Tag Archives: love

Picky eater food guide

Austin has many unique restaurants to choose from, but for a picky eater like me, it’s often hard to find food I love. Instead of always just eating fast food, here are some restaurants near campus to try out if you’re a picky eater, too. 

Roppolo’s Pizzeria 

Roppolo’s pizza was one of the first restaurants I ever tried when I came to Austin, and I instantly fell in love. The giant pepperoni pizza or cheese pizza slices are perfect for anyone who is not too adventurous with adding toppings to their pizza. The pizza sauce is also not filled with weird tomato chunks so it doesn’t have a gross texture that most picky eaters hate. 

Moody’s Kitchen and Bar

American food is always a good go-to. Moody’s has a good selection of American food from pizza and burgers, to mozzarella sticks and, of course, chicken tenders. When I visited, the chicken tenders tasted way better than what you get at fast food restaurants. Plus, they have tons of sauces to choose from to dip your fries and tenders in. 

Pizza Press

I know Pizza Press is another pizza location, but this pizzeria is a great choice for those picky eaters who want to choose specific cheese, sauce and toppings on their pizza. 

Taco Joint

Probably not the most friendly picky eater restaurant, but if I eat at the Taco Joint almost every week, then you definitely can too. I always get street tacos, which have sirloin, avocado, cilantro, queso fresco and onion. 

A lot of those toppings on the tacos may not be picky-eater friendly, but you can always take them off. I make sure to order my tacos without the onions. There are also other authentic Mexican options that are more plain, like the cheese quesadilla. 

Kerbey Lane 

When people think of Kerbey Lane, they automatically think of the queso. But, if you’re like me, then you don’t like anything besides besides the actual cheese. 

When I first opened the menu, the only thing I thought I would like would be the pancakes. However, the chicken fried chicken and mashed potatoes was a nice savoury dish that tasted just like normal chicken strips. 

Snarf’s Sandwiches

A sandwich is a great meal for picky eaters. While there’s no subway around campus, Snarf’s has the same concept. You can choose the type of bread, meat, cheese and other toppings you may want. 

Look Noodles and More

Ramen is a hit or miss for a lot of picky eaters because many ingredients included can be intimidating. However, Look Noodles chicken ramen is a good ramen spot because you can easily take out the few toppings included that you may not like. 

Trying new foods can be fun, but also intimidating for picky eaters. Go out and try some of these restaurants and dishes that even a picky eater like myself enjoyed!

Featured Image by Bettina Mateo

Christmas Without Santa

Everyone’s favorite time of the year has finally arrived! Christmas, a time with beautiful lights, cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies, and Mariah Carey reclaiming her “Queen of Christmas” crown once again. Yet, especially for children, it’s also a time of approaching the day of the 25th, where the magical Santa Claus enters your home, eats a questionable amount of sweets, and brings toys for all the little children across the world. Many can agree that the big man with the beard is iconic, yet many can also concur that this fictional figure and the holiday itself is highly commercialized. With every passing year, this jolly holiday has unfortunately become a profitable frenzy.  From getting your lights and decorations out as soon as possible to any store business taking the opportunity to establish “Crazy Sales”, Christmas has transformed Santa Claus simply into a logo who carries a coke bottle as well as merely an encouragement to buy what you desire. This leads to an intriguing question; Can one have Christmas without Santa Claus?

Well, certainly yes, it’s indeed possible and I should know that because as a child, I was told that he didn’t exist. To elaborate, no, I was not deprived of a childhood and banned from believing, but due to financial troubles, we couldn’t afford to have that many gifts. In my household, my single mother was balancing between two jobs and taking care of 5 children, leading to not being able to have the joy of waking up to many toys. Yet, I always have been thankful to never have had that privilege as not only has it humbled me but it as well as allowed my family to develop our own merry little Christmas. As my siblings and I began to grow up, we started to give each other little gifts that focused on sentimental value. Before being able to get jobs and make money, we would give one another handmade gifts (i.e. My sister loved making jewelry and I loved writing poetry or drawing pictures) or offer to do each other chores for a week or so by giving little “home coupons.” Although gifts weren’t as extravagant in my household growing up, we would take advantage of having our mother not working by having our own little Christmas party. We would drink hot chocolate and eat food in our pajamas, spending the whole holiday watching “A Christmas Story” on its’ 24 hour marathon, seeing who can last the longest (I usually win). These small traditions continued on till this day, allowing me to truly see that Christmas is a time of family, and appreciating all you have.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

This holiday has also allowed me to see that the value of gratitude is important. Growing up, I started to help out in my community to those have also been unfortunate in the holiday season. Doing so has enabled me to truly focus on the real meaning of Christmas, which is to bring goodwill to all people, especially those in need. So, how can one be able to give a little holiday spirit? Well, one can donate toys and other gifts to organizations such as Orange Santa (A UT based tradition), Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, or any toy drive at a local market/shopping mall. Rather than gift giving, one can also go into their local nursing home or women’s shelter and simply spend your time making their day a little special by caroling, giving food, and other good deeds.

