Monday, February 10, 2014

The Internship

Everyone has an internship at some point. The idea being you gain experience and knowledge in the field in which you hope to work.

Here's the thing, as internships go at my school, I'm a bit behind. Most people don't wait until the second semester of your senior year, I did. Not by choice really, but necessity. As someone who is majoring in Creative Writing, most internships would fall under the writing and reading category. As someone who is hoping and praying to end up event-planning in the South post graduation, an internship with that kind of experience is necessary.

So I was late to the game, and looking to find an incredibly unique opportunity.

By some miracle, some dream come true, I got the internship of an aspiring event-planning, Creative Writing major's dreams.

Not only am I in an environment that is bound to foster creativity, amazing learning experiences, and downright fun - it is filled with outstandingly talented, supportive, and interesting individuals.

I am so lucky, and overwhelmed, and thrilled.

If you know me at all, you know that my first day, which included paper flower crafting, and Gossip Girl watching, was enough to leave me smiling for the rest of the semester. It is no secret that this year has not been easy, or that I am more than ready to get out of this town, and this school. But I cannot say enough how much of a silver lining this internship has been.

Whether or not I land the job of my dreams after graduation, I'll at least know I'm headed in the right direction. Three weeks in, and this is a unicorn-sequins-craft-filled perfect fit.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Books You Really Should Be Reading

It is really no secret that I am a reader. Through and through, a book nerd. And to the credit of my flattering friends, I am constantly getting asked, What have you read lately? What do you recommend? Give me something to reeead. 

So here they are: my top five books of the last five months. (Also known as the first five books that I could think of, and that I think you really should be reading.)

Where'd you go, Bernadette? - Maria Semple

Someone, somewhere, called this one of the best books of the year - honestly, that might be setting the bar a little high. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, in fact, I got through it in about two days. It was a quick, simple enough, enjoyable read.

(Great for a plane ride, a lunch-break, or a casual kind of reader.)

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend - Matthew Dicks

Okay, I am a sucker for a book recommended by Picoult, however, I had already purchased the book - and was totally sold on the concept of the story, before I even knew she was quoted on the cover. 

The story is told from the point of view of the imaginary friend to a young boy with Autism. Really, that is all you'll want to know going into this. I truly loved this story.

(I wouldn't say this resembles Picoult's work, but someone who enjoys the style of her writing would definitely enjoy this.)

The Storyteller - Jodi Picoult

I am, undoubtedly, a huge Picoult fan. Admittedly, her last two or three books have not thrilled me. I tore through them, as I do with all of her stories, but I just didn't love them. This book was so, so, different for me.

In part, the history buff in me was captivated by the Holocaust aspect (though, obviously fictionalized.) I also happen to be really in love with the concept of baking bread, and what that means, in a larger sense, in a lot of different communities (I do, actually know how weird that sounds.) The two come together wonderfully, and rather flawlessly in this story.

This really is one of her best works in the last four or five years, and I highly recommend it.

(Picoult fans and history nerds, unite!)

The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy

I would not have known about - although I might have picked up - this book, if it were not for a class I took this fall. This is a gorgeous text, the writing is really phenomenal, and I just can't say enough good things about the obvious work that Roy put into this novel.

This book is very much a book for readers. This is not something you can just whip out on the commute to work, or for fifteen minutes in a waiting room. This book begs to be read, really read. And trust me, if that is you, as a reader,  you need this book.

(Stunning language, complicated story, easy to understand, but filled with layers and layers of meaning.)

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

So, everyone has been telling you to read this book for forever, right? And you've seen it on every list, and kiosk, and yada yada yada. Look, it is there for a reason. I do not pick books just because they are on the best sellers list, but I'm telling you, this book deserves to be there. And you better read it before Ben Affleck goes and tears up the theaters starring in the movie.

It's a thriller, it's a mystery, (it's not scary,) and it is totally captivating. The writing is really solid - solid enough that it convinced me to read Flynn's two other books after I finished this. It's a quick read, once you get into it. And you will, in fact, be glad that you finally figured out what all the fuss is about.

