Post-Grad: A Year Later

Hey Cats!

Exactly a year ago today, May 16, 2015, I walked across the stage at Texas A&M, was handed a diploma and thrown out into the world to fend for myself. Just kidding, it was an amicable split. I remember being so excited and proud of myself but sad and terrified all at the same time. Honestly, sometimes I still feel that way. I can’t believe it’s already been a year! It’s been an interesting one for sure, but a happy year as well. Here are some things I’ve learned about myself, life, and Jesus this year:

I'm an educated woman!

P.S. my diploma is still in that tube.

1.You don’t have as much free time as you did in college. I remember my Bible study leader telling us that we’ll never have as much discretionary time as we did at the time, and honestly I didn’t believe her (sorry Kate- but I know now!). I was always busy in college, rushing from one meeting to the next, going to school and work, and squeezing in homework, so I thought once some of those things went away I would have more time.  But now, I feel like there’s never time to do everything I want and need to do. Like, I should probably be cleaning my nasty house right now, but here I am, blogging. It’s definitely taken some planning, prioritizing, and learning to say no, and it’s still not easy, but I’m working on it!

2. Living alone is the best thing ever. Seriously. It’s really expensive, but it’s really worth it. If anyone’s in my house, I invited them to be there. If I want to leave my towels in the dryer instead of fold them, I can do that. No one’s cheap beer is squishing my leftovers in the fridge and literally everything is hot pink or gold. It’s a dream come true.

3. Don’t forget to clean the lint catcher in your dryer. Okay, so this is kind of a pathetic story, but there was a period of a few months where I would have to leave my clothes in the dryer for about two to three cycles to get them dry. After one particularly annoying instance where I had reset my dryer FOUR TIMES and my towels were still damp, it dawned on me that maybe I should possibly clean out the lint catcher (does this have a formal name? “Lint catcher” just sounds weird). I could barely get it out it was so full of lint. It was terrible. I could have spun yarn out of it and crocheted a blanket. I’m surprised my house didn’t catch on fire, honestly. So now I empty it after every other load, and my dryer works just fine!

4.It’s okay to change your mind. I’ve changed my mind about quite a few things over the past year. Whether it’s the church you’re going to, your boyfriend, or what you want for dinner, it’s okay. As long as you’ve prayed about it and don’t do it all the time, it’s okay. You’re not going to get it right the first time every time.

5. You will always miss the free tacos and the free gym. Like, honestly. Sometimes I just want to run around the indoor track at the Rec and then get free Rosa’s on the way home. Ugh.

6. Don’t forget who God says you are. Moving to a new place where I didn’t know anyone was exciting, but also really challenging. And it still is, to be honest. One time, when I was having a particularly tough time, I wrote down all of the things/qualities that God says I am, and the things He says I’m not. It’s great to have on hand to go back to when you need it.

7. It’s possible to make good friends after college. I thought that I had reached my bestie quota for life after I graduated. I mean, everyone’s best friends are usually from college or high school. I expected to make friends, just not tried-and-true, first people I call when something is wrong sisters. But I was wrong. I found two of my very best friends this year, and I am beyond thankful for them. They’ve definitely made it onto the bridesmaid list!

8. People won’t ask you to do things if they don’t think you can do them. At work, there have been quite a few instances where I’ve been asked to tackle roles or projects that intimidated me, causing me to panic and think, “I CANNOT DO THIS.” But obviously, I had no choice, so I’ve been forced to figure it out. And you know what? It’s usually not that  bad! I still have to tell myself sometimes that they wouldn’t have asked if they thought I was going to fail. And it’s definitely encouraging to know that others believe in you!

9. You don’t have to spend all of your shopping budget every month. But LOL, you probably will especially if you’re like me and have zero self control.

10. If you put God in a box, He will promptly remove himself. One thing I struggle with is limiting what I think God can do in my life. I tend to think that He will only work in ways that I can see and understand, but that’s not right at all. For the longest time, like since I was in high school, I was convinced that I would marry the first boy I ever dated. I thought that that was why I hadn’t ever dated anyone; because God was going to give me one and be done. But I was wrong. And you know what? I’m thankful that I was, because God just reminded me that I actually do not have it all figured out, and the only way to deal with a change in plans is to trust in Him completely.

