2014: A Look Back

Hi, everyone!

I know it’s been awhile. A REALLY long while, but I’m back online to review this waning year and discuss my future plans for this lovely blog of mine. Good things are coming! But for now, let’s take a quick look back.

In early February, I dubbed this year the Year of Unabashed Nerdy-ness, and it has definitely been so! I wore my geeky ha eart on my sleeve without shame, made some new friends, and picked up some new nerdy hobbies.

In the last several months since my move to Chicago, I haven’t really been present here on the blog. I was busy settling into my new apartment, new car-less environment, new job, all while trying to prioritize my relationship and keep my cat alive. Life, uh, finds a way, though!

Here are some awesome things I accomplished/was a part of/loved in 2014 (in no particular order)! Read more

On Yard Sale-ing

140531_0004Yesterday I had what could be considered the saddest, smallest yard sale of all time. It was hilarious!

I’m still in the thick of the moving/packing process, and since my current apartment is about twice the size of my new place, I’m being forced to downsize considerably. I don’t mind getting rid of things–it’s very cathartic, and it brings me back to my days in Costa Rica, when all of my belongings fit into 2 suitcases and a cat carrier. Read more

A Personal Manifesto, or Why Kindness is Key

I’ve been dealing with a lot of difficult social stuff in the last several months. Interpersonal communications have been a real struggle in both personal and professional realms, and it has been very hard to keep my spirits high.

Lost or phased-out friendships, friends moving far away, difficult work situations, jealousy, pettiness, bullying; I’ve been trying to handle it all at some point lately. And for someone like me (ie. highly sensitive, introverted, anxious, conflict-averse), it’s been so hard not to carry the hurts around with me as I go about just trying to figure out my daily life.

I’ve always wanted to write a personal manifesto. I’ve even mentioned it on this blog, ages ago, but never really did anything with the idea. Until now.

I think the idea of a manifesto is a wonderful thing, but I also think it has to be fluid and changeable. As you grow older, your manifesto should grow and mature with you. I think part of the reason I shied away from writing one a year or so ago was that I felt that it needed to be permanent.

Nothing makes you less likely to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) than the idea that THIS THING THAT I AM WRITING IS PERMANENT AND MY IDEAS WILL HAVE TO STAY THE SAME FOR ALL OF TIME OR I HAVE FAILED IN MY MANIFESTO-LINESS.

Yeah, I just made up the word “manifesto-liness”. I’m awesome like that.

SO. Anyway. Here are the current contents of my personal manifesto:

1. Kindness is key

Kindness will never NOT be awesome, and I’ve found that in 99.9% of personal dealings with human beings, a little bit of kindness goes a long way. Even when people are mean, shitty, and otherwise disagreeable, I try very hard to be kind. Kill them with kindness is so much more effective, in my opinion, than Wait until they’re not looking and STAB THEM IN THE BACK! 

I’m definitely a fallible human with lots of problematic traits, but I do think my overwhelming urge to be kind and give a shit is one of my better qualities. And I definitely think it’s one worth nurturing and paying better attention to in the future.

2. Try to leave the people, places, and things you come into contact with in better condition than when you found them

I’m borrowing this one from one of my favorite bloggers, Alexandra Franzen, but I don’t think she’ll mind–she’s a huge advocate of love and kindness in all things. I think we’ve all heard some version of this phrase in the past, probably as kids when you were supposed to be cleaning something, like your cubby or locker. Leave it in better condition than you found it. 

However, I think this is a great idea to apply to all things in life. For example, your treatment of the Earth, the condition in which you keep your apartment, your interactions with most people, and whether or not you’re littering can all be improved upon. It’s an admirable goal to try to leave things–and especially people–in better condition than you found them. I know I want to positively impact people’s live and just make them happier in general. I think that’s a worthy goal.

3. Take time to play & create something everyday

I’m a highly imaginative day-dreamer, and that part of my personality tends to get bogged down and neglected when I get overworked and anxious and busy in my professional and personal life. But here’s the thing: I always feel so much happier and less stressed when I’m doing creative things. I need an outlet. And neglecting my creative urges creates a cycle where I feel down because I’m not creating/playing, and because I feel down, I don’t create. Or play.

It’s weird to be learning at 26 that taking care of your personal needs makes you a better person overall. The idea is sort of counterintuitive and feels selfish to me, but when I when I take care of my needs and make myself happy, I have a much better version of myself to offer the world.