(Easy language, easy enough to read while traveling, or beaching-it. The story is absolutely what makes this text.)

Okay! And there they are, the first five books that came to mind, that I really think you should read. In the most long-winded, and totally Creative-Writing-major-esque way.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Next (Two) Big Things

One month later, let's give this another go...

In theory, things have settled a little bit here. In reality, they so have not, but it is really for the best, and while the craziness of my life right now is completely exhausting, and overwhelming, it also is completely thrilling, and honestly, such a blessing.

So, I competed in my first New Hampshire pageant, and I...

...I won! I'm not kidding, I was crowned the new Miss Auburn 2014, and I am headed to Miss New Hampshire this May!

I am thrilled, and surprised, and humbled, and simply so excited to have this opportunity. The people in this organization are phenomenal. I could not be more grateful to have been blessed with an outstanding director and an exceptionally welcoming Miss NH group of sisters.

Honestly, I am less than two weeks into this organization, and I am floored by all that they have to offer.

And! To top things off, I'm starting an internship in just a week. A dream internship really. It's for a very small event-planning/boutique/specialty store, local to where I go to school, and between the ladies that run it, and the vision and design concepts behind it, I cannot possibly think of a better fit for me.

All fingers and toes crossed, these two major stepping stones that have come together - rather perfectly, and unexpectedly, since November, are shaping up to be the starting points of a very big year.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Favorites

Alright, I would wager that just about every Friday I have had in the last four months could have really used a focus on the favorites. So I'm back at it - here we go!

Favorite Quote:

I'm a big fan of, "If they are happy, good for them, embrace it, and let them just be happy!"
Mostly, because life is complicated enough as it is, if someone else has joy, I'm all for it.

Favorite Moment:

This week - like many - I lived and died by the support of my friends. Some of my best moments of the week were just texting with friends who make me laugh, make me smile, and make this life a little easier.

Favorite Song:

I'm on a country kick. It happens. This week I cannot get enough of Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert in "We Were Us."

Favorite New Show:

Alright, some of you are not going to like this - just because of the kind of comedy it is - but my new show? Bob's Burgers. You guys, I actually laugh out loud all the time while watching this show. I really can't get enough. (Thank God for Netflix!)

Favorite Surprise:

This week I was graced with two sweet cards from two sweet friends. You better believe I still send and receive snail mail on the reg - and you know what, it always brings a smile to someone's face!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Intentional, Content, Grateful & Present

This summer (yes, many months and many more degrees ago) I started working on a part of me that I abandoned quite thoroughly many years ago.

By some miracle or another I stumbled upon Lara Casey (whom I've written about before) and I started reading about her work with Southern Weddings Magazine, and her personal brand, and Making What Matters Happen. Maybe most importantly in each of these parts of her life, is her faith.

Reading Lara lead to reading others, to following others on Instagram, to hearing about other people's journeys. Now, I'm not dumb enough to think that you all would love hear about the time I've had over the last six months or so, working out who I am, and where I stand in this world, but I will say this, Lara's Powersheets, and her dedication to her faith, and sharing it with other's has shaped the way that I have dived into this last semester.

I started off August by working on intention, in my life, my actions, my thoughts.
I plowed through October while trying to be content in where I am, and what I have.
I stumbled through November attempting to be grateful, for the struggle, for learning and growing.
Here I am in December, doing my best to be present, in where I am, who I am, and this life I've got.

While each month has been something new, and something that changes me, that forces me to grow, each month has also been a struggle. In their own right, each month of this semester has brought challenges - as I knew they would. But if I am being perfectly honest, those challenges are easier with a little bit (and a growing amount at that) of faith. It is easier to take on the criticism, the hatred, the stress, when you feel like there is someone or something that has your back - like even when you feel completely and utterly alone, you aren't.

