Blueberry Maca Smoothie Recipe

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Happy Monday hustling humans! If you follow me on Instagram you've probably noticed that I've been sippin' on a new breakfast smoothie lately. Many of you have asked me to share what's in my cup so you'll find the recipe down below. Honestly this smoothie is great for any time of day. I've just gotten into the habit of drinking it in the A.M. because some of the benefits of maca include increased energy and reduced stress-hormone levels... both of which sound good to me.

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INGREDIENTS*

  • 2 tsp maca powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened original Almond milk
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 banana (preferably pre-cut and frozen)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (more or less depending on preference)
  • 1 tbsp almond butter (you can buy my all-time favorite here) or peanut butter.
  • 1-2 cups ice

*Serves up a big smoothie for ONE.
 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add ingredients to your blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Serve and enjoy!
     

NUTRITION INFORMATION: 57 C | 12 F | 8 P | 348 calories

Personally, I don't count calories or macros. I never have and I don't see myself doing it anytime soon. However some people do, especially when they're preparing for a specific event or pursuing a specific physique, so I thought it might be helpful to include the nutrition information.

My motto: focus on how you feel. There's no problem with having aesthetic goals, but never let numbers define you. Not in school. Not on the scale. Not in your food. 

If you're planning to try this recipe let me know down below!

All love always xx

Wellness Realness: My Cryotherapy Experience

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Happy Friday beautiful humans! I've decided to kick off this weekend with a series I've wanted to start for a while now: #WellnessRealness.

Is it just me, or does anyone else sometimes feel like they need a gazillion dollars and daily shots of apple cider vinegar to be well? Instagram feeds and wellness blogs can make it hard to shake the feeling that if your fitspo is doing it, so should you. 

So here's the plain truth: Move your body.  Drink enough water. Eat your veggies. Be well. Period.

And #WellnessRealness? Well... just 'cus we can get by without matcha lattes in the morning doesn't mean we aren't curious to know which of these cool wellness trends will add real value to our lives. So I'm kicking off this series with the latest and greatest freeze-your-butt-off wellness technology: cryotherapy.

DEFINE: CRYOTHERAPY

Cryotherapy is "the use of extreme cold for therapeutic purposes". If you've spent time in an ice bath, think of cryo as its boujee and more charismatic cousin. My thoughts? Cryotherapy > Whirlpools, any day.

  Freezing my *peach* off.

Freezing my *peach* off.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Appointments are typically  10-15 minutes long. When you first arrive you'll be asked to change into a robe, socks, gloves, and special cryo footwear.  Girls are asked to remove all clothing; guys are told to keep on their briefs. After your BP and heart rate are recorded IT'S GO TIME and you can step into the big silver tube. Once inside, you can hand your robe to the cryotherapy specialist and the 3-minute session begins.

The exact temperature of the session can vary from wow that's cold  to OMG why am I doing this, but first-timers will start "warmer".

Now that I've gone a few times the average temperature of my sessions has dropped to a whopping -265 degrees F. It's FREEZING but it's worth it.

THE BENEFITS

A quick Google search will give you a list of benefits so long it might make you wonder why you haven't tried it yet. I'll leave the Googling to you and stick to the benefits I can actually vouch for:

  • Improved sleep - I'm listing this first because to me it's probably the most impressive. I'm a horrible sleeper and I don't sleep through the night, but on days that I get my cryo on I sleep like a baby.
  • Reduction of inflammation - I had ACL surgery done on my right knee 4 years ago, so after a day of intense physical activity I really start to feel it. The incredible thing is that I enter the cryotherapy machine with serious aches and pains and leave feeling 1000x better.
  • Increased Energy/Improved Mood - The "cryo high" is real. My mind and muscles feel so good after a 3-minute session. I leave hyper and ready to take on the world.
  • Improved muscle recovery - Like I said before, cryotherapy is a souped-up ice bath, making it the most incredible preventer AND alleviator of muscle soreness.

Overall I'm so happy with my cryotherapy experience! I'm glad I worked up the nerve to try it, and I feel so lucky to have found a facility with staff that I truly look forward to seeing for my sessions. It can get expensive, but if it's within your budget to incorporate a session semi-regularly, I WOULD DO IT. If it's not in your budget to go regularly but you could swing it once, I WOULD TRY IT. And if you're ever in Aspen then maybe I'll be seeing you at The Fix.

All love always xx

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My Morning Green Smoothie Recipe

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Happy Friday beautiful humans. The weekend has arrived! Today I thought I'd share a highly-requested recipe: my morning green smoothie. If you follow me on Instagram you know that I've gotten back into the habit of drinking a green smoothie everyday. It doesn't always fit the ~vibe~ of snowfall and winter but I LOVE smoothies so I have no problem drinking them all year round. 

WHY EVERYONE SHOULD DO IT

I'm one of those rare souls who actually enjoys the taste of kale smoothies. It's not that I'm a huge veggie drinker. Blended beets or carrots? I don't think so. But for some reason blended greens don't freak me out.

