Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Reasons I'll Never Be a Fashion Blogger (But I Will Try, Anyway)

One--rather, two--of the best things about my apartment are the boundaries of the property. On one side is a wooden fence; to the back is a cement wall. Both are ideal backdrops for portraits (and I used them for my roommates headshots the other day) but they also remind me how much I would love to be a fashion blogger. All those beautiful photos and impeccable clothes and never-awkward faces escape me. But that doesn't mean I won't take photos of myself in whatever I think I look decent in and claim it's an outfit post.

After taking my roommates headshots, I convinced her to get a few of me in my current favorite dress (It's from Target. I know, right???).

The best way I know to look happy and normal in photos is to be silly. And take about five million shots so enough turn out okay.

But silly faces make me happy. As do sunflowers.

And sometimes, you do have to force yourself to laugh.

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Month of Instagram: August 2014

I know, I know: I've been completely MIA. With the end of summer and the start of school (consisting of moving into an apartment, working twelve hours a week, going to five class, running a publishing organization, and learning how to cook/feed myself) I've been swamped. I won't even go into all the craziness my weekend holds--and all of it is for school or house prep. But I suppose I knew what I was signing up for!

Well, in any case, I'm back. I very much missed my blog but I still don't have much time until next weekend, so I'm going back to my roots: a month of Instagram! (I still can't believe it's September already.)

Left to Right: For me, August started with a vacation that included: Reading on a sunny beach <> Yoga on top of mountains <> Lake sunsets <> More yoga on top of mountains!

Left to Right: Looking back on Boston during a camp field trip (we hiked with my six-year-olds!) <> Saying goodbye to my Uncle Hank--he bought these necklaces in Egypt for most of the women in the family; this is my grandmother's <> Camp is over! <> Celebrating my nana and grandpa's 60th anniversary :)

I hope everyone had a lovely August and is surviving school so far!

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Reasons I Make My Bed Every Morning

Reasons I Make My Bed Every Morning | Pennies & Paper Blog

For years, I avoided making my bed. In hindsight, it was strange that I would do so since at my grandmother's house it was expected, but at home I left my sheets and pillows and stuffed animals in a crazy pig-pile mess all day. I didn't see the point in forcing my bed look to look all nice and neat--no one was going to see it, and I would just be un-making it at the end of the day anyway.

But then, I went to college, and I didn't have a nice comfy couch and armchairs to hide in all day. I found myself sitting on my bed a lot, and all my newly-formed acquantainces would hang there with me. So it just made more sense to make it each morning, because who knew what the day would bring? 

Throughout the summers now, and winter, and all the breaks, I am still making my bed in the morning. Perhaps I get up at noon, or perhaps it's super rushed and messy. I've since realized (more accurately, I was enlightened by Admiral William H. McRaven's commencement speech for the University of Texas) that making my bed has more benefits than simply providing me a place to sit and watch Netflix.

// I start the day with an accomplishment.

This is the point made by Admiral McRaven in his address: "If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another." I've truly taken this idea to heart. If I know I have a tough day ahead of me, or the day turns a little sour, I can always remember that I sucessfully made my bed that morning.

// It's something I have true control over.

When I don't have control, or I don't feel I have control, I get very anxious. But with my bed, I can pull out all the wrinkles, arrange my pillows and stuffed animals--various gifts from various family members--and know exactly when I have completed the task. 

// A flat, organized bed gives me a place to put things during the day.

If I'm sorting my books or cleaning my closet, a clean bed gives me a place off the floor to organize items until they can be put away.

// I can properly display the quilt my grandmother made for me.

It's made of lots of awesomely-patterned fabrics and I've had it since I was little. Even if it's not totally my style, my quilt is very cool and was a time-consuming project made with love.

// My bed can become a little oasis of zen when I need it.

If I get overwhelmed in the day, I can run up to my room, and plop down on my quilt. Naps, deep breathing exercises, or reading can then ensue.

// Making my bed is the first step to my bedroom becoming Tumblr-famous.

Obviously, this is the most important. All of those epic bedrooms in log cabins with mountain views and antlers on the walls? Nearly all of them have neatly tucked bedspreads of epic design. So clearly, making my bed will transform my tiny blue room into the perfect Tumblr post.

Of course, there are always those who will argue against wasting the time spent pulling those sheets up each day. But for the foreseeable future, I will keep on making my bed for my productivity, sanity, and potential stardom xD

Do you make your bed every day? Why do you think it's important (or not)?

