Saturday, May 31, 2014

Do The Stuff

Today I was at States Activities Day for 4-H. It was so great to see people...some that had graduated, some that were just coming up or in their last years. Some people I'd known forever and were super close with, others I'd hardly seen but still got along great with.

The awesome thing about 4-H across our state is that we're diverse, in interest and backgrounds. No one tries to be like anyone else, and we're ready to accept anyone. Our only criteria is that you get excited about stuff.

I'm so grateful for NH 4-H...not just the program, but the people. They're all so lovely, and truly inspiring. I always come away with the realization of how important it is to do stuff.

I know that probably sounds silly. Obviously we do stuff, right? Honestly, though, some people don't. And I teeter on that cliff (and fall head over heels) far too often. There are days when getting up is awful...when I don't throw myself entirely into my skating practice. When doing school seems unthinkable and everything else is just too hard. I've been known to waste a day on Pinterest, or not cross anything out off of my to-do list. Sometimes I mope around and just sit there, feeling bad that I'm just sitting there but not bad enough to stop. Please tell me I'm not alone. My lazy streak is my biggest fault and easily the thing I most struggle with. I love ideas and planning, but usually suffer in execution.

Here's the thing, though: doing stuff is, really, one of the most important things. Again, I know this sounds silly. But it's so basic that we often loose sight of it. So many people think they can't do big things--so they skip the small stuff, too. We can't do that. We need to do the stuff, both big and small, because it all matters.

The quote that made me fall in love with Hemingway
We need to walk and run, to get out and breath. We need to create something--anything--whether it's art or dance or writing. We need to connect with people, even if we're too far away to actually see them. We need to decide on what we believe and then believe it, without worrying about who we 'offend'. We need to be kind and caring and go out of our way to be helpful. Those are always the people that we notice, but are never the ones we actively try to emulate. We need to imagine the best for ourselves and yet remain humble. We need to make goals and be willing to take on the not-so-nice parts, because they're necessary. We need to get up early and go to bed late, if that's what's called for, and learn the art of not complaining because work is good.

I've been in a slump, and a little pessimistic, lately. Seeing all these lovely people today reminded me that, yes, there's good. Quite a bit of it, actually. I'm definitely going to try to fall more on the good side than the bad side, and attempt to be more worthy of the brilliant people I've come to know and love. So who's with me? Let's go do the stuff.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

s o m e d a y s

Someday...I'll land that axel.

Someday...I'll skate my way around the world.

Someday...I'll have my own apartment. And my own Boston Terrier. And possibly pink cabinets.

Someday...I'll afford a better brand of mascara.

Someday...I'll be done with school.

Someday...The nine-mile bike loop will be easy.

Someday...I'll support myself by writing and skating.

Someday...I'll succeed at being more spontaneous.

Someday...there'll be dates.

Someday...I'll actually keep fresh flowers on my desk.

Someday...I'll qualify as 'put-together'.

Someday...I'll actually finish my to-do list.

Someday...the work I put in, despite the doubt, will pay off. Most times, I loose sight of that. I forget that I study so I can graduate so I can go to college so I can write. I forget that I work so I can skate so I can have opportunities so I can skate with Disney. But each decision, big or small, shapes my life and the person I'm trying to become.

The truth is, I've been in a slump. I've just felt overwhelmed, and like everything I was doing was pointless. I've started to snap out of it. And then today, I read this post from Humans of New York. I can feel the focus coming back. Guess what? It's not pointless. Everything matters. Really. Everything. The early mornings, the late nights, the yoga, the skype chats. Everything counts towards what I'm building. And the funny thing is, that seems so simple right now. So obvious. And I can't believe I lost sight of it.

Someday might be a ways off. But at least it's coming. And each day I feel more driven to reach it. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

TYG: A Study in Scarlet

Hi everyone! Well, prom is tonight, and as such I'm taking a break from blogging (because, obviously, I need all day to get ready. Duh). I'll be back next week! In the meantime, please enjoy this 'emergency' post I've had ready and waiting (because, yes, I'm obsessive enough to write out emergency posts). TTFN!!

Remember that thing I talked incessantly about last fall, The Classics Club? Well, believe it or not, I've still been working through my own classics list, even if the going has been slow. While the reading progress has been okay, I simply don't like writing book reviews. :) But! I want to, and therefore will try to get all caught up soon enough.

In December (yes, I'm that behind!) I read A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The first of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, it was a much anticipated re-read. I love re-reading books, because I usually forget everything that happened, and therefore it's like reading a totally new book, with the guarantee that I'm going to love it. Perfect!