I truly think everyone can benefit from a green smoothie a day, especially if you struggle to eat your veggies. My philosophy is this: eating your veggies is better than drinking your veggies (#fiber), but drinking your veggies is better than nothing. As I try to transition into eating more plants (like I said I would in my 2018 resolutions) having my green smoothie every morning brings me just a little closer to my veggie goal. 

   Mez Hack:  You can hover over and pin any of the photos in this post to your Pinterest to save the recipe!

Mez Hack: You can hover over and pin any of the photos in this post to your Pinterest to save the recipe!

INGREDIENTS  

  • 2 cups of kale (packed)
  • 1 cup of chopped mango
  • 2 cups of ice
  • ½ of a medium-sized banana (preferably pre-sliced and frozen)
  • ¾ - 1 cup of almond milk
  • Optional: Add a handful of blueberries and/or 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder.

* a cup can also be measured out as roughly equal to a handful.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine everything in your blender. I currently use this Vitamix (it's so powerful and worth every penny) but I've also used my NutriBullet and it gets the job done. 
  2. Blend until everything is just-blended.
  3. Adjust thickness to your liking by adding ice to thicken or almond milk to thin.
  4. Pour and enjoy!

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Fitness Goals: Trying To Get Upside Down

Happy Monday beautiful humans! This is the beginning of #FitnessGoals- a blog series  dedicated to making fitness more about performance and less about appearance. I'll be sharing my goals, regimen, progress, and useful tips with the hopes that we'll crush all of our goals together. The current goal? To get upside down. 

A few posts ago I wrote about the things I wanted to leave in 2017 and the intentions I was setting for the new year. Number 4 on that list was to get inverted and I won't lie... I waited a full month before doing anything about it. It happens.

Then a few days ago I realized it was almost February and I'd made no progress, so in the middle of the night I brought a yoga mat into my room and got started. Word on the street is that it takes 2 weeks to make something a habit but it's been a daily practice ever since. Here's to hoping I haven't jinxed it.

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

Conquering my fear of being upside down took more than I thought. On the first day I could barely get my feet off the ground. Google suggested a "Wall T-stand" was a good beginner yoga inversion so I tried it. I also experimented with moving my legs in space from this position. Let's just say it's harder than it looks. 

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One thing's for certain: consistency is key. Only 3 short days after getting my feet in the air for the first time I started feeling like I was actually getting better. I'm not walking on my hands or anything crazy just yet, but the head- and Wall T-stands are coming along.

MY TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED

  • Invest in a decent yoga mat (like this one or this one)
  • If you have an irrational fear of being upside down, practice against a wall and use yoga blocks to help you get into an upside down position. You don't have to do anything fancy. Just hang out and remain calm.
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  • For working on headstands:
  1. Start in a table top position and drop onto your elbows.
  2. Pike up, keeping a slight bend in your knees and inch your feet forward.
  3. Lift one leg up, and then try the other. At first you might need to use momentum (I was practically jumping into it!) but over time try to keep your core tight and the movement slow and controlled.
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It's not perfect but the girl who was once afraid of getting inverted is well on her way. I hope you will be too! Keep me posted on your progress via Instagram by using #MOTMgoals. xx

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MCAT: 4 Habits For Improving Your Score

When it comes to exams like the MCAT everyone is looking for easy ways to make big improvements. A disclaimer though: to do well you'll need to work really freakin' hard. Period.

That's not to say that small things can't add up and make a difference. It's just that the biggest differences will come when small things become habits.

With that in mind, here are 4 things I did daily while studying for the MCAT that helped me improve my score:

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ONE: The Question(s) of the Day.

You can get Kaplan's questions sent straight to your inbox. I did, and it helped me ease into my studying every morning over coffee. I also bookmarked this page which gives you a daily question for each section. You don't need more than that. Trust me.

TWO: Read a scientific paper every morning.

For me, the hardest part of the MCAT was getting through the science passages. I was constantly short on time, and I'd get questions wrong not because I didn't know the material, but because I didn't read the passages correctly. If you're having similar trouble, try reading a paper every morning... one with lots of diagrams and genes with names like Sirt4. That'll do it.

THREE: Download apps for studying on the move.

My go-to apps were the Amino Acid tutor and the Kaplan flashcard app. The Kaplan app is actually "free" when you buy these MCAT flashcards. Even though I rarely used the hard-copies the app was enough to make the purchase worth it. I used it to study for the Behavioral Sciences and Biology sections, and it was perfect for making the most of my long commutes.

FOUR: Study the difficult stuff regularly.

I created an MCAT deck on Anki and used it to review difficult content every morning. Anki has a really cool Image Occlusion card type which makes it super easy to study things like pathways and chemical structures. The hard stuff takes time to master, so review review review regularly.

You don’t have to do all of these and there will definitely be days where you don't get to any of them. That's pretty standard. The important thing is that you try and figure out which ones are really worth your time, and which ones are easiest to incorporate into your own routine. I hope this helped, and if you have anything to add leave it in a comment so that others can benefit from it too. Happy Hustlin! xx

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Tips for Sticking With A New Workout Routine

New year, new me, am I right?! Whether you like the phrase or absolutely hate it, you can't deny that there's something so magical about a ton of people feeling inspired to set goals at the same time. My motto: never knock someone for trying to be better.  No matter the goal, and as long as it hurts no one, why not support it?

