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Supporting Others is a Powerful Thing

We all know how important support is. We hear about it when a celebrity gives a speech after winning an award, or at a graduation dinner, when the graduate is thanking family and friends for their support. Support is offered in many ways. There’s emotional support, of being there when a friend calls you crying; physical support of actually lifting someone up, literally, when they’ve fallen or need your help; financial support, helping your child through college or lending money to a friend who can’t afford rent; the list goes on. Support is something that we all need in order to succeed. It’s nice to think that we could do something all on our own, but reality is, it just makes life more difficult that way.

I am lucky enough to have a wonderful support system. I have some amazing friends, and amazing family that has supported me in many big life choices, and in many life moments where I feel I would have fallen without it. Sadly though, I have also had many experiences where those that I let into my life chose not to support me. Recently, I was discussing a potential venture with someone, and was told it would be a failure if I did it the way I wanted to. He opted not to even fully listen to what I was saying, without knowing the full idea, immediately said it would fail. Well, whether it fails or not, I was disappointed by the negativity and lack of support, but it showed me something important. I already knew there would be people who supported you, and there would be others who tried to drag you down. What it helped to show me though, was that I don’t have to keep people who drag me down in my life. So he’s not really a part of it anymore.

A support system will be there for you, even if the idea fails, even if you fall flat on your face. That’s what they’re there for. If they were only giving you support in the good times, it would make the bad times even more lonely. I’ve learned over the years that as nice as it is to have those people who say they’ll support you through it all, oftentimes, when the sky crashes down on you, they disappear. Instead, you find out who truly deserves to be a part of your circle. They’re the ones who will offer unconditional support, those who will talk with you about the future and not say it’ll fail. Who are they to say that anyway? Last time I checked, God is the only one who knows what is going to happen, and He’s the one in charge. Yes, it may fail, but if it does, you have friends and family to lean on. You have that support system to help you get back up on your feet, to get up 100 times after failing 99.

Your support system doesn’t have to be perfect, and they don’t even have to be there all the time. One of my biggest supporters is in another state. I know though, that if my world were to start crashing down again, that she would be on the phone with me instantly. Sometimes, all the emotional support that you need is someone listening to you cry for an hour, and just being there. There may be nothing they can do, but letting you cry it out and letting you know that they are there, that they care, that’s the support you need in some situations. It’s driving 2 1/2 hours each way in a day to pursue a crazy dream with someone you care about, or doing something extra like rebuilding a fence that was knocked down. Those are things that offer support in this crazy world.

With everything going on in the world, it can be difficult to believe that there are still good things, especially if you’re surrounded by negative people. I can assure you, there are good ones out there who care about you, and want to offer their support. If you find that someone close to you is tearing you down, and not offering you the support you need, then remove them from your life. You don’t need someone who isn’t willing to support you in your efforts. Instead, you need someone who will say “Ok, it might fail, but I’m here for you no matter what.”

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What Does Success Mean to You?

Ah success. It’s a word you hear a lot about in the world. Maybe it’s someone bragging about how successful their child has become, or the President talking about how successful and prosperous the country is. Maybe it’s a standard that you’re currently judging yourself on. I know that the dictionary defines success as “the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.” There are a few other definitions below that, but I think we all know that for each person, success varies a bit.

For some, being successful is linked to their job. Are they moving up quickly in the company, have they increased their salary, are they on track to make partner, so on and so forth. Those are definitely great markers of success, but they’re certainly not the only ones. So often I see people who feel unsuccessful in life. Perhaps they’re not in the career they wanted, or haven’t even been able to start a career yet. Maybe they’ve hit middle age and realized that they never pursued their dreams and now worry that they can’t. Or maybe they see everyone else at a different point in their lives, despite being the same age, and wonder if they were unsuccessful in this crazy game called life.

