Paris Favorites

I have been wanting to sit down and write this blog post for about two weeks now, but the last two weeks have been rough. Since we went on vacation in early August, I came back and had less than two weeks to prepare for the start of Fall classes. On top of that, since I am teaching four classes at three different colleges, this meant I had to prepare three completely different syllabi and course schedules. Don’t get me wrong, the organization I got to do because of this was amazing–hello, detailed planer and wall calendar. Hello, IKEA mini file cabinet that fits perfectly into my room divider. But the actual class planning was a bit overwhelming and left little time for anything else. I’m just now going through all of our vacation photos.

That being said, since Rahul and I had such a fun time writing the last blog post together, we thought we’d do so again! We’ve compiled a list of all our favorite things from our Paris adventure and are excited to share that list with you–in two parts, because I wrote a ridiculously long post. Sorry, guys. Our favorite is obviously Trocadéro, where we got engaged and also now forever known as our Paris spot. Beyond that, we have many other favorites to share. Rahul’s segment will be featured in the next blog post, so be sure to come back for his! Jouir!

PART 1: KATHERINE

1. Eating chocolate croissants at a random café near the Louvre followed by walking along the riverfront. This is probably on everyone’s list of things to do in Paris, and for a good reason. Not only are croissants a staple breakfast/snack item, but the chocolate ones were ultra delicious, mostly because they were a SURPRISE. Rahul bit into one and had a childlike moment of “holy crap this is amazing,” which I, of course, thought was super cute. We then followed the croissant-eating with a walk along the Seine, which was lovely and perfect. I’ll add that this was also right after our ENGAGEMENT, which is why this was one of my favorite moments from the trip. It was earlyish, so the city was still waking up. It was nice to stroll around before the hoards of tourists took over.

2. Picnicking in front of the Eiffel Tower. Again, probably on everyone’s to-do list and, again, for a good reason. We had already seen the Eiffel Tower sparkle a few times at this point, but watching the Eiffel Tower change from an iron structure (and still totally impressive) to a beautiful, sparkling thing over the span of a few hours was amazing. The sun set behind the Eiffel Tower while we were there, which made for some good photos and lovely views. Plus, we had cheese, crackers & wine purchased at France’s version of Target, Monoprix, which allowed us the chance to picnic while Tower-watching which, HELLO, how many times will we ever get to do that?

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Paris by day.

3. Speaking of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, having dinner inside the Eiffel Tower was definitely one of them. On Engagement Day, we ate dinner on the 1st floor of the Eiffel Tower, which was beautiful and surreal. The food was delicious and was followed by several hours trekking to the top of the Tower, where we had a champagne toast and watched the city sparkle. Walking up to the 2nd level was probably one of my favorite parts. Since you are walking inside an open structure, you experience the wind and terrifying moments of “WHAT IF I FALL” all while watching the city grow smaller and smaller beneath you. There was an elevator for the 2nd to top floor though, obvi. We stayed at the top for a good while, and were surprised by the large amount of people still climbing to the top at 11:30 at night!

4. The Louvre…oh, the Louvre. The Louvre naturally belongs on this list because it’s the world’s largest museum, but OH MY GOD is it overwhelming. If I never have to stand in a room with that many people again, I will be a happy camper. I’m talking about the room where the Mona Lisa is housed, of course, because that’s the first place people dash to upon entering the museum, including us. We figured we might as well get it out of the way before moving on to the rest. And while I was impressed by the Mona Lisa, and loved seeing it in person (not so much the shoving to take pictures and get to the front of the crowd, people can be vicious), my favorite part was actually the Egyptian floor, which housed hundreds of artifacts from the Pharanoic Egyptian era. Not only were those floors much less crowded, but it was a part of history I am actually interested in. Plus, they had a SPHINX there. I mean, come on.
I will say, I was also depressed and saddened after visiting the Louvre by the amount of people taking photos of the paintings/sculptures, etc without actually looking at them. So many people just clicked photos of paintings and moved on without ever taking their eyes away from the camera. Maybe the museum should institute a no-camera day, yes? Because otherwise it’s freaking annoying.

