Friday, February 25, 2011

The End of Days

Today has been quite the indulgent day. After last night's milkshake extravaganza, I was still very much in the comfort/emotional eating way today as well. Between stress and the dental issues, my eating has been so up and down lately that I sometimes wonder who I think I am!

I decided that today was just going to be the day where I eat what I want. I will not worry about nutrients or anything else like that just for today AND I won't make myself feel horribly guilty for it either BUT it has to end here. I got some of my favorite things today but it really needs to be my last day of carb heaven. Here it is in all its glory:

That would be a cinnamon scone and large iced coffee for breakfast; Nathan's hot dog with lots of mustard and Diet Coke for late lunch and apple fritter for dinner. All of my cravings all in one day and I'm not even visiting with Aunt Flow right now. Hey....there is apple in the doughnut! A fruit!

So I haven't been taking very good care of myself and have also been really hard on myself which is getting me no where very fast. I have the next week off for winter break and have some big plans to get myself back to where I should be. One of my good friends has lost over 100lbs. over the past year from diet and exercise and I need to use that as my motivation. I have lost a good little chunk of weight over the past year and although my eating habits have gotten much better, most of the weight loss was due to immense life stresses.

I have a small goal to reach for my birthday and I know I can reach it with just a little effort and focus. A little more than one month to go!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

25 Things You Don't Know About Me

In the same effect of Tina's earlier post, I also love the US Weekly feature of "25 Things You Don't Know About Me" and although I doubt I am as interesting, it is fun to do!


1. I am in the Higher Education Student Affairs graduate program and no one really knows what that means.
2. I spend time running around on Twitter and following certain celebrities' tweets. 
3. I have been told I am a good writer but I have always struggled with writing.
4. I have never broken a bone (*knock on wood*).
5. I don't currently own a real bed.
6. I sometimes miss having a food service job that requires you to constantly be busy and moving.
7. I hate the phone to the point that it can cause anxiety now.
8. I always answer emails in a timely fashion.
9. My Netflix queue is at 149 and the Instant Watch queue is up to 72.
10. I despise when reporters ask prominent people in society (politicians, heroes, etc.) about pop culture. No, President Obama doesn't care about Lady Gage or Justin Bieber. Don't ask!
11. Figs are X-Rated to me.
12. Sometimes I think I should have gone into fashion.
13. My ideal living situation would allow me to walk pretty much everywhere and have a Trader Joe's within an hour driving distance.
14. I research EVERYTHING because I always need to be as prepared as possible.
15. My first concert was Janet Jackson.
16. I cannot handle second-hand embarrassment. It's why watching "The Office" can be difficult, why I won't go to the NKOTBSB concerts and why I won't watch a majority of the YouTube video links my family sends to me.
17. I have absolutely no musical talent what so ever.
18. I have four tattoos and hope to get another one this year.
19. I haven't seen a movie in a theater since August 2010.
20. I hate hot weather and sweating.
21. I have neighbors that get "intimate" only in the earliest hours of the morning. We have thin walls.
22. I only like the soft, melty parts of ice cream. I have been known to soften the ice cream in the microwave.
23. I can't handle when people misspell basic words or capitalize inappropriately. I hate when I catch myself doing it, too!
24. All of the clocks in my house are at least 10 minutes later and the one in my car is 12 minutes later.
25. I don't see the big deal about manicures and pedicures.

Ok...anyone else have anything to share??

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The reason I am in grad school....

[I]t is better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb then half way up one you don’t.
- Dawn, The Office [UK], Season 1, Ep. 6

From this post:
"You’re better off taking a low-level job that excites you than a mid-level job that drains your will to live. I essentially did that with my own writing career and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I might have lost income, but I gained the joy of being a more involved father and husband."

When I was unemployed in Portland and crazily looking for jobs, I kept coming up on the same postings for receptionist and office worker. Those are great positions and if they were for companies that I could believe in and eventually move upwards (community service organization, non-profit, school, etc.) then I would have been fine but those are so few and far between that it seemed pointless. The more I applied for dead-end positions, the more I felt like I was losing the fight for independence and happiness. Pretty big stuff, right?

