DAY 88/365

tumblr_inline_nb3h740cQe1snulowHi, Hello, Sorry. It’s been a minute. Whitney and I are crazy complicatedly busy. I’ve been moving, she has clinicals and a job and a puppy. Bear with us! (Rarrrr -that’s a bear growl thing…old camp jokes-). We love you, we miss you, we love our blog, we really do try! Moving on! We are just about one quarter (a little over 24%) of the way through the year 2017, and I decided I wanted to revisit my goals for the year. Not to change them or anything, just to have  a little status update on any progress I’m making. So, to refresh everyone’s memory, this is from my New Years Post:

Here we go… Like Whitney said. I may or may not achieve these.
(I’m okay with that.)

  1. Continue to learn as much as possible at my job to strengthen my resume.

  2. Continue to work towards (and maybe even obtain??) moving out on my own.

  3. Ride my new bicycle as regularly as possible.

  4. Clean out those clothes I hold on to hoping I’ll one day wear again when they aren’t even age appropriate anymore.

  5. Stop worrying so much what other people think about me.

  6. (I’m stealing one of Whitney’s and putting it in quotes because plagiarism scares me. Sorry!) “more self love, less self hate”

  7. Cut back to only 2 alarms instead of 3 in the morning.

So lets take a look at this.

  1. I got moved from one department to another department at my job, and I have definitely been learning something new all the time. I’ve began working on skills that make my resume look better. So I’d say I’m on the right track for this one.
  2. I moved out of my parents house!!!!! Check!
  3. Well… oh my gosh, I am so sorry Max and Sarah… I have only ridden my bike twice.
  4. I’ve cleaned out HUGE bags full of clothes, but still have more I need to purge. Especially with moving. So we will consider this on the right track.
  5. Lol. I’m cute for thinking I will fully obtain this goal. Don’t get me wrong, I have no shame in my game. I proudly fly my crazy train flag. But I still will always worry that someone isn’t really my friend, hates me on the DL, or will be secretly talking about me behind my back. I’m going to keep trying on this one though.
  6. This is a huge work in progress. I’m my own worst nightmare when it comes to criticism of myself.
  7. Welllll, as of this morning, I just had to add a 4th emergency in case I fall back to sleep alarm. So… baby steps.

Where are you at 88 days into the year? Have you been making progress? Or are you falling under the theory of January… February… oh and March, too… are simply trial months of the year? Let me know! I’d love to hear in the comments below. No shame in our game, right?

 

Peace&Blessings

alex

Nursing School // Study Tips for the Non-Studier

Nursing school problems: I have a test next week and I have zero desire to crack open my notes and focus. So I thought I’d finally get around to writing a post about how I study in nursing school, especially since I will be graduating this year. I specify “nursing school” because how I study in nursing school is a complete 180 from the way I studied in college. In college, I walked away with 2 Bachelor’s degree, a really good GPA, and memories that will last a life time. I NEVER STUDIED. I went to class 80% of the time, cranked out a billion papers while watching Lost, and actually had time to like, go out to dinner with friends. Culture shock when I started nursing school (read about why I went back to school here). I attended all the lectures, studied my butt off, ignored my friends for an entire year, and still managed to have really sucky grades. How? Why? What happened to my brain? Everyone was like “I studied 15 hours on Saturday! What about you?” Was I not studying enough? It wasn’t until one of my clinical instructors told me “Whitney, don’t go down the rabbit hole.”  when things started to click and I realized that I needed to study smarter, not study more.They're all the right answer! The never-ending struggle. #Nursing #NursingStudent:

If you ask anyone in nursing school, they will tell you how difficult and how Funny Nursing Quotes: http://www.nursebuff.com/2013/07/funny-nurses-quotes/: terrible the exams are…. I can tell you first hand that the exams are a death sentence. Select all that apply? HA! Let me just skip those since I’m 100% sure I will get it wrong anyway. (Don’t do this. A huge chunk of the NCLEX is apparently select all that apply). The most important thing I learned half way through nursing school is SAVE YOUR BRAIN SPACE. What do I mean by that? Nursing is a very complex profession. Sure it’s not medical school but we are required to basically know a little bit about everything and know what is abnormal/normal/weird/strange/good/bad so we can tell the doctors who will then tell us what to do even though we already know what they’re going to say… but whatever. I’m only in school for 2 years, not 8. No complaints. However, much like we cluster care with NICU babies, I find that clustering information and saving my brain space has drastically improved my studying and my grades.