That’s the thing about success. As easily as it is defined, we all have our own ideas of what it is to be successful or unsuccessful. Which also means that we place all this pressure on ourselves to meet our goals, and if we don’t we rag on ourselves. Sometimes, no matter how hard you work, or if you did all the right things, you still don’t always meet your goals or get what you wanted. Life has a way of changing things up for us, and changing the path to success. But just because you’re not CEO of a major company, like you had planned out in your ten year future life plan, doesn’t mean that you’re not successful. You can be successful in other ways, achieve goals that you didn’t even know you had. A friend of mine is unable to find a job in her field, yet she’s planning her wedding. I think she’s pretty successful, she found love and is really happy with her soon to be husband. She may not have success in the traditional sense of the word, but I think she has it in a different way. A woman who is in medical debt but beat cancer, I’d say she’s successful. To some, being in debt isn’t a marker of success, but kicking cancer’s butt, that’s definitely a win for her, and for those that care about her.

So before you go and write yourself off as unsuccessful, take a look at your life. If you’re not in the career you planned, that doesn’t mean anything. Maybe you changed gears and opted not to finish grad school, but found an amazing job that you love. Just because you didn’t finish the degree doesn’t mean you’re not successful. You just found success in another area. Sometimes, success doesn’t always come in the ways we think it should, but I promise you, it is there, if you just know where to look.

Be The Standards You Expect From Others

I’ve been told I have high standards, by several people in my life. I’ve accepted that, and I don’t even try to argue anymore because it’s true. I have high standards in quite a few areas of my life. I expect good customer service when I go to a store or restaurant, so I guess you could say I have high standards there. I expect a certain level of professionalism in any work or business setting. Again, me and my high standards. They even pop up in my dating life, which is why several people have told me I’m picky. They’re right, I am picky, I do have high standards and expect a lot from people. That’s because I was raised to give a lot of myself in whatever I do, so I expect that from others.

When I worked in retail, my job, what I was being paid to do, was not only sell merchandise, but also to give customers a great shopping experience with us. So that’s what I tried to do. Even if I wasn’t feeling good or was having a bad day, I did my best to not let that influence how I treated customers. Same thing goes with my job now. I try to work with a certain amount of professionalism, and help the customers I have in the best way possible, no matter what else is going on at the time. Does that mean I don’t make mistakes? Of course not, I’m human, I make mistakes all the time. It means though that when I then go to another company and expect similar treatment, it’s because I give it to others in my positions.

This can be applied to anything from work to school to friendships and relationships. We’ve all heard the saying you can’t expect someone to do “blank” for you if you won’t do it for them, and it’s true. If you have these standards that you feel people should adhere to, make sure you’re adhering to them as well. This is especially true in relationships, and here’s a few examples.

  1. You take forever to text back, but expect him to text back immediately. I am either really good at texting people back, or I may take days to get back to you. It’s not because I’m ignoring you, I look at the text, read it, respond in my head, and then don’t realize I didn’t actually respond to you. I’m working on it, but it happens. However, if you are like me, and do that, you can’t have this expectation of him texting you back immediately if you can’t do the same for him. It’s not fair to hold him to higher standards than you hold yourself.
  2. If you won’t go do something you don’t want to do for him, you can’t expect him to do that. Most people, whether you are dating or friends, have different likes and dislikes. That means that for each relationship, there’s a certain amount of sacrifice or willing to do something you wouldn’t ordinarily do. For example, let’s say he loves to go fishing. Maybe you hate fishing. But, you just dragged him to a dance class for date night, and he went along, and didn’t complain. It’s only fair then that he gets to do something he wants, even if you don’t like it. Anyway, it’s not the activity that’s important, it’s spending time together. Relationships are a lot of give and take, and if you’re not willing to give, then you can’t expect him to do that either.
  3. You won’t meet halfway. My best friend lives in a different state, and has for the past 4 years. We developed a system to ensure that when we visited each other, it was fair to each party. We decided to alternate who visited who, that way no one was overwhelmed by the price of a plane ticket. So in the fall, I went up to visit her, and get some time in cooler weather, and then in winter, she came down for my graduation from college. Since then, we’ve been alternating who comes to see who, and it’s our little halfway point. It wouldn’t be fair to either one of us if the other one was always the one who didn’t have to pay for a plane ticket. Same goes in any relationship. You have to work with them, and meet them halfway. You can’t expect them to do that if you won’t do it yourself.