Amanda Landa, author, Christmas 2002.

Overall, although Christmas has been about gift giving, it’s also about giving your time and grace to others. Have a Happy Holidays!

Want to help out this holiday season? Here’s more information on the following;

Orange Santa: https://orangesanta.utexas.edu/

Toys For Tots: https://www.toysfortots.org/

St. Jude’s: https://www.stjude.org/give

Salvation Army :https://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/ways-to-give/

Featured image courtesy of Jill Wellington from Pixabay

How to Keep a Positive Mindset in the Face of Stress

If you’re like me, not only are you a full time student, but you’re also juggling a job, being involved in organizations, homework, creative projects and somehow finding the time to have some iota of a social life. College, really just life in general, is rough and the stigma around mental health makes it all the more difficult to face. In case you’re unfamiliar with the topic, mental health is somewhat taboo in most social situations so people tend to put it on the back-burner.

To quote the words of a popular Vine, “That is not correct”. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health, if not more so. We all have issues that we’re doing our best to conquer on our own. (And you go, queen, you’re doing great.) But just in case you think you need some advice or help from someone who is struggling through the same thing, here are some tips that help me to get through those especially rough days.

Make a list; of things that matter and things that don’t, of things you’re thankful for, of things you know you want to change.

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I know it sounds cheesy. But I did this my freshman year, when I was feeling especially overwhelmed for the first time and it helped me to take a deep breath, both mentally and physically. I made a list of all the good things in my life and all the things that weren’t going too well for me. Then I went through the latter list and wrote out why they weren’t important or how I could make those things better. This could go downhill very quickly so be sure to pay more attention to the happier list and not put too much importance on the troublesome list. Or, better yet, only make a happy list. I’m personally more of a realist so I like to consider both sides but if you’d rather look at the optimistic side of things, you do you, boo.

Take some time for yourself

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It’s hard to get away from responsibilities. For some people, i.e. me, it’s hard to say no when people ask you to do things so you end up with too many rolls on your metaphorical plate. However, it’s important to take care of yourself as well as others. Take some time out of the day, or at the very least once a week, to do something for yourself. It could be as simple as taking a break from homework to having a bubble bath and reading your favorite book while a face mask soaks your skin with all kinds of moisturizers. Is it obvious which one I’m fantasizing about more?

Surround yourself with things you love

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Because so much time out of the day is dedicated to schoolwork/things we have to do, I think surrounding yourself with things you love when you can becomes even more important. By this, I mean that you should find things that bring you more joy than anything else. If you’re stuck in an organization that only stresses you out, maybe it’s time to find another place to spend your time. If you’re in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy, maybe it’s time to move on. And this doesn’t have to involve people; in fact, sometimes the things you’re surrounding yourself with aren’t people at all. If you want to go to your room, close the door and read books for hours on end, then that’s what you need to do. Not wanting to be around people is completely normal and is something I find myself wanting often. Although, it is important to note that you should be careful not to push away people that care about you. There are ways to be alone that don’t hurt those who want to spend time with you. It’s all about communication and letting them know that it’s not them, it’s you. Unless you’re breaking up with someone…then you should never use that line.

Exercise, exercise, exercise

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Trust and believe that I know how awful this sounds. I hardly have time to exercise, let alone want to. My mom always told me to do this in high school and I blew her off due to the simple fact that I didn’t want to. However, now it’s one of the most effective strategies I use to battle anxiety and stress. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercise and other physical activities reduce fatigue, improve alertness and concentration, and enhance overall cognitive function. It doesn’t even have to be as time consuming as going to the gym; meditation, going for a walk, even just taking a really deep breath is enough to release those sweet, sweet endorphins. One of my best friends does yoga right after she wakes up and she swears by it. It’s not about having the time but about making the time.

