Monday, December 28, 2015

Twenty fifteen - a pop culture and political summary

In neither order of importance or chronological order...
biggest events 2015

Love won. The Supreme Court ruled that states can not prevent same sex couples from marrying. 


Lots of refugees needed a safe home. Libya, Syria, and Iraq still have many looking for refuge. 

Evil manifested itself in too many events, worldwide and at home in the US. I'm referring specifically to the terror attacks, most notably in Paris and Tunsia.

Humanity triumphed each time that evil attempted to make the world forget the beautiful humanity that lives within every country and community. 


Greece almost had to exit the Eurozone. The instability was real. Many people canceled their vacations there.

People wouldn't stop talking about Kylie Jenner's lips. 

The FIFA scandal happened. The president stepped down. Honestly, most of this was missed on me other than that I never knew such huge corruption existed in soccer (or shall I say football). 

Amy Schumer had people talking about feminism. She was hilarious and poignant and got people thinking without even making them realize it.


Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez broke up, proving to the world that love isn't real (am I the only one who "shipped" them big time)?

Planned Parenthood was on constant attack by conservative politicians, potentially inspiring a terrorist attack. This was one of way too many shootings in the US throughout the year. 

There was a dress that made us question our sanity.


Zayn left One Direction, breaking hearts of teenage girls all over the world. And me. 

The NAACP president was revealed to have 2 white parents, despite "personally identifying" as black. She made us think about how fluid race can or can not be. 

Domestic terrorism is alive and real. The media continued to pretend that it isn't a thing.

Canada elected a very liberal and very attractive prime minister.


There were horrific natural disasters like the earthquake in Nepal and floods in China. It was also the hottest year on record and people still denied climate change. 

The Ashley Madison hack happened. Some people's lives were tragically ruined and even lost. Others were revealed for the hypocrites they actually are (looking at you Josh Duggar).

Too many unarmed, black men and boys were killed by police officers. The #blacklivesmatter movement arose, organizing to prevent more unnecessary deaths due to institutionalized racism.


Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart both left their political satire posts on Comedy Central. Stephen Colbert picked up the Late Night Show for David Letterman and does great. 

Bruce became Caitlyn. She brought transgender rights to the American dialogue. Bigots were upset that she won awards for her bravery.


Election season started and wouldn't stop. Running for the Republican nomination became very trendy (this potential nominee's kids were more excited about a turtle than their father's nomination). 

Donald Trump said a lot of racist things that no one took too seriously until he maintained his place as the Republican front runner for just about the entire primary season so far. 

Hillary Clinton begged people to see her as relatable and Bernie Sanders begged people to not see him as the crazy uncle who dances with the punch bowl on his head. Both generally kick ass.

Some people were nice enough to pretend they were running for the Democratic nomination to make it seem like a fair race. Looking at you Webb and Chafee.

Left shark became a part of all of us. 



Please note: I am an American and these are the events that were most poignant to me. Most definitely, there are domestic and international events that I missed. I created this list from memory because I wanted to record the things that left the largest impact on me. Again, there are many, many things that are not represented on this list. I recognize the fact that I have intense privilege in failing to recognize significant world events that impact the lives of many. Please enlighten me about things that I missed. Let's have a conversation. What was important to you in the news? What world, political, or pop culture events impacted you? 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

I want a job that I love as much as my hair stylist does

This post was inspired by my fabulous hair done by the Blowout Bar in Grandview, Ohio and the fact that I'm not necessarily looking forward to going to work tomorrow. God bless the talkative, empathetic guy giving me a blowout that made me feel like a million bucks and pray for me as I enter work tomorrow.

First, let's take a look at the magic hair stylists get to create on a daily basis. See that smile? The genuine laughter? It's because I feel freaking fantastic. Why do I feel fantastic? I had just finished an extraordinarily tasty margarita, I am seeing my boyfriend for the first time in a month, and because I feel like a million bucks with the magic the hairstylist was able to create on my head. Only I would get existential about my career over freakin' blowout.





Right now it is after 12:30 at night and I can't stop thinking about that hairstylist. We had great chats - from the Kardashians, to transgender issues, to bad drivers, to taking time off to find yourself. Mostly, though, he said that he loved his job. And I really believed him.

