Thursday, December 29, 2011

Things for my apartment.

Note: I wrote this post on October 26, intending to add more items to the list before I published it, but that hasn't happened thus far. So, I'm publishing it now! With a quick addition at the bottom.

I recently made a list of things I can't wait to have when I live in an apartment and not in a totally-fun-but-slightly-restrictive sorority house. Since then, I've thought of several more items I'm itching to purchase/enjoy. Enjoy part two of the series:

Source: via Mallory on Pinterest

A coffee maker! Luckily, we have decent coffee at my sorority house, but it is unfortunately not out yet when I leave for work at 4:50 a.m. When I have my own coffee maker, I can caffeinate myself whenever I need/want! And though I might need to stop by Starbucks once a week or so for a delicious peppermint mocha, having my own coffee maker will drastically cut down on my spending.

Source: via Anna on Pinterest

I can't wait to have my own bathroom. Well, I'll probably still share with a roommate or two, but it will be glorious to have a medicine cabinet and not be limited to a little metal cubby under the sink with 20 other girls' stuff. I'll be able to store my toothbrush upright instead of in a travel toothbrush holder, and I won't have to carry my less-than-daily cosmetic products back and forth from my room! It really is the little things in life.

Source: via Linnea on Pinterest

I can finally buy wine! Of course, campus and sorority rules prevented me from having wine in my room up until this point, but I'm probably more excited about the possibility of adorable wine stoppers (see above) than I am about the wine itself.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Newest discovery: Goodreads.

This isn't exactly a "new" discovery; I just haven't had time to post about it yet. But a few months ago, I discovered a joyous little website/smartphone app called Goodreads. And I love it. Plus, I unwrapped a beautiful new Kindle on Christmas Eve, and I can't wait to start downloading books that I've found through the great recommendations on Goodreads. (I currently have 78 books on my "to-read" shelf, and it just keeps growing!)

Goodreads allows me to track every book I've ever read (or that I can remember reading, at least) and rate them on a five-star scale. I can also mark my favorite genres and authors, and Goodreads will generate recommended lists for me. My favorite part is looking at my friends' lists for ideas, but I only have about six friends on Goodreads right now. So join me! It's quick, easy and free. (And I'm there, of course.) See you soon!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

What I'm reading: Blogs.

I know I've mentioned my Google Reader a lot, but I really am truly obsessed. I currently subscribe to 92 different blogs, ranging from travel blogs to family blogs to blogs by Greek chapters at my (former) university. When my semester ended, I had over 600 unread posts in my Reader. The last few weeks of the semester were absolutely crazy, and then I had family visiting for graduation, so there wasn't much time to lie around in bed and peruse my favorite blogs. Now, I've been home for three days and have gotten that number down to 411. (Whether that's impressive or frightening, I'm not sure.) Today, I bring you my best of blogs from my Google Reader. Hopefully you'll find a site or two that you enjoy!

That's why it's called the present.

One of my favorite sayings/puns is: "Today is a gift. That's why it's called the present." Well, Christmas Day is definitely a gift all on its own, but it also comes with lots of cool presents!

My family traditionally opens all our presents on Christmas Eve, and then Santa Claus comes overnight so we have stockings to demolish on Christmas morning before Mass. Even though I know Christmas isn't really about the presents (remember that guy named Jesus?), I'm excited to unwrap my goodies tonight! (And see if everyone else likes the presents I got them, of course.)

What are your gift traditions for the holidays?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Travel finds: Unusual hotels.

While perusing my Google Reader today, I stumbled upon this awesome slideshow of weird hotels compiled by Budget Travel. The amazingly weird hotels included one in Bolivia made completely out of salt, a colorful retro hotel close to home in San Luis Obispo and - perhaps weirdest of all - a hotel in France with rooms that will make you feel like a hamster. Despite the wide array of choices, I was able to narrow it down to a couple favorites that I would actually love to stay in one day:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The best four years of your life.

If you read my blog post from yesterday, you know I'm a little sad about graduating from college and leaving Columbia (and all my friends) behind. While writing that post, I was reminded of my commencement speech from high school.

Yes, this is actually a picture of me, not a Pinterest picture. Shocker!

I really didn't want to speak at my graduation at first; I really didn't think I had anything to say that the audience hadn't already heard at each of their previous children's graduation ceremonies. I definitely knew I didn't want to give the typical recap speech of high school: highlighting the best moments, listing my class' athletic and academic accomplishments, and telling inside jokes that the majority of my 139 classmates would have understood.

Instead, I wanted to do something different. I'm from a fairly small town, where most of my classmates had gone to school together since kindergarten, you knew pretty much everyone's name, and many of my friends had the same teachers their parents had had years ago. I wanted to remind everyone that regardless of whether they had enjoyed high school or not, there is always something better waiting up ahead. To steal a line from the romantic comedy Just Friends, I don't think anyone should be "the girl [or boy] who peaked in high school." So this is the speech I gave, and I hope I accomplished my goal:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The end of an era.

Time's up! 

I've had plenty of time this semester to think about graduation (and what comes after). I've remembered the good times, written countless cover letters during my job search, finally figured out my plan for next year and spent as much time as possible with friends. I had a countdown to graduation on my phone, a Facebook album titled "The End of an Era" for this semester's pictures (hence the post title), and my cap and gown has been sitting in my room since October 5.

But it didn't really hit me until it was too late to change my mind.

I've known for a while that I was on track to graduate a semester early. In fact, I started taking the minimum number of credits per semester when I realized I could have graduated a year early if I wanted. (I didn't.)

My friends (especially my younger ones) constantly asked me why I wasn't staying until May. I always told them it just wouldn't work; I already had two majors and, like I said, I was already taking the minimum course load. I guess I could have picked up a minor along the way, but by the time I realized how much I would really miss Mizzou, I felt it was too late. Everyone was expecting me to graduate in December, and I thought I was ready to leave.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The conversation.

I saw this video on one of the many travel blogs I read, the Everything Everywhere travel blog by Gary. He called it: "The conversation everyone has before they go on a big trip."

Now, you don't have watch the whole thing. 1) It's a little weird, and 2) you pretty much get the picture after the first 30 seconds or so. But, watching this video made me realize how lucky I am that my parents have never discouraged me from traveling somewhere. Even this past summer, when I decided I wanted to study abroad in Africa, the closest I got to discouragement was this:
Mom: "As a person, I think that is so cool that you're going to Rwanda. But as a parent, I wonder why out of all the study abroad options, that's the one you had to pick."
So yeah, I'm pretty lucky. But the video also reminded me of a conversation I had about my parents' attitude toward my travels while I was in Rwanda. In fact, I wrote about this experience for a radio commentary for my Advanced Writing class. I was waiting until the commentary was available online so I could link to it, but that hasn't happened yet. So, I'm going to go ahead and share this video now, and I'll include the link to my commentary when I can.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Favorite purchase: Infinity scarves.

Remember when I really want this scarf from the Gap, but I just couldn't justify the $30 price tag? Well, thanks to a combination of sales and an awesome coupon, I was able to score even better scarves from Express this weekend for the low, low price of $26. (That's two scarves for $26, which originally rang up for almost $80. Genius.)

I already wore one yesterday and the other today. I love them so much! And I don't have to worry about the ends awkwardly sticking out of my jacket or anything like that. The first one was metallic silver:

Sheer Lurex Infinity Scarf, Express, $29.90

I couldn't find the second scarf I bought on the Express website (maybe it's already sold out?), so you get a lovely picture of me wearing it at dinner with some friends. It's a floral print with little butterflies and some subtle metallic touches (that's me on the far right, by the way):

Scarf, Express, $34.90