It seems like each family and friend group across the States are gearing up for a huge celebration. Kids where I work have already started parading around with little flags and red, white, and blue plastic bead necklaces. To help make your Fourth of July the best one yet, I’ve rounded up a few links for you!
My family usually goes for a good ‘ole grill out night of burgers and hotdogs (or in my case a veggie burger and hopefully some pasta salad). As we all know, burgers and hotdogs go best with chips. What could be better than red, white, and blue seven layer dip?
If you’re looking to show your support for our troops this Fourth, look no further than the Wounded Warrior Project. If you happen to be in Rhode Island, they’re throwing a Fourth of July Bash (tickets can be purchased here for $10) that benefits the Wounded Warrior Project and is being held in memory of Francis Lincoln Madden, Sr.
Take a quiz to see if you really know all fifty U.S. states and capitols!
And lastly, don’t forget your sparklers and fireworks!
As I mentioned in this post, my mom and I went to see Disney’s The Lion King in Greenville a few weekends ago. I absolutely loved it! I’ve only ever been to Greenville, SC once before, and that was to help pick up my friend’s uncle from the airport. So, I’d never actually been to Downtown Greenville.
My mom and I explored (and got lost) for a little bit before we ate dinner. I loved the weather – sunny, high seventies, and breezy – and really enjoyed being able to eat outside. My mom and I hadn’t made reservations for anywhere, so we ended up at Larkin’s on the River on the patio.
An outdoor concert with the band The Watchtower Incident was scheduled to start at the same time as our play, so my mom and I watching band rehearse and set up. My dad is in a band called The Procrastinators, and whenever I’m home I usually watch them practice. Band rehearsal and set up is definitely not a foreign territory for me!
I grew up performing. I love to sing, dance, and act. I had parts in small musicals from age three to age fourteen, and after that I joined a choral group at my high school and began performing slam poetry at age sixteen. Even though I don’t perform anymore, I still love to watch. It brings back so many memories!
If I’m being honest, I loved the play The Lion King better than the movie. The stage makeup and costume design were phenomenal. And the comedic relief, Zazu, never failed to make the audience shake with laughter (especially when he began to sing Let it Go from Frozen!).
Here are some examples of the costume design and puppets that make the show that much more realistic:
The lions wore large African style wooden masks and most other animal either held or wore a large puppet. Rafiki, on the other hand, only had a tail to classify her as a monkey. Something my mom pointed out is that Rafiki is more of a spirit or priestess than a monkey, which is why she doesn’t have any of the defining features of an animal on stage, like a mask or a puppet. I thought this was a great distinction to make.
If you’re anything like me, your summer is probably a whirlwind of different tasks. I’ve managed to juggle two jobs, errand running, school work, hanging out with friends and family, as well as finding time to do my own thing. While I wouldn’t call myself an organization and time management expert, I’d say I’m as close as a college kid can get. Here are all my (not so) top secret tips at managing a hectic college kid life during the summer.
Your Planner is Your Best Friend
Whether you use your phone, a bullet journal, or a regular old planner, keeping everything all together keeps you from either forgetting a shift or from getting a massive headache trying remember what your week looks like. I have three different “planners” when I’m on summer break, mainly because I have a tendency to forget where I’m going or what I’m doing mid-task or mid-work day.
I use my phone (Google calendar is my favorite for this) for “places and people” things. So, for example, I work 10:00 am – 2:00 pm at John Doe’s pool on Monday June 2, but I also meet my friend Sarah from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm at Mr. Joe’s Taco Shop the same day. I put those “people and place” events into my phone, with the date, time, and address. I can set my calendar to send me an email reminder (or an alert to my phone if I’m using the app) thirty minutes beforehand. It’ll even give you a traffic update so you know how long it’ll take to get there! On the Google calendar app you can invite friends to your calendar events, so if I’m still meeting my friend Sarah at Mr. Joe’s Taco Shop on Monday I can invite her to the event via her gmail address and Google calendar will send her a reminder email too.
For my “big day events” I put a sticky note on my dresser with the date on the left and the event to the right. I create this sticky note every Sunday, or as soon as I receive my updated work schedules for the week. An example of a “big day event” is a shift at work, a birthday, a holiday, doctor’s appointment, or an important due date (I can’t be the only one that forgets to return my library books, right?). This lets me know if I have any immediate things that need to get done for the week, or if I need to go buy presents or make reservations for special meals.
