Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I have come out of hiding.... to RANT

I am tired of people telling other people what they can and cannot enjoy during the holiday season. There has been this ongoing debate about when it becomes okay to play Christmas music, when stores are allowed to display Christmas items, which day you are permitted to decorate your house or buy a Christmas tree, and what you should or should not be doing with your Thanksgiving day.... and I am tired of it!

Most recently, Toys R Us has announced that they will officially be starting their black Friday sales a 5pm, 3 hours earlier from last year. For whatever reason there has been this huge uproar from people who believe that Thanksgiving is a family holiday and that people should spend it at home with their families rather than camping out at storefronts to win the best deals. That's a great thought, but the truth is we all celebrate holidays differently. We have different priorities, and we all grow up with different traditions or maybe none at all. Toys R Us has no obligation to schedule their opening at a time convenient for you. When you think about it, Thanksgiving is basically the celebration of the beginning of an era where Americans took what they wanted as their own.

I've spent numerous Thanksgiving evenings waiting in line at Best Buy with my sister and cousins and countless early mornings with my mom out shopping.... Does that make me a "bad" Thanksgiving-er? I personally prefer to hold off on Christmas music so that I don't get tired of it before the actual holiday . But I'm not going to stomp on someone else's joy just because I don't want to hear that music yet!

So please rock that Christmas music... or don't. Everyone is entitled to their own level of enthusiasm :)

I will hopefully be better about updating this blog more. I got pretty busy with life! Maybe I will write a brief post catching up everyone about some cool things I've done since I stopped updating, but I'll save that for later!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Day 4: Favorite Quotes

Day 4: Favorite quote and why you chose it:

I had a difficult time choosing my all-time favorite quotes, so I picked several. Here's what I came up with!

This is my favorite book/movie quote. Harry Potter is a wonderful and complex series and it has stuck with me throughout most of my childhood until now. It's a gorgeous and unexpected love story and it this quote just captures the whole thing.

This is a favorite when I need a little motivation. It also makes an appearance in one of my favorite songs by Florence and the machine "Shake it Out"

I really like this thought, I just need to do a better job of putting it into practice!

If I truly only had to pick one favorite quote, this one would probably be it. It's a motto I try to live by because everyone has their own hardships in their lives. Instead of trying to judge who has it worse or try to diminish someone's struggles, we should be kind to EVERYONE. Even if that person is rude or annoying or  complaining about something trivial. You don't have to agree with them or like them, but everyone should be treated with kindness :)

On that note, do you have any favorite quotes that you would like to share?

Day 3: Awkward.

Day 3: Things that make me uncomfortable.

Something that I have discovered makes me uncomfortable is holding direct eye contact with other people.

It just feels awkward and weirdly too intimate, even if I feel totally comfortable around the person. I feel like people are staring into my soul or something!

One time in my Psychosocial Aspects of Occupational Therapy course we had a guest speaker come lecture us about mindfulness. As an exercise, we were told to turn to the person next to us and give them direct eye contact for several minutes. I was dying inside!

Most people don't seem to notice or care, and it's not like I never ever look other people in the eye, I just don't sustain it for too long. It's something I am definitely working on, so feel free to mention it to me if it looks like my eyes are wandering :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Day 2: Let Me Share My Wealth of Knowledge...

Day 2: Educate your readers on something you know a lot about or are good at.

I happen to be an expert in the art of procrastination.

It's really quite impressive if I do say so myself.

So, I can't cure your procrastination, but I can tell you how to use it to your advantage. Hopefully it works for you like it works for me:

Step 1: Make a to-do list including even mundane things that will take no time at all to complete
Step 2: Add something really important to said to-do list that doesn't need to be done right away, but is super important.
Step 3: Suddenly, all of the other small things on your list get done because at least those are smaller and easier to tackle than that one big impending thing you must work on sometime in the vaguely distant future!

Why does this work? John Perry, author of The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing explains that "when people procrastinate, it's not that they aren't doing anything; they simply aren't doing something that's more important." This totally makes sense in my life and explains why when I have a big paper due suddenly it's the perfect time to clean my whole apartment or when I need papers graded it feels like the perfect time to head to the gym, the papers or whatever I am supposed to be doing can wait. So, the way to get me or anyone else who is a chronic procrastinator to do something important is to make sure that there is something else MORE important that needs doing!

This also explains why I am blogging instead of sending off my fieldwork letter :P

Blogging Every Day in May!

Okay so since I've been sort of uninspired lately I've decided to join in on a challenge posted by Story of My Life where I will be blogging every day in May! Each day comes with a prompt that I will be answering, and hopefully you find it interesting. You may have noticed it's already May 13th, so I've missed quite a few days at the start days at the start. I hope to make those up as I go! Even if I post more than one post per day, I will still only post links from Facebook no more than once a day so that people don't hate me for spamming their news feeds!

