generation y

Smashing Your Boxes

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Pic via my bff, BB, from Austin, TX

Our perceptions of ourselves are probably a little skewed. Let’s be honest: most of us are probably our own biggest fans. Still, I strive to be mindful of my flaws (and let others know about them) in an effort to get to that sought-after self-actualization that Maslow guy was always on about.

That being said, I constantly feel I’m being thrown into these little boxes of inaccuracy, and that inaccuracy just drives me up the wall. I’m bogged down by the weight of the people who refuse to look beyond the borders of the walls they’ve imposed upon me before they’ve even seen the second layer of who I am. Yeah, sure, I’m that girl you got really drunk with one night six years ago, but that doesn’t mean I’m only a girl who drinks. That is a mere glimpse of my character and the experiences that have shaped it.

Just because I dressed in a crop top and shorts last Saturday doesn’t mean I’m rockin’ that look on the regular, nor does it imply that I belong in some kind of derogatory “slut” box.

Just because I lost my cool on a few folks who–frankly–probably deserved it, and you happened to witness said incidents, doesn’t mean I belong to be herded into your “dramatic ladies” category.

I forget my words sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I’m automatically and always required to reside in your box labeled “idiocy.” I could go on for days about how painful it is to be so categorized in such a small space when I want so badly for that person to know each and every tiny detail of me.

It’s hard, because none of us WANT to care what other people think. But when someone else’s VIEW of you is so skewed from the REALITY of you? That’s hard to ignore, especially when the person matters to you, yet they refuse to look past the boundaries of their self-created boxes on boxes and into your core.

I get bitchy sometimes, but I’m overall a sweet, loving person who just likes being honest. I go mad from time to time when people seem to be doing something wrong, but that doesn’t mean I want to live my life with that energy all. the. time. I am clumsy and foolish, but that doesn’t mean I can’t pull myself together to be poised and serious should the occasion call for it. I’m a bit of a mess sometimes, but I actually spend the majority of my time in an organized (somewhat vanilla) routine that keeps me down-to-earth.

I can be quiet and loud, refined and wild, funny and sad, hyper and exhausted, gregarious and boring, all in the same day. But none of that means I am any less deserving of your time.

I might not be perfect, but I am a human. We’re complex characters, and if you think we’re going to stay in one box, especially a faulty one you chalked up yourself? You got another thing comin’, honey……… especially if you’re someone who can’t admit to being wrong about the most trivial of pursuits , let alone admit to being… GASP! Less than perfect.

Like me. Like the rest of us. Like the world who doesn’t live in boxes because we’re cyclical and nuts and amazing and horrifying and brilliant all at the same time.

And all of us, not just the ones in your “perfect even though I haven’t looked below the surface or given anyone else a chance to prove they might be as good (if not better)” boxes, deserve to been seen fully, deeply, completely. We deserve to be seen, period.

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Words via the lovely Ellen Hopkins.

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A Decade Out

The line sounds like the cliche opening in a movie trailer, but it’s plucked straight from reality: ten years ago, my life changed forever. I was a 17-year-old dreamer who believed in everything, feared nothing, and dove right in. But on April 20, 2005, I became a 17-year-old adult who didn’t believe in anything, feared EVERYTHING, and second-guessed facets of life I’d never even fathomed. I was thrust face-first into a harrowing situation, and the result was a broken human with a temporary case of PTSD and a life-long case of GAD and depression. 4/20/05 literally changed the fibers of my being, down to the very synapses in my brain.

I’ve talked (briefly) about losing my first love before, but sometimes I feel like I could write forever and still not manage to describe the events, the emotions, the people, the smells and sounds. I could never do the day justice through words in a million years. Whether I go a day or a year without thinking about it, when I let the moment completely take me over, I still feel the same dense sadness in my sweaty panic as I remember.

A struggle as a writer–especially one on the Internet, where things are public as public can be–is how much to reveal. Sure, it’s my life and I can tell my stories, but I very much take into account the privacy of others when I tell a story that doesn’t involve me and me alone. A decade out, though, I feel like it’s a disservice to J’s memory to leave out the details of how he died. Point blank, addiction killed him. I didn’t know it then, but god, I see it now.

The thing is, we see addiction as this gross, shadowy thing in our society. Only horrible, gaunt, rotting people who sell their children’s belongings to get a fix are the ones who get hooked and die, right?

Wrong. So wrong.