Hey look! 250 Funniest Nursing Quotes and Ecards #Nursebuff #Nurse #Humor: Here are some little tips to help you survive nursing exams if you hate studying like me:

  • Go to every lecture. I found that instructors are not out to fail you. In fact, you will learn that the information they will most likely test on will be something they emphasize A LOT. If you hate reading 100 pages, go to the lecture and figure out the highlights your instructors deem important and test worthy.
  • Review your notes right after the lecture. This takes like 20 minutes max and it exposes your mind to the information again, further implanting it into your memory (hopefully). If you have any questions (sometimes instructors teach faster than I can write), go to your textbook and fill in the missing pieces.
  • Review every day. This is similar to the tip above. The more exposure you have to the material, the more you will understand it. Review your notes every day while you’re eating breakfast, walking your dog, in between red lights (just kidding. DO NOT DO THAT.), going to the bathroom (hey, if you’re reading this you realize that nurses/nursing students can’t be grossed out by anything), etc.
  • Record the lectures. Confused about something you scribbled down? Listen to the lecture again to clarify. This is the easiest, most time saving thing I wish I knew to do when I first started nursing school. Rather than trying to find out the information or trying to get a hold of the instructor, I can fast forward through my recording and bam! It’s there.
  • Rewrite the information. Don’t rewrite your notes word for word. Summarize them, organize them, make them yours. My notes from lectures are a mess. I have writing every where. When I finally sit down to study I either use note cards or a fresh notebook to rewrite all my notes. I organize the information, summarize points, create acronyms, etc. Writing out notes word for word is really wasting your time. Forcing yourself to write them with your own words/format/whatever will force you to think about what it is you are writing out.
  • Stop studying. Whenever I find my mind wandering in the middle of a study session, I stop. Before I used to power through and tell myself “Let me just finish this neuro section and then I will take a break.” However, more times than naught, I could never remember what I studied. Rather than waste my time and giving myself a false sense of accomplishment, I simply finish up whatever sentence I’m writing, close my book, and remove myself from my study spot. Sometimes I will grab something to eat, bake some cookies, watch an episode of whatever show I’m into, walk to get some coffee, literally anything to reset my brain. Once I am refueled, I return to my study spot and continue on. It is important not to get too distracted and waste the rest of your day (I am guilty of this), so this is where I would set a goal. Once the cookies are done baking, go back to studying. Once I finish this episode and go pee, go back to studying. Etc.
  • Use your resources. My go-to resource for nursing school is the Saunders NCLEX-RN review book. This book brilliantly breaks down the key points and organizes all that information thrown at me. I highly recommend this book for anyone in nursing school.
  • Don’t go down the rabbit hole. We are studying to become nurses, not doctors, not physical therapists, not respiratory therapists. Nurses. As nurses, we have a role of constantly assessing, educating patients and family, and communicating with other members of the team. I used to waste my time studying every part of a disease, but I had to remind myself, as a nurse my role is to know what is abnormal, what is improving, and the interventions to go along with that. We are required to know pathophysiology, but not to the extent I found myself studying. Forcing myself to focus on the role of the nurse and not go down that rabbit hole (i.e./ the cardiac system is endless and fascinating, but not for testing purposes) has saved my brain space and helped me with exams. If I want to know the detailed pathophysiology of Kawasaki disease, I definitely look it up… after my exam!
  • HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF A LIFE. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Go to yoga. Go to a movie. Go on a dinner date with your significant other you haven’t seen in like a month. Trust me when I say that extra hour of studying will not help. Enjoying an hour lunch with a friend will keep you sane and decrease your anxiety.

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TLDR: Don’t go overboard with the studying .No one cares if you studied 15 hours on Saturday… in fact that’s kind of dumb. Listen to your brain. If you’re tired of studying, get up and grab a cookie.Study smart. Go to lectures. Nursing exams really suck but just remember they’re a tiny part of something huge and amazing. Remember your end goal of becoming a nurse and dominate those exams!

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I Have High Functioning Anxiety/Panic Disorder

tumblr_inline_namymk27nv1snulowI’ve probably started typing and then deleted this post more times than I can even keep track of. It’s easy for me to click “share” on Facebook when someone posts a link to someone else’s post about their mental illness, but it’s a completely different story when I share my experience. I’m not trying to get a lot of shares, I’m not trying to gain support (I have a wonderful support system as is), and I’m not trying to make a point. I’m writing this more so for myself. It’s a lifestyle blog, this is part of my lifestyle. This will definitely be my most vulnerable post I have ever written.