Having high standards can sometimes be viewed as a negative. To me, it’s a positive. It shows that I won’t settle for just anything, but it also is a way to help me continuously improve myself and work towards bettering myself. If I have these high expectations of guys, then it’s only fair that I hold these high expectations of myself. Heck, maybe I even have higher expectations of myself than of others. If that’s the case, that’s ok too. Just be prepared that not everyone has the same feelings as you. That’s just a simple fact of life, but it’s important to remember that just because someone doesn’t have the same expectations of themselves or of others, doesn’t make them a bad person. It just means they may not be the right person for your life.

So before you get mad at someone for something, make sure that you’ve been holding up your end of the expectation as well. If not, think of it as something that you can work on, and see what happens from there. No relationship, whether romantic or friendship or family, is going to be perfect at all times, and there’s always room for some self-growth on everyone’s part.

Happy Ever Afters Can Ruin Relationships

Wait, whaat? I know, this is so not like me, I love fairy tale endings, happily ever afters, anything romance I totally live for. And don’t get me wrong, they’re still great, I’m not saying otherwise. What I am saying though is that sometimes our expectations can be so high from these happy endings, that they ruin our relationships that are firmly planted in real life.

We all have seen the movies where the guy is just absolutely perfect. He has a good, steady job, is super cute, respectful to women, and has everything figured out. Well, generally in movies we only ever see the good stuff. We don’t see all his bad habits, instead we see Mr. Perfect. Well, that’s great, except when you then want to find Mr. Perfect in real life, and guess what? No guy can ever live up to that. No guy is going to be perfect 100% of the time because nobody is perfect 100% of the time. I may strive for it, but I know that I am nowhere near it, and that’s just something I have to accept and deal with. The problem is that we have these expectations of the perfect guy, and sometimes that can cloud our judgement and mess with our relationships.

  1. You expect him to have his crap together. Do you have everything in your life figured out? Odds are, if you’re in your twenties, you don’t. If you do, then congrats, you unicorn. For those of us who are still figuring everything out, you can’t expect someone else to have it all figured out if you’re still stumbling around yourself. So yes, Prince Charming did have it all figured out, but he also had a kingdom given to him. So unless you are dating Prince Harry, cut the guy some slack. Odds are he is just trying to figure everything out same as you.
  2. You think he shouldn’t have bad habits. Um, hello, we all have bad habits. I can binge watch episodes of the Flash for HOURS on end. Not my finest moments. Well, just like you and me, we’re going back to that fact that he’s human. So he’s going to have some bad habits. Maybe even some annoying habits. Sure, there are some people that are just incompatible, but if you’re getting irritated just because you think other guys won’t have those habits, then you’re in fairytale mindset, and it’s time for a dose of reality.
  3. He doesn’t shower you with flowers and chocolates all the time. Yeah, I can say in the relationships I’ve been in, I’ve never gotten flowers or chocolates ever. And that’s fine, I didn’t really expect it in them. Sure, we all want that, but to put that kind of expectation on him is a bit much. Yes, he should definitely remember your birthday and anniversaries, and yes it would be super romantic if he just randomly brought you some flowers to work or something. However, he’s not reading off a script and being handed a bouquet before the scene. He has stuff going on in his life too, so he may not be the hopeless romantic, but if he cares for you, he’ll show it in other ways.
  4. He’s allowed to have a life too. In some movies, we mainly follow the girl around, so we just see the guy when he’s spending time with her, which is, let’s face it, a lot of the time. Well, in reality, people have jobs and friends and family, and sometimes those responsibilities can interfere with being your boyfriend for the day. And that’s ok! If he has to go to a class after work or he has a guy’s night, it’s ok. He still cares about you, but just like you have time with friends, he’s able to do that too.
  5. You built him up in your head before you even really got to know him. You know what I’m talking about. You meet someone, and talk for a bit, and then you come up with all these things he likes. He must love to golf, and likes the same music as you, and he had that one picture on Instagram, so he must be a great chef. Then you get to know him better, and he hates golf, likes EDM, and can’t cook to save his life. Totally different than the guy you were falling for in your head. Instead of creating the perfect guy in your head, just see what happens with the real version of him and the real version of you. While building up this amazing guy can be fun, you’re also setting the relationship up for failure when the real one can’t meet those expectations.

