Tag Archives: learning

3 Tips to Increasing Concentration When Studying for an Exam

Many college students find it difficult to concentrate while studying for an exam. Often times there are so many distractions such as roommates, a lengthy to-do list, extracurricular activities, and the desire to have fun. Studying can be a chore and many avoid the task by doing other things that are more fun, only to regret that decision later. This article will identify some simple ways to make small changes in your daily schedule so that you can concentrate and focus on studying in a more efficient manner which will leave you more time for having fun while sustaining good grades.

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A Normal Person’s Normal Day of Eating

We’re all human, far from perfect and susceptible to bad decisions. Yesterday, I had one of those truly mortal moments when at the end of a relatively clean day of eating, I lost it… all. As a result, I thought I would share in a somewhat educational and somewhat comedic way, what my day of caloric consumption looked like.

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What I Learned from New Zealand

Sadly, we are back from our 2-week trip to New Zealand. This is my fourth time there (my mum is from there and her huge family), and Chris’ first time. Every time I think about how we aren’t there anymore, I feel like I’m going to cry…and I don’t really cry. There are going to be loads of posts about New Zealand coming up, about food, fitness, guides to cities and so forth. Lots of good stuff. I wanted to keep this returning post to the point. Here are a few things I learned on this trip to New Zealand:

1. Don’t take yourself too seriously. The people of New Zealand (the Kiwis) are incredibly down-to-earth. They don’t take themselves too seriously, for the most part, and are there simply to live and do what makes them happy. I think loads of people in the States and elsewhere could take a page from their book in this lesson.


my aunt Raewyn and uncle Michael at Huka Falls (they’re twins believe it or not)

2. Family first. I already knew this one, but this trip hit it home once again. My mum is one of eight siblings which means I have a huge family over there. As I visit more and more as I am an adult, my relationships and bonds with them grow deeper. Chris, my brother and his girlfriend, and I toured the South Island together for the first time and it was wonderful. But sometimes I found myself wishing that we were back at Nana’s, sitting around, roaring with laughter. I miss them so much now. Seeing them once every few years is just not enough!

From left to right, top to bottom: Aunt Raewyn and I, Kai and Sophie, Aunt Carolyn and I

From left to right, top to bottom: Aunt Raewyn and I, Kai and Sophie, Aunt Carolyn and I

3. Live simple. This goes for many people of New Zealand, not all, but many. They may own huge pieces of land, but a lot of it is just that–land. The beauty of New Zealand speaks for itself and you would be a fool to miss it. It was always my end goal to end up in New Zealand (as I am a citizen there), but I find myself wanting to move there sooner and sooner to live that kind of life! I remember this place on Akaroa (beautiful spot on the South Island) of this fish stand on the wharf where the guy would go out fishing (click site here), bring in the catch of the day several times of the day, and either sell the fish raw or cook some fish and chips up. That life sounds awesome to me.


Off the wharf in Akaroa

4. Don’t be afraid to spend money. This one is tough because we obviously aren’t all made of money. This certainly goes for Chris and I. We spent quite a bit of money down there and wanted to do even more! If you want to do something that you know you’ll regret later if you don’t, just cough it up and do it. You can always work more when you get home (as we are doing now).


Food is expensive there!

5. Don’t judge others and just let go. So that side of the family…when everyone gets together we are incredibly loud and almost always make a scene wherever we go because of how ridiculous everyone is. That being said, we got looks from people everywhere we went! But not angry looks, more of amusement. Just realizing that should make people second-guess judging people just because they are a little loud and…different.


Chris found a big stick...

Chris found a big stick…

Just because I don't have the entirety of my mum's thousands of pictures yet, I have to show you a daily thing between my family (this is last trip in 2011)

Just because I don’t have the entirety of my mum’s thousands of pictures yet, I have to show you a daily thing between my family (this is last trip in 2011)


A constant reaction from me and imagine that multiplied by about 10

6.Just sit down and look outside. This is huge!! If you don’t sit down and look outside in New Zealand, I have to call you an idiot. But this goes for wherever you are. Find beauty in everything. Find a moment just to sit down outside, look at the sky, mountains, plains, whatever you have. I did this lots of times by myself and with company to just enjoy mother nature.

Just before a sunset at Lake Taupo, North Island

Just before a sunset at Lake Taupo, North Island

7. There’s always a reason to smile. Even if someone is going through a rough patch in my family, they always find a way to smile or laugh. And I mean always. Whether it’s through pranks, family love, or just having a conversation, you will never ever ever see a lack of smiles on my kiwi family’s faces. And I honestly believe that it’s good for you. People don’t laugh as much here!

Us on the ferry to the South Island

Us on the ferry to the South Island

8. Do what makes you happy. This connects with a few other points. There are so many ways that we complicate life nowadays and strive for things that we think can somehow create happiness. Or sometimes happiness isn’t the goal anymore. That makes me crazy! I need to bring it to my own life as well. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, don’t make an excuse to go do something that will bring joy to you. That real happiness that is deep within. Get it!

Picking cherries with Sophie for instance...

Picking cherries with Sophie for instance…

9. Fresh fish is the only way to go. I didn’t have to worry about whether fish was farmed or not to the places we went to eat at, it was all caught that day pretty much with a few exceptions! I can’t even describe how good the fish is there. Probably the best fish and chips I had was some that my Aunt Pam and Uncle/Godfather John cooked. Absolutely amazing. Don’t know how much fish and chips I ate there. Go fresh or go home.

Drooling constantly.

Drooling constantly.