Day 1: The Story of Your Life in 250 Words or less

This is Amanda: The Sparknotes Edition. I was born in Illinois and moved to North Carolina shortly after. I spent most of my childhood there being really socially awkward, adventuring to a nearby creek with neighborhood friends, and playing video games and Neopets. I also dabbled in being a world champion team member of Odyssey of the Mind, had a decent run as both a dancer and an ice skater, and joined too many choirs for me to keep track of.
The summer before I started high school my family moved to Texas, where I did crazy things like join the cross country team and learn Latin. I also earned over a thousand dollars in babysitting money and took a trip to New York! I was forced to transfer to a new school starting my junior year which turned out to be a great move. High school wasn't my favorite but I had a great small group of friends that I sad to leave when it came time for me to leave for TCU.
Going to TCU was probably the most defining moment of my life so far. So many wonderful things happened in my life as a result of being a student there! I joined the marching band on a whim and marched 4 seasons with the color guard, was a member of a sorority, did many hours of volunteer work and had a pretty awesome set of roomies while I was there. I also worked as a resident assistant, a camp counselor, and at a pediatric outpatient clinic where I decided that occupational therapy was the perfect fit for my future career.
Most recently, I just finished my first year in graduate school at UIC! I received straight A's this semester and survived my first Chicago winter. I have enjoyed being closer to some of my other extended family members while still doing my whole adventurous live-in-a-big-city kind of thing. My classmates are way cool and so is my boyfriend :) I'm not sure where the next year will take me but am excited for fieldwork and graduation and jobs!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What I Think About Abercrombie

Okay so many of you may have heard recently that the owner of Abercrombie & Fitch is actually a jerk.  For those of you out of the loop, basically Abercrombie will not carry XL or XXL sizes in their women's clothing because the CEO only wants "thin and beautiful people" to wear his clothing. Was anyone actually surprised by this? I mean, this is the same company that only hires attractive people to work in their stores and sell their clothes, and actually hires people to stand there half naked in their store entrances in order to advertise said clothing. The same company that intentionally blasts music and keeps their lights down low and guards their store entrances with a cloud of foul smelling cologne just to ward off any "old people" who might accidentally wander in and mistakenly think they are worthy to sport the Abercrombie brand.

Yes, discriminating against people based on size is wrong. Yes this dude is freaking INSANE and what he said is completely ridiculous and rude. However, I think the petitions etc. directed at this man and his company are stupid. You can't force someone to sell clothes that they don't want to sell. And who wins if somehow the company starts to sell larger sizes? It's doubtful that Mike Jeffries is going to completely change his worldview about popularity and the value of human beings regardless of their size just because of a bunch of names on a page. And as a shopper wanting those sizes... why would you give your business toward an industry that has historically shamed you and basically told you you aren't cool enough to wear his clothes?? I personally have never shopped at Abercrombie, but if the CEO of Abercrombie wants to make offensive statements and poor marketing decisions I will not be wasting my time demanding he change. Instead, I will wait patiently and watch with enthusiasm as his company fails due to his ridiculous attitude that he is somehow the all-knowing guru of middle school popularity. Don't let this jerk make you even think twice about how cool/popular/beautiful/awesome you are!

Mike Jeffries in all his....popular-ness?

you can go here to read more about this story!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fallen Off the Blogging Bandwagon

     I have been a rather boring/absent blogger lately... sorry guys! This time of year is always crazy for me. My first year in occupational therapy school is coming to an end. It's hard to believe that right now, I've finished more of OT school than I have left in front of me. My classes are essentially complete after this coming fall semester! Unfortunately, with the end of the semester comes a million papers, assignments and tests, not to mention my teaching assistant duties have multiplied tenfold as I now grade approximately 120 papers weekly! That doesn't even include tests and now the dreaded second journal article assignment-- it takes me around 15-20 minutes just to grade one student's assignment! I have truly enjoyed being a teaching assistant in psychology this semester and especially have appreciated the benefits financially... but I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty sure I never want to be a professor, like ever. Too many emails and not enough free time! Good thing I'm going to OT school :) 

     In addition to the world of academia, I've also been busy with some fun things too. I've visited Chris both at ISU and his hometown as well as having plenty of fun here in Chicago also. The weather is starting to warm up a little so I've been doing some more city exploring as well, and recently ran a 5k with several classmates to benefit those who were affected by the Boston Marathon attacks. I'm hoping to see the sun more after close to a week of dreary rainy days. For those of you who asked, no, I was not in the danger zone as far as flooding in the area goes. However, my idea of how close the serious flooding actually was was WAY off, it was actually quite close to me! Good thing I am on the second floor...

     So what do the next few weeks/months look like for me? Well, after I stalk all of my friends online for TCU graduation, I get a lovely few weeks of summer vacation before starting summer school classes on May 28th. I'm taking 2 classes, 4 days a week for about a month: one about adaptive technology which I am really looking forward to because it's more of a hands-on lab type experience, and another class about healthcare policy etc. I can't say I'm looking forward to that one with quite as much zeal as adaptive tech, but it should be interesting and useful information to learn as the country goes through this massive healthcare transition. After that I have about a week until I need to head home to Texas for my one month fieldwork placement at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital! I am beyond thrilled to have this opportunity to learn from a hand therapist in one of my favorite places, Fort Worth! And then I get to rock my fall semester back  at UIC and then go on MORE fieldwork and then graduate and then pass my NBCOT exam with flying colors and then I'm done :) Exciting stuff, y'all!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring Break

I realized I wrote this up but never posted it!! Oops. Here is a recap of my spring break :)

It wasn't feeling too Springy when I left Chicago on Saturday evening. I spent close to 6 hours hanging out in O'Hare airport due to delays, and by the time I made it back through my door in McKinney it was after 2am. Thankfully I was able to camp out near an electrical outlet and a few of my wonderful friends and boyfriend kept me entertained until it was finally time to board the plane. Those that know me well know that flying is not my favorite, so it was extremely helpful to be distracted during gmy long wait! The following morning Chicago was slammed with 12 inches of snow, so I'm glad I got out of there while I still could!

