Friday, July 31, 2015


It's been a rough week. It's been a rough couple of weeks, actually. It just feels like the rug has been pulled out from under me quite a bit lately - from missing my target GRE score by 0.5 points (more on that eventually), dropping my phone in a puddle, getting written up for being late to work, or getting a flat tire - the hits just keep on comin'. Understandably so, it's been really easy for me to settle into a negative mindset and stay there.

But no more, I tell you! No more. July has been a rough month, yes. But focusing on the negative aspects certainly hasn't been making me any happier. Thus, I vow to spend August spinning the negatives into positives.


  • Negative: I missed my target GRE writing score by 0.5 points (WRITING?! REALLY?!) so I have to take it again. 
    • Positive: I have the opportunity to up my verbal and quantitative scores to make my grad school applications even more competitive.
  • Negative: I dropped my phone in a puddle. 
    • Positive: IT STILL WORKS.
  • Negative: I was late to work, and then written up for it. 
    • Positive: I'm rarely ever late to work, and at least I have a job to be late for.
  • Negative: I got a flat tire and had to drop emergency money on a new one. 
    • Positive: My other three tires were not flat.
Right? Not so hard, I guess. It's times like these that I need to remember all the good stuff I have coming up, like Key West next weekend, moving in with Ryan, and starting school. YAAAAS. Positives. Here's hoping August is a more successful month for me. 

And, side note, I just watched the series finale of Parenthood and I feel like I've broken up with my second family. I miss it so much already! Any show recommendations? I'm looking for commitment, but I have too many options. First world problems.

Happy weekend!


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Rainy Day Diaries.

Over the last few days, the Sunshine State has hardly lived up to its name. Since Friday morning, I have seen perhaps a collective two hours of sunshine, and I have loved every second of it. In fact, I hope it never stops. Because for me, rainy days mean easy mornings. Crawling back under the quilt with an oversized mug of English breakfast tea and binge watching Parenthood. Browsing new blogs and following new Instagram feeds. Thinking about how much I have to do over the next 23 days and choosing to do none of it because it's raining and I choose to be lazy instead. Getting absolutely nothing done for days. Abandoning any and all responsibilities. Slowly but surely losing my mind.

On the other hand, perhaps it's time for the sun to rear its beautiful head and come back out to play for awhile. Because I'm afraid that I just might turn into a vegetable if it doesn't. 


Monday, July 27, 2015

Book Review: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.

A few posts ago, I mentioned that I finally finished Dark Places. By finally, I mean it probably took me about two months to read it, which is a pretty long time for me. I was in the market for a new book to read when I came across a killer (hehe, pun intended) deal on iTunes so I knew I had to get it. Read on for my review:

Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn
iTunes & Kindle eBook: $2.99
Amazon paperback: $7.83+
Personal opinion:     

The book follows present Libby Day, a thirty one year old survivor of what her town referred to as "The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas" in which her mother and sisters were brutally murdered, allegedly by her misfit older brother, Ben. At just seven years old, Libby was asked to testify against him, and her "evidence" sends him to jail for life. Twenty-four years of repressed memories later, questions about that fateful night surface when Libby is contacted by a group of people who are convinced that Ben is innocent. She reluctantly agrees to work with this group to get down to the bottom of what really happened that night. Amazon reads, "as Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer."

Similar to Flynn's best selling novel, Gone Girl, each chapter in Dark Places alternates between characters, the present, and the past. I love this type of writing style, so it was probably my favorite part of the book. Much like the title implies, Dark Places is just that...dark. I even skipped over some flashback scenes entirely simply because I felt they were too gruesome and nightmarish to plant in my already overactive imagination. Maybe that's just me being a pansy. Let's get real, it probably is. Aside from that, my only complaint about the book is that it starts a little slow, hence why it took me awhile to get into.

If you're looking for a gripping, haunted mystery with a real twist this summer, this book is gold. It isn't my favorite book I've ever read, but I must say that I'm looking forward to the movie out next month starring Charlize Theron. Believe it or not, I didn't even know they made it into a movie until after I was done. Talk about a cherry on top!

Have you read Dark Places yet? What did you think about it?


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Currently, Pt. 4

I'm not even going to lie to you and say I've had "so much going on the last week, hence my reason for not posting," because that would be too far from the truth. I mean, sure I've been doing things. On Sunday I photographed my roommate's bridal "high tea" shower (pictured above), on Saturday Ryan and I finally found a place to live (more on that in another post!), and in between I've been working as much as I can. Other than that? I've been busy being lazy when I have the opportunity to be. Now that the GRE is dunzo, I'm soaking in the last few weeks of summer haziness before school starts next month. Can we just talk about how weird that is for me to say? School starting? Oi vey.

Anyway, to get back into the swing of things around these parts, I thought I'd do a quick "currently" post for July:


That in just 18 days, I'll be in Key West for my roommate Kaylee's bachelorette party! I've lived in Florida my entire life, yet somehow I've never made it down there. Cannot. Wait. 

Listening to...

My new JBL Charge 2. My playlists have never sounded so great. On Spotify, I've been using the "browse" tab when I start to grow tired of the songs I have starred. Right now I'm really loving their Afternoon Acoustic and Under the Covers playlists for when I'm trying to wind down.


Pretty crappy, actually. I made the mistake of thinking to myself, "wow, it's been a long time since I've been sick. I don't even remember the last time I've been sick." I didn't even say it out loud, but the universe decided to throw me a curveball and grant me a head cold. The only upside to this misfortune was beaching myself on my parents couch all day yesterday, wrapped up in a quilt, drinking endless cups of tea, and guiltlessly watching hours upon hours of Grey's Anatomy and Parenthood.


The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Book 3/10 for my personal summer bucket list. If you don't like to cry, don't read this book. But if you love great books, read this book. Just accept the fact that you will cry.


Everything "new apartment" related. Specifically, DIY headboards, coffee tables, and white bedding arrangements. Thrilling stuff, I know. With our two dogs, you'd think I'd want to steer clear of white, but I just love the feeling of crisp, clean white sheets and bedding. Thus, we will give it a shot. #YOLO.


Why the song "Bitch Better Have My Money" exists. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during the conversation in which someone said, "YAAAASSSS, this is a good song." Because I hate it. What I hate the most? The fact that all I have to hear is three seconds of it for it to be stuck in my head the rest of the day.

Also wondering...

Where the time is going. It's hard to believe that in less than a month I'll be moving out of my apartment and into a new one with Ryan. I couldn't be more excited to live with him, but it's also starting to hit me that I won't be living with Kaylee anymore. I can't believe it's already been almost 15 months since we moved in last summer.

What are you currently loving? Hating? Reading? Doing? Let me know in the comments :)


Monday, July 13, 2015

Celebrities are People, Too.

And just like that, I am done done done with the GRE and all the torturous preparation that has gone into it for the last four months. It’s been a rough road, and I’ll be the first to admit that I am the absolute worst at standardized tests, but I scored well enough to get into every grad program I’m going to be applying for! Let’s get real, I have a long way to go before acceptance anywhere, but it feels so good to have something checked off the list. 

In other news, for those of you who don't know, I'm currently a server at a restaurant in the "bar hopping district" (as I like to call it) of Tampa. I was working my usual Friday lunch shift and just as the rush was dying down, I was sat with another table, a cute couple. A damn good looking couple. I greeted them as I usually would, introduced myself, to which the guy replied, "HEY Sam, how's it going?" I gave him a second look and thought, "huh, he's good looking. I feel like I should know him or something. He's probably a baseball player. Huh. I don't know." I took their drink order and walked away.

"Would you know what Derek Jeter looked like if he were to walk in?" I asked my coworker.

"Yeah, he's sitting at your table."


[Disclaimer: not my photo.]

So yes, I did indeed know who he was. After discreetly texting Ryan to tell him the big news (he's a huge Yankees fan), I found out that I was also serving Hannah Davis. If you don't know who she is, plop yourself in front of the TV for a half hour or so and you're bound to come across the newest DirectTV commercials featuring a girl and her talking horse. Hint: she's the girl. 

"Pictures or it didn't happen," Ryan texted. HA! Despite the fact that I know I would absolutely lose my job if I broke that level of professionalism, I didn't even want to take a picture. I mean, let's be honest, of course I did. But at the end of the day, celebrities are just people trying to enjoy their lunch on a Friday afternoon. And better to be the girl who kept her cool than to be the girl screaming his name as he walked out the door to get a quick selfie. Seriously, that happened. So embarrassing.

And yes, he tipped very well and was extremely polite, as was she. And for a second, I didn't mind the fact that I was a server again. In fact, it felt pretty cool. 

Enjoy your Monday! Or at least try to. Come on, be nice to her. Monday deserves love, too.


Friday, July 10, 2015

It's tomorrow, it's tomorrow!

In just about 24 hours, I'll be sitting my happy ass down to take the GRE. It's crazy to think that it's already been three months since I quit my job to start studying for this test [mostly] full time. Some weeks I was more dedicated than others, but I'm hoping that the hours I've managed to put in thus far will pay off, and then I can have a real month of summer with zero worries before school starts back up at the end of August. Wishful thinking, right?

In other news, I finally finished Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, which marks a whopping 2/10 books read for my summer to-do list. But not to worry! I have until September until summer is officially over. Technically, I have until January if we're talking Florida summer. Anyway, I should have a review of Dark Places up some time next week. Up next: The Art of Racing in the Rain. I've heard phenomenal things about this book, and it's been sitting in my bookshelf for a hot minute, so I figure I'll give it a whirl.

Okay so basically there was no real point to this post. Truthfully, it's just a sad excuse for me to beg you to send me "good vibes," "good luck," "chocolate chip cookies," etc. in preparation for the test tomorrow. I know I can always take it again, but if I don't have to drop another $200 to do so, I won't really be upset about it. Touching on my post from earlier in the week, yet another way to save money: don't bomb the GRE. Okay, great.

Have a great weekend! Thankfully I'm heading to a friend's birthday dinner mere hours after the test, so you better believe that, win or lose, home girl will drink to that.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

How to save TONS! of money each month.

July has hardly started and it's already been an expensive month. As the old saying goes, "life happens," and it's just been a busy couple of weeks going out to dinner with friends, picking up little knick knacks here and there for our future apartment, and planning my roommate's bachelorette festivities for next month. I've never been one to stick to a budget, but now that I'm all of 24 years old, I figured if not now, when? Thus, I came up with a few concrete ideas that I thought you all might be interested in. After all, who doesn't want to save a bit of cash? Read on and find out how to save tons (TONS!) of money each month:

Learn to hate alcohol. Specifically margaritas. Turn down any and all invitations to go out to dinner with friends because we all know it will only end in 48+ ounces worth of margaritas. And margaritas can get expensive, even on happy hour. In a nutshell, become allergic to margaritas and you will save money.

Don't have a car. Seriously, walk everywhere. This will help you lose weight too, and then you can cancel your gym membership and save even more money. If you live in Florida where it gets to be 100+ degrees in the summer, even better. The more you walk, the more you sweat, the more you lose weight, the more you don't spend $300 to replace spark plugs.

Stop being likable. If you're likable, you develop friendships, and if you develop friendships, those friends want to hang out with you. If you make friends with the right people, all they want to do is drink margaritas with you, and it all goes downhill from there. Review number one and repeat.

Find a nice hole in the ground and then live there. This will save you a lot of money on rent, and I'm pretty sure you don't have to take out a mortgage (double check on that for me). Now you won't even be remotely tempted to buy anything whilst strolling through Marshall's home section because you have no need for new bath towels. Because you don't have a bath.

...I literally just told you that I suck at budgeting, what makes you think I could provide you with a real list of ways to save money? You're silly. But for real. Any ideas on how to make a budget and stick to it?