So I chose a field of work that I could see myself in long-term. Then, I looked at what was needed to get to those positions and one thing kept coming up again and again: graduate school. Experience can take the place of education but with Oregon's unemployment rate the second highest in the country (at the time), I knew I was fighting a losing battle. Thus began the great graduate school exploration of 2009. I researched schools, looked at admission requirements, studied for the GRE, and went on every grad student forum I could find. It was an exhaustive experience that had me put my job search on hold for a few months to get all of the paperwork and requirements completed. It was so absolutely worth it AND I found an amazing temporary position that filled up the time between admission to EMU and actually starting classes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thrift Store Fashion

Oh yes, I love the thrift stores. As anyone who even mildly knows me, I have an addiction to them. As I was thinking about my design aesthetic for both fashion and decor, I realized that I could never go into a big store that has a million varieties of each thing and just pick out something I like. If I go to, for example, H&M, I don't look at the regular racks of clothes, I more so look at the clearance racks then go to the sale items and then maybe wander around the store. This is in large part to my frugality and my desire to find things that are unique but that also look good on me (which can be a major challenge). When I go to a thrift store, I look through everything because you never know what might jump out at you and what might be hiding among the weird, high-waisted pants and granny shirts.

My favorite Ypsi thrift store (so far) is Value World. They had sent out 50% off coupons this month and I got myself all excited to go on Friday! I haven't been in the shopping mood for quite a while because of the money crunch but I had a little bit of room to breathe in my budget and with that coupon, really, I couldn't not go!

I decided that even though it was busy, I would go in, take my time, and not get flustered or too concerned with prices. I slowly went around the perimeter of the store grabbing books first then moving into the household items, shoes and then finally diving into the clothes area.

wine glasses 80 cents, glass picture frame, vintage kitchen towel and glass jar

I was mad with book needs! All were 30-80 cents each with coupon

After I firmly established my desire to shop, I went to the clothes area. I was hoping to get some things that made me feel a bit more pulled together and I had a few things in mind. One jacket was something I saw several times before but never picked it up because I wasn't sure it it was worth the $3.20 (yes, crazy, I know!) but it was still there this time and I decided I had to have it. For most of the items, if they turned out to be duds then I could chalk them up to a little bit of money lost but nothing terribly bad. I grabbed this amazing plaid jacket (bad, shiny buttons though) and a velvet blazer. Be still my heart black velvet perfect blazer!

And you can't see how amazing the velvet blazer is on because I forgot to take a picture of it! Below the jackets, you see four belts that will aid me in attempting to once again be fashionable. I keep seeing things in my closet that could be cute if I had a belt but when I go into fancy stores, I think I look ridiculous with a $12.00 skinny belt. With wild abandon, I grabbed four belts that I thought could work with my wardrobe. There is a black shiny and pale pink skinny belt, a weathered brown weave belt and a green and blue stripped belt that was kind of the wild card.

A few of the other items that are definitely going to be helpful since the return of the snow! Layering is my only armor. There are two gray tops and a brown corduroy and black knit skirt.

All of the clothes were regularly priced $1.20-4.20 with the most expensive things being the velvet jacket and the Abercrombie & Fitch gray knit shirt. With my fabulous coupon, I spent only $16! It is the most I have ever spent here but I was in the thrift store haze, what can I say.

Monday, February 21, 2011

University of Michigan

Ever since I moved to Ypsilanti, there seems to be a rivalry between Ann Arbor and Ypsi and EMU and University of Michigan. UM is the fancier more prestigious research school while EMU is geared towards teachers, hence the "Education First" tag line. I had no real preconceived notions about UM since I have been surrounded by University of Oregon, Oregon State University, University of Washington and Portland State University. I have no idea about Midwest rivalries.

For one of my classes this term, I was sent on a campus tour and was to act as an alien observer to see what the school promoted, what the ideals and morals were, and what student life was like. I chose UM because of how pretty the Ann Arbor is and it was the ideal time for me to get comfortable with driving to the campus and understand some of the resources that might be available.

I went on a really cold day earlier this month but it was actually better than the week before when it had been -25 and I didn't want to get out of the warm apartment. The campus is gorgeous. The snow gives it a very New England, elite and fancy vibe that makes you feel as though you may not even still be in a city or a state but really, that UM planet all by itself.

The Law School area was particularly impressive. We were allowed into the library under the pretense of no talking and only to take a peek inside and then quickly and quietly move out of the building. It is gorgeous! The mural on the ceiling to the sculptures on the outside are all so exquisite and remind you of the history that has taken place on this campus. If I were a high school student still deciding on schools, I would have been so impressed with the buildings and the people that have come here before. The tour focuses heavily on this area of campus (why wouldn't they!) and the student life areas of the dorms and the student union but also emphasize tradition and fun tidbits about the history of UM.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Catching Up

Ugh, it has been far too long since I updated! I absolutely apologize for that. So much has been going on this past month and it feels like I am in slow motion while the rest of the world moves ahead full force. Luckily,  next week is winter break which means I can get some artsy-fartsy stuff going to break out of my paper writing shell.

I have a few posts lined up but wanted to share some pretty pictures of the snow and the (albeit temporary) sunshine that came about last week! The few days of sun really helped with everyone's attitudes and seeing the grass (brown) for the first time in months was such a treat. Today though, we are back to major snow storm and ice coming in just a few short hours.