The thing is, I love my job too. But in a different way. When I say I love my job, I mean that I love my job in the way that normal people "love" their jobs. I think that most people "love" their jobs and if you say that, most people interpret it as the "love" that you give to a job and not genuine love.

When this man told me that he loved his job, he said it with conviction. It was so matter of fact. There was no trail off or vocal rise at the end of the sentence. It was a declarative statement. That was it. I told him that I took note of how matter of fact he was and that I thought it was amazing. The stylist that day was a perfect example, but this is something I have thought about before.

I see that same spark or imagine it in other people and professions, too. I think of a blogger that inspires me, Helene in Between, who just took the plunge to blogging full time. I think of a close friend who is a tap dancer in LA. I think of a friend who works at the zoo redesigning animal habitats to be better for the animals. I think of a friend who is a police officer that positively lights up every time he tells a story about work. I think of the podcast creators I listen to. The journalists that I read. The vloggers that I follow.

I really, really love the idea of blogging or podcasting. Yet here I am, almost 1:00 in the morning, writing about that on my loosely tended to blog and hardly even attempting to podcast. I'm committing to pay more attention to what I love to do and relentlessly pursue making it a career. Will you? Stay with me on my journey in the job I "love" looking for the job I love.

Have you ever had an experience like the one I described with my hair stylists? Do you have a job that you "love" or love? Let's talk about it.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Five on Friday - 11/6

Happy Friday, folks! Luckily, this Friday came quicker than expected. I'm participating in this linkup thanks to A. Liz Adventures. Anyone can participate - just go to her post and follow the linkup instructions.

1. Weekend visits. Because long distance relationships are HARD. We spent the entire weekend doing nothing, and it was just the break I needed. So often when Chris comes to Chicago we don't spend any time relaxing. We feel as though we have to fill the time with exciting, Insta-worthy events. That being said, the picture below is from an Ohio State football game last year because we spent the entire weekend doing NOTHING.


2. Brunch. Few things are more delightful than brunch. The one "outing" Chris and I had was driving over to the West Loop to The Little Goat. It had a 45 minute wait, presumably because it was DELICIOUS. Luckily, it was a beautiful weekend with perfect weather, so we spent the time exploring around the other restaurants in the area. I got the french toast, which had an egg cooked in the middle of each slice with strawberries and fried chicken.


3. Adele's comeback. Like every other reasonable person in the world, I love Adele's new song. I just bought a bluetooth shower speaker (maybe that should be part of my #3), and I spent an entire shower listening to that song on loop. It's hard to say that someone who is only 25 years old can have a comeback, but seriously - what a way to return! The video is great too. When she makes eye contact with the camera after an entire minute of the video avoiding her face, I get so excited I fist pump. That song gives me all of the feels.



4. Everything Mindy Kaling. Maybe this should be two things, but I can't get enough of her - both her books and her tv show. I just finished her second book, Why Not Me (which is fantastic) and started watching her show, The Mindy Project. Why Not Me? had me laughing out loud and reaching for it in every spare moment I had. Some of my favorite parts highlighted the time she met President Obama, a relationship with a friend that drifted away, and a reflection on an alternate version of herself that turns into a rom-com. I plastered one of the quotes on my closet mirror - "If you got it, flaunt it. If you're not flaunting it, what are you even doing anyways." That woman is so great at writing romantic comedy, which is evident in The Mindy Project. I was so hooked that I refused to stop watching until Mindy and the romantic male lead got together. Needless to say, I fell asleep watching every night for a week.

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5. Peppermint Mochas in red cups. I tried to cut my caffeine take, but it honestly isn't worth it. The joy that those red cups full of peppermint chocolate deliciousness is unbeatable. To the Christian groups that are complaining because Starbucks took the "Christmas" themed decor off the cups - get a freaking life.




