Finding Your Balance

By: Meka Ferrell

Balance is key to a healthy and manageable lifestyle. You do not have to go to the balance extremes to find balance, but simply finding what works for you and continuing to let it work for you. Between class work, responsibilities on the job, relationships, health, and so many more things, finding a balance may seem challenging, but I’m here to let you know that there is hope! It can seem overwhelming to find a proper balance in life but no one can truly tell you how to live a balanced life; you must find and utilize the things that are beneficial and effective in your life.

There are many ways to gain balance in your life, here are a few I utilize:

Prioritizing- putting tasks, activities, responsibilities, etc. in order of importance and sensitivity due to time. For example, with school work it can be completed by the work load, by the date the assignments are due or by how important each assignment is on the grading scale. Activities can be done likewise, if I know I have an important

meeting in 25 minutes it is probably not wise for me to squeeze in a lunch date with a friend that I haven’t talked with in a while.

Taking things off of my plate- deciding what I need to say no to or postpone until I have time to do them. When I am planning for the week and trying to balance out my time I ask myself: What does my schedule consist of? What do I need to let go? and What is my biggest distraction? Looking at the broader picture of life may be a huge motivator, but simplifying things may help keep you going.

Patience– Having dreams and goals motivates me to do more, but with patience I know I can turn my dreams and goals into reality. For instance setting a goal to lose 15 pounds in 2 months is awesome, but I must remember that it will take patience and effort in order for me to meet that goal. Patience helps me see positive results and outcomes in all that I do because I spend less time being frustrated and more time being mindful of my experiences.

Finding a balance can help you maintain your mental health, your physical health, and your emotional health if done effectively. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to do some research for ways that might help create more balance. So, start trying some different ideas to see what might work for you! With practice, you too will find your balance.


Below are some links with additional ideas to keep your life in balance:

Categories: exercise, Gratitude, Health, lifestyle changes, meditation, Mental Health, nutrition | Leave a comment

Party Smarter

by Marissa Hart


Hey everyone! Hope you guys are having a great summer! 🙂 With summer comes parties. A lot of the time, those who are college-aged get lectured on partying too much, or get labeled as reckless, irresponsible, and so on. I’m here to tell you that there is NO harm in having a good time! The problem comes about when laws get broken or when people aren’t aware of what has real consequences that will follow them. I can sense you rolling your eyes at me already. I’m here to help educate you on how to have the best time, while making sure it doesn’t haunt you past the weekend. No one wants those labels, or worse, to have a fun get-together to have University consequences. Yeah, didn’t think so. So please, read on, and party smarter this summer. We’re going to talk about a few myths that college-aged adults often miss or mix up.


First things first: who can drink at your house?

So, sometimes this seems a little tricky. One friend says one thing, another friend says something different. Even online, no one seems to really know. Well, I’m here to dispel all the myths. Here’s the law in Ohio: even if you are 21 or older, and anyone is on your property who is under 21, they CANNOT have alcohol. You can’t give it to them, they can’t bring it, etc. It’s illegal for people under 21 to have alcohol on anyone’s property. Even if it’s rented, you own it, whatever. The ONLY exception is if the person under 21 has a parent in the immediate vicinity. The parents or guardians of the person under 21 have to be within eyesight of them. It doesn’t count if you have a note, even if you got it notarized and it’s official. The parents have to be physically there. It’s very specific, and there’s really no room for loopholes. You should really go read it – it’s source one.


Here’s Some Fun Ideas (No Alcohol Required!)

First, if you’re going to have a party, these things make it better…

1.) Porch S’mores!                                                                             smores

Line a small garden terracotta pot with foil, then fill it with charcoal. Once it’s lit, you can roast s’mores. This is perfect if you have a lot of people, or if you don’t have a fire pit.


watermel keg2.) Instant Juice

There isn’t one immediately available online, but I found directions for making it. Check source (instructions 1) for them! It’s easy and it’s super yummy. I’ve done it before. The best part is you don’t have to add anything to it; it really doesn’t need the alcohol. Watermelon is delicious on its own! 🙂



If you’re looking for something fun to do with friends, I’ve got you covered!

