Small-Town Spring Break

Small-Town Spring Break

I’m sitting in a cute little place called Cafe Chocolate in downtown Lititz. I’m writing, and I’m happy. I’m seriously toying with the idea of interior design, but I know I have to finish this English degree before I do anything else.

It’s slower here; I know that goes without saying, but it’s nice not to be in a huge rush all the time. Even just being at home in D.C., everything must happen quickly: getting where you need to go, getting what you need to get, etc. At home, everything, including my life, seems to need to happen quickly. I need my degree yesterday and I need a full-time job today and I need to be married and soon there need to be babies and BOY! – It is exhausting.

I think I’d like smaller-town life. As a lifelong city kid, I don’t know that I could stay forever in a completely rural area, but Lancaster is utterly charming to me. You get all the benefits of living rurally, with a city nearby that is just big enough to satisfy most cravings. Food, nightlife, proximity to bigger cities – you name it, Lancaster has at least one.

I’m also, dare I say it, happy to be out of the South. It’s different up here. The South is so full of those old-fashioned rules and niceties – sir and ma’am and miss, an in-depth conversation with the waiter, small talk – and while those are nice up here, they’re not necessary or expected. It makes me look very good when I am in a place where my Southern manners are unexpected but usually welcome.

I know that part of my contentment here is the knowledge that my love will come home at the end of the day, and that I have no obligations, as it is spring break. There’s also the fact that the days are lengthening, and the air is warming. I love spring the most of any season. It is rebirth; it is beauty and youth and goodness. I’m going to enjoy it.

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Resolutions

Resolutions

I realize I’m a little late on this, as it is now the end of January. Though, to be completely honest, I’ve never really been into New Year’s resolutions. I think it’s silly to wait to change yourself, your life, your situation, what have you, for one specific day. I know change is constant.

On the other hand, there’s something to be said for stating your goals at one point during the year, and checking to see if they have or have not been accomplished at the same time the next year. I don’t think that it needs to be in the new year; it can be any time of year. I do, however, realize that it is much easier to count and remember where you are when you’ve started at one. So, here are my goals for 2019.

Lose weight.

You may have seen my post in May 2018 about my struggles with my weight. In the last month and a half I have lost about eleven pounds. I’d like to keep it up, and become healthier and happier. That being said, I am also trying to love my body as it is, and I’m actually making some headway in that.

Move out.

I moved back in with my parents in December 2018 to save them money on tuition and rent, and for me to begin to save for my own future. I’m grateful for their generosity, but I’m twenty-two years old, and living at home is stifling and grating. I’m excited to finally have my own space and my own rules and responsibilities.

Spend more time outside.

I’ve always loved being outside. When I was in high school, I worked at a day camp every day for nine weeks of the summer, and the vast majority of the day was spent outside. My memories of camp are some of the happiest memories I have, and those summers are some of the happiest times of my life. Lately, though, I haven’t been making time to be outside, and I’ve noticed a definite change in my mood and quality of life. I miss the casual exercise, the feel of the sun, the fresh air, the sound of wind through leaves.

Read more.

I’ve kind of already been doing this in the last month. There were a good few years that I just didn’t read much past what I had to for school. I had other priorities, I guess. However, as an aspiring writer, the only thing that comes anywhere close to as important as writing is reading. Reading more has brought an old joy into my life, and I intend to keep doing it.

Finish my Bachelor’s degree.

This one is self-explanatory. I’m very done with being a student, and have been since high school, unfortunately. I’m now so close to completion that I may as well finish my degree. I know it will open doors for me – at least, I hope so. It will be such a relief to have it done.

That’s it for now. If I accomplish all these things in 2019, that will be fantastic. If I don’t, I’ve more than likely got sixty more years to do so.

Unintelligible

Unintelligible

Since I got to UNCG, I’ve intended to submit some writing or photography to the Coraddi, the on-campus student-run literary and art magazine. I picked one up at the festival on Tate street this past weekend, and just sat down and raced my way through it. But now that I’ve consumed the whole thing, I’m rethinking the submission.

Almost all the art in the magazine was excellent, whether copies of student-made paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, or what-have-you. Much of the writing chosen to publish was in the form of poems. Note that I used that phrase, rather than the loaded word “poetry.” I don’t wish for anyone to mistake my meaning.

Now, let me preface this by saying there is some fine work in the magazine I just finished perusing. There is a story depicting dementia that is touching without being cheesy, interesting without being exploitative, and accurate, as accurate as is possible. My favorite writer who was featured in the magazine, whom I cannot locate online but to whom I would like to give a shoutout, had two pieces in this fall 2016 edition. Because I do not have this person’s permission to use their name, I will just name the titles of the pieces: “Young American Dragons,” and “Young Women Grow like Weeds.” They were sparse in the amount of words, but each word was clearly carefully chosen. The imagery was gorgeous, the subjects appropriate for a college student writer beginning to think not more deeply about things, but to take ownership of these deeper themes and ingratiate them into the self.

However, these three instances were outliers, as I was not impressed with most of the written work in this edition. As I said before, the vast majority of the published written submissions were poems, but this does not mean they were poetry. Now, before you accuse me of being a purist, an old-fashioned English major snob, let me inform you that some of my favorite poetry in the world is free-verse, or at least does not rhyme. Much of the poetry in the first issue of the 119th volume of the Coraddi was free verse, but this was not the problem. The problem was that it was mostly composed of phrases, completely unrelated not only to each other, but also from descriptor to object. This is fine when done well, and/or for a purpose. But it seemed in the majority of these cases that these poems were attempts to seem artistic or brilliant or innovative, when they were, truly, none of the above. They were chaotic and unintelligible.

Of course, there were simple grammatical and spelling errors, easily found and easy to fix. I can’t imagine why any existed, as the magazine is published only twice a year. It would seem to me that would be plenty of time to correct grammatical and spelling errors, especially when it comes to the names of the authors or artists. Hopefully this is now much less of an issue, as the Coraddi is no longer published in print, but rather is entirely online.

What do you think? Should I submit to the on-campus literary and art magazine? Would it help me professionally? Leave a comment down below!

 

Fall Essentials

Hello, fellow basic white girls. Our favorite season is upon us; smell it, see it, most importantly, feel it. Fall, glorious fall!

These are my must-haves for this wonderful season. They involve clothing and beauty products, as well as a few miscellaneous items. I hope you enjoy!

 

CLOTHING and ACCESSORIES

Scarves

Scarves are a great way to add not only color to an outfit, but texture. It adds dimension and interest. Plus, with cooler weather, protecting your neck is important.

Cardigans

Cardigans are another way to add color and dimension to an outfit. But the reason I really love them so much is that they’re a great way to turn summer pieces into fall pieces. Suddenly that sundress is more appropriate with a cozy colored cardigan over it. Versatility is important – especially for your wallet!

Boots

I love boots. I have loved boots for a long time, especially riding boots. The best thing about boots is that no matter what you’re wearing, whether it’s a T-shirt and jeans or leggings and a sweatshirt, you’ll always look a million times more put-together when you’re wearing boots. I don’t know why this is, but I enjoy and utilize it immensely.

Statement earrings

Because the weather is getting colder, more skin is covered during autumn than in summer. This means scarves covering throats, and sleeves covering wrists. I believe because of this that the best way to make a statement with and show off jewelry is with earrings. Whether your hair is down or up, a glimpse of sparkle is always delightful.

Floppy wool hat

I may be biased here, because I’m told I look very good in floppy hats. I don’t like wearing them during the summer, but in the fall they’re great. Floppy wool hats, like boots, make your clothing more fall-appropriate, and help you look more put together. Plus, during those misty fall days when it’s not quite raining, they’re a great umbrella substitute!

 

BEAUTY PRODUCTS

(Tinted) Lip balm

With the cooler temperatures, the air becomes less humid, and your lips can dry out. Lip balm is a great remedy, and tinted lip balm gives you that effortless flush.

Cleanser and moisturizer

Fall is a funny time. Some days it’s still summer-hot, and other days it’s almost cold. That’s why I believe that a good cleanser and moisturizer are essential; cleanser gets rid of all the oils and sweat on the face, and moisturizer replaces the needed moisture on the face.

Rosy mauve lipstick

Summer is the time for bright and bold lips, like my favorite orange-red. Winter is for those sultry cranberry shades. Fall, though, because of the natural flush of the cheeks due to falling temperatures, is somewhere between the two. I think a more natural color is the way to go, in a matte-satin shade, like my favorite lipstick with its fall-themed name, “Touch of Spice” by Maybelline.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

Tissue packs

Many of us, though we love fall, have seasonal allergies. There are also those who suffer from asthma, which can be aggravated by the mold in the air. Tissue packs are important whether you suffer from these things or you’re just prepared for someone else to need them.

Favorite fall- or Halloween-themed movie

There’s nothing like a movie with those gorgeous autumn leaf colors to get you in a good mood. One of my favorite movies of all time is Hocus Pocus! I look forward to watching it every year, and you can bet I watch it from September-Christmas.

Books, books, books!

Books are great for those days that you just want to curl up inside your room and have a quiet time. There’s an almost enchantment about fall that can help you become completely immersed in a book.

Cute Yeti

Yetis are great. They keep things hot or cold for a very long time. Whether you’re a tea, water, or coffee person, no matter how you take it, a Yeti is a good investment.

Cozy blanket

When there’s a chill in the air and you’re adjusting to it, there’s nothing like a soft, warm blanket to curl up in with a book or for a Netflix binge-session. Plus, they make great decor!

 

How to Feel in Control

Everyone has those moments – or days, or weeks, or even months – when they feel like everything is out of their control. Sometimes it can feel like one is still a little kid, being shoved into the role of an adult with no training at all. Everyone can and probably does feel this way, at some point or another. So, I’ll share here my tricks for feeling like I’m on top of things.

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I write on my whiteboard.

I have a whiteboard with a slot for each day of the week. I keep it on the wall at my eye level by my bedroom door. I don’t typically use it to plan things day-by-day, though. I just write the most important or time-sensitive things that need to be done on it, and as I erase them, I feel better and better. When the board remains full, it’s a reminder that I still have something to complete.

Now, maybe a planner or paper calendar or phone calendar would be better for you. But having reminders in places where they are easily and frequently visible is the adult equivalent of your mom’s nagging. However, unlike your mom’s nagging, you’re more likely to complete the task not just to get her to stop, but also because you know it’s on you to do it. It shifts the responsibility, which makes you more likely to do what needs to be done.

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I care for myself.

I shower. I wash my face. I moisturize. I take my medications. I dress in a way that makes me feel good and comfortable. I wear a perfume that I find delightful. Some days I wear makeup. I eat things that make me feel good. I go to the gym. I make my bed every morning. I try my best to keep my room organized.

Ever notice how you’re exhausted on the days you do absolutely nothing? When you accomplish little tasks, like getting dressed, or taking your meds, or making your bed, it can lead to increased productivity. Because you’ve already accomplished something, no matter how small, you’ll feel more capable to accomplish bigger things. (Making your bed is a big one. Your bedroom always looks twenty times better when your bed is made. It’s a big piece of furniture, and the namesake of the room. Treat it nicely.)

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I journal.

Now, this could fall under the umbrella of self-care. But hear me out. Journaling is, for me, a multi-step process; I type my journal entries first, and write them out by hand later. Typing my journal entries soon after the events or ideas have occurred to me ensures there will be depth and detail to my writing. But it’s writing out the words using a pen and a pretty journal that’s cathartic for me. As I reread the words, I feel those emotions again, but I also can look at them in hindsight, and with a more objective eye. It is a release and an examination in one. Keeping track of my doings and emotions ensures that these will not be forgotten, and the emotions will be processed. This leads to more success in other areas for me.

 

I reward myself when I finish a task.

This is key. When I finish my homework, or cleaning my bathroom, or my laundry, or what have you, I reward myself. Sometimes this reward is lighting a candle and reading a book. Sometimes it’s internet-related. Sometimes I watch my favorite show. Sometimes I’ll take a nap. But no matter what, if I’ve done something productive, I will in some way reward myself.

Rewarding yourself is a good thing, in moderation. For one thing, it’s a break between one activity and another, both of which may or may not be palatable, with something you do enjoy. For another, it is a way of showing yourself appreciation for what you’ve done. Appreciation is vital to any relationship – including that with the self. It’s easier to complete a task when you know something pleasant is waiting for you once you’re finished.

 

These are some of my tips and tricks for maintaining a sense of order and control in my life. Write a comment below if you do the same, if you try one of these methods and how it went, or your own ways of staying on top of your game. I can’t wait to hear from you!

 

Sunday Night Coffee

Sunday Night Coffee

I’m sitting in Tate Street Coffee House with a friend. We’re in my favorite spot, the table in the window at the front. There’s a step to get up to it. I kind of like being on display like this; it adds accountability for me. If one is going to be on display, one should probably be doing something productive. It would be a little shameful to just be on Facebook or Pinterest, at least for me. Though I’ll admit it looks more romantic to be typing in a document or writing in a notebook than it does to be working on a spreadsheet.

There’s a certain kind of energy to a coffee shop at night, especially when it’s one in an area that looks like or is a downtown of some kind. The neon lights from the “open” sign in the window and similar ones shining from the surrounding businesses add a different vibration than when those lights are much less visible in the light of day. There’s an increased energy. In the middle of the day, when sunlight is streaming through the windows, there’s almost a sleepiness to a place like this. It’s relaxed, full of people quietly working or friends gathered together. In a coffeeshop in the middle of the day on the edge of a college campus, one is either killing time in between classes or quickly grabbing coffee before something important. At night, there’s a sense of urgency underlying the relaxation, almost overwhelming it. Only those with something to accomplish put caffeine in their bodies this late, especially on a Sunday night.

I’ve ordered unsweetened iced green tea. (I’m turning into my mother.) But here whatever tea they use is fragrant, and so much so that it’s almost sweet on its own. I can’t drink hot drinks; they do not quench my thirst, only increase it. I wish I did enjoy hot drinks, because it would be much more pleasant to walk around with a hot coffee in my hand than an iced one in the dead of winter. Idiosyncrasies are fun, aren’t they? Mine sometimes annoy me, but I try to accept them.

Tate Street Coffee House is nearly empty. It’s understandable, at half-past nine on a Sunday night. Classes don’t begin until Tuesday, so there’s not much reason for my kind of crowd to be in here yet. Soon the place will be buzzing to various degrees at all times of day. But not tonight. Tonight it’s quiet.

 

General Update

*Slinks up to the microphone* Hello . . .

I have completed the first summer session of classes and am well into the second. I’ve been working as a nanny since April, as well. In between I’ve been reading, reading, reading.

I’ve been reading Delusions of Grandma by Carrie Fisher (I love you forever, Space Mom) and Ellen Herrick’s The Forbidden Garden. I’ve also been continuing with Stephen King’s On Writing, The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, and rereading Rilla of Ingleside – I’m always somewhere in the Anne series at any given moment.
I’m going to pick up The Sun Also Rises, as well. I bought myself a handsome copy of it at my favorite used bookstore, Ed McKay’s. I hated The Sun Also Rises in high school, because I had read The Old Man and the Sea too young (seventh grade) and hated it, so I decided to hate Hemingway on principle. Honestly, this view of mine didn’t change until I read A Moveable Feast for the first time. How can one, upon reading about Paris in the 1920s, not fall in love with anyone writing about it when they’ve lived it? And so, I fell in love with Hemingway.