11. Do something that isn’t all about you. Confession: it’s hard not to be selfish when you’re single and live alone and can basically do whatever you want. I joined the Junior League this past fall, mainly to find friends, but I have loved getting to serve my new community with other women. Whether I was helping raise funds or helping sweet high school girls find a prom dress, I honestly loved every second of it, and it was a good way to stop thinking about myself and think about helping others. JLTW was a major highlight of my first year post-grad, and I’m so happy I joined!

12. Staying in shape after college is so difficult. For real. It’s because I don’t walk nearly a mile every day, aside from actually working out. Not to mention the gyms that are filled with real people are incredibly crowded. I’ve given up on that and have started working out at home.

13. You’ll be tempted to become a workaholic. Don’t. There are always blog posts to be written, emails to be answered, and projects to be completed. For a while, I would work for an hour or two at home every night, but then I felt really overwhelmed. So I stopped. Now, I’m not saying to not do your work. There have been times where I’ve stayed up until the wee hours entering information into spreadsheets because they had to be done. I’m just saying that you definitely need a break from work every now and then.

14. You will still miss everything about college. The friends, the freedom, wearing Norts and a tee to class, the cheap rent. I went back to College Station a couple of times this year, and I cried a little every time. It’s like nothing has changed but everything is different. That place will always, always, always be my home and my favorite place on earth. I don’t think I would actually want to be in college forever, but sometimes I wish I could do it again just for like a week. The good thing is, I can always go back and it will welcome me with open arms!

15. You can do it. Honestly, when my parents left me at my apartment a week after graduation in a strange town, I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I was excited but also really scared, but determined not to give up and move home. I thought about it a few times, and sometimes I still do. But looking back on this past year, it wasn’t always easy or fun, but I did it, and the Lord was with me every step of the way. I have a job that I love, I made new friends, I went through some tough times, I made some big decisions, and developed a love for specialty cheeses. This year wasn’t what I thought it would be at all, but I’m so thankful for the path that Jesus has led me down, and I’m excited to see what my future holds!

bethenny-gif 2

Just kidding, I still know nothing.

Thanks for letting me share some real talk today. That’s all for meow!

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TJMaxx Tweak- Lilly Pulitzer Maxi

Hey Cats!

For some reason, I am exhausted this week! I’m not sure if it’s because I had a busy weekend, if my regular 6-hour sleep schedule isn’t going to cut it any more, or if it’s because I haven’t been going to the gym regularly anymore. But I should probably start going to the gym again, for a variety of reasons. I’ve been wanting to join a gym, but I can’t find one with an indoor track, and I’m just going to have to convince myself to start running on the treadmill, which could take some time. The treadmill is just so boring, though. I feel like you run forever, but you never get anywhere!  The rec center at school kind of became my second home, and I’m going to have a hard time finding a place that I love as much as I did. Nevertheless, I need to go somewhere, so I’m just going to have to suck it up and start paying for a membership. Ugh. But I digress.

For the longest time, I knew that I wanted to get a Lilly Pulitzer shift dress for graduation. I wanted something classic, Southern, and grown-up, and a Lilly shift had all of those qualities. In November when I started looking, I had my heart set on the Janice shift dress in Shorely Blue.

janice-shift

It was perfect, and I was so excited about it. But, it was definitely expensive, and I wasn’t doing a great job at saving my money. Around spring break, I realized that I probably wasn’t going to be able to afford it. While I was at home for spring break, I went shopping with my mom and sister for Easter dresses, and though I wasn’t happy about it, I started looking for graduation dresses, too. I couldn’t find anything I loved (for graduation…I found about 5 I wanted for Easter…I had two different looks I was going for, okay?) at the first few places we went, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. The next day, my mom and I went to TJMaxx to look for a new top to go under my suit, and I thought I would browse the dress section while I was there, just in case.