It’s something I deal with every single moment of every single day of my life. You wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell by looking at me, hence the high functioning. But it’s there, constantly. While I face feeling anxious about pretty much everything, social situations are my biggest challenge I face. I over analyze, I blame myself for everything, and I assume people don’t want to be around me. If anyone, even my best friend, takes more than two minutes to respond to a text message, my throats begins to feel tight. I know, this doesn’t sound high functioning. It is. While I am feeling this way at all times, through behavioral therapy and determination I have reached a point where I am relatively successful of having my logical part of my brain silence the anxiety. Except, having the volume turned down doesn’t mean it goes away. Telling me to “stop overthinking” or “stop stressing” or “who cares let it go” is fine and dandy. Believe me, I appreciate your efforts in saying what you think will help. However, I need you to understand that what you’re saying means nothing. Anxiety and stress are two totally different concepts. I can be having a high anxiety day without any added stress just like I can have high stress days while having a relatively low anxiety day. Stress is something brought on by an outside source. Anxiety is never ending.

I remember my first panic attack like it happened yesterday. I was a senior in high school and we had a math test. My schedule had become much busier my senior year between IB, the drama program, and my part time job. I suffered a gnarly burn at work which complicated life, I was sick for almost a full semester, and I was going through major social circle changes. Despite all of this, I felt like I was still doing okay in school, nothing amazing, but okay. We were sitting down for the test, I don’t remember what the concepts were but I remember feeling like I had a good grasp on it, and then when the test actually began my mind went blank, I could no longer breathe, and then my vision blacked out. I never wrote down a single answer. It felt beyond trivial and teen angst filled to talk to my teacher after class and try and explain what happened, how I didn’t even know what happened. She responded instantly “You had a panic attack. Has this happened before?” While hearing her then explain to me what she believed I was going to was terrifying, because she said it would probably happen again, it was comforting to hear an explanation for the terrifying event I just experienced.

They would continue to happen periodically, some were worse and some weren’t as bad, throughout the rest of the year and my first two years of college. My parents began noticing areas I didn’t function as well with. I had crippling anxiety when it came time for me to get rid of anything I ever owned. ANYTHING. I couldn’t get rid of my 6th grade math assignment because what if one day I needed that again? You never know! (You do know. You won’t need it. But I couldn’t process that at the time.) My mom and dad finally decided that I should see somebody about all of this. Beginning in my junior year of college, I began seeing a therapist about once a week. It was weird at first. I didn’t feel like there was any huge trauma (I mean, there was, but I had the anxiety before that) I should be discussing that could be causing people to be concerned about my anxieties. I knew I didn’t want to be medicated, so eventually I figured out how to make this work. I learned a lot about myself. I learned that while the list of mental illnesses she began listing off over time seemed ridiculous, they were actually common and very intertwined with each other. Everything related back to how my brain responded to having Anxiety/Panic Disorder. We began working on ways to cope and self soothe. That term always sounds funny to me when used for reasons other than babies, but it’s what I had to learn how to do. Counting helps. You count to ten while inhaling slowly. You count down from ten while exhaling slowly. You repeat as many times as you need to before you’re calm. It’s easy to type out what to do. It’s harder to do it when you actively cannot breathe. Therapy helped. I was embarrassed for the longest time about going to therapy. I felt like it was something I should be ashamed of. I outgrew that. I think everyone should go to therapy at some point in their life because you learn a lot about yourself.

I don’t go to therapy anymore. I haven’t been to therapy since 2013. I still have some really bad days. Some of those really bad days actually last for a couple weeks where anything and everything makes me anxious. “Why didn’t my parents add an emoji? Are they mad at me? Quick think through everything you have said and done in the last 48 hours. Where did you mess up.” That’s what anxiety is like. I’m constantly replaying the last 48 hours, sometimes even the last week, of interactions I had with people to make sure I didn’t do something wrong. You wouldn’t think that by looking at me. I’m usually just sitting there, often times with the subtle curve of the corner of my mouth. I’m usually fidgeting, it keeps my mind from spinning into hyperspeed. The constant tucking of my hair behind my ears, the flicking of my fingers, the repeated opening and closing of the same three apps on my phone.

