, journalism types of classes and more. I am not sure if I will minor in anything, yet there is always a possibility to minor in something to aid with my major.

The classes that I am taking this semester still mostly class that the university requires I have to graduate. Although it may sound as though the required classes are still easier, you are wrong. I got to choose some of them in hopes that they were a double whammy and count towards my major. My current class schedule is a lot of writing. I have an English class where we write a lot of research-type papers, a writer for the mass media which is exactly what it sounds like, a journalism class where we discuss controversial issues then write, and a class about environmental science that shouldn’t need writing but my luck we have papers due. My only saving grace is that my macroeconomics class is a boring, regular, lecture-based class where you take notes then quizzes.

Basically, I am writing a lot. Aside from my classes, I write for my university’s online magazine, called Grand Central Magazine, where I write for the Student Lifestyle section. The stories are about what is going on around campus and are out of my comfort zone of writing. I interview people, and my writing is like a regular feature story you would read online.

Along with Grand Central, I just applied to write for the Odyssey at Central Michigan University. The Odyssey is something that I am sure most people have read, and it is more like a blog. My first post has just been uploaded, and the stories I have started writing are my style and I am enjoying it a lot. I really hope it works out.

So, that is where I am at mostly. My spring break is coming up in the next month so I really hope I have time to write before then because I do have some great ideas. I am sorry if I don’t update more, not that too many people read this. If you want, check out my articles on the other sites, they are different than what I write here, but I know that they will be great to help me get to where I am going in life.

-Krystal, With a “K”

P.s. It would mean so much to me if ya’ll check out my first post on the Odyssey!