Saturday, February 11, 2017

Wedding Dress Shopping

I stumbled across an article yesterday that normally I wouldn't read. But this one caught my eye. Probably because it had to do with an activity I've actually been doing lately...wedding dress shopping. The article was called "12 Things Nobody Tells You About Wedding Dress Shopping". A large part of me wanted to see how applicable it was to my own experience. So here's my comparison.

1. Wedding dress shopping is exhausting

I've only been wedding dress shopping twice. Once in November and once just a few weekends ago. The first time I went trying on wedding dresses, I didn't feel it was exhausting at all. It was on a Friday night so I'd finished an 8 hr day of working. I probably tried on about 10 dresses too. Maybe because it was the first time, the excitement of it all outweighed the process but I really did enjoy myself. Now my second trip...oh that was a different experience. I was tired by the end. The dresses felt heavier than I remembered from the first shopping trip. Was that possible? This trip was in the morning so I thought I would have been refreshed from a nights sleep but after more than a dozen dresses I was ready for a nap. I guess my recommendation would be to only visit one store in a day. Any more than that and it becomes too much.

2. Not every wedding dress boutique is going to shower you with champagne

100% true. Now neither of the boutiques I visited had champagne. I was okay with that. I wasn't there for a drink, I was there for a dress. I think what I'd like to share most on this topic is that not every boutique is going to give you the attention you feel you deserve. My first trip, I had a single person who was there to help me into each dress, pull dresses for me to try on, etc. My second boutique trip I had someone but they only pulled the dress for me. My mom ended up helping me into each dress and we were really the ones left to do everything. I was surprised as I'd heard nothing but good reviews regarding the customer service at the 2nd boutique but it certainly wasn't something I experienced there. Do your research to make sure you're going to get what you want out of the experience at the boutique.

3. The wedding dress you end up getting will probably looking NOTHING like the one you've always dreamed about

This one blew me away. I really didn't think this could be true but it 100% was. I had an image in mind before I started shopping of what I thought my dress would look like. What I've ended up choosing does have a few features from what I had in mind but it also has a few that were complete opposites of what I expected. Be open minded.

4. Which is why you should be open to trying on any and all dresses

Yes. Try it all on. My salesperson had brought me a dress and she even said "don't judge it until you try it on". This is their job. They see people try on dresses all day every day. They know what looks good on certain body types. It's important to remember that you still have the final say. I was lucky enough that my sales person was spot on. The dress I've chosen is the one she picked out for me. If she hadn't brought that dress for me to try, I probably never would have found it.

5. Don't buy a wedding dress you have to talk yourself into

I feel lucky that I found my dress and I found it pretty quick. I think of all the dresses I tried on before and after the one that really caught my eye. They were all nice dresses but they weren't MY dress. Don't settle. Find the one you really want.

6. Also don't buy a dress that makes you self-conscious

 Buy a dress that makes you feel beautiful. I felt so comfortable in the dress that I chose. It showed off my features and curves well. I knew I felt beautiful in it the moment I walked out of the dressing room and saw myself in the mirror. The expression that came across my face made that clear. I also wasn't wearing crazy spanx or anything like that when I tried it on. I felt that was a good sign.

7. You should feel beautiful in your dress at all angles

Take photos from every angle, if the store allows it. Something might look great from the front and awful from the back. You want something that looks good from anywhere.

8. You don't have to buy all your accessories at once

I haven't even started looking at accessories yet. I knew that once I had my dress I could look anywhere for accessories to go with it. I also know that depending on the type of veil I want, my mom can likely make it versus buying it.

9. The less people you take with you, the better

This is a tough topic. I took a group with me my first shopping trip and I was 100% okay with that. I had a total of 7 people with me. Most people think that's a lot. It was important to me though to include certain people in the experience. It's a once in a lifetime experience. Now my 2nd shopping trip, I only took my mom and my maid of honor. I wasn't into doing a whole ordeal of a shopping trip. I wanted it low key and it was. I'm also glad I didn't have as many people the second time since the shop wasn't as impressive and welcoming.

10. Your opinion is the only one that matters

 The more people you take, the more opinions. Luckily I didn't have to worry about that even with taking 7 people. Everyone listened to what I had to say and didn't butt in with their opinions first.

11. You might not find "the one" until you've almost given up

I can't speak from experience on this one. Remember to be patient.