In A Study in Scarlet, we not only get to see how Holmes and Watson become the famous pair, but are also introduced to Lestrade, in all his hopelessness. This installment differs from the other mysteries in that it's a full novel by itself, rather than a collection. Also, there is a long section in the middle where we are brought to the American midwest, and follow a story for several chapters, before returning to Baker street.

I have ALWAYS loved this particular Holmes mystery. I'd actually forgotten that the Mormon romance was in this book, and was so happy when I finally figured it out. That section is easily my favorite part of the book, even though it might be a bit confusing for first-time readers.

Re-reading it for the first time since Sherlock came out, I was over the moon at how awesome BBC did turning it into a modernized TV series. The first Sherlock episode, A Study in Pink, is based off of this book, and really follows it closely. The scene where Watson and Sherlock meet is extremely similar, just updated, and the 'rache' scraped into the floor is reversed. While I had known some of the references from my previous reading, I was surprised by how many little ones there were, too! Definitely adds to the fun of the read for fandom members.

Like I said, this Mormon romance mystery is one of my favorites. However, I find that it's more because of the well developed extra characters and complicated plot, rather than the Sherlock-ness of it. In other words, this isn't the best mystery for seeing Holmes in action. I feel like Doyle expounds on Holme's powers of deduction and disguise in the later books, and there's certainly more physical chase-the-criminal drama in his other mysteries. So even though this is one of my tops, it doesn't portray Sherlock Holmes as well as the others.

To sum up, then...

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Read if: You are into the classics, cozy crime, or traditional British lifestyle. Sherlock fandom members should definitely read this, if only to further your appreciation for the writing and plot of A Study in Pink.

When to read: My personal preference is in the winter. I read the second half of the novel one Sunday morning when it was too snowy to get to church, and that's now my favorite time to read them. Definitely a curl up by the fireplace sort of mystery.

After you've read it: If you liked A Study in Scarlet, then I would definitely recommend the Agatha Christie mysteries. While Hercule Poirot is probably a closer match to Sherlock Holmes (as if anyone could 'match' Holmes!), I can't resist suggesting my personal favorite, By the Pricking of My Thumbs, a Tommy and Tuppence mystery. If you want more of Sherlock himself, the Enola Holmes Mysteries by Nancy Springer are a quick, quirky spin-off with a steampunk feel.

Outfit Details: blouse / / stole from mum, pencil skirt / / thrifted, heels / / thrifted, belt / / came with another dress, necklace / / heirloom, headband / / goody.

Previously Worn: toile pencil skirt: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6., black patent heels: #1, #2.

Like what you see? Check out my other Thrifty Yankee Girl and The Classics Club posts!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

8 Ways To Make The Most of Spring and Summer 2014

My number one goal for the rest of this spring and summer is to make the time worthwhile. A true procrastinator at heart, I really have to commit to making the most of something to really make the most of it. As I've mentioned, this was a LONG winter. Now, winter's my favorite season: so when I say it's long, it's long. But this extended 'hibernation' has really pepped me up for spring and summer.

Right now, I'm going through a little transition. Wrapping up some school subjects, and starting in on others. Trying to get a job. Making a new skating schedule, since the times all change in the summer months. I am really determined to finish up this summer knowing I used every minute, and not regret all the time I spent on Pinterest or something. This spring, I'm really looking forward to just being alive. I want to work hard and get sweaty, explore, learn, save, and relax (but the good kind of relax--not the loafing kind I do far too often!! :P). I can't wait for fun times with friends, 'deep' conversations, and hours spent reading alone. Basically I want an adventurous summer.

I suppose the reason for all this is, in the back of my mind, it's sorta my last 'usual' summer. I'll be a senior next year. Who know what my post-grad summer will be like? This summer is all about preparing for the future and reaching goals, all while really enjoying the present and connecting with those I love.

{image source}
To help me breakdown what all of this actually entails, I wrote out a list of 8 ways to make the most of this summer. Anyone in the same boat as me? What are your '8 ways'?

1.) Work hard. I'm committing to not taking the easy way out this summer. This obviously encompasses a lot, but I encourage you to really push yourself this summer. Don't just skimp by, don't go with the bare minimum. Do whatever it is you do to the best of your ability!

2.) Take a trip.  The best part of summer is that breaks can last more than a Sunday afternoon. And a trip doesn't have to be a big vacation...even a day trip or weekend with friends done on the cheap is just as exciting. Find someway to break up the monotony, and then add friends and family!

