Life As A Pioneer (AKA living as a millennial without a microwave)

As my roommates and I all move out to start our new adult lives our stuff has slowly began to disappear from our house. I’m currently sitting in a living room with a tv stand, but no tv, end tables, but no couch, curtain rods, but no curtains…you get the picture. Not throwing shade at my roommates – this is just how adulthood is sometimes. Or, as the kids say nowadays, that’s just “how it be.”

I don’t know about you, but my microwave is an adulthood essential. All of my home cooked meals usually end up in there, most of those meals being a 9pm dinner of popcorn and wine. Living life without a microwave has thus left me without my popcorn, and I have been (somewhat) devastated. It’s crazy to think that I go about my days using technology that could be easily replaced but when I’m left trying to “easily replace” it I’m somewhat dumbfounded by how much my adult self needed it.

People say that a wine glass is basically just an adult sippy cup. If that’s the case, then my microwave is the adult version of a pack’n’play. Instead of reheating my coffee or tea, I have to brew a new batch. Trying to make a frozen meal? Forget it being ready in five minutes because now you have to wait on the oven to heat up. And don’t get me started about popcorn on the stove – I nearly took my own eye out. I’m having to re-learn simple tasks that are crucial to adulthood (like, for example, cooking…). No longer are things quick and easy. I actually have to plan things out. Yeesh.

I hope you all realize that that was sarcasm. If not, it was sarcasm. Cool. Glad we’re on the same page. Anyways! This is a long winded way of saying that I take a lot of things for granted and don’t realize it until it’s 2am and I’m making stove top popcorn and being burned by flying bits of butter. Adulthood is a long and winding road. Simple things like microwaves and iPhones make it a lot easier, but in terms of actually knowing how to do life “right” my generation has a long way to go. We’re so dependent on the technologies of our childhood that when it comes to facing some part of life without them we tend to fall apart and not really know how to carry on as normal. This goes for little things, like single use plastics, too.

Plastics became big during my parents’ childhoods. Tupperware became an especially fast growing phenomenon. My mom remembers having tupperware parties where housewives would gather around to sell each other Rubbermade bowls and lids. Now we’ve become so reliant on it that living life without it seems…awkward, and more effort than it’s worth. For example, why would you go through the trouble of getting out pots and pans if you could just pop that dinner plate into the microwave to heat it up? Why go bring your own cups to Starbucks when they have their own? Get my drift?

It’s so much easier to walk into a store and buy what you need and walk out without having to think about it. Not to mention, it’s much cheaper to buy single use plastics than to purchase things in containers made of glass or metal. Another thing to not mention is the way an entire industry has changed based on the fact that we’re no longer using glass refillable bottles for milk, and it’s no longer a “neighborhood” thing where you leave the bottles at your doorstep and your friendly neighborhood milk bottle boy would pick them up, have them refilled, and bring them back. Instead of a neighborhood enterprise, it’s now national. If I’m being honest, this is pretty remarkable in an oddly awe-inspiring way (keep a lookout for my next memoir Girl Inspired by How Single Use Plastics Changed the National Dairy Industry in Under One Generation. Haha. Just kidding.).

Change is hard. Reverse change is even harder. No one likes to think about going backwards as progress, but hey, sometimes you need to take a step back in order to get a running start, right? And now, as I go back to living life with the crippling anxiety of not having my microwave to assist me in my comfort of superfluous everyday living, I have decided that appliance I cannot live without is my tea kettle, which actually isn’t mine but my roommate’s. Wish me luck.

If you’d like to read more about single use plastics, click on the following links:

If you want to read more about the United State’s milk industry, click here:

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Reading Recap

It’s been a whiiiiiile since I did one of these posts. I know I did many many many of them when I first started the blog, but then they tapered off as I decided to write about other things.

Let’s get started!

I read 33 books in 2018. Ready for a rapid fire list? Let’s go!

  1. East of Eden John Steinbeck
  2. A Cold Welcome: The Little Ice Age and Europe’s Encounters with North America Sam White
  3. The Big Burn Timothy Egan
  4. Hemingway Didn’t Say That: The Truth Behind Familiar Quotations Garson O’Toole
  5. Dust Bowl Donald Worster
  6. I, Coriander Sally Gardner
  7. Feminism is for Everybody Bell Hooks
  8. Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? Frans de Waal
  9. Gone Girl Gillian Flynn
  10. Modern Romance Aziz Ansari
  11. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Neil DeGrasse Tyson
  12. The Malthusian Moment Thomas Robertson
  13. One Renegade Cell Robert A. Weinberg
  14. The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath
  15. The Fountainhead Ayn Rand
  16. The Radium Girls Kate Moore
  17. Hillbilly Elegy J. D. Vance
  18. Good Omens Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  19. The Castle Franz Kafka
  20. Sharp Objects Gillian Flynn
  21. Fire and Fury Michael Wolfe
  22. I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain Will Walton
  23. Missing Microbes Martin Blaser
  24. Bandwidth Eliot Peper
  25. Columbine Dave Cullen
  26. The Girls Emma Cline
  27. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls David Sedaris
  28. The Blood of Emmett Till Timothy Tyson
  29. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone J. K. Rowling
  30. The Sun and Her Flowers Rupi Kaur
  31. Educated Tara Westover
  32. It’s Kind of a Funny Story Ned Vizzini
  33. The Princess Saves Herself in This One Amanda Lovelace

Phew okay that’s a lot. Some of them I read so fast I don’t even remember reading them.

My favorite(s) from 2018: The Fountainhead; I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain; East of Eden; Educated; Hillbilly Elegy

Books I hated with a burning passion: Bandwidth, Hemingway Didn’t Say That, The Castle

I didn’t include any of the textbooks or scholarly architectural novels I read for class in the above list. I did include texts from my environmental history course, but only because I thoroughly enjoyed reading them and didn’t consider them “textbooks”. If I included all my school books, I would have hit 40. A whopping total!

While I read a lot of print books, I also enjoy audiobooks for when I’m traveling. My favorite audiobook from 2018 was Good Omens. It sounded like I was watching a movie rather than a book. As soon as I finished I picked up my dad’s paper copy of the book and read it again in one day flat. And then I made him read it. And then I recommended it to all my friends. I got a little starstruck…but it’s coming to Amazon as a tv series and I couldn’t be happier!

I haven’t read as many books in 2019…The year is almost halfway over but I’m only at 6 books, with 4 more that I’m currently reading. Oops! Hopefully summer will catch me all back up to where I want to be and I’ll have another nice long post for you all come 2020!

Happy Memorial Day!

I always think of Memorial Day the official start of summer. The pool opens, temperatures are nice and toasty, and the lightening bugs come out to play. I never really thought about Memorial Day as an actual holiday with actual meaning until this year. Sounds silly, right? But it truly wasn’t until my brother joined the Coast Guard that I actually thought about Memorial Day as a day of thanks. I see so many ads for sales and pools and theme parks and other summer stuff that I tend to forget the real reason for today.

Here are a few quick tidbits about the holiday for those that are interested:

  • Originally called Decoration Day
  • Wasn’t a federal holiday until the 1970’s but started after the Civil War
  • Each year at 3 PM on Memorial Day a moment of remembrance occurs
  • Many people decorate the graves of fallen soldiers or pray over their loved ones in the military
  • The first “official” Memorial Day was held in Waterloo, New York when, in 1968, the city closed its shops and decorated graves with flags
  • We now use the date to remember all fallen soldiers, not just those that died during a specific battle or of natural causes after their service

And for those you of that are interested in hitting up some iconic Memorial Day sales, here’s a list:

  • Target sale on clothing and furniture
  • Kawaii Pen Shop site wide sale
  • Walmart (general sale off most things in store)
  • Old Navy 50% off clothing for the family
  • Wayfair 30-75% off site wide
  • Basically all the big businesses are having sales right now, so rather than spam you with the world’s longest list I’ll direct you -> here

See what I mean when I say I get distracted by all the shopping nonsense and forget the reason for the season? If I find the historical timeline for these sale shenanigans, or the economical reason for it, I’ll add an update in the comments:)

This Summer’s Perfect Wrap Dress

Living in the American South can have its perks, but I wouldn’t consider summer one of them. It’s SO hot! Right now, in May, Georgia is experiencing temps well into the 80’s. On my graduation day it got up to 90 degrees! And I don’t know about you, but I prefer loose fitting clothing during this time of year.

Blooming Jelly, a company that sells on Amazon, invited me to try one of their dresses for summer. I’ve never owned a wrap dress before…I’m always worried that they’ll come untied! Yikes!

This dress has two sets of ties, one for the first wrap layer and another that ties in the back, so you never have to worried about losing your dress to the wind! Plus the bigger tie allows you to have a cute bow in the back.

The wrap also lets you control how much cleavage you show. I’m fairly conservative, so I tied the dress pretty tight at the waste. I found the v-neck cut very flattering.

I absolutely love the pattern of jungle leaves (I got mine in the green!). The ruffles give the dress more movement and add an element of fun. I was worried about the dress being too short, but the hem came to just above my knees. I’m on the shorter side (barely 5’4″), so that might be why the dress is a bit longer on me than in the images on Amazon.

 I wore this dress to Mother’s Day brunch at an upscale country club. I got compliments from many people, some older, more conservative women and other women about my age (22). I’m 5’4″ and 115 pounds and wearing a small. The dress runs a tad bit big, but since it’s a wrap dress you can tie it tighter or looser depending on your preference. The material is very soft and the dress is well sewn. Definitely worth the price!

Check out my Amazon review by clicking here!

This v-neck wrap dress is the one I’ll be reaching for all summer long, for barbecues to graduations to family events!

My Mother, the Feminist

When people ask me where I get my stubborn sense of independence from, I always smile and say “I get it from my mom.” Mothers tend to be complicated creatures, but they’ll love you like no one else. I’m lucky my mother has given me all the opportunities she wishes she’d had growing up.

When my mom went to school girls were not allowed to wear pants. Her mother needed the permission of her husband to have her tubes tied. Sexual education tended to be abstinence only or not at all. While women began to go to college more often, campuses were often dominated by the male sex. I believe that growing up in a culture where my mother learned to fight to be heard helped her raise a strong, fiercely independent daughter.

Throughout my life my mother has encouraged me to be the doctor, the lawyer, the scientist – rather for me to marry one of the above. I was always pushed towards success. I learned very quickly that brains, brawn, and beauty are not mutually exclusive features. There’s so much my mother has taught me throughout my life that one day doesn’t feel sufficient enough to show my love. And even though I don’t always remember to say “thank you” every day, I know I should.

Thank you, Mom, for teaching me to be the person I am and giving me the strength to go out on a limb to discover the person I want to grow up to be.

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Things I Wish I Could Go Back and Tell Freshman Year Me

The best four years of my life are coming to a close this Friday. I’m graduating from the University of Georgia with a B.S. in Psychology, with an emphasis in neuroscience, and a minor in Art History. I’ll be heading off to Macon, Georgia in July to start law school at Mercer with a full ride. I should feel ecstatic about this next chapter of my life, but now that I’m here all I want to do is rewind.

My parents always told me that I would enjoy college. They told me I would find my people, people just like me that were cool with being uncool and didn’t mind if all I wanted to talk about was the news or science facts or cats. I didn’t believe them. Middle school and high school had been so awful that I didn’t believe that any form of school could be okay, much less actually enjoyed. I wish I had listened to them. I went into my freshman year cautious, guarded, and terribly shy. I wanted to make new friends because I was lonely, but I was so scared being bullied or hated that I really struggled with actually connecting with people. Four years later and I could become BFF’s with just about anyone. I re-learned that the world is full of good intentions, but not always good people, and that’s okay. Being kind and open will get you much further than being cautious.

I’ve never been good at math and science, or at least not as good at that as I am at writing. My parents always encouraged me to follow my passion, but I was dead set on having a career that would allow me to make enough money to support a family. I chose science as a freshman because I saw the potential for a safety net – I could go to school and do just okay and still end up making enough money to be considered successful. Three semesters into my science courses and I was calling my dad, in tears, on a monthly basis because I hated my classes so much. The one thing I learned from this? Do something you’re good at for a career, and save the stuff that makes you happy for your weekends. Science fills me with wonder and excitement, but taking science classes made me want to pull my hair out. I just flat out wasn’t good at them, so I didn’t enjoy them. It made science feel like a chore rather than an ambition. You might disagree with me here, but my advice is to never let the thing that brings you joy become your day job, because then it feels like a chore.

Walking into college, I decided that I wasn’t here to have fun, I was here to make a career for myself. I was so driven. I wanted to work in a lab and have internships with the CDC and go places. Only in my junior year did I actually stop myself and say “hold up, I have the rest of my life to work, but if I go out with friends or wake up early to watch the sunrise instead of applying for a second job I’m going to have so much more fun”. Junior year I changed my mindset, added a minor that made me happy, stopped freaking out about adulthood, got an internship in something that wasn’t science, decided on going to law school instead of getting my Ph. D. (still might happen one day, though), and started living. Wow. Not only did my quality of life improve, my grades did too.

Now that my undergrad life is coming to a close I’m beginning to realize how much I have truly loved this chapter in my life. I’m glad I embraced it, even though it took a few semesters. As I head off into law school I am reminded of how lucky I am that I have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

Go Dawgs!

Graduation Invitations With Paperless Post

For my high school graduation I sent out paper invitations. While it was fun to design them and have a physical photo to hang on my refrigerator at home, it was very expensive and time consuming. This year, for my college graduation announcements I decided to go with Paperless Post! They make designing and sending your invitations so much easier.

While the main reason I decided to go paperless for announcements this year was based off of time (addressing a hundred envelopes and licking them shut is not my ideal night off from work and studying lol), I also love that Paperless Post is so much cheaper than many of the cards I could be sending out! Graduation announcements really add up when you factor in design work, printing, and stamps. Not to mention the back and forth trips to the store to approve designs and pick up printed copies! Making my graduation announcements digital allows me to have my free nights remain free, and I have peace of mind that my environmental impact will be small (because everyone knows that once graduation occurs, all those announcements hanging on the fridge go immediately into the waste basket).

I initially thought that designing my own online card would take a long time, but Paperless Post has tons of already made up cards to choose from. Not only do they have graduation cards and fliers, they have templates for every event you could be hosting! My coworker and I picked out a black and gold graduation announcement, I filled in the information, added my guest list, and hit send! It took all of fifteen minutes, and that’s only because I couldn’t pick which card I wanted! With so many gorgeous designs, you’ll probably run into the same problem – and that’s a wonderful problem to have!

The above photo is what the card will look like when you’re setting it up online. You get to customize the text, colors, and backdrop. I like the original settings with black and gold caps, black and gold text, and the gold confetti as the backdrop. Paperless Post is also really good about telling you how much your card(s) will be while you’re creating them so that you can customize your card without having to get all the way to checkout to see how much it costs. Just click on the coins memo in the righthand corner of your creation screen to see how much each part of the card will cost. The more you want to customize, the more coins this will cost you, but that’s the same for every invitation and announcement – paperless or not.

You can also customize the envelope! I just love the inside of this one. How cute!

My favorite part about Paperless Post cards is the email you get…it feels just like a regular letter only digitized! Your guest’s name is written on the front of the envelope in pretty cursive (you can customize this font too! I like the cursive because it matches my handwriting). The envelope even has a stamp on it! You click on the link in the email and the envelope opens up in another browser with your card. If you scroll down, under the card has all your additional information. I added a link to mine so that people can watch my Commencement ceremony online. Other options include setting a location with directions and a map, a guest list, RSVP, adding a registry list. The best part? The invitation also works like a Facebook event wall where invited guests can leave comments and interact.

How are you designing your grad announcements?

The post was sponsored by Paperless Post. All thoughts and ideas are my own. Thank you for supporting sponsored posts as they help keep this site up and running.