8 Things I Wish I Owned When I Lived in a Dorm

Dorm Room Essentials

 

A lot has changed in the world since I was an undergrad (seven years ago now… I honestly don’t know where the time went…). Myspace isn’t really a thing anymore, Facebook has changed so much it barely resembles what we so eagerly signed up for when our university FINALLY got added, AIM has died a slow death, iPods are rarely seen as a separate entity, and everything you used to use your computer for can now be done on the phone that fits in your back pocket.

But one thing that hasn’t changed is the nature of dorm life. Rooms are still tiny, closets are still far too small, bathrooms are still communal, shower shoes are still needed, and walls are still most often white or beige cinderblock (lucky you if you get actual drywall!).

Now, the agenda post was supposed to be my last back-to-school post, but after I watched campus move back into the residence halls last week, I got to thinking about the kind of things I wish I had had while I was living that cinderblock surrounded life. There are so many cool things out now that are super conducive to life in a dorm, and so I’ve gathered a list of eight of the things I think would have made my life SO MUCH EASIER as a dorming student.

keurig

First, a Keurig Coffee Machine. I got one of these babies (mine’s blue, though I am admittedly very fond of this orchid colored one) for Christmas from my Aunt after I moved into my first non-school-housing apartment in 2012, and let me tell you, it’d be pretty amazing for dorm life. When I was in school, I had a coffee machine in my room, but it was just a small, regular drip machine – and it could get really messy, what with the pouring, and the coffee grounds, and the dripping filter. Additionally, with the drip machine, you’d have a pot and a filter container to wash after you were done. But with the Keurigs, there’s no extra hassle. Just pop in a K-cup and you’re on your way. They’re also perfect for heating water for tea – just run a cycle without a K-cup. And as if that wasn’t enough, the large cup is also the perfect amount of water to fill a Ramen Cup-O-Noodles to the fill line.

I do admit that I think I would prefer the bigger version with the water tank on the side to the mini – particularly now that I’m in a real apartment with a real kitchen, but the mini is much more compact – perfect for the limited space of a dorm room.

poopourri

2) Poo-pourri. Oh my goodness would this have been awesome to have in a communal bathroom. My mom brought home a bottle of this one day a few years ago because she thought it was hilarious, but lo and behold, turns out it actually works. This would have been so handy to have a really big bottle of… could have saved me (and others!) so much sneaking around, holding it in until the bathroom is empty, and hurrying out before anyone saw it was you who “did the deed.” Because even though EVERYBODY POOPS, and NOBODY’S POOP SMELLS LIKE FLOWERS, for some reason it’s still sort of taboo to admit that the smelly one was yours. And even if you’re not someone who is embarrassed by that kind of thing (I admit that the older I get the fewer shits I give… pun intended), there’s a practical purpose for this one too – to keep the communal bathroom as a whole fresh.

swivel sweeper

3) The Swivel Sweeper. I got one of these last year for quick touch-ups in our mostly hardwood floor apartment, and honestly it would have been such a perfect vacuum for a tiny dorm room. It does a great job on hard surfaces and throw-rugs alike, and the new model has a handy feature where the brushes come out for easy removal of hair that gets trapped around them. All we had when we were in school was a regular dry swiffer for the hard surfaces, and we had to borrow the big floor vacuum from maintenance when we wanted a real vacuuming of our throw rugs, mainly because we couldn’t find a vacuum small enough that still actually, well, vacuumed.

hot hair tool storage

4) Hot Hair Tool Storage. One of the biggest pains in the butt in a teeny tiny dorm room is using hot hair tools like blowdryers or straightening irons because, well, where do you place them down when they’re still hot? And you can’t put them away until they cool down enough, so forget it if you’re in a rush… But these handy caddies are such a perfect solution to that issue – they’re made of stainless steel with high-temp resistant silicone so that you don’t have to worry about putting your still hot curling iron away and rushing out the door.

hanging jewelry organizer

5) Hanging Jewelry Organizer. This would have been a complete life-saver. Not only would it have cleared off space on my already too-packed dresser, but it would have kept my jewelry organized, AND safely out of sight, nestled in with all my actual dresses and shirts.

vornado fan

6) A Vornado “Air Circulator” (Fan). My apartmentmate got one of the really large size Vornados about two years ago, and let me tell you, these guys are worth the price tag. They move more air than any fan I’ve seen that’s twice their size. And they’re quiet too. One of the medium sizes would have been so perfect for our dorm rooms, which because of their size often got stuffy, even when the air conditioning was on (when we had air conditioning – not all dorms do). All we had was this dinky little desk fan, which frankly didn’t do anything unless you were sitting with it pointed directly in your face. These Vornado fans are designed to move all the air in the room – making it feel a bunch cooler, without having to dry your eyes out by having wind pointed directly at them.