The really really beautiful thing is that the most common resolutions are to eat healthier, get more exercise, save money, focus on self-care, and get more sleep. It's like at the beginning of every year people realize they should really be putting themselves first, and nothing could make me happier. Wellness for the win.

Because I've gotten so many questions about how I make time for working out I thought I'd bring you a couple of my hacks for sticking to a new workout routine FOR REAL this time around. Disclaimer though: No one is perfect about their routines and making it a habit takes time. All you can do is try and, when it comes to your health and happiness, honestly that's enough.

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1. BABY STEPS.

What do Rome and your workout routine have in common? They weren't built in a day. Getting used to working out takes time, so don't try to go from 0 to 100. Start with a smaller goal, like 2 walks or workouts/week, and then build from there. Your muscles will thank you later.

2. DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE.

If you hate running, then don't. If you hate yoga, then DON'T. Trying to force yourself to do something you don't enjoy is the quickest way to sabotage your goals. Save this for later (if you have your heart set on it) and start with activities you genuinely enjoy.

3. GET A WORKOUT BUDDY.

Maybe you can set a gym date with your roommate every week or maybe you just send each other sweaty selfies after every workout. No matter what you choose having somebody sweat with you can make working out that much better.

4. EAT ENOUGH FOOD. DRINK ENOUGH WATER.

Sometimes fitness goals are centered around weight loss, and while that's fine (your goals are your goals), you have to make sure you're eating enough and staying hydrated. Cutting crazy calories  won't produce long-term gains... it'll just make you feel like crap. Promise.

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5. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN.

When you're trying to take anything seriously planning is key. The great thing about workout routines is that there are so many parts you can plan in advance. I like to roughly plan what days I'll be getting my sweat on, what times, even what I'll wear. If you're working out first thing in the morning lay out your clothes the night before (or wear them to bed... that's what I do). If you know your schedule is packed this week, plan to sweat early in the day or over the weekends. Plan. Plan. Plan.

6. GET SEVEN TO EIGHT HOURS, EVERY NIGHT.

Sleep is everything and while some days you might have to drag yourself out of bed just short of a full night's rest, there are few feelings worse than being exhausted during a workout. Do yourself (and your wellness goals) a favor and prioritize your rest.

7. FOCUS ON HOW YOU FEEL.

People workout for different reasons and while aesthetics might be one of them it alone has never been enough to make me workout consistently. So instead I like to think of the gym as my space for working through things. I run to get my heart pumping, I lift heavy to feel strong, and I sweat to clear my head. The feeling keeps me on track, so try to focus on that.

8. NEW CLOTHES, WHO DIS?

My favorite part of starting a new workout routine or setting new fitness goals is hands-down buying new stuff. Something about fresh socks and new leggings helps me get to the gym more often. Want to feel like a boss while you workout? Put on a carefully-coordinated sweatsuit (joking kinda, but not really).

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5 Things We Should All Leave in 2017

It wouldn't be a new year without goal-setting and a fresh list of intentions.

I know because I jump at every opportunity to start over. I'm the girl that gets a new phone and doesn't transfer any of her old photos. If you get me, you get me. 

This year though I decided to do things a little bit differently, and instead of writing my intentions first (which I eventually did.. pictured below) I actually made a list of things and habits I needed to cut out of my life. 

 // Shop the journal/notebook/or whatever  here . //

// Shop the journal/notebook/or whatever here. //

At first it felt like a really negative thing to do, like spreading negative energy or something. But it's IMPORTANT because sometimes the things we carry with us year-after-year are the very things that hold us back from the goals we keep setting. So here I go sharing 5 things we should all  leave in 2017... because if it doesn't add to our lives, it will only subtract.
 

1. THE COMPARISON GAME

Comparison is the thief of joy... Theodore Roosevelt wasn't lying. That's why in 2018 the first thing I'm getting rid of is my tendency to compare. It's a hard thing, knowing that all of your life all you've done is value yourself in relation to others. I've wanted to be smarter, funnier, more athletic, more well-rounded, thicker, and then thinner (lol at standards of beauty, f that)... and joining the Instagram and blogging communities didn't exactly help quiet that voice in my head. But here's one thing I know: comparing will do nothing good for you. So let's stop doing it, and replace all of that negative stuff with a desire to just be better than yesterday.
 

2. SELF-DOUBT & THE FEAR OF TRYING

This kind of defined my 2017. I was preparing to take the MCAT with a relatively low-GPA (#premedprobs), I wanted to start a blog but I didn't think anyone would read it, and I was scared if I did start a blog that people would judge me. But guess what? I took the MCAT, started this blog, and received nothing but support from the realest friends a girl could ask for. Moral of the story here: Go after everything your heart desires because YOU CAN.
 

