5 Study Habits That Work For Procrastinators

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I know the semester is coming to an end but I noticed a change in my study habits this semester. I am a horrible procrastinator and I needed to make a structured plan on how to get my work done, especially since we had to go to online classes. I was home schooled for most of my childhood so I’m familiar with the whole watch an hour lecture then do all the book work myself. That part isn’t difficult. In college, though, I’m in charge of making sure my assignments get done, not my mother and certainly not my professor. Here are a few things I tried out this semester that really worked and help me get my assignments done on time.

1. Set your assignment due date to a day early.

If you tell yourself your assignment is due a day before it actually is you give yourself a little wiggle room. I like to always turn my assignments in the day before it’s due so that I get it done sooner rather than later. I tell myself that the due date is too late and it gives me more of a sense of urgency.

2. Cut up your chapters.

If you have to read from your textbook break up the chapters. I always look through the chapter that’s assigned for the week, count how many pages I have to read and break it up by how many days I have to read it so I’m not trying to cram the whole chapter in one day. This way I don’t feel information overload and I absorb it better if I’m just reading for 20 minutes versus an hour.

3. Cut up your assignment.

Just as you break up your chapters, break up your assignments. Look at the instructions, see how many days you have to complete it and do a little bit of it each day, that way you feel like you’ve done something. It also helps because you aren’t thinking about it too much, you’re focusing on one part at a time. I get bored real quick so working in small parts helps me stay focused. I tell myself, “Just do this part and then you can watch tv.” It works for me, Okay?

4. Do you school work before doing anything else.

If you’re really good at doing anything and everything except your work then just get it out of the way first. Make it a point to do your little piece of homework before you do anything else. Think of it as your job. You get up and go to work then when you get off you get to do whatever you want.

5. Take it a week at a time.

Just plan it a week at a time. Usually semesters last 16 weeks. If you go just a week at a time it helps. If you know you have a test coming up or an assignment due on a certain date, make a plan a week before to do what needs to be done before those days are up.

Next week is the last week of my semester and I am ready for summer vacation. Mine will be shorter this year since I am taking a 4 week class in July before the fall semester starts, but that’s okay. Just two more semesters until graduation!

Why It’s Okay to Not Have Everything Figured Out

I wasted so much time in my early twenties trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. When you’re a kid, adults always ask you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The answer is I don’t know.

I didn’t know. There were a lot of things I liked to do, a lot of things I’m good at. But are those the things that I will do with my life? To make a living?

When I was 13 I thought I wanted to be a teacher. I love studying English and grammar and literature, I thought I could turn that love into a career. When I got older and realized that no one cares about those things like I do and the living wage of a teacher reflects that notion. People in this country just do not care about academics. They only care if they have to. What I mean by that is people who have to get a degree or certification in the field they want to go into.

That was the most discouraging thing about my deciding to give up the dream of being a teacher. Yes, it is a noble profession and I am so grateful for those who take it on. I cannot believe how poorly teachers are paid in this country. I just didn’t see it being a worthwhile career for me.

Without my dream of becoming a teacher I felt lost. I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a long time. I would go back and forth on ideas for possible careers. There’s so much pressure to know what you want to do right out of high school. There’s so much pressure to make a good living, to be viewed as a successful human being. There’s not enough encouragement to young people to find what makes them happy, what makes them feel fulfilled.

I will be 30 in November and I am just now figuring out what I want to do. Yes, I beat myself up about not figuring it out sooner, but in your early twenties you don’t know what you want. You’re still young, you’re still discovering who you are. How are you supposed to know what to do with the rest of your life in the first 20 years? And who’s to say I’m right? What if I decide to change career paths in my forties?

I think we put too much pressure on ourselves. I think we should say it’s okay to not have it all figured out. We grow, we change, we want to do something new every now and again. And that’s okay.

“‘Finding yourself’ is not really how it works. You aren’t a ten dollar bill in last winter’s coat pocket. You are also not lost. Your true self is right there, buried under cultural conditioning, other people’s opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are. ‘Finding yourself’ is actually returning to yourself. A remembering who you were before the world got its hands on you.” -Emily McDowell

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Flash Fiction Friday: The Babysitter’s Surprise

It was about that time. The time all babysitters look forward to: bedtime. Alice was a good kid though, I never had any trouble out of her. She was a girly girl, and I am too. We spent our evening painting each other’s nails, braiding her hair and watching chick flicks. Age appropriate, of course.

I ordered pizza for dinner and was an instant hero. She loves me, what can I say? After a particularly saucy movie I announce it’s time for bed. She tries her usual persuasions to stay up but I stay strong. Her parents would be so proud. I walk her up to her room and tuck her into her bed.

“Will you tell me a story?” she asks, turning on the charm. I give her a knowing look with a smile. “Please?”

“Alright. Just one though. I have some homework to do once you’re asleep.” I was totally lying. I was going to raid the fridge and watch a horror movie.

“There once was a little girl who didn’t believe in monsters. Her babysitter assured her that they were real and that they lived in her closet. The little girl still didn’t believe the babysitter, even after the babysitter turned out the lights and said goodnight. But once the room grew quiet and the little girl was drifting off to sleep, she heard a sound coming from her closet. She got out of bed and slowly walked over to the closet. She grabbed the handle and waited, listening for more noises. She heard a scratching sound. She turned the knob slowly, the closet door creaked open.” I had her full attention at this point. “And just when she had the door open enough to peer in…A BIG FURRY MONSTER JUMPED OUT AND GOBBLED HER UP!” I grabbed her when I yelled. She squealed but quickly turned to giggles as I tickled her relentlessly. “Alright, now time for bed.”

