Unplug

I’m really not doing too hot on the whole blog thing, but it is something that I love to do, so I need to make it more of a priority for me. I spend so much time on my phone and my computer that sometimes writing feels like a chore. So, I’ve decided to delve back into what made me loving writing to begin with—books! I’ve had this ongoing list of books that I want to read and buy, but like many book lovers out there, I couldn’t help but be guilted by all of the books on my shelf that I purchased, but never got around to reading. I decided to pull out all the books that I hadn’t read yet, because surely there couldn’t be that many. I went shelf by shelf, watching my pile grow and grow to a whopping 28 unfinished books!

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I was shocked, but at the same time, I was like “Oh, it’s only 28?” In an attempt to motivate myself to read more, I gave myself a “no phone after 9PM” rule. Basically, this entailed setting my phone somewhere that it would not tempt me, and then forcing myself to be productive. It’s easy to convince yourself that you don’t have the time to read, or finish that project you started 6 months ago, or whatever other thing you might have put off. The truth is, time doesn’t just run away from you. You must decide what is worth your time and what should take the backseat.

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The first night was difficult, but I forced myself to read about 50 pages of a book that I’d gotten for Christmas, started, and then put down sometime after last spring semester. The book was Stephen King’s On Writing. I had specifically put it on my Christmas list, because I wanted to get serious about writing again. Without the temptation of checking Snapchat or watching Instagram stories, I suddenly was not able to put it down. I brought it with me to school, to work, basically anywhere that would maybe allow me to read for a few spare minutes. I finished it in a couple of days, and I felt completely refreshed and inspired to write and read more.

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Side Note: Anyone who is even remotely interested in writing, and I mean like real writing—the kind of writing that makes you want to lock yourself in a room for months on end, building this world and creating this story that just seems to burn through you like wildfire—if you’re into that kind of writing, then you should definitely read this book. I could feel his love for writing and books so fervently that I couldn’t help but be reminded of when I felt that way, too. Anyway, this isn’t a review, but it really was so good, and helpful, and comforting, and terrifying—it was everything.

The point of this post is that after a week of reading, instead of scrolling mindlessly through social media accounts, I read almost 3 books. By distancing myself from the constant content being produced on Instagram, Twitter, and everything else I obsess over, I was also able to see clearly what I care about seeing and what I just scroll or click past. Ultimately, unplugging allowed me to better budget my time so that my 24 hours are spent doing what I care most about. I hope that in the few weeks I have before fall semester begins, I can fine-tune this whole unplugging thing so that I can use it to my advantage.

So, maybe try distancing yourself from social media for a few hours and see how it affects your day. Let me know what things you do to unwind!

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Thanks for reading! And I will be back next week with another post! I promise.

The Importance of Disappointment

Hi. I’m back. I sincerely promise that I am going to get back into this blogging thing. Sometimes when your life is unbalanced, your work suffers. That has certainly been true when it comes to my writing schedule. Life is funny like that. If by “funny”, I mean cruel. I used to imagine that life was my companion, always at my side, ready to tackle anything that comes my way. But as I get older, I have realized that life is a large, all-encompassing ocean that just throws wave after wave at you; you have to either be on top of it, or you’ll get swept up and knocked down until the waters are still once more. I know it’s a little dramatic, but just bear with me.

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I faced a disappointment today. And it wouldn’t have been nearly as brutal had it not felt like “life” had set the whole thing up only for me to be yanked away from it at the last moment. Again, dramatic, but my mind seems to work only in metaphors.

All my life, I’ve been waiting for a sign or an experience to tell me exactly what it is that I should be doing. When I started college, I wanted to pursue something I loved: writing. So, I became an English major. For the most part, I loved it, but about two years into the program, I found myself sitting in a Jane Austen class, worrying if all those people who told me I wouldn’t make any money were right. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that class, and I learned a lot about social class and feminism, and how Jane Austen’s work is just as prevalent today as it was in the 1800s. I began to doubt my future as an author, so I panicked and rushed to find a way out only to run right into the communication department (yet another degree that is relentlessly teased for being a useless major, but I didn’t know that at the time. And actually, that accusation is completely false, but I will get into that another time).

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What I realize now that I didn’t at the time is that I had no clue what kind of jobs a communication degree could get me, but it was exactly what I needed in the moment: new and full of opportunities. As I got my feet wet in the department, I struggled to narrow in on a concentration. I was stuck between not knowing what I wanted to do and feeling an overwhelming desire to follow my dreams. Here’s the thing about dreams, they are always changing. When I was 9, my dream was to open a vet/groomer/boarding/puppy play palace. Now, that dream feels like a logistical nightmare. The reason I was so torn was because I didn’t know what my “dream” was. I had heavy interests in maybe screenwriting, maybe casting, maybe production, but I was also still very much in love with writing and wanted to see what my options were in media relations. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what to do, but that I had too much to pick from. I also had a fear that if I picked just one, it would be the wrong one and I’d have to start all over.