Now, I spent a lot of years cringing at the idea of working on my faith. I spent a lot of years renouncing my religion, and avoiding any thought that I may have really abandoned something worth...believing in. So I will be the first to say, this is not for everyone. This is not easy. This is harder - for sure - when you go to a liberal, modern, diverse school. This is harder when you've spent years denying it.

This is not easy.

This is not a walk that everyone feels like taking.

And I am really okay with that. I am okay with not flooding my twitter, or Instagram, or Facebook, with quotes and verses - with letting this be a private journey. I am okay with knowing that it makes plenty of people a little squeamish, because that was me. Because, to some degree, that is still me.

But I think, I'm at a point where I am also okay with talking about the fact that I am working on my faith, and where God is in my life.

Because, and here's the kicker, if other people hadn't been okay with that - if other people hadn't been willing to share their stories with strangers - I would have never taken the first step down this road.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

18th Time is the Charm

I have started this post exactly 17 times since I really stopped writing here.

It seems a little ridiculous to go backwards, to rehash everything that's happened in the last four months. Mostly because, that is a lot. A lot has happened.

Not all good,  not all bad.

When I think about though, why it's been four months, why I  can't seem to make it through any of those 17 first tries, why I keep stalling out, I think it comes back to something really some point it just started being easier to not write, than to weed out the things I could and couldn't put (for whatever reason) on here.

Be it because of who may be reading...or maybe it was too personal...or maybe it was too distant...or too whiny...or too happy. It just became easier, to not.

And I can't really say that I have a good reason for trying again. I do maybe have two reasons though.

The first is, my plate is too full. My brain is too packed with things I am not saying. My words are tripping over each other, and they just need a place to go, and this has always been such a solid place.

The second is, well, it is a post in and of itself, but it's about having a little faith. It's about having a little faith in who I am, and what I am doing, and where the hell I am going.

So, maybe, just bear with me?

Maybe just see if I can work this out, if I can start writing something worth reading again, and maybe unpack all that's been packed up in my mind.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Intentional August: Part One

I took some time this last month to not write about my life. I decided I needed to take a break. I thought maybe writing it all down, thinking about it all, analyzing and reanalyzing everything, wasn't helping.

Pretty much, I was wrong.

I just end up thinking one hundred things, one hundred times over. Instead of organizing my life, my plans, and clearing out my to-do list, my life and plans got hazy, and my to-do list, oh that list has gotten so long. With the arrival of August, I took a look around and realized whatever I was trying to do, wasn't working. As arbitrary as it is, a new month usually feels like it means something. So this month has been dubbed Intentional August.

I didn't name it, I picked it up from Lara Casey.

I have to say, living with intention, with purpose, well I've felt the difference even in the last four days.

That seems dramatic, I know. But, hear me out: for all intents and purposes I have been stalling out for the last three months, mentally preparing myself for the next shoe to drop the moment I step on to campus in the fall. All the while my 'I don't want to do thats' and 'I'd rather nots' and every other form of mental resistance has been building up.

It's time to clear it out.

I'm wiping it clean. I'm saying yes, when I don't feel like it. I'm running the extra mile, filing the extra files, taking the extra few minutes to make sure I'm not rushing through my morning and setting my day off in a tizzy. I'm taking this month to reset, to live with intention.

I've taken this quite to heart lately, and for a girl who's counting on some big dreams to come through in a few months, and hoping and praying, her plans stay, well, as she'd like them to go (despite knowing they never do,) this really lights my spark, so to speak:

There is no magic potion to making big things happen. Success takes hard, efficient, purposeful, clear work. Step by step. Set yourself up for success - above all - remember that achieving your 2013 goals is not about perfection, it's a process. There is no "messing up" here. Fall down seven times, stand up eight.

I'm standing up. I'm taking the steps. I'm making the changes that matter. I've got places I want to go, things I want to do. And I'll be damned if I am my own road block to getting there.

Follow Lara Casey on Instagram to see and read some of her amazing thoughts on her own Intentional August.

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