“Don’t worry,” Alice reassured me, “There aren’t any monsters in the closet. Daddy keeps them all locked up in the basement.”

“Well that’s good.” I told her. “I would hate to come up here later and find a big, fat monster licking his chops.” I kissed her forehead and she snuggled into her blanket. She closed her eyes and said, “‘Night.”

“Goodnight.” I turned off the light and closed her door. I made my way down to the kitchen to get the ice cream I spied earlier.

As I was scanning the fridge for any extra treats, I heard a knocking noise coming from  down the hall. I shut the fridge and made my way over, thinking Alice had gotten out of bed. When I peered down the hall there was no one there. “Alice?” I called. “If you’re out of bed you’ll be in trouble.” I listened. Nothing. I shrugged and went back to hunting.

A sound came again from the hall. I was going to kill Alice if she was messing with me. I tiptoed down the dark hall so I didn’t let her know I was on to her. There was no movement. I listened. No sound. I stood there for a minute feeling stupid. Then there was a knock on the basement door. I turned slowly toward it. Really, Alice? I thought to myself, a knowing grin spreading across my face. She thought she was going to play a prank on me.

I slid over to the door and knocked back. Nothing. I was about to walk away when I heard a scratching sound. Using my own story against me, eh? I slowly turned the knob. The door creaked a bit as I pulled it open. Nice touch. I thought.

I looked into the darkness, there was nothing there. I shook my head. Just as I went to close the door again I heard a sound coming from the darkness. I stepped down a couple steps, reaching for the switch. I couldn’t find it in the dark but I knew it was there somewhere. Just as I was about to give up, I heard footsteps coming up the stairs. I froze in place. They were steady, heavy footsteps, too heavy for a seven year old to make. I couldn’t move my legs. They kept coming closer.

The last thing I saw before I passed out was a big, hairy thing licking its chops.

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How Are You?

This pandemic is just so crazy. This is not something I thought I would see in my lifetime, I guess no one expects something like this. It’s a very serious thing and I am so thankful that me, and my family, and everyone I know personally are fine and aren’t sick. I know that isn’t the reality for everyone and I could not imagine what they’re going through right now. It’s all so scary. When I go to the grocery store and see people in masks and gloves it’s an eerie feeling.

I’ve been doing my part by staying home and  keeping my children home, away from people. It’s been challenging but it’s worth it if we all stay healthy.

I really miss my family in Texas. I miss hugging people. I miss hanging out with my friends. When this is all over I want to go to Texas and see my family. I want to have a get together with my friends. I just want to hug them and never let them go.

I think, though, that staying at home has helped a little with my depression. I don’t feel so overwhelmed, I feel like the only thing we can do is wait. It’s out of our hands so we just have to wait. I’ve gotten better at that since I’ve gotten older. I’m not in such a hurry any more. I do think being at home has grated on my anxiety though. I had to start taking an extra dose, (per doctor’s orders) just to be able to fall asleep at night. Last night was the first night that I actually got quality sleep since the whole quarantine started.

I never realized how much I liked going to the store and just walking around. Or being able to go to the zoo on a nice day. I never realized how grateful I was for museums, libraries and playgrounds. My kids have been so bored and they have been driving me crazy. I’m so thankful that those kinds of things exist and cannot wait to go to them again when this is all over.

When this is all over I want to be away from my apartment as much as possible, at least for a while. I want to take the boys to see stuff, I want to spend time with people again, I want to go on road trips. This quarantine has taught me that we all need each other, but the only way to be with each other is to be apart right now. I just hold on to that. I tell myself that it will all be better if we just stay away from each other for a while. We want to be able to come out on the other side of this and hug each other without fear. It won’t be like this forever.

Let me know how you’re doing in the comments. How have you been handling this quarantine?

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Weird Laws in America

While in school to become a paralegal I have been doing a lot of research regarding the law. I have seen some cases and read the rules and learned some of their exceptions. My favorite thing so far, however, are all the silly or just plain weird laws I’ve come across. I thought I’d share some with you all. Here goes:

  1. In Florida, if you own, maintain or operate a commercial establishment that sells alcohol on the premises you will lose your license and be fined up to $1000 if you promote or permit any contests or recreational activities that could harm any persons with dwarfism. No dwarf throwing contests, guys. Fla. Stat. T. 34, Ch. 561, 665 (1989).
  2. In Louisiana, if you want to eat jambalaya in a public restaurant, be aware that preparing this staple dish in the traditional manner is not subject to any of the states sanitary codes. It is allowed to be served for public consumption and there’s no way of knowing what’s been put in it. La. Stat. T. 42, §4.2, 1977, No. 166, §1. 
  3. In Connecticut, you have to have a license to horde trash. Trash. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19-1, (1977 ).
  4. In Oklahoma, it is illegal to wrestle a bear. Why would you want to do that anyway? Have you seen The Revenant? Dude gets torn up! 21 Okla. St. Ann. § 1700.
  5. In California, Any person may possess any number of live frogs to use in frog-jumping contests, but if such a frog dies or is killed, it must be destroyed as soon as possible, and may not be eaten or otherwise used for any purpose. just wasteful.(1957) Cal. Stat. 6883. 
  6. In Minnesota, it is illegal to oil or grease a pig and then try to catch it. This is considered to be a misdemeanor. Is this your idea of fun, Minnesota? Minn. Stat. Ch. 343 § 36, 2013.
  7. In Nebraska, anyone who has a venereal disease is not allowed to get married. So if you want to get married, get tested. Also, don’t lie about having an STD, it’s tacky. Neb. Rev. Stat. Ch. 42, § 102, 1978.
  8. In Ohio, operators of coal mines must have an adequate supply of toilet paper provided with each toilet. This is a law, y’all. Ohio Rev. Law Title 15, Ch. 1563, § 23(H) 1995.
  9. In Texas, if you want to run for any state office position you gotta believe in the Lord. If not, you have to take a religious test. “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.” Tex. Const. Art. 1, § 4, (1972).
  10. In Wisconsin, the butter must have a highly pleasing butter flavor. Them folks love their butter. Wis. Stat. ATCP 85.03, (2017).