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So, I took a few film and public relations classes, and while I do still love the idea of one day writing my own television series or movies, I discovered a previously unknown love of public relations. It was something that clicked and that I was actually good at. This brings us to present-day. I graduate next May, and I have decided on the public relations concentration.  On a whim and on the fear of not having enough job experience when I graduate, I applied to several internships. To my utter surprise, I got an email requesting a phone interview. It didn’t matter to me at the time whether I got the position or not, because I only applied out of fear of regretting it if I didn’t. After a great phone interview, I was called in for an in-person interview, and the more I learned about the organization, the more excited I got. Each time I interviewed, I felt more and more confident that I had found that sign I’d been looking for.  For the first time, I was able to envision myself having an actual career. The position would give experience in not only public relations writing, social media, photography, but script writing, too, for their film and media department. I didn’t have to pick just one concentration; I really could have it all! Out of dozens of applications, I was one of three people vying for the internship.

It felt like the position had just fallen into my hands. If only I had caught it.

It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself and blame things like this on “Life”, but sometimes things just happen for a reason. It wasn’t the right time or place. I wasn’t the right person for the job. I still feel like I would have done a great job and I would have learned a lot. I may be a little bruised, but overall, I feel stronger than I did before this whole experience. Even though I didn’t get the position, I did not leave empty-handed. I left with the knowledge that I am a good writer, that I am able to successfully be in the running for the job of my “dreams” and the experience to try harder the next time I’m given the opportunity.

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I Have A Lot of Feelings About This Episode Of Girls

I just finished watching this week’s episode of Girls, and I have so many emotions right now that I felt the urge to write a post. Just be aware, there are definitely spoilers, so continue at your own risk.

Let me just start from the beginning. I have been watching Girls on and off since I was 18 (I am now 22), but I have really become obsessed with it in the last year or so. The fact that I have a very unhealthy obsession addiction to Adam Driver has not helped this. Anyway, from the very beginning, I have loved Adam and Hannah’s relationship. Yes, they had their issues, but I felt like they had both grown so much since the beginning, that maybe they could finally live happily ever after. But of course, we can’t always get what we want.

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Ever since I first saw the teaser last week for this week’s episode, I’ve been thinking about how they could possibly resolve the show. Because, let’s face it, we only have two more episodes left. To be honest, I was completely under the impression that Adam and Hannah would end up together, but when Lena was doing press before the season started, she made some comments about Hannah and Adam’s relationship. Basically, she said that she was surprised that so many people wanted them back together because that meant she hadn’t done a good enough job of showing how messed up their relationship was. From that moment, I had been mentally preparing myself for complete and utter heartbreak. Instead, I found myself very conflicted.

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This week’s episode starts with Adam telling Jessa that he wants to raise Hannah’s baby with her, and Jessa is seemingly okay about the whole thing, which was unsettling to me. Because, like everything about them is so explosive especially when it involves Hannah. But whatever. Then, the rest of the episode is like one big happy montage of Hannah and Adam being in love. I thought I would be ecstatic, but there was something in the pit of my stomach that knew it wasn’t going to last. They had been too far gone.

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What really shocked me was how guilty I felt for wanting Adam and Hannah to be together when it was obvious that Jessa needed Adam. Seeing her go back to her old ways of hooking up with random men in bars really hurt me. There was also a very strong parallel to Jessa walking into bar, and it was later confirmed in the “Inside the Episode”. The shot of Jessa walking down the street into the bar was the same shot they did in the first season when Jessa decided to go into a bar instead of have her abortion. It was obvious that her way of dealing with her feelings made her revert to her old ways, but she couldn’t just disappear into her old vices. When she said “I don’t want you” to the guy she was hooking up with, my heart broke for her. But then, seeing Adam and Hannah together again was so satisfying, which made me feel even more conflicted.

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In a way, Adam making that movie about him and Hannah was a self-proclaiming prophesy. Because when he was filming he mentioned something about even though they wanted to be together, the relationship was too intense to survive. And once they find themselves sitting in a diner, planning out their lives as parents, it becomes obvious to them that they can’t be together. Watching them cry reminded me of the end of season 4 (which is both my favorite and least favorite season finale) when they are faced with the reality of being back together, but know that it just won’t work. Throughout the show, they have tried and tried again, but they just aren’t good together. I think it was hardest for me to come to this conclusion (haha).