Grab button for FIVE ON FRIDAY AT THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

And that's all, folks! Thanks for reading my Five on Friday. What are yours? Add on to the linkup or tell me in the comments below!
I love writing these posts because it gives me the perfect outlet to write about some things that I loved the past week, but didn't get a chance to fully post about. Thank you again to A. Liz Adventures for hosting the linkup! I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Because Adele gives everyone A LOT of feelings

Happy Monday, everyone. Adele just released one of the songs from her upcoming album, 25, and naturally it is filling the entire world with emotion. What a way to start the week. If you haven't listened to Hello, you totally should. I could probably write a long, rambley post about that song alone. What is really on my mind right now, though, is something Adele posted to her twitter:

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What she said about wishing time away really stood out to me. Someone once told me that hating Mondays was hating 14% of your life and I think of that every single Monday morning. No matter how much I tell myself that, I still hate Mondays a little bit. Then, I feel guilty. And paranoid that I am wasting my life away. Why don't I love Mondays? What am I doing wrong?

I always try to live in the moment, love my day job, love the evenings once I get home (no matter how late I get back), and go to bed without a sense of dread for the next day. I mean, I don't hate my job. Actually, I really like my job. But do I love my job? I'm not sure. Do I wake up enthralled for the day? Not every day. A tiny (and sometimes not so tiny) part of me is always waiting for the weekend.

So Adele, even though you are a modern day music goddess, we must agree to disagree. I think it is okay to wish time away - at least just a tiny bit. I think we have to find a healthy balance between making the best out of where we are, recognizing the moments we want to live forever, noticing the ones that we don't, and not feeling guilt for what most people in this world experience at least a little bit. I would venture to imagine that most of the world is waiting for the weekend and is looking forward to a different time in their life, at least a little bit.

Someday, I want to have a job that makes me feel the way I do on the weekends. Maybe I'll write more about that later. Until then, I'm going to be okay with the reality that a part of me isn't going to want to get up at 5:00 AM to teach literacy to unruly high schoolers. Like I said - I like my job. But it'll be damned if I can't wait until Friday.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Novelties I found in the big city

I'm not a small town girl, but I'm definitely not from the big city. I lived in Columbus, Ohio for 22 years and never visited a bigger city until I moved to Chicago. When I moved to Chicago, I figured that certain things like traffic and the sheer massive nature of everything would take some adjustment. I never expected so many little things to take getting used to. Here are a few "novelties" that I didn't expect to find so darn exciting. Anyone that has ever visited a big city and gets enjoys the little things in life will relate.



  1. Everything about city 7-11 - My point being, they're everywhere. Is there a city ordinance that requires a 7-11 on every corner? Can Chicagoans not ever be within a block and a half of hot cheetos and Icees? Not that I'm complaining... But for the first month of me living here I geeked out each time I saw a 7-11. Actually, I thought 7-11s might only be in movies since there aren't any where I am from in Columbus.
  2. Dunkin Donuts - Ditto everything above. Never saw a Dunkin Donuts before moving here, either. And now I'm addicted to those sugary sweet cups of liquid ecstasy they call iced coffees.
  3. 2-story Targets - The best part? They have cart escalators. I won't confirm or deny that I still Snapchat it every time.
  4. The "El" - A train with a view! I rode around on the brown line for at least an hour my first weekend here. Then I freaked out the first time I got on the red line and freaked out before realizing that the elevated train also goes underground. Public transportation in general blew my mind. The feeling of getting from point A to point B on the El was pure gold.
  5. The Chicago flag - You could sell me anything with those heavenly, blue stripes and majestic, red stars. Once I learned what the 4 stars stood for, that was my go to party fact for a month. Hell, it still is.
  6. Tourists - This novelty still hasn't worn off on me. People visit where I live. Families! With accents! Young couples! Old couples! Bachelor parties! Famous people (sometimes)!
  7. Chicago references - Never listened to Kanye West once until I listened to each song on his discography to take ntoe of when he mentions Chicago.
I hope you enjoyed my list of silly little things that excite me about living in the big city! Do you have any "novelties" that you've found when you visited or moved to a new place?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

When teaching is more like learning

Over the summer, I taught my first ever class of students. I was assigned to teach 11th and 12th grade English Language Arts. The class focused mostly on analyzing texts and making claims. After only a few brief weeks of training, I was expected to manage behavior in a classroom, create lesson plans, deliver engaging content, and assess the students' understanding of the material. Guess what? I did it. I survived. The best part? I think I actually taught some stuff. My class LEARNED. The better part? So did I. Below are a few of the lessons that my class taught me over the summer. While writing this, I had new teachers in mind. However, if you are an experienced teacher or not a teacher at all, I think this is still worth a read. If anything, it is inspiring to remember the profound perspectives that every human (even kiddos) on this earth has and our ability to affect the lives of people with whom we interact. Enjoy!