Besides, what’s the point of life if you’re not creating or playing, anyway?

4. Exercise will ALWAYS make you feel better. Even if you feel shitty and tired when you’re exercising.

I’d say about 80% of the work outs I do are done begrudgingly. I have gone on many a run with gritted teeth and had to repeat to myself “I love running. This is totally fun. I don’t hate this AT ALL.”

But at the end of the exercise, I ALWAYS feel better. Every. Damn. Time.

So I just have to keep reminding myself that if I put in 30 minutes of physical work, I WILL feel better afterwards. Exercise can make a world of a difference to your mood.

5. Always wash your hands thoroughly after feeding wild monkeys

This one time I spent several hours feeding plantains to wild monkeys and I guess I didn’t wash my hands well enough afterwards, because I wound up with salmonella and it was HORRIBLE. I literally had to stop eating so I could survive the flight from Costa Rica to Chicago without running to the bathroom every 5 minutes.

NEVER AGAIN. Wash your hands, people.

6. Be free with your praise for others (as long as its genuine)

compliments

Giving someone mad props is never a bad thing. I’m a HUGE advocate of praising people if they do good stuff, are awesome, have a great haircut, etc. However, you do need to be mindful of your praise. Praising someone for sycophantic reasons is not the goal. Neither is telling your female coworker how “smokin’ hot” she is. I’m talking about real, honest compliments of a non-sexual and non-creepy nature.

Pile on the praise! It almost never hurts, and it can really make someone’s day.

7. Be present & try to worry less

Guys. I struggle SO HARD with this one. Like, Magikarp hard.

When I’m freaked out and anxious, I tend to get a kind of “What’s next?” tunnel vision. I think it’s the curse of an event planner, to always be thinking two weeks or two months or two steps ahead. And because of this, I have a difficult time enjoying the now. It drives my boyfriend nuts.

But when I do have the wherewithal to let the stress go for a minute and have fun in the present, it’s like a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders. So mostly, I’m putting this in my manifesto as an attempt to remind myself how much better I feel when I calm down and focus on the now.

8. This song is the BEST and is my favorite dance anthem of all time.

Duh.

 9. Don’t be afraid to be enthusiastic about the shit you love

The main goal of my ongoing Year of Unabashed Nerdy-ness is to be unapologetic about my super-geeky interests. I think, as kids, we sort of learn to keep our interests under wraps if they aren’t mainstream, well-known, or well-understood. I can remember my elementary school self keeping mum on her love of video games and other things that weren’t popular, in order to avoid being mercilessly teased. (Although that really didn’t stop the teasing, anyway.)

If you go through the majority of your life keeping quiet about your interests, it can feel really REALLY strange to start being publicly enthusiastic about the things you love. But don’t let that strangeness stop you!

In my quest to be more outwardly nerdy, I’ve discovered that sporting your nerd gear in public will help you meet people and possibly make new friends. I can’t tell you how many people have used my Pokeball earrings as an icebreaker just to jump into a Pokemon conversation. Being geeky publicly is a great way to meet other geeks–whether they’re hiding or not.

Plus, being a nerd is awesome.

Suck it, bullies!

10. You can’t win everyone’s appreciation, support, or love. Try to be satisfied with doing the absolute  best you can do.

I’ve never mastered this one. It’s my constant, ongoing goal to eventually come to grips with the fact that I will never be everyone’s friend. (Yeah, I’m that girl. The really eager to please one. It’s just a 26-year-long phase, I swear.)

I struggle in social situations because I want people to like me, I want people to appreciate my work, and I want people to return my kindness with kindness. But life doesn’t work like that. Trying to get people to be my friend has led me into a lot of fair weather friendships where I am the provider of rides, the comforting shoulder, or the listening ear, and the other person can’t be bothered to return the favor.

You can never please everyone. So I’m trying to focus less on what other people appreciate and more one whether or not I’m satisfied with doing my best. Feels pretty good.

***

So, there you have it. My (current, potentially subject-to-change) manifesto. So what do you think? Have you ever written a manifest of your own? Would you ever want to?

Let me know in the comments.

 

(Photo Credit: William Shannon)

 

I Splurged and Bought My First Ever Designer Bag

Oh man, guys. I just shelled out a truly embarrassing sum of money for the most “Kaitlin” purse I have ever seen or loved.

It all started around my birthday, when my mom offered to take me to Coach and buy me a designer bag as my present. I declined the offer at the time. I’ve never been a fan of Coach, and I’ve never been the kind of girl to love purses anyway.