It can be tough to not build someone up, especially in those first crush stages. But if you do, you run the risk of having a failed relationship within a couple of months. Yes, odds are the fantasy guy is absolutely fantastic. But, if you don’t get to know someone for who they are, you could be missing out on an equally fantastic real guy. And sometimes, by the time you figure it out, he’s moved on to someone who sees him for who he is. And can appreciate those faults that you decided were deal breakers.

The Spark

We’ve all either heard it said or said it ourselves. “I don’t know, he/she was nice and all, I just didn’t feel that spark.” Dating can be tough. You have to take time out of your busy schedule, meet up with someone who could be a really good match or could be a total dud. Yeah, you usually talk with them a bit to find out if there is some kind of attraction, but texting or messaging them doesn’t actually tell you the information you need to know. Now, in some cases, if you’re not looking for anything serious, it doesn’t really matter to you if they’re a perfect match for you or if you have a spark, as long as you’re having fun. For others though, if you’re searching for something serious, then not having chemistry can be pretty disappointing.

So what is this spark? Obviously, it’s just a feeling that you have when you’re with someone. That feeling of you two hitting it off instantly, you’re attracted to them, you like what you’re learning about them, and when you leave you have this feeling of wanting to see them again. At least, that’s what it is to me. It’s a pretty standard feeling, as far as I can tell from friends, but it’s also not guaranteed with every date. When someone asks us out, we have reasons to say yes or no. Now, those reasons vary from person to person. Maybe you had that instant electricity when you two met, so of course you want to go out with them. Or maybe you didn’t, but you figure you can give it a chance on the date, and see what happens.

If you’re in the first group, congrats, dating is so much easier that way. I personally also think it’s less awkward. When you have that instant chemistry with someone, when your personalities just click perfectly, there aren’t any awkward silences, you don’t feel uncomfortable, or wonder if you two are going to find something else in common, and you don’t just stare awkwardly around the room. You instead are fully immersed, enjoying every second with that person. You feel a pull to them. And yeah, maybe it doesn’t last forever, maybe you guys only make it through a year. Or maybe you two have found your soul mates and are meant to be together forever. You never know if you don’t give it a shot.

If you’re in the second group, don’t worry, just about all of us have been there. You think he’s cute, or maybe you two have a similar hobby, so you figure there is no spark, yet, but there could be, so you go out. But it is awkward. You find that beyond one or two things, there just isn’t all that in common. You find that maybe maturity levels are different or you’re at different points in your lives. Whatever it is, you leave the date and you’re not holding your breath until he texts you again. You’re not wistfully waiting until you see him again. You like him, he was nice, but there just wasn’t that electricity between the two of you. Now, you can give it time, see if that spark will grow, or you can throw in the towel.

It’s your relationship, so there is no right or wrong way to do things. To me, the most important thing to think about is, are you happy? If you enjoy spending time with this person, even if there is no instant spark, then continue to do so. If you’re not happy, and what they say or do bothers you or hurts your feelings, then get out of there. Don’t stay in a relationship that you aren’t happy in just because you don’t want to be alone or to start all over again. You could miss out on someone that does give you that instant chemistry if you’re with the wrong person, or you’re too scared to start all over after a bad breakup.

This dating stuff can be scary. I know, I had a date a while back where he talked about gravel for 20 minutes. No kidding, different types of gravel. Needless to say, there wasn’t a spark, and needless to say, we didn’t go out again. That was best for both of us. He needed someone who could comment on his detailed analysis of different types of gravel. I am not that girl. Now, did that horrible date stop me from dating for a while? No, it didn’t. I instead met someone right after who I really liked. Who I felt a spark with.