12. You'll know it when you find it...but there doesn't have to be tears!

It was written all over my face when I found "the one". I didn't cry though. My maid of honor may have but I didn't. It didn't mean that I wasn't in love with my dress though. Everyone is different. As long as you know it's the dress for you and you're excited about it, that's all that matters.


Less than 8 months and I'll be able to share the dress I've chosen!!! It'll be here before I know it :) Happy Saturday everyone!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Kids vs Adults - Holidays

How is it already half way through January?

Time is going by so quickly and I know that's only going to get worse the farther into this year we get. This year is going to be filled with so much good. I become a MRS. this year and I think that's what I'm looking forward to most. I've just started feeling the slight stress that comes with planning a wedding but mainly I'm just excited.

With things going by so quickly, I often find myself saying "I need a break!" A day to catch up on the little things. I'm one of those people that feels guilty taking time off of work though so I never do. Even when I'm sick it's a struggle to make that call saying I can't make it in. And with today being MLK holiday, it brings me to this post's topic...Adults should have off all the same holidays that kids in school get off.

Today is considered a holiday and schools are closed. I'm still sitting at work though. Why do the kids need to have the day off if the adults don't?

I get that kids are exerting themselves in schools (or at least they're supposed to be). Learning isn't always an easy thing. I think mental activity can be just as draining as a physical activity at times. These kids get these breaks almost every month. A day off here, a day off there. I think adults should be having those same days off. Not because they asked for that day off but because it's just the standard to be off.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not asking for the 2.5 months off that kids get during the summer. That's unreasonable. Businesses couldn't succeed if everyone was off for 2.5 months. But what's wrong with adding MLK, President's Day, Veteran's Day, etc. to our list off days off?

Work can be just as draining as school. I would think employers would be more likely to add these other holidays to the list because it would allow their employees time to be refreshed. I know I personally feel more ready and willing to work after an extended weekend. It probably shows in the work I accomplish too.

By giving employees off on these holidays it would also allow families more time to spend together. The kids are off and the parents are either left having to take off work to stay home with the kids or the kids go to daycare. If parents automatically had off, they could happily spend time with their kids. They wouldn't have to feel guilty taking time off work or for spending the money for daycare.

So, who is with me? Who else wants off on these holidays? I know I could have definitely used the break today.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Resignation

Last week I mentioned a possible job offer and how I was taking the appropriate steps to better prepare myself.

Well, I did in fact receive the job offer. You work so hard to present yourself and your skills in the best way to hopefully receive that job offer. What I didn't know was how I'd end up feeling actually getting the job offer.

The nerves that I didn't feel during the interview were officially live and present. I worked for this and I wanted this, so why was I so nervous?

I think it's normal to be nervous. Sure you wanted this but now you're realizing things are about to change if you accept the offer.

The routines you know and the day to day work you've done for over 3 years aren't going to be there anymore. You're going to work with new people and take on new tasks. You're going to work longer hours but also receive better compensation. There's a give and take that comes with accepting a new job. Does the reward of this new position outweigh the risk of leaving familiarity?

Friday, I called the owner and officially accepted this new position. I felt that I was ready to take on this new adventure and that this was going to be the best fit for me. I'm sure my voice was shaky as I told him my decision but his comment that I "made his Friday with this news" reminded me I was making the right decision.

While I felt so much excitement for what lies ahead with this opportunity, I felt this dread in the back of my mind for what I had to do come Monday morning.

I officially had to resign from my job this morning and state when my last day of work would be.

I think something has to be said when you dread resigning from a job.

Sure, it's awkward to tell someone you're leaving their company but that's not why I dreaded this talk. Some people jump at the opportunity to turn in their two weeks notice because they can't wait to get out of there. This wasn't the case for me either.

I actually enjoyed my job and specifically the people I work with.

I've gotten to experience and learn so many new things during my time here. I've made some great friends who made me look forward to coming to work every day. Sure there were times that sucked but that happens every where.

As I shared my news with my manager and co-workers, they told me how much they'd miss me but understood why I had chosen to leave. I'm glad I was able to have a positive impact on those around me while I was there.

Just a few more weeks until I start this new job. I can't wait to see where things go from here! As so many have told me, this is just another step in adulthood and "Welcome to the real world!".

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Never Stop Learning

I wrote a while back about how I was finally graduating from college. On May 22nd, I walked across that stage and was recognized for earning my degree and graduating with honors.

It was a wonderful experience and one I will always remember, especially because I worked so hard for it.

This summer has felt so odd though not taking classes. That had been such a huge part of my routine for so long that I'm actually missing it now.