I spent the week relaxing by the pool, playing video games with my sister, exercising with my dog, eating mountains of delicious food, and spending time with my family. We adventured to the museum, got our nails done, went out to eat, and saw a movie. I spent some time at Keystone and caught up with my friends. Overall it was a great and relaxing week! The weather cooled off a little but mostly it was sunny and warm... which was marvelous! We also did a little bit of early Easter celebrating and dyed some eggs. My parents also thought it'd be funny to hide a few eggs for my sister and me on Friday morning... I will never be too old to run around my house like a crazy person looking for plastic eggs as long as there is still someone hiding them :P hehe.

On Saturday morning I made the trip back to Chicago. It was a wonderful flight compared to the way there! Our plane was upgraded to a larger sized plane right earlier that morning, and not all of the seats were able to be filled. So first of all that was probably the biggest plane I've ever seen -- 9 seats and two aisles across! I had two seats and a window all to myself which was lovely. Before we took off there was acoustic guitar music playing and videos of nature and cute baby animals playing out of tiny screens on the backs of the chairs in front of us... weird but awesome!

I went to my grandpa's church for Easter, it was a cool mix of traditional and contemporary music. It's been quite a while since I've set foot in an actual church -- the place I've been going since last semester meets in a middle school auditorium. I did miss that silly auditorium though! Afterwards we traveled to Port Edwards, a cool brunch buffet place with mountains of breakfast and lunch food and desserts. I tried some crab legs for the first time (pretty good!) and got to meet some of Joan's family. Overall is was a great week, I posted many pictures on facebook but may go back and post them here if I find the time (but don't count on it) haha.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patricks Day

I had a pretty fantastic weekend :)

Backtracking a little bit, on Wednesday I got to go meet my grandpa for breakfast in Glenview while my car was being serviced... yay for 45,000 mile check ups. I had some amazing french toast at Walker Bros. Pancake House and afterwards I tagged along for Tom's choir rehearsal at the senior center. It was so fun to meet some of his friends and I appreciate them welcoming me into their rehearsal. This was one of their last rehearsals before a performance, so I felt like I got my own sneak preview concert! I hope I am as active and social and engaged when I am older :)

My weekend started off with some yummy St. Patrick's day goodies from our class treat exchange. I tried a new recipe and made Rice Krispie treats out of Lucky Charms, and they were pretty good -- I think I even like them better than actual Rice Krispie treats!

Then I spent Friday and Saturday with this guy:

...which was awesome. On Saturday we went on an adventure to downtown Chicago to see the St. Patrick's Day festivities. It was a MADHOUSE, and pretty cold/gross outside, but I'm glad we went. I can now officially say I've seen the St. Patricks' day parade! Because the city was so packed with crazies and it wasn't entirely clear where to see the famous green river, we decided to skip the river and got lunch instead (good decision). Thanks Chris for keeping me warm :)

Then during church this morning someone mentioned that the river would still be green today and possibly even tomorrow... sweet! I kind of assumed it would disappear pretty quickly and was fine with not seeing it. But since the opportunity presented itself and it was way sunnier outside today, I decided to stop by and check it out

Pretty cool huh?

The rest of today is set aside for studying. I have a crazy test-filled week ahead of me -- the final push before Spring Break! I will be back in Texas from March 23rd to the 30th and would love to spend time with as many Texas friends as possible... so let me know if you have time to get together! 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Playing Catch-Up

A lot of really cool things have been happening lately, so many things that I am behind on posting about them! So, here's a quick summary of the past two weeks. There is probably enough material here to spread this out into a few posts, but...

Haha so anyways here we go:

1. My car broke down, and then it was fixed. The end :)

2. It snowed like crazy in Chicago, but barely anyone noticed or acted like they cared except for me!

Early last week we got a whopping 8-10 inches of snow! It makes me laugh to think back on my snow days at TCU... I loved them and made some of my best college memories during them... but come on we did not deserve snow days for like two inches of snow! And it was definitely not worth the title of "snow-pocalpse"! In Chicago hardly anyone mentioned it, and no way was school or work cancelled -- what a silly thought. Instead, everyone in the city did what they needed to do to make it to work on time. The snowplows here are like ninjas... I've never actually seen a road being plowed here, but somehow the streets are usually close to spotless. It's really quite incredible how well this city deals with snow, especially when I think back to how crippled my hometown was when we got 4-5 inches of snow over Christmas! Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the day

oh and here's a poorly photographed snow angle:

approximately 45 degrees ;)

3. After spending many hours practicing with Nami, we both rocked our range of motion practicum and neither of us had any points deducted! 

Check out that thumb extension! Okay I'm done now...

4. And then there were cupcakes...

I was able to meet up with my friends Olivia and Michelle at a cupcake shop near my apartment called "Flirty Cupcakes". They are considering Chicago for graduate school in social work. Olivia and I met in middle school but haven't seen each other since then, so it was nice to catch up with her!

5. No matter how old I get, I will always be extremely ammused by science museums

Chris and I went to the Museum of Science and Industry on Saturday! I think my favorite parts were the weather/storm/etc exhibits and watching baby chicks poke their ways out of their shells and try to walk for the first time!

Things I learned:
- Tesla coils are a thing, and they are awesome.
- my heart rate is freakishly high
- getting flowers is way cool :)

6. Daylight savings time happened on Saturday night / Sunday morning

How did I learn this? I was awake for a long time after it happened and was very confused :P. Good thing I had nothing going on the next day.

7. Despite me being responsible for his multiple deaths while playing Portal (haha), Chris and I are officially dating. Lucky me! 