3.) Explore. Hike. Try a new coffee shop. Walk around downtown (maybe this is just me being weird, but I totally have Mary Tyler Moore moments whenever I do that! ). Just try something new, and see if there's a new favorite haunt you're going to want to keep through the school year.

4.) Get up. I know. I'm not a morning person. Personally, I'm going to try and sleep in only once a week, and then get up at my normal 6 the rest of the time. Sure, I don't like it, but getting up is the only way I get anything done. Not only do I do school better in the morning, but when I sleep in, I usually just waste the whole day...not a recipe for a fulfilling summer!

5.) Read. GAH. I love not having required reading! This summer, I really can't wait for time to just sit and have uninterrupted reading...I'm planning on bringing lots of books when we go camping in June, and hopefully getting a good amount of beach/lake reading in, too. Be sure to check the post I wrote last summer for my informal summer reading list. :)

6.) Dream. I can't speak for everybody, but I always feel a little more hopeful and 'invincible' during summer. Make a dream-board (badly needing to update mine...), write a life list, and take some time to journal. One of my bedroom walls is almost covered in sticky notes with random thoughts/ideas/quotes, but this summer I also want to write quotes on old paint chips and hang them on my other wall!

7.) Have a goal. This one sorta brings us back to No. 1. Set a goal for yourself--big or small--and then work hard to achieve it. Maybe you want to pass a skating test, get a job, read the Bible, take a challenging extra school course, get your license...whatever. Focus on something specific this summer!

8.) Be positive. Everything we do is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Right now, choose to make the best of things. No, this summer won't be perfect. There will be days when this is definitely not the amazing summer you're trying to have...but, that's life. I've been trying to adopt a 'do what you can, with what you have, where you are' attitude. We can always change things up and try something different, as long as we start now.

So tell me, what are some goals/dreams you have for summer? How are you going to go about attaining them? Have any suggestions for ways I could make the most of this summer?

Thanks for reading! Here's to a great summer, peoples! :)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

An Explanation of Why I Own 6 Pairs of Black Shoes

Because I know blog readers are always interested in witty, intelligent content that adds value to their lives, I've decided to give you the much-anticipated explanation of why I own six pairs of black shoes. You're welcome.

You see, a woman at church had mentioned giving me a pair of Black Suede Pointed Toe Gold Capped Heels ( I KNOW), and that sparked Dad to ask if I really needed another pair of black shoes. Which of course meant I had to enlighten him on why, much like this woman and her jeans, my shoes are completely necessary. And how suddenly, a pair of Black Suede Pointed Toe Gold Capped Heels is necessary, too.

Black/Silver Flat Sandals:
Fourth of July Outfit // Shoe Packing // Casual Summer Outfit
Dad, I bought these at Payless after an entire summer of wearing flats to the beach. Seeing that they're my only sandals, I TOTALLY win the argument that these are necessary. But of course, they make me want brown sandals. Because there are only so many times you can wear black/silver sandals, right?

Old Black Flats:
Perhaps It's Not Just A Stereotype After All // 17
Okay, so this is how long I've owned these things: I bought them when I was still in the 'black church shoes, and white church shoes' stage. So, if you were to figure out price per wear, you'd find that I was totally justified with that purchase my frivolous 11 year-old self made. Now Dad, I know you're going to say that I should throw these away, since I now have a replacement. But, you're missing the point! Since I no longer have to attempt to keep these nice, I can wear them out to the barn, walking up the road, or anywhere else I just want to pull on shoes. It's like the loafers girls used to wear in the 40's and 50's. Completely necessary.

New Black Flats:
The Sunday Currently // A Collection of Things // Sorta Preppy Spring Outfit
These are the Old Black Flats replacements, which obviously didn't actually replace them, because I still own them, but they are presentable to wear out in public, so that is an improvement. Seeing that these are brand new and lovely, I like to wear them with all my preppy-ish outfits. While I love the structure of these shoes, especially when paired with flare-leg jeans and skirts, I think a slimmer shoe would look a lot better with skinny jeans. So, I would now like a pair of slim black flats. It's a vicious circle, Dad.

