Monday, December 12, 2011

The Time to Be With People You Love

Christmas is the time. I watched Love Actually last night with my parents, and this was quoted several times throughout the movie: Christmas is the time to be with people you love. I couldn't agree more.

Inevitably, each Christmas I am asked what I want this year. I never have a good answer. I hate knowing what I get, and I don't need anything. If I ever do, I'm the type to just buy it myself. Only live once, right?

After the movies (we watched The Family Stone, too), we sat around, sang, and danced to music from my dad's iPad.

When I finally crawled (I ran 8 miles yesterday, so crawling is pretty accurate) into bed, I realized I had my answer to the yearly question. I want as many last nights, filled with singing, dancing, movies and people I love, as I can possibly squeeze into one lifetime.

I wish this for you, too.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Keely the Elf

I love Christmas. It gives me the opportunity to listen to Christmas music without people looking at me like I'm crazy. It also gives me a chance to answer phone calls from fellow employees with the greeting, "Keely the elf, what's your favorite color?" Not a single person has actually told me a favorite color. It doesn't matter, I still get a kick out of it.

In case you aren't sure where I got the idea, it's from the movie Elf. It's just one movie on my holiday to-watch list:
1. Love Actually (multiple times)
2. The Family Stone
3. Elf
4. The Santa Clause
5. Four Christmases
6. Miracle on 34th Street
7. The Holiday

I plan on watching all of these before the 25th. If you want to get in the Christmas spirit, you should, too. Happy watching!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thankful


I realize Thanksgiving was six days ago, so this post is late, but I try to avoid technology when I am around family.

I am thankful every day. I have family and friends who I trust, love and respect; I have a job and am able to be entirely independent; I have an apartment with a spare bedroom so that I can have my family and friends come visit; I still get to work at Fossil and be around such special people while fully enjoying the discount; I get to grow and learn about anything and everything even after graduation; I live close enough to work that I can go home for lunch and squeeze in an episode of a favorite show; I get to see my nephews play in almost every basketball game they have; I am healthy enough to be able to train for a half-marathon, even if I don't always enjoy it; I wake up happy.

I am the luckiest girl in the world, and I am so very thankful.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Basketball Year I have Been Waiting For

Every year I can remember there has always been some point when I have said, "I can't wait until I get to watch Stetson and Braxton play high school basketball together." The time has come.

By watching them play in the Knox Co jamboree at UT, I was able to check another thing off of my 22 to-do list (seen here).
While I love watching them play, I love watching them interact with each other and their teammates just as much. At one point during their first game at South Doyle, Stetson made a mistake right before a timeout. Braxton purposefully made his way to Stetson's side of the huddle and nonchalantly patted him on the back. It was great to see.

My favorite thing about living and working in Knoxville? Getting to see moments like that, seeing Stetson score more points than the other team during the jamboree where he only played approximately 8 minutes, seeing Braxton do the "dougie" in the middle of the team pre-game huddle, etc.
video

That is a rough video of B dancing in the center from my mom's phone. I'm going to have to film it better at another game.

I will be watching them play basketball pretty much every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for the next three months. I can't wait.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Breaking Dawn at Dawn

While I can't claim to love the Twilight series like Harry Potter, I still did enjoy the books. I enjoy even more, however, a good theme. Of course I go to all of the midnight premieres. It gives me an excuse to wear something vampire themed and hang out with friends who share either the Twilight or theme-ing passion.

If you can't tell, my shirt says, "One Day My Prince Vampire Will Come." When you see Harry Potter and Twilight-themed shirts in stores and wonder who on earth actually buys them, I do.

I will be honest and tell you that ever since I started working full-time, my bedtime has drastically changed.I took a picture of this man before the previews even started. Although I thought it was so funny, he didn't when my flash interrupted his slumber...

It turns out I wasn't much better. I kept feeling my head start to tip after about forty minutes of the movie. My former late-night, college self would be so disappointed to see the lame, working-woman version I am today. I went to see a matinee this weekend and, hooray, I didn't fall asleep.
Although I was worse than useless at work the next day (I didn't get in until right before 4 am), it was definitely worth it just to get to wear my shirt and hear Edward take his vows imagining they were to me. Keely Cullen has a nice ring to it...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winning in Memphis

I took a half-day vacation this past Friday to spend Veteran's Day with my dad. We decided to take a family trip to Memphis once I reached Cleveland so that we could go watch my best friend, Cacy, play basketball. We played basketball together since we were 10, and I am so proud that she now starts for a Division 1 team. I knew we were destined to be the best of friends as soon as I realized we both wanted to be the number 22. The girl has got good taste, it really is the best.It turns out we weren't her only supporters. Her family that lives in Memphis came, too. If only they had asked me to join them. I would have gladly been an exclamation point.

