Life Begins Outside Your Comfort Zone

“Life begins outside of your comfort zone.”

This is a phrase that I never really understood until I packed up my things and moved to Detroit for the summer to take on the most challenging, yet rewarding two months of my college career. Not only did I walk into a school to help move 16 sweet and knowledgeable first through four graders towards a new school year, but I walked into a school where I was going to be molded and moved towards becoming ready to face the world after graduation.

Two months ago I walked through into a school that was new and unfamiliar, but now it is a place that I can hardly grasp leaving. It is a place where my inner peace resides and it fills my soul with joy when the sounds of my students’ feet come racing in to tell me about their lives and their curiosities. Two months ago I walked into a classroom full of unknown faces, but now these the faces that will forever inspire and motivate me to be the best I can be, for without them, I would not be the teacher or person I am today. In the past two months I’ve been able to grow beside my students through play, laughter, reading, writing, and solving problems, and it’s been the unfamiliar that lead to the most growth. These past two months have brought out more passion and love for the career in which I have chosen…and to think it all would not exist had I stayed in my comfort zone.

The people that were just names on an email, or on the other line of the phone quickly became my support and my number one fans. Through MSU, DPSCD, and Center for Success, I was welcomed to the unfamiliar with open arms and encouragement. I was shown various paths that I could take to get the most of my experience, while also being shown the importance of reflection and consideration of various topics and their overlap with my career. I was given support I needed when I was overwhelmed with the amount of growth that I was experiencing, and hugs to encourage me when I needed it most. All of it was so unfamiliar, but it soon became home away from home.

All of this came from taking a risk. From stepping outside my comfort zone I have been able to see that these experiences only come every once in a while, so take it. Push your fears aside, as I can promise you, they are only holding you back.

xx, Madi

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Sharing My Spotify Secrets (+ Summer Playlist)

Is it just me or does it seem like all the best music comes out during the summer time? I’m currently at a local coffee shop getting some work done while listening to my Spotify playlists. I decided wanted to share my current Summer playlist that I’ve been adding to the past few months as well as how I find my music. Here’s the playlist that’s filled with the perfect summer sound!

 

 

One of my favorite things about Spotify is how easy it is to discover new music and artists. From long drives to walking to class, I am always playing music and I tend to get bored playing the same stuff over and over. Here’s my “secrets” on how I use Spotify to it’s fullest potential!

1. Check out your personalized playlists. Every Monday Spotify updates your Discover Weekly playlist, and every Friday it updates your Release Radar playlists. These are the two playlists I like to put on when I’m stuck in rush hour traffic going to/from work. I also put these playlists on when I just want to hear something new. Some weeks my Discover is WAY better than others–like last week I saved almost half of the songs–and other weeks it kind of sucks (for lack of better words). It really just depends, but I totally rely on these to find my new favorites.

2. New music Friday. One of my favorite playlists on Spotify is the New Music Friday playlist. As you might of guessed, Spotify updates this every Friday morning with the week’s newest releases. I never actually listen to this playlist all the way through, but every Friday morning I scroll through it, click on songs I think I’ll like (based on the artist), listen to different parts of it, and then I’ll decide if I want to save it to one of my playlists or not. I never listen to the playlist all the way through because 1. it’s really long and 2. they add songs from a number of different genres, so I just try to find the songs from the genres that I like and listen to!

3. Follow people. I like being able to see what other people are listening to, but this is also how I find new music. If I see something that intrigues me that one of my friends is listening to, I’ll check it out.

4. One big playlist. If you have ever looked at my Spotify profile or playlists, you have probably seen my “more” playlist. This playlist has literally just about everything–my absolute favorite songs and songs that I just came across and liked. I also don’t delete songs from this playlist, like I do with my other ones, so sometimes when my discover isn’t the greatest and I’m getting sick of my current playlists, I shuffle through this playlist. I know I’ll like them and it’ll bring back songs that I forgot about!

I just might be way too into Spotify and finding new music but hopefully this helps someone expand their music! Comment your Spotify username below and I’ll follow you!

xx, Madi

But First, Coffee

Coffee. It’s on my mind more than I would like to admit. Whether I stayed up way too late writing a paper that I procrastinated (this happens more than I would like it admit too), or I just want an iced coffee because why not, we all have our moments when we just need a cup of coffee to lighten our mood.