I've recently had the realization that just because I'm not taking classes doesn't mean I have to stop learning. We should never stop learning.

There's always going to be things out there that we don't know or could learn more about. If we keep ourselves closed off from experiencing new things or learning new ideas, we're keeping ourselves from progressing and becoming better versions of ourselves.

I've been looking for a full-time job now for quite a few months. It's been a process to say the least.
But I've been learning the entire time.

Each phone interview or in person interview gives me more experience and helps me to be better prepared for the next one. I've learned more about myself and my strong suits or areas where I could improve.

After meeting with a company last week regarding a job, I saw that if I was to get the position I'd end up taking on some work I have zero experience in.

For many that's terrifying and even a deterrent from continuing the pursuit of the position. For me, I chose to look at it differently. Yes, it still gave me an uncomfortable feeling. But I'm choosing to view it as more of a challenge than a setback.

It will show I'm a hard worker and can take the initiative before being asked. It shows that I'm resourceful and can find the answer to a problem even if I don't know it off the top of my head. It shows I'm flexible and willing to grow.

I'm a firm believer that if you want something bad enough, you'll work to get it. If I really want this job, I'll work to learn as much as I can so that I could do my job the best I possibly can.

You don't always have to learn from books, not everyone is a reader. Some people are better at learning visually or by doing things hands on. We're fortunate enough to find resources like these right on the web. I could have downloaded or purchased a textbook on the material but instead I found a video series that covers it. Find what works best for you.

Just remember to continue to learn in all things. Don't limit yourself as to what you're capable of.

Who knows, maybe I won't get the job but I'll have new knowledge and maybe even certification I can add to my resume. It's a win either way.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Penny Pincher

When you're a child you don't realize how many bills are going to exist when you become an adult. Adulting 101 isn't a class they teach you in high school. It's like you wake up one morning and BAM! there are all these bills you have to pay.

I do have a job, which means an income, but it's not the ideal salary. That's the territory that comes with a part time job. I am looking for a full time job but it takes time and a lot of effort.

Lately, I've been paying extra attention to the money I have, looking for the smartest way to spend it, and finding simple but effective ways to bring in more money without tacking on another job.

I figured I'd share some of the things I've been doing.

1. Write out a Budget

Writing out a budget has probably been the smartest thing I got in a habit of doing. For some people they can keep track of it all mentally but I've always been more of a visual learner. By writing it all down I'm able to see what I have, what I'll have coming in, and what will be going out. It shows you the kind of wiggle room you have once bills are paid off. It shows you what you have left to take a portion of and put away in savings.

2. Be a Smart Budget

I was raised to always be a frugal shopper.

- Wait for things to go on sale
- Use coupons
- Clearance sections should always be the first place you look
- Name brands really don't matter (they don't make you popular)
- Thrift stores, resale shops and yard sales are goldmines

These types of things were instilled in me from a very young age and I've noticed I have been applying them more to my life the older I get. I guess that's something that comes with age, an appreciation of a hard earned dollar.

Don't spend money on something you don't need. It's important to take care of your financial responsibilities first. If there's something you want, look at your budget (that's why it's tip #1!) and see how much you could start putting to the side to eventually purchase it. Sure saving up doesn't sound fun, but if you want that "something" bad enough, you'll take the time to get it the right way.

I can't begin to tell you how much coupons and thrift/resale stores keep money in your pockets. Coupons have always been a normal to me. Why spend more on an item when they put out coupons so you can spend less? The same goes for the thrift/resale stores. Yes, you will have to take a little extra time looking through them and possibly having to go to more than one to find what you're looking for. In the end it's usually worth it though. Here's an example...I was looking for extra cookie sheets and cooling racks. At a thrift store, I found a bundle of them (probably 10 altogether) and it cost me $6. I could have paid that for just one cookie tray at a regular store. WIN!

3. Poshmark

This is something I've been experimenting with.

Poshmark is a site where you can take pictures of clothing, shoes, and accessories you are looking to get rid of and list them for sale.

I've heard of a lot of people having success on here but so far it hasn't happened to me. It's something that does take time (which I keep reminding myself of). You have to photograph each item in an appealing way so that people will want to buy it. You then have to post each picture with a description of what it is you're selling and a price. In order to really have people see your items, you have to share your posts regularly on the site so that they stay relevant on follower's feeds.

I'm hoping that with the extra effort I'm putting in I'll see some results. This method intrigued me versus using Plato's Closet or thredUP because I get to choose the price to sell the item at.