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7) Huggable Hangers. These things are every clotheshorse’s dream. I made the switch to these too late to be of any use in a dorm, but the amount of clothes you can fit into even the tiniest closet with these is pretty astounding. They come with hanging loops so you can cascade hangers, and clips that can turn them into skirt hangers. And bonus – now they come in different colors!

Now, the original Joy Mangano hangers are, admittedly, a bit pricey for a whole closet’s worth. And while I think it was totally worth it (In my experience, they’re much sturdier than the non-name brand ones), it might be a bit much to spend for college – so luckily, in the years since these debuted, there are TONS of cheaper imitations out there and you can get slimline felt hangers anywhere from TJ MAXX to Walmart.

over the door purse storage

8) And last we have these over-the-door purse racks. This is the only item on this list that I actually DID have in college, although only for the last year when me and my roommate were in an apartment. But having used them then, I can attest to how amazingly handy they would have been in our tiny dorm, particularly since both me and my roomie were purse junkies. These are basically canvas strips that have hooks on them, and they’re fully adjustable, so they can fit on your dorm door, OR the door of your wardrobe.

Any suggestions for stuff to add to the list? What did YOU find most handy as a dorming student? Do share in the comments!

[Clicking on the pictures should take you to the source – and the place you can buy these things. This is not a sponsored post, I am not affiliated with any of these companies or websites – they just happen to make products I love.]

My Favorite Planners

Sorry for the quietness around here. We’re finally back at school, and for all the planning I did for THAT, I neglected to do enough planning for here on the blog so I could have some posts scheduled. I knew I wasn’t going to have time this first week to write new content, but I guess I just couldn’t bring myself to actually admit it and plan for it.

My bad.

But we’re back today with the last of the Back to School Week posts! Which is, ironically, about planners!

I’m very picky with my planners. If I don’t like it enough, I simply won’t use it. There have been years where I’ve gone through 5 or 6 in the quest to find something I like enough to keep me organized. And so I’ve gathered here what I have, over the years, narrowed down as the best.

At least for me.

Now, I prefer my agendas to be yearly rather than academic – the academic planners worked for me while I was in high school and college, but as soon as I hit grad school, I feel like the yearly format (Jan-Dec) simply work better for me. I guess I have more to do in the summers now! But all of these options do have an academic option – except the Lilly Pulitzer, which is actually an August-December of the following year format, so works as an academic planner anyway.

Agenda <3

First, we have the Vera Bradley agenda. I used this one a few years ago (in a different pattern of course), and was astounded by how well it held up over the whole year. The pages inside are nice and thick, so I could use my favorite gel pens without worrying about bleeding or transparency, and the set up is great, with weekly/monthly pages that have lots of space to write under each day. That said, they have seemed to have changed these a bit since I used them – mine had a hard cover protecting the spiral binding so that it didn’t get all squished and warped by catching on things in my backpack. So I can’t speak to how well the binding holds up anymore, but based on my experience with the next planner, I wouldn’t be hopeful.

Second, we have a Lilly Pulitzer planner. I used this for about six months last year (again different pattern – I just picked my favorite of the new ones), and I loved the set up. It was pretty similar to the Vera Bradley in almost every way actually… except the stickers it came with were nicer. That said, I was disappointed with the binding. Within a few months of floating around in my backpack the spiral loops ended up all squished and janky. I ended up having to switch out for a new planner over the summer. Now, that said, I’m very hard on my planners, so if you’re someone who keeps theirs in a purse, or, well, isn’t as rough and tumble with their stuff as I am, this is totally a great thing.

Third, we have the one I’m currently using this year, a simple Moleskine. It’s plain, black, and boring, yes. But the setup on the inside is SO GREAT, particularly for me because I keep all my planning together in one thing – blog and personal. This Moleskine doesn’t have a monthly view, but the weekly is pretty fantastic. Why? Because there’s a whole lined page next to each week for notes and other stuff. I use the living daylights out of this feature. Grocery lists, blog post ideas, to do lists, you name it. It’s awesome. It has also held up tremendously well to the beating it gets hanging out in my backpack – the lack of spiral binding is a huge plus. In the end however, I must admit that I’m missing my pretty patterns and colors, which is why I think for next year I’m going to try something new, which I’ve also included in the collage.

The Kate Spade planner seems like it would be the perfect lovechild of the Vera Bradley and the Lilly Pulitzer planners – with a covered binding so that it would hold up better. The only question is going to be if, come December, I feel like spending $40 bucks on a planner is worth it for the visual appeal, or if I should just bite the boring bullet and buy another Moleskine because of how perfect the functionality was.

Do any of you have a perfect planner? What’s your agenda of choice?

18 Pieces of Advice for Your Freshman Year of College

18 Pieces of Advice Header

It’s that time of year again, a new group of starry-eyed, excited and – lets be honest – a little scared freshmen are about to flood campus with their under-bed boxes packed to the brim and their half-weepy/half-releived parents in tow. I enjoy this time of year so much, watching as all these fresh faces navigate their way from terrified and trying to hide it to truly feeling at home here – watching a whole new generation of people fall in love with the campus that has meant so much to me over the years.

As these college newbies flood in, I can’t help but think about my days in their shoes, and all the advice that I was either given, or learned through experience and observation. After spending five years of witnessing this day from the other side of the desk, I feel like I might as well share those things. Maybe it will help a few of you guys in your journey. We’ll start with the strictly academic, and move on to the more general pieces of advice.

1) This is not high school – be prepared to work. I was used to coasting through HS, doing pretty much only the work I liked and wanted to while still pulling A’s across the board. It was dumb of me to do, and it was arrogant. But oh boy, college was a wake up call. College wasn’t like that – I had to develop work/study habits, and I had to develop them quickly. Best learn from my mistake and start now, if you haven’t already.

2) Cultivate relationships with your professors – particularly those in your field. They’re super knowledgeable and most are eager to help students. Those relationships will serve you well in your post-graduation years.

3) Go to office hours. I know everyone tells you this, and I know most students ignore it. But in general, we have office hours for a reason – for you to use them. So do it.

4) Take responsibility for your own screw-ups. Seriously. Do it. Everyone screws up from time to time, and it’s much better to just own up to it than try to come up with excuses or pass the buck. A simple “I screwed up, how can I fix it?” is generally going to be way better received than trying to shirk responsibility.

5) Go to class, even if the professor has a super lenient attendance policy. You’d think this was sort of a “duh” one, but it’s easy when a class allows for a certain number of skips to justify not getting out of bed on a rainy day. But the bottom line here is that a missed class is your money down the drain. You’re paying for the privilege of an education, and missing out on a class is missing out on what you paid for. Not to mention all the material you’ll be missing and then responsible to make up later. Best not let yourself get behind.

6) Get involved in extracurriculars right off the bat. Don’t let you trick yourself into thinking you won’t have time, or that it would be better to “give yourself a semester to adjust” academically. In my experience the students who get involved right from the beginning adjust to college life way faster – not only from a time management perspective (extracurriculars FORCE you to develop these skills, and develop them quickly) but also socially – they’re great way to meet people and find upperclassmen friends to show you the ropes. Those that take that semester off from extracurriculars tend to never pick them back up, or find it infinitely harder to manage once they do.

7) Don’t try to do work in your room – keep it your safe haven for relaxation and fun. College can be stressful, and it’s good to have a place you know you can decompress. If you keep the work at the library or in the lounge, you know that when you come back to your room, you don’t have to worry about it.

