Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What-to-Know Wednesday : 5 VT Spots for Your Fall 2016 Bucket List

 *whispers*'s here. 

I don't know about you, but fall is a highly anticipated season for me. Between the gorgeous foliage, crisp air, tasty seasonal goodies and the impending holidays, it's a close second to Christmas as the most wonderful time of the year.

And one of the great parts about spending fall in Vermont is all the awesome local spots to flock to for all the best fall activities! Be sure to add these to your Vermont bucket list this fall...

1.) Shelburne Orchards

Come pick some apples, get a cup of hot cider, and grab a bag of doughnuts to go! (And don't forget to pick up some pie ingredients on the way home!)

2.) Shelburne Farms

Hard to beat this view! Come visit the barn animals, take a stroll around the beautiful property, and admire the Vermont landscape in all its glory!

3.) Mt. Philo

Philo is a short enough hike to be doable in cooler weather, but you'll still be welcomed with a gorgeous view of the farmland and rolling hills below! (Imagine this with some even more fall color!)

4.) Sam Mazza's Farm Market

Come for the famous corn maze, stay for the cute animals! (But seriously, it's an awesome corn maze.)

5.) Burlington Farmer's Market

Take advantage of your last chances to stroll around the farmer's market downtown before it moves indoors for the winter!

How will you celebrate fall in Vermont?

Let's Connect!
Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sum-It-Up Sunday : Week #4

Hello all! It's been another wonderful week here at St. Mike's. With the temperatures dropping and the leaves beginning to change, fall is making its first appearances in VT and we're loving it! (In other words, expect some themed posts coming up in the near future!)

To celebrate, I couldn't think of a better way than conquering an old foe...Mount Hunger! Last fall, we hiked this toughie on the first (unexpected) snow of the year. Unfortunately, we were unprepared and forced to turn around less than a 1/4 mile from the top. But this Saturday, we set out to get it done once and for all!

It was a little brisk for a dip, but still couldn't help stopping for a photo op at the waterfall.

Not sure if I defeated the mountain or if it defeated me. I think the latter. But we summited nonetheless! It was pretty cold at the top, so we could only stay long enough to take a quick picture and scarf down our sandwiches. If you're looking for a challenge, this is the hike for you! 

I hope you all enjoyed your week! Curious about how other students are celebrating fall at SMC, or about anything else for that matter? Be sure to check out our other Social Ambassador blogs, and don't miss our next Knightchats on Thursday, 10/6 and Tuesday, 10/25!

In the meantime, stay tuned for the next What-to-Know Wednesday on the 28th!

Let's Connect!
Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What-to-Know Wednesday : A Guide to Quick & Easy Weeknight Dinners Off the Meal Plan

Amidst the class work and activities of school nights, the prospect of making dinner can often be a daunting one to students off the meal plan. However, I usually find that making dinner can be a great way to unwind, relax and take a break at the end of the day! And the good news is, with planning and preparing, a good meal doesn't need to be a lengthy (or pricey) project!

Below are a few of the strategies I have adopted into a routine for quick and easy weeknight dinners. Whether you're currently cooking for yourself at school or will be someday, I hope you'll try out some of these tips and find them useful in your weekly routines!

1.) Pick a main ingredient to buy in bulk.

I go grocery shopping once a week, usually on Friday afternoons. But before I do that, I like to decide on one main ingredient to build all my meals for the upcoming week around (like chicken, for example), and buy enough of that item to last the whole week. Not only does this limit the amount of ingredients you'll need to buy for each meal, but it also makes planning your meals for the week a much easier task.

2.) Plan your weeknight meals ahead of time.

From there I can plan dinner for each night of the upcoming week, also before this weekly shopping trip. For example, here's this week's plan for me:

"Main ingredient" for the week: Chicken

Sunday: Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza (easier than it sounds with pre-made pizza dough on hand!)
Monday: Chicken Scampi
Tuesday: Chicken fajitas
Wednesday: Salad and rice/quinoa with chicken
Thursday: Mac & Cheese plus any leftover chicken

3.) Shop consciously.

By having a plan and a list of groceries before your shopping trip, you'll avoid buying extra items that end up sitting in your fridge unused, taking up space.

Having a plan will also save you money in that regard. However, it's still important to be mindful of the price tag across different brands, stores, etc.

4.) Prep different items. 

As I also mentioned in my post on navigating a shared kitchen, I like to prep different items ahead of time, usually on Sunday's or whenever I can before the week picks up: chopping all my vegetables and storing in individual bags, making a large batch of salad dressing for the week to keep in the fridge, etc. I highly recommend this to save time each night when making dinner.