Although it’s definitely a plus, it’s not just about the caffeine for me. One of my favorite things is finding different coffee shops to go to, especially cute local coffee shops. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Starbucks fan, but there’s just something about a local café. At each and every one there is a different aesthetic when it comes to decor and the type of people.

Freckled throughout the Lansing/East Lansing area are a number of great coffee shops, so I had trouble narrowing them down, but I did it and wrote about why I love each one. Read on to see my top four favorites!


Blue Owl Coffee

Blue Owl Coffee is the perfect hipster-esque cafe. This café is a lively, charming spot for a study/work session, or a social or professional chat. They have the whole exposed brick and raw wooden floors look, which is SO cute! The café also features different local artists and musicians, and has really good and unique options for coffee at super reasonable prices. A small selection for flavors for the lattes, but they have quite a few different coffee methods. They can do pour overs or an Americano, and they’re nitro coffee “cocktails” are so yummy. If you’re a coffee lover, you will love Blue Owl!

Drink of Choice: Night Owl Latte (latte with activated charcoal and lemon honey)

 


The Crafted Bean

This isn’t your typical coffee cafe. Since I love finding new coffee shops, I decided to go to The Crafted Bean on a whim. Best. Choice. Ever. The Crafted Bean isn’t your typical coffee café. They describe themselves as a “craft coffee bar that loves to push boundaries, make friends, and handle shit,” and I absolutely love that. They have a unique menu that consists of different kinds of black coffee, coffee cocktails, chocolate drinks, and teas. They also serve bubble waffles and toast, which I think is pretty cool. Like honestly, how many coffee cafés do you know serve waffles or toast?! The atmosphere is super chill–they have records playing constantly, and an original Nintendo available for customers to play! Along with their unique menu and atmosphere, their decor is unique as well. My favorite part of of their decor is their countertop–it has pages and quotes from The Great Gatsby (my favorite book!). This is a MUST visit if you are in the Lansing area.

Drink(s) of Choice: CCR and Pretty Boy Floyd (They are both so yummy, so I couldn’t decide on my absolute favorite.)

Food of Choice: Avocado Toast

 


Chapelure

Chapelure is another one of my favorites. They have two locations around the Lansing/East Lansing area–one right across the street from MSU’s campus, and the other one is in the Eastwood Shopping Center (this is the one I go to). They have all the typical drink options, along with some unique ones as well. The decor is very modern, and the shop is a huge open space with high ceilings, and plenty of seating!

Drink of Choice: Iced White Raspberry Truffle Mocha

 


Strange Matter Coffee

Strange Matter is a signature in the East Lansing/Lansing area. Every time I go there it’s always pretty busy, but it’s not hard to see why. It’s super close to MSU’s campus and it’s SO cute–it has that urban coffee shop vibe. The space is big and open, with lots of natural lighting, and a decent amount of seating. They offer the simple traditional espresso beverages, as well as hand brewed coffees and specialty teas. They also have the yummiest (and prettiest) doughnuts!

Drink of Choice: Iced Vanilla Latte

Doughnut of Choice: Vanilla Sprinkle Doughnut and Meyer Lemon Poppyseed

 

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What are some of your favorite, or go-to coffee shops?! I would love to check them out 🙂

xx, Madi

Music Favorites: May 2018

Hey everyone!

So this morning I woke up and realized there’s only a week left in May…June 1st is a week from today..WHAT?! Am I the only one that feels like this year is flying by? Anyway…if you read my Spotify Playlists post you know I basically listen to music 25/7. So since I’m constantly playing music and it’s the end of May I thought I would share some of the songs I’ve been playing on repeat this past month! My music favorites are always changing, but sometimes there’s those few songs that will always have a special place in my heart (and jam sessions)!

Enjoy! And don’t forget to follow me on Spotify here 🙂


 WINNEBAGO by Gryffin feat. Quinn XCII & Daniel Wilson

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The sky is blue, the weather is warm, and you’re in the mood for a feel-good jam with just enough reggae influence to fit the summer vibe. Turn on and turn up “Winnebago” by Gryffin feat. Quinn XCII & Daniel Wilson. It was released back in April, and I’ve been listening to it on repeat ever since.  Billboard described this song as, “the kind of song you would expect a cartoon character to blast with the windows down on its favorite day off.” In other words, “Winnebago is the perfect feel-good, sun-soaked, summer anthem!