AND THAT’S WHEN I FOUND IT. I saw the recognizable, bright-colored, juice-stand print peeking out of the rack, and I literally ran to it. They had my size, but there was one problem…it was a maxi dress. My mom was like “I don’t think this is going to work,” but I dragged her into the dressing room anyways-you can’t get what you want if you don’t even try.

I tried it on, and just as I expected it was WAY too long for me. But it fit perfectly everywhere else, and it was beyond gorgeous. I loved it, my mom loved it, and I had to have it. I twirled around in it for a while, and then I had an epiphany. “What if I cut it off and make it a shift dress?”, I asked my mom. She thought it was a wonderful idea, and we spent the next fifteen minutes in the dressing room deciding where we could cut it off, if the alteration place could actually do it, what to do with all the extra fabric, and of course, what shoes I was going to wear. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. Not really, but graduation has come and gone and I’m still just really excited about it.

Here’s what the dress looked like when I bought it:

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Please disregard the HUGE MESS that is my closet at my parent’s house. I was going to take a better picture of it, but I forgot until I was at the alteration shop and the lady held her scissors up to it and said “there’s no going back now!”. So this is the best I’ve got. Anyways, don’t you love it? I will admit that it made me a little sad to cut off all that extra fabric, especially since it had that beautiful lace trim on it. But my mom and I salvaged the fabric and I’m thinking about making a skirt out of it! Also, since this was at TJMaxx, I’m pretty sure it’s out of season. I don’t recognize this print, but I still really love it!

And here’s what it looked like after alterations:

IMG_0431

 

I’m obsessed. Still. I will seriously wear this thing as long as it fits, because we all know that Lilly is timeless. I was so happy to find it, especially since my dreams of a Lilly dress were crushed by my financial irresponsibility. Speaking of, you’re probably wondering how much I paid to make my graduation dreams come true. The dress itself was $80, and alterations were $20, so $100 total. Still not cheap, but significantly less than buying my first choice! I’ve never been one to tweak clothes to my liking, because most of the time, alterations are kind of a hassle, and it seems easier to me to just find something else that fits how I want it to. But do you remember Monday’s talk about not settling? Yeah, this was about the time in my life that I decided not to settle for anything I didn’t really want, and I decided that yes, that even applied to my clothes. Also, I really like the idea that probably no one else has this exact dress. I’m definitely going to start searching for more bargain pieces that I can tweak to my tastes. This is a great way for those of us who are extremely picky to customize our wardrobes without spending a fortune!

That’s all for meow!

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DIY- Monogrammed Mortarboard

Hey Cats!

It’s Wednesday! I hope y’all are having a wonderful week, and if not, Friday is in 48 hours, so keep thinking about that. Houston has decided to finally be sunny, which I have been loving after all of these scary floods. Luckily, most of the roads where I live weren’t affected and I was still able to get to work (and Chipotle, thank God), but I know there was a lot of flooding and damage near downtown Houston. But at last the sun is shining, it’s actually worth my time to fix my hair, and it’s finally starting to feel like summer!

As you all know, I recently graduated from college. One thing I had been looking forward to about graduation (for a few years, actually) was decorating the mortarboard. I also knew for quite some time that I wanted to put my monogram on it, because as you all also know, if I can monogram it- I will. On your mortarboard, it’s classic, personal, and even if there are 50 other girls with monogrammed caps, your family can (maybe) still tell which robed figure you are. In the words of my friend Ashley, “either monogram it or leave it blank”. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

However, I personally don’t have the best penmanship (I like to describe my handwriting as comparable to that of an 8th grade boy), so I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to do this myself. Ashley had hers embroidered, which I really, REALLY loved and planned to do for probably a year. But, guess who forgot to order her cap and gown until Spring Break (Sometimes I’m not really sure how I made it through college), and wasn’t able to pick it up until three days before graduation? So embroidery was obviously out of the question, and I was forced to get creative.

While scrolling through my Instagram feed, I caught a glimpse of a car decal on Marley Lilly’s account, and I had an epiphany. Buy the decal and stick it on my hat. Minimal effort, maximum effect. However, I was a little concerned as to whether or not the decal would stick to the fabric on my mortarboard. After all, you only get one hat, and I didn’t want to mess it up. So I emailed support at Marley Lilly, asking whether or not they had ever received feedback on using a car decal on a graduation cap. The girl that responded was very nice, and she even gave me a few tips!