Happy cooking, and be sure to stay tuned for the next Sum-It-Up Sunday on the 25th!

Let's Connect!
Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sum-It-Up Sunday : Week #3

This week, St. Mike's showed its true colors in a time of tragedy on campus.

When we lose a friend, a passing acquaintance, and sometimes even a complete stranger, it's uncertain how we might respond. We may feel crushed, overwhelmed and scared. We may feel anger, guilt and confusion. We may not know what to feel.

However, one certainty in times like these is that those affected will reveal who they truly are. And this week, St. Mike's proved themselves to be caring, loving, passionate, unconditionally supportive and united as a community- whether they were close to Jerry, a stranger to Jerry, a student, a professor, faculty or staff.

I'm proud to be part of a place that has come together in such a way this week. The upcoming days, weeks and even months may be difficult, especially for those much closer to Jerry. However, from the  many stories I've heard, I think he would want us to celebrate his life and stay strong through our senior year here at St. Mike's.

Be good to yourselves and each other.

Let's Connect!
Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What-to-Know Wednesday : Why SMC's Founders Society Needs YOU

Hey St. Mike's!

With time flying faster by the day, week three is already underway. And between classes, activities and hanging onto summer's last remains, we all have a billion things going on.  But yesterday, something BIG happened that I think everyone in the St. Mike's community would benefit from knowing about: the semester's first meeting of the Founders Society!!

Considering Founders' huge role at St. Mike's, my fellow coordinators, our advisors and I are surprised by campus' lack of general knowledge about it. So I'm here to fill you in!

What is Founders?

In a nutshell, Founders brings the St. Mike's community together to interact with, inform, and excite prospective families and students by sharing the best of our community, campus, and student life.

How do we do this? In several ways...all of which YOU can be a vital part of:

Open Houses 

You all went to at least one as a prospective student checking out St. Mike's for the first time. And I'm sure you remember the excitement, nerves, and questions that came with that experience. No one understands it better than current SMC students who have been there themselves!

By volunteering at an Open House (for which you do not need to be a Tour Guide or Social Ambassador, by the way), you get to relive and share that experience with kids who are in the same boat you were just a couple of years ago. You once had all of those questions- and it's pretty rewarding to be able to answer them for someone else and help guide them through such an important day in their decision process.

Tour Guides

Giving tours at St. Mike's is a great way to share your St. Mike's experience with prospective or accepted students and show off the campus you call home. For students and parents visiting SMC, campus is brand new to them. Helping to form some of their first impressions of St. Mike's could be a determining factor in their decision to become a Knight!

Social Ambassadors

Want to be part of a team who makes the decisions behind St. Mike's' Instagram and Snapchat? Interested in running your own blog about the St. Mike' experience? Please consider becoming a Social Ambassador!

Being a Social Ambassador since my first year at SMC has been one of the most rewarding parts of my college career. As a lifelong lover of writing and pictures, it's been amazing to reach out to prospective students and share my experiences at St. Mike's through this platform. And to know I'll have this blog to look back on post-grad is an even better feeling!

Knight Chats

This year, for the first time ever, we are opening up Knight Chats to all of Founders Society! Knight Chats are a fun, interactive group gathering in which us current students engage in a question-and-answer session with prospective students and parents in a chatroom format. It's a great time, there is usually pizza, and it's yet another great way to connect with prospective families and share your experiences!

Alumni Events

As sad as it is to think about leaving St. Mike's one day, we'll all be graduates at some point! That said, making connections with alumni now can be a great step towards maintaining important connections down the road.

Attending different Alumni Events throughout the year is a great step in these efforts! For example, Alumni Weekend is this weekend, and the Career Symposium is November 11th!

Interested in joining an activity? Important contacts are:

- Online Media & Communications Coordinator (Social Ambassadors, Knight Chats)
Claire Cavanaugh (

- Open House & Yield Events Coordinator
Hailey Dubuque (

- Alumni Relations Coordinator (Alumni Events)
Chris Holloway (

- Tour Guide Coordinator
Brian Shearer (

We hope to hear from you!

Founders meeting dates this semester are as follows:
Tuesday, October 4th
Tuesday, November 1st
Wednesday, December 14th

We hope to see you there!

Let's Connect!
Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sum-It-Up Sunday : Week #2

Hello all! It's been a wonderful second week here at St. Mike's. It seems that everyone is starting to adjust to the flow of things around here, and time is flying!

A Monday afternoon getaway to Oakledge Park!
We're savoring these few chances we'll get to explore on weekdays until the semester picks up!
If you ask me, there's no better way to spend a Friday night than making homemade pizza! After a week of hasty school night dinners, it's nice to sit back and treat yourself when the weekend arrives. 