Black Mary Jane Heels:
Church picnic outfit. And apparently I'm making evil schemes.
Dad, here's the thing: this is the one shoe you could almost win the 'is it necessary?' argument with. This is the only picture of them I could find, and yes, I really should wear them more. BUT. They are necessary, because if I didn't have them, what would I possibly wear with this dress? Wearing this dress with flats would just look like a cop-out option, and my other heels just don't seem right. This is a vintage-y country girl dress, and should be worn with an appropriate vintage-y country girl heel. I win.

Black Peep Toes:
Spring church outfit // The Green Satin Prom Dress
These shoes. They've been there through every single weird style phase, the green prom dress disaster, and countless packings. They've been to one prom, three semis, and almost every single Sunday. They're starting to show their age, but seeing I never get rid of shoes, that's not really something to worry about. It just means that I'll continue thinking they're cute and amazing, and everyone else will wonder why I'm wearing tatters on my feet. *shrug*

Black Business Shoes:
Cigarette Pants Outfit // TYG: Skating Goals // 15 Winter Wardrobe Rants
Dad, remember the conversation we had in the store about these? No? Well, here it is:

ME: Dad! Do you like these?
DAD: Yes.
ME: Can I have them? They're $10.
DAD: That's too much for used shoes.
ME: But they LOOK new.
DAD: You already have black shoes.
ME: But not almond toed, black patent, professional shoes.
DAD: ...
ME: They'd be for interviews. Because you really shouldn't wear peep toes to an interview, but seeing that's all I have, I'm forced to.
DAD: ...
ME: I really would wear them, unless you think it's too much....
DAD: Fine.

But seriously, these shoes were worn the entire winter. For interviews, but also to church when peep toes would have looked silly, to plays, and to a million other dressy-ish things. Again, I totally win if we determine price-per-wear.

So there we have it, Dad. I admit I am a little overly obsessed with black shoes, but given my reasons, I'm sure you understand now. I do try to be frugal, and given that I've bought all of these at either Penny's, a thrift store, or Payless, I think I am. I mean, I could be shopping at J Crew or Kate Spade, right?

And just to prepare you, I'm on the hunt for some more black flats (slim ones, Dad. Weren't you paying attention?). Also, some black peep toes, without the slingbacks. Oh! And possibly a black wedge, either suede and entirely black, or with a brown wedge but black upper.

Ladies, show your support in the comments! We must win the multiple pairs of black shoes argument!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Monthlies: April '14

a p r i l 2014

In April:
-Skated in the club spring show!
-Had a blind date with a book. :)
-Welcomed in the last two (ram) lambs! Fitz and Brandon!
-Applied to some jobs.
-Started biking again.
-Had the last lit class! (today, technically, but whatever).

Goals for May:
-Land an axel! (They are getting closer, though!)
-Finish French and Biology, crank on Geometry and Chemistry, and start Economics (and French 2...le sigh).
-Get a job!
-Go eat at a cafe, or something, with friends.
-Do some much-needed-spring-shopping-that-should-have-been-fall-shopping.
-Post some stuff online to sell....check back later for details!

Books read this month:
This month I read The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway for lit class, and read Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham on my own. It is amazing. Like, five-stars amazing. It is the definition of classy chick-lit (which is depressingly hard to find): intelligent while still being light, romantic but not sappy, with a well-written heroine. Basically, it's about a strong girl with big dreams but lots of doubts, someone we can all relate to. Ahh, read it. You'll love it. :)

Reading goals for May:
I'd like this to be the month where I finish my obnoxiously long list of currently-reading books. So, that means finishing (at least) The Reading Promise (my blind date book!), and Pride and Prejudice. I'm still hoping to pick up The Two Towers again, and I'd really like to read Running The Books: The Adventures of An Accidental Prison Librarian (for obvious reasons).

Recent Favorites:
This infographic that lists personality traits based on how you drink your coffee. I drink my coffee black and it's highly accurate. :)
This Frozen pin... totally agree! While Frozen is undeniably awesome, it wasn't the first awesome Disney movie. Not even close.
This pepper spray, designed as lipstick case. So cute, and only $7. Getting one.
This list of 30 Problems Only Introverts Will Understand. Particularly, no.'s 1 and 7.

On the Blog:
We started out the month with a post on My American Dream and why People Should Mind Their Own Business, followed by the fact that it's spring and finally time to come alive! Next I shared What's In My Skating Bag, and wrapped up with talking about my new top.

This is cliche, but does anyone else feel like the year is going too fast? Winter went slow, but the year is fast. How does that work? I'm looking forward to May..prom, working, school, skating, more time with friends, and hopefully more reading time...should be a fun month!

How was your April? Got any grand plans for May?