3. PROCRASTINATION & OTHER WAITING GAMES

I'm guilty of putting EVERYTHING off, small or big, whether it'd take 5 minutes or 5 hours. So this year I'm saying no to putting off the stuff that I really have no excuse for procrastinating. If it takes less than 30 minutes to do, or if you'll be drastically happier when it's over, DO. IT. NOW.
 

4. SAYING NEGATIVE THINGS ABOUT OTHER WOMEN

This one's self-explanatory so I'll keep it short and sweet. Few things make me sadder than women putting down other women. I'm as guilty as the next girl so in 2018 I'm making a point to cut it out. Whether she wears make-up or not, whether she's loud or soft-spoken, whether she commands a room or prefers to mingle in the middle... let. that. girl. live. And the next time anyone tries to compliment you by saying you're not like other girls, punch them in the mouth* for saying something so sexist. #womenempoweringwomen

*don't actually punch them.
 

5. THE "I CAN DO IT ALL" SUPERWOMAN COMPLEX

You don't have to be everything to everyone, but to serve others you do have to take care of yourself. Know when to say no, when to say yes, and when you've got nothing left to give. It's hard enough trying to be better for yourself and I'm guilt of constantly trying to be better for everyone else too. Respecting your limits does not make you weak, and self-care does not make you selfish. Remember that.
 

I hope you'll join me in getting rid of the things that hold you  back. We can, and we will.
 

All love always,
Mez

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2017: A Year in Review

Happy New Year my people! 

With the first day of 2018 well underway I thought it’d be nice to look back at all that was great about 2017. It was a year full of its own trials and tribulations, but every year has them so I hope this encourages you to look back at your own to try to find the incredibly beautiful bits for yourself. Sometimes they're just too easy to overlook.

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JANUARY

I participated in the Boston Women's March and skied for the first time ever. Can I ski well? No.

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FEBRUARY

was filled with friendship, drugstore highlighter (literally my favorite), and so many smiles. I visited my BFFL at Lehigh after not seeing her for 2 years, made some of my best friends at Harvard (shout-out to T and L), and did A LOT of yoga.

MARCH

... the glorious month I decided to take 2 years off before medical school. I postponed my MCAT and still have NO RAGRETS.

APRIL

I walked/performed in two incredible, student-run charity fashion shows. NOT my comfort zone.

 Identities Fashion Show 2017

Identities Fashion Show 2017

MAY

On the 25th of May, 2017, I got that Harvard degree. It's crazy to me how quickly the four years flew, but what really shakes me to my core is that I did exactly what 6 or 7 year old me set out to do. "When I grow up I'm going to Harvard." The thought gives me chills.. and it wouldn't have been possible without my people. We really did it.  #firstgen

 Was I hype? or was I HYPE?

Was I hype? or was I HYPE?

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JUNE

I started studying for the MCAT and I turned 22. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!  

This was also the month I decided I would start a blog (eventually) so I bought the domain name for Mez On The Move.

JULY

I continued to study for the MCAT but roped my sister into getting some studying done too.

This was a difficult month (it was hard to see how much she was struggling) but it was incredible to have a study buddy as intelligent and energetic as her.

Let's just say the MCAT blues were no match for little J.

 Late-August, working through test strategies pool-side, with my  MCAT 528 .

Late-August, working through test strategies pool-side, with my MCAT 528.

AUGUST

To say I was feeling stressed in August would be an understatement. With my September test-date approaching I was a BALL OF STRESS- a literal BALL OF ANXIETY AND STRESS.

That's why when #7 asked if I wanted to take my studying to Jamaica with him I did not hesitate. Don't worry... about a thing... 'cus every little thing... is gonna be alright.

 

SEPTEMBER

I took the MCAT on September 9th and while it left me feeling defeated, it was OVER.. and that was kind of nice. I chilled for the rest of the month and tried not to think about it.

 A screenshot of my MCAT celebration.

A screenshot of my MCAT celebration.

OCTOBER

After checking the AAMC site three times I found out I would never have to study for the MCAT again. OH HAPPY DAY.

NOVEMBER

Now that the MCAT was completely over I had time to really jump into my newfound creative passion: blogging! I started working on what has now become this tiny blip on the WorldWideWeb, I took my sister to her first football game, I brought yoga back into my life, and I bought my first denim jacket. VERY exciting stuff.

DECEMBER

I launched this blog on the 19th (only 13 short days ago), I met Instagram friends IRL, and I started to feel really freaking happy about my decision to start sharing.. and blogging... and focusing on happy living and wellness.