Learning is more important than the lesson. When I say that, I mean lesson plans are made to be ignored (sparingly, but still). Create space for that when planning a unit. Sometimes students have revolutionary ideas that are so fascinating you can't help but explore them further. Other times, students will be so invested in a text that they make amazing connections to their own life and feel as though the classroom is a safe space to share. These are profound educational moments that are transformational not only for your students, but for yourself. Embrace them. 

Every kid is a genius. Really. Throughout the 4 short weeks I taught my first class, I saw every single child have a moment of genius. Whether it be finding meaning in the text that I hadn't even found or empathizing with a character in a super profound way - every child had a moment of brilliance. If a student doesn't think they are smart, their way of thinking just has yet to be activated by traditional education. Make it your job to find it. It could change a student's life.

Sharing a little about yourself goes a long way. Students find it a lot harder to disrespect a teacher and a lot easier to learn from a teacher that they see on a human level. Little moments of vulnerability, like admitting a mistake or sharing a weakness, mean so much to students. Telling kids about your family, friends, hobbies, and past help them to relate to you. Even the kids you would never think actually care, still find your personal life a little bit interesting.

One of the most terrifying aspects of teaching is that every action matters. Students remember what you do way more than what you say. The way you respond to a student's answer to a question, especially the wrong answers, defines the way students feel about themselves and the way students feel about education. I'm not sure if this ever becomes less scary, but it always motivates me to keep a positive frame of mind and stay focused on my job.

Never let a kid "slip by." Chances are, they are "slipping by" because they are good it. Why are they good at it? Teachers year after year let them do it. Letting the floaters know that they can't get away with that in your class is the best thing you can do for them. Even if you get push back from the child, holding high expectations for them is the number one way to communicate that they matter.

That definitely isn't all I learned, but that is what stands out at the moment. In a few short days, I will have 5 new classes to teach me even more. Is there ever a time that you learned from someone or something that you didn't expect? 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A long lately

So where the hell have I been? I’ve been in a new state – both literally and figuratively. I mentioned that I moved to Chicago (which I love and when I have time to explore will definitely write all about) so that is the literal change of state. Figuratively, though, I am in a state of exhaustion. Literal exhaustion.

Teach For America summer training is the reason why I haven’t had time to write or even read blogs. A typical summer training day starts at 5 AM and doesn’t end until 9 PM. From sunrise to sunset, summer training requires me to eat, breathe, and dream education. Whether it is pedagogy, policy, or inequity reflection – summer training doesn’t leave much time for anything else.

I’m not complaining, though! I know that in order to be a good teacher in a few short months, I need all of the knowledge I can get. Plus, teaching is great. My students are some of the smartest kiddos I’ve ever met (but I may be biased).

For now, I am committing to HeleneInBetween’s #31daysinbetween to keep me sane through a creative outlet on Instagram (follow me)!

Once training is over, I have a lot of thoughts that I really want to turn into content for SparkleShineHeather – from organization tools to social inequity. So please stay tuned!

Until then,


Happy holiday weekend! J

Friday, June 5, 2015

Five on Friday - 6/5

1. Most recently, a lovely visit to the Columbus Zoo. Consistently rated one of the best zoos in the country, it was a "must do" on my list of places to visit one last time before I move away from Columbus on Monday. My favorite part? Feeding the giraffes! Here is a candid of me not realizing that they had such long tongues! We also enjoyed watching the cheetah run and getting super close to the kangaroos.

2. I picked up a copy of Grace Helbig's book at Barne's and Noble the other day and have had so much fun reading and laughing along with her her life advice. I loved the beginning of each "how to" section where she took time to share stories and show some vulnerability to the reader. She was surprisingly frank about her anxiety, which was nice as I have a bit of anxiety myself. I'm increasingly interested in more creative career fields, so reading about her path to this field was fascinating and inspiring. Definitely worth picking up! 