I use my bullet journal for everything else. And when I say everything, I mean everything. I have a monthly calendar layout at the beginning of each year, followed by more detailed weekly layouts. I write “big day events” in the monthly section whenever I get them, and then transfer them into the weekly layout when they come up. If there are any little tasks that need to get done that week (i.e. wash the dogs, go to the bank, pick up more coffee for breakfast, etc.) I write them in under the date I have the most time to complete them. This helps me visualize how busy my week is going to be and to manage my time during my off days effectively. I’m also able to do lots of little things in between shifts at two different jobs because I know exactly what needs to get done and can plan out approximately how much time I need to complete those tasks. Having my bullet journal with me wherever I go also helps to decrease my absentmindedness.
It seems insane, but if you’re a space cadet like I am when crazy stressed, then it totally works!
2. Map Out Your Week in Advance
I’ve been bullet journaling since my freshman year of college and I love it. Not only does it give me a creative outlet, I’m forced to figure out my week at least a day in advance. During the summer I have too much going on to spend time each night to figure out what tomorrow looks like, so I figure out what my week looks like in detail and go from there.
The best way to maximize your time is to figure out how much time each task will take. So if I have to work for four hours in the morning, sweep the downstairs part of my house, walk my dogs, and go to the grocery store, I’m looking at about six total hours of task completing. But wait! I forgot to budget for commute in between tasks, if there is any. So really, I’m probably looking at seven total hours of task completing. Once I’m able to budget around that, and stick to my schedule, I can plan in free time or time to study or catch up on Homecoming work.
There are plenty of hourly printables out there. This one’s the one I like! Emmastudies is a great studyblr blog and she has tons of really helpful printables for just about everything.
3. Communicate With Your Boss(es)
If you’re working, getting your schedule can be a pain because sometimes you’re over scheduled on busy weeks and under scheduled on slow weeks. Working two jobs, I’ve had to learn to be open with my bosses about how much I can realistically work each week. I don’t like confronting adults with issues, especially if they’re able to fire me or reduce my hourly pay. Honestly, I’ve been pretty scared about talking to people higher up because I was afraid they’d see me as a lazy worker, or as someone that isn’t able to be held to the standard of work asked of me. After talking with one of my bosses about getting two days off a week and only working mornings, I realized that she had no idea how overworked I was (I’m talking pulling three thirteen hour days in a row each week after working every day before that). Most bosses are scary, I’ll agree, but they usually take pride in their business and want their employees to be able to on top of their game for each and every shift. Not all will be as flexible as my boss was, but being polite about being overworked is always worth a shot.
Between working two jobs, studying for the LSAT, and working on UGA Homecoming Court applications I haven’t had time for anything too adventurous.
I went to the beach with a few friends (plus Will) back in early May. We went to Topsail last year too, and this year’s adventure was just as fun! Rachel, Will, and I stopped at South of the Border, a Mexican theme park near Myrtle Beach, on the way back to Athens.
I managed to slice off a chunk of my thumb on my first day as a cabana girl… #whoops
My family celebrated my Dad’s birthday by doing a Pub Cycle tour of Downtown Asheville. We peddled to Asheville Pizza on Cox Avenue and Conundrum Absinthe Bar on Battle Square while rocking out to Gregg Allman (who I have more than once called Gregg Almond) and other classic rock kings.
Below is a photo of the cabana, one of the two restaurants I am working at this summer. This is my view each morning as I set up for the busy day ahead:
And here is the teacup pig, Kevin Bacon, that often visits, orders a kid’s meal salad with frozen grapes and watermelon, and then squeals in delight each time I walk by because he thinks I am the magic creator of all cabana foodstuffs:
Last but not least, I went to Greenville the other day to watch Disney’s The Lion King at the Peace Center. More on that later, though!
As kids we’re told not to count our chickens before they hatch, but I have the problem of not counting my chickens at all.
Has anyone else noticed the crazy amount of “I’m honored to announce…” or “I’ve been offered…” posts on social media lately? It seem like it’s that time of year again. I’m ecstatic for all my friends that have gotten internships, jobs, and executive positions this spring, as well as all the others that have been acing tough courses like Neuro Bio or O-Chem. Reading about all the exciting, huge, big, wonderful adult things my friends are doing with their lives is great, but it makes me feel like I’m not doing enough or pushing myself in the direction I should be going in. Why don’t I have a job? How does one go about getting an internship somewhere prestigious? Why can’t I be vice president of a honors society? Seeing all the things I could be doing, rather than look at what I am doing, has definitely brought me down these past few weeks.