J was so different from our societal image of addiction that no one saw it, not even I. He was warm and disarmingly handsome. He could make me laugh with such ease, and even in our hardest times, it never felt uncomfortable. He was caring, intelligent as hell, family-oriented, and loved his friends. J attended church, even though I didn’t, because it mattered to him. He, on paper, was perfect. But the boredom of living in a town that didn’t provide enough stimulation for him–for most of us–pushed him on this precarious path of substance abuse we ALL walked down in that time. The thing is, he walked further than the rest of us… and it ended in the worst way, the way it never should have.

But that addiction doesn’t take away what he gave me, his family, and all of his friends while he was still here. The only thing it actually does is make it a horrible accident, and anyone who says otherwise doesn’t deserve to hear the memories the rest of us get to share with each other about a magical human who touched us on an intimate level.

I used to think “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t share this because it’s not just my story,” but the thing is, it is a story that saved me from dying, too. Sure, I immediately went cold turkey the day he died, but it was because I didn’t trust drugs anymore, not because I saw an issue. But when I realized how close or knee-deep-IN he and I and so many others were to addiction, I couldn’t believe no one had stopped us. I couldn’t believe no one had noticed. And then I realized, it’s because we didn’t fit the mold. We made straight A’s, looked attractive and healthy, and we could act our naive faces off. We tricked everyone, and probably the best of us paid for it. A lot more did before him and unfortunately, a lot more have since, too.

Ten years later, I am still broken, but I am alive; I thank J for that gift often. But I think I can thank him more by being more open about him and his struggle, about the different faces of addiction and the different ways we can be addicted. I can thank him by continuing to ruthlessly take care of my health, mental and physical. I can thank him by raising awareness of the INSANE amount of teen drug use, especially in tiny towns. I can thank him by living my life for me and ONLY me, just like he wanted me to.

And in a way, I feel like that means he’s not gone because addiction doesn’t change someone’s core. J’s core was kind, and we’ll spend our time left here making sure that core kindness keeps rippling through the world. He left a legacy that will last forever: through us, through the lives we build, and through the people we help. How many people can say that?

Not many, and we’re all better for knowing someone who could.

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What Parks and Rec Taught Me About Life

1. Never let someone dull your sparkle.

The right humans for you will never tell you to be something other than yourself, whether that be your sig other or your bff or your co-worker. They like you for who you are, and tell you to go for your crazy plans when everyone else doubts you.

2. Always put friends first.

LK always put her friends first, and she reaped the benefits of a beautiful life full of love because of her loyalty. (Even if she leaned Saracen #teamriggins)

3. Be nice, and I mean like “ANN, YOU BEAUTIFUL, NAIVE, SOPHISTICATED NEWBORN BABY!” compliment nice.

There is no reason to be mean. You can be passionately angry and lose your temper from time to time, but you should never let anger sit in your skeleton. No one who let anger overcome them on P&R ever got anything done. Their kind circle got things done because of the goodness they expected from each other and everyone else.

4. Embrace your inner Leslie. Or Ben. Or April. Or Ron. Or…

In my case, I am Leslie AND Ben, with April’s cynicism. I like that I’m crazy-passionate, hard-working, anxious, nerdy, and sarcastic. There was a time when I didn’t see this reflection of myself represented in the media, but I think thanks to this show, we can all see a little of ourselves, whether we’re Toms or Donnas or Andys!

5. Who you work with IS as important as what you do.

I have long maintained that co-workers make or break your working world; P&R proves that your life and your workspace will be so. much. better. if you’re a community of people who respect each other.

6. Being happy in what you do is the ONLY way to make a living.

No matter what path the characters took, they always followed their hearts career-wise. If it didn’t make them happy, they moved on. You have to be fulfilled; you can’t sell something you hate or do something that makes you sick. You have got to be happy in the thing you’re doing 8-12 hours a day, 5-7 days a week. What that is is different for everyone, and you should never hold someone back from trying to find that workplace happiness.

7. Never grow up…

You must always remember your inner Burt Macklin and release him often. No good can come from taking yourself too seriously and never having fun. I will always buy Marvel t-shirts, for example. NEVER SORRY!!!!!!!!

8. … but always work hard.

That being said, you can have fun and do the things you love, so long as you’re working on bettering who you are, what you do, and enriching the world and the lives of the people in it. That means working hard, and there’s nothing wrong with a good day’s work!