In my opinion, when you meet someone who is a good match for you, you know. You have that instant spark, and you want to spend your free time or not so free time with them. You find a way to make it work, no matter if it’s distance or schedules. So even if you haven’t found that person yet, even if you are going on spark-less dates, don’t give up. You’re putting yourself out there, you’re still trying, and your person could be right around the corner. The important thing to do is try. Try to meet new people, and give everyone a chance.

15 Unique Date Ideas

Hey y’all. So I know that coming up with creative date ideas can be difficult. Sometimes people just get stuck in a rut and need a little help getting out of it. That’s what I’m hear for. Now, we all know by now my dating history isn’t that extensive, but with that said, some of these are dates I have gone on, and others are proven through friends. So, whether you are plucking up the courage to ask that cute guy you know, or you’re trying to think of a creative way to get that girl to say yes for sure, then you have come to the right place. Here’s 15 unique date ideas.

  1. Top Golf- This is a fairly new place, at least in certain areas, but it is extremely popular. What isn’t there to like, you can hit some golf balls, talk, grab dinner and drinks, and quite possibly fall in love under the stars. And the fluorescent lights. But you get my drift. Here’s a link, see if there’s one in your area: https://topgolf.com/us/
  2. Beach picnic- We’ve all heard about the romantic picnics, but I especially love being at the beach. If your future date loves to be near the water, pack a beach picnic. It’s cute, you get points for romance and creativity (no worries, you don’t have to share where you got the idea), and they’re sure to love being able to spend time with you. Make sure to pack all the essentials though, no one wants to get out to the beach with dinner, only to realize you forget utensils.
  3. Disney- This is only one of my favorite places. I love Disney, I guess I’m still a child at heart, but the romance and the magic just gets me every time. Not to mention, it’s a great way to get to know someone. I mean, you’re going to wait in line for hours, that’s the perfect time to talk and get to know likes and dislikes, etc. Another benefit though, you’re able to walk off some of your nervous energy, especially if this is still early in the relationship.
  4. Ice skating- I am all for being active, and even though I am a born and raised Florida girl, there is nothing better than hitting the ice for a couple hours. I’ve been on an ice skating first date, and I must say, it was really fun. It’s less awkward than forcing yourself to sit across from someone at dinner, but you still get to talk and get to know the person. Plus, if you’re competitive, you get the added bonus of competing with your SO on the ice. Win-Win.
  5. Trail ride- if both you and your SO like horses, then this is not only a fun time, but it can be a fun date. There is nothing like being on horseback, and getting to know the cutie you have your eye on makes it even better. It’s a great time to relax, get out in nature, and enjoy each other’s company.
  6. Rooftop drinks- If you’re in a city, you can really enjoy this. There is something extra romantic about getting drinks on a rooftop surrounded by city lights. It’s just perfect, and it’s a great way to get to know someone. Have a drink or two, chit chat, enjoy the beautiful night, and see what happens from there.
  7. Hayride- Fall is right around the corner, which means snuggling up together on a bale of hay is a perfect activity. You can talk, laugh, enjoy the weather, be out under the stars, and just have a good time.
  8. Sledding- For those who have snow, which I’m jealous, y’all get to try this, I don’t, it’s a fun way to be active, while still getting to know someone. Hiking up those hills after sledding down can take some time, so you may as well get to know your SO a little better on the way up.
  9. Bowling- Not quite as unique as some of the others, but still a great date night idea. This one is especially good if it’s a first date. It’s casual, but you can still get to know each other without just sitting down for dinner and a movie.
  10. Dance lesson- Taking a salsa dance class is a ton of fun. I will warn you though, if you cannot dance, I highly suggest waiting quite a while to suggest this. If you want to do this as a first date, can’t dance, and step all over her toes, it’ll be kind of hard to get a second date. Especially if she can dance. Speaking from experience here guys, I was limping all weekend 🙂
  11. Rock climbing wall- This is great, I personally love a date when I don’t have to worry quite as much about my hair and makeup (don’t get me wrong, dressing up is great, but sometimes it’s nice to be a bit more casual). It can get competitive, you can talk, and enjoy each other’s company, while getting in a great workout. Plus, who doesn’t like to try a rock wall?
  12. The zoo- This is a great way to get out any nervous energy by walking around, looking at different, cute animals, and getting to know each other.
  13. Putt putt golf- A personal favorite of mine, I love putt putt golfing. It’s fun and competitive. Worst case, if you run out of stuff to talk about, just trash talk each other’s playing.
  14. Try out an escape room- I haven’t been in one yet, but I’ve heard great things about them. You have to work together to find a way out. Best case, you two are a perfect match and have a great time. Worse case, you don’t work together that well, but you still have a good time following the clues.
  15. Watch a movie under the stars- You will definitely get romance points for this one! What’s more romantic than sitting under the stars? Nothing. Just make sure if it’s summer time you bring bug spray. No one likes being eaten alive on a date. But bring some pillows, blankets, set up a screen, and lay back and enjoy the show.