4. InboxDollars

This is a site whose outcome has actually surprised me.

Most of my days at work are spent behind a desk and I will have dead times with little to no tasks to complete. I wanted to find something I could do online that wasn't difficult but would put my free time to good use. InboxDollars seems to be that answer.

It's the type of site where you take surveys, watch videos, listen to their radio programming (which usually just sits playing on a muted window) and receive a few emails a day. Sure each item doesn't pay much but over time it adds up.

I joined around the end of March/beginning of April. In order to cash out your earnings you have to make $30 (they automatically give you $5 to signup, it's free to join). A $40 check is on it's way to me currently and since my first cash out I've already earned about $19 of my next 30.

Clearly I'm doing something right because I didn't think I'd be making this much this quick. I do have more time than most in front of a computer and I'll continue to take advantage of it if it means an extra $30-40 a month

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 These are just a few things that have been working for me. Maybe give some of them a try and see How it affects your finances. If there are any other options or sites people have used to bring in a few extra bucks or save some money, feel free to share. I'd be happy to give them a try and possibly make them a part of the routine.

Till next week!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Delta Alpha Pi

For many of you, you probably read the title of this post and aren't familiar with what Delta Alpha Pi represents or think it's just your every day Greek society.

It's so much more than that.

Delta Alpha Pi (DAP) is an International Honor Society for students with disabilities. DAP was established to distinguish students who have attained superior academic records while managing personal setbacks. The mission of DAP is to recognize strength, achievement and pride in these students.
 
On April 27th I was inducted into the Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society - Gamma Alpha Chapter.

Surprise!!! That's right, I have a disability. It's not the kind of disability that's physical or easily seen. I suffer from learning disabilities.

It's not something I talk about or bring up often. Disabilities are automatically seen as a negative thing by so many. It's a stereotype that's been around for decades. I'm not ashamed of my disabilities but I've never wanted anyone to look at me differently or not allow me the same opportunities as others because I don't fit what's known as normal.

I faced adversity from the moment I questioned having a disability.

I'd always been a good student and good grades were normal for me. I remember being in high school and taking an AP (Advanced Placement) course and struggling. It was a subject I was known for being strong in, so why wasn't I understanding things? I remember going to my Mom and asking to make an appointment with my doctor because I felt something wasn't right. I've always known my body and mind well enough that I sensed something wasn't working correctly in my brain. We made the appointment and when we sat down with the doctor we were basically told I was just trying to cheat the system and get some medication. We pushed and pushed and the doctor finally said the best way to evaluate me was to have my teachers fill out a questionnaire about how I was in the classroom. Because I was never a problem child and didn't act out in class, none of my teachers could see how something could be wrong with me. I managed to push through my last year of high school but it was never easy.

When I got to college, things only became more difficult. Everything about college classes were different from what I'd known before. From the style of your classes to your tests and assignments. I was putting in my whole 110%. I wasn't that kid who went and partied from Thursday to Sunday. You could always find me in my dorm studying and taking notes. There wasn't time to have a life. My time had to be devoted to school and even then I wasn't seeing the grades and results I expected. How could I be spending countless hours putting in all this effort and still not get it? Half way through my sophomore year I'd had enough. I was tired of not getting anywhere. I told my parents I was taking a semester off and getting tested. Someway, somehow I was going to get an answer.

After extensive searching I finally found a doctor who was really willing to see what was going on. I remember having to go into her office and take different types of tests and answer so many questions for an entire day. It was tiresome and uncomfortable but I knew that if I wanted answers (which I did) I had to do it. About a week or two later we were called to come back and see what they'd found. Sure enough, they uncovered that I had ADHD and a few different learning disabilities. They weren't surprised that I was struggling in my classes based off of what they'd found. Going forward I would be able to present their report to my school and receive accommodations so that I could really give my best effort in class.

I can't begin to explain what a difference those accommodations made. People would think that my accommodations meant that things were easier for me. For example, "That test is going to be easier for her because she is given more time to take it." I'll be the first to tell you that way of thinking is wrong. Yes, I was given accommodations. It was proven that I needed them. But that didn't mean the rest of college was going to be a breeze for me. I still had to put more effort into my studies than most people would. Because of my disabilities, I have to work harder and longer than most people. The discomfort I had every time I had to walk into a classroom, take a test, or try and concentrate on what a professor was lecturing about...You can't understand how hard such simple tasks are for me to do.