The Saturday in between her two games, my family drove to Tunica, MS. Gambling with my parents is one of my favorite things. We always have the best time-win or lose. I even ran into an old friend from high school there. More importantly, however, I hit a straight flush fifteen minutes before we had to leave. Yep, this girl left $1,000 richer.

I'm sure the dealers and gamblers from that day are still slightly deaf from the shrieks and laughter coming from me and my mom. What do I plan to do with my money?



Buy these sheets that are made from vintage love letters. Everyone at work has already called me a grandma for spending my money on sheets. It's fine, I'm okay with that because I'll be a grandma sleeping on awesome sheets :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mormon is the Word

I went to visit my best friend Jenny in Layton, Utah last week. We had the best time. You know you're close with someone when you can stay in and just watch Dawson's Creek and talk until four in the morning, repeatedly, and think it was the best vacation. We did manage to get out of her apartment a couple of times--we had to go buy cookie dough. :) Juuuust kidding, we got out for other things, too.
I learned several things while I journeyed out west. First, Mormons really aren't that different from the Bible Belt Christians I've been around. Yeah right. I met this cool guy on the plane (well, cool until he sketchily asked for a ride...) that was a Mormon living in Salt Lake. He explained it all to me. Apparently they can't have caffeine, drink alcohol, use protection, etc., etc., etc. He was under the impression Southern Christians live this way. Puhlease.

Second, Paranormal Activity 3 is a crock. The entire movie I kept expecting to be terrified. When two girls can go home alone and stay up for hours without "hearing" or "seeing" something freaky after seeing a scary movie, it's not a very good. We did take a picture there as proof that we did venture out of our pajamas and her apartment.

People in Utah also go to Halloween parties, shop at Kroger (even though they call it Smith's), eat sushi, and will return a smile.

Utah got awfully lucky when Jenny Barbee became a resident. I'm awfully lucky to have her as a friend.

PS: I finally figured out how to add more than one photo to a post. It's a little link that says, "Add More Photos." Who knew?!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Try is the Worst Word


Try seems like it would be a positive word. It seems like a word that begins with motivation. In reality, try is an early excuse.

As the manager over a crucial, detailed, and lengthy project, I have been hearing the word "try" far too often. It doesn't matter that I send out reminder emails starting a month in advance. The week of, there are still going to be those people who will try to complete the task. I just want to shake them and say, "No, no, there is no trying. There is only doing, so get it done."

It's a good lesson for me, I suppose. I now realize that, although I do not say "I'll try" when it comes to interactions with others, I certainly say it to myself. That is just as bad. No more trying to make it to the gym at least three times a week or trying to cook more often. This girl is going to do.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pinterest Mania

I found the mother of all social outlets available on the web. Pinterest. I have always loved to peruse the internet for good ideas on decorating, entertaining, fashion, etc. Now I love it even more! Essentially you create virtual bulletin boards. Gone are the days when you have to send your email address hundreds of links for recipes, gift ideas, and the like. Gone are the days when you have to mark something as a "favorite."

All you do is click "pin" on any photo on the internet, and it is immediately captured under the board you select. This means in ten years if I want to make the Nutella Crack Cake under the board titled "Sweet Tooth," I only have to click the picture and it takes me directly back to the original page that has the recipe.

Not to mention you can follow other Pinterest users or friends, comment on and "like" others' pins, and even repin others' pins as your own! It's amazing. Beware though, it's completely addictive.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Modern-Day Walden Pond

I have always loved having my own space to think, dream, read, etc. As a child, my dad would often scold me for "isolating" myself. I suppose he didn't want me to become some weird, anti-social outcast. As I have grown up, I have managed to hide or dismiss most of my anti-social tendencies.

Now I simply have an outlet. Once I moved into my new apartment, I decided I did not want cable or internet. I also have "technology-free" weekends where I even turn my phone off. I do always make time to call my parents though, as they tend to worry. I like to think of this year as my modern-day Walden Pond. Each day after work, I come home to either music, reading, running, journaling, or a combination of them all.