So ditch that typical dinner and movie idea, and change it up a bit. Just try to think about what you both would like, and go with it. Just remember, be yourself, and have fun! And if it doesn’t work out, at least you had fun that night, even if the date wasn’t stellar.

 

6 Things To Remember For Those Days You Just Don’t Feel You Did Enough

We all have those days you just don’t feel you did enough. You have a giant to-do list, and unexpected things keep popping up and you’re just not getting through that list like you thought you had, like you planned on. It happens, but it can make us feel like failures.

Here’s 6 things to remember for those days you just don’t feel you did enough.

  1. You’re only one person. Yeah, I know people are out there saying that you and Beyonce both have 24 hours in a day. Well, technically, that is true, but Beyonce has a professional driver, chef, maid, personal assistant, and nanny, last time I checked, unless you have her money, odds are you don’t have any of that. I think I’d get more done too if I didn’t have to cook, clean, or plan out my day myself. So cut yourself some slack.
  2. Take it one task at a time. I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I’m feeling overwhelmed by all that I need to accomplish in a day, I sometimes jump from one task to another, never actually completing anything. So sure, I start my to-do list, but I never get to check anything off at the end of the day. That can definitely make me feel like I didn’t get enough done in a day, since nothing got completed. So instead of bouncing around from task to task, start at the top of your list, and only move on when a task is completely finished.
  3. Take a minute to breathe. Having a giant to-do list looming over you can definitely make you feel stressed, and for most people, stress ultimately works against us. So take a minute to yourself. I know, you don’t have time to get it all done, and now I want you to take time to breathe? I must be crazy. But I promise you, it’s for your well-being.
  4. Get a good night’s rest. It’s so much harder to get stuff done when you’re trudging through that list on about 3 hours of sleep. For most people, it just doesn’t work, and even though you think you’re getting more done by staying up late, odds are you’re going to be more distracted, less sharp, and not be able to work as quickly, so you actually lose that time you thought you were making up.
  5. Eat the frog. Weird saying, right? But it means, when you get up in the morning, knock out that big task that you have looming over you. If you get it done right away, you will feel more energized and more able to get the smaller stuff done throughout the day, rather than procrastinating your day away avoiding that big task.
  6. Write down everything you did accomplish. Maybe you weren’t able to get to the grocery store or you didn’t get a chance to vacuum the house. But I bet you will feel better if you write down all that you did get done. I love to-do lists, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes rather than helping me, they just make me feel bummed when I don’t get as much done. Usually, that’s because unexpected things came up that weren’t accounted for on the list. If you write down all of those on a task-completed list, you may feel better about your day.

Just keep in mind, you’re not alone with your struggle. We all have days where things just don’t go according to plan, and we don’t accomplish what we needed to. It happens, it’s all a part of this crazy thing we call life. But just because it didn’t happen that day, doesn’t mean you don’t have tomorrow. Each sunrise is a new day where you can accomplish new goals. But don’t beat yourself up if you weren’t able to cook that gourmet meal and you have to just order in. Balancing a job, working out, having a social life, getting enough sleep, and getting everything that needs to be done done, is not an easy task. Just make sure you get the important stuff done, the stuff you need for your physical and mental health, and you’ll be good.