9. Always lend a helping hand.

It’s really easy to shake people off, but when someone needs you, just help them. Even if you can’t help in the way they need, bring them coffee and hold them until someone else can. We need each other.

10. Breakfast food is the best and solves everything.

WAFFLES. BACON. EGGS. THEY ARE EVERYTHING! Sad? Eat b. foods. Celebrating? Have a brinner. “There was never a problem that couldn’t be solved by breakfast foods.”

Finally Comfortable

It’s weird. I’ve always been a little ahead, and not in a braggy way… just a “noticable to others” way that’s been commented on since I was, like, 8. I stopped giving in to peer pressure pretty early. I’ve always been independent, able to go places alone without fear. I made my own choices about my education and career. I have landed every job since graduation myself. I have been through every serious, sad adult situation you can think of, all before I turned 22. I’ve just been this way since birth, and I believe I always will.

But I worried constantly, and always have, thanks to those before-my-years moments. Though I know I can’t change the chronic GAD I live with, I try to manage it and know innately that it’s okay to have anxiety. However, I’ve always been incredibly bothered by my back-and-forth of worrisome thoughts about one thing: me. Myself. My body.

I believed, and still believe, it’s a sickness to worry so much about your body, which is why I was always so incredibly focused on deleting that worry from my life. I was DETERMINED to knock it BEFORE 30, because I remembered so many quotes about “Why were we so self-conscious in our 20s? We were at our physical peak!” I took those words to heart because I knew how true they were. And while I KNOW I’m going to keep on rollin’ out the peaks over the next 3 decades, I didn’t want to miss out on this, the 20-something peak.

Honestly, I didn’t worry about my body until I was in college, so I consider myself pretty lucky. Hell, it wasn’t even until LATE college that I really started to see flaws with myself physically. It started with my battle with adult acne, but when I knocked that out, I again was lucky to not see the flaws in myself……………… until after I lost weight, became a new, strong woman. And then I looked back–sometimes the opposite of wise–and I thought…. wait. WAIT! That was ME?! I was that confident in myself at THAT weight, with THAT hair?!!? NEVER AGAIN!

And that “never again” spawned this new sort of worry I had never had: never go back to that size, never go back to that hair, never go back to those clothes, never go back. And while it started as a “KEEP MOVING FORWARD AND BE YOUR BEST SELF!”, I quickly realized that it was an obsession. An unhealthy one.

Within that obsession, I never deprived myself of anything or overexercised. I like to think this is because of the highly logical side of my brain I inherited from my dad; if it’s not healthy, I don’t do it. He was very conscious of the fact he was raising two girls, and somehow, he knew never to pick our appearance apart. Maybe it’s because he was the big brother to a great sister, but he just… he never made us feel judged for our bodies, and I believe that’s why I never felt body shame until the opposite kind of men started to come into my life.

Yet, I still knew the obsessive body-based thoughts themselves were not something my supportive parents would find healthy, even if I wasn’t binging or denying or whatever else there is. I’m so glad I HAVE that foundation of support, because I can see how this worry over returning to my “ugly ‘before'” body could have turned into a plague-ish obsession that left me sick, sick, sick. But the fact that I now THOUGHT about my body image all day, even if I wasn’t doing anything “sick” to change it? That was not okay with me, and it wouldn’t be okay with my parents. Though I tried to stop them, the thoughts continued to be pretty intense.

I can’t pinpoint the moment when I realized it was taking up too much thought in my head, but I do know several things that made me start to realize I could be better to myself, could change the way I thought by focusing on these positive and productive things instead: when my friend S started clean-eating and sharing her tips with me; when I started stress eating and didn’t gain the weight back (or freak out when I teetered on gaining it); when I realized that I needed to focus more on my internal health than the external; when I realized that I can weigh 120 pounds with muscle OR fat. They all bungled together to start changing what I would tell myself every day.

I don’t know precisely when it happened. Maybe I just beat the thought into myself for so many days that it finally stuck. I woke up one morning and felt okay. Felt cozy. Felt like giving a giant middle finger to anybody who dare try to question my new mind-set: YOU ARE A HOT 20-SOMETHING, EVEN IF ONLY IN YOUR OWN EYES. CHILL THE SHIT OUT!