2017 had its tough moments, but it was filled with so much joy and brought me a new passion and sense of purpose. I love to create but what I love to do more is connect... and this past year the universe set me up to do just that. I cannot wait for what 2018 will bring. This space has hands-down been the best thing to come out of 2017 and for you I will be forever grateful. All love always, xx

 

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MCAT: How To Get Started

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WHAT'S UP MY PEOPLE!? This is a longer and niche kind of post but some of my pre-med followers have asked me to talk about the MCAT.  If you have any friends or family planning to take this exam, please share this with them! And if you'd like to inquire about 1-on-1 MCAT tutoring with me, shoot me an email here with [MCAT] in the subject. xx

There really are two types of premeds: the premeds who have their MCAT test-dates picked before they even step foot on campus as freshmen and the premeds who have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into. Guess which group I belong to? Here’s a hint: I didn’t think about the MCAT until winter break of my senior year. I hadn’t even registered for a test date but in my mind I was applying to med school that June. Fast-forward 6 months… mid-June… graduated... didn’t take the MCAT… didn’t apply to med school (#badpremed).

So how and when did my MCAT journey even begin? Well, that January I decided to get my toes wet and start working through the basics. I read two chapters from a Biology prep book, started taking detailed notes, and looked through Khan Academy’s free MCAT resources. Once classes started back up I pressed PAUSE on the MCAT and it wasn’t until late February that I picked up my books for a second time. I passed on Cancún and spent Spring Break on campus. I registered for an April test date and completed a full-length diagnostic. At this point, I still had it in my mind that I’d apply to med school in the 2018 cycle (#stubbornaf) and it really took me weeks to realize that it wasn’t my time. By late March, I'd given up my test seat and lost the GWAP it'd cost me ($$$). At the time it felt like an “L”, but it was 100% a WIN.  I wouldn’t lie to you guys; deciding to take 2 years off before med school was hands-down the best decision I've ever made. I didn't have to rush my studying and I got an MCAT score I was more than happy with!

 I borrowed these headphones from my brother (found  here ), and eventually bought  this  affordable pair for my MCAT study sessions. The cheaper they are, the easier it is to throw them in your bag and GO (and honestly, the sound quality on the pair I bought for myself is pretty good!).

I borrowed these headphones from my brother (found here), and eventually bought this affordable pair for my MCAT study sessions. The cheaper they are, the easier it is to throw them in your bag and GO (and honestly, the sound quality on the pair I bought for myself is pretty good!).

I say all of this to show you that your MCAT journey doesn’t have to be perfect; mine was full of indecisiveness and poor planning. But you know what? The MCAT is the exception to the rule: it’s more about the destination and less about the journey. After all, the ultimate goal is med school. Even if the path ends up longer than you expected, who cares as long as you make it (#realtalk). And if by now you’re thinking dang when is this chick gonna tell me how to get started, don’t worry, I’m almost there.

I chose to self-study for the MCAT for two reasons: (1) I couldn’t afford a prep course and (2) I trusted that I had enough self-discipline to get it done at my own pace. For me, self-studying really only came with one downside: I had to figure it out on my own. I truly wish I would've had the funds to invest in private tutoring- not so much for studying, but more for guidance. Now, trust me, no matter what route you go you’ll have to personalize your studying to get the most out of it. But as a first-generation pre-med who knew few people who had taken the MCAT already and even fewer who were willing to talk about it, finding what worked took a lot of trial-and-error. Lucky for me, that trial-and-error was built into all of that STOP/START/NAH NEVER MIND stuff I talked about. The MCAT covers way too much material for you to approach it like a sprint; so treat it like a marathon. I only found my stride when I stopped rushing the process and started trusting it.
 

On that note, here are 5 steps I think you should take before diving head-first into your own study plan:

ONE: Pick your test date. This is number 1 for a reason! You can’t take the MCAT if you haven’t registered for it. Some important things to consider:

Will you be applying for the Fee Assistance Program? This is important because if you’re planning to apply, you should get that done as soon as possible. The way the program works you can’t be reimbursed after you’ve registered, so getting your app in early will lead to an earlier approval and a less stressful MCAT registration process.

How much time will you have to study? This is key. Everyone says the average test-taker studies 300-700 hours before taking the MCAT (which is a huge and not super helpful range lol). Where you fall will depend on how well you already know the material and the score you wanna get. Think about how many hours you’ll be able to put in each week. Be ambitious, but realistic. Account for a couple “WHOOPS I didn’t study” days but don't drag it out to "be on the safe side". In other words: don’t play yourself. I studied 30-40 hours/week for 9 weeks and then 45+ hours/week for the remaining 5 weeks leading up to test day. That's 3 months and roughly 500-600 hours of full-time studying (with a 5-day vacation somewhere in the middle and 1-2 days off every week)! Decide on your own target number. One thing to keep in mind is that even if you study less than full-time each week, your studying should be intensive and regular (at least 15-20 hours/week). My two-cents: If you can't commit 15+ hours/week, consider taking it another time.

Is there a test date that allows you to study full-time leading up to your exam?  I think it’s completely doable to get your general content review done on a part-time schedule. However, the biggest improvements in my practice test scores came during the month before my test date when I was living and breathing the MCAT. Practicing a lot and working on my weaknesses full-time really helped me zone-in and get ready for test day... definitely a game changer.
 