I think that is everything. Woo! It's been a pretty awesome past few weeks!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

It's National Cereal Day!!

In case you were wondering, March 7th is National Cereal Day! To celebrate this amazing breakfast food, I am linking up with Mama Kat :)

I come from a long line of cereal lovers. Growing up, my parents, sister and I always had two bowls of cereal each day. One in the morning like normal people, and another in the evening between dinner and bedtime. Cereal is a pretty big deal in my family, and my day doesn't feel complete without it!

I didn't really have a favorite -- I usually suffer from some serious cereal A.D.D. and get bored before the box is finished. Pretty much anything sugary and meant for children is acceptable. Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charms, and Froot Loops were some of the best. I was blessed with a high metabolism and a love of playing outside, so my parents never tried to regulate the kinds of cereals we were allowed to eat. The prizes inside could make or break which box we chose at the grocery store, and we amassed a pretty impressive collection of spoons that changed color when dipped in cold milk and a variety of other prizes.

My dad, when making me or my sister a bowl of cereal, would be sneaky and hide a few pieces of another kind of cereal  at the bottom of the bowl, and it was a game to try to find it. My parents were also known to hide Flinstone's vitamins in my milk also. Looking back, this is disgusting and I'm not sure why I let my breakfast be contaminated with grape-flavored chalk... yum. Cereal boxes were also often the target of April Fools Day pranks -- switching the bags around was basically mandatory, but one year my dad got us pretty good with a cereal box full of legos and other small plastic things. My elementary school self was pretty tickled by that!  

I developed a lot of strange ways to eat different kinds of cereal -- saving the marshmallows for last in Lucky Charms, eating my Froot Loops in rainbow order (I still remember when blue Froot Loops did not exist because it messed up my rainbow!), and making sure I had an even number of Cap'n Crunch pieces on my spoon when possible. 

Luckily I have grown out of most of these quirks, but not much has changed between me and cereal. I guess I should have moved onto boring health consious sugar-free things like Raisin Bran or Kashi at some point, but there's plenty of time to eat cardboard later :P

How are you going to celebrate National Cereal Day?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Confessions

1. I am hopeless when it comes to car things. I have always been lucky to have a dad who knows his way around cars, and I try to pick up any knowledge I can... but when my car battery died so extremely that my keys got stuck in the ignition on Thursday evening, I wasn't really sure what to do. I don't know many people here in Chicago that have cars. And of the people who have cars... most of them are my classmates who would probably be just as clueless about jumping a car battery as I am! Luckily after I had already lined up someone to come out and replace my battery my dad discovered that roadside assistance was actually included under the warranty of my car, so I was able to save a lot of money :)

2. I am terrified to take the train alone at night. I faced this fear on Thursday in order to get to my small group meet up, and even had to transfer trains. The way there was uneventful... but on the way back the lady a few seats down from me was having some issues. I spent most of the ride staring out the window across from us... but for some reason this lady kept accusing me of staring at her and demanding I stop looking at her. There was another girl my age in the same car and we ended up getting off the train at the same stop. When we got up to leave the lady said very loudly "thank goodness, I was about to get my face stared off!!". Me and the other girl just exchanged a mutual wtf-glance and went on our ways.

3. On Saturday I had so much fun finding out I can still rock some MarioKart. My Guitar Hero skills may be a little (ok, extremely) rusty, but I could be a professional Wii Fit hula hooper (haha). I also have some potential to improve at first person shooter games but I'm not holding my breath on that one :P Thank you Chris for being such a patient and encouraging teacher :)

Happy Sunday!

Linking up with Alyx at Every Day is a New Adventure

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

What I Learned This Week

Sometimes school is supremely boring. Other times too many things are happening at once and it's impossible to really soak it all in. Regardless of what kind of week it is, I do feel like I am learning a lot this semester. My expectations for what being a graduate student studying Occupational Therapy would be like are finally starting to match up with reality. My classes are more concrete, and require more effort, but I am starting to see how and why I might actually use this information in real life.

Here are just a few things I learned this week, both school related and not.

1. Regina George's doctor fails at correctly applying a halo appliance.

No vest? This halo brace is basically useless :P

2. The NBCOT Exam is going to be very, very hard.

I had 3 tests in the span on 36 hours, but nothing could have prepared me for the test in my Occupational Performance in Children class. My professor supposedly models her exams after the style of the NBCOT exam, the major test I will have to pass to get officially certified/licensed as an Occupational Therapist. Out of any of the classes I've taken so far I felt most prepared for this one because all of my prior experience is with children.... but wow that test was hard!!

3. Human hands are amazing, but also kind of gross sometimes.

Think of all the different things you to with your hands. There are probably hundreds of combinations of movement, position, grip etc. that get you through your day. This unit in my Human Structure and Function class we've been going into an extreme amount of detail about all of the muscles, tendons, nerves, and bones that make up the hand, and all of the things that can go wrong with it. I've watched a video of someone get tendon surgery in their hand (probably the most traumatizing thing I've seen in a school setting) and seen more deformed/broken/lacerated/bent fingers than I care to remember. There's a lot material to memorize, but these lectures have been incredibly relevant because I have been placed at a hand therapy clinic for four weeks during the summer!

4. Elementary schools and the students in them are quite awesome. 

This morning I volunteered at an elementary school with some people from my church. We did a lot of inventorying, organizing, and general tidying up. Even though the kids weren't there, I could tell this school has some spunk and is really good at what they do! We were given the opportunity to explore different classrooms and here are some of the gems I found. On the left, the robot-looking guy has written on it "I am proud to be crippled", the Obama sign was found inside one of the 4th grade classrooms, and on the bottom right is a collection of rocks that children named. I was especially impressed by the cleverness of the kid who named his "rock and roll"!

