It’s that time again. . . Back to School!

Why so much enthusiasm for back to school this year, you might ask? Especially given my recent retail experiences with the hell of back to school shopping?

To be honest, I don’t think I have been this excited for the first day of school since Kindergarten. In the past, back to school has always signaled to me the end of summer, and sitting still for hours on end each day, bored to tears. And last year, coming to college as a freshman was an entirely different experience. Don’t get me wrong, I had an awesome freshman year of college. I met so many new friends, took classes that really interested me, and became much more independent living away from home. But, it wasn’t always smooth sailing, and Freshman orientation was probably one of the most anxiety filled experiences of my life to date.

This year was different though I came to school already knowing lots of friends, knowing who my roommate would be, and feeling much more prepared for the year ahead in general. Plus, the fact that I have no classes on Fridays this semester doesn’t hurt either 🙂

Having successfully completed the first week of my Sophomore year, I felt the irrepressible need to blog about. In addition, I have been crafting up a storm this summer in preparation for my new room this year! And I am so excited about it! But before I say more, here are some pics of my new home for you all to feast your eyes on

My side of the room

And some close-ups!

The kitchen corner. We all know how important food is

Gotta have some color above the desk

Closet and jewelry organization

 

I am absolutely in love with my  room! Last year I researched for dorm decor like a fiend, but I found that I didn’t really like all that much of it. . . And I also realized that outfitting your room can get spendy fast. So, here is what I recommend/what I have done

1. Almost all of my wall decor was made by me 🙂 (you may recognize one of the pieces above my bed from this post )I picked up a variety of cheap frames from the dollar tree and places like Ross and Target, and hung them with command hooks.

2. Speaking of wall art, I had a variety. I not only framed fabric, but also used embroidery hoops to frame it. I think mixing frames and having a variety of shapes and sizes really helps me pull of that ordered chaos thing I tend to go for.

3. As you may have noticed, I didn’t go in with much of a color scheme. Last year I bought bedding that was reversible, so this year I used the flip side ( I highly recommend reversible!), which has a blue geometric pattern. This brought in some pattern and color for my bed, but also allowed me to bring in a variety of colors in my other decor.

4. I collected a lot of little postcards and things from places/events I went to last year, which are all on my bulletin board- memorabilia is always an easy way to personalize your room.

5. I am a huge fan of color since I go to school in Washington (can you say Rain?), but I think that no matter where you are, it is important to have at least a little color to brighten up your room.

6. One of my best brainstorms this year is featured in the last pic. My roomie and I had to rearrange every piece of furniture in our room to get it in a configuration we liked, so we used the bookshelf as a little entry table/storage space. We covered the top of the shelf with drawer liner adhesive from the dollar tree!

So here is what I recommend for everybody:

A college room is temporary; don’t spend a ton of money on things that you may not want by the next year or two

Make it personal; this is your home! It should reflect you and be comfortable!

Make it functional; again, this is your home, so you need to make it work for you, storage is key.

Lighting!!! So important! Most dorms use the same flourescent lights in dorm rooms. If you (like me) hate that, make sure to have a few lamps. My roomie and I also plan to pick up string lights closer to Christmas (and by closer to Christmas, you know I mean in like 1 month)

Well, that about wraps it up. Hope everyone had a good week! If you have already survived the first week of school, congrats! If not, good luck!

 

 

 

Packin up and Movin out

After my last day of work yesterday (HALLELUJAH), it’s time to to get packing for school. I gave myself two days to pack up before moving back in on Saturday, with classes starting Monday. I think I may have underestimated just how much crap I have. . . But, according to all the Facebook posts I’ve been seeing lately, I am not alone in my packing dilemmas.

Despite my struggles, I’m now on track to leave and almost all packed up. As a result of all this, I have created a NO FAIL PACKING PROGRAM! for all of you who struggle with packing for a move, or even just for a vacation. By following my multi-step program, you can have a successful packing experience too!

Here it goes:

Step 1. Make a conservative list of all the things you will need to pack

Step 2. Guestimate how much space you will need and get out those suitcases/boxes

Step 3. Do a ton of laundry so that the clothes you pack are actually clean

Step 4. Pack all of the items on your list

Step 5. Reevaluate your list, and add as many additional items as desired

Step 6. Decide you just need one more box/suitcase

Step 7. Fill up said box or suitcase

Step 8. Start getting paranoid. Pack for all the random situations you know are probably unlikely, but still possible

Step 9. Realize you have no clothes left to wear. Pull out a few. Put in a few more.

Step 10. Take a little break, maybe have snack. Put on some music to motivate you to finish packing.

Step 11. Sit on suitcases/boxes in order to close them. Duck tape is always handy during this step.

Step 12. Crap. Don’t have Duck tape. Make a run to Target. Get distracted by all the awesomeness Target has to offer. Buy some random things that you don’t really need.

Step 13. Cram in that extra stuff, and use that handy dandy duck tape you just got to seal up all your packing containers.

