Monthly Archives: June 2018

10 Things I Wish I Could Tell My 13-Year-Old Self

  1. You don’t have to have your life figured out right now. There are plenty of successful people who didn’t have a “career” picked when they went into high school… Actually, I don’t know of anyone who had their perfect career picked out when they went into high school. Chill out.
  2. Stop saying things just to make others happy. You are your own person; if they don’t like what you have to say, screw ‘em.
  3. Guys can suck sometimes – even the ones you end up loving. 1936988_1119686635583_457039_nDon’t give up on them so quickly.
  4. “Mr. Perfect” doesn’t exist, but “Mr. Perfect-For-You” does.
  5. Stop rushing. You’re going to “grow up” in just the right amount of time for you, and you can’t change that without serious consequences.
  6. Perfection is something you’ll never attain. It doesn’t exist so quit killing yourself to try to be it.
  7. It’s okay to be depressed and/or anxious.
  8. Your depression and anxiety can’t be controlled and have nothing to do with anyone else – just you. So don’t allow anyone else to make you feel bad about them.
  9. Your body is your own; it doesn’t belong to anyone else for any reason.
  10. Never allow yourself to stop believing in love because love is literally the one thing that will always exist in the universe. It sounds corny, but it’s true. You haven’t had much experience with it up until now, but you’ll get there.

Review of the Plum Paper 8.5 x 11 Notebook/Life Organizer

Getting married, moving into an apartment with your new husband, learning how to manage your finances, and maintaining a good standing within your semi-new workplace is an extremely long list of just a few of the life areas I’m trying to balance right now. There is no way that I could do all that without a system in place, and I’ve been searching for that system high and low the last few months.

As part of my search, I recently purchased a notebook/organizer thing from Plum Paper – an online stationery and office supply company. I wanted to share my experience with this process in the hopes that someone else may benefit from this product review.

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The first thing you do when you’re ordering the product online is choose your ideal size. My organizer is the 8.5” x 11” notebook. Next, you pick the cover design. I chose the painted streaks in the blue color scheme because I love notebook covers that don’t have structured shapes on them. Even my Erin Condren planner cover is lacey and not structured.

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 7.03.14 PMScreen Shot 2018-06-19 at 7.05.08 PMNext, you choose the tabs you’d like to include in your planner. The more tabs you choose, the more expensive the organizer gets. It was for this reason that I decided not to get all of the ones in the “Lifestyle” section – even though I would LOVE that. The tabs I chose to get were budget, fitness, blog, social media, and photography. Each tab includes 12 duplicated month overviews (without the month written in so that you could start/stop the tabs at any point in the year). Each tab also has at least one other kind of page that you would use for the entire year (not a duplicated 12-month inclusion). I’ll list all of the tabs below and let you know what I think of each of them on a purely organizational level.

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Budget

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 7.07.57 PMThe budget tab is great because while Ben and I have our separate accounts, I can keep track of them individually or push them together. The duplicate page is designed in such a way that you can provide information for more than one account if you needed to. I also love the pages in the back of the budget section that allow you to see your monthly income/expenses as a year-at-a-glance.

Fitness

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 7.15.37 PMI haven’t really started using the fitness tab yet, but I plan to very soon! Its monthly duplicate page is comprised of a numbers-and-goals setup; you would indicate how many pounds you wanted to lose, but you would also set goals for yourself like healthy eating a certain number of days of the week or getting out to exercise “X” times a month. I like that the fitness section isn’t just about the numbers; the first page is a year overview of your health goals and manageable steps to reach them with an added bonus of an affirmation section that you can read when you need the motivation to keep going.

Blog

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 7.15.58 PMI actually ordered my notebook with two blog tabs so that I could use one for Gray Graphics (obviously) and one for the blog I want to maintain on my church’s website. I’m in love with this section; it allows you to plan out the posts you want to write on the duplicate page and how you’re going to write them using a longgggg four pages of “Blog To-Dos” in the back of the tab. There are even spots to write how many followers you have after certain blog posts (to track your viewership and growth).

Social Media

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 7.16.19 PMThe social media tab is another that I haven’t gotten to use much. Its duplicate page is designed to help you plan out your posting dates. What I find extremely helpful is actually the first page of the tab which is a guideline for best posting days/times for the four major platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter). Under that, there’s even a section dedicated to the best hashtags and post topics to use throughout the week!

Photography

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 7.17.46 PMThis is one that I need to dive into like right now! The photography section caters more to those who make a living off of a photography business (such as I would like to be able to do). It includes duplicate pages for “Location Scouting” to keep track of those beautiful places in which you’d like to photograph and “Photo Session” details to help you keep track of your clients. This section is pretty awesome.