I can’t believe, though, that Jessa would just let Adam come back knowing that she is essentially his second choice. It’s sad. But at least she knows that being with him makes her happy. I feel like a part of her always considered herself this lone-wolf, but once she found herself actually alone, she realized that she wanted more. Also, she thought she was pregnant in season 1 when she went into that bar and hooked up with someone, and this season there was a scene of her throwing up and then going into the bar just like before. Seeing those parallels made me realize how much Jessa has also grown throughout the years, and she deserves to be with the person she loves. I feel like Jessa in the first season would have been too prideful to admit that she needed somebody; at least she is strong enough to make a decision based on her overall happiness rather than “winning”.

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I have to admit, if Hannah wasn’t going to be with Adam, I would have wanted her to be alone anyway, because she is a strong, independent woman who don’t need no man!

This show makes me so happy and so sad all at the same time, but I will never tire of these characters. This is a show that I will re-watch over and over again. And I will fight anyone who thinks that Girls is anything short of genius.

Luckiest Girl Alive: A Review

I haven’t been doing so well with my resolution to read more. Since January, I’ve only read two books. This past week, I read Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll, and it is so beautiful. I can already tell that it will be one of those books that you pick up year after year to read again.

I first heard of this book through a weekly newsletter that I am subscribed to. For those who don’t know, I am OBSESSED with Lena Dunham (blog post to come, I’m sure). She and one of the producers of Girls, Jenni Konner, started an online newsletter called Lenny Letter. Knoll wrote a piece in one of the issues a year ago today about her book. In the Lenny Letter, Knoll talked openly about how her personal experience with sexual assault led to the idea of her novel (you can read her piece here). She was so open and raw in her piece that, without even knowing anything else about her book, I had to read it. And on one fine day, I found myself once again strolling the aisles of Target when a familiar book cover caught my eye. I’m so glad it did, because I instantly fell in love.

The novel follows the soon-to-be Ani Harrison (formerly TifAni FaNelli), who strives to recreate herself in an attempt to alter people’s perception of who she was. She is a senior editor at The Women’s Magazine which is most comparable to our Cosmopolitan, and is engaged to the attractive, blue-blooded Luke Harrison. It would appear as though she has the perfect life, but very quickly you can tell that there is something unnerving about her. Throughout most of the novel, the reader is left in the dark about Ani’s past, but through small glimpses and memories, we slowly begin to understand the dark and twisted person that we’ve been unapologetically subjected to. Knoll creates a very realistic mindset that we get to experience throughout the entirety of the book.

Personally, I felt an instant (yet frightening) connection with Ani because her internal monologue mirrored my own in a dark way. Perhaps it is just a testament to Knoll’s writing that her readers can understand her character so well, or perhaps I should seek professional help. Either way, I definitely miss Ani’s quick wit and dark humor.

It is beautiful, inspiring, and suspenseful. I have told all (two) of my friends about this novel, and now I urge all of you to do the same.

Happy Lent!

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of the Lenten season. This would also be why you may have seen some passersby donning black smudges on their foreheads. I view Lent from a Catholic viewpoint, but I know that there are several other religions and denominations that participate in Lent. 

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Lent was always one of my favorite parts about Catholicism. Even though it is one of the darkest parts of the faith, it has always been one of the most beautiful parts to me. 

Lent is all about recognizing the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, so usually during this season, you are encouraged to give up something that is interfering with your relationship with Christ. I am a woman of many vices and some of them I’m just not willing to give up for 40 days (read: Diet Coke). Not that I wouldn’t be able to go without soda for our Lord and Savior; I just don’t see how that is interfering with my faith. 

So, in lieu of giving up something so important to my very being, I end up adding something to my life that will bring me closer to Him. In the past, I added extra prayer or only listened to Christian music or attempted to attend daily mass. 

This year is a little different. My relationship with God is not as strong as it used to be. In fact, I was very surprised to find myself at mass yesterday completely of my own will. But as I mentioned in my Resolutions post, there is just something so enticing about a fresh start. I have acknowledged that there is a block between me and my faith so I have decided to add something to my life that will work on dissolving that wall, while also strengthening my creativity. 

I have recently started reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron which is about the beauty of creativity and spirituality. One of the main practices it talks about is Morning Pages, which is a method where you write three pages as soon as you wake up in the morning. It can be absolute gibberish or whatever you dreamed about or really anything that comes to mind.  But the purpose is to keep writing and not stop until you reach three pages. 