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Month of Instagram: July 2014

I cannot believe that it's August already! I'm currently on vacation with my family, enjoying some "down" time. Truthfully, this is the most active I've been in a while--swimming, hiking, walking, kayaking, yoga, stretching, lots of card games, and laughs--and it feels awesome. There are lots of stressful things coming up (paying rent and moving to my apartment for my SENIOR YEAR are topping the list) but I've had quite a few accomplishments. So far this year I've knocked three things off of my Thirty Before Thirty list, I've kept up with tracking my spending, I've mostly kept within my budgets, I've been trying to spend a little more time reading, I've filled a box with clothes to definitely get rid of (and another box to maybe get rid of), I've nearly hit my savings goals for the summer, and I'm researching beginning a Roth IRA. But I'm getting up early tomorrow to go hike Camel's Hump, one of New England's 4000 footers and Vermont's third tallest mountain. So I'll only be posting an abbreviated July Instagram, with four photos.

From left to right: A little bird (yellow-throated vireo?) that I tried to rescue. Unfortunately, he did not make it even though I found a clinic that tried to help him, but I enjoyed spending time with him and admiring how beautiful he was. <> Another sad story, the tree that had been outside my window since we moved in was cut down by our town. I miss it every day. <> I started going to the yoga classes at our local gym, using my free membership (thank you camp job!). Feels so good to get back into a flow, and I've been bringing my mother, too! <> A seven-plus hour hike up and down Mount Washington gave me incredible views and let me check it off my Thirty Before Thirty.

One more, non-Instagram photo: I've hit over 100 followers on Bloglovin'! That was also on my Thirty Before Thirty, because I never thought I'd hit it so quickly--upping my goal to 200 now :)

There was also quite a lot of crazy weather, some smaller hikes, work updates, shopping and fashion (including my first-ever jumpsuit!), and lots of pictures with my cat, Cedric. Check them all out on my Instagram feed, and if you follow me let me know!

What did you accomplish in July? What are your plans for tomorrow?

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

#Activism & #LinkUpTheLove

For a little while they were everywhere. All over our Twitter feeds especially, but also Instagram, and Facebook, and then in the news articles about them. Hashtags, ones that had a social and political messages, briefly took over the internet, as viral things do by definition. #BringBackOurGirls. #YesAllWomen. Even, years ago now, #Kony2012.

I have very mixed feelings about this "Hashtag Activism." On the one hand, I cannot look down on anything that informs an ignorant public or supports the finding of a solution. On the other, using hashtags, however widespread and popular, is necessarily distanced from the issue it discusses.

The case of #Kony2012 is probably the best example of the negatives. I distinctly remember my emotions when I came across that particular story, how I was enraged and worked up and wanting to do something about it. So I read articles and read Tweets. But I quickly forgot about it, especially in the light of the controversies around the founder.

Jump to 2014, and a similar thing happened. I, of course, would love to do anything to rescue the poor girls and women in Nigeria. And the grieving, worried families with no control were undoubtedly more desperate to do anything to help. But it died down quickly, as did #YesAllWomen (which  I wholeheartedly participated in). Hashtags are viral, and viral does not equate lasting.

Still, how much can we really do? I personally don't know how to change policies or incite a government to action. Maybe, the best I can do is return to Twitter and read the remnant characters of these "movements."

What do you think of Hashtag Activism? Check out the Wikipedia page here, or read different viewpoints here, here, here, or here.

Buttons and Birdcages

I have a handful of positive thoughts to send out this week!

My Weekly Love

For Monique: Thanks for helping me clean out my closet, and also deal with my endless texts about which clothes to buy or wear.

For the creators of the Sowa Market: Thank you thank you thank you for founding such a wonderful weekend event. I want to go every Sunday and stay all day!

For that one vendor at Sowa this past Sunday: Thank you for saying you loved my hair. I know you were probably just trying to get me to buy that pleated skirt (and I very nearly did!) but in any case I appreciate you taking the time to acknowledge a like-headed person--your curls were very nice as well :)

For Francesca: You drive us into Boston, use your father's parking space so we can gorge ourselves in the North End, and give me back massages whenever I ask even though I'm very annoying about it <3

For Amanda: That mid-day coffee yesterday was just what I needed. Mondays at camp are hard and I was crashing fast--coffee saved the journalism club I was leading from becoming a total mess!

For my campers: First off, you let me be crazy. Second, yesterday everyone noticed I had makeup on, though the only reason for that was being too lazy to fight with remover-resistent liner. Even if the comments weren't always positive (case in point: "Miss Julia, you look scary"), I'm flattered to realize you guys pay enough attention to me to spot such a subtle difference and to care about it.
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