Monthly Archives: August 2013

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Joining and Learning

Proud Member of the Yakezie Challenge
It should be no surprise that I have been working hard on trying to grow my blog.  I want to learn from others and hopefully help others in the process.  And by help, I mean guidance on how to become successful, happy, and on budget.

I recently joined the Yakezie Challenge to learn, grow, and develop this little blog of mine.  Check it out!  I’ve been on the site for an embarrassing amount of time now and there is no sign of stopping.

Cheers!

Open Letter to the Incoming Freshmen Class

open letter to incoming freshmen

Yes, that’s me …on a mechanical bull.
One of those nights.

I loved college to the max.  It’s where I discovered that I am, in fact, an extrovert, found some of my best friends, became adventurous.  I developed a love for sushi, the hair poof, dancing like a crazy person – even when sober, and where I learned to speak my mind.  I am not the wisest person or the most eloquent, but I do have some advice for freshmen that was willed down to me.

Dear Small Freshman,

You are about to embark on the best years of your life.  You will drink too much, stay up too late, not study nearly enough as you think you should, and make some of the best memories ever.  To be successful and get the most out of your short time, you have to:

Develop a schedule.  Have specific nights that you stay in, do laundry, get caught up on homework and studying then have nights that you don’t do any of the boring stuff.  For me, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were the fun nights, which meant Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday I stayed in and worked on all my class assignments.   It’s about moderation.

Be adventurous.  It took me the whole first semester before I got this part down.  You will have so much fun if you are up for random road trips, staying up late, or heading to that random dive bar that no one has ever heard of.  Only say no the illegal, try everything else.

Avoid the “Freshman 15” by all costs. In my case it was the “Freshman 15” then “Sophomore 20.”  Workout, join the (probably free-to-you) gym on campus, go for a run with your friends.  It took me 2x as long to lose it all after college then it took for me to gain it all.

Make a connection in each of your classes.  Eventually as you work through your degree program the class sizes will get smaller and you will see the same faces in majority of your classes.  It’s best to make alliances early so when you’re sick or miss class for “whatever” reason then you have someone to call to get notes or turn an assignment for you.

Here we go, pay attention to the next part.  It’s probably the most important to your academic career: Talk to your professors.  Go to your professors during their office hours to ask an assignment question, test question, or anything.  You want your professors to know your face, think you are dedicated to your studies, and in turn, they will be willing to help you succeed or bump you from that 89.2 to a 90.

Most of all, do not stress too much.  Everything will be fine.  My Dad told me one thin that stuck with me “You will not remember in 20 years if you made a C, B, or an A on that test, BUT you will remember that random night when you went out with your friends.”

Have fun!

Yours truly,

Older and Wiser Ex-College Student 

Quarter Life Opportunity

Quarter Life Opportunity

Ever read something that just hits you like a ton of bricks?  And you’re left standing (or in my case sitting) there like “wow, that is so me.”  That happened to me the other day when I ran across fellow blogger Cat’s article in the Huffington Post called “Quarter Life Crisis or Quarter Life Opportunity.”

I have been following Catsince she started, but those days I had another blog and was pretty quiet on the blogosphere.  I’ve seen her grow into this great blogger with great posts and this article is no different.

I have been saying for years (well at least the past 2) that I am going through a Quarter Life Crisis.  I do not know which way my life is going to turn, I am panicked that I do not have a “career” yet, and I do not own a home.  My “crisis” hit on my 25th birthday, I went out with my best friend and got rip roaring drunk.  I woke up with not only a headache, but also a knot on my forehead.  I only remember bits and pieces of the night including the start, the middle and a random 40+ year old lady telling me that she’s been clubbing for over 20 years.

Since that night, I have worked to find a purpose in my life.  I did not want to be someone who had been clubbing for 20+ years, and as a girl that hardly went out in my early twenties I highly doubted it, but still – it was scary folks!  I am lucky that I found someone to share my life with, someone that deals with my panic moments of being an adult with no career who thinks that defines my purpose.

I work hard, I do.  I am willing to be the first one in the door and the last one out.  I am willing to take all the responsibility that I can for my workplace.  I take calls from angry clients that do not understand something, I make the hard calls that need to be made, I get more stuff done in an 8-hour period compared to majority of people I know; however, it does not feel like a career.  I am not where I wanted or more importantly, where I thought I would be by my late twenties.