I’ve been using the same black purse that I’ve had since my college days. But the idea of having a designer bag stuck in the back of my mind. Kicking about on Pinterest and the Interwebz, I stumbled upon this Kate Spade bag and was struck with a white-hot bolt of bag lust that I’ve never experienced before.

The “All Typed Up” purse by Kate Spade wasn’t even available in stores anymore. It was, however, for sale on Ebay and I spent a good month staring wistfully at it, featuring it in my “If My Blog Were An Outfit” post, and generally pining over it until my sister convinced me to suck it up and spend the money.

It was delivered to me over the weekend, and I’m still beside myself with happiness over it.

Check out my mad swag, yo!

Who’s excited about the Veronica Mars movie?

Hey there, peeps & marshmallows (or marshmallow peeps?)!

Let’s talk about Veronica Mars for a minute. For those of you not in the know, Veronica Mars was a fantastic tv show on UPN about a badass teenaged detective who solved a variety of mysteries. The show was intelligent, funny, heartwarming, and even terrifying. It tackled mature topics such as murder and the emotional toll of grief, rape, alcoholism, classism, racism, sexism, and the general unfairness of the world. The show was canceled abruptly after a season 3 cliffhanger, leaving fans wondering for years what happened to Veronica, her friends, her family, and her enemies.

For me, Veronica Mars was one of those tv shows that was more of a visceral experience than just a show I watched. I didn’t get into the show until after its cancellation–in fact my friend Sarah told me I HAD to purchase all 3 seasons off of Amazon and watch it immediately. (I did.)  During Summer vacation from college, Sarah and I would frequently powwow on the floor of the home she house-sat, watching hours of Veronica Mars and the extended version of Lord of the Rings  on the big screen tv. We bought snacks and pulled crazy all-nighters. It was fantastic.

During my senior year of college, my freshman sister would visit my campus apartment to watch all 3 seasons with me. We’d sip on sodas and order pizza and I’d enjoy watching Erin FREAK OUT and react to each new episode. I often returned to the series if I needed cheering up or a great show to watch while doing chores. However, like many fans, I wondered where the story would have gone if the show continued.

Then Kickstarter history happened. The show director, along with the majority of the original Veronica Mars cast, appealed to their fans to donate money to help make a Veronica Mars movie. I was one of the many (many MANY) fans that tossed funds in their bucket to make this dream a reality.  The fans, including me, raised over $2 million in less than 12 hours.

The Veronica Mars movie hits select theaters today! I’m definitely going, along with a close friend of mine and my sister!

Are you?

 

 

The Year of Unabashed Nerdy-ness Continues!

I’m currently writing this at 2:33am because I have to be up in an hour for work, and I can’t sleep. I’ll be scheduling this post for later than that, but I thought I would let you know in case the writing gets a little loopy or something.

Anyway, as I sit on the couch next to my cat in the dark, I figure there’s no time like the present to tell about my continuing adventures in my YEAR OF UNABASHED NERDY-NESS!!!! Things are, indeed, going well.

For my birthday, my parents got me these amazing Pokeball earrings and I’ve been wearing them non-stop. FACT: Wearing Pokeball earrings will both get you many compliments, and help you make friends with random-but-awesome folks in the world.

 

The earrings are from an Etsy shop called Oh My Geekness, and you should stop whatever you’re doing and go visit it immediately. This girl’s geeky jewelry is AH-MAZE-ZING!

I don’t think you’ll find the Pokeball earrings among her inventory right now–she told my mom she was so backed up with orders for them that she had to take them off the site for awhile in order to catch up. However, she has a million and one other options to choose from.

I have my eye on the Piece of Heart necklace and the Ocarina of Time earrings, personally. :-)

And seriously, how awesome are these earrings???

 

 

5 Things I Learned in the Disney College Program – Featured Blogger

Welcome to my newest monthly feature, everyone! Guest posts! On great topics! 

And I’m proud to introduce my little sister Erin as my first guest poster. Take it away, Erin!

***

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since I decided to apply for the Disney College Program. During my four years at Indiana University I constantly noticed, and took home, flyers about DCP information sessions, but I never made the time to go. Then last January, as graduation was quickly approaching, I started applying for jobs. Discouraged by this tiring process, I finally picked up a flyer and did some research.

I flew through each stage of the interview process, and after two weeks, I received an email telling me I had been accepted. Having no other current prospects, I decided, why not.