It’s hard for me to make friends sometimes, because I’m afraid of the no texting back. But I have the logic part of my brain. That gets louder all the time. Telling my anxiety to hush. Reminding me that it’s not always about me or something I did. Maybe mom or dad are busy and didn’t think to add a smiley face or maybe it’s because every message doesn’t need an emoji (like, wow, I don’t use emojis all the time, why should everyone else have to?). Sometimes people get busy and don’t answer texts, or life gets stressful and they stop answering texts. Do you know who does both of those things all the time? Me. You know what helps my anxiety the most? Talking about it. I used to be ashamed to talk about it because that’s what you’re supposed to do with mental illness. Keep it quiet. Don’t let anyone know. Keep up the charade that you’re “normal”. The stigma surrounding mental illness is something that absolutely needs to be stopped. I’m taking my step in doing my part by stopping it. This is my journey through anxiety/panic disorder. It’s not over, it never will be over, but I get better at coping with it every single day and I’m willing to be there are a handful of you out there who had absolutely no idea that I deal with this nonstop.

I’ve shared my story, now share yours. Feel welcome to leave comments below linking me to a post you’ve written about your own mental illness. Feel welcome to leave comments below sharing with me your story. Speak freely about what you face daily and stop the stigma. I have a mental illness but I’m functioning completely fine and I’m happy.

 

Peace & Blessings,

alex

 

P.S. check out or blog shop linked over in the side bar/menu to get your own Peace & Blessings gear. (or any other gear!)

Maker, not a Seller

Why I’m backing off the Etsy life

No, I’m not leaving it. Etsy is a phenomenal spot for novice sellers like myself. However, the saturation of knitwear and other goods is unbelievable. If you make it on Etsy, you really make it. If you don’t, you end up with 64 sales in 4 years. I’ve had more custom orders than orders through my Etsy shop simply with a presence on Instagram, Facebook, and in the community. So what was wrong? After much deliberation about what I needed to change to make my Etsy shop more successful, I decided that the problem isn’t what I was putting up, my items, my “look”, or the whole Etsy thing… it was me.

I am the worst seller. I can’t sell to save my life. I hate promoting my stuff. I am terrible with describing each item. I am terrible with keeping my shop up to date with the latest trends and hot new things (I’m looking at you messy bun beanie… why don’t we just wear earwarmers?) I am SO BAD with packaging. I have spent countless hours staring at the beautiful shops of some of the most successful knitwear folks and they just ooze professionalism, perfection, and beauty. I… do not. That’s when I realized I am not a seller.

When am I the most content? When I’m creating new pieces for my loved ones, when I’m working on new projects for myself, when I’m learning new sitches, trying out yarn I spent way too much money on but oh my goodness the alpaca makes it so soft! When I have no pressure to make a certain number of sales, reach a certain number of shop likes, no pressure to make money.

I am not a seller. I am a maker. And after 4 years in this Etsy game, I am realizing this and accepting it. Hey, I already finished 1/4 of my sweater that I “never had time to do” because “I had to keep my shop stocked”. I will still keep my Etsy shop. I will still create new pieces for it and adding new items when I can, not when I must. My Instagram will no longer serve as a platform to advertise my shop, but rather my journey &  my creations. My Etsy shop is still my virtual baby and I am proud of it, but I am no longer letting it dictate my “maker” life.

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Introducing the Alex & Whitney Store!

We are really rolling in 2017. So much so that we basically decided to open up a shop. “Wait, what? Don’t you already have an Etsy shop?”  Well, the Etsy shop and this blog simply share a name. Which is why we decided to change the name of our blog since Whitney’s Etsy shop and this blog have morphed into 2 entities. Since both Alex & Whitney contribute to this blog and it’s really about them fighting through the early stage of adulthood, what better name than Alex & Whitney!

The shop consists of mainly typography, featuring our favorite sayings. We may branch out of the business of “words” but for now, we hope you grab a shirt and have a laugh. So go ahead. Check out our shop! And share it with all your friends.