8) Remember: it’s okay if you don’t know exactly what you want to do yet. You’re only 18 – you don’t have to have your whole life planned out yet. If you do? Great. But if you don’t, don’t let yourself feel like there’s something wrong with you. Now’s the time to experiment, and figure that out. Take classes in things you’re interested in, and don’t pressure yourself. You’ll find what fits in due time. It actually took me until I started grad school to figure out History was the path that I was meant to be on. Just follow your heart – you’ll get there eventually. That said, you do need to be proactive about it – search for what makes you happy, don’t just assume it’ll show up one day.

9) It’s okay to be scared, and it’s okay to feel homesick. You’re not weird, you’re not “being a baby,” everyone feels like this from time to time. And starting college is a scary thing, particularly if it’s your first time away from home. I remember sitting in my dorm room feeling dumb, upset, and immature because I missed my mom and my dad and my brother and my cat and my own bedroom a lot… but everyone else seemed so at ease with being away from theirs. I didn’t want to be honest with anyone because I felt weird for feeling that way so I hid it, and hated myself for feeling the way I did. But guess what? Years later when the topic finally came up in conversation, turns out everyone had had moments just like I did, and everyone hid it for the same exact reasons. So when it comes right down to it, it’s okay to miss home. And if anyone seriously makes fun of you, they’re just being dicks.

10) Got a meal plan? Good god man, use it. I know the dining hall fare can get boring, but in general meals won’t roll over from week to week – sometimes even from day to day. So if you don’t use it, you lose it (and the money you paid for it)! Plus, you may be scoffing at the dining halls now, but trust me, in 3-4 years when you’re on your own for food and eating Ramen more often than not (sometimes because of finances, sometimes because of time constraints), you’ll miss the ease of it.

11) This is a silly one, but don’t wear your lanyard around your neck. Nothing says freshman like wearing your lanyard around your neck. Extra frosh points if you wear it backwards.

12) Find time to read for yourself, even if it’s just silly fun reading. It’s so easy to let recreational reading fall by the wayside when academics are putting the pressure on, but keeping some time set aside for personal reading can help give your brain a break when you’re feeling intellectually drained. It took me until my last year at college to figure this out, but once I did, chilling outside with a trashy CSI: Miami novel turned out to be one of the best ways to give my brain a reset when I was fried from papers and school reading.

13) Turn off the devices every once and a while. Disconnecting does the soul wonders from time to time. Some of my favorite memories from college (and grad school) are when I turned off AIM (yea, yea, I’m old), logged off Facebook (yea, we had that… but just barely) and Myspace, turned off the cell phone, and just enjoyed being with my friends or a non-school book out on the green. It’s so easy to get caught up in technology while the world continues spinning around you, particularly now with smartphones and social media – just don’t forget to be social in real life too. Be present in your experience.

14) Put yourself outside your comfort zone every once and a while – it can have massive payoffs. That choir that you want to join but don’t think you can because everyone in it seems so good and you’ve only ever sung in the shower? Join anyway. That fencing club that looks fun but is totally not something you’d usually do? Sign up anyway. That on campus play you wanted to go to but couldn’t find anyone to go with you? Go anyway. That book club you wish you could join but are afraid to because you don’t know anyone in it? Join up and get to know them anyway. Basically, put yourself out there and stay open to new experiences and friends – even if doing so is a little intimidating from time to time. The payoff in friends and fun can be tremendous.

15) Don’t let your high school relationships prevent you from making new ones. This is something that I did that I very much regret. In my case it was my high school boyfriend that kept me from reaching out to my peers and searching for friends where I was at. I’d spend so much of my free time sitting on AIM with him that it took me more than a year to start really reaching out and find a group of close friends where I was – and as a result I missed out on a lot. What I wish I had realized is that it is possible to balance old relationships with new ones. In fact, I watched my roommate (who was a high school friend herself) do it every day. But I didn’t force myself to do the same, and it really is one of my greatest regrets from my years in college. For me it was my high school boyfriend, for some of you it may be high school regular friends. But the bottom line is: if they’re real friends, they’re not going to go away just because you develop new ones where you are.

16) In general, the massive off campus house parties are not really all they’re cracked up to be. Really, they kind of suck. They’re hot, and loud, usually kind of smelly, and always have super shitty beer (Natty Light anyone?). By the end of the night people end up too drunk for it to be fun anymore, someone always ends up in tears, puking, or both, and everything ends up sticky from spilled booze. Just, yuck.

17) In the words of my father: if you’re going to do something stupid, be smart about it. This is just simply some of the best life advice I’ve ever gotten, and by golly does it apply to college where alcohol is a constant presence (even if it’s not supposed to be) and hook up culture is flourishing. Everyone does stupid shit at some point in their life. And in general, you know it’s stupid or risky, but you do it anyway. It’s just part of growing up. So bottom line is, if you’re going to take risks, take risks intelligently. Be aware of the possible consequences and repercussions and try to be as smart as possible about your dumb decisions. You’ll thank yourself later.

And last, but not least:

18) Make sure to have fun. College is first and foremost an education – but don’t forget to have fun too. Finding a balance between work and play is immensely important – odds are you and your friends won’t ever have the kind of close proximity and similar schedules that college provides once it’s over. Make the most of it.

Good luck to all you incoming freshman – may you have a wonderful, joyful, and experience filled 4 years!

Do any of you out there who have been there, done that have advice for incoming college frosh that I missed? If so, please share in the comments!

It’s Back to School Week!

Welcome to “Back to School” Week here at Magpie! I’m dedicating this week of posts to that amazing and exciting (or dreadful, depending on who you are…) feeling of the ever-approaching first day of school. We’ll kick this week off with a discussion of…

BACKPACKS.

Yes, backpacks. I love them. I’m out of grad school for 4+ years now, and I still haven’t transitioned away from them. They’re just so much more functional, and so much easier on my back than the more adult messenger bags, or having to carry several totes around in addition to a purse. They’re seriously great.

Now, I’ve been using the same backpack for going on 16 years. But as I wrote some of the more in-depth back to school posts for this week, I got to thinking… what would I buy if I had to do it all over again?

Well, luckily it’s not that hard to imagine – to Polyvore I went.

Backpack Love

1) First we have a cute little flowered Jansport. Jansport seems to be the most popular brand around campus, although I can’t speak to the durability since I’ve never owned one. I love the pattern on this one – floral, but without being TOO “My So-Called Life.”

2) Number 2 is a Vera Bradley Campus Backpack in my absolute favorite Vera Bradley pattern ever – Pink Elephants. This is a pattern they discontinued a number of years ago, and when they did, I sort of hopped off the Vera Bradley bandwagon. I have a few non-pink elephant things, but honestly there just hasn’t been a pattern since that I like as much. However, apparently they do still make the Campus Backpack in Pink Elephants, and I have to say I’m tempted. I have used the daylights out of my other Vera Bradleys, and they all still look pretty good for how tough I am on them.

3) I fell in love with this beautiful Kipling backpack, really for the pattern alone. It’s bright, beautiful, and pink without being too super girly. Downside? They only seem to sell this pattern in the UK, so for me buying it would be a bit of a hassle – but all word says Kipling is a very durable brand, so if I was buying a backpack, I feel like it’d probably be worth it.

4) Because I really can’t in all fairness pretend backpack shop without including a Hello Kitty option. Because honestly, for what this very light foldable backpack probably lacks in durability, it would definitely make the top two merely for the pattern. I really do have a problem.

5) Last, but not least, if I was doing it all over again, is the standard L.L. Bean Book Pack. This is actually the backpack I currently have, and I’ve gotta say – based on my experience – this would probably be the smartest choice. I got mine as a Christmas gift in 6th grade from my Aunt, and even after 16 years of super hard use, it still looks pretty much exactly like the picture (after I run it through the washer, anyway). The only thing that’s different is mine is monogrammed, and doesn’t have a headphone hole. And they’re not actually that expensive – the bang for your buck is crazy. I’d definitely purchase this one again if I had to.

Now I’m thinking I may need a new backpack just for variety’s sake…

What would you get if you had to do it all over again?

So, Let’s Talk The Ice Bucket Challenge…

I have to admit, when I first became aware of this thing via Tumblr, my reaction was not a positive one. I tend to be pretty skeptical when it comes to things that are strictly to “raise awareness” (as opposed to full fundraisers) mainly because – what good does it actually do the people suffering from it?

Now I admit that some of that skepticism towards the “raising awareness” stuff has developed under the influence of my close family members who are cancer survivors/patients – and I include the word patient here, because as I’m reminded routinely by them, once you HAVE cancer, you always have cancer – even when it’s not active.

But anyway – their attitude towards this kind of stuff, at least when it comes to their diseases, has always been one of skepticism bordering on annoyance. Because in reality, what does this kind of stuff DO? What practical purpose does running a 5k, wearing a rubber bracelet, or buying a pink notebook really serve?

My grandmother on my mother’s side is a two time breast cancer survivor, and she just doesn’t get it. When she was actively battling, the last thing she needed was for someone to run a 5k while wearing pink. She needed support – emotional and practical. Someone to hold her hand through her doctor’s appointments. Someone to show up with some prepared meals to take some of the burden off. Someone to help her around the house when her energy was down after a round of radiation. Someone to go grocery shopping for her while she was recovering from her mastectomy and my grandfather was busy tending to her. Someone to be there for not only her, but also for my grandfather and my mom, aunt, and uncle when watching their wife and mother literally fight for her life became too much.

And now that she’s been in remission for more than 10 years, she still doesn’t get it. She sees the immense amount of pink this, pink that, pink everything, and all she can say is that it’s the easy way out for people. It’s easy to buy a pink mug. It’s not easy to go volunteer directly for a cancer patient or center. And ultimately, particularly for these behemoth organizations like Susan G. Komen, very very little of the money generated from those sales actually goes back to cancer research or relief. Most of it goes to salaries or manufacturing more pink stuff (or at least last time I saw the numbers – which was admittedly a couple of years ago).

Now, all this said, I am not writing any of this to disparage those that do find value and support in that kind of thing. I’m just putting it out there, and letting you know where I’m coming from – because my attitudes have very much been shaped by this through the years. And after my experience over the last year as an adult who had to take on the role of a caregiver along with the rest of my immediate family (I was only about 7 and 14 when my grandmother fought – I was spared that role then because of my youth), I have to say I’m with my grandmother on this one more than ever.

But of course through all this I recognize that not everyone shares these opinions. Some find things like that immensely helpful and supportive. Everyone has their own experiences and backgrounds that shape the way they feel about these kind of things… and I get that and respect your opinion. More than ever now. And I certainly can’t make any sort of claim that all these efforts aren’t well meaning – and intention does matter. So as impractical as I feel some of these things are, I certainly cannot ignore that end of things – it is, at it’s core, people wanting to do good. And that certainly counts for something.

Now, here’s the part where I get to the ice bucket challenge thing.

As this phenomenon spread and proliferated – as I watched it move from people I don’t know on Tumblr to people I actually know on Facebook – I found myself very conflicted. Everything I believed about this stuff told me I should think this is pointless.

But I didn’t.

Because here’s the thing. My opinion on this stuff was all formulated around cancer awareness, where behemoths like Susan G. Komen dominate, and where simple awareness has been achieved long ago. Where as far as I’m concerned, there’s far more practical good to be done now that goes so far beyond just making people aware. Knit shawls or hats for chemo patients, crochet amigarumi stuffed animals for children who are battling, volunteer at a cancer center, have a fundraiser for a specific family, donate to a specific cancer fund, family, or support center… etc… etc…

But with ALS – it’s different. It’s an entirely different story. It’s a much rarer disease. One that I’d bet most people were only vaguely aware of because, “Oh, isn’t that what Stephen Hawking has?” And so as this spread, I had to admit to myself that a tremendous amount of good could come from this.

But still I told myself that ultimately it won’t. I used the “donate $100 OR dump the bucket” part as my justification – this is just people’s way of avoiding having to actually donate or get involved. Everyone’s doing the challenge because nobody actually wants to donate. See, people do suck. Dumping ice over your head sort of sucks – but it’s easy, and cheap. So that’s the route I was sure people would take – and that route alone.

But again, as it spread, I just couldn’t hold on to the cynicism. Humanity has proved me wrong. Because tremendous amounts of people ARE donating. They’re donating AND doing the challenge. Donations to the ALSA have nearly QUADRUPLED in amount from last year.

And that’s a pretty amazing thing.

Now, like Jenn from With Luck Blog (who is the one who challenged me to tackle this topic), I do have some reservations about it.