3. Another place on my must do before I leave was the Whetstone Park of Roses. I love visiting parks just to take a little walk, so Chris obliged my request to gallivant around for an hour or so. Though the roses weren't all blooming yet, it was gorgeous as always and the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

4. Instagram vanity... But not mine! Dearest Chris doesn't have an Instagram himself, but gets a real kick out of his appearances on mine. He tends to gloat when realizing that pictures with him tend to get more likes than ones without him. I posted a picture of him lavaliering me for our 2 year anniversary and it was pretty popular. But seriously, this picture really does give me the chills. Unsuspectingly seeing my closest friends surround Chris and I as he declared my love for me was probably one of the most meaningful moments in my entire life. Plus, Chris looks handsome to all goodness here. I can see why it was popular. ;) Anyways, it gives me a good chuckle to know how giddy Chris gets when he is the one getting the likes on my Instagram. 

5. The music I can't stop listening to? Pop princess power tunes. Seriously. You can follow the playlist here on Spotify or listen below! For some reason my ears have been gravitating to pop songs by female artists that literally sound like bubblegum. Think Meghan Trainor, Fifth Harmony, Little Mix, or Icona Pop kind of songs. I've always love girl groups, but this week these upbeat tunes have helped me to stay excited about my move and not sentimental about leaving. 

Well there we have it! My five on Friday. What a great way to reflect on the week and share some tidbits with others. A big shoutout to A. Liz Adventures for giving me the idea. Head over to her blog to grab the logo and add your 5 on Friday linkup to join in on the fun. Until next time, friends.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Follow your fear - inspired by Grace Helbig's commencement speech

I adore Grace Helbig. I love what she does and what she stands for. As a matter of fact, once I finish writing this, I am going to Barnes and Noble to buy her book. Grace is an extremely successful Youtuber and comedian who makes videos targeted toward teenage and early twenty something women about life's often comical realities. Girl crush aside, Ms. Helbig gave a pretty great commencement speech at her alma mater, Ramapo College. The message in her speech really struck a chord with me. That message being, follow your fear.


Grace outlines the two kinds of fear - one being real, physical fears like "snakes, sharks, small places, or the Real Houswives franchise mysteriously disappearing." Next, she talks about "good fears." Below is what she says: 

Fears that are born out of love and out of ambition. The things that you are afraid of because you care about them so much. The opportunities that you are afraid to take because you don't want to screw them up and the people you are afraid to talk to because you don't want to embarrass yourself in front of them. And the paths that you are too afraid to take because it seems to uncertain, too unpredictable, and just too uncomfortable. But when you are uncomfortable that is when things get really interesting... being comfortable is truly being alive. Much like an improv show, life is a series of these beautiful and awkward and random and delightful and inspiring and painful and terrifying and just all around uncomfortable moments. And we are all feeling them. All the time. Constantly, together. 

One of my favorite parts of her speech is when she acknowledges that failure is okay,  because perfection isn't a human thing to relate to. She says that being boring is more terrifying than being a failure. I have to agree. One of my driving principles is embracing the imperfect realities of who we are and being honest about the times that we have failed. 


This really resounded with me because in one week I am moving to Chicago. I've never left Columbus for longer than a week, so that in and of itself is horrifying. Additionally, I'm not following the standard path of getting a job in my expected career field right away. Instead, I am spending a few years doing something that I think will be a more robust experience. What if I don't like Chicago? What if I don't like teaching? What if I miss my mom too much? What if Chris and I don't manage the distance? Yeah, I am pretty expletive scared. But maybe that is a good thing. It's definitely better than being boring. 

So Grace, I'll heed your advice. I'll follow my fear. Let me know what you thought of Grace's speech below! Did anything in particular stand out to you?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Everything Teach For America so far!

You may know that I recently graduated from The Ohio State University. You may not know what I am doing now that I have graduated. So for the big reveal... I'm spending the next 2 years as a corps member of Teach For America!

Teach For America describes itself as a highly selective organization that selects motivated leaders to teach in low income communities. Corps members undergo an intensive 5 week "institute" that prepares them to enter their classroom. Throughout the 2 years, there is continued training in educational practices and professional development.