Everyone gets the same twenty four hours in a day and we all use them differently. It’s okay if you study for an hour, read for an hour, watch tv for six hours, and then take a nap. We all have those days. I, for one, need to get better at telling myself that’s okay. For someone who’s very competitive by nature, it’s hard to let myself relax and stop worrying about what the rest of the world is doing with itself. There are over seven billion people on this planet and hopefully, someday, I will learn that I can’t compete with or compare myself to them all. There will always be someone smarter, or more creative, or what have you. Learning to understand and accept that is harder for me than I think it should be, but the key phrase there is “I think.” I’m always thinking that I need to do better, need to be more like so-and-so, or need to study more so I can achieve the grades I think I need. Success is so relative because someone could be looking at me saying to themselves all those things when I’m the one thinking I’m not doing well enough in life. So while it’s great to push yourself to achieve, it’s also important to take a step back and look at how far you’ve come. Again, this is something I need to work on.
So here’s some advice my boyfriend gave me Wednesday: You focus on the past too much. Don’t worry about what you should’ve changed or could’ve changed then. That doesn’t matter anymore.
And here’s some advice from my dad: These are variables out of your control. If you want something, apply. If you’re just jealous, let it go. What you hold onto holds onto you.
Here’s more advice from my mom: You are smart. Make a plan. Push yourself.
Finally, here’s advice from me to me (and you, if you need it): Count your chickens. Be excited about what you have. Success is relative. If you’re doing your best, why does it matter than you’re not vice president of some club you’re not even a part of?
P.S. Good luck on finals everyone! Try your best; forget the rest.
Dying Easter eggs has been a tried and true spring tradition at my household. I’m creative and ambitious, so of course I’m eager to try new egg dying techniques! My family’s Easter eggs have gotten more creative over the years, thanks to my curiosity and my mom’s undying interest in trying all the new egg dying kits on the market (and there are some great ones this year). We’ve made Pysanky eggs, tie dyed, sticker covered…you name it and we’ve probably tried it!
Last year I made marbled eggs, and they were a huge hit! Better yet, they were crazy easy.
Shaving Cream Eggs
This post from thegoodstuff makes Easter egg dying look so simple! Plus, kids love playing with foam shaving cream. I’d suggest, if you have small children or especially messy ones, doing this outside on grass or cutting a garbage bag in half and laying it down as a no-fuss mat if you’re indoors. Putting the dying shaving cream in muffin tins is also a genius way to cut down on clean up time (and prevent the mess from going everywhere).
Melted Crayon Eggs
I know my mom would have appreciated this when my brother was little! All you have to do is boil your eggs like you normally would and doodle on them with a crayon while the eggs are still a tiny bit hot. For little, sensitive hands, holding a slightly hot egg with a dish towel works, or even putting the egg in a dixie cup or egg carton (shown below) so it has just enough room to roll around as they scribble. This is a great way to avoid those messy dyes!
Finger Paint Eggs
If you have washable paint and a Sharpie then let’s jump right in! Decide on what animal you want to put on your egg (I’d suggest bunnies and chicks), pick your colors, dip a finger or a thumb in your paint, and dot away. Once the paint dries you go back and draw the details to make your yellow dots chicks and your pink dots bunnies.
This post from Crafty Morning has a lot of great finger painting examples and explains how to finger paint eggs in detail in case you have any questions!
Sharpie Shadow Eggs
For this idea, all you need are stickers, Sharpies, and eggs. Pick an egg, put a sticker on it, and dot around the sticker to create a “shadow” effect. When you’re done dotting, let it dry for a minute or two and then peel off the sticker. Ta-da! How easy was that?
What are your favorite ways to decorate Easter eggs?
Chopping off my hair is one of the most exhilarating things I’ve done. And I’ve done it a lot. Actually, I’ve donated over four feet of hair over the course of ten years.
I’ve gotten some strange looks when I tell people that I donate my hair to organizations that make wigs for cancer patients. Here’s the thing about human hair wigs: they look and feel like real human hair because, spoiler alert, they are! I’ve also heard that they don’t slide around on your head as much as synthetic wigs.
To us, it’s hair. To women battling cancer, it’s hope. -Pantene Beautiful Lengths
Real hair wigs can be very expensive, but thanks to the American Cancer Society Wig Bank wigs are donated to the people that need them. Pantene Beautiful Lengths partnered with the American Cancer Society Wig Bank back in 2006 and has donated over 40,000 wigs so far!
I donate my hair because, if I don’t, it’ll just go sit in a landfill somewhere until it decomposes. It wouldn’t be helping or hurting anyone. It’d just mind it’s own business until it becomes dirt. So, instead of letting my hair waste away, I decide to give it a new life by donating it. Granted the minimum amount of hair you can donate is eight inches, but I like the thrill of chopping all my hair off in one go, so eight inches is practically nothing to me. But those eight inches could mean a whole new outlook on life for someone else! I’d definitely encourage everyone to donate their hair at some point in their life. Some organizations, such as Locks of Love, send you a thank you card from the recipient of the wig made out of your hair. How sweet is that?
Have you ever donated your hair? Let me know your story in the comments section below!