T-Shirt Quilts, A New Kind of Upcycling

Ever since I joined Kappa Alpha Theta, I have had a great time with my sisters and representing my sorority. We always have a blast going anywhere, and I am always filled with a sense of pride when I wear my letters, even four years out of college. The only downside to my sorority life, is all the extra things that I’ve gathered.

I have a huge collection of t-shirts from every event. Not sure why, but it’s basically an unwritten law that if there is an event on campus that we were a part of, we had to have a shirt to go with it. I gathered probably close to thirty shirts, all for different events. While I love having them as they bring back memories of each event, I also have nowhere to put them in my closet. So after a bit of research and thinking, I’ve decided to upcycle my shirts, the sorority girl way. I’m going to take all of my shirts and make them into a quilt. A few sisters of mine have done that with their clothing, and I know my freshman year roomie had a t-shirt quilt made from all of her old lacrosse shirts from high school. When done properly, it can look really cute, and be a fun way to keep the shirts, without losing that all too valuable drawer space that I desperately need.

I’ve gathered a few different sites that offer different packages for t-shirt quilts depending on what best fits your needs.

  • https://www.projectrepat.com -this site offers you the ability to choose how many t-shirts you want to use in your quilt. You choose the size and all the details, then you box up your shirts and send them over. When they’re done, you get everything back in a beautiful quilt that captures all of your memories. Prices vary depending on the size of the quilt, but overall it’s a great option for you to get some use out of those old t-shirts again.
  • http://www.campusquilt.com/ -this site is great because you can mix a variety of things. So it doesn’t just have to be t-shirts, but it could be old sweatshirts, t-shirts, even old blanket scraps.
  • https://www.toocooltshirtquilts.com/ -this is another great option. You can use any number of t-shirts you need, and it’s not going to be done row by row, but rather more of a mismatched style, which if you’re like me, you love how that style makes chaos organized.

Any of these are great options for designing your t-shirt quilt and keeping your memories there, without just sitting in a closet abandoned.

Skin Cancer Scare

Hey y’all. So I wanted to talk about a topic that has recently become an important factor in how I live my life and my day to day habits. Currently, it’s the hottest time of the year, at least for us in Florida until September. Now, as a born and raised Floridian, that usually means beach days or time spent at the water park or hanging by the pool working on that glorious tan.

Recently, I went to a dermatologist and had to have four spots removed. Normally, they find a spot or two that looks suspicious, but when they scrape a bit off and remove it, it always comes back negative for anything and completely fine. Well, I had my appointment, waited two weeks, and called the office for the results. Out of the four spots, 3 were fine. One however, came back as severely atypical. For those of you who don’t know what that means, since I didn’t, the doctor explained that it means my freckle was either already turned cancerous, or it had an extremely high likelihood of doing so. The problem was, they weren’t sure which it was, and I had to go in for a minor procedure where they took more of it, in a larger area, to ensure that they not only got all of those atypical cells, but also had enough to properly test and find out what was going on.

This spot was on my right hand, on my middle finger. I’m ambidextrous, but prefer to use my right hand for many tasks. When I went in for my procedure, I was prepared to either get stitches or have some algae packed in that would help it heal and keep it closed up. Well, upon review of where exactly the spot was, it was determined that I would get neither, as there wasn’t enough skin for stitches, and they prefer not to use the algae for fingers. So instead, they were going to cauterize the wound and leave me with a gaping hole that would eventually heal on its own with proper wound care.

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Pic is a bit blurry, but you get the idea.

Well, I’m not going to lie, a needle in your finger hurts, especially right by the nail. What hurt even more though, was the fact that at one point, he didn’t numb me far enough out, and I felt him cutting through my skin. Turns out a “whoops that shouldn’t have happened” doesn’t make you feel very confident in your doctor. Thankfully, besides that one instance, I didn’t feel a thing. The cauterizing definitely is not the most pleasant smell, go figure, burning skin, but it didn’t hurt, and it helped stop the bleeding. Which, as we all know, fingers bleed, a lot.