5. I also loved Monet’s waterlilies in the Musée de l’Orangerie and the Renior/Monet paintings in the Musée d’Orsay, which also took the prize for most beautiful museum structure, in my mind. The museum is built out of an old train station, which provides it a unique look. It was here I discovered I’m apparently a fan of Renoir, as I have several paintings of his in my apartment, including “Young Girls at the Piano.”

6. After Louvre Day, we trekked to the Arc De Triomphe and had beers in a random restaurant with a view of the Arc. This was one of my favorite things about Paris: eating meals in places with good views. We did the same at Moulin Rouge, by Notre Dame, and alongside the river, as mentioned before.

(photo cred for all of these goes to Rahul)

7. One night, we were wondering around and found Paris’s beachfront. At one point along the Seine, the city had poured tons of fake sand to create a long, fake beach, complete with lounge chairs and umbrella. There was also a beachfront restaurant and performers—err, I mean an awkward mix of tourists and exercisers practicing Zumba, which was fun to watch. We sat in the sand and made various sand creations, including giant shoes. We also watched the performers for a while and enjoyed some beachy drinks (coffee and beer are beachy, right?).

8. Our day trip to Épernay was one of my favorite parts of the trip. A friend of mine suggested visiting champagne country, and we went with only Wikipedia knowledge of champagne and came back as experts! Okay, maybe not experts, but we thoroughly enjoyed our tour of Moët & Chandon, despite the obnoxious people in our tour group who looked at the price of a bottle of Dom Pérignon in the gift shop and said, “oh, it’s not that bad.” The tour entailed wondering through sprawling tunnels that housed thousands of bottles of champagne, where we learned all about the process of making and storing champagne, which was actually fascinating. Plus, the tunnels were a treasure in and of themselves, and totally a place Charlie from It’s Always Sunny would live if the show was based in France. Afterwards, we had lunch and walked to the edge of the town, where we got a gorgeous view of not only the champagne vineyards, but also the town itself. It was beautiful and a nice change from the city streets of Paris.
This was also the day I purchased an emergency sweater and pair of boots because WHOA was France unexpectedly cold. My little Southern heart was not prepared.

9. THE FOOD!! How could I not include the food? I don’t think we had one meal that was just okay. Every meal, from the petit déjeuner (a breakfast of croissant, bread & coffee) to the croque monsieur to the CREPES to the mussels to the wine to the macarons to the okay let me stop before I get out hand…it was all amazing. I love food and Paris, dear Paris, you reaffirmed my belief that IT IS OKAY TO LOVE FOOD. In a society where body-shaming and avoiding carbs are part of the daily routine, it was nice to relax and eat all of the bread in sight.

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A collection of many of the delicious foods we had in Paris. Photo cred to Rahul.

10. To piggyback off of food, we did a lot of walking in Paris. While this may not seem like it deserves its own category, it was one of my favorite parts of the city. In Paris, it feels as if every single street has something different to offer, and it was nice to explore the city via foot to see what we could find. One of my favorite walks, other than the river, was from Moulin Rouge through Montmartre to Sacré-Cœur Basilica. Even though we didn’t spend a lot of time there, this part of the city featured winding streets that seemed to continually incline. Other than the sex shops (which, let’s be real, about half of those are put there to make the tourists stop and take photos), this part of the city was lovely.

11. On our last day, we visited Promenade plantée, which is a park built literally on old train tracks. We strolled through for a while, enjoying the mix of park forestry and flowers + the city below. It was beautiful & QUIET. While the other parks we visited were lovely also, this one holds a special place in my heart. Plus, afterward, we had Subway for lunch and Pizza Hut for dinner because if you don’t eat at at least one American establishment abroad, you’re not doing it right. JK, we were tired and needed to pack.

12. Even though this isn’t in France, I really enjoyed our day trip to Manchester, England to see a Manchester United game. Rahul is a HUGE Manchester United fan, and when he realized it would work out with our schedule to fly up for the day to see them play, we jumped on the opportunity. Excuse me, once in a lifetime opportunity. Even though I know next to nothing about football, and had to suppress my urge to ask constantly “why did they do that? What’s that mean again? etc etc,” being with Rahul as he got SO SO EXCITED seeing the stadium, entering the stadium, watching the game, seeing them score a goal, and so on, was awesome. Even though football is not really my thing, getting to watch Rahul as he enjoyed one of his favorite things made my day. Plus, afterward, we saw a few players and other important people, including Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs, the latter of whom made eye contact with Rahul while driving away. He said I had to remember this because no one would believe him.