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For Lent, I want to do this everyday as a way to flush out my mind and hopefully get to the root of my problem. I used to feel God’s presence so easily in my mind, but as of late it feels like I have pushed Him away completely. Now, I have tried Morning Pages before and it is almost physically impossible for me to remember to do them when I wake up, so I have modified it slightly into Nightly Pages. I feel like the result should be the same, but I guess only time will tell. 

I hope that those of you who do participate have a blessed Lenten season. 

We’re the Ladies: Female Friendships

Good evening!

I have been reflecting and reminiscing on my friendships through the years and just wanted to share how much I love my two best friends for a little post-galentine’s post.

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Friendships have always been a struggle for me, especially ones with girls.  I’m not really sure why other than maybe my crippling insecurity and social awkwardness. Whatever the reason, it didn’t start out this way.

I made my first friend at just 5 years old. When I walked into my kindergarten class, I was very nervous. I remember being told to walk over to the reading area, which consisted of one bookshelf and one of those rugs that had roads twisting and curving all across it. I stood in the middle of the rug as the other students joined me, and then a little girl with short blonde pigtails walked right up to me. She stuck out her hand, and said, “Hi, I’m Ashley. Do you want to be my friend?” It seemed so easy. My dumb, naive mind thought that was enough, but as fate would have it, I moved away and I never saw Ashley again.

Making friends from that point on proved to be much more difficult. I was good at being friendly with people, and when I was in high school, it never occurred to me that I didn’t have real friends, because I was casual-friends with everyone. I always had someone to talk to in my classes and a table to sit at during lunch.

By the time I got to college, I was yearning for something more, something deeper. I joined a sorority and in what felt like no time at all, I was welcomed into a close-knit group of girls who loved me for who I was.

Here, I met my best friends.

Amberlyn is my Big Sister in my sorority, and because of this, our bond is both unbreakable and undeniable. When I first met her, I felt like I always do when put in an unfamiliar situation, which is awkward and shy. I thought she was the coolest girl there, so witty and sarcastic, and I needed her to be my friend. In the first few months of our friendship, I was in awe of her. She is such a selfless person and will go out of her way for the people that she cares about. Not only that, but she is brilliant and hilarious and beautiful, and by knowing her I feel like I am some of these things, too. She is dedicated and independent and will do amazing things with her life. I count myself lucky that I get a glimpse at all of the incredible things she will accomplish. No matter how far away she goes, I will follow (Sorry, but you’re stuck with me).

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Cassandra is my ex-roommate, but forever-friend. She is my partner in crime at school, and we will (hopefully) finish next May (for real, fingers crossed). I feel like we are opposites in every way (she is classy and refined, whereas I am…not) and yet we have also formed this bond that I am so lucky to have in my life. She is beautiful and charismatic and just so amazing. She is also someone who I desperately wanted to be friends with from the moment I met her. She is so open, fun, and caring. Living with her was one of the best decisions of my life, because I honestly feel that we would not be as close if we hadn’t had that experience.

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They are both so important to me–more than I could ever put into words. I know, without a doubt, that I could talk to them about anything and everything. I accept them for their (sometimes brutal) honesty and they accept me for my many, many flaws. While our college careers are coming to a close (some sooner than others), I am reflecting on these relationships with admiration and nostalgia. I am sad for the things that will end (late night chats, fits of laughter, and sleep-overs), but I look forward to the things to come, like visiting each other in different, exciting cities across the states, or even abroad.

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Female friendships are odd, but they can also be some of the strongest bonds you ever form. I am so glad I found these girls to live and learn with through this most tumultuous time in our lives–our twenties!–and for many years to come.

Thank you.

How I Relieve Stress

As someone who struggles with self-diagnosed anxiety, I am no stranger to stress. Working part-time, taking a full load of classes, and tutoring on the side sometimes leaves me feeling overwhelmed. It is important to understand how anxiety affects you and find ways to relax that suit you. I can physically feel most of my tension fall away as soon as I set foot in my bedroom, my safe haven. I get incredibly homesick (or room-sick) when I leave each morning. If it were up to me, I would forever lie in my bed with my dog curled up against my leg and Gilmore Girls playing on a loop next to me.

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One of the first things I do is light my candles. I have four right now that I light every day. Believe it or not, but I used to think candles lasted for years before I met my dear friend, Cassandra. When we lived together, we lit candles every day which got me addicted and made me broke. From that point on, I was a changed, candle-hoarding, woman. My favorites are the Signature Soy ones from Target.

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Next, I make some tea. I have a small variety of teas that I choose from. While the water heats up, I take a quick shower. I am somebody who values my sleep above all else, so I don’t usually have the time in the morning to spend showering, so I do it at night to wash away all the day’s struggles and frustrations.