I have been assigned to teach "diverse learning" (more traditionally known as special needs) in Chicago. I'm excited, scared, overwhelmed, nervous, gung ho, anxious, and even more all at once.

The decision wasn't an easy one for me. You know that feeling at the nail salon when you are trying to decide what color to choose for your pedicure? Making the decision to accept my offer with Teach For America was sort of like that, only harder. What if I like it now, but don't like it later? This is a nice option, but so are all those other ones available to me. 

Right now, I have less than 2 weeks before I pack my bags to live and attend Institute in downtown Chicago. Institute is a 5 week training program that introduces us to basic teaching principles and eases us into controlling a classroom. Yeah, in 5 weeks I'm supposed to learn how to be a teacher. It's nuts. A cool part of Institute? We get to live right across the street from Grant Park!


I know that there are a lot of criticisms of Teach For America. Some people think that 5 weeks isn't enough time to adequately train a teacher. Some people have arguments regarding the paths of funding to schools with corps members and to corps members themselves. I've read the criticisms, but I have responses to every single argument. In Chicago, classrooms with a TFA corps member consistently show increases in test scores and report having a profound impact from their teachers.

At the end of the day, I believe a world WITH Teach For America is better than a world without it. TFA is more than just a fast path to teaching; it is a social movement.

Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions regarding Teach For America! Wish me luck on this new adventure.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The great scrabble debacle of 2015

There are 2 things to know before reading this post. 1.Chris and I rarely fight. When we do fight, it is almost always about something really, really stupid. 2. I really like board games and I am a little (read: a lot) competitive.



In an effort to switch things up from our normal routine of tv and falling asleep, Chris and I decided to make a trip to Target to buy some good 2 person board games. We chose Yahtzee and Scrabble. On a related note, I highly recommend playing board games more often. It makes you feel like a kid again, engages your critical thinking, and is an awesome change of pace.

Yahtzee was pretty standard. We played 3 rounds and Chris handedly won 2 out of 3. I never even got a "yahtzee" which was pretty lame. That's okay, though. Yahtzee was only the previews for the main feature - Scrabble.

I only bought the standard version of Scrabble. However, I'd like to note that someday I would love to indulge in quite possibly one of the most pretentious/frivolous/extravagant purchases ever: a DELUXE Scrabble board. Check this thing out! On Amazon for only $199.99. Anyways, I digress.



I always have taken pride in my Scrabble skills. I remember my smug 6th grade self challenged my teacher to a Scrabble battle. She was so sure she would win that she promised me a no-homework pass if I won. Let's just say that after I won by over a 70 point margin that my ego was never the same. I'm surprised it didn't explode right out of my head. I've always taken pride in the important things.

Chris and I decided to play a low-key game, if possible. We agreed to not use the "challenge words that aren't words rule" and only use words that we truly believed were real. Tensions were already sort of high when I swept in on a triple word square using the word "quarts" gaining me tons of points. But the real fight began over an exposed triple word score next to the world "hurl."

I'll save you the semantics of our argument, but it arose over a disagreement regarding the world "churl" which is indeed a word and means a "rude person." I must say, I was being a real churl over the matter. After arguing and angstily completing the game, we both got back on a positive page when we were finding ways to place the final tiles.

The best part of the game? The final tile we placed was a "u" connected to a hanging "s." That's right. Even though I was being a churl, at least we ended on us.

Yeah, I'm a sap. Whatever. What is your favorite board game? Have you ever gotten a little bit too compeititve? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Getting lavaliered!

In the simplest of terms - this weekend was wildly eventful. On Friday, I accepted a 2 year commitment with Teach For America in Chicago. On Saturday, I experienced my first Kentucky Derby. The most eventful of all - On Sunday, Chris lavaliered me. 

For those that don't know, lavaliering is the act of a fraternity man presenting his letters to his significant other. In Greek life, your letters are essentially the dearest interest of your life. When someone lavaliers their girlfriend, they are signifying that their girlfriend is as dear to them as their fraternity affiliation. The exact significance and traditions change from region to region and chapter to chapter, but for the most part - it is a promise that they are serious about the relationship and would like to be engaged in the future. It always involves the presentation of a lavalier necklace, a pendant with the fraternity letters arranged in a vertical row.