 

Well that was interesting to research. I couldn’t help but notice a lot of the crazy laws in this country involve animals…I tried to not have too many of those. What do you all think? What are some weird or ridiculous laws in your state that I didn’t cover? Let me know in the comments!

 

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The Many Jobs I’ve Had (There Have Been a Lot)

I once did a post on all the jobs I think would be fun to do. (It’s Jobs I’d Like to Try). Now I want to talk about all the jobs I’ve had, and let me tell you….it’s a lot.

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I’ve said it before, it’s hard for me to stay in one place. It’s not because I’m particularly flakey, I just don’t want to waste my time if I don’t feel like it’s what I want to do or if I don’t feel challenged anymore. There are people who are completely fine staying at one job for a long time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t think trying different jobs is a bad thing either. I have so much experience in so many different areas I see it as an asset. Anyway, let me just tell you guys what you came to read about.

1st job: Cashier-Academy Sports and Outdoors.

My first job I got when I was 16. I worked there for about a year and a half. I worked full time because I was homeschooled and could do that. I goofed off a lot. I met one of my best friends there and we’re still friends to this day. I met a boy there who was my first heartbreak. I also met my ex-husband while working there.

2. Waitress-Fusion Cafe

I took a server job at a family owned Korean restaurant over a semester when I was 16. I worked there the same time I worked at Academy. The owner of the restaurant’s daughter, who was normally their server, went off to college and they needed someone to fill in for her. I went to Tae Kwon Do with their youngest child, who was younger than me, and they asked me if I would do it. It was fun but I got tired of it. I never felt like I worked hard enough for her liking and I also just wanted to not have two jobs at 16.

3. Cashier-Circuit City

Circuit City has since gone out of business and I only worked there for a month or two. I got the job there because I left Academy rather abruptly. I think at the time I thought I was going to get fired so I quit before that could happen. I didn’t have any reason to feel this way but I did. I didn’t like Circuit City and I ended up leaving there without notice because my family and I moved back to Texas.

4. Server-Golden Corral

Golden Corral is a buffet style restaurant and I’m pretty sure I worked at the grossest one in Texas. The manager was absolutely horrible. She was definitely on a power trip. I left after two months when I called in sick because I had a stomach bug and she said I either showed up for work or found another job. So I found another job.

5. Cashier-Brookshire Brothers

I lasted at this one for 9 months. I met some really fun people there but once again I had a horrible boss. This place is a grocery store, and the managers ran it like it was their very own kingdom. One manager in particular would just push you so far off the edge with his criticism he made several cashiers cry, including me. I believe this was also the very first job that required me to take a drug test.

6. Cashier-Hobby Lobby

After I left Brookshire Brothers I moved back to Oklahoma. I have been here ever since. The year was 2009 and I had heard that they were paying Hobby Lobby employees $10 and hour, which at the time was a lot for me. What I didn’t know was they were only paying that to full time employees. I ended up a part time employee with the promise that if I did well I could get a full time position as soon as one opens. Well that never happened. Every time one came open someone else would get it. Someone who was older than I was. I was only 19 at the time. A new store had opened and I put in to transfer over there. The manager there gave me a position but could only give me full time hours but not full time pay. It was at that point I started going to college.

7. Teacher Assistant-La Petite Academy

After attending school for a bit I decided I wanted to be a teacher. I applied at a daycare and got the position. I was making only slightly more than I was at Hobby Lobby but I was at least getting experience with children. I had babysat some when I was a teenagers but that was nothing compared to a room full of little kids running crazy everywhere. I was 20 years old and had absolutely no training. They basically just taught me CPR and what to do in case of a tornado and that we were not allowed to discipline the children in any way. That was it, I was in way over my head. I had my first experience with panic attacks. I think i was only there for two months. They weren’t happy with my work performance but they wouldn’t give me any tips or help me in anyway. I walked out.

8. Order Picker-Hobby Lobby Warehouse

I was married to my ex-husband at this point in my life and he had a job at Hobby Lobby’s corporate warehouse. He got me a job there as well and I started making more money than I ever had. It was very physical work and I got really strong after working there a while. After a few months I transferred departments. I started doing inventory control. That was when I was sent to work in another building where I met my second (and current) husband. I eventually got fired from that job because I got caught in the middle of a manager feud and lost. Right about the time I got fired I was also going through a divorce and I ended up dropping out of college.