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Happy Fan!

13. Versailles was another overwhelmingly crowded place, but the gardens were lovely. The palace itself was crowded and consisted of people pushing you along to get to the next room. Plus, the tourists that take photos without actually looking at what they’re photographing were back. But the Hall of Mirrors was amazing and the gardens were spacious, not as crowded, and gorgeous. It rained early in the day while we waited in a ridiculous line and laughed at the people who tried to skip line and got in trouble with the guards, but was luckily sunny by the time we got to the gardens.

14. It goes without saying, but Notre Dame and Sacré-Cœur Basilica were two favorites. Notre Dame was, by far, more beautiful inside–plus, we visited during a mass, which was cool–but I thought Sacré-Cœur’s exterior was more impressive. Plus, the grounds of the church are surrounded by people lounging on the grass, amateur performers, and tourists tired from climbing the bajillion steps (no, not us. Of course not).

15. Our dinner riverboat cruise on the first night was, of course, fantastic. I was still getting used to being in Paris (I kept having to remind myself YOU ARE IN PARIS, DUMMY!), but seeing the Eiffel Tower fully (not just the top half, as we had seen other parts of the day, like from the view at the Galleries Lafayette) snapped me into reality, giving me a moment of “Oh shit! I’m actually in Paris.” In fact, I jumped and gasped in genuine surprise when the Eiffel Tower started sparkling at 10–I had read before to expect that, but had totally forgotten and was kind of glad I had because it was unexpected and beautiful. Plus, the cruise itself had yummy food and provided a good introduction to the city.

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Parisian Sunset.

Bonus: Our hotel and the surrounding area. We stayed in the 13th arrondissement, which is a little more removed from the touristy center and, therefore, quieter and not as overwhelming. We found a small market there which became a staple for late night beer, sandwiches & chips (because what else is there in life, really?), a Cafe Jules, which so happens to be my mom’s nickname, and a delicious boulangerie. This is also where we had our first meal in Paris, which featured the ever-so-delicious aligot. OMG. brb while I salivate just thinking of these.

Okay, I told myself I would cap the list at 15 and I have (sort of). There are so many other things I could include: the Palais Garnier, the Champs-Élysées (and the saga of finding the perfect boots in Zara and only finding one shoe–not pair, but shoe–in my size), Flame of Liberty, mini STATUE OF LIBERTY, Harry’s New York Bar (overpriced but still interesting bar which apparently used to feature the likes of Fitzgerald and Hemingway and claims to have invented the Bloody Mary), Shakespeare & Company bookstore, randomly meeting this couple from Memphis at a restaurant (and then learning the wife went to my alma mater), street performers, mussels & beer, the Latin Quarter, the chunnel ride, etc etc etc. But I will stop and leave you with a few helpful tips for those thinking of traveling to Paris in the near future:

Read up on the city beforehand! This is something I wished I had thought of before I left. Since it’s Paris, I assumed I knew enough to appreciate the city, but I was able to really appreciate the city 1000 x more once I learned the history of Paris. Sorry, Modern European history high school class, it’s been a while so Wikipedia was my go-to for this.

Check times for museums, train stations, etc. This was something Rahul took care of beforehand, which was super helpful.

Don’t worry about restaurant reservations. My guidebook said 1,000 times to MAKE SURE YOU RESERVE DINNER TIMES, which put me into a panic that we were not going to eat in Paris unless we reserved all our meals. But, really, that’s only if you are planning at eating at the super fancy, well-known, super expensive restaurants. So other than our first two meals (the cruise & Eiffel Tower), we just winged it, which worked out great.

Bring comfy shoes. I know this seems like a very DUH suggestion, but I saw so many women wearing ridiculous high heels and struggling to walk. Like, really, you don’t need to wear your studded high heels in the Louvre. Even if this is the fashion capital, no one will judge you for wearing comfortable shoes. Plus, from all the people-watching I did, I noticed many Parisian locals wearing boots, Chucks, ballet slippers, and other practical shoes. I wasn’t thinking when I packed my Toms instead of my boat shoes. Oh well, you live you learn.