TWO: Decide on your study route. Do you feel comfortable self-studying? Do you have the resources and prefer the structure of a prep course? Would you only feel comfortable self-studying if you had a tutor to guide you throughout and help you with difficult content? Be honest with yourself, but don’t be fearful. Trust in your abilities, but know your limits. This decision is entirely personal (and financial) so it’s worth thinking about. My two-cents: if you have the funds, invest them. Doing well on this exam is so important and I can't emphasize how much the process of studying taught me about how I should've been studying. Having a tutor coach you through it from the beginning will save you time, but if you don't have the funds trust that you can still pull this off on your own and take advantage of the free MCAT resources available online. Either way YOU'VE GOT THIS.
 

THREE: Take a FULL-LENGTH diagnostic. If you've been checking off your premed classes* I put this at number 3 for a reason. First, you register and reflect. Then, you take your diagnostic. Why? Because your diagnostic is just a starting point and it shouldn’t affect how you choose your test-date. Don’t study before it. Don’t put it off. Just do it! No matter how you score it’ll motivate you to study and it'll give you a sense of what to study first. 

 Screenshot of my MCAT diagnostic score, courtesy of my laptop.

Screenshot of my MCAT diagnostic score, courtesy of my laptop.

Here’s a fun fact: The entire exam was my weakness (except maybe CARS). I got more than half of the Psych/Soc section wrong and scored in the 42nd percentile overall, so the only thing my diagnostic told me was that I needed to study. Here’s another fun fact: everyone needs to study to improve their scores! A wise man once said: Started from the bottom- now we're here. There’s nothing like putting in work to get the score you want and looking back to see how far you’ve come. 

Which test-prep company should you use for your diagnostic? This is a question I get a lot but I don't have a perfect answer for it. I hear NextStep’s practice exams are very good and you can actually sign up for a free full length! I used one of the Kaplan full lengths that came with my books but, while I loved their content review materials, I didn’t love their practice tests. Not sponsored- just my two cents! Otherwise, my biggest piece of advice about your diagnostic would be this: do NOT use the AAMC official practice tests because you should save those for closer to test day.
 

FOUR: Get yo' books. Across test companies and materials, I know at least one person who used x book and got the score they wanted. I used Kaplan and it worked for me, a close friend used ExamKrackers and it worked for her, and a friend of a friend got the score he wanted using The Princeton Review. All three of these are consistently listed as the best prep materials for the MCAT so I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them. In the end, I think it’s just a matter of picking the one that works best for you. You don’t have to take my opinion as Bible, but here are my thoughts on the two I'm most familiar with, strictly in terms of content review:

Kaplan MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review: This is what I used and it really worked. I think the visuals are great and the text is well-written and straight-forward. It’s also super detailed so I felt confident that there wouldn’t be any surprises on test day. With the exception of the Psych/Soc section (which is apparently tripping up all of these test companies), everything I saw in the AAMC practice materials and on test day was covered in these books. I would 100% recommend this series if you have the time get through it and can appreciate what might be a little too much detail.

10th Edition Examkrackers MCAT Complete Study Package: I actually purchased this set in early July when a friend told me she preferred these books over Kaplan but I ultimately decided not to use them. I was already well into the Kaplan books and I’m not sure why I thought I’d "just use both". A word of advice: pick one and stick to it. EK is great for to-the-point, concise content review. Some might say it's too concise but, like I mentioned before, my friend used these books and did really freakin' well. If you’re looking for simple and targeted high-yield MCAT review with none of that extra stuff, or if you’re strapped for time and need to study quickly, this is the set for you. I've also heard this set is “fun to read”- whatever that means.

If you decide to purchase your content review materials through these links I may make a small commission. Thank you for helping me keep 'Mez On The Move' up and running. Real talk, I appreciate you.


FIVE: Dive in but don’t plan (yet)! Depending on how far you are from your test date, I’d recommend giving yourself a little bit of trial-and-error time for your study methods to develop. By 2 months out (if you’re studying full time) you'll want to be in your flow with a content review system that works. Before then, I think it’s worth investing some time into just figuring out what that system should look like. By the time I found what worked for me it looked nothing like how I had started. I went from highlighting and re-writing entire chapters to minimal note-taking, writing in the margins, using videos for difficult concepts, and actually ENJOYING prep (*gasp*). Moral of the story here? You’ve really got to do you.

That’s it! I have no doubts that if you’ve read this far and follow these steps, you’re on your way to killing content review and getting the score you want! I know, I know… it’s easier said than done, but these first steps really do set the tone for your studying!

ONE LAST THING! Remember that everyone is different and you might have extra things to consider before getting started. If you're still finishing your pre-med requirements (gen chem, orgo, physics, biochem, and biology) you'll have to study more for the subjects you're missing. It isn't impossible and I don't want to discourage you, but it does take longer to master things you're seeing for the first time. That being said, I know for some of you there's no way around it. If you're dead set on taking the exam anyway I would recommend two things: quickly looking through what's on the MCAT (just to get a sense of what you'll have to learn) and increasing your goal number of "total study hours". As a reminder, I studied for 500-600 total hours, and the average test-taker studies for around 350.

If you have any questions or anything to add, leave it in a comment below so that others can benefit from it too. Happy Hustlin! xx

 

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A Holiday Message from Me(z)

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MERRY CHRISTMAS MY PEOPLE!

