Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Strange Habits

"We all have quirks: too few makes a person dull, too many makes them awkward, but the right amount makes them undeniably endearing."

Now, I started with that in quotes and italics so you'd automatically read it as some wise insight to grab your attention. It's really my own thought, so give me the credit if you ever use it.

It's taken decades to cultivate my quirky way of approaching life, and although I don't typically broadcast the things that make me a little odd, they may seem interesting or even entertaining to someone outside of my routine.

Here we go:

I start each day by drinking a warm cup of water with a tsp. of apple cider vinegar mixed in.

I almost never use face wash anymore -I use an olive oil/castor oil cleanse. That's right: oil on the face, steam a few times with a washrag soaked in hot water, and wipe clean.

I drink a glass of clay water every other day.

I end each shower by switching the water to cold for a good 2 or 3 minutes; James Bond does it too, so there.

I only shampoo my hair maybe once a week. I "wash" it with conditioner about every other day.

I tie almost every food or candy wrapper in a tight neat knot (fold it flat, continue folding until it's long and slender, then loop one end over the other) before throwing it away.

I never sleep on my stomach. Like ever. Maybe that's because I have a massive chest and my rib cage is uncomfortable when I lay on top of it. But anyway...

I wash my dishes immediately after I use them. Maybe it's due to the fact that I can't stand to let them pile into a daunting chore-stack.

I take power naps. They range from about 10 to 20 minutes in length, and I just automatically wake up when I'm all done.

I can't stand to just cut my fingernails; that jagged edge has to be filed smooth immediately.

That's it. Those are all my strange every day habits.

So how do I rank: dull, awkward, or undeniably endearing?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Man's Search for Work

I'm very busy for a person who doesn't have employment. I sometimes marvel at people who claim they're bored. I sometimes feel as though I'd like some company, a change of scenery, or maybe a more exciting routine, but being bored? How does that happen? Maybe that's mainly due to my mindset -my eyes are wide open and I'm surrounded by stimuli to keep ideas brewing. I don't have a job, or school, but there still aren't enough hours in the day.

I've spent a lot of time on job searching and I've learned quite a lot.

Here are a few thoughts:

1) I have absolutely relied on one website for invaluable insights and guidance. This site would shock the pants off of you. I'm now a die-hard follower. The site? If you've never looked over this site, I'd urge you to do so. But I won't twist your arm. Just know that if you don't recognize a good thing when you see it, you probably don't merit having it.
They've offered incredible insights into résumé creation/improvement, job-searching guidance, and a lot of motivation.

2) A résumé is not at all what most people think it is. My views have really evolved. A résumé involves digging deep, self-evaluation, strategy, prayer, guidance, revision, and lots of polishing. I'm still hammering away at mine. It looks awful pretty, and I'm proud of that fact. But the strategy and revision is in full sway. I've found incredible help and guidance (being pointed in the right direction by the Art of Manliness blog) in résumé writing and almost feel qualified to write résumés professionally.

3) A job search should be approached more like an adventurous treasure quest or a big game hunting expedition. It should be full of self-assertion, struggle, sweat, adventure, boldness, learning, taking initiative, and stepping forward. It is not enough to sit behind a desk, press a few buttons, and wait: that may work out all right for a less-glamorous pursuit. But if you're serious about a real career, you shouldn't be waiting on others to reach out to you with an opportunity, no matter how glitzy your credentials look. You should engage in the hunt, show people who you are, and how capable you are. Represent. Stand up, go to it, be a man. (Or a woman ...the Art of Manliness blog is rubbing off on me.)

4) Make the most of your current situation. You may not be entirely happy about your situation. You may be secretly planning an escape from it each and every night you lay down to sleep. You may get urges to abandon everything and hit the road penniless simply to embrace what adventures lay outside your present sphere.
It was my goal, upon finishing up school in December, to have landed a job by the end of January. It almost happened. I had an interview for a great job that I really wanted, but the position was granted to someone with a Masters degree. And here I am, early March, still camped out in my parents' basement. BUT I've been able to spend time with family, sort out a lot of my personal belongings, brush up the résumé (over and over ...and over again), and get into the absolute best shape of my life. I'm definitely looking forward to a change and to gainful employment. But life will all too soon rob me of the pleasant things that surround me at present: my mother's voice, the sound of my Dad's boots on the kitchen tile, the smiles and laughs of nieces and nephews, and all the rest of the bliss I'm surrounded by. No matter what stage of life you're in, cherish the good things. Don't wish them away because you're so focused on something else.

That's about all of the wisdom from this chapter of my life.
Ever need help with a résumé? Don't call me. Go check out first. I'd be happy to look over your polished résumé once you've taken their advice.

Friday, February 8, 2013


I'm going to just jump right back in here like nothing ever happened. Like I never neglected this online journal.