LAYERS! Even in August, it was chilly. I was not prepared.

Lastly, enjoy yourself. If you’re like me, then traveling can almost become as stressful as real life because you are pressuring yourself to make sure you see everything, do everything, experience everything. I constantly find myself thinking “okay, this is great, but what’s next? what’s next after that?” I reminded myself to just let go and enjoy where I was in the moment. Leave the crazy worrying for work and real life!

***

For those of you remember my month-long old post on packing for Paris, I’ve collected some pictures to show how many of the outfits actually turned out. Since it was a bit colder than expected, you’ll notice how I got creative with my layering based on what was available to me.

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What Happens When You Lose Your Blog Password: A Study in Laziness

So there was a time when I was really good about posting on my blog on a regular basis. I made blog writing and posting part of my weekly routine–treating it just like a homework assignment–and was very religious in ensuring I always had something fresh for my readers.

Ha! That time has passed.

Over the past few months, there have been many different reasons for why I’ve found it hard to keep my blog updated. At first, it was adjusting to a new schedule and a new school year. And then it was because I ran out of things to write about and didn’t want to share my dumb life with strangers. (disclaimer: I don’t actually think my life is dumb.) And lately? Well, to be honest, I forgot my password and, after changing my password a handful of times because I kept forgetting it, and kept forgetting where I wrote it down, I just gave up. It would have been easy to change the password again, but I wasn’t feeling it.

To sum up: I’M LAZY.

But as the semester draws to a close, I finally decided to embark on the dreadful task of changing the password and here we all are. It’s springtime outside (and actually feels like it today) and with that comes new possibilities.
I could write inspirational cards, don’t ya think?

Exciting things that have happened in my (dumb-not-so-dumb) life lately:

The finished quilt top. Next step: the actual quilting.

The finished quilt top. Next step: the actual quilting.

1. I’m making a quilt and also going to finish a quilt my grandmother started decades ago and never finished. My amazing and talented friend Anna has been the inspiration behind this. If you are a quilter yourself, please check out her blog!

2. I’m staying for a third year to complete my thesis for my MFA degree. My thesis currently looks like this: ASDMKLASDJLWEJKWJK INSERT AMAZING SMART WONDERFUL BRILLIANT AWARD WINNING WORDS HERE ADJKASLDRJWELRKJQWELRKQW.

Happy!

Happy!

3. I saw Rahul over Spring Break! I also got to see my family, pets, best friends, Sonic, favorite sushi and Mexican restaurants.

4. A few friends and I pulled a pretty epic April Fool’s Day by putting googly eyes on EVERYTHING in their office.

5. Kid President is from Tennessee. Not just Tennessee, but like 20-minutes-from-where-I’m-from in Tennessee. Okay, this isn’t MY life, but it still feels pretty important.

6. The Cherry Blossom 10-Miler is in two days. The longest I’ve run in preperation for it? Six miles. Here’s hoping for a miracle….

7. There may or may not be a rat infestation under the PSK house.

And three of the more interesting things I’ve done lately….

The view from the Exec Building. Oh hey, Obama!

The view from the Exec Building. Oh hey, Obama!

8. Got to go INSIDE THE EISENHOWER EXECUTIVE BUILDING. Felt like a legit bad ass and also like Leslie Knope, except Joe Biden wasn’t there.

9. Attended an event about the documentary “No Job for a Woman: The Women Who Fought to Report WWII” at which SOLEDAD O’BRIEN was the panel moderator. And I’ll tell you something: she is SKINNYTINYSKINNY in real life!

Hey there Soledad O'Brien, Michele Midori Fillion, Leisa Meyer, Missy Ryan, Ann Rondeau, and Kristen Rouse. You are all awesome and I will probably never be as awesome as you are. K bye.

Hey there Soledad O’Brien, Michele Midori Fillion, Leisa Meyer, Missy Ryan, Ann Rondeau, and Kristen Rouse. You are all awesome and I will probably never be as awesome as you are. K bye.