However, come Saturday, I finally came down with the cold I've been fighting for weeks. Feeling sick, tired, or overwhelmed? The Juicebox recently moved closer to Church Street, so it's more convenient now than ever to pop in for a Ginger Shot! Nothing will turn you around quicker and get you back to work!
Even with this awful cold, I just had to get myself down to Burlington for the first time since being back. Church Street was looking as lovely as ever this Saturday!

I hope you all enjoyed your second week back on campus. Stay tuned for the next What-to-Know Wednesday on the 14th!

Let's Connect!
Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

What-to-Know Wednesday : Unwritten Rules of Sharing a Kitchen

As many of you juniors and seniors may attest to, making the transition to cooking for yourself at school can be a very new experience for many people, as can sharing a kitchen with up to four or five others. However, with a few unwritten rules and tips kept in the back of your mind, navigating a shared kitchen can be a breeze, and even fun! So far, I've really enjoyed cooking for myself, and I look forward to sharing more tips and advice throughout the year!

Rule #1: Keep it organized.

Once you and your housemates have designated your separate cabinets, drawers and fridge/freezer space, it's your responsibility to keep your designated area orderly so as not to invade on other people's space.

* Tip #1: Group items you use most often together for quick access, and get everything else out of the way.
* Tip #2: Shop conscientiously. By planning out weeknight meals before your weekly trip to the grocery store, you'll avoid coming home with extra groceries that end up sitting in the fridge and taking up space.

Rule #2: Keep it clean.

This also factors into space consideration: not only is cleaning up after yourself a given in a shared space, but it also ensures that you're keeping what limited space you have cleared. Don't leave dishes sitting in the sink, pots on the stove, or cutting boards on the counter.

Rule #3: Keep an eye on the clock.

Unless you're all having dinner together, five (or more) of you need to get in there tonight and make your individual meals, all in a relatively close timespan. With such a small space to navigate around, time spent in the kitchen is space taken up. Be considerate of your housemates' time and be aware of your own.

* Tip #1: Prep. Limit your time spent cooking by preparing different parts of your meal ahead of time. Chopping up all your veggies at the beginning of the week and storing in individual bags, making your salad dressing in a large batch at the beginning of the week, and other similar preparations will ensure that you're speedy when it comes down to actually putting your meal together.
* Tip #2: As you make different meals throughout the year, you'll start to get a sense of how long different things take. Be aware of this and plan accordingly- start earlier for lengthier projects, start a little later for quickies.

Rule #4: Communicate and be patient.

You and your housemates may not always be able to coordinate mealtimes to avoid a traffic jam, and nor should you be expected to. That said, be patient, communicate your needs to the best of your ability, and be conscientious of the space and time you're taking up in the kitchen.

Happy cooking, and stay tuned for the next Sum-It-Up Sunday on the 11th!

Let's Connect!
Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sum-It-Up Sunday : Week #1

Hello all!

It's been a busy first week here at St. Mike's, especially for all of us seniors! Between my Global Communications class and Senior Seminar for Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts, it's going to be a busy semester and year.

However, we were also able to enjoy ourselves a little bit this week. My housemates Marissa, Nicole, Regan, Olivia and I got settled into our townhouse in the 400s, and worked on creating a comfy, cozy common area for ourselves throughout the week! If you missed my welcome back post and digital townhouse tour, check it out here!

This week, we also started to get used to cooking dinner for ourselves. I'll miss the convenience of Alliot, but I'm excited to get into the swing of controlling my own meals, learning how to be a better shopper, and enjoying more variety!

You can take the girl out of the kitchen she grew up in, but she'll still bring Annie's mac & cheese with her to college! (Not the best example of our cooking skills this week, but it was probably my favorite meal!)

Also on the agenda this week was lots and lots of studying. Our first big step in Global Communications this semester will be a test on the map of the world at the end of this month, for which we'll need to fill in every country!

I'll be monopolizing the kitchen table every now and then until September 22nd. Wish me luck!

In other news, I was in charge of the St. Mike's Snapchat this week, and I'll be posting this coming week as well! If you aren't already, follow smcknights for a unique view of on and off campus student life!

After what was quite possibly the longest first week ever, we managed to have some fun this weekend and conquered our first hike of the year at one of our favorites, Camel's Hump!

If you didn't catch any of my rave reviews of Camel's Hump last year, it's the best! Just forty minutes from campus, it's one of the best hikes in the area with an unbeatable view. 

I hope you all had a wonderful first week and weekend! Stay tuned for the next What-to-Know Wednesday on the 7th!

Let's Connect!
Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire