Sunday, August 31, 2014

5:100 Days of Happy

Roommates. I'm happy for roommates. I have four now. I'm in an apartment for the first time with four other girls. I don't know three of them but I share a room with my best friend from college. She's a true blessing in my life. She walked into my life when literally all of my other college friends walked out. We laugh together, cuddle together and we've cried together. I truly don't know how I'd survive college without her by my side. It's her super senior year and she is ready to be done but selfishly I'm so happy that she's back. Roommates are the best. Best friends are the best. College is the best.

4:100 Days of Happy

I missed yesterday. Mainly because there wasn't a whole lot of happy flying around. I had tons of
packing to do. Move-in day stresses me out like no other. I have the craziest, full work week, full course load semester ahead of me. I just wasn't in a happy mood. BUT just because every day isn't good, doesn't mean there isn't good in everyday. Yesterday I was happy for friends that do not fun, gross, and boring things with you. Kortnei, my fake little sister, cleaned out my awful, gross, no good, really messy car with me. If you know my car- you know she's a saint. It's messy and the last time it got cleaned was LAST year when I left for school. It was awful and not fun but 100 times better and more hilarious with someone else. So shout out to Kortnei for cleaning my car and spilling moldy coffee on her jeans. You're a true gem, Kort.
Although, I'm sure bribing her with chicken strips helped ;)

Where should I rent textbooks from?

Something that very few people warn you about in college: buying texts books. It sucks. It's expensive. It's a hassle and it happens all over again every semester.

Unless you plan on keeping your books I highly suggest renting them. Occasionally I decide to keep a book for my major so that I may utilize it as a resource in the future. However, you do not need your freshman year math 101 or Intro to needlework gen ed books. With renting it can be up to 80% cheaper and you will probably sell back the text book even if you do decide to buy it.

I did my research this semester and explored 6 of the main text book renting sites. When I order my books I want it to be fast, cheap and want to be able to order them all from the same site. It makes returning them less of a headache and it's normally cheaper because there's less shipping. Only three of the six sites I used has all of the books I needed. I compared their prices, site accessibility and return dates/policies. While price was my main motivator for researching these, I made my decision based off of all of these criteria.

I researched:

First, the big guy in town-

The website is by far the easiest to navigate.
The return of the books is super easy.
You can send back any books you don't want and they'll buy them from you.
They give you detailed summaries of your order, which books are coming from where and their arrival dates.

If they don't have the book in stalk they pull from a partner, so you're paying for that shipping too.
The shipping is the most expensive.
Their return date is earlier than some of their competitor.
Tax was expensive.

Final cost: 

Next is

This was the cheaper by almost $40
No tax.
The shipping was cheaper.
They give you detailed summaries of your order, which books are coming from where and their arrival dates.

Website was slightly more confusing.
The return date is early- soon after my finals are over.
They pulled most of their books from their partners.
Final Cost:

The return date is the latest.
They had all the books I needed.

It was the most expensive.
The website was annoying.
It didn't tell you whether books were coming from other sites.
It didn't give you an estimated arrival date.

Final Cost:

The other 3 didn't have a lot of the books I wanted so I didn't even go any further with them. 

The final verdict:
Although it was more expensive, I went with Chegg is the most popular renting site. The website is fast and easy to use. The return process is super simple, They'll buy from you other texbooks you don't need. Chegg is a little more expensive than some of it's competitors but I feel the service is better. They tell you which books are coming from them and their partners, when they'll arrive by and the total cost for each sub-shipment. All in all, I like the ease of chegg enough to spend a little more. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

3:100 days of happy

Tea parties. I'm happy for little girls with big imaginations. I'm happy for play time. I'm happy for the opportunity to be apart of little lives. I'm happy for tea parties with Merida, Cinderella and Elmo. Even if I have to appear as Mr. Mouse. I get to reenact frozen for two hours. I get to sip fake tea and talk about how mice have big teeth and take small bites. I get to sit and listen to the chatter of a 3 year old to things that sound really small. But her world is so small so to her these are really big things.

5 Ways to de-stress in College

College life is crazy- to do lists are long and sleep is little. There are so many things to be accomplished. What you want to do at war with all you have to do.
Mid semester I find myself at my breaking point. At the end of my rope. As my friends call it, "my done bucket is full" I have to be completely intentional about taking time to undo the damage and stress. There were many times I thought I was going to actually lose it. I was sure if I didn't find a way to de-stress I would be in the psychiatric ward before finals.

In honor of the beginning of the semester- I decided to share my tips for unwinding.

Have a moment
Under stress you will frequently hear me say, "I need a moment." Don't be afraid to have a moment, announced or unannounced. A moment is just how it sounds- I step away for a moment to take a breath. In the height of chaotic or busy situations I get overstimulated. I feel myself getting tense and anxious. It physically feels like there is a thousand pound weight on my shoulders and I want to crawl out of my own skin. I step away, take a breath, say a prayer, sometimes eat chocolate and step back. Meditate on the Word More times than not the more hectic life gets the less time I take for God. When I feel the pressure and responsibilities rise, I take time to refocus my heart. When my heart isn't with God, my head goes crazy. I have an arsenal of bible verses on stress and rest. I'll include this in a later post. I meditate and pray over these verses. Sometimes I just sit and copy the verses and doodle around them, praying as I write. It helps me bring the focus from my stress to God. Reevaluate your priorities Sometimes our lives get all jumbled and we don't know what is up and what is down. We have a while bunch of "I need to do that"s speeding around in our thoughts but have no clue where to start. Make a list of EVERYTHING you've got on your plate- including coffee dates, laundry, homework, EVERYTHING. Then prioritize. Put the things that NEED done at the top of your list then delineate from there. Eliminate anything that isn't necessary. (Hint- time with friends shouldn't be eliminated- that will add to the stress) Clean up When life gets busy my organization suffers- which indirectly adds to the stress. When I feel everything has become overly cluttered I take a moment and reorganize and tidy up my space. It's amazing what a made bed and neat desk can do for the soul. Give yourself Grace
I often create the most stress for myself because I refuse to let something go when I mess it up. Give yourself some grace Forgive yourself for scheduling overbooking yourself, forgetting a meeting, bombing a test. Mistake happen, especially in the business of college. Have a moment, forgive yourself and move on.

Good luck this semester! Remember to take time to unwind and undo the stress. How do you unwind?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

2:100 Days of Happy

Yoga Pants. I'm happy for Yoga pants.

So this one goes to my large stack of yoga pants that have yet to see a second of yoga. And sorry to break it to you guys, you never will. Thank you for being worn so much you started to rub a hole in the thighs. Yoga pants, you are the reason I can look like I'm wearing pants but never actually wear pants.

My heart goes out to the yoga pants who haven't a clue what yoga even is. Also to the yoga pants who had a glimmer of hope when their owner bought a mat that shared it's first name. But alas, the mat is being used as a magic carpet for the children as they sit defeated on the couch with a pint of Ben and Jerry's. For the Yoga pants that have been called 'leggings' and shoved into fall boots and forgotten. To the Yoga pants who have suffered through a few rounds of wii fit yoga and thus decided they don't really want to be yoga pants after all. You guys are real troopers- most of you guys probably have no idea that yoga is even a thing besides a type of pants.

Keep being comfortable, keep being cheap, and keep looking like actual pants when I cover you up with a nice shirt and boots, it's how I get through winter.

Your biggest fan,
Emily (Yoga pants enthusiast)

(My favorite and most abused pair)

Dear Frazzled Grocery Store Mom,

Recently I was in line at the grocery store, behind me was a frazzled looking young mom. She had an infant in the front of the cart going clinically crazy about being in a car seat, a rather belligerent 2 year old throwing cans of soup at the candy display. Then were blood curdling screams that would give the HULK a run for his money coming from her pint sized princess clad preschooler. Mini Elsa was standing about 6 feet behind her mom yelling "DONT WEAVE MEEEEE MAAAAAAAHHHM" and mom calmly says, "then walk with me, I am getting I line." I hear her state under her breathe- "You don't understand if you don't have kids." I'm not sure who it was intended for but it's not the first time it's been implied that I have absolutely no possible clue what it could ever be like to even be in the same room as a child unless I have produced one in my own uterus. In some ways frazzled grocery store mom is right, being a parent is something that can only be fully understood by another parent. But in other ways she's so, so wrong. No, I do not understand fully, I don't have my own kids. I've never grown a life inside my own body. I've never given birth to said life. And I've never been put in charge of said life's growth and making sure said life doesn't die. No, I don't know the day in, day out challenges of life with loud, sticky and stubborn little people.

I don't understand it all but I've seen it. I've seen inside your home. I am your babysitter, your mothers helper, your nanny- Whichever title I took for your family. I've seen what your life is like. I've seen behind the scenes of the grocery store throw down. I know what happened leading up the point of complete and utter chaos in the walmart aisle. I don't understand, but I know; I know dressing your two year is similar to wrestling an octopus into a bag...with a baby on your hip. I know getting your squirming, screaming 8 month old in the car seat takes so much energy, the idea of an infant stray Jacket sounds less inhumane each time. I know the arguing and rationalizing it took to get your 5 year old out of a cow girl hat, a bathing shit and a tutu. I know that after wrestling her out of that she promptly picked out a princess dress so you gave in and thought "screw it, wear the Elsa dress." I know that having kids can sometimes feel like living with pint size dictators who eat your food and watch you while you pee. Do I understand it all? No. But do I see it? And do I know? Yes. I know it's hard. I know it's tiring. It's hard, mom. And you're doing fantastic job. Judging by the noise your kids are still alive- so kudos for that. And you're at the grocery at the grocery store- so obviously they get fed. They look moderately clean- so you bathe them at least sometimes. And they're cute too. No, frazzled grocery store mom, I may not Understand, but I see and I know- You're doing a good job, mom. Oh, and I know a great babysitter for next time you need to go to the store, give me a call.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

100 days of happy

In an attempt to make myself blog more often I am going to take the #100daysofhappy challenge to the blog world. 100 day, 100 happy things. Ready, GO! 

100 Days of Happy; Unexpected Friendships

Do you ever have those people you meet and you think, "I just know we're going to be friends". Then you have those friendships where you look at and think, "I never in a million years thought we'd be this close" Yet you are, and oh, are you so glad. My heart is happy today for friends I never thought would be friends, let alone in some ways just like family. My best, basically twin so alike in every way, friend, Gwyn is my favorite unexpected friend. We look at each other so many times in our friendship and say, "I never thought we would be friends but I really never thought we'd be THIS close." If you know us, you know we're twins. Gwyn is my 'conversation with just a look' friend. My' your hair looks ugly, fix it' friend. My 'I don't care what you've done I'll always be there for you' friend. My see each other everyday or once a year and nothing has changed friend. My 'what were you thinking why did you date him' friend. My thick and thin, high or low, near or far, no matter what, always there friend. Today I am happy for unexpected friendships because sometimes what you expect least is what you need most. 


I've been thinking a lot about grace and forgiveness lately. I sometimes find myself in a trap of bitterness simply because I cannot forgive. I struggle with giving grace because all too often I feel as though they are not deserving.
That's just it though, the beautifully frustrating and confusing thing about grace: there's enough for everyone. I am quite pleased about that, I am in frequent need of God's grace. Though, it means God has just as much grace for my enemy's as he does for me. He gives freely his grace, forgiveness and redemption to those who have caused me deep pain, for those who have forgotten me, who have said they'd be they and left, for those who have said hurtful words, those who I have had to dig deep into myself to even think about forgiving.
It's frustrating and aggravating to know that they are still loved beyond measure. It's beyond human comprehension. The fact is hard but so beautiful because I've messed up too. I've hurt people that I love, I've forgotten people I promised to help. I stretch myself too thin and leave people out. I have been rude and down right mean. Yes, there are days when I feel I should be the one to hand out Grace but how many times would I be looked over if that responsibility were given to someone else? How times has someone had to find the strength in themselves to even think about forgiving me? I need God's grace and redemption everyday, so if I freely accept it- others deserve the same right. It's aggravating and frustrating but it's so so beautiful.