10. Attended the 42nd Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, held every year by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Who was the 42nd lecturer? Just this dude, Martin Scorsese. NO BIG DEAL.

My new BFF. Just kidding. I didn't get close enough to make that connection happen. NEXT TIME.

My new BFF. Just kidding. I didn’t get close enough to make that connection happen. NEXT TIME.

I will try to do better to keep this guy updated as the semester ends. But I can’t make any promises….

Gettin’ Crafty With It

I’m not the most artistic person in the world. As of late, I have begun painting my nails with some interesting and fun designs, but I don’t really think that counts. Two Christmases ago, I painted a pretty spectacular (as in my definition of spectacular) painting of a tree at an Art by the Glazz class. And I think that I have put together some pretty crafty gifts for Rahul, but for confirmation on that, you’ll have to talk to him.

So when my friend Anna offered to teach my other friend Rachel and I how to quilt, we took to the idea quickly. Anna taught herself how to quilt over a year ago, and now makes an impressive amount of quilts, pillows, gifts, and more. The girl is an impressive machine when it comes to quilting, and makes some really beautiful stuff. So who better to learn a craft from than from someone who knows it backwards and forwards, and won’t get frustrated when you accidentally de-thread her sewing machine a thousand times. I’m not saying that was me, but….

Anna, Rachel, and I before participating in a Case Study Competition last week.

Anna, Rachel, and I before participating in a Case Study Competition last week.

The trip to the fabric store was completely overwhelming, but we left with some beautiful fabrics for our quilted pillows, which was our first undertaking. Rachel and I picked some pretty complicated patterns for our pillows–well, complicated for first-time quilters–so the process is still in the making. We had to make 64 half-square triangles for our pillows, which involved a lot of cutting, pressing, and matching. But, even though the process is long, being able to witness a creation come together–and know that you’re the one making it–is an experience unlike any other. Take that, store-bought pillows! You have a new competitor in town.

My first fabric purchase!

My first fabric purchase!

The chevron design I am using for my own pillow.

The chevron design I am using for my own pillow.

My fabrics cut into squares!! The process has begun!

My fabrics cut into squares!! The process has begun!

Meet Jane, Anna's sewing machine!

Meet Jane, Anna’s sewing machine!

After sewing a color piece to a plain piece, the pressing comes next!

After sewing a color piece to a plain piece, the pressing comes next!

Cutting the pieces into smaller sizes.

Cutting the pieces into smaller sizes.

And voila, the pattern begins to take shape!

And voila, the pattern begins to take shape!

More of the pattern.

More of the pattern.

The patterned rows sewed together!

The patterned rows sewn together!

Our next project, after the pillows are completed, is the Giant Star quilt. Check out Anna’s blog for this pattern, as well as her wealth of other pictures and design tips. She is definitely the expert here! I’m excited to take on this next step in the learning process, and have the fabric ready to go. Picking eight fat quarters from this selection for the quilt is not going to be easy….

Fabrics galore.

My latest fabrics purchase. So pretty!

My latest fabric purchases. So pretty!

Fabrics galore!

Quilting fun.

Quilting fun.

Imagine Christmas Wishes Shooting Out of Your Eyes

My little Christmas tree.

My little Christmas tree.

The holiday season has been here since Thanksgiving (for some even since Halloween), yet I’ve felt that Christmas spirit a little less than recent years. It’s not because of anything outrageous. It’s just 1) hard to get into the Christmas spirit when your entire family lives elsewhere and 2) when you live in D.C. Even though D.C. provides a plethora of holiday-related activities, it’s also a city of dislocated residents, as many DCers are not originally from this area.
I’m aware that I don’t technically count as a DCer, but I’m close enough.

I’ve been looking for something to get me in that Christmas spirit. I have my little Christmas tree, my Christmas music, and the guys put a full size tree in the living room. I have had Tracy Jordan’s “It’s a Jordan Christmas” stuck in my head many times since December 1. Yesterday I made Christmas cookies. But I finally found my holiday spirit in the most wonderful of ways: Zoolights at the D.C. zoo.