Chris and I have been together almost 2 years (1 year and 11 months as of yesterday) and our love has grown each day since we started dating. I'll save the mushy gushy stuff for our anniversary though because I want to write about how the actual lavalier went down!

After driving back from Kentucky for the derby, Wes (a mutual best friend of Chris and I) asked me to meet him at a campus bar for dinner and a drink. Wes and I meet up just about every week, so this was totally normal. When we were finished, he asked if I would be willing to walk with him to the campus library to pick up a book he needed. Begrudgingly (because I'm lazy), I agreed.


There I am, unsuspectingly walking to the library to "pick up a book."


And then, I realized... Also, yes my hair is sopping wet because I didn't have time to dry my hair before "dinner and drinks" with Wes. Lesson learned! Ladies - never leave the house with a wet head because your boyfriend may be lavaliering you and you don't want wet hair in all the pictures!


I didn't even make it earshot from Chris before tears are streaming down my face. He kept it together, though! Hands and voice shaking, but no tears. If he would have cried, I would have been a big, ole blubbery mess.


The Oval (Ohio State's campus quad) is especially important to Chris and I. When he started the conversation that ended with me being his girlfriend, he asked what I would do if I saw him on the Oval. For the record, I answered a little too honestly by saying I would probably nod and wave because at the time we were in that weird limbo between friends and dating that makes for very awkward run-ins. Oddly enough, we never actually have seen each other on the Oval after these 2 years. So for the first time the way I responded when I saw him on the Oval looked a little more like this...


Lots of excited, overwhelmed, teary-eyed, thankful, over-joyed, giddy... kissing.


And there it is! That's how it happened! This is possibly one of my favorite pictures of all time now. There I am wearing a totally fluorescent romper with sopping wet hair but happier than ever with my favorite people in the entire world. The men are some of our closest friends in his chapter and the women are just a few of my closest friends in mine. However, it does sort of look like the iconic statue of William Oxley Thompson (OSU's 3rd president) is presiding over the ceremony.

Next stop? There is a tradition that if you and your significant other walk across the bricks down the middle of the Oval while the bells of Orton Tower are ringing and non one crosses your path, you are bound to be together forever. We're planning on making a late night walk soon. ;)

I hope at least someone enjoyed my lavalier story! It isn't over the top, but it was perfect for Chris and I. While writing this, I have reached up to feel my lavalier necklace at least 25 time and almost teared up at least 5 times. Until next time!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring cleaning ...my beauty routine?!

Spring is officially here! With the arrival of spring comes the arrival of SPRING CLEANING. When I think of spring cleaning I think of a deep cleaning of my apartment, maybe the decluttering of a few corners, and even donating some less worn clothing items. While those are all a part of this year's spring cleaning ritual (er, will be eventually...), I've added something else onto the agenda - my facial cleansing stash.

I realized that I have cabinets full of products that I hardly even use! Additionally, I just get overwhelmed with the amount of products that I have and hate the idea of all the different things that I am putting on my face. I wanted something a bit more natural as we eased into spring, so I took a trip to none other than Lush.



If you're not aware, Lush makes all natural beauty product that use local materials and ethical business practices. They seriously are made with natural ingredients - the products have an expiration date and I can actually read the names of the things I am putting on my face and body. I am EXTREMELY satisfied with the things I purchased so I figured I would share my new and improved, simplified facial routine.

The first thing I picked up is a Tea Tree toner. It gives my face a fresh feeling after cleansing and also is perfect for pick me ups during the day. Next, I got 9 to 5, a cleansing lotion (how cool, right?) that you apply to your face to clean off makeup and dirt while also moisturizing. The last facial item I got is called Dark Angels. It is a clay cleanser, meaning it comes in sort of a clump and you break off pieces to mix with water and apply to your face. I can't say enough good things about this product. It cleaned out and shrunk my pores to a state that I have never even seen them.

Additionally, I got a bubblegum lip scrub (classic Lush product) and a Dream Pot. Dream Pot is Lush's lotion with a light, floral scent where all 100% of proceeds go to charity. 100%! Lush makes no money off of this product, but rather uses the funds to contribute to a small, local charity. The funds from my Dream Pot went to FLOW, an organization that protects an important watershed in Columbus.

