Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Skin Care Routine: Retinol

Being inside for the past two weeks, has been a bit rough, but not for my skin.
My skin is looking the best it has in years, maybe in forever, actually.

This is one of the few benefits of being quarantined for weeks.

I have never felt so rested and so refreshed. My skin has never been clearer.
I am not stressed so I am not breaking out. I am also not in a dirty environment. 
I also haven’t worn makeup in weeks. I did once or twice to take pictures, but besides that, I have been letting my skin breathe.

I also have been super focused on my skincare routine.
I have gone over my skincare routine before, but I wanted to focus on one skincare product that has been transforming my skin for the past couple of years.


Retinol or retinoic acid is a part of vitamin A that gets rid of wrinkles, acne scars and everything in between. Retinol is known to be drying, because it is so powerful, and promotes skin cell turnover. Retinol takes the top layer of your skin off and lets new skin, undamaged skin come to the surface. 

I use a very strong prescription form of retinol, in a cream form, from my dermatologist, every night before I go to bed. I put on my moisturizer and eye cream and then I take a tiny pea-sized amount of retinol and put it on my forehead, cheeks and t-zone; on any spot that I have acne scars or discoloration.

You are never too young to take care of your skin! I am looking at all my lovely friends in their 20s. Wear your SPF every day and use retinol with a moisturizer every night!

Retinol comes in prescription forms like I have, but also over the counter forms. There is no excuse to not take care of your skin! I have listed some highly recommended ones down below.


Friday, March 27, 2020

My First Week of Online Classes

My first week of online classes was an adjustment…

Out of my five classes, only two of them are meeting virtually every week. One class meets via Zoom twice a week and the other class meets once a week via WebEx.

These virtual classes are tough because it is sensory overload. The first two days of class felt like I had too many tabs open on my computer and too many open in my head. The professor is speaking at the same time the PowerPoint slides are on your screen, but then half way through, you have to switch to the Google Document that the class is working on and then switch back to the slides and then back again to your class’s Canvas page.

My professors are trying to make virtual class the same as we had on campus, but it is really difficult, for both the students and the professors. 

The microphone and WIFI service goes in and out.

It is also so much easier to get distracted in an online classroom. You can see everyone’s video, which means you can see what they are wearing and where they are sitting in their house. And then you are only supposed to focus on your professor who is speaking and the slides on the screen…
J.Crew striped t-shirt (similar) | Rent the Runway Tibi lavender culottes (use my PROMO CODE: RTRWAKEFOREST25 for 25% off your rental) | Jack Rogers sneakers (use my PROMO CODE: CBALIZ for 15% off at jackrogersusa.com) | J.Crew multi-colored earrings

I have two classes online which means that one of my French classes, my two English classes and my chorus class are “work at your own pace.”

My classes that are “work at your own pace” are strictly discussion classes that now have transformed into Google Document classes. I have to type my answers to discussion questions via a google document. Definitely not ideal. 
In my eyes, classes like this are definitely boring and less fulfilling online.

I am a very type-A, scheduled person, so when my world flips upside down and we no longer have a set schedule it is a bit tough at first until I reacclimate to my new more flexible schedule.
I really do enjoy working by myself and I easily do so from my bedroom but working alone all day, every day is boring.

As an online student, now I have little to no socialization during the day. I think everyone can agree, that the best parts about classes, is that we get to talk to people!

Because of these unprecedented times, Wake Forest University has decided to allow all students to take all our classes pass/fail for this semester.
As I have already been admitted to one law school and am graduating this semester, with no chance of my GPA increasing, I have decided to take my 14.5 hours of classes pass/fail.

With this new freedom, I have decided to also focus on working from 9-5 pm or from 10-6 pm, every day.

It is so easy for Wake Forest students to always be working 24/7, but because classes are now online and are now pass/fail, I will be taking a more relaxed approach to my studies and have some more ME time!


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Spring Break on a Cruise during the Corona Virus

Hello all! I am writing this blog post from my quarantined cruise ship in Tampa, FL...

I’m writing this blog post from the deck of my beach house in Marco Island, FL. I will explain why I’m not back in school in a bit. 

Let’s start off with day one of our Norwegian Cruise.
J.Crew periwinkle tank top | American Eagle white jeggings | Tory Burch double pearl earrings | ASOS straw hat | Jack Rogers sandals (use my code: CBALIZ for 15% off your order at jackrogersusa.com) | ASOS straw beach bag 

Sunday, March 8th.
We anxiously boarded the Norwegian Dawn at noon, an hour late after the US Coast Guard did a thorough inspection of the Dawn.