The National Zoo keeps its doors open late and lights the place up with thousands of lights. Growing up, my family drove around looking at the Christmas lights in the area listening to our favorite Christmas songs, so this was a perfect holiday treat. Plus, a few of the exhibits stay open late too, except all the animals seemed to show us their rear-end side. Do you think they know we’re looking at them?

Regardless, the Zoolights were beautiful and a fun time spent with friends. I hope you’re all finding your own ways as well to get in that Christmas spirit. Only 8 more days, y’all!

Falling icicles, the trees looked like they were crying!

Falling icicles, the trees looked like they were crying!

A little train!

A little train!

I like the panda on the left.

I like the panda on the left.

A DANCING PANDA IN A SNOW GLOBE!

A DANCING PANDA IN A SNOW GLOBE!

The Elephant House

The Elephant House! Except we saw no real elephants. 

Little monkey holding his tail. Not as cute as the snuggling mama-baby gorillas we saw later, but unfortunately could not get a good picture of them!

Little monkey holding his tail. Not as cute as the snuggling mama-baby gorillas we saw later, but unfortunately could not get a good picture of them!

Pretty pretty

Pretty pretty

Merry Go Round!

Merry Go Round!

She was a very thoughtful alpaca.

She was a very thoughtful alpaca.

A dancing octopus!

A dancing octopus!

What’s Happened in My Life Lately

So I haven’t posted on my blog in a looooong time. In 23 days, to be exact. It’s something I was aware of, but didn’t really think about too much until my friend Mary Beth texted “I miss your blog updates” and when I responded “I haven’t had anything to write about lately : (“ she promised that we would remedy that. So in an effort to pick my tired writing paws off the ground and update this dear old web site, I’m going to go with one of my good ol’ standbys: listing.

What’s Happened in My Life Lately:

(in the order that they occurred to me)

1. I was chosen as the “tech person” for one of my classes. This only happened because I’ve taken the professor before, not because I’m good at technology. Because I’m not. But it turns out figuring out a few buttons to turn on a projector and stuff is not so bad after all.

2. Wrote a story for which I’ve had the idea for close to a year. The story of course was not the best thing I’ve ever written, but I was just happy to finally get it down on page.

3. Celebrated my two-year anniversary with Rahul. I still have one more gift for you, mister!!

What a beautiful bride!

4. Went to one of my best friend’s wedding in Minnesota! Ashley & Josh are SO perfect for each other and it was such a lovely wedding. Their wedding was outside and Minnesota is gorgeous. Josh nearly made us all cry with his vows and I got really good at pinning those boutonnière things.  Plus, it was great to see Ashley, who I hadn’t seen in about three years! WAY too long!

5. Explored D.C.’s nightlife a little more. Even though I miss my coffee shop days (haven’t been able to find a good day!), I’ve enjoyed exploring the city a little more.

6. Read a Philip Roth book (The Human Stain) that I actually DIDN’T hate.

7. Started back on all our TV shows with Rahul. We have quite a long list to get through every week, and I love it!! I watch WAY more TV shows than I read books. Oops.

My precious parents! Even though Dad is slightly upset still about the UGA loss to South Carolina….

8. Reorganized my apartment with my parents. Changes include: more shelves, more scarves racks, coat hangers, a new coffee table, new artwork, etc. The extra shelves were MUCH NEEDED as I have little to no space for storage. It was actually frightening when we moved my couch and noticed how much crap I’ve stuffed under there over the past year.

9. Had a fun visit with my parents, who went segwaying while I had to go to class. Not fair! We also had a delicious dinner at Founding Farmers and went to church at the National Cathedral!

For one night, all four of us were in the same place, so what did we do? Surprised Molly at the airport with fake mustaches to match her cat whiskers tattoo, of course!

Family photo!

Both of us are wearing her shirts. That’s what sisters are for, right? To borrow clothes?

10. Also had a fun visit with my sister. We explored D.C. and a little of Baltimore together (in the rain), and traveled to Pennsylvania to see her roommate’s band perform. We hadn’t seen each other since this summer, and we were both over 21 for the first time. So, as you can imagine, fun weekend. : )

11. Paid attention to the debates and politics and registered to vote absentee-ly and watched Mitt Romney style a bunch of times. BTW, what’s his deal with China??? Seriously, someone fill me in please.