9. Title Clerk-Quail Tag Agency

At this point my ex-husband and I were divorced and I was living with my current husband, we weren’t married yet. I had to find a new job since I had just been fired from the last one and I had always wanted to work in a tag agency. A tag agency is Oklahoma’s second branch of the DMV. You get your vehicle registration, driver’s license, car title transfers, etc. there. I was one of the clerks who filed the paperwork on all those things with the state and took payment and all the things you do in an office. I really loved that job. I loved the paperwork, the laws, the boss. The best boss I have ever have was there and I still love her. She is a very special person. The reason I left was because Marc and I had bought our fist home and it was 45 minutes away from the tag agency and I needed a job closer to home.

10. Cashier-Ulta

For a brief time, while I also worked at the tag agency, I also worked at Ulta. I was trying to make some extra money because Marc and I were trying to buy a house. I wasn’t there for very long because I soon realized I was spending my whole paycheck there. I love makeup and it just wasn’t a good place for me to work.

11. Service Cashier-Frontier Chevrolet

After leaving the tag agency I went to work at a Chevy dealership in the service department. I basically took money for services and input all the data for what was done for each vehicle, tallied payroll and filed paperwork. Oh and answered phones. I liked the job but I felt like the lady who trained me didn’t like the way I id things. She was set to retire after she got me completely trained but man she was bitter about it. The best part about this job was that it was 5 minutes from my house. I worked there full time but after being there a while I decided I needed to go back to school.

12. Nanny

I left the dealership and went back to school. I also became a full time babysitter for my brother and sister in law. I got the kids up for school and took care of the baby. It was short lived though because I needed to make more money so I found another job.

13. Customer Service-Hahn Appliance

This job lasted 7 months. I was hired on a temporary status and was told after 6 months I would be hired permanently an given a raise. That didn’t happen. They kept putting it off and I got tired of not knowing if they were going to keep me or not. Not to mention I was the one that customers called to complain about stuff. Getting cussed out gets really old, real quick. And the managers didn’t really help you.

14. Book Binder-Tate Publishing

This was another warehouse/distribution type job. I was at this job the longest and made the most I’ve ever made, it was also my first salaried job. I started out part time in the CD room packaging CDs. Then I became a full time book binder. I always bound way more books than I was supposed to, but the machines broke down a lot so I would never get a bonus. It was when I was working at this job that I had my first child and was able to switch to the evening shift to work opposite my husband to save money on childcare. That company was really small and they ended up committing a lot of criminal activity behind the scenes. The company finally went out of business when several lawsuits were filed against the company and the owners. We were all out of a job.

15. Patient Care Coordinator-Dental Depot

I got this job thanks to my connections, a friend of mine was once a dental hygienist for this company. I wasn’t here long because at this point I had a little one and I couldn’t work the schedule they needed me to work. We couldn’t afford childcare and we didn’t have a very reliable one. I really liked that job though. I also had dropped out of college again because we had a baby.

16. Server-Charleston’s

This is my least favorite job. I hate being a server. It’s just not for me. And I didn’t feel like I fit in with my coworkers. They were all young college students and I was a mom and married. I didn’t feel like I could relate to them. I finally left after 6 months because I was so over it. I do not want to be a server ever again.

17. Cashier-Lowe’s Home Improvement

Back to the beginning. At least that’s how I felt. It was at this job that I became pregnant with my second child. I was a very grumpy pregnant lady. It was summer time and I was hot and angry all the time. I went back to work there after I had the baby and ended up working in the back unloading freight. I enjoyed that work because I was constantly busy but the guys I worked with were very unmotivated and it took way too long to unload the truck every night. I went back to being a cashier when I hurt my shoulder. That stuff was heavy and I was done. I eventually left.

18. Seasonal Warehouse Associate-Amazon

I only ended up working here for two months. I was considered temporary but was told I could potentially have a permanent position after the busy season was over. Well they lied and got rid of all the seasonal employees. I was once again, jobless. At this point I decided to stay home with the kids for a while.

19. Cashier-Bass Pro Shops

This is my current job, although I’m currently on furlough due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I’m back in school and will definitely be finishing it this time. I graduate in May 2021. I plan to start looking for a job in a law office very soon so that I can get my foot in the door so that when I graduate and become a licensed paralegal I will be all set.

Other: I also sold Mary Kay products for a while and had my own handmade jewelry business for a bit. Both were not successful and I lost money on both deals.

I’ve been working for almost 14 years and have had 19 different jobs. I feel like that’s crazy. Is that crazy? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

8 Mistakes I Made in My 20’s

Your twenties are a crazy time. So much happens to you and you learn quite a lot in that span of your life. The list of mistakes I’ve made in my twenties is way too long for a blog post so I thought I’d narrow it down to a reasonable number. I write this post for those of you in your twenties who feel like they’re failing. I write this for those of you who feel like you didn’t accomplish a lot in your twenties. Sometimes the only way to learn is by failing, so here’s what I learned the hard way.

1. Get your career figured out BEFORE you have children.

I know sometimes things happen and you have children before you plan to but then there are people like me who plan to have a baby but don’t have anything else figured out first. I can’t tell you why I wanted a baby so badly at 24, I could have easily waited until I was 28 or 29 to have one. Now that I have two children and am just now getting a career in order it’s a lot harder and more stressful. If I had just gotten my education in my early twenties and had babies in my late twenties, life might be bit easier for me. Hindsight is 20-20, as they say and it holds up. I can just see my Aunt Brenda now nodding her head and saying, “I told you so.”