A lot has happened since I last posted. I've cleaned up my blog layout (I'm sure you've all noticed), I've welcomed a new darling niece into my life,

I've earned my degree (at long last), I now wear a modest trimmed beard,

I'm in the best shape I've ever been in, and have been living in a room in my parents' basement as I continue searching for a dream job.

Now, here's the part where I just throw out all the thoughts I've got to write.

I think people should make a habit of getting outside. There are days when it's not a great idea, but on the days that are pleasant or even bearable, we should be out and about more often than we are. We should use our porches and patios. We should get a little sun and air. We should slow down enough to appreciate the simple beauties in what's right in our backyard. Not only do I think it's a healthy idea, but I would venture to say God is much nearer when we get outside of our lives and take a grateful glance at His creations.

While I'm on the "sage advice" kick, let's throw these gems in:

(I heard these quotes and have really seen the wisdom in them lately.)

"What other people think of you is none of your business."

"Short visits make long friends."

I could explicate some on those, but I think they're best left as they are. Thanks goes to my aunt Cat for that first one. My aunts are the source of a lot of sound advice for life.

That should do it for now. I've got a few other ideas of things that I'll be posting soon, so watch for them.

It's good to be back.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I'm Back

I'm in desperation. My blog has been dormant these past few months.
I'll tell you what I've decided. We are going to have a revival, y'all.
I found a list of topics that I'll be following to get me going again. It's not my usual method, but as I said: I'm desperate here.

Today's topic: 5 ways to win my heart.
Ok, so this list is a little girly, I admit. But this should make things all the more fun and interesting!

Way 1: confidence. There's faked confidence, there's cockiness, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about a healthy, solid self-confidence that says I know my strengths and I'm a valuable individual.

Way 2: humor. Wit and the ability to laugh at dumb things are hugely attractive.

Way 3: practicality. Someone doesn't have to be brilliant to dazzle me; practicality and common sense are impressive. I guess beyond this, but somewhat related is level-headedness. I think the term some might use is "even-keeled".

Way 4: activity. I like active people. There's something very unattractive about a person who relishes opportunities to be lazy. There's a call for the occasional relaxation and unwinding. But your leisure time should be focused on developing yourself and living life, not catching your favorite TV shows every night.

Way 5: tenderness. I love it if you still have a tender side like you did when you were a kid, and it's still there, only coming out at special times, in sweet lovable emotion.

So there you have it. My heart is yours if you've got them five. At least for a first date.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Products That I Love

I've wanted to share this for a while. I guess I need to get it written so I can move onto actually meaningful thoughts and leave this alone.

When I find something good, I can't help but blab about it. I try not to be overbearing, but for some reason I feel compelled to share the goodness.

First, WoodWick candles. My good friend Jay bought me my first at a Cracker Barrel gift shop. They come in many awesome scents, last much longer than a typical candle, and gently crackle as they burn. You just have to try one to appreciate it.

Next, the Clif bar.

Looking back, I don't know how I made it through a morning of back-to-back-to-back classes without one. You have to find which ones you prefer: I love the Blueberry Crisp. It is amazing. Other good ones are the oatmeal raisin, cherry almond, black cherry almond, and white chocolate macadamia nut.
Why am I raving? Well, a Clif bar is not just a sissy granola bar. It will actually tide you over and stave off pangs of starvation so you can comfortably be bored during a lecture rather than zoning out on account of hunger. Pack it in your backpack, your purse, your satchel, your day-pack. They are a great way to have food on the go when you don't have time/means/desire to prepare something more substantial. Read the story of how they were developed on the package. They are an all-around win. And you can get them 6 for $5 at the cheap big W store.

Next, Neutrogena Skin Clearing Shave Cream.

I only discovered this product in December. This one is a game-changer. It's not a foam or a gel, and it turns even a half-dull razor into a smooth-sailing grooming machine. I am completely sold and will likely stay true to this product forever unless something better is developed.

Next, a really vain thing. Confession: I hate being pasty-white.
My friend Kendall introduced me to the Walmart brand "Equate Healthy Glow Daily Firming Moisturizer". Lotion is good for your skin anyhow, and this helps create a subtle shade that takes you from brilliant-white to robust and colorful in a matter of days. It also smells really good.

And last, and probably one of the best (I saved it for last), my friend Brad clued me in on the amazingness.
Walgreen's carries an impostor fragrance that smells like Abercrombie's "Fierce". Do you know how amazing Abercrombie fragrances are? And do you know how stupidly expensive they are?
Brad was right. This impostor fragrance is spot-on and it LASTS. I had to experience to believe it. For $4, it's not a huge gamble. I have had more compliments on this fragrance than anything else I've worn. So until they stop making it, I'm with them for my fragrance needs.
It's called "Raw Power". And I think you'll love it.

Okay, now you know a few of my favorite things. Now let's move on to blogging about something more meaningful.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Where Have I Been?