3.) Dinner Party

If you or one of your friends likes to cook, this is a blast! Make whatever you’d like; maybe you start with finger sandwiches, a salad or soup, then have a main course and a dessert, all while wearing fancy clothes and nice dishes. It’s something different than the usual summer barbecue.

4.) Dive-in movie

If you have a pool, take advantage of it! (Although I’m sure you already are! ) Find, borrow, or buy a projector. Hook it up to a computer and play it over a screen on the other side of the pool. Popcorn and punch make this extra special.


Like to be outside?

4.) Canoeing and a Picnic

You probably remember canoeing from summer camp, but it’s way more fun when you’re older (really, it is). Bring a lunch with some sandwiches and chips, and make it a day. 🙂

5.) Geo Caching

Geo Caching (said “gee-oh cashing”) is the process of finding a box (cache) of stuff in the woods. You get to take something from the box as long as you bring something else to replace it. The way you find it is by having a GPS with coordinates of the location of the box. It’s like a treasure hunt. Check out sources (instructions 2 and 3)  for more. There’s parks that do this in Portage County!


Interested in art?

7.) Gallery Hop!

I live in Columbus, and we have an official gallery hop in our arts district, the Short North. The shops are open late, and there are a lot of sales and samples given out. But you can find something similar on your own. Get a group together and go to galleries and shops. Try going to a restaurant and sharing food, so everyone can try different things. It’s a ton of fun with just a few friends, or a whole bunch.

8.) Paint Your Own Pottery

This is an awesome activity for just a few friends. It’s also pretty self-explanatory, so check out All Fired Up in Akron. They also have lessons for pottery wheels.


And most important…

Be safe and have a great summer! 😀


(Ps – Remember, I add sources because they’re important and you should READ them!)




1.) Drinking Laws with property:

2.) About damages:

3.) Other info about drinking





1.) Watermelon Keg:

2.) Park Guide for Portage County:

3.) GeoCaching:





Categories: alcohol, friends, Health, lifestyle changes, nutrition | Leave a comment

Spring Break and Summer Reading Suggestions

By Mariss Hart

Hey friends. Spring break is here! Are you excited? I sure am. We hear a lot from social media (and older adults in general) that reading is really good for you. With all the schoolwork most college students are buried in, or the work youreadingbeach put into your job, or both, it’s hard to find time to kick back and read just for pleasure. Some of you probably think it’s boring. Maybe you were just forced to read uninteresting books in high and middle school? We have a week to (mostly) just relax. Here are some books to whet your appetite for reading. If you don’t have time over spring break, these would also be great summer-reading-on-the-beach books! I asked a few people to suggest some books that would be interesting for college-age people would enjoy. I’ve broken them up into genres, but you should read them all and see what interests you. Enjoy!

Historical Fiction

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

“It’s set in older Russia, and it’s the account of a upperclass woman who has an affair, falls in love with a jockey, who comes to see her all the time. Eventually, her husband finds out and she ends up jumping in front of a train. To me, it shows the dangers of being too rebellious.”

–   Andy Malys, Spanish major

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

It speaks to “The way [black maids] were treated [in the 1960s] and the attitude the whites had toward the blacks. I found the way they were treated was bad in some cases, and good in others. It really speaks to the way things were then.”

–   Sandra Hart, retiree

Leon’s Story by Leon Walter Tillage

“It’s a brutally honest account from sharecroppers to the civil rights movement.”

– Dean Hoover, second grade teacher


Fiction / Apocalyptic Setting

My suggestion:

Ps – it’s my favorite book.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

This book terrified me in a good way. It takes place in a futuristic society that is centred around perfection. People are engineered to be in a certain status in life, but one (average upperclass) girl, Lenina, meets one boy (who is supposed to be aristocracy but has a defect), Bernard. Bernard is fundamentally upset at the way their world is. They find a part of the world that hasn’t been engineered yet – to both of their surprise – and it changes the way they look at their own castes. So much of the post-apocalyptic content surfacing now is based off this book. It was written in 1931 (!) and is still amazingly relevant.

-Marissa Hart, Resident Blogger for

A Handmaid’s Tale by Margret Atwood

“It’s set in a dystopian society in the US, where there’s a caste system. It follows a handmaid that works for a captain, and it’s about her journey to break out of the system and learn about the society. It really makes you think about different people’s roles in society, especially women.”