I didn’t sleep the night before in our Airbnb because I was anxious. Corona Virus had just started to spread in the US. Two cruise ships had been quarantined. I had friends begging me not to go. My parents were encouraging me to go. 
So, my 9 friends and I decided to stick with our original plan and go on our 7-day Western Caribbean cruise.

Security guards at the port took our temperatures before boarding. We were told about the “washy-washy” stations that we were required to use to sanitize our hands before boarding.
5 squirts of antibacterial spray later and we were finally allowed on the ship.
Using the “washy washy” stations became a routine thing. Before we entered any dining room, we were required to sanitize. It kind of became a joke, but a reassuring joke because anxieties were high.

We sat at the pool deck, had lunch and a couple of drinks from our unlimited drink package until our stateroom was ready.

Around 5 pm our room with two obstructed portholes was ready. We showered and changed and had dinner with the group at 7:30 pm at the Venetian, one of the included dining rooms.

That’s when the rocking started. We could feel the winds and the rocking of the ship.

We danced at the club, the Bliss Lounge, for a bit before attempting to sleep.
Let me preface this by saying that I do not really like boats. I also don’t really like airplanes because I get motion sick. When I was little, my twin brother and I would throw up every single flight, usually at the same time, and we flew a lot. It was always a victory if we were able to keep our breakfast or lunch down after the two-and-a-half-hour flight from New York to Fort Meyers and back. Thankfully, we have out grown our motion sickness, but occasionally rough flights or rough waters give us some trouble.

We went to bed at around midnight and I woke up at 3 am and I thought I was going to die. The world was spinning, and I wasn’t even drunk, even though it felt like it. Thankfully, the Girl Scout in me was BEYOND prepared.
I had my Dramamine sitting on my night stand ready to be taken. I took one pill. It only lasted me 3 hours before I had to take another one.

I took another one at breakfast after washy-washy. I was not well. When the captain, Captain TJ, the only Norwegian on the ship, came on the PA system, he apologized for the 60 mph winds and waves as we crossed the Gulf of Mexico.

I was on Dramamine all day as we sat at the pool and tanned. Alex competed in Mr. Sexy Legs competition on the pool deck but did not bring home a W for Wake Forest.

The pool deck was covered in a third of college students on spring break, from University of Georgia, University of Tampa, Auburn University, Eastern Carolina University and us, Wake Forest University!
And then a third of families or middle-aged folks and a third of the retired people.

We attempted to go to the gym after tanning all day but running on a treadmill or cycling on a stationary bike when the ship is rocking is close to impossible.

J.Crew chambray jumpsuit | Amazon rainbow earrings | Mark & Graham leather wristlet | Tory Burch gold logo bangle

We had dinner at Aqua, another complimentary dining room on the ship. The sea was so rough, I couldn’t even get through my meal. I thought I was going to throw up all over the table. Thankfully I had my Dramamine in my bag, it became my travel companion. I was in bed by 9 pm, after practically being carried up the stairs. 

When the rocking of the ship finally stopped at 2 am, I woke up and shot out of bed because I was so relieved. I pulled the shade aside and saw lights and land. Land ho! I then looked at my phone and the time said 2:00 am.... oops!

Tuesday, March 10th, we docked in Cozumel, Mexico. We were welcomed with crystal clear teal water and clear skies.
We met our excursion at 8:45 am off the pier.

We booked an excursion every day and only booked through Norwegian Cruise Line. Some of our group booked through other websites, but I thought it was easiest to book through the cruise company.

For Cozumel we went to an all-inclusive beach club. We boarded a bus and took a 40-minute ride to Playa Mia Deluxe Beach Break. This beach club was very family friendly and perfect for all ages. 
We found lounge chairs very close to the water. Alex played beach volleyball. We swam a bit and helped ourselves to the open bar and open buffet. The food was fine. Nothing great, the food on the ship was definitely better but it was fine for lunch.

We were still super anxious about getting sick, so every 5 minutes we were sanitizing our hands. Hand sanitizer and Dramamine were attached to my person at all times.

We boarded the ship again, sanitized twice before actually boarding and going through security.

When we booked our cruise in November, the deal was 2 free at sea items. So, we chose the unlimited drinks special, because we are college students on spring break, and the specialty dinning package. You guys know I am a total foodie, so of course, I wanted the nice dining.

Tuesday night we went to Los Lobos, a Mexican restaurant. I felt it was only fitting after spending a day in Mexico. The food was delicious, and the margaritas were even more amazing!
After dinner we went to Tim Kaminski’s comedy show. I almost wet myself laughing. He was very interactive with the audience and had the audience participate in a remake of the Wizard of Oz.

The next day, Wednesday, we were in Belize, and that’s where the craziness started.
I had to stop writing this blog post because writing about this day, feels like I’m reliving it.