5. Accent nails are fun

I've tried this before with different colors and didn't really like the result, but I've decided this is my new favorite way to paint my nails :)

6. The Harlem Shake is a thing, and it's hilarious. 

I am apparently not tech savvy enough to embed videos... so go here to see what I'm talking about.

we are hoping for a potential OT school version soon :)

What have you learned this week?

Post inspired by From Inmates to Playdates

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Jack of All Trades, Master of... Very Few.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Today I am linking up with Mama Kat's writer's workshop :)

Tell the story of trying to learn a new talent or hobby that you only pursued briefly.

I often consider myself a Jack of all trades, master of none. I really enjoy diving into new hobbies, but as soon as I stop seeing the potential for me to be good at them I become discouraged and would rather try something else new instead. Here are just a few of my special but short-lived talents:

1. This one time in middle school I was an actress. I spent 2 semesters enrolled in theater classes, and was part of two productions. In one I was Snow White, and in the other I was a girl in a summer camp who flirted with a boy named Aaron Winklestein by seductively sliding my hand up his canteen strap (yes that is all I remember about that experience because it was terrifying). I guess my brain forgot that I am actually the most introverted, stage-fright-prone person ever so I gave up.

2. I was in ice-skating lessons for quite a while as a younger child. I really enjoyed them because my local rink was set up where you collected patches for each level of instruction you successfully completed. There were 8 levels total with 2 additional levels after for people who were really serious about skating. I worked my way up through the 7th level and proudly displayed my patches on my ice skating bag, but when I went to take the test that woud allow me to graduate to the level 8 class, I failed. Frustrated, I repeated the level 7 class. When I didn't pass a second time, I decided that the universe was telling me ice skating wasn't my calling in life and moved on.

3. In high school I went out on a limb and joined the track and cross country team to fulfill my physical education requirement. I don't know if I can even list this experience as a talent, because I was AWFUL. I was consistently battling just not to be the last person to finish from my team. One race I sprained both of my ankles. Track season was a little better because I at least was somewhat conditioned by then. Still slow, but not totally dying during every race. There's this idea that tall thin girls should theoretically be good at a number of sports -- I am often asked if I play basketball, volleyball etc. My coach thought I would make the perfect hurdle jumper for this reason. Big mistake. While I did improve over the course of a few weeks, there is something innately terrifying about running as fast as you can head on into a hard metal object and resisting the urge to jump until the last possible second (or to run around it and avoid it altogether, like a normal human being). Luckily my coach took mercy on me and I never actually competed in hurdles!

Overall I'm glad I had these experiences and enjoyed the activities at the time. But it really took me a while to find hobbies that I enjoy AND am good at. What activities have you attempted but not stuck with for too long?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Liebster Award

Julie from Just Julie very sweetly nominated me for a Liebster Award! Thanks for thinking of me and giving this new-ish blogger something new to write about :) 

The Rules

1. List 11 facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
3. Create 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award.
4. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or less followers to nominate.
5. Go to each bloggers page and let them know about the award.
6. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.

11 facts about me

1. I was born in Illinois, grew up in North Carolina, and spent high school and beyond in Texas. Now that I'm pursuing grad school in Illinois, my parents and sister are some of the only few members of my extended family that don't live in Illinois.
2. I hate not being good at things. I usually shy away from activities that I'm not sure I'll excel at. Joining color guard without any prior experience and actually sticking with it is something I'm really proud of. It was very challenging and I had a lot of help along the way, but my experience at TCU would not have been the same without it! 
3. I wish more people in the world knew what occupational therapy is because sometimes even I have a difficult time explaining all the reasons why my future career is awesome.
4. Even though I think they're gorgeous, I feel like (and maybe also look like?) a baby giraffe when I walk in heels 
5. My guilty pleasures in life are girly tv shows like Grey's Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, and Gossip Girl. That and Netflix in general. 
6. I have a purple octopus on my keychain that involved an adventure through a crowded anime convention with my sister to find. I always think of her when I see it!
7. I would be hopelessly lost in life without having Google Maps on my phone. For those of you who have ever traveled with me, you know I am the worst at directions no matter how many times I've been somewhere before.  
8. I have never had soda and I stopped drinking juice at a young age. Everyone always tries to get me to try them, but I just really enjoy drinking water. And if I give in and drink them now, I won't have that fun fact to share anymore! 
9. I have been blessed with the ability to be a really good learner/ test taker. I often feel like I don't have to try very hard at all to do well in school. This sometimes infuriates the people around me and I often feel bored and understimulated in most classes, but I try to be humble about it and grateful that school comes easily to me! 
10. I spend a lot of time thinking about my future and the things I want in life
11. Even though I'm really glad I took the leap and came to UIC for graduate school and am thankful for all of the experiences I've had here so far, it has been really hard for me being so far away from my friends and family, and also TCU. After I graduate next year I think I imagine myself working at one of the hospitals in downtown Fort Worth :)