However, I need to stop looking at it as a “crisis.”  The position I am in is good.  I am still young, I do not have small children to feed or shelter, just two furry dogs that I think are my children.  I am educated and love school so the idea of furthering my education always makes me happy.  I have family and a fiance that will support me.  I love all aspects of business and being creative, so the window is wide open for me to pursue a plethora of options.

Why do we, as mid to late twenty-somethings think that we are not living up to our potential when our lives are not what we dreamed when we were 12?  This, my friends, is not a bad thing.  It’s an opportunity to create the life that we want, even if you are like me and are not sure what that life looks like.

There is not one job or one career out there that will satisfy every aspect of what makes me happy.  Maybe that is what the world is evolving into, individuals with multiple jobs and not the typical 8-5, Monday through Friday.  Perhaps our generation will be much more fulfilled than the previous generation.  Our generation will be able to have a healthy balance between family, work, and play because we will design the jobs that we WANT to work around the life that we WANT to live.

I know that when I go to work each day and feel that I have a made a difference, am happy with my overall performance, and have moderate amounts of stress (because I am weird and like some stress) then I know that I will have found my calling.  Until that moment, I will continue working hard at my 9-5, designing prints for my beloved Etsy shop, and creating for this little blog of mine.

Cheers to the opportunity that is in front of us!

Letter to Miley Haters

Miley Cyrus VMAs 2013 Dear Miley Haters,

Yes, her performance at the VMAs was grotesque.  Yes, if I had small children I would strongly consider not letting them look at her as a role model any longer.  But is she to blame for that behavior? No, she is not.

Miley is the outcome of the media, obsessed fans, and (probably) never being told no as a child.  Do you truly believe that an individual who is able to buy $1000s of dollars worth of clothes at a young age and has her face plastered all over TV and novelty merchandise will be a normal, productive person in society?  Then you are just plain blind.

Miley is getting exactly what she wanted.  People talking about her right before her new album drops.  It is not a coincidence that the VMAs air, every single news station from E! to CNN is talking about her crude performance and then her new album cover drops.

So, Miley haters we, the people, have created this media monster who is suggestive and crude.  She has never had a normal day-job and never will, she has never had to live on a “normal” budget or save for anything.  She is not someone that would function in our seemingly day-to-day life.

In other words, get over it.

Sincerely, 

someone who is fascinated by the marketing of it all

Tips To Getting Settled In A New Home

settling into a new homeJ and I have been in our new home for almost 2 weeks now.  We have been slowly unpacking and getting settled in.  I have to admit that only having 2 weeks to pack our old home and get moved has made me a little less motivated when it comes to unpacking.  Is that bad?

Our new place is great and I am starting to get familiar with how to get around.  I started thinking that the previous tenants did not finish out their lease at our place and I kind of think it was by the landlord’s choice, but that’s just the feeling I get because I have no proof.  When we came to view the place he was changing the locks, which is normal, but then he mentioned that he likes a lease to end around May so that he can have the summer to get the place ready.  Next, he complained about damage to the carpets and how he was not prepared to change the flooring throughout the place.  Finally, the nails were still in the walls.  I went through after the first few days and noticed there were nails in the walls, so I decided to go through and spackle.  I probably removed over 30 nails and covered 60 holes in the walls!  No lie!  I guess the previous tenants didn’t measure and center BEFORE hammering the nail into the wall.

Okay, I’m getting off on my investigation tangent.  This post was about 5 great tips to get settled into a new home.  Here we go:

1) unpack your bedroom first.  Having a nice, clean bed to climb into after moving is a GREAT feeling.

2) unpack the kitchen next.  Then you can return to eating normal sooner.  You are able to cook, grab a glass of water, and just sit down without being surrounding by boxes.

3) hang pictures last.  I always wait to all the boxes are unpacked and the rest of the shelves are decorated then I gather all my pictures and paintings in one spot to look through.  That way I can decide how to gather pictures and hang them based on my entire collection.

4) get rid of boxes as soon as they are empty.  It’s a great feeling to see less and less boxes in a room.  Don’t keep empty ones laying around because that will just make you feel overwhelmed.