Monday, July 6, 2015

5 Things to Consider During Your Apartment Hunt.

It's my favorite time of year again - apartment hunting time! Am I the only one who gets super pumped about looking for a new place to call home? If the real estate industry wasn't as unbearably saturated as it is (especially in Tampa), I probably would have considered it as a career path. But I digress - I just love apartment hunting!

It's been just over a year since I moved out of my parents house and into my first big-girl/non-student living apartment, and our time in said apartment will be coming to an end in early September. After careful thought and consideration, Ryan and I both feel ready to take the leap and move in together once my lease is up, so the last few weeks we started looking about our area of interest with real intent.

I don't really consider myself to be "Type A," but there's nothing I love more than a good list. As soon as we started getting serious about our search, I compiled a list of the complexes I want to visit into a color-coded Excel spreadsheet, complete with square footage, pricing, and pet deposit fees. Because if I don't, who will?

If you're hunting for your first apartment, or your tenth, here's a few things I try to keep in mind before signing my name on the dotted line:

one | Pricing. For most people, rent is a major component when it comes to selecting a place to live. Typically, you should spend no more than 30% of your take-home income on rent. Keep in mind, "rent" in this case actually means the total cost of rent, utilities, insurance, etc. So if you take home $40,000 a year, you should aim to spend $1,000 per month on rent and all of your utilities. Basically, have a price range in mind and stick to it.

two | Amenities. This could actually help you out in the pricing department. Does your potential apartment have a fitness center in the club house? Cancel your $30 per month gym membership and use your apartment's gym for free. One of the apartments Ryan and I were looking at had an iPad linked to a big screen TV with 50+ work out videos and necessary equipment. It was like having a computerized personal trainer.

three | Fees. I'm guilty of forgetting about new move-in fees when it comes to a fresh apartment. It could vary depending on where you live, but I know for us it'll cost about $250 just to turn on electric. Pet fees will throw you for a loop, too. Some apartments allow "deposits," aka where you get your money back at the end of your lease, but many require a fee, meaning a flat rate that you don't get back...ever. Bye bye, $400. Not to mention application fees, first and last month's rent up front, etc. Also important to ask: what's included in your rent? Water? Trash? Basic cable?

four | Safety. If the complex isn't gated, that's a deal breaker for me, but it might be different for you. As a woman (or just as a human being in general), feeling comfortable enough to walk my dog outside alone at night is a huge factor. If finding a place in a decent neighborhood means sticking to the top end of my budget, then so be it!

five | Parking. This is especially important if you're looking into renting a condo or town home. Many residences like these provide only one guest parking spot per tenant. No thank you! It wouldn't be a bad idea to ask about night time parking conditions, either. And again, this could fall into the safety category. If the closest/most convenient parking spots are going to be taken come 9 p.m., you should feel comfortable enough to walk across the complex without a safety concern.

If all goes according to plan, we should be signing a lease by the end of this week! So exciting. Do you have any deal breakers when it comes to looking for a new place to live? What in particular do you look for? Let me know in the comments!


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Welcome, July!

July. July. JULY.

June was so good to me in every way. Good money at work, good(ish) progress with the GRE practice, good times with wonderful people, all topped off with a phenomenal birthday. I managed to check almost everything off my to-do list for the month: Einstein had his first session with a trainer, I started going to the gym more frequently, and I'm sitting my happy ass down to take a GRE practice test today.

July will be the month that I slay the GRE, the month Ryan and I decide where we're going to be living for the next year, the month my roommate's wedding related shenanigans begin. It will be the month that I pick up all the shifts because between bridal showers, bachelorette parties, moving, and school starting up, that extra cash flow is going to be so necessary. It makes my head hurt even thinking about it.

Much like June, however, I'm still planning on jam packing the month with fun stuff, along with brainstorming new content and trying to figure out how to really handle my Nikon (starting with photographing my roommate's bridal shower!). Oi. Can life slow down? I really need life to slow down.

Side note: any exciting plans for the 4th? I was one of the lucky few selected to be working on the slowest day of the year. CAN I GET A WOOP WOOP?
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