Alex&Whitney Blog Shop

 alex&whitney

Becoming an Aunt Changed My Life

 

tumblr_inline_n9qe50rjfH1snulowThere isn’t anything that hurts me more than when someone tries to tell me Layla isn’t actually my niece, or now that Carter is born and thriving through his earlier months… that he isn’t really my nephew. I’m not blood related to them, this is true; and I have never tried to claim being blood related. I’m referred to as their aunt, and I see them both as my blood relative and I love them both more than I love myself. I would do absolutely anything and everything to protect these tiny tiny humans. Furthermore, I would do anything and everything to be there for their mother, who has been in my life since I was 8 years old.

I met Layla when she was three months old, and it killed me that I didn’t get to meet her sooner, but at the same time, I didn’t really know how much I loved her until I first laid eyes on her. Then the moment Sarah asked me if I wanted to hold her, and I had this little bundle of joy in my arms with her eyes staring up at me, I wanted to cry. I was in love instantly. I no longer just viewed her as another adorable baby like I had in the past with all the babies I babysat growing up. I knew I wanted to be as actively involved in this child’s life as her mom would let me. Thankfully, her mom is more than welcoming to having me around and I made it a goal to try and go see her at least once every other week if not more. Before I knew it, my phone was filling up with photos of her as she grew and I was organizing them in an album dedicated just to her. Before I knew it, I started having to budget out an allotted amount of money I was allowed to use towards buying her presents and clothing. I started planning out everything I wanted to get her for her first birthday because nothing was too much for this innocent little angel.

My love for this family grew even bigger when I found out Sarah was pregnant again, before Layla was even a year old. Then everything got even more exciting when Sarah found out she was having a boy. As soon as I knew it was a boy I started going out and buying baby boy clothing in all sizes to prepare for the baby shower. I, in all honesty, cried the day Sarah told me she wanted me to visit her in the hospital when Carter is born. For me it’s an incredibly honor to be welcomed into her kids lives so heavily because these are the most important part of her life, they are her whole life. The day Carter was born, the universe aligned perfectly, it was his actual due date which almost never happens, and it was on a day I always work the dinner shift… but this particular Monday, my restaurant had to close for maintenance. I couldn’t contain my excitement, I could barely sleep the night Sarah went into labor, and as soon as I got the go ahead to come to the hospital I was getting a food order from Sarah (let’s face it, no mommy who just gave birth should be required to eat hospital food… as if) and making my way to the hospital to do what I didn’t get to do with Layla. Meet Carter on his first day in this world out of his mommy’s belly.

Magical is an understatement, awesome in the truest sense of the word would describe it nicely, I was overjoyed when he was passed into my arms. This tiny, fragile, and perfect in every imaginable way, baby boy who I cannot wait to continue to get to know as his personality forma more and more each day… and to be a part of his life.

I look forward to the years to come in how I will get to spend more time with each of them. I want to make sure I stay a positive influence in their life. On days that I feel like nothing matters, thinking about Layla smiling or Carter’s toothless grin, makes everything in the world seem more bearable.

Sarah has been in my life for a long time, and even though she and I drifted apart from time to time due to us going to different High Schools and then me moving away fro college, I’m glad we’ve always stayed in touch. I’m even gladder I’m back in our hometown and I can see her all the time. You never realize how much you miss having someone in your life until they aren’t and then they come back into your life and you’re asking yourself how you have made it this long without them. Thank you for letting me be your beautiful children’s aunt, even if I’m not blood, even thought they have their blood related aunt and uncles who are perfect in every way, thank you for letting them have another as well. It has seriously changed my life for the better.

alex

2017 pt. II

Hi. Hello. Happy New Year as well!

tumblr_inline_nbahviK6Jl1snulowRegardless of having no actual obligations to post anything specific to this blog, because Whitney did a 2017 goals of sorts post, I feel ever so inclined to partake as well. Spoiler alert: I am terrible at sticking to any resolutions or goals (I typically do birthday resolutions) primarily because my priorities are constantly changing. I appreciate Whitney’s interpretation of me somehow keeping this blog “Active” even though I would hardly consider my postings active at all… more so few and far between. What can I say, life decided to life at me.

I spent the better part of 2016 going out, hanging out, staying out til the sun came up, and to put it quite frankly: getting drunk. I had never really partied much before and I finally decided to get that need to have fun out of my system and by September I decided I was ready to grow up and put my degree to use. I made applying for jobs in the legal field my priority. I was not going to get stuck in the serving cycle of not leaving because the money was too good to give up. God blessed me with two interviews for the three firms I submitted resumes to and I got the job at the second interview. This all took place over the course of a couple weeks and by October I was getting settled into an office. So now, with that taken care of, I feel as though setting some basic goals for this coming year is much more achievable.