After almost two months of this, I would like to say I have found some profound knowledge or discovery, similar to Thoreau. I can't say that I have. The only thing I've discovered is that after experiencing solitude, you realize more than ever who you want to be there when you don't want to be alone.

Here's to a year of solitude, retrospect, and growing up with complete independence and the ability to do whatever it is I may want to do in my little third-floor apartment--other than watch tv or surf the internet. We'll see how I handle this come basketball season when I cannot watch my beloved blue devils play.

Monday, September 12, 2011

People Haven't Always Been There For Me but Music Always Has

I love this quote ^ from Taylor Swift. It's so true. Despite how many times people let me down, these songs never do:

1. Up on the Roof-The Drifters. Despite never having access to a roof, I feel I could have written this.
2. Can't Hurry Love- The Supremes. Such a shower singin' song.
3. The House that Built Me- Miranda Lambert. This will be the first song I learn to play on the guitar.
4. Sweet Baby James- James Taylor. James Taylor never lets me down, but I especially love this one because he wrote it for his nephew. Boy, do I understand that.
5. Don't Think Twice-Bob Dylan. He's always good. This one, though, has a special place in my heart and is absolutely never skipped on my iPod.
6. Home- Michael Bublé. I am so thankful I live close enough that home is never too far away for a visit.
7. One Fine Day- The Chiffons. Never fails to get me moving and bring back memories of lip-sync performances and riding to school with my dad.
8.Secret Garden- Bruce Springsteen. I especially love this with clips from Jerry Maguire.
9. Catch My Disease- Ben Lee. Best loud with the windows down.
10. Living for the Night- George Strait. King George should have a spot on every list.

I hope when you're disappointed by people, work, etc., you also have good music to get you through.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Minus the Costumes, This is My Life


Before moving into my new place, I told myself I would try to meet as many people as possible and wouldn't refuse any invitations because, I have learned, networking really does make all the difference.

Since I moved in, I have only seen one girl outside for long enough to strike up a conversation. I complimented her purse (it was this awesome Dooney & Bourke) because who doesn't like a compliment? As it turns out, this girl either didn't care for them, or for me one. She scoffed at me, tucked the purse tighter under her arm, and walked away. Strike one.

Since then, I have made six new friends. All under the age of 9. I met two siblings, Naila and Cole, because Naila stomped up to fuss at me for parking at the opening of the stairs. It's where she and Cole ride their skooters. As soon as I told her that wasn't my car, we became fast friends. For the next couple of days, they would wait on me when I got home from work and occasionally come up to my apartment.

At the beginning of the following week, I got a knock on my door just as I sat down for dinner. I peeped through, and seeing six kids, thought they must be selling something. Cole then popped his head up and said, "Miss Keely, I told them you were really cool and would let us come in your apartment!" Before I could even respond, they all charged into my living room. After watching A Cinderella Story (because they deemed that something we would all enjoy. Evidently my Friend's episode was not.), drinking all of the Yoo-Hoo's my mom bought for moving day, and telling me all about their favorite subjects, friends, and sports, they finally went home.

I'm still working on meeting people my own age, but as long as I keep Yoo-Hoo's in the fridge, at least I'll keep my adolescent friends. Here's to growing up.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Things Do Not Change, We Change


I used to love Forever 21. Now I rarely go into the store. I used to hate my hair. Now I embrace it. I guess Thoreau was right. We change, not things.

In middle school I thought high school kids were the epitome of smart, cool and mature, and I was extremely intimidated . Once I was in high school, I thought the same about college students. Maybe I developed into the stereotypical college student that thinks she knows everything but really has no idea, but I truly did not feel intimidated of really anyone upon graduation. I have already met numerous executives and influential people that are considerably older and wiser than I am, and I comfortable with who I am and my KSA's (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. My teacher would be so proud that I remembered that). With those two things combined, I thought I was set to interact with anyone I might encounter.

This all changed when I walked into the luncheon for the United Way Loaned Executives program, wearing a suit I might add, with one simple question, "Are you in the right place?" All that confidence and comfortability I just mentioned? Out the window. I suddenly felt like the little girl in her mom's suit playing dress-up, but somehow I just giggled, nodded, and then proceeded to ramble at a high-pitch. Maybe I haven't changed as much as I thought.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Someone Give Me a Happy Meal!


Since I graduated, I have been looking for a gym to join because I no longer have the luxury of using the T-Rec whenever I want. Everywhere either has a contract that is 2 years or greater, or they charge monthly fees of $60 or more. For one person!

Furthermore, of course fruits, vegetables, and organic food are the most expensive items in the grocery store. I'll never forget when I was picking up a carton of eggs a year or so ago and this woman took my hand and said I should really buy the cage-free, organic eggs. She then proceeded to ask me if I knew how the chickens that created non-organic eggs were treated. Yes, woman, I do. The thing is, at this point in my life, I can either eat non-organic eggs or no eggs at all.

My last rant is about the restaurant industry. Why can I not order off the kids menu as an adult? And if I can, why do you charge me two dollars extra? Why can I not order a lunch portion for dinner? You're selling food either way.

All I want is to stay fit and active without breaking the bank. This adult wants a Happy Meal, too!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

End of an Era: Moving Day

I left my apartment at the Woodland's for the last time this morning. Just saying that doesn't seem real. I have moved more than a few times in my life, so the fact that I have lived in the same apartment since the end of my senior year of high school is a big deal. Over the years, this apartment has become much more than a temporary college residence. I painted and put pictures on the walls; I grew herbs (well, one herb) in the kitchen. I made it a home.

Through the past four and a half years, 202 has seen its share of laughter, tears, friends, family, startling and unwanted occupants, and everything else in between. It has absorbed the spewed milk from fits of laughter while enjoying cookies and girl talk, the tears in the kitchen when life gets a little too hard to handle, the rain we tracked in every single time we went grocery shopping because we have stellar luck, and the love that was shared between two best friends, their friends, family, and occasional flings.

I can't help but think of the Friend's episode where they finally all move out and on with their lives. I bawled during the episode and have a feeling I will just as much in real life. It's the end of an era. 202, it's been the time of my life. I hope the new tenants love you just as much as I did.

Friday, July 29, 2011

My Wall of Fame


I will never have an interior designer decorate my house simply because I love when a house embodies the inhabitants. Who knows me better than me? I like to think that if someone saw my apartment, especially my room, they would say it looks like it would be my room. A big part of that is, as my friends have dubbed, my "Wall of Fame." I have been packing here and there in anticipation of my move on Wednesday, so the other day I used my free time to pack up my "Wall of Fame."

A house, or apartment, isn't a home without photos on the wall. At least mine certainly isn't. I didn't realize that when the "Wall of Fame" came down, it would completely change my entire room. It showcases my favorite people, memories, and events. It showcases everything important in my life. With it gone, it no longer looks or feels like "my" room.

One thing is for sure, when I get to my new apartment, I'm immediately having my mom hang up the "Wall of Fame." Lord knows I can't do it. Maybe that's another thing I should add to the list of things to accomplish for the year: how to hang things on the wall using that nifty, curved hook my mom uses. Nah, that would bring my list to 23. I can't have that jinxing my year.

Lady Luck Has Left the Building


As I mentioned before, I certainly believe in superstition. This has made me realize that I have been cursed, jinxed, whatever you want to call it. Despite firmly believing in my head that this would be my lucky year, it is simply not. This is still my birthday month, and all I have had are a series of unlucky events:
  1. The night of my birthday, this drunk guy dropped his beer glass while I was mid-stride heading to another venue. Of course the glass would manage to shoot right into my shoe and slice my toe something awful and promptly end the evening of celebration.
  2. I got towed while celebrating Lucy-Allen's birthday, even though we both parked in the restaurant's parking lot. Non-negotiable $90 down the drain to a company that operates from a trailer with la-z-boys on the front porch.
  3. The following day I got rear ended on the interstate in the left lane. On the way to the airport.
  4. Once in Orlando, my dad and I decided to go the casino and play cards. I really don't know why I even tried...
  5. Just two days ago, I pulled out a box of shoes that I haven't worn in about a year. I will spare you from finding out just what was in the box, and the shoe that I had already put on my right foot.
I'm looking forward to seeing what fate has in store for me for the remainder of my "lucky" year. One thing I know for sure though, I'm never trusting the WSJ again.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lucky 22

I have never thought of myself as a superstitious person. Even though I used to always wear the same type of socks for every basketball game, the same tennis shoes for over 2 years even though they had a giant hole in the toe, always listen to the same music before particular events, etc, I still believed I was "above" being superstitious. Recently, turning twenty-two really made me see that I am superstitious--and I like it!