First, it is, after all, an internet fad. And internet fads fade. And so I very much hope that even as the ice bucket challenge dies out, that the donations won’t. I really do hope that a good chunk of the people who donated for the first time as a result of this challenge don’t stop.

My other issue is that the sweeping popularity of this may very much be draining some funds and attention away from other charities, because as the article Jenn linked to in her post points out, people’s donating power is limited. And so my hope is that there are a lot of first time donations coming out of this – not just to the ALSA, but to causes in general. But I suppose we won’t really ever know.

So anyway, my muddled feelings aside, I’ve been challenged to do it. And I’ve decided I’m not actually going to participate – but for reasons I’m surprised to admit. It’s not because I don’t think it’ll do anything. Because as this has grown in popularity I’ve been forced to admit that that’s simply not true in this instance.

I’m not participating mainly because the temperature dropped significantly here in NEPA and classes start soon. Honestly I just can’t risk getting sick. But I will be donating as soon as I start receiving paychecks again.

My challenge, however, to the blogosphere is: let’s talk about this thing. I challenge all who read this to write their own post either addressing the Ice Bucket Challenge, or talking about your favorite charity. And of course, if you can, donate!

R.I.P. Robin Williams

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R.I.P. Robin Williams – He brought so much joy to so many, and my heart breaks that such a brilliant actor and our beloved funny man was hurting so badly. The world has lost an amazing talent.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255, and here is the Suicide Prevention Wiki page for more specific and also international resources. Please, reach out and seek help if you are hurting. You are not alone.

[Gifs from various Tumblr posts that have been reblogged beyond tracing – if you are aware of the original creators, please contact me so I can add credit]

So Yesterday I Got Contacts

Sunglasses Love

 

My eyes are weird. I’m near-sighted in one eye, far-sighted in the other, have a focusing problem in one, and an astigmatism in the other. My glasses are SUPER expensive as a result, and since losing my vision coverage (turned 26 and aged out of my mom’s super awesome benefits) I have been terrified to go to the eye doctor for fear my prescription changed and I would have to get a new pair of glasses, which in the past have run (WITH insurance help) anywhere from $500 – $700 dollars.

Yuck, right?

However lately I’ve been getting some pretty bad headaches due to spending more time outside than I usually do. I’ve been glasses only basically since I got them in 8th grade. Apparently the focusing problem meant that contacts would cause a bit of an issue for whatever reason, so sunglasses are not something I’ve been able to wear. The cost of my prescription means no prescription lenses, and just taking off my glasses to wear normal sunglasses leaves me blind enough to cause a headache anyway.

So the longer the summer has creeped on, the worse things have gotten. Finally last week as I was driving my grandmother around, I had enough. I was squinting up a storm and had a tension headache already starting at 11 am. It was time to bite the bullet and make an appointment to see if there was something we could do. Way back when, my eye doctor had told me that there was a chance that the focusing problem might improve once I hit my mid-to-late-twenties and officially stopped the major hormone and eye shape fluctuations that come with growing up. And so I called and made an appointment, my fingers crossed that that had happened, and also that my glasses prescription hadn’t changed one iota, because there’s no way I was going to be able to afford new glasses.

Well, I had my appointment yesterday, and miracle of miracles, I got lucky! My focusing problem had indeed gotten better. Is it gone? No, but it’s improved enough so that the lenses moving around on my eye won’t make it worse (or something… idk I was 15 when they explained why it was a problem to me in detail). AND on top of that good news, my glasses are still A-Okay!

WOOOO! No $600 bill to beg my parents for help with!

But anyway, I’ve only had these contacts since yesterday, but already I’m obsessed with the possibilities that stretch out before me. As soon as I left the doctor’s office I ducked into Claire’s and picked up some cheap pairs, and then stopped at my parent’s to round up all the pairs I had accumulated as gifts over the years. I’m officially sunglasses obsessed.

And so as I tend to do when I find a new fashion obsession, I went Polyvore shopping. I apparently love tortoiseshell frames and bright, color pop wayfarers. It’s awesome how much I feel like sunglasses open up my summer wardrobe. Now, the challenge is going to be to find pairs like these ones I found on Polyvore that I can actually afford. Ideally, in a 2 for $6 deal like these pink ones I got at Claire’s.

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They make me feel so sporty!