So after eight months of working as a Merchandise Hostess at the Happiest Place on Earth, what have I learned? Actually, a whole heck of a lot, but here are the five most important things I learned on my Disney College Program. Read more

A Year of Embracing My Inner-Nerd–OUTWARDLY

Middle Earth leggings + Batman pullover + Mockingjay Pin = PERFECTION
Middle Earth leggings + Batman pullover + Mockingjay Pin = PERFECTION

I do a lot of reading for self-improvement online. Blogs for entrepreneurs, blogs for job-hunting, blogs for travel. I love learning, and I’m always trying to better myself in different ways.

One of my favorite bloggers, Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You to be Rich, advocates naming each new year to give it a coherent theme. I love naming things (even intangible things), so this was an idea I could really get behind, regardless of whether or not it works. So I’ve decided to dub this year as:

The Year of Unabashed Nerdy-ness

 

Last year, I decided to turn my blog into my business card, and I did it successfully until I landed a job in my field. Then, unfortunately, I slacked off in the wake of new job responsibilities and stresses.

This year, however, my goal is to balance work life and blogging life. And in addition to that, I want to embrace my inner-nerd–outwardly. I have little geeky things sprinkled throughout my life. A Cthulhu plushie and a Luna-P bauble on my work desk, a “My Other Ride is a TARDIS” magnet on my car. Nothing makes me happier than connecting with others based on my overwhelming love of random stuff.

So this year, the Year of Unabashed Nerdy-ness, I want to become more outwardly nerdy. I want to rock my geeky t-shirts and amass more nerdy jewelry and really OWN my geek status in a way that bleeds seamlessly into who I am. I want to rock Pokeball earrings at work in the same way I rock my “Working my Puff into Tuff” tank top at yoga class.

My inner-nerd is a HUGE part of who I am and how I see myself. It’s time to let that inner-nerd out. What do you think?

A Year in Review

photo courtesy of junussyndicate on deviantART
photo courtesy of junussyndicate on deviantART

Rather than focus on all the things I’d like to change for myself in the coming year (there are many), when the New Year comes around, I like to take the time to look back at what I’ve accomplished in the year prior.

Last year, I had a lot of things to look back on and be proud of. This year’s achievements have been a bit more difficult to quantify than last year’s, but no less significant.

Without further ado, my 2013 accomplishments:

* Watched my Uncles get married at the stroke of midnight last New Years

* Started sharing a home with my handsome boyfriend

* Ran a 5 mile race (after 2 weeks of being sick) and still completed it without walking

* Ran a 5k in under 30 minutes–a PR for me!

* Finally finally got a job in my field!

* Went to my first music festival

and last but not least:

* Really got this blog off the ground. Here’s an excerpt from my 2013 WordPress Blog Report:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 45,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 17 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Last year, I made it my goal to focus on this blog. I was unhappy in my secretary job, and I decided that channeling my ambitions, creativity, and frustration into this blog would be the best use of my time.

And I was right! After 8 months of serious blogging, networking, and hard work, I was able to use the experience I’d gained to get a job in Marketing and PR. That new job has been a roller-coaster ride of emotions, anxiety, and growth, but it’s been worth it.

As I move forward this year, my goal is to continue to make time for this blog as I grow and learn in my new job.

What did you guys accomplish this year? What do you plan on accomplishing in 2014?

A Geeky Girl’s Christmas Wishlist

Most girls have a Christmas wishlist. Mine is just nerdier than most. Here are some of the latest items I’m wishing will wind up in my stocking come Christmas morning.

1. Tiny TARDIS necklace

tinytardis
via thesistersruehl shop on Etsy.com

I’m in love with this adorable TARDIS necklace! It’s not over-the-top, so I could easily wear it to work and not worry about it being too abrasive.

2. Cozy Batman Pullover

via Hottopic.com
via Hottopic.com

Sometimes a girl wants to be warm and cuddly in a Batman sweater. And that girl is me. Need I say more?

3. Pokeball earrings

via aLilBitOfCute shop on Etsy.com
via aLilBitOfCute shop on Etsy.com

I want to be the very best…dressed when I have these earrings! Again, this is another subtle jewelry  option that I could wear to work and still feel like I was being my geeky self. (Not that I’m not my usual geeky self sans nerdy jewelry–but the jewelry does add some happiness and pride, right?)

What’s on your holiday wishlist?