2. Take a homeowner’s class and financial planning class.

My husband and I had no idea what we were doing when we first started out, like most young couples. We both always talk about the things we would do differently if we could start over. Taking a homeowner’s and financial planning course is one thing we wish we had done. There’s a lot that goes into buying and selling a home. There’s also a lot of money that goes into it. We have managed to buy two homes and sell one. (The other we lost due to poor financial management.) Our parents didn’t really teach us what we should do but I don’t think it was for lack of trying. I’m sure there were one or two things that were said but we didn’t listen, or just didn’t understand. If we had taken a class and gotten the knowledge we needed to succeed we would be in a much better place, physically and financially.

3.  Don’t join a multi-level marketing company.

A multi-level marketing company, or MLM, is a company that recruits people to sell something but also has those people recruit other people. When you join an MLM you usually have to pay a fee to join. That’s how they make money. Off of all the fees paid by people who join their company, and they make a share of your sales of whatever product they sell. I joined Mary Kay and the way it worked was you paid a start up fee, then you buy all the equipment you’ll need to host a “party’ as well as the products you will be selling to your customers. You have a “party” where your friends and family come and test the products for themselves and hopefully buy some from you. Then you get a few of them to host a “party” to have their friends and family come and test the products and you sell some to them and the cycle repeats. The only thing is, you have no idea if you are going to make a sale and you don’t know if anyone will be willing to host a party. It’s stressful and I totally lost money on the deal so that was short lived. Bottom line, don’t believe them when they say you can make a lot of money selling their product. You could but you most likely won’t.

4. Don’t move in with your best friend.

You might think it will be so fun to move in with your best friend but it’s not. You see a whole other side of them and they see a whole other side of you and it could potentially destroy your friendship. I moved in with my best friend when I was 21 and it did not end well. It took us 8 years to get back together.

5. Don’t buy a brand new vehicle.

In your twenties it probably seems like a good idea to purchase a brand new vehicle but that is a very deceiving notion. You think, oh I could have this care for a really long time since I’m young and it’s new and I’ll have it paid off in no time. If you’re a responsible human being and take care of your car, then yes I guess that could be true. But the fact of the matter is not every person in their twenties is that responsible, especially if they know nothing about how to take care of a car. Also, the value of a brand new car depreciates by about 20% after the first year and continues to depreciate by about 10% every year after that. Which means after just five years of ownership your car will have only be worth about 40% of what you paid for it.

6. Don’t put up with piss-poor friendships/relationships.

I was very lucky to have met my husband when I was 21. We got married when I was 22 and it’s been s great ride ever since. My friendships on the other hand have not been as sturdy. I do have a couple of longtime friends who have been really great and they will certainly last a lifetime. Some friends start off strong but then something gets in the way. I don’t have time to deal with people who don’t have time for me. I’m not saying that it was always them. I know I did and said some things that would make me unlikable. I don’t blame them for cutting me off too. You have to do what feels right in your gut. If a person isn’t easy to be around or if they don’t make you feel good about yourself when you’re around them, you don’t need them in your life.

7.  Don’t use credit cards.

Having one credit card is not so bad. You could have one that you keep up somewhere for emergencies, like if you need gas or groceries and you don’t get paid for a whole week. Or you could use one to build your credit by only using about 20% of it and paying it off every month, on time. What you shouldn’t do is have 3 or 4 and rack up $35,000 in debt that you can’t run away from because you don’t make enough money to pay your bills AND all that debt. It’s a stupid mistake and it has since been resolved but it was a scary thing for a while. We have definitely learned our lesson.

8. Make as many memories as you can.

Don’t waste your youth. Use the time in your twenties to go on adventures. See the world, try new things, have fun. Once you’re in your thirties and you’re settled down with kids and a job you’ll wish you had done more in your twenties. I look back at all the wasted time where I had no responsibilities but myself and I just shake my head at myself. There’s so much I want to do now but I have obligations now and a family to provide for. I’ll get to do those things one day but it will be a while and I won’t be so youthful then. I’m not complaining, I’m venting.

These are just some of the things I would have done differently. Take my advice and make life easier for yourself. Trust me, those of us who are through our twenties just want to see the next group succeed.

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5 Habits That Lower Stress

Who isn’t having a stressful time right now? If you aren’t well then I am very happy for you.

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Well my anxiety has had a few moments lately, let me tell you, and I have had to start some new habits to keep it at bay. I thought I’d share them with you and maybe they’ll help you.

1. YOGA

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Photo by theformfitness from Pexels

This will always be number one in my book. Yoga is THE best way to de-stress. Pinterest has a lot of great suggestions on poses. You can look up exact poses for the parts of your body that are bothering you particularly. YouTube also has some videos to follow along. Just clear a space in your house/room, turn on a YouTube yoga video and streeeeeeetch. It feels great, you’re focusing on what your doing, and after it all you feel totally zen and ready for a nap. Remember to drink lots of water after!

2. WRITE

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Photo by Negative Space from Pexels

That’s write! (See what I did there?) Writing can help clear your mind of everything that’s been bugging you. Sometimes just getting written out on paper can get it our of your head. Also seeing what’s on your mind in print might help you understand your thoughts better or to see a solution. Writing has always been a way for me to not only sort things out but also gives me something to look back on. I can look back and see just how far I’ve come from when I was feeling down and that means progress!