And I did. I mean, I still look down and see softness where my abs were, but instead of freaking out, I just think “I’m still hot. I’ll get those abbies back when I feel strong enough to exercise again.” I still don’t like when a pimple appears, but I simply say “Hey, hormones go away. That’ll be gone in two days!” If something doesn’t fit me the way it did before, despite my parking at the same weight for 2 years, I remind myself “It will fit to your liking again soon, but look. It fits now, too!”

So here I am, still not 30, and finally comfortable. I am aware of what I need to be healthy, and what steps I need to take to get there, but I have coping skills to talk myself down from worry’s edge if I backtrack or have a weak moment or feel unworthy. I don’t linger in front of the mirror as long as I did, and when I do, I make sure to find something I like before I leave.

Like, when I took this to prove my abs were gone, I was like "BUT LOOK WHOSE BOOBS ARE BACK!" Then I turned around and checked out my nice rear while I was at it.

Like, when I took this to prove my abs were gone, I was like “BUT LOOK WHOSE BOOBS ARE BACK!” Then I turned around and checked out my nice rear while I was at it.

I’m not perfect, but I am comfortable in my 20-something skin. And after all, that is ALL I ever wanted, and all I still want: to enjoy my 20’s appearance without guilt before I hit another decade, looking back and regretting that I didn’t appreciate what I had when I had it.

I found peace and ways to get back to that peace when I lose it. I’d say that’s another point for the ahead-of-the-game’ness I’m so used to, and I hope it helps anyone else who feels stuck. There’s still time. There’s always time.

December, Always Been a Problem Child

I’ve been mostly missing this month (and in months past) thanks to a whole lotta life jumping in the way. The MOMENT the last bell of the year rang, I started working on a whole queue of posts I wanna publish ASAP. In the mean time, it’d probably be advantageous if you felt up to speed, eh?

Here’s a blog vomit of lots of a pics and links so we can get over this horrible and lonely part of our reblogonship as I move back in and rebuild. I’ve missed you, my loves. You’re the only ones for me!!!!!

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Style posts that should have been:

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Cool things that’ve happened:

D.C. –

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Paul McCartney –

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New hair –

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Harry Potter Yule Ball (COSTUME CONTEST WINNER RIGHT HERE!) –

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A family wedding –

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Secret Santa –

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(Just a few) www. Wednesday links I missed posting:

+ By now, Colbert’s last episode has already aired, but I still have to share the heartwarming genius that is this interview with he and Jon Stewart. Also, did you see Obama KILL The Word?! I<3MyPresident.

+ A list of slang terms NOT ALLOWED was created by a manager {of a company I will never eat at again} is something I’m going to have to “harvest” for use in my own classroom.

+ 17 things people born in the late 80s are currently experiencing. I think it speaks for itself.

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And on this day, the eve of Christmas, the birthday of many of my favorite friends, my li’l pup’s Gotcha day, a day spent snuggling in bed with my love and then laughing merrily with my family, I wish you all as much joy diving into your dreams as I’ve had catching up on this one.

Life happens, so I simply just disappear to handle it from time to time, but I am going to try my damnedest in the new year to say “NAY, LIFE, YOU WILL WAIT, FOR I HAVE A BLOG ENTRY TO WRITE TODAY!”

I’m blessed to always be able to come back because this is my home. This is my goal. This is my life. If I couldn’t come back, what would I do? I know I’ve said it before, and I know I’ll say it again, but I can’t wait to be back at the keys, typing away, just for my readers.

Cheers! xo, Reyonce

Rededication

My posts here lately have been erratic at best despite the fact that writing, especially on this blog, is my passion. I have found over the years, and especially over the past few months, that the world does not make it easy to follow your passions. Now, it’s not that I believe I’ve stumbled upon some revelatory idea, brand new to human kind… it’s just that I think we don’t really acknowledge this aspect of our culture or how shitty of an aspect it actually is. Worse, we don’t try to actively change this aspect of American culture because it’s too hard, and we’re too tired from living to work. What happened to working to live?

I’m tired of the former and dedicating my energy to the latter from now on. I can’t make a life by continually chasing the work horse I have never been able to catch, even after years of experience. I can, however, make a life out of my passions by making them a priority.

That means a lot of dedication and shifting of priorities is in order, and hope, hope, hopefully you’ll see those behind-the-scene changes reflected on the front pages of this blog.

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However, it also means I have to ask a lot out of you: patience as I find my stride. Understanding as I slip away from my personal life to focus on my dreams. Forgiveness if I make mistakes in a post, can’t immediately return a favor, and/or any other blunder as I stumble along a new path. Dependability, maybe even when I don’t deserve it. Support as I try to build an online community (including all of you!).