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Overall, I love the durability, paper quality, and cute-factor of this organizer. I’ve already used a few of the tabs in a larger capacity, and I hope to get into the others even more soon. There are lots of other tabs available to use in your own planner/organizer, so go check out the website for more information. Just Google-search Plum Paper!

Decorating My Small-Space Patio

My husband Ben and I love our new apartment! We’ve gotten more furniture for the place, added decor in every room, and gotten ourselves into a semi-solid cleaning routine. But lately, I have been so busy with decorating and maintaining my apartment, that I haven’t even given a thought to my patio! Well that all changed last night.

Even though our apartment is one of the bigger ones I’ve seen in our area, I would classify our patio as a small-space patio. It’s dimensions are 12 feet long by 8 feet high by 5 feet deep. It’s over two times as long as it is deep which made it a little difficult to find furniture that we thought would fit. I’ll set up this post in a kind of list format (almost parallel to the to-do list that I made to actually get all of this done).

  • Go shopping! I went to Home Depot and Walmart to find my fairy lights, furniture, grill, grilling tools, etc. I had my husband and sister with me to help me find furniture that would fit in the space and in a color-scheme that I liked.
  • Put together the furniture. This is my least favorite part of the whole process. I almost write “This is probably my least favorite part,” but I didn’t want to kid myself. My husband and his awesome friend Josh put together our little bistro set themselves – along with the grill that we bought from Walmart.photo
  • Hang the lights!We did this while there was no other furniture set up so that we wouldn’t lose the space to move around and put in the hooks.
  • Lay down the rug and set down the furniture! I loved this part, this is when everything started to look like itwas coming together!IMG_0675IMG_0676
  • Setup the grill where you think you’ll be barbecuing the most often! We have to pull our grill out from under our patio roof as part of the safety precautions laid out by our leasing office. So we decided to put it on the far wall right by the edge of the patio so that it’d be easy for us to move in and out.

All-in-all, I think we did a fantastic job! I’m not done with it yet; I still want to get some more decorative pieces now that I know I’m allowed to put hooks in the brick siding! I’m thinking of some hanging shelves with flowers and things on the wall above the grill (since it’ll never actually get used while it’s on that wall, it’s not a fire-hazard to have things above it). But we’ll see what happens as time progresses!

There’s a full apartment tour video coming up soon, so be on the lookout for that! Until next time!

What do you want to do with your life?

Screw the PlanWhy don’t you know yet?

Oh my god, you’re 22 years old with a college degree, but you don’t have a career path planned out?

What do you mean you don’t have job stability? How are you going to buy a house or have kids without a stable, constant, planned-out source of income?

I hear all of these questions and more at least once a week. They come up any time I visit a distant relative, have coffee with an old friend, or just eat food with my loving (but very nosy) family. These questions are getting at the root of all of my imagined problems – the fact that I have been doing “nothing” with my degree.

I have a Bachelor of Arts in English, but I haven’t been doing anything “English-y” with it. At least, that’s what almost everyone thinks. Apparently, in order to be “doing something” with an English degree, you have to be a writer, a teacher, or a professor. I didn’t realize there was such a rigid set of rules when I joined the major. In fact, I only joined the major because English was my favorite subject in school for as long as I could remember. But it wasn’t my favorite because we did a lot of writing, teaching, or professing. It was my favorite because we did a little bit of everything. There were days when we would even be doing math in English class!

I have a lot of interests, and I find it extremely unfair that I should have to pick one from the list to “do” for the rest of my life. Why is the concept of a career such a linear one in our society? My career path has been – and will continue to be – cyclical. I have a full-time job as an administrative assistant that keeps me on my toes. Every single day, I’m doing something different with that position, which excites me greatly as I have to be there for eight hours, and it would pretty much suck otherwise.

I come home from that job, and I get to do literally whatever I want. If I want to veg-out in front of the TV and eat my way through my kitchen, I can. If I want to write chapters for a book I’ve been working on, I can. And if I want to leave my house and take a road trip to take pictures someplace I’ve never been – you guessed it – I can! And there’s no reason that I can’t do my best to make a living doing ALL of those things (and more).

An English degree is applicable in so many situations. I’m currently working on creating a budgeting training session for my full-time job. I have to edit a ten-page document and then turn it into a PowerPoint. I’m using skills that I learned in multimedia class, first year seminar, and English class to get that project figured out! I learned how to write effective editorial/informational/creative writing pieces in English class which is a skill I now use to write this blog and the many narrative works I’ve been fiddling with over the years. Those skills have helped me on more than one occasion, and I am so grateful to have been an English major and earned a degree that I can literally use for everything.

So the next time you think I’m not doing anything with my life and you want to ask me “What’s your plan?” – just remember that plans change. And I’m one of the lucky few who can do a little bit of everything to roll with the punches – specifically the punches I give you for being such an ass.