Twenty-two has always been the birthday I have looked forward to the most. It's a family tradition to wear the number 22 on a jersey, and I suppose I always believed it would bring me luck. I know it sounds crazy, but I really do believe this is going to be an excellent year for me. And as it turns out, if I believe I'm lucky, I'm much more likely to be so! The Wall Street Journal says so: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703648304575212361800043460.html

With my undoubtedly lucky year, here is what I plan to accomplish:
  1. Move into my own apartment and live alone.
  2. Meet new people at the new apartment.
  3. Watch my nephews play basketball together for the first time at Halls High School.
  4. Learn to sew (a button at the minimum).
  5. Study for the GMAT (and do really well since it's the year).
  6. Go to Harry Potter World in Orlando.
  7. Run the Disney Princess Half Marathon with my mom. Go team "Moore Fun to Run!"
  8. Learn to play the guitar.
  9. Go fishing.
  10. Watch some of my very best friends graduate from college.
  11. Save enough money by the end of the year so that I can buy a car.
  12. Read at least two books a month.
  13. Host poker night at my new apartment.
  14. Start couponing!
  15. Grow an herb garden in my kitchen.
  16. Create a business plan that I am actually passionate about.
  17. Finally fix my itunes so that if someone stole my ipod, or it died, I wouldn't die as well.
  18. Force myself to start listening to the daily news, even if it's only while I'm brushing my teeth.
  19. Take a cake decorating class.
  20. Dress up for Halloween. No, I do not believe there is an age limit, and I never will!
  21. Stay in touch with old friends--more than just through facebook.
  22. Figure out just what I want to do next year and pray that the luck continues :)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday Morning Mouse Attack

Today started the same as every other weekday morning. I came to the office, slipped my shoes off once I was behind my desk, and started getting to work. Everything was going great, I even figured out a problem on Excel that had been driving me mad for three days. Next thing I know, I have a visitor staring at me from my doorway. It seems a mouse thought my office was interesting enough to inspect.

I paused, thinking this couldn't be happening, and then I saw it start to twitch. I'm my mother's daughter, so of course I started screaming bloody murder! This mouse was surely stupid because when I started screaming, it turned in every direction, apparently unsure how to react, and then charged directly at me! Needless to say, the screaming got worse on my end and I was on top of my desk in less than a second. All of my coworkers came running asking what was wrong. I don't know how they missed me yelling "MOOOOUUUUUUSSSSEEEEEE!!!!!" at the top of my lungs.

My boss, Greg, came in with a giant garbage can and directed everyone to calm down and go into the receptionist area while he shut my door and took the mouse on alone. I was obviously not going to get my shoes, as they were under the same desk the mouse was currently inhibiting, so I jumped off my desk and tiptoed into the lobby as quickly as possible. After a few minutes, I was finally able to breathe normal again. Right when I thought we were in the clear, the mouse comes flying right by my bare foot! I take off running down the hall, the entire time screaming, "Why is it chasing me?!!" I end up in the conference room on top of the table. All the men in the office come running in, armed with trashcans, brooms, etc., and start chasing it around the room until it runs back into the hall.

Eventually it ran into a small filing cabinet the men were able to heft up and shake over the big trashcan until it fell out. Karrie, one of our receptionists, said Greg was about to bust a blood vessel trying to shake her cabinet to get the mouse to fall out. I wouldn't know, I stayed on top of the conference room table. Anyways, they ended up rolling the trashcan out and releasing the mouse into the yard. Worst idea ever.

I just know he will come back for me. Here I am, heart rate pounding, anticipating all of the spots in my office where he could sneak out and surprise me. That mouse has tainted my perfect image of my office, ruined my simple pleasure of slipping off my shoes, and certainly thrown all of my professionalism and maturity, in my coworkers' eyes, out the window. Thanks, mouse, for nearly causing me to have a heart attack and ruining my perfect morning.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Birthday Week!


I received a phone call at work yesterday from a local florist saying the delivery boy forgot my flowers, but they will be here tomorrow (yesterday!). She said they were from my parents and the card read, "Happy Birthday Week!" I couldn't contain my grin. For a minute there, I thought being a big girl meant I forfeited my birthday week.

I have met countless people that are shocked by how much I love birthdays, not just mine, because when they grew up it simply meant they went to dinner with their family. Not at the Moore house. My family makes a big deal out of birthdays, and I love it! I have always said Valentine's Day and birthdays are my favorite holidays. Birthdays are the one day of the year to celebrate you, your life, and all that you love. I hope you all have people in your life, like I do, that make you feel special every day, but especially your birthday week!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Father's Day!