I may not get what I desire out of this new shift in behavior, but if I don’t try, if I don’t ask, if I don’t work at giving it a shot, then how can I ever know if I ever had something worth sharing?

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I know this won’t grow into what I continually dream of overnight, and I know I’ve rededicated myself to this blog a million times. But that’s because it means something. If it didn’t, I would have chucked it in the garbage by now and walked away without hesitation. But I know that, even though a lot of great things pop up in an instant, many more of them take years to cultivate, to hone, to perfect, to make them greater than they would have been if success had come immediately.

There’s still time, and I’m seizing it.

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Forget FOMO

FOMO (fear of missing out): the fear of missing out on something or someone more interesting, exciting or better than what we’re currently doing

It’s easy to get caught up in FOMO because we don’t often share our struggles. In a world of oversharing, all we see are the highlights in people’s lives. People are ready to share their accomplishments, brag about their newest gifts, and talk about all of the great things happening in life. Often, the only time we get a glimpse of the “bad” is when someone is posting a feel-sorry-for-me diatribe meant only for attention. Even then, it’s not real.

Online reality is different from, well, reality. It’s fake; a mere snippet of the broad spectrum of the ups and downs of life.

So in case you’ve ever felt #fomo upon stumbling on my blog, here are some all-over-the-place tidbits to make the Internet a little less shallow and a little more honest:

  • I feel a complete sense of anxiety and anger every day due to high pressure from multiple sources. I could opt not to care, sure, but then I wouldn’t improve or get anything done properly.
  • Yes, there are times I show off brilliant and expensive new items of clothing, etc., but there are other times, like now, where I must live until the next paycheck before I can do things as simple as pay bills, go grocery shopping, and buy items for my classroom.
  • My relationship isn’t perfect. Yes, I am satisfied fully with it — I wouldn’t be in it otherwise — but we don’t have that fairy tale romance because fairy tales are fiction. We have to work hard. Sometimes we go to bed mad because that’s actually, despite what Cosmo will tell you, okay. We push each other’s buttons on purpose, and we get grumpy. That’s part of life, part of choosing to be in a relationship with one person you are 100% devoted to loving.
  • My car is pretty literally falling apart, and I am nowhere near close to being able to get a new one, despite the fact that I have a full-time job and two degrees.
  • My acne has returned thanks to my own foolish lapse in doctor’s appointments, and I’ve gained four pounds since starting the school year because Red Bull and STRESS!
  • I am tired all. the. time. Balancing “having it all” is not easy, no matter how many books tell you. Those people who do have it all? They have the money and staff to help them keep the overwhelmed load at bay.
  • I have bad days. I have bad weeks. I have bad months. I’ve even had a mostly bad year from time to time in my life. We all will, and that’s okay. That’s normal. That is reality, not social media.

Remember the next time you feel a twinge of jealously or guilt due to FOMO that we’re all just our own PR reps, and we’re very selective about what we choose. We believe there IS such a thing as bad press, so we only roll our highlight reel.

Have you ever experienced FOMO? How have you overcome it?

Inaugural FOoTW: TOM HIDDLESTON

What IS FOoTW? “Fangirl Object of the Week” is a bloggy creation of mine, dedicated to releasing my (not-so)inner fangirl. Here’s a pretty accurate description of what a “fangirl” is, courtesy of the always reliable Urban Dictionary:

A rabid breed of human female who is obsessed with either a fictional character or an actor. Similar to the breed of fanboy. … Have been known to glomp, grope, and tackle when encountering said obsessions.

This is, like, borderline “Single White Female,” without the murder, sprinkled with a lot of innocence and respect. Every once in a while, I’ll publicly gush over one of these objects of my over-affection because sometimes, you just need to let it out, honey.

Let the love commence.

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Tom, Tom, Tom. Where do I begin?

It wasn’t that long ago when I didn’t know much about you. Heather talked of your appearance in “Thor” a lot, but I had yet to check it out myself. I saw you on the occasional Tumblr post and knew there was a sort of religious following in the vein of Hiddles, but I couldn’t be bothered to research. I was an unemployed 20-something with lots of Internet to cover, okay!?

But one day, my boyfriend suggested we watch “Thor,” and I came away with a new appreciation for the lanky Brit in green and black. The ship started innocently enough… I suggested we dress our dog as Loki for Halloween. That was merely the tip of the iceberg, though.