Every semester I would meet with my teachers the first week of class to explain that I had a disability and would be needing accommodations. The first semester or two I had to do this I remember feeling so embarrassed because of the stereotypes associated with disabilities. After that I let go of the embarrassment. I accepted that by sharing the fact that I needed accommodations, I was really asking for help and that there was nothing wrong with that. Most schools have a department for students with disabilities. The school that I attended did and they were extremely helpful in making sure that my professors received the appropriate information to verify what accommodations I was to be given. I worked my butt off every semester and I was back to seeing the grades I was used to. I finally understood what was different about me and how to cope and manage as best as I could.

When I received the letter in the mail announcing I was chosen to join this honor society, I was touched. I didn't realize the society even existed but the fact that they recognized the hard work and superior grades I'd earned was a bigger deal to me than most people would probably expect. Because of how hard I would have to work to achieve the same thing as others, it meant a lot that someone was noticing and saw that I accomplished something that isn't easy for people with disabilities.

There are requirements that have to be met in order to be eligible to join this honor society. As an undergraduate student I had to:
  • Present a documented disability and work with one of the faculty or staff members in the Office of Disability Services, or self-identify as an individual with a disability;
  • Demonstrate an interest in disability issues.
  • Completed a minimum of 24 credits;
  • Earned an overall Quality Point Average of 3.10 on a 4.00 scale.
I have completed all the above requirements and then some.

That Wednesday night at the end of April I received my acceptance certificate, a pin and cords to wear at graduation. On my graduation day I will wear those cords with pride!

While this hasn't been something I've been very open about, I'm not ashamed of it either. I'm proud to represent all individuals that have a disability and show that we can still do things.

We are not helpless and we are not stupid.

We just take a little longer and have to work a little harder.

If you'd like to learn more about Delta Alpha Pi, feel free to visit this website:
http://deltaalphapihonorsociety.org/ 

Friday, April 22, 2016

From a Former Student

If you are a local reading this then you are most likely aware of the tragedy that occurred in our area yesterday. A 16-year old girl lost her life at school after being assaulted.

It's extremely sad what took place.

But if I'm being honest I can't say I was all that taken aback when I found out. For many, I'm sure your jaws just dropped at that comment. How could I say such a thing?

I can say it because I know first hand that incidents like this aren't rare in today's schools. Yes, most of the time they do not result in a death. But fights, especially severe ones, are nothing new in schools. More and more we're also seeing that it's females partaking rather than males.

I attended a high school that was known for fights. It was often a school referred to as ghetto and trashy. No one would ever come out and call it unsafe but you certainly never heard anyone call it a safe place either. You'd enter school every day and silently ask yourself, "I wonder what will happen today".

Fights were common and in the end you'd usually hear it was over something stupid. A boy/girl, drugs, he said/she said, and false rumors.

When a fight broke out, instead of trying to get away from it to prevent yourself from getting caught in the crossfire, everyone would swarm to see what was going on. They wanted to see it all firsthand and would even egg on the participants trying to get a better show.

It was the responsibility of disciplinarians, an onsite cop (if your school had one), and faculty members (if they felt comfortable enough) to step in and try to break up the fight and diffuse the situation.

After yesterday, my question is this...When does enough become enough?

I'm tired of people being naive of what's taking place in these schools and on the streets.

I graduated from high school 7 years ago. Things like this were happening then and prior. They've only continued to get worse.

Things need to change.

Our kids need to feel safe going to school. They go to school to receive an education, not to be bullied, bashed, and beat down by peers.

It's time for the parents at home to step up and be an example for their children. I truly believe that stopping this begins in the home.

Children do the things they do because you've let them know they can get away with it or they've watched you do the exact same thing. If you get away with it, why can't they? Take the time to explain that physical violence isn't the answer. Petty drama isn't what this world is supposed to revolve around. There are much more important things to be focused on like bettering yourself and working towards a positive and happy future.

Today's generation has no concept of what consequences are. Unfortunately, the girls who chose to beat a 16-year old girl to death will now find out the consequence the hard way.

I don't expect things to change over night. It will take the work of so many to make a difference. People need to stop turning a cheek and realize these issues need to be addressed. They've been issues for at least a decade now and unless things change, it's not going to stop. People shouldn't have to fear what their kids will face when they are older and can attend school. It should say something about the world we live in when you're scared to bring new life into it.

Wake up and realize what is taking place. Let's make the difference so that future generations don't have to worry about things like this.