Usually at this point in the evening, I am cool, calm, and collected. With my room smelling warm and fragrant from the candles, and a hot mug of Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea (my current obsession), I sit at my desk and unwind by either catching up on my favorite YouTubers or reading a book.

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This has been my relaxation routine, which kind of turned into my nightly routine, but anyway, it has really benefited me and my sanity.

 

***Images from Google; Gif from giphy.com***

A Day at Ponce City Market

Good morning, cutie pies!

Yesterday, some friends and I went on an adventure (by adventure, I mean anything other than a quick trip to Target) to Ponce City Market in Atlanta. I wanted to document our day trip in case anyone is ever in the area and wants to know what all the hype is about.

I started my trek as every great adventure should, with a caramel iced coffee and a doughnut from Dunkin Donuts. I happen to dread driving into the city, so these are not just a treat but a necessity.

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Make sure to follow me @catastropheandpie on Instagram!

If you have not been, Ponce City Market is a super cool place with something for everyone. Previously known as the historic Sears, Roebuck & Co. building, Ponce City Market has re-branded itself into the beautiful, industrial looking, and crowd-pleasing thrum of excitement it is today. It is a community of restaurants and shops of all kinds. A few of my favorite shops there are Anthropologie and Archer, among others that I don’t happen to know the names of. But, if you like candles, books, stationary, and overpriced home décor like I do, there is plenty of places to peruse.

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We went into this great bookstore today that had a little bit of everything. I was in love with the table of literature classics with very cute, redesigned covers. I was very close to buying every single Jane Austen book they had, but I’m trying to watch my spending (speaking of which, don’t forget to check out my post from last week featuring my new Coach bag). But maybe one day when I’m in my own place, I will buy all of the beautiful books my heart desires.

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If you do ever make it over to Ponce, make sure to check out their websites for any kind of events they might have going on. Today, for instance, they were putting on a kissing booth for charities. They had different people for different time slots, and the one we were most excited for was Sara Hopkins (also known as @sayhop). She started on Vine (RIP) and now does the majority of her videos on YouTube, but she is also pretty entertaining on Snapchat and Instagram.

After meeting her, we grabbed lunch downstairs, which is pretty much this hub of every type of food you could imagine. I settled on a delicious sandwich from Farm to Ladle. It was very tasty, apart from the olive tapenade that I apparently missed when scanning the ingredient list. Nothing against olives, but I hate them.

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Very delicious, except for sneaky olive ninjas. 

Then we hit the rest of the stores that we had missed, which included going across the street to Sephora and taking a quick photo op out front.

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This is my friend, Cassandra (also known as Sequins and Sass–check her out!). Forgive the blurriness; I’m still figuring out my camera.

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Finally, we finished our day grabbing a sweet treat. I got my first ever King of Pop popsicle, which they covered in chocolate and sprinkles in honor of Valentine’s day (I think, but again, it was my first time, so it might be something they always do).

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It was a great day—beautiful weather and even better company. I hope you enjoyed this post. I’m working on coming up with a blog schedule, because right now I’m just posting when the mood strikes. That might be something else to add to my resolutions (another shameless promo).

Happy Sunday!

Resolutions: Better Late Than Never!

Good morning! 

I am always hesitant to publicly declare my resolutions or goals for the new year. It might be cheesy but there is something very refreshing about a new start. I know that there isn’t this huge shift between December 31 and January 1, but at the start of a brand new year, I can’t help but feel like I am standing at the precipice of something great. 

Before the new year, my best friends, Amberlyn and Cassandra (together we are MAC), suggested that we create a list of our resolutions and share them with each other so that we can hold each other accountable. As you can tell, it is way past the start of the new year and I’ve just now put together a list. 

Something I’ve been actively trying to improve is my writing. I love writing and I want to do it and practice it a lot more, which is why I’ve been putting more effort into this blog. While I have definitely done a lot more writing in the last 2 months than I have in a long time, it is still something I am working on everyday. 

So here is my tentative list of resolutions for 2017. 

  1. Write More 
  2. Drink More Water (i.e. less Diet Coke)
  3. Read More 
  4. Don’t Be a Wimpy-Ass Bitch
  5. Don’t Be Afraid to be Who You Are

I know that these are very vague and kind of open ended but that is only because of my crippling insecurity and fear of failure. Without hard limits, its pretty much impossible not to succeed. #loopholes

Basically, I want to try harder to be someone I’m proud of. I want to be a stronger, smarter, healthier person who doesn’t let others walk all over me. 

Happy (late) New Year!