Let the silence be broken. Or, for you Nacho fans, let the Silencio bruise his bunions.
Either way, I haven't posted this year at ALL! SHOOT!

You'd think I had a New Year's resolution to neglect blogging or something, but you are wrong. I'm still alive. I've just had a lot of work-y opportunities lately.

I've also occupied some of my "leisure time" (that was a joke) with Pinterest (a given), YouTube (a universal constant in my life), and a new iPhone app called "Draw Something".

All that, and add facebook, and my young modern self is completely ensnared in a cyber-spatial labarynth from which few, if any, escape. Is it any wonder I haven't been blogging?

Well, I'm posting this now to share with you some of my favorite guilty pleasures. I would post links, but for some reason (and don't think I haven't tried and tried and tried to make it work), I can't embed links in my posts on blogger. It doesn't work.

So, to share the goodness with you, I'm posting screen shots. Any time you're bored or need a laugh, or need to eliminate some "leisure time" (anyone living in Joseph City should be laughing at all 3 of those suggestions), take my suggestions for the best YouTube videos ever. Rewatch them if it's been awhile. I'm sure not all of them will be appreciated as much by you as they are by me, but I practically live by the humor I find in these things. It brings a smile to my face even during the most trying days.

Here they are:

And two of my absolute favorites, Harvard Sailing Team and Julian Smith (watch the Harvard Sailing Team videos in the order I have them arranged).

I have to add, if you haven't seen Glozelle on YouTube, check her videos while you're at it. May I suggest her "cinnamon challenge" video for starters.
Join me next time (hopefully not months away) for a post about "My Favorite Things".

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Home for the Holidays (at last)

I never quite thought I'd make it to this point: I'm home. The fact is still settling in, and ever so slowly the cares of last semester diminish as I spend time amidst the people and scenes I find so dear.

I guess I have a lot to say. I've experienced quite a range of moods, from reflective to melancholy (I love pronouncing that differently ever since I watched Megamind), to nostalgic. So let me spill the thoughts.

I surpassed my weight goal. At the start of my training sessions with my awesome trainer, Ian,I set a weight goal for what I wanted to weigh when I finished training. I started weighing 214. My goal was 195. I'm thrilled to be able to say that last week I weighed in at 193. At the end of my training, I sent Ian a text:

"Yeah seriously it's been a life-altering experience for me in a lot of ways. It's affected the way I feel, my mood, my confidence, and of course how I look. It carries over into every other aspect of my life. It's way cool to experience that change."

The next week I came into the gym, and that very text was quoted word for word on the white-board they use to promote training. I had to smile. I am their anonymous poster-child, kind of, I guess.

Another accomplishment: I decided to make my bed every day for the last two semesters. My friend Becky once told me that if you just make your bed, your whole room will look cleaner. It's true. So I tried it. I'm proud to say that I made my bed every single morning. And the success continues. It's a habit now. At the end of the day, no matter how cruddy life feels, it always seems a little brighter when you see that you have a neatly made bed to end it in.

Coming home for the holidays, I never quite know what my sleeping arrangement will be. This year, Julianne is off to serve the Lord (hiking, play volleyball...) so her room was vacant. It is now serving as a guest room for this man.
The funny thing is, this was my room all through high school. And the bed is in roughly the same spot. So much similarity in setting as my high school days, that I was instantly led to reflect on all that's transpired since I last resided in this place. That's the cause for the nostalgia.

There are certain things that I always look forward to at Christmas. If they don't happen every year, the world and life still go on, but some rituals have memories attached to them and the memories are renewed as the ritual plays out. The first is my Mother's orange rolls each Christmas morning. The smell is absolutely entrancing, the taste, enamoring. I savor that memory even now.
Another ritual is holiday carriage rides. Not too many people around have access to a carriage, let alone a good horse and horseman. Our family has all that (and more!). It's hard to put into words the feeling of a Christmas day carriage ride. In the very instant, you're given a taste of older days, a flavor of what the Currier and Ives scenes depict, a feel of timeless thrill that you can get no other way. I love this ritual and love that my dad is just the man for the job.

My younger brother asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year. It's come to this: my real gift is being with the people I love in the place I love most. That is what I want most. And every year I get that, all other gifts seem like trivialities. Not that I mind the trivial fun things, but my heart is on the true lasting joy of making memories with my family.

This year, I engaged the old man's enthusiasm for the season (his inner-child really shines through at this time of year) and got him excited about putting up some lights. Our house sure looks sad without any exterior glow.
I'll interject and confess that the lights are my favorite part of Christmas decoration. Can you imagine this holiday without the lights? Do you feel the excitement I do when you see a great light display? I love it. It makes everything that much more festive. (May your days be merry and bright)
So dad bought some lights. And I think I'll be stringing them up tomorrow.

To all my dear friends and my lovely family, Merry Christmas! I love this holiday almost as much as I love making memories with you all.