*My Chemical Romance voice* Sing it for the boys, sing it for the girls…

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SINGING! Jamming is the best form of self-healing. Unfortunately, I don’t have any reliable statistics to back up this theory. But I have years and years of personal experience that I could share, if you cared enough to ask. Blasting your favorite songs and belting out the lyrics either in the car, with your friends, or whilst performing in the shower is one of the easiest and most fun ways to occupy your time and your mind. Or, if you ever need a good cry, create a sad playlist (or you can use mine) and cry out every failed test, dead pet and broken heart you’ve ever had. You’ll feel much better afterwards. My roommates think I’m crazy for suggesting it but it’s therapeutic to me.

Find some time to get sh*t done

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It sounds simple but it’s really not. We get overwhelmed and flustered and then, next thing we know, our eyes burst open at 2 o’clock in the morning because we forgot about that essay that’s due tomorrow. So, find some time in the day to sit down and feel productive. It can be as easy as sitting in the Union and cracking out a few emails or writing your thesis for that paper you’re dreading. Hopefully this will make you feel more confident in your work and inspire you to continue your progress when you get home. But, if not, it’s a way to justify binging Game of Thrones when you should be working on homework.

Watch your favorite movie/tv show

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I’m a film major so I’m fairly biased when it comes to this. However, transparency aside, it’s hard to overthink when you’re not thinking about anything at all. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, sit down, put on your favorite movie and let the actors take you away. My particular favorite is when you decide to watch a movie from your childhood. That’s when the nostalgia hits you in the gut. But it’s a love punch so it doesn’t hurt.

Find healthier outlets that don’t involve mind-altering substances

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You know the saying: say nope to dope. This is definitely not to shame anyone who decides to partake but if you’re dealing with stress or anxiety, it’s really not a good idea. A popular myth is that some drugs, such as marijuana and alcohol, help you to forget about your problems and just make you feel g o o d. The truth of the matter is that these things can make you feel better for a short period of time but in the end, you just feel worse than before you started. It may be tempting but it’s always better to just say nay. Instead, have a talk with some friends or try any of the other tips on the list before resorting to this option.

Write

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Again, I have no statistic to back this up and this is completely a subjective opinion because I personally use the title of “writer” to describe myself. However, there is a reason that every cheesy teen pic has a character that keeps a diary. Writing out your feelings helps you to sort out your inner workings. Not to mention, writing is fun. Keep a daily journal, either by writing or typing, and chronicle your day in the life. You can write about anything you want, from what you had for breakfast to which professor you have a crush on this semester. What better person to vent to besides yourself?

Find a puppy. Or a cat. Or a giant lizard.

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Finally, there is my personal favorite: PUPPIES! If you’re like me, you had to leave your dogs back at home and from time to time, you go through dog withdrawal while at school. The easiest cure for this is to find a pup to love on in their absence. You could find a family member or friend to dog sit for or you could even volunteer at a local shelter, if you have the time. Regardless, it’s hard to be upset when you’re loving on a cuddly mammal. Dogs are support animals for a reason. Of course, not everyone is a dog person. This is also applicable to cats, birds, hamsters and, if you’re like my roommate, giant lizards. Animals are almost always better company than people anyway.

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As much as I want them to be, none of this advice is foolproof. Life is hard and sometimes it takes more than advice from a 20-year-old to help you feel better. Please, check out these links if you’re going through a rough time and are in need of professional help. Remember: you are not alone and you are loved. You’re doing the best you can.

Suicide Prevention Hotline

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

National Institute of Mental Health

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Featured image courtesy of  Pexels

What your venus sign says about the way you love

Saint Valentine’s day has arrived! As we head into this season of love, it’s important to know a little more about ourselves. Specifically, in terms of how we love. While Sun sign astrology is important and can say a lot about your overall character and ego, in the matters of the heart, it’s important to look at your Venus placement for insight as to how you are perceived in love, even if it isn’t always positive.

Disclaimer: the following descriptions are my personal interpretations of each sign in Venus from both personal experience and observation, and may vary in comparison to others. Venus is the planet of love and attraction, and plays a significant role in determining what you want in terms of success and pleasure, as well as romantic and platonic relationships. This list, however, will focus on how each sign in Venus navigates romance.

Venus in Aries

In one word: Fiery

When a Venus Aries is interested in someone, they fall fast and hard. They are known to be quite impulsive and passionate in love, driven by emotion, but may suffer from restlessness and selfishness. However, while they are unafraid of showing their love for someone, they are also unafraid to be confrontational, which may lead to some disagreements. But a person with this Venus placement is worth it as they are extremely fun, entertaining people in love.