After my procedure, I was told to minimize movement of my hand and put my arm in a sling. No kidding, a sling. I work on computers all day, and I didn’t want to take any sick time, so I adapted and worked with one hand. Not the best experience, but it definitely made me super thankful that I was only having to do that for a short amount of time. I also have not been able to play tennis, and have had to be very careful about not hitting it on random surfaces, otherwise I cause a nice throbbing sensation to go through my finger for a few minutes. It’s fun.

After anxiously waiting another two weeks, I called the office and got told that I was good, there was no need to have anything else removed, that they had gotten enough. Unfortunately, whenever you go in for a procedure like that, there’s always a chance that they will have to call you back in to get a little more.

Now, mine had a good ending thankfully, except for the fact that as I write this, my finger is still bandaged. I am going 10 weeks after this whole thing started. I have new skin growing in, but it definitely is taking its time. However, not everyone is as lucky as I am. I’m only 24 years old, but now I have had a scare that requires I see a dermatologist every 6 months. So many others I know haven’t even seen a dermatologist, and they’ve been Floridians their whole lives. I’m writing to stress the importance of it. It’s definitely not the most fun, but it is so absolutely necessary. Yes, I will have a weird spot on my hand forever now. And yes, I have a few other weird spots from where they took samples. But, knowing that skin cancer is one of the most deadly, and yet also the most preventable, I feel thankful.

So guys, seriously, get an appointment to see a dermatologist. Even if you think you have nothing that fits the spectrum of weird spots. Guess what, my freckle on my hand, it didn’t fit any of the signs they tell us to watch out for. It was small, perfectly round, one color, and I’d had it for years and years without it changing. Also, wear sunscreen. I know, it smells weird, makes you feel sticky or oily. It doesn’t matter, it is so important to wear sunscreen and protect your skin. I love laying out by the pool or spending time outside with friends, but I also know that every sunburn I get, takes me one step closer to skin cancer. That’s not a risk I’m willing to take, especially not after having to deal with my skin being cut up. Just wear the sunscreen, get proper tinting on your vehicle, whatever you need to do to protect your skin during this heat. Plus, excessive sun leads to wrinkles and leathery looking skin. None of us want that.

Lakeridge Winery Tour & Tasting

I am a huge wine fan. Back in college, my roomies and friends used to do wine nights, where we would go to the store, buy cookie dough and other treats, and a cheap $5 bottle of wine (or two) for us to share that night. We would just sit around the living room and either watch a movie or just talk about life, classes, boys, the future, you get the idea. Since then, I’ve enjoyed a good glass of wine. Whether it’s unwinding with friends or a desperately needed one after a long day of work, I enjoy a glass of wine in moderation.

My tour of Lakeridge Winery in Clermont, FL reminded me of that. It’s not a far drive for me, so it was an inexpensive way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I had heard about it from a co-worker, and figured it would be fun to get a tour and do a tasting. Now, I did a little bit of research and heard good things, the winery had good ratings, and it was close enough that it would be an inexpensive, but yet different thing to do.

We had to wait about 10 minutes after we got there for the tour to begin. It started out with a nice little video about how the winery got started, and how wine could even be made in Florida (I knew of Napa Valley as wine country, not Florida). From there, we then got to see where the wine is stored, and then where the grapes are grown. It was absolutely beautiful, beautiful land, beautiful view, and a really neat process.IMG_0699

After that came the best part. The wine tasting. Now, I have never done a wine tasting before, so it was something completely new for me. We tried about 10 wines, starting with dry and ending with sweet. Overall, I think there was only one wine that I didn’t enjoy, all the others were really good or fairly decent. We had a great group doing the tour with us, we all had a good laugh, and had a good time. I left there with 6 bottles of wine to take home, and yeah I know, seems like a lot, but trust me, I wasn’t even their best customer from our group.

Just like those memories of those wine nights, I now have a wonderful memory of a great day spending time at a local winery. I’ve lived in this area my whole life, and had never heard of this place. In fact, until I looked it up, I wasn’t even sure we could grow grapes for wine in this state. So, yes, it was a touristy day trip, but it was fun, I got to try delicious wine, and I got to see a local gem that I otherwise wouldn’t have ever known about. So if you’re near that area, go give them a try.

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