End of the Year Obsessions

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Obsession — An idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind.”
-Oxford’s English Dictionary


Happy End of 2019!  I wanted to combine my obsessions of October, November, and December into a post looking back at my 2019 so I hope I can provide some great recommendations for you to look at in the new year of 2020!

1.  American Royals by Katharine McGee.  My obsession with royal families started at the young age of three with Princess Diana and has continued since then (Grace Kelly, Meghan Markle, etc.).  That made this book appeal to me as soon as I read the description.  It focuses on the modern-day royal Washington family in an imagined world where George Washington became the king of America instead of its president.  The book is directed towards young adults, and I found it to be in a similar vein as The Royals on E.  I loved how the book followed the three children of the current king and developed a storyline for each of them (forbidden love, expectations of the future queen, and two girls fighting for the love of a prince).  It’s a light read that didn’t take me long to get through and I really enjoyed it.

2.  Goodie Girl Magical Animal Crackers.  I’ve already posted about how much Ii love Goodie Girl cookies in one of my prior Monthly Obsessions because some gluten free cookies are not okay.  I found these animal crackers at my local grocery store, and they are my absolute favorite!  They are a thinner animal cracker but are so yummy.  They pair well with tea as more of a breakfast item or some milk as a late night treat.  Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of the Goodie Girl cookies.

3.  The Idea of You by Robinne Lee.  Much like American Royals, this book was another that I had to read as soon as I read the summary.  While this isn’t a super new book, I think the whole book still seems pretty current.  It focuses on a forty-something mom who starts up a relationship with a young boybander (probably inspired by any of the One Direction guys) she meets at a meet and greet with her daughter.  The book follows the two during the duration of their relationship and seemed very on par as to what would happen if the plot was real.  I felt a little let down by how abrupt the ending seemed but overall I would totally recommend this book.

4.  Athleta Conscious Crop.  This longer bodied sports bra is another clothing piece that I loved so much I had to buy two of them.  The Conscious Crop pairs beautifully with Athleta’s high-waisted leggings and only shows a little bit of skin between the two.  I found that it runs a little smaller than their normal sports bras, mainly because it’s more of a top than just a normal sports bra.  I bought it in olive green and navy, both of which match the colors of my older Athleta leggings.  That’s one thing I love about Athleta, they usually come out with the same colors every year so you don’t have to worry about pieces matching from year to year.

5.  KitchenAid® Limited Edition Heritage Artisan Model K 5-Qt Stand Mixer with Ceramic Hobnail Bowl.  I have wanted a KitchenAid stand mixer for the longest time because I love my mom’s.  For years, I was set on the mixer color I would eventually get, but then KitchenAid released its 100 anniversary appliances and everything changed.  This Williams Sonoma exclusive is in a beautiful matte light blue with a hobnail white ceramic bowl.  Not only is this mixer a necessity for any home cook, but it makes a beautiful décor piece in the kitchen.  I’m honestly so happy that I bought it as a bar passage gift to myself, but also that I got gift cards from Ibotta to help pay for it!



6.  Lover by Taylor Swift.  TSwift has redeemed herself!  I was not the biggest fan of reputation (I know, I know, I’m probably the only person who says that), it’s the only album of hers I didn’t buy right when it came out.  Lover was a completely different story.  I love every song on the album, but especially “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince,” “The Man,” and “I Think He Knows.”  But tbh, they’re all bops and TSwift killed this album.  I’ve definitely had this on repeat since it came out in August.

7.  2019.  Wow, 2019 has probably been the craziest, most satisfying year of my life.  It started out with me being sick (which is pretty usual for winter) taking on one of the busiest semesters I’ve had during all of my schooling.  I graduated law school, which you can read all about in this post!  My summer focused mostly on bar exam prep, with a little break to see Legally Blonde the Musical for my 25th birthday (which was all sorts of amazing, but a tad different from the OG Broadway version).  I took the PA bar exam at the end of July and then the waiting game started.  To wait out my results, I helped coach my high school’s field hockey team (which was the first time I’ve truly played since I had to stop due to school and concussions in college).  And then in October, I found out the news I had been dreaming about since I was in the eighth grade:  I passed the PA Bar Exam and got officially sworn in a few days later.  Finally, to finish out this wonderfully insane year, I accepted a job offer to be a judicial clerk starting in January.  Overall, the best year of my life professionally and I can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store!