Our ship arrived at Harvest Caye, Belize, a private island around 11 am. There was no pier so instead we had to take tenders, life boats and water taxis, to shore. It was really cool watching the life boats from our ship gracefully drop into the water.

We boarded the little boat and made it to land. The island had little shops and a man-made beach with beautiful crystal-clear water. There was a zip line that went across the beach and palm trees. We sat on the beach, took pictures and were in peace until texts started circulating that universities all over North Carolina and the south were starting to close. Duke, Eastern Carolina, NC State, UNC.
Wake posted online that we were closing indefinitely and then took it down.
At 8 pm East Coast time, we received an email from our president, “we have decided to suspend all in-person classes... Classes are cancelled from Monday, March 16, ‪through Sunday, March 22, so that faculty and staff can plan for academic continuity....Classes will resume remotely ‪on Monday, March 23. Students should expect to hear directly from their respective professors and/or degree program leaders soon about how to prepare for class. It is unknown at this time when classes will return to an in-person format... Students should not return to campus if at all possible...Campus will remain open.”

Campus is not closed. The post office, gym and library are open. But dorms are closed.

In another email from Residence Life and Housing, “To reaffirm the University messaging, while it is unknown when we will return to on-campus classes, we are NOT asking students to move out of their housing at this time.” 
This email gives me hope that we can return to our dorms and classes before the end of the semester.

Dorms are open until Tuesday, today, however, “all students, faculty or staff returning from countries with Level 2 and 3 travel health notices or from a cruise should not return to campus without first completing a 14-day self-isolation period without developing symptoms of COVID-19.”

So fortunately, some of my friends that did not go on the cruise were able to request access to my room and FaceTime me and collect some important belongings and some winter clothes. As well as all my books.

When we heard all of the noise about schools around us being canceled, I was attempting to read for one of my classes, but I was just too upset. My day at the beach was ruined. We were eating lunch when we heard more news and I cried.

It was a beautiful beach, but I was devastated because I knew my senior year was going to be cut short.

And it has been.

Once I called my parents, hysterically crying, they sympathetically told me to calm down and think about all the people that were dying.
I was still upset. I was thinking about all the events that I can’t attend anymore. The senior events that every other year has experienced. No informal, no Shag on the Mag, no formal maybe, no senior week maybe and no graduation maybe.

And we still don’t know. Everything is up in the air.

All we do know is that we have an extra week of vacation. My parents immediately thought of the idea that me and my friends from the cruise could go drive two and a half hours from Tampa to Marco Island, FL where we have our beach house.
It made perfect sense because we were already parked in Florida. And then the week later we could go back to Winston and live in a friend’s off campus apartment when online classes start because we have an indefinite ending to online classes.

Hopefully this will all blow over in a couple of weeks and we will be able to return to campus so we can finish our senior year and experience all of the lasts we are hoping for.

I was so upset Wednesday that I could hardly eat. But once we got back on the ship, we went to Bamboo, an included Asian cuisine restaurant after setting sail.

Thursday, March 12th was my favorite day. We docked in Honduras bright and early to meet the Jolly Roger Catamaran Sailing & Snorkeling excursion. This excursion was so fun!
We took a 20-minute bus ride to the dock and got on the 30-person catamaran. We sailed for 30 minutes until we reached our snorkel spot. I nervously jumped into the water with my snorkel gear and life vest and swam around the sailboat looking at all the fishes and the coral under the sea.

The crew on the sail boat was hysterical. When we got back on the boat after snorkeling for an hour, we danced on the deck: the Cupid Shuffle, the Macarena, the Wobble. We also ate delicious chicken and coleslaw on board prepared by the captain’s wife.
It was a quick excursion but a super fun one. I’m so glad we picked this one. It definitely cheered us all up.

We got back on the Dawn pretty early, so we sat on the top deck and basked in the sun, until I got some color, and not the good kind.

For dinner we went to a specialty restaurant, Le Bistro, a French restaurant on board.
I ordered the escargot and the veal medallions. Honestly, the best escargot I’ve ever had, and I studied abroad in France for four months! For dessert we had chocolate fondue. I was in heaven! 
The best French food I’ve had in a long time. We loved the restaurant so much we went back there the following night where we even saw the captain of our ship a table over from us.

After dinner Thursday night we went to a couple’s game show. May the best couple win. They had to do some crazy competitions, like putting a lemon up the husband’s shorts and down the shorts without the wives hands up their pants.
It was so fun!

On Friday the 13th we arrived in Costa Maya, Mexico!

Our whole group went to the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins at 9:30 am. The ruins were beautiful and fascinating.