– Summer Canter, Music Education major

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

“It’s about a made up religion, and how society functions based on religious beliefs.”

–   Carlie Gabrelcik, Early Childhood Education major

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

“It’s a cool book dealing with a lot of pop culture references from 1980’s infused with near-future apocalyptic world. You have to solve series of games to unlock a fortune based on the references.”

–   Bob Russell, Theatre Professor



Don’t Eat This Book by Morgan Spurlock

This book is a light-hearted approach to analyzing what we eat. There are some gross chapters, but overall it was really interesting and informative. (I know that’s the last thing you want to hear on a book you might read for fun, but you really should give this book a try.) Morgan Spurlock is the guy who made the documentary “Super Size Me” and this book is a bit of a narrative about his experience and his thoug

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Tips for Valentine’s Day and Beyond: Relationships are Important!

By Marissa Hart

Hey friends! With Valentine’s Day just passed (and plenty of discount candy available now!), I thought it would be a good time to talk about relationships. Relationships are literally something we can’t live without; not just with significant others, with friends, coworkers and professors. It’s really important to form healthy and beneficial relationships.


To have a successful relationship of any type, there are a few healthy traits to keep in mind. The biggest one anyone will tell you is that there needs to be communication. (Stop rolling your eyes at me! I’m serious!) Talking with your partner about things that bother you, whether internal or external, is super important. If your boyfriend still doesn’t take out the trash when it’s his turn, you need to actually tell him. Giving him passive aggressive notes or comments isn’t going to solve anything. If your girlfriend interrupts you when you’re talking about how you guys need new towels, tell her you need her attention. You need to be honest with your feelings and frustrations; it’s a matter of respect for you and your partner, and both of your needs.communicate

Something I’ve learned in my relationships is that if you establish an honesty policy right away, things tend to go smoother. If something is wrong, it makes it easier to open a conversation about it, and take a step to solving the issue. Something else that helps is being open right away with your intentions for the relationship. When I first started dating my fiancé, one of the first things I told him was that I was dating to find a spouse. I wanted something real, something not based in sex. Where that had freaked previous partners out, Connor agreed that that’s what he was looking for as well. If I hadn’t said anything, our fundamental goals might have been in conflict. Can you think of a relationship where your goals were totally different than your partner’s?

Another hugely important part of any relationship is trust. You’re your own person, and you have thoughts, hobbies, friends etc. of your own. If they’re really wary of people you’re around, to the point of texting/calling you a lot, that should be a red flag. A relationship is an added layer to you. You don’t need to answer for yourself every minute; or why you cut your hair, changed your profile picture, didn’t text back right away, like that color, band, or food, etc. Letting someone know where you are or what you’re up to is totally different. They care about you. They want to make sure you’re safe and in a good place emotionally, mentally and physically. They need to be able to tell you if they’re unsure about something. And the same goes for you: if you get weird vibes from one of her friends, tell her. Maybe she goes and hangs out over there instead of having the friend in a space shared with you. If you feel like something is really bothering him or giving him anxiety, offer to listen. Partners need to be able to express (cough: communicate!) that what is being said or felt is out of concern. It’s about respect and trust.

There’s one more thing that I think is worth mentioning while we’re talking about relationships: sex. imagesCAW4I7GSSex is awesome. But feeling like you need to repay someone for a nice dinner or gift with sex is a guilt trip. It’s a big part of manipulation, which violates trust within the relationship. You don’t owe sex to anyone. Not your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, friends with benefits, stranger who bought you a drink at the bar, anyone. Sex needs to be consensual and be emotionally safe for all involved parties. For more on safe, consensual sex, look at source 3. And, lastly (last thing): trust and communication are especially important in the bedroom! If you don’t like something, say so! If you’re getting it on with someone and they change their mind about it, let them. It’s not emotionally safe for them if you don’t (and if you changed your mind, you’d want them to stop, too.  Be fair!). Talk about preferences beforehand, and enjoy the experience.;)

Enjoy the candy on sale! I am. 🙂



Sources cited:

general healthy relationship info:



Consent and Sex:


Images courtesy of google images

Categories: friends, Mental Health, relationships, Sex | Leave a comment

The Truth About Resolutions And How to Keep Them

By Marissa Hart

I know what you’re thinking. It’s a new year! Time for a new start. Time for new things, better things. January 1, it’s time to reorganize. Everything. (Fix all the things!) And every year, about the same thing happens: people pour in to the gym; enact new-year-resolutions-2014 whatever diet they think will work to shed those extra pounds they earned over Christmas; or they totally deconstruct a room so they  can regroup, reorganize or remodel. But truthfully, what good does that do? Working out usually entails a goal; a new diet means new ingredients lining the shelves, and reorganizing is a whole new project of sorting and sifting through years and years of clutter. That’s a lot of work, which is why 61% of people in their twenties break their resolutions (see source one). I’m not trying to speak poorly about having these goals, but does it really have to be in one of the dreariest months of the year?

To me, those are lifestyle choices. Changing what you eat for 6 months isn’t going to keep that weight off for the rest of your life, just like going to the gym 3 times a week for a couple months is going to change your body composition. Why force yourself to make a change just because it’s a new year? Things are dreary, snowy and dark. I dunno about you, but I tend to eat worse during these gloomy months. There’s less variety in fresh fruit, it’s too cold to go for a pleasant walk, and I really just want to sit in my room watching Netflix and eating chocolate. I just don’t have the energy to take the stairs, do you? So why would you want to start a new lifestyle in the middle of “I want hot chocolate” weather?


What might I like to change?

For me, it makes way more sense to resolve to think about new, simpler, smaller goals. Hm,    what would it be like to eat fruit instead of candy? I just don’t want to be guilty when I reach for a snickers. What if I start meditating once a week? Or look into guitar classes? If we can replace condemnation with curiosity and discovery, your choices are probably going to stick. And why wait until January? I changed my diet in August/September. I was tired of going from really hungry to overly full all the time. I started reading the back of labels. Nothing crazy, no extra hours at the gym, no “miracle” powders. I just read the back of things. If, by the end of the label, I decided I didn’t want it, I found something else. It made me think about what was going in my body. What is “methylcyclopropene” and why on earth does my sandwich need it? I soon found myself preferring simpler food. I’ve noticed that I’ve become more in tune with my body; I know when I need to eat, and generally know what my body is craving. And you know what? It started with the idea to start reading food labels. So what do you think you’ll look into for 2014? Perhaps this year, you decide to look into going dairy-free. Or maybe cutting energy drinks or caffeine intake. Or maybe to start doing yoga once a week. Don’t do it to make yourself feel guilty, or because you feel you have to change something drastic about yourself or your life. Do it because you’ve decided you want to try it. Maybe it works for you, maybe it doesn’t. You’ll never know until you try. 🙂

So, here are some tips on making lifestyle changes last. (See source 2 for more.)

1.) Make small steps. If you break up your big goal into easy-to-achieve steps, you’re more likely to keep at it. It helps to have realistic goals, and it gives you the feeling you’re actually improving (and you are!)sticky_notes_breakfast

2.) List your steps some place you’ll see them. If you’re anything like me, you’d forget your head if it wasn’t attached some days. Even just having a sticky note in your backpack will remind you you’ve got a plan and a goal. Eventually, it will become habit. (Every time I see a new food, I automatically ask or check what’s in it. But at first I had to remind myself. It just takes practice.)

3.) Ask a friend to get involved with you. I know, I know. You hear this all the time. But seriously. Even if no one wants to, ask them to remind you. (You can even set an alarm on your phone with a label!) Just telling them you’ve started something can help. Your friends can help you stick to it, or try whatever you’re tackling from a different angle. Sometimes all you need is someone to listen to your struggles or a fresh perspective.

And most importantly….

4.) Remember to be patient with yourself. Changes don’t happen overnight. You’re not going to have a six pack tomorrow, just like you’re not going to immediately know what type of meditating works best for you. It just takes time and energy. It’s a lifestyle change, so launching yourself headfirst into unknown territory isn’t going to get you anywhere. Just breathe, take your time, and it will come to you as you go.

Good luck!








Categories: alcohol, exercise, finance, friends, Gratitude, Health, lifestyle changes, meditation, Mental Health, nutrition, relationships, resolutions, sleep, Smoking cessation, stress | Leave a comment