10. Switch off. I didn’t use my phone much over there (except for pictures) because I hadn’t unlocked it so I would get a billion roaming and international charges. On the South Island, there was rarely any internet. For Americans, it’s sadly tough to go without these things. But I found it to be liberating and really nice for most of the time. Sure we all swarmed the internet when we got it, but otherwise we forgot about it. We just drove through the windy hills, steep cliffs, and by the ocean and just looked out and enjoyed each other. I am personally going to try to avoid being on my phone all the time, and just enjoy what’s around me.

Not even accurate description of our sleep last night...brutal, jet-lag made us not fall asleep for a while!

Not even accurate description of our sleep last night…brutal, jet-lag made us not fall asleep for a while!

I can’t wait to get all the other pictures from mum, Chris, Sophie, and so forth. I hope you’ve enjoyed a little sample of pictures and what I learned while I was there. I could go on and on, but it’s time for me to go to bed. To all my family reading this, I miss you!! Can’t wait to head on back to my future home. And as always…stay hungry and fit!


Although I am super bummed not to be in NZ anymore, there are two cats that make it a little better

Although I am super bummed not to be in NZ anymore, there are two cats that make it a little better

Swim to Workout, Swim to Live

Pressured by Alana to write a post because our consistency has been awful lately (we are very busy, but no real excuses exist, I have enough time a day to write ONE post), I am going through the most difficult process.. deciding what to write about. I can write about anything, or try to… I mean it might not be good but I can go on and on if I want to. So I’ll save the favorite video games of the past year post for when I’ve played a few more I want to finish, my dinner tonight was disgusting so forget that (over 1600 frozen calories), I took the past two days completely off workouts and three from climbing because of forearms splints and just being sick.

I need rest to recover quickly (I hope), so let’s talk about something obvious for me… swimming. This isn’t going to be in detail, I’m just going to talk a bit about swimming. Of the over fifty hours a week that I work, or will be working, almost all of it is related to swimming or aquatics. So let’s break it into a few categories… continue if interested:

Swim training 14

Swim training

Water Safety: This is the most important of all aspects of aquatics. Whether you’re at a birthday party playing pool games, swimming laps to stay in shape, working on your strokes to qualify for an event, surfing in Southern California, snorkeling in the keys, or scuba diving in Southeast Asia, you always need to consider safety and it starts at a very basic level.

Learning to be comfortable and not scared of the water is the first step before you can become proficient at any aquatic skill. If you’re scared of drowning at a very forward level (everyone should be aware of it) then you need to get over that fear quickly. Having children get comfortable with the water at a young age will allow them to break into learning how to actually swim easier, so it’s never too early to start. But it’s also never too late to start! Better early than late but better late than never. If you aren’t comfortable or children that are dear to you aren’t either, then you need to find someone to work on that.

English: A breaststroke swimmer, in a hotel sw...

Just keep swimming!

Swimming: Swimming is a great way of moving efficiently, doesn’t always have to be quickly, once you’ve got your water safety and comfort taken care of. The key here is to conserve energy and have a means of moving that utilizes your arms, legs, and ability to breathe. That’s right, obviously, breathing is the most important aspect of swimming. I don’t care how fast you can swim with your face in the water if you can’t breathe. Swimming is about survival when it comes down to the nitty gritty. Whether it’s rolling onto your back to float or using a rollover breathe to replenish air before going back into a faster means of moving, breathing it key. Once you have those motor skills involving your arms, legs, and breathing operational, it’s time to think of the next step.

Swimming to workout: Now at the highest level this would include competitive swimming, but the basic level means that you can kick, stroke, and breathe properly so that you can workout without hurting yourself. If your stroke is off, you might hurt your shoulders or something else. If you breathe to one side you might develop a huge knot over there, or you might just develop an uneven stroke. If you don’t kick, you won’t swim as well or you could pull a groin or a muscle in your leg. If you don’t breathe, your workout won’t last long. Even if you’re not competitive think about taking stroke classes so that you can get a better workout by doing breast stroke, back stroke, flip turns, butterfly and other advanced techniques that will activate muscles you’ve never used. You can expand your lung capacity, burn fat, and even more. (Note: Please get proper instruction in how to do butterfly, it’s far too easy to hurt yourself if done improperly.)

Competitive: If you have all your strokes and techniques down, and you’re in good shape or want to be, join a team or a program to keep swimming. United States Masters Swimming will take anyone not affiliated with some other organizations if you are over 18. It’s a great chance to keep or start competing. United States Swimming is another huge program to look into especially for youth, and there are local clubs for people of all ages if you are in the right spot and look hard enough. Otherwise, join a class and compete against yourself in a strict environment. YMCAs usually offer lots of programs.



Recovery: If you are injured or your body has become more fragile there are tons of water therapy and recovery, and fitness, classes that are much easier on your joints. AEA and Waterart offer some certifications in teaching these courses if you are interested. You are never really too old to stop getting in the water.

Extreme: If you want to surf, go for it, I recently did and feel comfortable although we just moved after Alana got a new board. Snorkeling is a great tourist activity and scuba diving is the ultimate underwater adventure. Scuba stands for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus and it, and the aqualung, were in great part the result of the efforts of the late Jacques Cousteau. I recently had the pleasure of meeting and having lunch with his son, Jean-Michel. You can either go to SSI or PADI to get certified and they last for life and offer endless specialization continuing education opportunities. I am currently enrolled in SSI’s Open Water Diver course, and I plan on completing that and my Advanced OWD by the end of the year. Then it’s onto Rescue Diver and Dive Master but we’ll see how long that takes.
Scuba diver. Found at Plongée sous-marine & ob...


If you have any questions about anything aquatics, even ocean conservation, please feel free to leave a comment. I’ll get into more detail about each of these over the next few weeks, possibly expanding by giving each its own post, including ocean conservation and preservation, and everything else.
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