Zara floral dress | ASOS straw hat | Jack Rogers navy blue sneakers (use my code: CBALIZ for 15% off your order at jackrogersusa.com)

After the ruins we walked around the beach town next to the port. We found a cute little restaurant which allowed us to pick the fresh caught fish of the day off of a plate. We selected a 4-kilo red snapper that was staring me in the eyes. After bargaining with our server, we headed back to the ship. Thank goodness for Alex and his Spanish skills.

We had a late dinner at Le Bistro before going back to the theater for the end of the cruise show.  

We participated in the famous Norwegian White Party in the club before heading to bed.

ASOS blue wrap dress (lots of ruffle wrap dresses) | J.Crew white denim jacket | ASOS colorful clutch | ASOS orange wrap up sandals (similar) | J.Crew gold hoop earrings

Our last day on the ship was Saturday, March 14th. We spent the day at sea, but it was a slow day at sea. Unlike the first day at sea, there were no waves and no wind. We really lucked out. 

 We slept in, tanned by the pool, and yours truly even competed in a Miss Bicep competition on the pool deck… I did not win, but I did bring the sass.

We took some group pictures and had a quick dinner at Aqua before the aerial show, which was amazing. We then watched Tim Kaminski’s sold out comedy show.

Sunday, the 15th, we arrived back in Tampa bright and early at 7 am. We were anxious about getting off the boat and touching US soil once more. But low and behold we did! 
No quarantine for me!

After getting off the ship, a group of us headed to Marco Island in South West Florida where I am spending my second week of Spring Break.

Despite all the craziness, I had a wonderful Spring Break. It definitely was not what I was expecting but it was still a trip of a lifetime. I will definitely not forget this trip for many many reasons.

Norwegian Cruise Line was great especially during all of this nonsense. I am so glad I went on the cruise and I am so lucky that we did not get quarantined.

I hope everyone is healthy and doing well. Stayed tuned for more blog posts coming soon and T&P Thursday’s on my Instagram this Thursday!

All the best,


Tuesday, March 3, 2020

How I studied for the LSAT and My REAL LSAT Experience

Yes, I finally took the LSAT.
After nine months and a traumatic first attempt at the LSAT a week before, I am finally done.

How I studied for the LSAT:
From June-October 2019, I studied using “Self-Paced” from Kaplan. It was videos and workbooks. I liked it, but I felt like I was teaching myself the material. It was hard. I took a diagnostic test, a midpoint test and a final test to see how much I had learned, and my score did not go up at all.

I intended to take the LSAT in November, but that clearly did not happen because I was not at all prepared.

In October, I found a local tutor, Anna. If you want her contact information, please reach out to me!
She went to Wake Law and practiced law for years before starting her own tutoring company.
I started working with her in October and signed up to take the LSAT in February 2020.

We met twice a week from October to February.
Every session we would learn a new section of the test and then for homework, every night I would go home and practice what I had learned on old LSAT tests. Through four months, I went through about 40 tests. There are about 80 tests released in total.

Once I was getting a hang of a section, I would do timed sections. Most sections are 25-27 questions and you only have 35 minutes to do them.

Once I got the timing down, I worked on my stamina. I would do two sections back to back.
My favorite section to practice was logic games. 

And then two months out from my test, twice a week, I would take practice tests. Every Thursday morning and every Sunday morning.
I took the pen and paper versions, but I also took the 3 released tablet tests, because all the LSATs now are on a tablet.

The test is only three hours long, but it is hard and hurts your brain after a while.
My stamina was really low during the first two tests and then it got better.
Every test though, my score went up by at least one point!
Every week, after I took my practice tests, Anna and I would meet to go over them.

Anna raised my score dramatically! (Let’s wait to see what I got on the real thing, but on all the practice tests leading up to the real deal, I went up by nine points from my diagnostic!)
My Real LSAT:
Friday night, there was no fire alarm, the first time in weeks we did not have one.
I slept really well. I had about 12 hours of sleep, but I also slept well because I was not nervous.
I thought I was confident the week before, but I clearly was not. I was so nervous last week; I could not stop crying. But Saturday when I took it, I felt so confident and relaxed.
The night before and the morning of the test, I just kept reminding myself that it was just like taking a practice test, my 9thone…

After LSAC royally screwed up my LSAT the week before on a tablet, we took my LSAT the old fashion way: pencil and paper!

The test went really well, and I still feel good about it! There were no tears before the test and I really was not anxious, at all.

As we finally reached the last section of the test, I gained some more steam because I felt so good about the test and I felt confident in my all my hard work! I was also super excited to be done!

Now, I can finally say I AM DONE!
I ran home to my suitemates and we all jumped up and down screaming “I’m done, I’m done!!!”
You no longer have to hear about the LSAT from me!
My score will come out in two weeks, and I’m sure I did great on it!
Sunday night, I submitted all my law school applications and I am ready to GO!
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