Venus in Taurus

In one word: Physical

This placement is traditionally romantic, but not overly dreamy or idealistic like Venus in Pisces. They value security in a relationships, which aren’t taken lightly. However, this doesn’t mean those with Venus in Taurus aren’t open to flings. Being considered one – if not the – most sensual Venus placement, Venus in Taurus are especially dependent on physicality in a relationship. Many highly value the presence of their beautiful partner, and may struggle with viewing them as a prize. They like to feel stable and in control, and might feel uncomfortable with change if they aren’t the ones behind it.

Venus in Gemini

In one word: Energetic

Venus in Gemini have a bad reputation for their flirtatiousness, but it’s not their fault – this sign is charming and stimulated by intellectual conversation, so their need to socialize may cross boundaries in the eyes of other more possessive signs. This does not bode well with a Venus in Gemini. Like Sagittarius, this Venus placement needs space to see what’s out there in the world, and they do not like clinginess. They are extremely excitable in love, but follow their brain rather than their heart. They’re not entirely in touch with their emotions, which may confuse those who want the reasoning behind their actions.

Venus in Cancer

In one word: Supportive

Cancer is known as the “homemaker” of the signs, and this is true even in love. Venus in Cancer are extremely caring and thoughtful of their partners, doing their best to remember the things you love and dislike in order to make you more comfortable. Despite their sensitivity to their partner, they may hide how they feel if they have been hurt – which can be problematic, because Venus in Cancer are extremely sensitive. They need someone who can be equally giving and emotionally intuitive.

Venus in Leo

In one word: Loyal

Leo in Venus is bold and extremely passionate. They are willing to give every ounce of their romantic love, but they expect the same in return, and are disappointed when their partner does not live up to these standards. They crave the validation their partner can give them, despite being interpreted as one of the most confident or egotistical signs. Their vision of love is very set, and they will be unhappy if they are not achieving this in a relationship.

Venus in Virgo

In one word: Helpful

A simple and pure lover, Venus in Virgo is likely to be good at pleasing their partners. They worry about the little things in life and in their relationship, rather than the grand scheme of things. This may drive away those who are not prone to perfectionism, because they do not understand why their partner is so critical. They are not extremely romantic, and come off as cautious in love, but their devotion to their partner is certainly there.

Venus in Libra

In one word: Fair

Venus in Libra are known as peace seekers due to the balanced nature of the Libra sign. However, in love, they tend to be too giving. While this can be beneficial for their partner, they can become clingy and dependent on their relationship in an effort to fuel their personal growth, all the while remaining stagnant. However, a Venus in Libra is undoubtedly charming, and great at meeting the needs of the person they are with.

Venus in Scorpio

In one word: Intense

Intense is the only word that can truly convey how a Venus in Scorpio feels. They can love with intensity, as well as fear with intensity. They lack complete control over their own emotions, and may seek to implement their need for control onto their relationships through possessiveness or jealousy. Venus in Scorpio keep their strongest emotions hidden, but they’re only doing it to protect their sensitive inner-self. Because of their fear of betrayal, Venus in Scorpio are extremely selective with who they choose to let into their lives, so feel grateful if one does.

Venus in Sagittarius

In one word: Free-spirited

Okay, two words. But they’re necessary in order to describe a Venus in Sagittarius. Another placement as restless as Aries, but more prone to commitment issues. Those with their Venus in Sagittarius are true romantics; yet they struggle to accept the love they are given, and will run away from it once they have found it if it overwhelms them. They want to grow with someone, and see the world while they’re at it, so don’t try to make them feel trapped or stunted.

Venus in Capricorn

In one word: Reserved

Capricorn is generally a reserved sign, ruled by slow and steady Saturn, and even in Venus, this does not change. Those with Venus in Capricorn may come across as hard to get, because they are. They are cautious in their approach to love, but once they can trust their partner, they can be one of the most reliable and loving Venus placements.

Venus in Aquarius

In one word: Independent

Those with their Venus in Aquarius are calm and aloof in love. They may grow tired and restless at times if the love they are receiving is not transforming them in a positive way. Venus in Aquarius yearn for growth and unconventionality, and may not do well with those whose values are rooted in more traditional aspects of a relationship, like Taurus. Highly curious and drawn to intellectual stimulation, they need someone who can satisfy these needs. They need space to be themselves and aren’t exactly the most sensitive, so bear with them if they come off as detached.

Venus in Pisces

In one word: Idealistic

Ah, Pisces. Dreamy, loving, and a hopeless romantic. Also hopelessly sensitive. Which, can be admirable if someone is in need of a tender love. However, Venus in Pisces is not agreeable with harshness or directness. Like Venus in Gemini, they may confuse easily as to what their needs truly are, and express similarly confusing qualities in their inability to say “no” to people. Adaptable in love, and extremely willing to suit their partner.