3. Meditation

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Photo by Oluremi Adebayo from Pexels

I know, it’s a cliche, right? But I’m telling you it really does work! Get on YouTube, search soothing music, play a song, get on the floor and just close your eyes. You don’t have to sit a certain way or do a special pose. Just close your eyes, clear your mind and breathe. If you’re having a hard time clearing your mind just focus on the music, that’s what it’s there for. Focus on the music, let it take your mind where it wanders and just breathe deeply in and out. The oxygen you pull in will go to your brain which will power those calming thoughts run by the music. Do this for at least 15 minutes before or after yoga and I’m telling you, you’ll be relaxed.

4. Get some house plants.

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Photo by Valeria Ushakova from Pexels

I recently started collecting house plants and I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner. They’re green leaves give you that piece of nature your soul has been searching for. They just brighten up the room. Getting your hands dirty is half the fun. They’re quiet, low maintenance, and help purify the air in your house! Cleaner air is very conducive to less stress. I really like the ZZ plant, it’s the one in the photo.

5. Go for a walk.

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Photo by Noelle Otto from Pexels

Walking isn’t always for everyone but I have found just getting outdoors is what it’s mostly about. Walking gets your heart rate up and gets the blood flowing. You get some vitamin D while out in then sun. You get fresh air in your lungs. You wave at the people who are also out walking but keeping a safe distance from you because we’re in the middle of a pandemic, don’t ya know? It’s a great way to clear your mind and get a change of scenery in front of you. It makes you feel part of a bigger space than the one that is your house.

I hope you all are staying safe out there. It’s a crazy time right now and we’re all relying on each other to stay home and stay healthy so we can see the other side of this thing. I hope those who are affected by this virus are keeping their heads up and giving it a good fight. We all want to see you get well so you can be with the ones you love again. Please take care of yourselves.

What do you do to relieve stress? Let me know in the comments! I’m always looking for ways to improve my mental health.

Life in an Apartment and the Woman Upstairs

We have been living in an apartment for about six months now and let me tell you, it’s not for everyone.

When I was 15 we lived in an apartment for just seven months when we first moved to Oklahoma from Texas. It was a temporary situation while my parent searched for a house to rent. We lived on the third floor and I thought it was cool at the time. That was my first apartment life experience. I was a pretty social kid and so were my siblings so we loved having a community of kids to play with. Our parents were always getting on to us though about running in the apartment. They were always reminding us about the people who lived below us and to not disturb them with our stomping.

When my husband and I first moved in together we got an apartment. My second experience. I think we only lived in those less than a year as well because we decided to buy a house right before our lease was up. We never had any issues in those apartment either, even though we were hiding the fact that we had three cats and didn’t pay the deposit for them.

This experience is very different though. Mostly because this is the first time I’ve lived on the ground floor with neighbors above us. We got the worse kind.

The woman who lives above us is so loud, I can’t imagine how her upbringing was. She’s talks loudly, she walks loudly, she fights with her boyfriend loudly. It’s awful. Our other neighbors, who are both elderly women, can’t stand it. The woman upstairs is constantly moving stuff around in her apartment, she’s constantly yelling at her four year who runs off all the time, she stomps around her apartment like she’s mad. Her four year old runs up and down the stairs causing a ruckus. She doesn’t ever seem to get on to him for being loud. There are teenage boys from around the complex who come to visit her. I’m not sure why but they hang around on the staircase and I don’t like it.

The most annoying thing though is the way she and her boyfriend behave. One second we can hear them going at it like bunnies, then the next minute they’re yelling at each other out on the balcony for the whole complex to hear. He’s yelling at her calling her, calling her names  and she’s telling him to leave. Then a week will go by and he’s back. Then the whole cycle starts again. I could never.

This living arrangement has scarred both me and my husband. I know my kids get loud sometimes, I mean they’re 4 and 2, but I always try to get them to stop as quickly as I can. We try to keep our noise level down because we don’t want to disturb our neighbors. We have been looking at land. We want to stretch out and get away from everyone. We want some privacy and a patch of land to grow things on. We want chickens and dogs and a garden. We want a greenhouse. I want a shed that I can convert to a yoga studio. We also want to find some land with a home on it already if possible. We’re excited of the possibility of a fixer upper that we can work on together. We have lots of plans for the future and I can’t wait to write about those adventures for you all in the future! Hopefully we can start making them happen next year. I need to finish school first.

Anyway! I just wanted to share a little bit about what’s going on in my life right now. I hope you at least got a laugh at my predicament. It is kind of funny, but mostly annoying. On the bright side I’ve started growing a few things. I have a few house plants that are feeding my need to grow things for the moment. I even paint the clay pots they’re in to add a little color and to give myself an artistic outlet. I hope you all have a great day!

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My ivy, Hawaiian Sunshine, and lavender. All in book themed pots. 

Answers to Some Funny Questions

I think it’s safe to say that we all could use a little distraction right now. I thought I would look up some questions on Pinterest and answer them. I also thought I would tag a few friends and see if they would be willing to answer them as well! The Pinterest tag is here if you want to look at it. Without further ado, here are my answers!

1. What’s your biggest kitchen fail?

So I have a chocolate pie recipe from my nana and I thought I’d try my hand at it for Thanksgivings at my in laws. I had made the pie once before and it turned out great, this time it did not. I talked these pies up so much and was so ready to eat them and have everyone else them and be all like, “these are so good, Cadie!” I took the first slice and took a bite. Immediately I knew it was awful. I had burnt the filling but it didn’t look burnt. It tasted so burnt though and before anyone else could get any I said, “don’t eat the pie.” To this day they don’t let me hear the end of it.