On Friday night, my HESA (Higher Education Student Affairs Program) girls and I went to go see The Rocky Horror Picture Show! Eastern Michigan University was holding performances all weekend long so we grabbed tickets for the 7pm show and hit up dinner before hand at Sidetrack. It was delicious! I was craving some serious meat so I got the burger sliders with feta cheese and roasted red peppers. The fries were average but I stole a mozzarella stick from one of the other girls and those were awesome. Next time I am trying those darned fried pickles! I had the most delicious (and HUGE) beer, something from Michigan with a raspberry taste but I cannot remember the name. Next time I am also going to tackle the huge martini list.

At the show, we could either have a "VIRGIN" or "SLUT" bag. Since I only had two dollars on me, I had to be the virgin for the night but it was still really fun. My bag had a newspaper, water gun, rice and cards. There were scripts handed out to the audience that told when and what to scream and throw. So fun! I had rice in my hair (and shirt) and was slightly damp thanks to the rain scene. If you haven't see the movie yet, I recommend you do! Then go see the live performance with a bunch of crazy people. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Single Woman Adoption

Change in the topics if there ever was one, right? I was randomly reading through my Google Reader and found an interesting discussion happening over at The Simple Dollar. The blogger is written to for advice and selects a few to answer back to. This one was of particular interest to me.

(copied and pasted from the web page)
Q10: Single woman wants child
I am a single woman, 32, never married nor do I want to. I am considering adopting a child. I have a flexible career in which I earn $35K, plus I have $25K put aside to pay for the adoption and another $10K saved as an emergency fund. Is this a financially realistic thing to do?

I think it’s financially realistic if that’s your current situation. My concern would be for the child – and for you – in terms of emotional and intellectual needs.Being a parent is very demanding. Your child will need a lot from you in ways that you can’t even anticipate yet. It’s not easy at all. There are times where you’re going to need emotional support and there are other times when your child is simply going to need the perspective of someone else in their life. If you’re going to do this, I would not do it completely in a vacuum. Do you have a sibling that can help in certain situations with regards to giving parental advice and encouragement when needed? A close friend? Make sure you’re ready to do this and that you’re going to have all the resources needed to give this child everything he or she needs.
As a woman almost in her 30's and who previously considered adoption in her mid-30s if there were no significant partner in my life. this was really interesting to hear. The advice asked for was financial but the advice given was personal. The advice itself isn't bad or negative necessarily but the comments that followed, especially between a blogger named Adam P. and Kevin, are pretty interesting. One is very much open to the idea of giving children a loving home while the other strictly thinks that children need to have two parents to be happy and healthy in a home. I included some interesting examples of the conversation below. It is a lot to read but man, did I get worked up! I couldn't believe how disparaging the view of a single woman wanting to have a baby on her own could be. 

Example A: "Children do better with 2 parents. Sometimes life happens (divorce, death), and that’s not always possible, so you make the most of a bad situation. But to deliberately and knowingly walk straight into a single-parent situation, just to fulfill some selfish desire to feel like a parent, is misguided and self-centered, in my opinion."

Words of Inspiration

Since I feel absolutely pooey and half of my mouth is completely numb, I thought this would be a MOST excellent time for some words of encouragement and enlightenment. Tolstoy, anyone?

Tolstoy wrote these rules when he was eighteen years old (Source):
Get up early (five o’clock)
Go to bed early (nine to ten o’clock)
Eat little and avoid sweets
Try to do everything by yourself
Have a goal for your whole life, a goal for one section of your life, a goal for a shorter period and a goal for the year; a goal for every month, a goal for every week, a goal for every day, a goal for every hour and for every minute, and sacrifice the lesser goal to the greater
Keep away from women (ahem, men...)
Kill desire by work
Be good, but try to let no one know it
Always live less expensively than you might
Change nothing in your style of living even if you become ten times richer

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I need a strong, intelligent man...

One of the best Post Secrets.
He is the Picture of the Day.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Picture of the Day

Now just replace "Trevor" with "April" and you are totally in my head.

The snow storm hit here in Michigan Tuesday night around 6:30pm. I don't think I have seen that much snow since I lived on the east coast in 2003. It is oddly beautiful yet terrifying. I'll post some pictures up this weekend for sure. It was definitely the first time I remember seeing people use snow blowers and the salting trucks out in force. I'll see how bad things are tomorrow when I have to go run errands and attend a campus tour of University of Michigan. Hopefully not as cold today!

I can't wait for today to be over with. I have a wicked tooth ache and feel pooey. Apparently a diet of bagels and fluids don't equate to happy, healthy living! Who would have thunk that?