12. Enjoyed Homecoming Week (theme: Fairy Tales) without having to plan ANYTHING for it. So relaxing. Plus, my PSK guys did amazing in their skits! Just to embarrass them, I’m posting the video I took here. If the angle is sloppy it’s because I was watching in real time instead of through the lens and would occasionally forget I was still videoing.

13. Read at my MFA program’s Mockturtle reading. There’s a video for that somewhere too, but I’m not sharing that. : )

14. Watched the first episode of “The Walking Dead” with Rahul when we couldn’t find “Don’t Look Under the Bed” for our Halloween movie watching. TWD was super creepy and awesome, but DLUTB is a classic Disney Channel original!!!!! I’m still determined to get him to watch it. : )

15. So far, enjoyed this fall a lot more than last fall. Nothing against last fall, but I do feel more settled this year and that’s such a good feeling!

What I’ve Done This Semester So Far

School’s been in session for almost three weeks and it feels like an entire semester has already passed. It’s amazing how the whirl of a semester starting can trick you into thinking you’ve already had to do a mountain of school work when, really, it’s only been baby steps.

I’m excited for this semester because I’m taking less classes and I’m now working as the Interfraternity Council graduate assistant—instead of Homecoming & Greek Week Advisor—in addition to serving as a House Mom. I’m looking forward to the challenges IFC will provide, and also SO stoked for the extra time I’ll have from only taking two classes.

Seriously, you have no idea. SO EXCITED.

Also, I’m trying to make this the year of getting A LOT OF SHIT DONE. I feel like the sudden change in schedule and time commitment when I moved to Maryland was very sudden and different and, instead of establishing a comfortable schedule for myself, I just floundered around a lot, working toward getting all my shit done and not working toward getting everything done in the efficient, time-conscious manner that I wanted. I never had this problem in Cape, and I had FOUR JOBS at one point.

But I also realized the reason I never had a problem then was because I had little to no time to mess around. I would often times have only one day to get all my work done and that was it: no ifs, ands, or buts about it. And even though I like having more free time now, it also can be a disadvantage because I often times end up spending hours playing stupid games or watching TV than actually getting anything done.

So far this semester I’ve been getting up early, working out, then GETTING MY SHIT DONE. It’s been working well so far, so let’s hope it keeps going that way.

What I’ve Done this Semester So Far:

  • Read two books (Falling Man by Don DeLillo for the 2nd time, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast by Natasha Tretheway)
  • Went to see Natasha Tretheway, the current Poet Laureate, speak at the Library of Congress. Also, I got to meet her and get my books signed AND didn’t make a fool of myself. SUCCESS!
  • Attended around ten annual meetings for the fraternities in my university’s council. The purpose of the meetings are to receives updates on the status of each chapter over the past year and work toward continuous improvements. They’ve also been great so now my knowledge of the chapter is  no longer just “Wait, who?”
  • Argued with Sears when they tried to sell me new tires and tell me a million other things are wrong with my car.
  • Written one half-decent story for workshop. Fingers crossed!
  • Been called Lauren by a member of the IFC I’m advising. Clearly he didn’t see my full name in the email address I wrote him from….
  • Met Testudo with a few of my friends/coworkers and took this excellent photo:

Testudo!

  • Bought my first ever wedding gifts and baby shower gifts for friends and family. I feel very grown up now.
  • Met the new guys living in my house and also became an official member of PSK athletics! Just kidding, I only have the jersey.
  • Watched most of the first season of “The Newsroom” and felt way smarter because of it.
  • Bought many things on Etsy.
  • Ran MANY, much miles, especially now that the weather is cooling. Thanks to my friend Rachel, who keeps my spirits up when running and makes a hill not seem so bad; we even ran 8 MILES yesterday and that’s CRAZY but also awesome and made me feel super motivated for future work-outs.
  • Drank a lot of Starbucks and coffee in general.
  • Spent a lot of time on Dogshaming and also sent many, many photos of cute dogs to Rahul.
  • Ate these fried oreos:

Sorry about my finger…I was just really excited to eat them!

Overall, it’s been a good first three weeks. Here’s hoping for many more successful ones.