All my life I have always compared boys of all ages to my dad. I realize what a mistake that was-- no one will ever compare to my dad, and here's why:
  1. He is the most selfless person I know. He has made countless sacrifices for me (and every member of my family) so that I can have such an amazing life.
  2. He sees the best in everyone and is so good at making them see themselves through his rose-colored glasses.
  3. He's tough. Physically and mentally, he's the strongest person I know. Yet, somehow, he manages to be sensitive, understanding, and genuinely kind.
  4. He is extremely moral, but never judgmental.
  5. He has made growing up as his daughter not just easy but so fun and full of love. He has always treated me as an adult while making sure I always know I will never be too old or mature to take a nap on his chest or cry on his shoulder.
May I always make him as proud as he makes me. I hope he, and the rest of you, has a perfect Father's Day!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Saving for the Future, Spending for Now

I am learning so much about saving and planning for the future at work. In fact, I will be opening a Schwab account soon. I have always been extremely conscientious of spending money--I'm a sale shopper! Here recently, however, I have been thinking about it entirely too often. I am finding myself hesitating to visit my parents in Cleveland for a weekend because of the gas money, worrying about going out to eat with my girlfriends, and even riding without air in the middle of the day with a full tank of gas!

I think I knew in the back of my mind, every time money crossed my mind, that I was worrying about the wrong things. What I should be worried about are my priorities if I didn't go visit my parents whenever I get the chance, go eat with my friends and order dessert if the mood strikes, and blast the AC until I get chills.

I can honestly say that if my parents do not leave me a dime, I will be happy because I know they spent all their money on truly taking advantage of the best life has to offer. They drive to Knoxville to see my nephews play one basketball game sometimes several times a week, take spontaneous trips "over the mountain" to work on their poker skills, and go see movies weekly where my dad always gets nachos and a coke even though it's about a 3,000% markup! They are happy, and debt-free, which is more than most can say.

I will always be a saver. I have no doubt that will never change. Actually, it can't because I get it deducted automatically! But being a saver doesn't mean I can't be a spender, too! Who wants to take a trip? I have some living and spending to do, and some vacation days to use.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A J.K. Rowling Education


There isn't much in life I enjoy more than a good book. My mom will sometimes come across a couple and will email me the names so I can pick them up at McKay's. Recently, she thought I would enjoy the book A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz. I was immediately interested because I like Jane Austen and could relate to having books instill valuable life lessons. While I'm sure Deresiewicz makes some valid points defending Austen's teaching (I've not read it yet), I already know where I stand on the issue.

There isn't an author out there that will ever teach me more, or even as much, as J.K. Rowling did in the Harry Potter series. I grew up reading the books over and over so much my Dad forbid me to continue to reread them and then spanked me because he caught me late at night attempting to sneak and read them after I said I had gone to bed! I truly believe that in hundreds of years our great-great-great-great grandchildren will recognize our generation by Rowling's novels, if nothing else.

It seems I'm not the only one who acknowledges the lessons to be learned from the Harry Potter saga. My cousin, Sydney, recently graduated high school and her class quote was from Albus Dumbeldore, Hogwarts Headmaster, rather than Thoreau, Emerson, etc. Maybe I should write a book about my Rowling rearing, surely it would outsell plain, ole Jane Austen!

PS: the final installment of the Harry Potter movies comes out July 15th. Here's the trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_kDb-pRCds
I'm sure you'll be just as excited as I am after you see it. Feel free to bring all of your enthusiasm over to my apartment the night before the premiere. Yes, we are having a Harry Potter party, and yes, I will be dressed like a witch!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Purpose-driven

As I have just finished my first full-time week of work, I have been doing a lot of thinking about where I want to be in five, ten, twenty years. Whenever I thought about what I wanted to do when I "grew up," I always thought I would want to make enough money that I could always completely support myself with enough extra spending money that I can go to the movies, travel, eat out, and buy gifts without fear of not being able to pay the bills. Other than financially, I thought I would grow to love any job I have, so I never thought about what specifically I want from a job other than a paycheck.

My dad got a call the other day from a former player who proceeded to tell my dad how much he impacted his life and his career path. I cannot count the number of people my dad has positively impacted through his profession, and I am always so thankful that I have had him around my entire life as such a positive role model. Even my mom, who pursued a mathematical profession, has greatly impacted many lives through her career. She helped a not-for-profit organization increase the number of foster parent inquiries by over 1,000% so that kids who would have normally been raised in state orphanages were able to be placed in individual homes instead. Both of my parents sleep easily at night. They know they have made a difference in so many more lives than just mine.