It was a slow process, starting with Loki research, then some Avengers research, then some HOLY SHIT, LOOK AT ALL OF THESE PHOTOS OF TOM IN DELICIOUS SUITS research. I finally watched “The Avengers,” and all bets were motherfucking off; I shot directly from generic fan into career-Hiddles worship.

I started seeking out more Tommy flicks to watch after that, even if that just meant rewatching the same YouTube clip from The Hollow Crown because damn boy, you sexy.

Then I realized that not only were you a master looker, you were also a master of fun, and if there’s anything on this planet I love most, it’s a jokester. And Tom, Tom, Tom… you are the funniest of the funny with your pranks, your impressions, and those masterful EHEHEHEHE’s. See for yourself, future fangirls.

Now you’re who I rent otherwise shitty movies for. You’re who I drag my boyfriend to the movie theater for on opening night. In fact, you’re the one my boyfriend hates most ’cause I have permission to break the confines of monogamy with you. (Don’t worry… if Marisa Tomei ever shows up, he’ll nab the same privilege.) Not to say you’re a piece of meat or an object as the title of this post suggests; in fact, you are the true opposite–an entirely unique and amazing human being–and that’s why I love you and your face so damn much.

So Tom, thank you for your glorious waves of ever-changing hair. Thank you for looking debonaire in a suit. Thank you for THOSE EYES. Thank you for being a kind dude, especially to batshit fans like myself. Thank you for being romantic as hell in a world where it’s dwindling, and sweet angel, thank you for that CHOCOLATELY smooth voice. Perhaps most of all, thanks for introducing the Internet to a thing called “getting Loki’d.” Where would Tumblr be without you, Tom? THE ANSWER IS NO WHERE.

Tom, you lanky, saucy minx, thank you for saving the Internet world from never believing in love again.

Oh, and as for your proposal of marriage, I shall send you my reply with all of my love within a fortnight. Xoxo, babe.

While I’ve Been Away…

* I have speed-read through Gone Girl in an attempt to ruin spoilers.
* I have found a place where the coworkers are family, and the students truly need me.
* I have been traveling every weekend for over a month–not far–but enough to exhaust me as if I have been hiking the Appalachian Trail for two solid weeks.
* I have been making my house a home, but it looks mostly like a tornado devastation site.
* I have cried many times, trying to figure out why there are so many insensitive people in my career path, then have wanted to lash out at myself as many times because they are such a small group and shouldn’t be on my mind at all.
* I have drank approximately 60 Red Bulls.
* I have made new friends.
* I have been missing the ones back home, as well as my family, but have been enjoying living somewhere totally new… even if that place houses barracks of mosquitoes.
* I have tried to find time between the piles of ungraded papers to pay attention to Stylistic Theorem, dismayed when I find both undone when I wake up after passing out on them both the night before.
* I have been targeted (again, ughhhhhh) because of my age and gender. With all due respect and professionalism:

* I have camped with the first frost.
* I have laughed with my love a million times because, sometimes, that’s all we can do to keep it together with two high-stress jobs.
* I have watched my sick pup bounce back with some extra pounds, and I’m loving every new inch of him I have to snuggle.
* I have fallen DREADFULLY behind on all my favorite fall shows even though they’ve JUST returned.
* I have realized, for the 10,000th time, what works for me and what doesn’t in all the ways I possibly can mean that, and I have been actively working on discarding the no-go’s within the year.
* I have missed the hell out of writing. I have missed this blog. I have missed you.

Style: Back To School

I’ve been drop-dead busy as most teachers are always this time of year. To give you perspective, I drank a 16 oz. Red Bull today without even a jolt of energy. Good thing they just rolled out a 20 ouncer, AMIRITE?!

In these times, I like to keep my work style simple. That means basics I can walk around in, in my A/C-negative classroom in all day long. This sporty yet girly beauty I picked up at Target on clearance fits the bill.

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I love how simple the dress is. Check out how these seams really amp up a lady’s curves (… or fake ’em… you know… WHATEVER)!

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I also got to bust out some colorful earrings with this basic, so I opted with a pair of newly thrifted, emerald oversized studs.

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And though I could have worn any shoe with this, sometimes it’s just nice to look down at your Old Navy flats at the end of the day and thank ’em for saving your style (a bit) without killing your toesies.

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{all items purchased at locations listed // earrings — thrifted!}