My Questions from Julie

1. Describe your dream job. 
I've been giving this a lot of thought lately. If I can help it, I'd really like to work with kids as an occupational therapist in an inpatient hospital setting or outpatient clinic associated with a hospital. I have my eye on Cook Children's because they are well known for being extremely good at what they do, but I'd be happy anywhere I think!
2. Morning person or night owl?
I am definitely a night owl! I feel like no matter how much time I have, how tired I am, or how early I get my work done, I have to stay up until at least midnight. This has been rough this semester now that all my classes started at 8am or 8:30am, but I still can't get to bed earlier!
3. What would you choose to eat for your last meal? 
Hmmm this is a tough one. Bruschetta for an appetizer, Probably a steak filet, some homemade mashed potatoes and fruit salad. And brownies. Or chocolate lava cake. And Funfetti cookies. I really like dessert :P
4. Who is your celebrity crush?
I have many. Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Penn Dayton Badgley (as long as he acts as adorably awkward as Dan Humphrey in real life!)  and these three very attractive hilarious men from Supernatural:  

I'm also a huge fan of Emma Watson, Jennifer Lawrence, and Zooey Deschanel. They can be my girl-crushes haha. 
5. What's the best book you've ever read?
I will always love the Harry Potter series. I've enjoyed other books in my life, but none have even begun to come close to these amazing books. It doesn't matter how old I get or how many times I've read them, they are my favorite! 
6. Any trips planned for 2013?
Right now the only trip on my radar is spending some time in Texas over spring break in March. I'm really looking forward to it! Also, there has been discussion of a potential New York trip in the summer, and maybe a visit from my sister here in Chicago, but we'll see.
7. Who do you admire most?
Kind of cliche, but I do admire my parents very much. My mom always goes out of her way to make other people feel loved and appreciated. And my dad is smart, he can build/fix/do pretty much anything or figure out how to do so very quickly. Both set goals and get after them, they are the epitome of sarcasm, ambition, love, and and general ridiculousness in the best way :)
8.  If you could go back and re-live any part of your life, would you do it?  When would it be?
I'm not sure if I would actually do it or not, but if I had to pick I really wouldn't mind reliving my time at TCU! 
9. If you could switch lives with someone for a day, who would it be?
Someone fictional from Supernatural or Harry Potter or Dr. Who. Just to change things up and keep life interesting
10. Do you prefer dogs or cats? Or neither?
Dog person all the way! I am allergic to cats, but even if I wasn't I still don't think I'd like them as much. Dogs are warm, loyal, loving, playful.... and cats just look like they are plotting evil things all the time haha. 
11. Where do you find inspiration for your blog posts?
I write about what I know. Usually just about things I do day-to-day to help keep my friends and family in the loop. Occasionally I try fun things on Pinterest :) 


I don't know a whole lot of bloggers, so I'm going to pick on a few people I've seen pop up in my facebook news feed lately, even though we're not close I'd love to get more involved with other bloggers and include them in this fun post :) 

Mari at Things and Such
Chloe at Walk By Faith

I get between 100-200 page views on each post I write... so if you are lurking and have a blog, you should come out of hiding, follow me and consider yourself nominated for the Liebster Award!

Questions for my Nominees

1. What was the best part of your weekend?
2. Name one thing you learned this week (about yourself or otherwise)
3. Describe your dream vacation
4. What is your biggest pet peeve?
5. Do you have any guilty pleasures?
6. What is your favorite quote, verse, or mantra that inspires you?
7. Name something on your bucket list. Do you have plans to do this in the near future?
8. Do you have any special hobbies or talents? 
9. If you could spend time in the world of a movie or TV show, which would you pick?
10. Do you have a favorite website or blog you check regularly?
11. Which would you rather be able to do: see the future, or read people's minds?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Activities of Daily Living

One of the main buzzwords that gets thrown around, studied, and discussed here in OT school are Activities of Daily Living or "ADL's". ADLs refer to basic self-care activities that people do every day, like being able to dress ourselves, bathe, groom, go to work, take care of our living area, and engage in leisure activities. Normally when we're talking about ADLs in class, we are talking about how we can help someone with a disability be able to do all of these things as independently as possible.

This week though, my schedule was quite chaotic! By Wednesday I was drowning in laundry and barely had time to eat breakfast. On Thursday I had class, office hours, and TA responsibilities that kept me occupied until I was able to rush home and change clothes for my date. I may or may not have eaten only pop-tarts for lunch on Friday due to lack of groceries. All three days combined involved less than 13 hours of sleep total. Clearly, my own ADLs were not being taken care of.

So, the first part of my weekend was officially dedicated to getting my life together. When I finally left cadaver lab on Friday afternoon, the first thing I did was grocery shop. I picked up a movie and went to bed super early. Saturday morning was for doing dishes, vacuuming for the first time since I returned here in January, completing homework assignments, and studying for an upcoming hellish week of exams. I even cleaned out two junk drawers and re-folded the entire content of clothing in my dresser, and caught up completely on the episodes of Walking Dead that I missed. Today after church I went skating at Millenium Park -- yay for checking things off my Chicago bucket list left and right! There are still a few things left on my to-do list for this weekend, but I feel so much more relaxed now that my apartment is somewhat in order, I've eaten real meals and had time to just sleep and do absolutely nothing. Usually lounging around too much on the weekends makes me feel lazy and bad about myself, but this down time was so needed! I hope you all are having relaxing and productive weekends too!

Be My Valentine?

I love Valentines day. Not everyone does. I can kind of understand why -- If you're single there's this intense angst towards the holiday that forces people to acknowledge they they are in fact not in a relationship and that that somehow makes you inadequate. If you aren't single, there's still plenty of pressure to find the right gift or plan a date of some sort that "tops" all of your friends and their significant others. But for me, I just like that we have a day specifically to let everyone know how much you care about and appreciate them. And usually this involves candy and other sweet things... so of course I'm on board!