While I enjoy my job, I certainly do not feel as if I am fulfilling some greater purpose or helping humanity. I research, coordinate events and meetings, and do more research. I suppose that is what is expected right after college. I am determined to have a purpose-driven life, so it will be interesting to see how I can manage that suit-clad with a window view. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bona Fide Businesswoman


Nothing says "welcome to the adult world" quite like getting your first business card. Nothing has for me anyways. I walked in this morning and a pretty, paisley box was sitting on my desk full of my business cards. Even the cards are pretty! My name is spelled correctly, it has the number for my direct line with my personal voicemail, and my own work email address. It's amazing how one little card can make you feel so bona fide!

The other night a friend of mine told me I should always carry a business card on me when I go out. I initially thought I wouldn't because I always find it annoying when someone tries to sell me something, or themselves, when I'm trying to enjoy myself. I like to keep work and play separate. After seeing these cards, I have changed my mind. Networking, here I come!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Exhilaratingly Terrifying

My mom has recently become a fan of blogs. She repeatedly sent me the daily posts of one in particular, until I finally signed up for it myself. The blog is called Chookaloonks, and today it gave me some inspiration. The author of the blog points out that the best ideas are always exhilaratingly terrifying. I think she's right.

Every great decision I have ever made is a little bit scary. Maybe that's why I haven't been too eager to graduate; it's scary! Maybe that's why I rarely let people see the real me; vulnerablility is scary! From today on, I will be more open, seek risks and uncertainties, and do it all with the knowledge that the best decisions come from having the courage to put your head up, fake confidence if necessary, and dive headfirst.

Bring it on, graduation!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The End of the Beginning




I graduate in 9 days. All of my friends have been counting down since December. Just typing the sentence saying I graduate next week makes me want to cry. I can't tell you how many times I have said the words, "I don't want to talk about it," whenever someone brings up graduation.

I think something may seriously be wrong with me. For my high school graduation, everyone was sad and somewhat scared to leave. I didn't even care if I walked. I was so ready to start college and the next chapter of my life. Now, when everyone is so excited to graduate, I want to absolutely refuse to do so. It got so bad a few weeks ago that I actually took the time to see what would happen if I did not complete another assignment in any of my classes. Turns out not even that would keep me another semester.

All of my life I have loved being a student and learning new things. I still get excited to call my parents and tell them about my classes and lectures! I love, I mean love, buying new school supplies every August and December to prepare for the upcoming semester. I love sitting on the front row. I love looking back on all of my notebooks from previous semesters filled with notes, doodles, and memories. I even love cramming for exams until the wee hours of the morning.

It seems this is the end of the beginning of my life. Boy, it has been a good one. If I happen to see you at graduation with tears streaming down my face, don't be alarmed. It's 21 years in the making.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Unsung Heroes

I woke up this morning to find out that my nephew, Stetson, got Prep-Xtra Sophomore of the Year and had a feature article in the newspaper. Needless to say, I was smiling all the way to work. After reading the article as soon as I sat down to my desk, I finally got around to checking my emails and getting started for the day. I got even more good news when I checked my email; I was selected to be a staff writer at thetwentylife.com.

I am thrilled at the opportunity. The more I started thinking about the position, the more thankful I became. Although I would love to think that my new position is due to my superb writing skills, I know better. The chain of events, and people, that shape and mold you into who you are create your opportunities. The most successful people I know are the best at realizing just that.

So today I thank all the people who helped me realize my passion for reading, writing, and the English language: Judy Blume is the first that comes to mind because her novel, Are You There God? It's Me Margaret, is the first novel I ever remember rereading. Little did I know JK Rowling would come around and cause me to get in trouble because I reread her books entirely too many times. Mrs. Connell was my seventh grade English teacher and would not let me settle for simply loving to read. She forced me to analyze poetry and pursue creative writing. I love both now. Finally, my parents are the biggest contributors. I can't tell you how many nights they would stay up and critique my papers. With my mom's formal, editorial style and my dad's creative suggestions, they certainly helped create, inspire, and encourage my writing.

Here's to those who have helped us along the way. May anyone who gets an award, job, whatever, realize and acknowledge those people.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Simple Pleasures



Ah, the first post in a while. Simple pleasures have been on my mind all day today. I have a quote hanging up in my room that says, "Do ONE thing EVERY day that makes YOU happy." When I first saw it, I thought it was brilliant! The more I read it, however, the less brilliant I think it is. One thing? I cannot imagine how unhappy I would be if I only did one thing every day that I enjoyed.