5) let people help.  I had a problem with this one, let me tell you.  No one knows how I like my kitchen set up, no one knows what beauty products I use on a daily basis and want within arms length.  It’s true, no one knows how you want everything setup other than you.  But it’s a new home, you do not even know the place for everything.  So, let people help you unpack boxes.  You can always rearrange later and the best part is you will not be tripping over boxes while you move things around.

Cheers! 

Tips to Simplify Your Life

merelynne tips to simplify your life

I am always drawn to articles, books, and readings about simplifying my life.  I run around all day like a chicken with its head cut off.  I’ve always hated that saying because I literally imagine a cartoon type chicken running around without a head in the middle of the desert.  Why the desert you might ask?  I have no idea, perhaps too many episodes of Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner as a kid.  Anyway back to what I was saying.  An article that promises to calm my life with just a few simple steps is like a magnet to my A-type personality.

I have learned through college, working, and then family life a few tricks that always work for me.  Now that I’m getting older I have found that these tricks are even listed on most of those fancy-shmancy articles.  I’d like to think I’m that smart, but it’s probably because I’ve read so many of them.

Here we go my top 5 tips to simplify your life and enjoy your life more:

1) Prioritize – sounds simple right?  You need to pick 1-3 tasks per day to complete each day.  Spend a few minutes each morning or when you arrive at your desk to think about your whole day and what all needs be accomplished.  Highlight 1-3 tasks depending on the time you have and the time you assume each one will take.

I keep a running to-do list of items at work, for my Etsy shop, for the home, and for this little blog.  I then pick 1-3 things that I need to do.  Usually the days I work I pick 1-3 to do the 8 hours I’m there and then maybe only 1 to do from home, Etsy or blog for when my work day ends.  I’m not saying pick a hobby task over your actual job – you gotta make that money, honey.

2) Pick What Makes You Happy – it is super easy to get swallowed whole by work; try not to let that happen.  Select 1-2 things each day that make you happy and fulfilled.

A few months ago I switched up my job to work at a local retailer.  Most days I would not get home until 9:30 and I realized that I missed having dinner with J.  Now I make it a point to have dinner with J every night.  Also, I chose Crossfit.  I’m new at it, it will always be challenging, but I am absolutely enthralled by it.

3) Block Out Distractions – get your environment ready to crank out your top priorities.  For me, it’s  not only turning my phone on silent but turning it over and popping in my earbuds to listen to some Pandora.

4) Just Say No – remember that drug prevention club in middle school?  Just Say No to Drugs… Okay, well maybe your school wasn’t as cool as mine, but anway you get the point.  Say no to things that are not a priority.  Keep yourself single-minded when it comes to tackling.  Don’t take on too much.

5) Breathe – I have a habit of running around like a crazy woman when I get stressed so I am still working on this one.  Every once in awhile remind yourself to breathe.  The world will still be here tomorrow even if you do not get everything done on your list.  It’s okay, be forgiving to yourself.

Now, I think this post might be more for me then it is for anyone else.  It’s a simple reminder to simplify your my life so that you I can enjoy more and stress less.

Cheers!

How To Create a Chevron Pattern in Photoshop

How To Create a Chevron Pattern in Photoshop chair / nails / walls

Chevron is everywhere.

 Walls, bulletin boards, wallets, watchers, shirts, and even nails… Since I do love a good trend, it should come as no surprise that I am using a hint of chevron in my wedding decorations.

We are having a few paper goods printed and I decided early on to design most of these myself (i.e. programs, thank you notes, menus, etc.).  I am having several designs for our printed goods – Stripes, chevron, polka dots… oh my!

You know I had no problem making a strip design or polka dot design in Photoshop – go figure!  I can draw a straight lines and circles on the computer! I was so proud and maybe a little too big headed because my chevron attempt was not successful.   I actually had to think and work at this one!  I didn’t want anything to be actual work, where’s the fun in that?!

I have since perfected it based on a few other tutorials online that I combined.  I thought I
would share my revelation with you to save someone else frustrations.

How To Create a Chevron Pattern in Photoshop

Create a new file… I made mine the size of a notecard 4”x5.5” and put on the grid option.

Select your color and the rectangle tool.  Using the grid measure out equal boxes (for me I needed 6).

How To Create a Chevron Pattern in Photoshop How To Create a Chevron Pattern in Photoshop

Then rotate every other box either 45 degree or -45 degree, then line up the corners to be overlapping.