Regardless of where you fall, I hope you had a wonderful Valentine's day :)

An assortment of pics of gifts for both my sister and my "secret Valentine"

Although I've had relationships in the past, somehow the span of these relationships always conveniently avoided the holiday. The closest I'd come to having a date for Valentine's was in high school when a friend brought me a stuffed animal and chocolate to school. I unfortunately did not have feelings for this person and my awkward self spent most of my day trying to avoid him (sorry Sean!). At TCU my friends and I always used the holiday as an excuse to make yummy baked goods, get dressed up and go to dinner and a movie, or to get up on a stage and yell/laugh/cry/educate people about issues relating to vaginas in the "Vagina Monoluges". I send packages to my sister, and hand out old-school carboard valentines. I really love to make other people feel loved.

My secret valentine was very clever in incorporating Occupational Therapy terms  into my gift :) I brought the pretzels on the lower right to the bake sale.

This year I felt extravagently loved by my friends and family. In grad school we've been having a "secret Valentine" exchange (like secret santa where you draw names and shower somebody with anonymous gifts). I'm also participating in a bake sale which will raise money for Illi-SOTA, the Illinois Student Occupational Therapy Association that can be put toward conferences and stuff. Quite a few of us went old-school and exchaged 1990s style carboard valentines + candy. And.... I even had a date :) Pretty ballsy move to ask a girl out and set the first date for valentines day, but I can respect that and I had a fun time. I also sent an awesome package to my sister that I am quite proud of. It was extremely fun to put together, and great minds think alike because I received a package of many similar Target finds. The best part was that I made her Skype me while she opened it, so we got to chat a little and I got to watch her crack up at all my goofy internet meme Valentines!

And here is my gift to Emily. Pretty amazing if I do say so myself. 

If I didn't get a chance to say it already, I love you all dearly on February 14th and every other day of the year :)

Monday, February 11, 2013


I've been getting some requests for pictures of the snow... and I'm sorry I have not delivered sooner. It's just weird that I live in a place that has substantial snow in the forecast pretty much weekly! These are some pictures from some pretty snowfall we had recently!

Aside from one long chilly wait for the 157 bus, I'm hanging in there and actually doing quite well! It's amazing how fast my body has adjusted to temperature. When it's in the 30's now it feels warm enough to go sun bathing or something haha.

The top right has become a typical wardrobe for me on the way to class. Top left is a picture of the sidewalk I walk down to get to class each morning. Bottom left to right shows this awkward ice formation that grew ouside near the laundry room under a leaky pipe, my awesome peace sign boots (yes I promise I'm in grad school), and a high rise disappearing into some really thick low fog. Never a dull moment here in Chicago :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

DIY Rainbow Keys

Even though I've been in Chicago a while, I'm still finding ways to settle in and make my life easier. I've always enjoyed doing crafty things that I find on Pinterest-- anyone who has seen my room here or in Texas will likely recognize a lot of my decor inspired by things I've pinned. This project however is less crafty and more functional, but still fun to make! 

I have a lot of keys on my keyring (some of them identical) and until recently was perfectly okay with having to try a few keys before eventually choosing the correct one to let myself into my apartment building. Now that it's getting colder, getting into my apartment as fast as humanly possible is key (haha I'm so punny) and I'd like to re-claim the 30 extra seconds it takes to get in the door. Color coding my keys with nail polish as seen on Pinterest seemed like a perfect solution to my problem. 

Here is a quick tutorial on how I did it:

Step 1:
Unhook your keys from your key ring and lay them flat. Round up some nailpolish.

Step 2: 
Apply a thick coat of pollish to the face of the keys. I decided to go ahead and paint all my keys just for fun, even though it's just the two identical ones that give me trouble.

Step 3: 
Apply a "top coat" pollish and let dry. Mine were pretty much dry in 15-20 min or so. 


Anyone else have Pinterest success stories?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

This one time... I was almost famous

Ever heard of the tv show "Chicago Fire"? Well, sometimes they film in Chicago (obviously). And not just anywhere in Chicago, but sometimes right in my neighborhood!This isn't the first time I've stumbled across their filming (I've seen them by the lake a few times also), but this was definitely the closest-- It was less than a block from where I live! Luckily, there were signs and emails sent out to the residents to warn us, because otherwise I would have probably freaked out when I turned onto Lexington and saw the sirens, smoke, and windows glowing with "fire". I stayed to watch a few minutes and got to watch a fireman climb up a ladder to the 3rd floor and "rescue" someone!

I've decided I'm destined to become semi-famous while in Chicago. In addition to my Chicago Fire experience, once when I was here on vacation we walked past a shop where Jennifer Aniston was in the middle of filming for a movie. Have you ever been in or near a movie or television filming?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How to Survive a Chicago Winter

Last year when I started telling people I was seriously considering moving to Chicago for graduate school, the first thing that people would usually mention was how they hoped I would survive the winters there, that there would be a shocking difference between Texas "winters" and Chicago. When I moved into my apartment in August, this was hard to imagine as my mom and I sweated through moving my things up to the second floor in what felt like a sauna. Even in December before I left for winter break, it still didn't really feel like the dreaded winter weather I had been expecting, and then Texas beat Illinois to the first snow storm!