Every single morning I wake up and have milk with my breakfast. I surely have the world's strongest bones. That used to be pleasure enough, but since I came to college and was able to experience all the new-found wonders that come from complete freedom, I took it a step further. I drink milk out of the jug-and I love it! I have an internship this semester that causes me to wake up every morning at 6:30. Despite the early rising, I always make time to go downstairs at 7:00 and take the time to eat breakfast. I sometimes can't help but giggle at how I am sitting in the middle of my kitchen floor smiling because I am chugging milk right from the gallon. What would my mom say?!

That being said, I start off every morning with something that brings me true pleasure. People have asked me in the past why am I always so happy. I was never able to really give an answer other than, "I just am!" Maybe I finally have the answer: I do tons of things every day that make me happy when it seems the rest of the world has to have a sign to remind them just to do one.

I came across this link for the 30 Most Satisfying Simple Pleasures:
http://www.marcandangel.com/2008/03/23/the-30-most-satisfying-simple-pleasures-life-has-to-offer/
I loved those, but in case you need more inspiration, here are ten of my favorite simple pleasures that I would add to the list:
  1. Taking my shoes off the second I sit behind my desk to work
  2. Driving a little too fast around the curves I know so well leading to my apartment (maybe this one is a little guilty!)
  3. Listening to music really loudly
  4. Using this jumbo pink chapstick from Palmer's that I found in the ethnic section at Wal-Mart. It looks like a giant crayon, and it makes my lips look, feel, and smell great!
  5. Reading a book that makes me laugh out loud or gasp with the thrill of surprise or terror. I always have a book on me.
  6. Listening to Christmas music no matter the season
  7. Learning something new
  8. Looking down at my toes and seeing them painted a bright, funky color
  9. Walking on the hardwood floor at work in my heels. That sound makes me feel so sassy and powerful.
  10. Wiggling, shaking, and dancing for the entire duration you microwave something to eat or drink. I read in a magazine a long time ago that this was guaranteed to boost your mood. It sure does. I'm not sure if it's the actual movement that makes me so happy or thinking how funny it would be if someone saw me. Either way, I love it!
ps: If you ever come visit me and want cookies and milk, you were forewarned about my jug-drinking passion :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Only Prettier

One thing I think every girl from the South can attest to is having another girl be unkind. It's just the way life goes. The difference in the South, however, is that girls are so good at being nice about being mean! It doesn't sound possible, but oh, it's true. It is even such a crafted skill that most guys raised in the South cannot recognize it. When they hear a girl tell another, "You look so cute," they always take it literally and assume they are being nice. In fact, I have told my dad before that a girl was mean to me and he has said, "but I heard her say hi and compliment you!" Being a man, I guess he will just never understand exactly how a mean, Southern girl operates.

Miranda Lambert, one of my favorite singers, recently had a single out called Only Prettier that says:
"I don’t have to be hateful, I can just say bless your heart

And even though I don’t belong with your high life friends
It doesn’t mean we don’t get together and try to make amends
It’s easier can’t you see
Let’s agree to just disagree
We don’t have to like each other but it’s sure fun to pretend

So let’s shake hands and reach across those party lines
You’ve got your friends just like I’ve got mine
We might think a little differently
But we got a lot in common you will see
We’re just like you
Only prettier

Everybody says you’ve gotta know your enemies
Even if they only weigh a hundred pounds and stand five foot three
If you just smile and behave you can always get your way
It’s a universal plan that’ll get you where you can in all societies"

I have never read lyrics more true.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Country Strong

I am a movie buff. I love them. All genres. When I was growing up, I always went to see movies with my parents. Following the movie, it never failed, my dad would ask me these deep, philosophical questions about the movie, the message, characters, and plot. Needless to say, I have learned a lot from movies.

Although I love movies with a profound message that really cause me to think about my life, I am also a huge fan of your typical chick-flick. :) That's what I expected when I went to see Country Strong--a nice, feel-good chick-flick. As it turns out, it does have romance, but it also explores pain, loss, success, and love on the deepest, truest level. The acting was superb, and I liked and learned from all four of the main characters. The other great thing about it: it's based in the South!

Country Strong: exactly what I've always aspired to be... strong enough to choose love over everything else. If you haven't seen it, you really should. It even has a pretty great soundtrack! :)