Having the nerve to build this space was one thing, but the love and support you've given me has been the most incredible freakin' gift. It wasn't wrapped and sitting under my Christmas tree this morning but it's meant the world to me. Thank you for laughing with me. For tolerating my Instagram car-rides and bathroom music videos. For helping me spread kindness. For supporting female hustle. FOR BEING A HUSTLER YOURSELF. I appreciate you and I hope you find your own reasons to be happy and hopeful today.

I know sometimes the holidays can be so freakin' difficult. They're weird that way- joyful for many and not-so-merry for others.  I know that because I've been there... so I see you. I know what it's like to to put your younger siblings first. To open nothing on Christmas day and have to listen to your friends talk about everything they got. To have no special dinner or traditions. To feel left out. I get that... I SEE YOU. 

That's why I'm here to let you know that however you feel today, it's okay. If you're feeling #blessed, yaaas I'm happy for you. May this remind you of all the things in your life you have to be grateful for. Writing this has certainly reminded me. But if you're stressed or sad or lonely or "over it"- that's okay- I get you too. I've been there... so trust me when I say that things will get better. Find something to celebrate. Remember that you are here. Sometimes that's enough to humble you.

I'll be over here celebrating the fact that you've read this. For that I'll be forever grateful. 

All love and realness always, xx

 Big ears since (before) '99

Big ears since (before) '99

 Mom was too busy taking the photos, so here she is.

Mom was too busy taking the photos, so here she is.

4 Reasons To Do More Yoga

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Happy Friday! After nearly 3.5 months away from my mat I'm slowly (& finally) getting back into my practice. But don't get it twisted! I'm very much a beginner yogi and I've never been well-seasoned or consistent. 

If I'm being honest, I've never even practiced yoga with the intention of "getting really good". I just love what it does to cleanse my soul and that's enough to keep me coming back...

But just in case it isn't for you (I get that), here are 4 more reasons why you should be getting your YOGA on:

  Ommmmmmmmmm .

Ommmmmmmmmm.

1. Flexibility is fleeting and everyday we get older.

You know that saying, you'll never be as young as you are right now? That's the first thing I thought when my instructor tried to get me into full-blown camel pose (that and not gonna happen sis) .

But here are two undeniable truths: (1) without flexibility, daily activities can get really difficult, and (2) yoga is a great way to relieve the stresses of our daily lives. So  s t r e t c h  it out hustler, like your strength and mobility depend on it. Because they do.

 2. Crunches do NOT build strong cores.

My first day back on my yoga mat I found ab muscles I never knew I had. Don't take my word for it though. Swap your current ab-routine for an hour of yoga each week and experience the burn for yourself. It's no joke.

3. It's ok to just BE, and you should make time for it.

If you've taken a yoga class, then you've probably found your body in a position that your mind wasn't too happy about. The same sort of thing happens IRL. So, if you're constantly feeling like you could and should be doing more, then YOGA . It's a mental, physical, and spiritual affirmation that we are enough as we are, at any given moment. A reminder to just show up. I'm into that. 

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4. Because sometimes you need a reminder to breathe.

When things get hard you've always got two choices: work through it or get out of it. And no matter what you decide, in yoga and in life, you've got to remember your breath. You are alive. You are here. Your quads are burning but you are breathing. K e e p breathing.

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I really can't recommend yoga enough! Invest in the essentials and just do it. This yoga mat is hands down my favorite but you could also opt for a quality affordable option. Yoga blocks were so important for improving my flexibility and this combo lets you get two blocks and a yoga strap for less $ (thank the Lord) . My third and final essential would have to be a nonslip mat towel. If you're not a super sweat-er (like me), then you can get away with passing on this one. But if you do sweat and want to avoid turning your mat into a slip-n-slide, you should probably invest. You can't go wrong with Manduka- they play no games when it comes to yoga- but you can also find other mat towels (like this one or this one) for less.

So you see.. you don't need a $30 yoga class. You don't even need to leave the comfort of your home.  Just get your mat, lay it down, search for a "yoga flow" on YouTube, and get started.

And if you're still not ready to practice alone... you can buy 2 of everything and drag your mom's best friend's cousin into it, or your unsuspecting roommate. That's my favorite. Wishing you a wonderful freakin' weekend! xx

 

 

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A Gift Guide For The Last-Minute Shopper

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Happy Monday my people! Lord knows if you wait any longer to do your holiday shopping you'll have to face the wrath of a bitter-but-they-won't-admit-it parent, and a sibling that isn't afraid to tell you you suck.

But first.. let's take a second to acknowledge that Amazon Prime's free 2-day shipping was God's answer to every procrastinator's prayers.

7-10 business days?! I don't know how I ever had that kind of patience.

That's why every single thing I included in this gift guide is Prime-able, so you can still get it in time for the holidays without paying more for shipping than you did for the gift (because that's the worst). And being that I'm a broke twenty-something myself, there's something for every budget. From 0 to 549, real quick.