Well, it's January and my first Chicago winter is finally here! Technically, I have already survived a few since I was born in Illinois and spent a few years there before my family moved to North Carolina, but I can't say my two-year-old self has any useful memories of that time. I knew I was in for a treat because the weatherman referred to the 30 degree temps from a few days ago as if it was a lovely day, that we should feel lucky to have such wonderful weather at this time of year. Yesterday, the real cold weather finally hit. When my phone told me the high for the day was a measly 12 degrees fahrenheit I did a double take. By the evening, windchills plumeted the temperature into the negative 20s! This morning, I was greeted by a whopping zero degree forecast for my walk to school, and a windchill advisory has been issued for the surrounding area. I have never been in a place so cold that it was actually hazardous to my health! I am far from an expert and am still feeling my way through it, but here are some tips to survive a Chicago winter:

Step 1: Beef up your winter wardrobe
I waited for Land's End to have a sale before splurging on a huge puffy knee-length parka. This may seem ridiculous at first, but everyone has them and looks like an eskimo. I opted for a subtle puple color to show my TCU pride :) Other new additions to my wardrobe that I love -- an awesome hat with extra insulation around my ears, and gloves that still work with touch screens. I am still experimenting with scarves and how to wrap them. Today I tried wrapping a scarf around my lower face to cover my mouth and nose, but by the time I was halfway through my walk to class ice crystals were forming on my scarf due to the condensation of me breathing on it! That was definitely a new and unexpected experience haha. 

Step 2: Wear layers... Everywhere
I thought I had this down until I ventured outdoors last night to the rec center. The way there wasn't so bad, but the way back was terrifying! I spend maybe 20-30 min outside in my full winter gear, but just my tennis shoes and one pair of socks. When I returned to my apartment, I was legitimately concerned about the possibility of frostbite in my feet. All my toes were numb, white, and took an incredibly long time to warm up once indoors. Today, my pinky toe on my right foot is still somewhat numb. I'm not sure I will leave my aparment again for any non-necessary reasons until May, and I will never underestimate the power of layering socks ever again!

Step 3. Get the right equipment
Thankfully, I am now the owner of an ice scraper, snow shovel, and my very own jug of cat litter to use for my car thanks to my wonderful grandpa :) Other items that I recommend are an electric blanket, and a window insulating kit. My bed is pushed up against a large window so having an extra layer between me and the sub-zero temperatures outside has made a huge difference, and will also hopefully help with utility bills.

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps anyone who find themself up north during wintertime!

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Year in Review

So this is later than I would have liked, but I like to think being present and engaged in the life going on around you rather than the one happening via technology all the time is a good thing :) Here is 2012 in a nutshell. It's been one exciting year!


I wrapped up a life-changing four years in color guard at the annual stockshow parade and attended my last band formal with Amanda and Cristi. I stepped out of my comfort zone and joined the ranks of general chemistry teaching assistants. Other January highlights included my first stockshow/rodeo with Lauren and Emily!


I celebrated Valentines day with our annual color guard single ladies dinner + movie + baked goods with my roomies. This tradition has become such a staple in my Valentines Day celebration. February also included my second try at father-daughter skeet shooting. It was freezing but unlike the previous year I actually hit some targets!



In March I played lots of Bingo, saw the musical "Rent" for the hundreth time with Emily, Lauren, and Erika, and went on a beach/rainforest adventure in Galveston for spring break. I watched my last round of TCU tulips bloom, participated in my last LEAPS with Alpha Phi Omega, and  played entirely too much "Pop-5" with my roommates.


April started off with me and Cristi dominating at the APO Easter egg hunt. I was given my first speeding ticket, and my roommates set our counter on fire. On my mom's birthday, Emily and I attacked her therapy room and filled it with lots of balloons -- one for every year old she is. Despite Emily's inability to blow up balloons, the surprise worked out great. I presented my honors thesis project at the student research symposium, went to my first Ranger's game and last Black Diamond, and finished the Warrior Dash! Also, this happened:



I graduated from TCU, cum laude and having completed my honors thesis :) I was so blessed to have both friends and family in the audience to support me! What a thrilling but bittersweet end to a fantastic four years at TCU. I couldn't have dreamed of a better college experience. Go Frogs! Leading up to this momentus occasion, I attended my last APO semiformal, had fun with the Chemistry kids, and went on a full day adventure with Cristi and Amanda to the Fort Worth Zoo, the Water Gardens, and then into Frog Fountain.

Also, this happened:


We vacationed in Florida as a family, and it was a blast! Also, I attended my last of many Harry Potter midnight showings with my awesome sister. My dad and I headed to Chicago to tour UIC and find me an apartment.


I spent a lot of my summer working at my parents' clinic and helping out with one of the families that gets services there. We also watched the McKinney fireworks like we always do :)


After spending a jam-packed few weeks with my friends and family and helping a little bit with ADPi recruitment, I moved to Chicago and started my first semester as a graduate student in Occupational Therapy! Woah!


According to my lack of pictures taken in September, nothing exciting happened at all. Go figure. 


I had the honor of being a bridesmaid for my best friend/college roommate/sorority sister, Pamela and her now-husband Daniel! It was seriously a joy to see two of my friends take this next step in their relationship and I had so much fun celebrating their marriage with many Texas friends who I missed dearly while at school.

Oh yea, and this happened:


The highlight of my November was getting to spend time with many of my Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins in Bloomington


My first semester of graduate school came to an end with a raging Tacky Christmas Sweater party, complete with matching Good Will tacky sweaters. I spent several precious weeks at home in Texas for the holidays catching up with friends and family. We even had a white Christmas!

Whew. That was a beast of a post. Better late than never no? It's been a great year, if 2013 has even just a fraction of the fun, excitement and growth as 2012, I'll be set :)