TADA! You are done! I have personal proof that this is by far the MOST effective packing method.

A Lesson in Retail Etiquette

Working in retail this summer, I have learned that although there are many nice, polite people out there, but there are also countless obnoxiously rude people.

Some are just in a bad mood, but others are simply oblivious.

With the back to school frenzy, things tend to only get worse. Though retail employees are there to help and provide you with customer service to improve your shopping experience, they are not there to be personal doormats.

So, I am writing this post to educate you all on the appropriate behavior to exhibit as a customer.

Here are some tips to shop by:

1. Set a budget before you go in the store, especially if you plan to do a lot of shopping (back to school, christmas, etc). As a retail employee, I get really uncomfortable when customers haggle, or bitterly complain about how much things cost. I don’t set the prices people!

2. If you are shopping with your kids, please refrain from yelling at them  and/or arguing with them while at checkout.

3. Most asked question this month: Is it always this busy? I realize that customers may not know this, but I can assure you, if you are shopping during a particularly busy time of year (again, back to school, christmas) THERE WILL BE OTHER CUSTOMERS AROUND GUYS. And, as much as this is beyond your control, your attitude most definitely within your control.

4. When you get to the register, it is very helpful if you DO NOT dump out everything you are purchasing on the counter and spread it out so it takes up the entire space, especially if you are buying a large quantity of merchandise. A little patience, people. We will be more organized and less likely to make a mistake as we ring you up if you load up our counter as we go.

By keeping these simple rules in mind, you will make the jobs of people like myself so much easier, and help us to make our days a little bit smoother!

 

 

Vacation to the rescue (continued)!

So, I last left you at Salt Pond beach. . .

Next, we headed off to the Wailua River:

Because the land on either side is owned by families, or leased from the owners by tour companies, we drove up to a look out to see it. Although it was beautiful, we opted not to do a canoe tour, because it gets quite congested due to how popular it is.

Instead, we went a less traveled route (more on that later).

From the river, we forged on until we got to the town of Hanalei. This was one of my favorite towns on the island, because instead of a strip mall and a bunch of resorts, this place actually looked like a small town! And, its surroundings are absolutely gorgeous! Be warned though, this is the “rainy” side of the island, drizzly even in August.

The picturesque church in Hanalei

Hanalei also had one of  the longer, least populated beaches on the Island, with homes lining it rather than resorts

For those of you who have seen Descendants, this is the beach that George Clooney goes for a run on ; )

Hollywood aside, this beach is also pretty cool for its Bali Hai quality

This becomes even more apparent from the lookout above the town:

The agricultural side of Hanalei

Next on the agenda was our alternate to kayaking on the Wailua: Paddle boarding down a smaller river, followed by a hike.

I had never paddle boarded before this, but it was surprisingly easy! It probably helped that we were on a pretty calm river with the wind at our backs 🙂

On the hike, we swam in two swimming holes, had a picnic lunch, and tried fruit that our guide found for us.

One of the swimming holes

Apparently, a few scenes from the latest Pirates of the Caribbean were shot there!

Some more pics from the hike:

We did the earliest excursion, so we got back in the early afternoon, and spent the rest of the day at the beach.

We got fancy the next day with a dinner cruise to see the Nepali Coast:

The cruise was one of my favorite parts of the vacation! Beautiful weather, views, calm waters, and very relaxing.

We also drove to the Waimea Canyon:

We finished up our trip with a three-mile hike (unmarked, without a guide) around the Poipu area. The hike boasted gorgeous views, and points of archeological interest:

The “Pinnacles”

The Sinkhole

And that concludes my Kauai vacation!

Vacation to the Rescue!

Aloha! I am back from my much-needed Hawaiian Vacation. And of course, now the back to school shopping frenzy has begun, therefore I am working a lot, therefore I have not written my promised vacation post. Never fear! Today I am actually getting around to it!

This year, we hadn’t really planned on taking a vacation at all. We thought we might just go to the coast for a few days, but nothing BIG was planned. However, when my mom found a good deal, we ended up in Kauai!

Now, let me just say this: I will not do well in the real world. After only a few months of working, I was really glad to get away on vacation. What will I do when I have to face real life outside of my cushy college existence? It will not be a pretty sight, my friends.

ANYWAY. We had ten days in Kauai(though two of those days were really travel days). I guess I didn’t realize just how long it would take to get there, but it took a good 8ish hours total, and we didn’t bring any food. . .  I was not the happiest about this. My mom was convinced the flight was only 5 hours. . . how she got to this number I have no idea, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised given her notoriously bad knowledge of geography.

In any case, we landed, made our way to our “Resort Condominiums,” got some food, and passed out at around 9 pm.

During our first few days in Kauai, we mainly lazed about at the beach, swam in the ocean, read a book, etc. My big outing during this time was to the garden at our Condos, which was actually pretty amazing (see pics below). Truthfully, despite how beautiful and relaxing this was, at this point I was getting a leeeetle antsy.