 

For the bookworm...


For the sound-obsessed...
 

 
 


For the gym rat or fitness newbie...


For the #HUSTLER...

 
 


For the die-hard smoothie drinker...

For the really pre-med pre-med...

 

For smaller gifts and stocking stuffers...

For me personally the most stressful thing about the holidays is having to ball on a budget. I'm always stuck somewhere between wanting to get the people I love really nice things, and needing to eat (lol). 

I'll leave you with this: no gift is too small for the dope people in your life. If you can't splurge on a VitaMix, then opt for a NutriBullet. If you can't afford a NutriBullet, then I'm sure they'd love new smoothie recipes. And if that's still out of reach for you (there's no shame here!), then try making your own recipe book with love ($0). 

Seriously. It's always better to go the "hand-made with love" route than to show up empty-handed because you were too embarrassed to make your gift and didn't have the funds to buy one. The people who truly appreciate you will love that you made the extra effort. And if your "friends" are upset that you couldn't afford bigger gifts, then maybe you should re-evaluate your friendships. #realtalk

Sending you all of my love and holiday cheer from the Big Apple... have a great week! xx

The Only Lentil Soup I've Ever Eaten

When I posted on Instagram that I'd found the easiest way to make lentils, you guys needed the recipe. Well... here it is.  Not only is this vegan-friendlygluten-free lentil soup easy to make. IT'S BOMB. Someone tell Cookie+Kate that I'm obsessed.

A brief rundown (you'll have to head to Cookie+Kate for the full thing):

>> It takes about 55 minutes to make but you can spend most of that time away from the kitchen. After everything makes its way into the pot, you've got 30 minutes to just kick back and relax.

>> It's vegan-friendly (check-plus for the environment, the animals, and your health) but even the carnivores in my family love it! If you're a firm-believer that no soup is complete without chicken, this soup will change your mind.

>> The ingredient list is short (especially since you're likely to have the seasonings on-hand already). I'm all about keeping it simple.

Let me know if you have any easy recipes for lentils (*emphasizes easy*) because I'd love to try them, or decide to try this soup for yourself! xx

November Favorites


BOOK
Eating Animals

 

If you haven't read this book you should. Carnivores. Omnivores. Pescatarians. Vegetarians. Vegans. Everyone.

 

 

 

 

*IMPT: Ellen Degeneres thinks everyone should read it too.

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BEAUTY & STYLE FINDS

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Comfortable

#grownwoman

booties for under $60.
(here or here)
 

Open-shoulder sweater 
for under $25.
 

Tinted moisturizer because it's easy.
 

Concealer for my designer (eye)bags.
 

Mascara 
for OUUUUUUUU volume.

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Happy Tuesday fam! Can you believe we're almost a full week into December?! Time flies when you don't know what you're doing. I truly hope you had an incredible (or equally chill) November. 

Winter is  c o m i n g.  xx

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Saturday Football

Hey hustlers! Nothing screams Fall like fallen leaves and football. This past weekend my mom and youngest sister joined me for Harvard's game against Columbia. Fun fact: it was my mom's first football game ever! More than once she yelled HOME RUN after a touchdown but her team spirit was unmatched and Jenny was just happy to be repping her 'Harvard Sister' swag.

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The weather was also unbelievably perfect. Even though there wasn't enough sun to bronze up my borderline-translucent skin, spending some time outdoors was just what I needed. AND PRETZELS. I believe food needs no explanation but mediocre pretzels actually bring me so much freakin' joy. The concession stand is, and always will be, my favorite part of any athletic event. 

 >> when you get your food

>> when you get your food

 >> when a friend who "wasn't hungry"  asks for a bite

>> when a friend who "wasn't hungry"  asks for a bite

I didn't spend the day "working toward my goals" or "making every day count" in the way those words are usually used, but I did spend the day doing something I enjoy with the people I love. The perfect RESET for this female hustler, honestly. 

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I hope you enjoyed a restful weekend or managed to find a little beauty in your busy one. #7 says, "Thanks for reading!" xx

*Oh. And we won. #GoCrimson

The Beginning

 #LatinaExcellence

#LatinaExcellence

I'm no writer but here I am starting a blog.

A few months ago, in May, I graduated from Harvard with a degree and a feeling that I'd lost myself somewhere along the way. Don't get me wrong. Going to college changed my life. But here's the thing about being a hustler (and a #femalehustler, at that): it's too easy to forget the person working toward the goals when you're so focused on the goals. Pair that with constantly feeling like you don't have the time, money, or energy to invest in what you eat, wear, or do, and it's no wonder that wellness and happiness are the first to take backseats for the sake of "reaching your goals". Delayed gratification: a tale of the hustling millennial

Except, NO. And if this is the last time you visit Mez On The Move (I hope not), I want you to take one thing with you:

Wellness is everything, even on your busiest days.

So, from one female hustler to another, I hope you'll follow along as I document bits and pieces of a lifestyle committed to wellness and hustle, and try to help you lead your happiest, healthiest, DOPEST life.

It can be done. xx