I hope you have had a wonderful 2019 (and 2010s decade) and I’m sending you all of the best wishes for a happy, healthy, and awesome 2020!

I Passed The Bar Exam!

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Bar Examination – “The examinations that law school graduates need to pass before being given the privilege to practice law in a state or federal court.”
-Black’s Law Dictionary

I am so excited to be able to write this post and announce that I have passed the Pennsylvania bar examination on the first try.  Today is also the one-month anniversary of my attorney admission day!  I will admit that I cried when I first saw my name on the list of successful applicants because I was so relieved.  As I always enjoy doing, I’ve summarized my bar prep in numbers reflecting my summer of studying.
  • Bar Course Used:  Barbri
  • Weeks Devoted to Studying:  11
  •  Hours Studied:  416.37
  •  Average Study Time Per Day:  5.89 (includes days I only studied for ~1 hr)
  • Hours Listened to Lectures:  87.83
  • Percentage of Course Completed:  100%
  • Number of Multiple Choice Questions Answered:  1,462
  • Number of Essays Written/Outlined:  53
  • Number of Flashcards Made:  250+
  • Weeks Waited Until Results Released:  10.5
  • Best Subject:  Torts/Civ Pro(MBE); Con Law/Civ Pro/Employment (Essays)
  • Worst Subject:  Contracts (MBE); Business Organizations/UCC (Essays)
I do want to include a disclaimer that the way I studied and how much time I spent doing things will not be the same way other people should study for the bar exam.  I’m planning on writing a post that is a more in-depth discussion of what I thought about the Barbri prep class and how I utilized all of their resources during my summer studying.

Summer Obsessions Part 2

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Obsession — An idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind.”
-Oxford’s English Dictionary
The second part of my summer obsessions post is finally here, I’m so sorry for taking so long to get this up.  This part covers what I loved of tv/movies, music, books, and other things that were released this summer.

TV/Movies

1.  Toy Story 4.  I grew up being a huge Toy Story fan so I had to see the last movie in the series.  I took a break from all of my bar studying to watch it in theaters and enjoyed every moment of it until the ending (I won’t spoil it).  I loved how Woody was reunited with his obvious one true love, Bo Peep, but his friends were still there supporting him.  I’m still partial to the OG trilogy and think they could have done without the fourth movie, but it’s still a good movie.

2.  Always Be My Maybe and Falling Inn Love.  To me, Netflix rom-coms are the somewhat raunchier version of Hallmark movies.  Always Be My Maybe stars one of my favorite actresses and stand-up comedians, Ali Wong.  It’s about two childhood friends whose lives lead them in very different directions but they still have a spark so many years later.  Falling Inn Love follows Christina Milan as a recently dumped woman who wins an old, dilapidated inn and then falls in love while fixing it up.  I really enjoyed these movies (unlike the other talked about Netflix movie of the summer, Secret Obsession) and are definitely must watch films.

3.  American Princess.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from this show when I first started watching it because I knew it was about a Renaissance Faire, but I got hooked after the first episode.  The main character, Amanda, finds her fiancé cheating on her the morning of her wedding, and while running away from the wedding, she finds the American Princess Renaissance Faire.  The show follows her as she grows accustomed to the Ren Faire life and all of its unique personalities.  I enjoyed the show; unfortunately, Lifetime canceled it after one season, but you should totally check it out!

4.  Christy’s Kitchen Throwback.  I feel like this entire post is about childhood favorites (see no. 1 above and no. 1 below).  But if you don’t know who Christy Carlson Romano is, she was Ren from Even Stevens, Kim from Kim Possible, and was in Cadet Kelly.  She recently started a YouTube show where she brings on old Disney Channel stars and has them cook with her and give an update on their lives.  Each episode is only around 15 minutes, but it’s a great throwback and I may or may not have binged watched all of the episodes in one day, oops.