2. Have you ever sent a text message to the wrong person?

I’m usually very careful about sending text messages. I try to make sure that I send it to the right person because I am so afraid of a person getting a text that is not any of their business. I will share a story where I sent a message to the right person but they thought it was wrong. So when I was dating my ex-husband he and I were pretty awkward in the beginning. For so long we had been friends so learning how to go from a friendship to a relationship was not easy. One day I decided I would try calling him babe to see how it felt. I sent it to him saying I could wait to see him. He thought I meant to send it to a girl friend of mine. I was so embarrassed that he didn’t realize it was for him I lied and said I sent it to him by accident.

3. What is the most embarrassing thing that happened to you in school?

Where do I even start? I was a pretty awkward kid in school. I only spent the first five years of my school age years in a public school, I was home schooled from fifth grade to graduation. I remember being called Dookie because my maiden name was Duke. I remember I got left on the playground because I didn’t hear my teacher calling us back to the classroom. I looked around and couldn’t recognize any of the kids on the playground when I realized. I cried when I got back to the classroom and I was made fun of for it.

4. What is your signature dance move?

I am a horrible dancer, the epitome of white girl dancing. I will dance just for fun, it’s not pretty but that doesn’t count when it’s for fun. I don’t have a signature move I just go with the beat and whatever feels possible at the time.

5. What is one thing you refuse to share?

My pillows. Those are MY pillows, and MY head lays on them. I don’t want anyone else’s dirty, nasty head laying on them. Not even my family.

6. If you could kill off any character from a current television show, who would it be?

I don’t watch what’s current. I have Netflix so pretty much all the stuff on there is either an original or already past. I recently watched Tiger King and I know that’s a documentary with real life people but it’s the closest thing I have. Carole Baskin had her husband killed and she’s the biggest hypocrite ever and I highly dislike her. If she were a character in a show she would be the one I would want killed off. She is a real person though so I do not want her to die but she is an awful person.

7. If you had the power to shrink anything and take it with you, what would you do with it?

I’m not quite sure what is being asked here. Am I being asked what would I do with the shrinking power or what I would do with something I’ve shrunk? If I had the shrinking power I would use it to shrink my upstairs neighbor. Maybe then her big, horse like steps wouldn’t be so loud.

8. If you could make a rule for a day and everyone had to follow it, what would it be?

Right now my mind is saying everyone would have to be quiet for a whole day, but I know that’s the mom in me wanting some silence. But still.

9. What’s a holiday that doesn’t exist that you’d like to create?

There’s a fictional unofficial holiday on the show Parks and Recreation called Treat Yo Self day and I wish that could be a real holiday. Everyone gets the day off and they get to treat themselves to whatever luxury they don’t normally get to.

10. Have you ever noticed that easy open packages never seem to open that easy?

It is frustrating when there is an easy pull tab on a package and it just rips in your hand and doesn’t help at all. Then you have to go hunt for scissors that are hidden away so your kids can’t find them but then you can’t find them either because you forgot where you hid them then you get even more frustrated because the kids are hungry and bouncing off the walls and you just want a moment of peace and quiet that can’t come soon enough.

11. If I were a pair of shoes what kind would I be?

Sandals. Because I feel the most comfortable in the least amount of constriction deemed appropriate.

12. Would you rather be an elf or hobbit for 24 hours?

Definitely and elf. Then I’d go find Legolas.

13. What mythical creature would improve the world most if it existed?

I honestly can’t think of a creature that would improve the world. Maybe gnomes?

14. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

Had two human beings cut out of my body two different times.

15. If you could have an unlimited storage of one thing, what would it be?

Books. And I’ve already started.

16. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Probably pizza. There’s so many variations of it.

17. Do you like “people watching” and can you come up with a story about them?

I do like to people watch. Sometimes I come up with stories with my husband if we notice someone especially interesting.

18.What is the most hilarious childhood memory you can think of?

I just remember this one time my siblings and I were playing Mario Party on my brother’s Nintendo GameCube and my mom came into the room and said, “you guys need to go play outside.” So we loaded up the TV, GameCube and controllers and went out to the garage and hooked it all up. We had the garage door open so the fresh air could circulate. When my mom stuck her head out to check on us she noticed we were playing the game outside and she laughed. “That’s not what I meant by play outside.” She couldn’t even be mad at us, we did what she asked. My sisters and I also used to gather up all our Bratz dolls and take them outside and played Survivor with them. We would build them little shelters with sticks and leaves and they had to do challenges and vote each other off.

19. After you survive the apocalypse, what will your job be?

Well hopefully after the current apocalypse/pandemic we’re in I can get a job at a law office in an entry level position.

20. If you had to become an inanimate object for a year, what object would you choose to be?

I would want to be my son’s Curious George plush so I could cuddle with him every night.

21. If you were about to get into a fight, what song comes on as your soundtrack?

Move Bitch by Disturbing Tha Peace and Ludacris

22. What set of items could you buy that would make the cashier the most uncomfortable?

Rope, knife, rubber gloves, bleach and paper towels.

23. I’ve been thinking of starting a cult. What kind of cult should we start together?

That Valerie Solanas had some good ideas…I’m kidding. Or am I?

24. What movie completely changes its plot when you change one letter in its title?

Instead of The Shining it’s The Whining. Welcome to my life.