BE SOMEBODY by Over Easy & Lydia Kelly feat. YON

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This is a song that makes my favorites lists every time I make one. “Be Somebody” was released back in late February, and I’ve been playing it on repeat ever since. You know those songs that you can listen to only when you’re in the right mood? Well, this is NOT one of those songs. It’s an electronic and pop crossover track that’s perfect to play no matter what mood you’re in or what you’re doing. Walking to class? Turn on “Be Somebody.” Studying or trying to get work done? Play “Be Somebody.” Want to jam out and pretend you’re not tone deaf (like me)? Turn up “Be Somebody.” I’m not kidding, such a good song!

THE REASON by Chelsea Cutler

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Chelsea Cutler just released this song last week, and I think I’ve already listened to it a thousand times. If you haven’t listened to this song, or any of Chelsea’s songs, you’re missing out (and you probably live under a rock)…go listen. “The Reason” is an unbelievably catchy indie electronic and pop recording that was written  by Chelsea herself. Her voice is so unique and interesting that it draws you in from the first lyric, and she shows a side of vulnerability that makes her so relatable. Chelsea Cutler is by far my favorite artist–she’s so incredibility talented!

DRIFTER by IZII & Christian French

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IZII & Christian French teamed up for “Drifter,” which was also released early last week. The new release is a perfect summertime tune.The two artists explore the wistful and passionate nature of a short lived summer romance through the unique blend of pop and electronic music. Not only is “Drifter” a solid tune to help carry you through the sunny summer days ahead, but it also does a remarkable job at putting you in your feels at the same time. If your looking for a song with summer love vibes, then this song if for you.

ONE MORE DAY by Afrojack X Jewelz & Sparks

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With distinctly catchy rhythms, amazing vocals, and a drop that will make listeners swoon, “One More Day,” is another song that is perfect for summer. This will be a song that I will be turning up all summer long–it’s just really fun!


What are some of your favorite songs right now?! Leave them in the comments, and I’ll check them out. I love listening to new music!!

xx, Madi

To Mom

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As I was driving through the streets that I drove growing up, I couldn’t help but be flooded with memories of my life in this town. Coming back home always grounds me. My mom is the constant.

With Mother’s Day approaching, memories of growing up with my mom came back in droves. We seem to be cut from the same cloth. Being a mirror of such a woman has never been something to complain about. She is, and continues to be, completely beautiful from the inside and out.

There was so so much that I never thanked my mom for while growing up. From who she is as a person, to the person she raised me to be, it’s impossible to put into words everything I appreciate about my mom, but I’m going to try.

So to my mom….

I have spent my entire life with you, and just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any greater than you already are, you surprise me. You have never faltered in showing unconditional love for me, and I don’t think I could ever thank you enough for that. We have cried and laughed to the point of crying together, and moments like that have always reminded me how much I mean to you.

We have fought and disagreed. We have said hurtful things to one another, but I know we’ve never questioned how much we love each other. You have stood by my side and supported me in absolutely everything. You have done countless things for me without hesitation, and I want to thank you for all of that. Thank you for providing me with every little thing I could have possibly needed while growing up.

Thank you for the birthday decorations every year, because I know how much you love to do that. Even at twenty-two years old there’s just something about waking up to a house fully decorated with streamers and balloons on your birthday.

Thank you for always installing confidence in me. Telling me to never give up, and that I can do anything I put my mind to. Thank you for always supporting me and believing in me. Anytime I have lost faith or run out of hope, you give me reassurance to keep pushing forward.

Thank you for knowing exactly what to say on my worst days. On the days full of sass or the days full of being sad for no reason, you always know how to cheer me up. Sure, sometimes I might not want to hear it but at the end of the day, I know you always have my back.

Thank you for teaching me how to be independent but still taking care of me. You taught me how to do laundry, clean the house, take care of the pets, cook my favorite dishes, and so much more. But at the same time, you still find time to do a lot of it while I’m home, which I truly appreciate.

Thank you for never allowing me to talk down on myself, and teaching me that self-love is one of the most important things I could have.

Thank you for giving me everything. You have scarified so much in order for me to live a great life. Words can never express my gratitude for that. Thank you for constantly reminding me how much you love me and never giving up on me.

You were there for me when I took my first steps, and you have prepared me to take my very first steps into the real world. Thank you so much for always saying the right thing at the right time. Thank you for being brave and honest and kind in somehow every single situation you have ever been in. And thank you for teaching me to show up to life with a joke in hand and some sass tucked in my back pocket. I couldn’t love you more if I tried.

xx, Madi