Here we go… Like Whitney said. I may or may not achieve these.
(I’m okay with that.)

  1. Continue to learn as much as possible at my job to strengthen my resume.
  2. Continue to work towards (and maybe even obtain??) moving out on my own.
  3. Ride my new bicycle as regularly as possible.
  4. Clean out those clothes I hold on to hoping I’ll one day wear again when they aren’t even age appropriate anymore.
  5. Stop worrying so much what other people think about me.
  6. (I’m stealing one of Whitney’s and putting it in quotes because plagiarism scares me. Sorry!) “more self love, less self hate”
  7. Cut back to only 2 alarms instead of 3 in the morning.

Personally, I feel people tend to set unrealistic expectations with New Years Resolutions and then they beat themselves up for not obtaining them, or breaking them early on. I’m gonna work on this all year. Come December 31st I might realized I completely forgot about some of them, but hey, life isn’t over. I’m gonna keep focusing on my priorities as they adapt to where I’m at in life. The important part is to be happy with where you are, not with where you’ve been.

 

Peace and blessings.

alex

2017

Happy New Year!

I’ll admit, I’ve fallen short with my posts on this blog (shoutout to my person, my other half, Alex, for keeping this blog alive while I died a little during the past semester. Love you!) While one of my obvious goals for this new year is to post more, it also happens to be my last and most intense year of nursing school so I’m not making any promises. However, I still have a week left of vacation & I’m doing everything I can to update my Etsy shop (huge thanks to everyone who ordered something special this holiday season!), maintain this blog, & catch up on laundry…… SO HELLO! I’VE MISSED YOU GUYS.

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A new year means it’s time for me to sit down and lay out some goals to keep my life a little exciting. This past year, I’ve learned and accepted a lot of things about myself so 2017 means implementing those lessons and those revelations and making the most out of my life right now. 2017 also means that maybe I’ll actually finish the sweater I started, or maybe that blanket I started crocheting like 3 years ago… I, and I think the rest of the world, is just simply hoping 2017 brings much more joy and peace and love than 2016 did….

So here are some goals that I may or may not achieve this year:

  1. finish nursing school
  2. knit more, crochet more
  3. more self love, less self hate
  4. stop comparing myself to every instagram/etsy shop/blog persona

I started off this list with specifics but after 13 really specific and honestly, not really attainable goals, I decided to keep it simple. Thus I decided 2017 is going to be my “simple” year…. simplify my wardrobe, my etsy shop, my life. Enjoy life itself and not the stuff that crowds it. Stare at my puppy more and marvel at life and how big his little feet have gotten in just a few short weeks. Hug my fiance more and memorize his eyes, his lips, his hair. Forget the number of sales or achieving the ideal nursing preceptorship. Realize that God will open doors and shut them and it’s simply my job to go through the motions with meaning and love.

I hope everyone has a beautiful new year and I hope it’s not long before my next post. tumblr_inline_nbahwfy1Ex1snulow

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Wait It’s Christmas Already?!

tumblr_inline_nyihtj1jWr1t78dpp_500On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me… nothing… because I’m single and don’t have a true love and if I weren’t I probably gave them no indication of what I want for Christmas. Bet I’m not alone here, either. It’s tricky being in your mid twenties with friends constantly texting you asking what you want for Christmas this year. You tell them you’ll give it some thought. Before you know it, a couple months have passed, you haven’t gotten back to them, and you realize wow when life is in limbo you don’t give much thought to what you want other people to buy you. If you are anything like me, which I know a lot of you will fall under this category. Asking people for gifts is incredibly awkward. I am always eternally thankful and full of blessed feelings whenever anyone buys or makes me a present, small or large, but there will always be a part of me that has a twinge of guilt because maybe I didn’t get them something or maybe I feel their gift is more extravagant even if it isn’t really. Or sometimes I’m just aware of their financial status at the moment and feel bad that they spent money on me even though they wanted to and I do the same as well. I love giving gifts, and I do love receiving them, I’m just incredibly awkward at the latter task. So here we go. A simple guide to buying gifts for someone in their mid-twenties–more specifically someone with similar interests and likes to me.