25. Would you rather shoot spaghetti out of your fingers or sneeze meatballs?

I think the obvious choice here would be shooting spaghetti out of my fingers. I would never be hungry, also sneezing meatballs sounds painful.

Well there you have it! I hope you enjoyed reading these. How would you answer any of these? Let me know in the comments! I would like to see if some of my friends will do it!

Mackenzie

Caramel

Slumdog Soldier

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Hey! It’s Been a While!

Hello all!

I know, it’s been a while and so much has changed in the world since my last post back in August. Please forgive my absence, I had a lot going on at the time. I just started a new job and classes had just started as well. I was feeling very anxious about both and couldn’t focus on anything outside of my responsibilities so writing just took a backseat for a while.

I’m happy to be back though! Things have been strange lately and I feel like I just need to talk about it. I’ll start where I left off.

At the beginning of August I got a job and as some of you may know I had been a stay at home mom for a while before that. While I was ready to go back to normal socialization I also found myself feeling super anxious about it. It wasn’t too bad but I have finally figured out that jobs in retail are exactly why I am such an anxious person and since I have been home during this quarantine I am finding I do not miss going to work.

School started back up for me at the same time I started the job. I didn’t feel anxious about school but it did add a lot to my plate, which overwhelmed me. Which in turn makes me anxious. I was feeling the pressure. The pressure to do well and to actually finish it this time. It had been four years since I had attended college and I was mostly worried about being so much older than my classmates. I had put college off for so long since becoming a mom, but I quickly learned that was a silly fear. There were people of all ages in my classes and I felt super relieved by this. Last semester went by so fast and I was glad for it. Now in my second semester I can say that law classes are crazy challenging. It’s a good challenge though. I’m learning a lot.

When all this was starting, and my anxiety was going crazy, I decided to deactivate my Facebook. Every time I would log on to it I would just get more anxious and negative. It didn’t seem like there was anything intelligent or inspiring on there anymore. I also felt the need to disconnect from people for a while. Having recently been in a fight with family at the time wasn’t helping either. I just needed to take a step back from everyone and everything to focus on more important things.

I will say that I have not logged back on to Facebook. I never looked back and it’s been awesome. I did have to give up my jewelry business because a lot of my marketing was done on Facebook. It was worth my sanity though so I wasn’t too sad about it.

So what have I been up to lately? Well mostly studying. I’ve picked reading back up and am currently reading The Cider House Rules by John Irving, it might just become my new favorite. My two year old’s speech has taken off so we’re working on his words and sentence building. We moved into a new apartment complex and our upstairs neighbor is the absolute worse. (More on her in another post). My four year old started preschool but of course hasn’t been attending as of late.

I can’t believe the state of the world right now. It’s all just so scary. Staying home for me hasn’t been bad, I try to look at it as a good thing. I get to spend time with my babies a little longer. One day they’ll be grown men and won’t be around as much, they’ll have lives of their own. It’s nice to have this time with them. I feel good about doing my part and distancing myself from society and not spreading the virus further. Hopefully this will end soon and things can get back to normal.

Right now I want to take advantage of this time to write more. It has been hard to get motivated but I’m putting this out there to hold myself more accountable. Please send encouraging words! More content to come!

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A Sneak Peek

I’ve been taking the time I haven’t been writing for my blog to focus on writing a novel I’ve been working on for a bit. I finally got my outline for it written so now all there is to do is write the damn thing. It’s been going slowly but I thought I would show you all a scene I’ve written and see what you all think. Next week I’ll introduce you to the characters and setting of the book and see if any of you have any suggestions on that. I don’t have a name for it yet so any suggestions on that would be appreciated as well.

So without further ado here’s a snippet:

“We gotta get out of here.” Cat grabbed her things and threw them into her suitcase, Audrey did the same. They gathered everything up as quickly as they could and headed out the door. The night was balmy with a slight mist in the air, the sky was as black as pitch. Before they could make it to the stairs Mr. Davies stopped them.

“Are you not enjoying your stay?” he asked, concerned.

“We just have something very important to attend to back home. I’m sorry to leave so early.” Cat tried to push past him.

“Surely it can wait until after the wedding? Your cousin would be devastated if you missed it.” He blocked the way, moving in front of Cat with every attempt.

“Please move, I don’t want to have to push you down the stairs.” Cat glared at him.

“Well if it’s that urgent,” he stood aside to let them pass. As they did he grabbed Audrey by the wrist, “I would warn you that trying to leave would be a mistake.” His eyes had no emotion in them at all. He held her wrist for a second longer then let her go. The girls ran for their car.

“What was that about?” Audrey asked as they sped out of the parking lot.

“I don’t know but it was so creepy. We should never have come back here.” She went well over the speed limit as she headed towards the highway. The winding roads seemed to stretch on forever. It was so dark. As they came around a bend Cat had to slam on her brakes. In front of them was a line of people blocking the road. They wore white cloaks with hoods pulled over their heads.

“What the fuck?” Audrey whispered.

“What are they doing?” Cat asked.

“Just turn around, find another way.” Audrey tapped on Cat to get her to go. Cat backed up at full speed and turned around at the first chance. They took a turn that would loop them around to the main road. When they had gotten about a mile down the road Cat was stopped again by another line of people in white cloaks. 

“What is going on?” Audrey half screamed.

“They don’t want us to leave…” Cat answered, finally understanding what Mr. Davies had said.

“Well fuck them! Run them over!” Audrey was becoming hysterical. Cat looked at her incedulously. Then came the sound. 

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