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I chose the 5 Inch Decal in pink glitter, because go big or go home, obviously. I chose to place it in the back corner, because the button was in the way, and luckily, it fit right in the center of the “M”. It was pretty easy to apply, but I did accidentally rip it, as you can see in the left corner of the “L”. But, it wasn’t too noticeable, and I was still really happy with it! It matched my dress, and my family said they could definitely find me in the crowd… but that could have been because I was struggling to keep the stupid thing on my head as I walked in Note: if you’re graduating soon, please bring bobby pins, no matter how big you think your head is. Because though they claim to be one size fits all, they sure are not. I digress. But seriously, if you’re looking for a quick and inexpensive way to add a personalized touch to your big day, a decal is the way to go. Marley Lilly has a variety of sizes, fonts, and colors, so you can coordinate to your dress, show some school spirit one last time, or just pick your favorite color! Whatever you decide, just remember that if you don’t monogram it, just leave it blank.

That’s all for meow!

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Monday’s Musings- A Few Updates

Hey Cats!

I feel like I haven’t blogged in maybe 20 years. I’ve wanted to, and I’ve had so many good ideas, but what I haven’t had is time. The past few weeks have been out. of. control. So much has been happening that I feel like I’ve been living in an actual tornado. A happy tornado, though. If that’s a thing. My life has changed so much so quickly, and I’m so excited to finally have time to share it with you!

First, on May 1, I accepted a job offer, which was when the happy/busy tornado began. I was beyond excited, because it’s a healthcare administration position in a pediatric office in the Houston area, which is basically everything I wanted out of a career. When I was applying for jobs, I thought I could probably manage to get one of those three things, two if  I was lucky, but definitely not all three. I’ve already started, but I’m still so excited about starting my career!

My start date for my job was May 26, and graduation was May 16, so my last two weeks in College Station consisted of me scrambling to find a place to live in Houston, packing up my house, hanging out with all of my friends for (hopefully not really) the last time, soaking up the last days of college life, and, of course, graduation. It was such a whirlwind with lots of emotions, and I loved every second of it.

Some of my best friends and I right before graduation.

Some of my best friends and I right before graduation.

After graduation, I went home to Tyler for a week before I moved to Houston. It was nice to be with my family, but it was also really busy, since I had to help my dad paint some of my furniture, pack up my room, and (try) to clean up and not leave my parents with a mess! It was a little sad to leave, knowing that I was about to be actually, really, 100% on my own in Houston, but I was excited! My parents helped me move in last weekend, and my first week of work has been great! I also love my apartment, but I’m not sure what to do with all this free time I have now that I don’t have homework or tests!

I'm an educated woman!

I’m an educated woman!

It’s been a lot of change in a small amount of time, but I know that it was time for a change. I absolutely loved college, and my four years in Aggieland will always be some of my favorite years of my life. But, near the end, I could tell that I was “outgrowing” college, and I was ready to have real responsibilities and be more of an adult. I’m excited for this new stage of my life, and I’m excited to share it all with you on the blog!

That’s all for meow!

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Monday’s Musings

Hey Cats!

Another week closer to summer! Actually, that’s not really too exciting for me, as I have yet to figure out what I’m doing this summer- eek! Hopefully I can figure that out in the next couple of weeks.

Today’s quote actually goes along quite well with that anxiety of not knowing what to do…

DVF quote

I have been in a bit of a tizzy lately because I feel like everyone has plans for graduation except for me. People are either getting married, going to medical school, or know exactly what job they want to have, and I feel like I’m way behind because I have none of those things. However, this quote is a great reminder that there are many people who don’t know what they want to do, and it’s okay. I mean, Diane Von Furstenberg said it, and she turned out just fine! This week, I’m going to try and focus on the type of woman I want to be- kind, caring, intelligent, and successful (to name just a few)- rather than what job I’ll get after I graduate. That will all fall into place!

That’s all for meow!

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