  1. Art – I love art, even though being in limbo means most of it goes undisplayed in a closet downstairs or leaned up against my walls around my room until I’m allowed to hang things up again. The cool part about buying or making art for someone like me, it doesn’t have to be expensive. There are artists I will pretty much love anything by (See: mabgraves or any print you can find by Dali) but I also like being exposed to anything aesthetically intriguing or pleasing. One of the coolest ways to buy art for an art lover while on a budget is going to thrift stores. You can find killer deals on beautiful pieces that are already framed!

  2. Cactus Anything – Okay this is totally me specific, so replace this title to make it applicable to others with “niche interest”. If you’ve met me, you know I love cactus ANYTHING. My room is full of clothing, plushes, figurines, art, and even salt and pepper shakers that are cactuses. Find your friends version of cactus in their life and you run with that.

  3. Music – Similarly to the art section up there (wow, because you know, music is art too so that makes sense… anyways) I love when people buy me music. I have a baby vinyl collection I started two years ago and love to see it flourish and grow. Best part about buying music for someone, most people are rather open to being exposed to something new. Even better part? Old used vinyl is far better quality than new presses (okay this is depending really on specifically when the pressing took place) and you can typically get used vinyl and thrift shops or record shops for quite the steal! If you are looking to spend good money on a significant other potentially, vnyl is a great monthly subscription box for someone looking to kickstart a vinyl collection. I sadly had to “pause” mine for a multitude of reasons.

  4. Clothes – Alright, remember when we were little and clothes were the drag gift that came with all the siq kewl toyz Santa brought you? Not so much anymore. It is the most practical gift and the struggle is real so none of us like spending money on clothes despite needing or wanting new clothes. Just make sure you either know the person’s sizes or keep that receipt since no store seems to be universal with the fit.

  5. Beauty/Spa Products – Lush literally ANYTHING will make pretty much any girl happy and even a large amount of guys happy because boy do you feel pampered whenever you use any of their products. However, another great gift is always buying some form of face masks or scrubs. Similarly to the music section, buying a significant other a subscription for a certain amount of time for the multitude of beauty boxes/skin care boxes is always a great way to express serious gratitude for their existence.

  6. DIY – I somehow missed the memo in regards to me vs pretty much all of my friends where I have little to none crafting skills of any sorts, but all of my friends are so talented whether it be knitting/crocheting (*cough* my co-owner and best friend), painting, baking, etc. So, personally, I LOVE when any of my friends gifts me something that is handmade.

  7. Books – I usually suggest people check with me before buying a book, just because I do own a lot of books and would hate for you to spend money on something I already own, however when it comes to reading, it is kind of like music and art–I’m always excited for new options!

Maybe this helps, maybe it doesn’t. What is important to remember with this upcoming gift giving holiday season (Christmas for me in this case) is that the actual present really isn’t what matters. Not at all. There doesn’t even need to be a present. It’s about spending time with loved ones (family and/or friends who are like family) and being joyous. If a gift is involved and it isn’t something you necessarily wanted or even like, who cares? Someone thought about you and loved you enough to get you something. Be gracious this season. Remember you are blessed. And always say thank you. Have a cozy holiday season for those who have a real winter, and for those Floridians out there, wow let’s hope we get some more cold fronts amiright?

Peace and blessings.

alex

My Go-To Summer Reads

Image result for reading quotesWe are nearing the end of summer which means afternoon thunderstorms, ice cold lemonade, and more time for ourselves than we have any other time of the year… While we have been absolutely swamped with life this summer (school, work, people) I still found a few moments to catch up on some personal reading. We decided to compile a list of my favorite authors to read during the summer- some new, some old. The books written by these authors are usually short, easy reads that we definitely did not want to put down.

  1. Jane Austen (Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility)
  2. Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club, Lullaby, Survivior, Invisible Monsters)
  3. Stieg Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo -Millenium Series)
  4. Rainbow Rowell (FanGirl, Eleanor & Park, Landline)
  5. Ernest Cline (Ready Player One)
  6. John Green (Looking For Alaska, Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars, An Abundance of Katherines)
  7. J.K. Rowling (Re-Read that classic series)
  8. Lauren Conrad (L.A. Candy)
  9. Jenny Han (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, P.S. I Still Love You)
  10. E. Lockhart (We Were Liars)

The great thing about these authors is you can obviously read their works anytime. Summer may be ending soon, but fall is just around the corner. Hello pumpkin spice everything, chunky sweaters, and perfectly cozy reading weather!

alex&whitney