Orchids from the gardens

 

 

 

Luckily, the next day we headed out to a farmers market in Hanapepe, a few miles down the coast. I loved it so much that we went back the day after to do a little more exploring. While in Hanapepe, we ate at an awesome coffee shop called Little Fish (I recommend the mexican jumping bean) and discovered the country’s western most independent bookstore (which made my heart flutter a little. While there, I found a book for my mom involving Downton Abbey (and who can say no to that?!).

Old Sugar mill on the way to Hanapepe

The book store!!!

Canal in Hanapepe

After adventuring to Hanapepe, we spent the next day at Salt Pond Beach state Park, right outside of Hanapepe. There was a beautiful beach there, as well as historic salt pans, which are still used by some families today to collect salt from.

Man working in the salt pans

After another day at the beach, we made a long drive around the rest of the Island. We first stopped at the Menehune Fish pond, outside of Lihue, the Island’s largest town. The fish pond, in addition to providing excellent views, is historically significant. The pond is man-made and included a gate that would let fish in, but not out, allowing men to trap the fish there and raise them, similar to a fish hatchery today.

Menehune Fish pond

This post to be continued. . .  Look for part two of my Kauai vacation, coming soon!

Gone on Vacation- Be back soon!

I’m super excited to be going on vacation tomorrow! I had hoped to fit in one more post before heading off to Hawaii (!!!!!!!) but that will have to wait until I get home. Between working everyday up until leaving and packing and cleaning house before leaving, time has absolutely flown by!

Gotta get up at the buttcrack of dawn tomorrow, but I cannot wait to hit the beach when I get there!

I will be leaving my laptop at home while I’m gone (I think I need a break from the interwebs for a bit), but you can look forward to at least 2 picture filled posts on my vacation when I get home!

Friends With Kids: A Movie Review

So, I was not planning on writing a post today, but after watching Friends With Kids last night, I decided I needed to review it.

Let me start out by saying this: the plot of Friends With Kids is not unpredictable ( I like those double negatives, get used to it), yet still managed to surprise me, which can be somewhat hard to do.

From left to right: Leslie, Alex, Missy, Ben, Jason, and Julie

The movie centers around a group of 6 friends from college: Jason (Adam Scott), Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt), Ben (Jon Hamm), Missy (Kristen Wiig), Leslie (Maya Rudolph), and Alex (Chris O’Dowd). Ben and Missy are a couple, as are Leslie and Alex, leaving Jason and Julie the only two of the group who have not found “their people.”

As the friends chug on through their thirties, everyone starts poppin out kids, and Jason and Julie seem to be the last ones standing. Starting to sound familiar? Everything comes to a head at Jason’s Birthday, when the two step through Alex and Leslie’s door and into the hell that is sleep deprived parents endlessly nagging each other. And the fun continues when Missy and and Ben arrive with their newborn, also fighting, though in a more passive aggressive sort of way.

After the birthday disaster, Jason and Julie discuss the pros and cons of having kids, debating whether it is the kid who ruins romantic relationship or if it is the whole “set up.” Jason pretty much sums up what Julie wants when he says, “So you want to be already divorced, with a kid, so you can meet the man of your dreams?” Confusing? YES

Of course, the obvious conclusion in this discussion is to have a kid with your best friend, split responsibility down the middle, so that they will each already have their kid, and can then be free to find, “their person.”

After a verrrrry awkward hook up between Jason and Julie (spoiler: porn and alcohol is involved to get in that baby-making mood), Julie pops a baby out, and the two embark on the experiment of raising their child as friends while they see other people.

While I originally rolled my eyes at the plot of this movie, I actually genuinely liked it. First of all, this movie gets brownie points for the cast! Kristen Wiig? Maya Rudolph? Jon Hamm? Secondly, this movie didn’t fall into that rom-com pit of a poppy, shiny, Hollywood-ized mess. This movie felt kind of warm and homey, partially because of the dynamic between the group of friends, and partly because of the dynamic between Jason and Julie. In their early days of baby-bliss, they act a little bit like a couple on a honeymoon, yet they do it so subtly that it comes off as believable, rather than corny, and the looks on their friends faces are priceless when they see these two together for the first time after the hospital.

Then Meghan Fox starts dating Jason, and everything goes to shit. Of course. I won’t spoil the ending, but there was a point when there was about 2 minutes left, and I was like, people you need to resolve this NOW! Because I was really rooting for this couple, and there was a good stretch of time when I was freaking out that they were NEVER GETTING TOGETHER.

As a 19-year-old, I admit that I know next to nothing about the toll kids can take on a romantic relationship from an adult point of view, BUT I have witnessed the strain between parents from the kids point of view, and this movie managed to explore this rocky, fragile balance in a  relatable way, without being cheesy or overdone.

Overall, Friends With Kids = a movie worth seeing!