Music

1.  Happiness Begins by Jonas Brothers.  I have loved the JoBros for a very long time so when I found out they were reuniting, I was so excited.  I absolutely fell in love with this album as soon as I listened to it for the first time.  Every song took me back to the 2000s when they were in their prime but with more mature voices.  I also had the opportunity to see them in concert and let me tell you, they were absolutely amazing.

2.  No. 6 Collaborations Project by Ed Sheeran.  As I was building my bar prep playlist, I came across this album by Ed Sheeran and became obsessed with almost every song on it.  The entire album consists of collaborations between Ed Sheeran and various other artists.  Some of the songs have recently found their way onto popular radio, such as Beautiful People (with Khalid) and I Don’t Care (with Justin Bieber), but I’ve found some other favorites.  If you’re tired of hearing Señorita, then you should listen to South of the Border, which features Camilla but I think it’s definitely a better song.

3.  “I Want It That Way” Revisited by Backstreet Boys.  I was and always will be a BSB girl so I love any of their new stuff.  But, when I saw they rereleased the song “I Want It That Way,” I was super excited.  I loved the OG version of this song and I love the new version.

4.  “Don’t Let Her” by Walker Hayes.  The meaning behind this song is super sad, but also sweet.  And it has become one of my favorite songs over the summer.  Basically the song is a letter from Walker to whoever his wife would fall in love with if something happened to him.  The lyrics are super cute and it’s such a beautiful song.  Definitely give it a listen.

Books

1.  You Owe Me One by Sophie Kinsella.  Sophie Kinsella has been one of my favorite authors since I first read her Confessions of a Shopaholic series.  Her latest book, You Owe Me One, focuses on the family drama surrounding a family business after the matriarch goes on vacation, leaving it in the hands of her three very different children.  Of course, things go south and there’s a bit of a love triangle with the main character, her old crush, and a new handsome stranger who “owes her one.”  I read this while on vacation and it was the perfect beach read, or just a read that will have you engrossed from the beginning until the very end.

Others

1.  Graduating Law School.  I cannot believe that I’m officially done with law school and that I’ve been running this blog for three years.  I wrote a whole post summarizing my law school experience in numbers, but still wanted to highlight it as going to law school has been a goal of mine since I was in the eighth grade.  It’s still really weird that I’m not back in school as I’m finally done after 20 years of school.  Crazy, I know.  Thanks for joining my journey and hope you stay along for the next part of my ride through the law.

Summer Obsessions Part 1

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Obsession — An idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind.”
-Oxford’s English Dictionary
October is here so that means summer is officially over.  Because my summer consisted of all things graduation and the bar exam, I didn’t get my normal obsessions posts up when I had originally wanted to.  However, I decided to combine all of my favorites from May through September into two giant posts separated by topic so here is the first of the two that focuses on the Beauty, Fashion, and Food that I loved this summer.

Beauty

1.  Tarte Brazillance+ Self-Tanner.  Since being inside all the time made me super pale during law school, I wanted something that could add a little color to my skin so I didn’t look like a ghost for law school graduation.  This self-tanner delivered without making me look orange, and since it comes with a mitt, it’s pretty easy to apply.  Tarte does sell a sample kit that comes with a travel size of the self-tanner and Park Ave Princess to try out.

2.  Tarte Big Ego Mascara.  Tarte released Big Ego as its latest addition to its mascara collection.  I have used Too Faced’s Better than Sex mascara for quite a few years and recently wanted to switch it up and try something new.  The wand is similar to Better than Sex, but I find the formula of Big Ego to be better as the BTS formula could be a little too wet until a few weeks after opening.  Big Ego is now my new go-to mascara.

3.  Tarte Pout Prep.  Tarte was my big winner of the summer.  Since I have Platinum status at Ulta, I received a $10 coupon for my birthday that I ended using on this lip scrub.  This lip scrub is gentle on the lips because the sugar crystals aren’t too big in the scrub.  However, it gets the job done of making lips smoother and softer so lipstick and lip pencils go on better.