How To Create a Chevron Pattern in Photoshop

Once your first chevron print is done for the entire length then select the layers and link together.

How To Create a Chevron Pattern in Photoshop

Finally, duplicate the layers and space them out evenly.

How To Create a Chevron Pattern in Photoshop

There you have it, a nice chevron print that was easy to make and no hair pulling was necessary.

Since I wanted to add words to my design, I created a nice white box on top of the print.

Cheers!

I selected this post to be featured on Blog Nation. Please visit the site and vote for my blog!

The Smell of Freshly Sharpened Pencils

I’m no longer a student.  It’s the first time  in 21 years (minus that one year break between undergrad and grad school to find myself or some gibberish) that I am not heading back to school.  It’s a surreal feeling, let me tell ya.

I will always love back to school season.  It holds a special place in my heart.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been a student for the majority of my life or maybe it’s because I worked at an office supply store for over 4 years because the idea of getting a discount on my planners was enough to make me giddy.  Either way, I love school supplies, calendars and anything organizational related.

Here are my top picks for those heading back to school or for those, like me, who just like this time of year.

Tools Back To School
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undated calendar undated planner

Plus a great undated calendar with a space for reminders is a must.  It’s in the shop!

Cheers!

Bracelet Stacking Tips

I’m a sucker for trends. Fashion trends, social media trends, etc. I guess, I’m a follower of sorts. I like to jump on the bandwagon before it gets too much steam. And I am glad that this whole bracelet stacking has taken off. I’ve been stacking bracelets since my punk days back in junior high. Yes, yours truly was a skateboarding, baggy jean wearing, bracelets out the wahzoo awkward teenager.

Who better than someone who has been stacking bracelets for 12+ years to come up with some tips?  That’s exactly what I thought.
bracelet stacking tutorial


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bracelet stacking tutorial
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Tips for the perfect bracelet stack:
– similar finishes make a great, chic impact
– add different size bracelets to add interest
– choose items that you can live all day in. There is nothing worse than taking time to select the perfect stack just to have to take it off at work because the jingle of the bangles is too much or gets in the way of typing.
– combine different styles for an eclectic look.  I like pairing boyfriend watches with studded bracelets or dainty chains with out of the ordinary bangles.

Happy stacking!

Cheers!

 

 

Why I let my Bridesmaids pick out their own dress

If you have been living under a rock then you may not know that newest, hottest trend in weddings is having mismatched bridesmaid dresses.  I love the trend because that’s what I decided for my bridesmaids.  I mean, I am sure that my girls would have loved to wear some fluffy, pink tulle thing with a bow on the butt.  Who wouldn’t want to wear something that’s uncomfortable and costs about half of your monthly living expenses?

I decided when J and I were first talking about getting married that I wanted nothing to do with searching and searching for a bridesmaid dress that fit all my girls, in my color scheme and didn’t cost a small fortune.  They can figure that out!

It was important to me to have my girls feel beautiful.  There is nothing worse than not feeling confident in a dress that you are having to wear all day, be photographed over hundreds of times, and be plastered all over facebook.  I wanted to avoid that and I’m sure they are grateful … at least I hope.

I did not necessarily give my bridesmaids free reign to find a dress.  I did establish a few guidelines for when they were out looking for a dress.

1) navy
2) knee length
3) eggplant, dark purple heels

That’s it.  Only 3 parameters to follow.

I hinted at this part before, but it’s pretty big so I’m going to say it.  I delegated the stress of finding a dress for everyone.  I had a hard enough time finding a dress for me, a tux look for J and his guys, catering choices, song choices, and not gaining 100 lbs from other pressure points.   My girls know what they like and don’t like, I do not.

If you decide to let your bridesmaids pick their own dress, please be prepared for your family’s reaction.  I have family that keeps asking if I had my girls go to David’s of J. Crew with a certain color code to find a dress, if I selected a specific brand that they had to find a dress under, blah, blah, blah… and the answer is no.  N-O.  I think it keeps freaking out people that I really do not care.

The best part – All my girls have sent me pictures of their dresses or I’ve seen the one they have bought and can I tell you something?  They are better than anything I could have picked out!

Perfection!

Cheers!

I selected this post to be featured on my blog’s page at Blog Nation.