I highly recommend cleansing your beauty routine for spring! Simplifying my routine with high quality, natural products has made me excited to take care of myself. I gave away all of my other products to friends so I have more space around my apartment. I love looking into my little bucket of Lush goodies (along with a few other holy grail beauty/hair items). I'm entering with spring with a fresh new face and a fresh new me. I can't wait to see what other parts of my life I can spring clean!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Break on the Carnival Fantasy

The Carnival Fantasy at sea! (Photo from CruiseCritic)
For my last college spring break, I decided to do something a little different and go on a cruise with my boyfriend. I thoroughly enjoyed cruising and would recommend it to just about anyone. However, I am sure that I can't be alone in having some pre-cruise apprehension. Worrying about packing the wrong things, forgetting something, and having no idea what to expect in the middle of the ocean was sort of nerve wracking! It caused me to spend hours of perusing the internet seeing what every website had to say about tips for first time cruisers. What I was looking for, though, was an account from a real person just like me. So if you are going on a cruise or interested at all in cruising, I'm going to write a few posts about my experience and top tips! We sailed with Carnival, a pretty standard cruise line on one of their smallest and oldest ships, the Carnival Fantasy. Since I was a first time cruiser, I didn't mind the age and size. Everything was clean and in working condition so that was all I needed to make me delighted. Our ship's amenities included one main pool, 2 public hot tubs, 2 adults only hot tubs, 2 water slides, a mini golf course, a running track, several bars/lounges, and more. Other ships surely have more on them, but like I said - this was more than enough for me. My stateroom was the cheapest available (interior, no ocean view), but still provided more than enough space and comfort for the time we spent there. The customer service was above and beyond anything I have ever received in a hotel on dry land. Everyone was so accommodating and willing to answer all your questions! In later posts, I will write about what I packed, what I wish I packed, what we did on our ports, and more. Until next time...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

International Badge Day

In honor of International Badge Day, I want to take just a tiny bit of time to talk about why my sorority is so special to me.

There is a saying that Greeks use which is something along the lines of - my letters don't make me better than you; they make me better than I used to be. While corny and a bit overused, I really do think that Gamma Phi has made me a better woman. With over 100 sisters to hold me accountable to our high standards of scholarship and service, how can you not excel?! Sometimes, though, my sisters remind me when I need to have fun. Whether they drag me to a social or just pick me up for an ice cream, my sisters help to remind me the importance of being well rounded.

Another saying that you'll often hear is that from the outside you can't understand it and from the inside you can't explain it. I wish that I was able to explain to others outside of my sisterhood how special it is to me. I know that I was skeptical of "sisterhoood," and never imagined how different and how much  more special it would be than other organizations and groups of friends.

Later on, I want to write about my experience with going Greek. For now, I will just post a few pictures of my sisters to show how special they are to me. PS: This was supposed to go up a few days ago, but I've been having a lot going on at home so I haven't been getting around to posting.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Dear Blog, I Miss You

Boy, do I miss this thing.

Even though I had only recently started blogging, the absence of this in my life over the past few months has been quite noteworthy. My little corner of the internet gave me real joy.

Admittedly, this blog still doesn't have a distinct identity yet, but figuring it out while I had time to myself to think was cathartic and exciting. I often would find myself daydreaming of things I could post about and the directions I could take my little corner of the internet.

Well now I am back, and it can give me joy again! What good timing too, as joy is something that has been harder for me to find over the past few months. I would like to write about the anxiety I've been experiencing at a later time, but to quickly summarize - I've been struggling with mild depression and anxiety as of late. I never thought I would be someone to experience this, but extreme exhaustion and stress really does take it's toll.

However, I'm much happier now! I'm better at managing my emotions (which gives me more time) to explore new things that make me happy. So if there is anyone out there that reads this - look forward to more of the mixed identity posts about a little bit of everything. Some things that I'm interested in at the moment? A review of House of Cards, updates on current events, my favorite beauty products (I found a ton of new ones), spring transition fashion, new coffee shops/restaurants I love, what I'm reading, and MORE!

Until next time... ;)

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