4.  Nair Clay & Seaweed Leg Mask.  When I first started shaving my legs, I used Nair because I was a little scared of using a razor (funny, I know).  Nair has had a resurgence in the decade since I first used it and has created a leg mask that has the same hair removing properties as the OG Nair products.  I like that it’s not super harsh but makes your legs feel soft and removes hair pretty well.  It does have the trademark Nair smell but I don’t think it’s as strong as I remember other products being.

5.  BioClarity Clear Skin Routine.  I received this routine from Influenster to try out for free.  However, it was perfect timing because my skin was frequently breaking out due to stress and hormonal changes.  This is a three part routine, one for cleansing the skin, one for clearing up the pimples, and another for helping the complexion overall.  This system helps to clear up my hormonal acne in only one use and makes it look even all over.  I did find that the system caused my face to feel a tad dry when I first used it, but after my skin got used to it, it stopped causing my skin to be dry.

Fashion

1.  Kate Spade Margaux Work Tote.  My parents bought me this bag as my graduation present because I really wanted a black pebble leather tote for work.  I love that this tote has a pocket for a laptop and two other pockets for other items.  It has a long strap to carry it as a shoulder or cross body bag and two smaller handles.  I love the pebble leather as it’s super soft and looks really professional.

2.  Kate Spade Sylvia Set.  For my birthday, my parents also got me a new cross body and wallet from Kate Spade, the small dome cross body and the small bifold wallet in Orchid, my favorite color.  This has been my go-to set all summer since I got it for my birthday.  The cross body holds a lot, including the wallet, my sunglasses, keys, lipgloss, my phone, and some other small essentials, such as hand sanitizer.  The wallet has about six card slots, a pocket for change, and ID slot, and spots for cash.  My mom liked the wallet so much she bought one for herself.

3.  Lilly Pulitzer Palma One-Piece Swimsuit.  My graduation present for myself was a swimsuit from Lilly Pulitzer.  I have some two pieces from Athleta but have wanted a cute one piece that was strapless or had tiny straps.  This one fit the bill, but when I ordered it through the store, I didn’t receive the color I originally wanted.  However, the color they sent me ended up being my favorite.  I did have to size up in this.  Because Lilly already had their end of season sale, it’s currently sold out but hopefully they bring it back next year because it’s super cute!
  
4.  Sonix Southern Florals Phone Case.  I’ve had my old phone case for almost four years so I knew it was time for a new one considering the bumpers were broken off of the phone case body.  I found this one at Target and fell in love.  It looks super cute with my rose gold iPhone 6S (yes, my phone is old) and also works for the iPhone 7 and 8.  I’ve only ever had Sonix phone cases for my phones and haven’t broken any phone while it was in one of their cases.

5.  Keds Leather Champion Sneakers.  Keds may have been a staple in the 90s and early 2000s, but they’re still a go-to in my wardrobe now.  I previously had fabric Champions but busted a hole in the toe because of how much I wore them.  I found the leather version of them at DSW and loved how soft the leather was.  They also have memory foam insoles, which makes them super comfortable to wear.  These are so great and make an easy pair of slip on shoes.

Food

1.  O’Dough’s Bagels and Buns.  I’m always on the hunt for good gluten free foods since bread has always been one of my favorite food groups.  I found the O’Dough’s brand at my local grocery store, which carries their bagels, loaves of bread, and sandwich buns.  The brand is vegan and gluten free, but don’t taste like they’re either.  My favorites are the plain and pumpernickel (which you don’t find very often in gluten free items) bagels.

2.  Starbucks Teavana Shaken Iced Teas.  Starbucks changed up their shaken iced tea flavors yet again this summer.  Now, they consist of guava white, blueberry black, and peach green iced teas.  I had a lot of chances to form my opinion this summer as I consistently took a break from bar prep to walk to the closest Starbucks to my apartment and try them out.  I really like all of the flavors but find the blueberry black iced tea to be the best combination.  Definitely worth a try if you like iced tea.

Part Two of this giant review post should be up within the next few days!

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