Wednesday, October 29, 2014

When Life Gives You Rain...

I guess I should say when life gives you rain, you gotta learn to play in the puddles. Sounds just cheesy enough to be inspiring, right?

Above is a photo I took while at my normal babysitting job. The boys were so excited to get out and play in the rain because of the stream that had collected in the storm drain. They spent over an hour collecting sticks and rocks and sand to dam up the stream and marvel at the changes they were making to the strength and pressure of the water. When they were finished, they were both happily soaking wet, cold, and extremely muddy. It was like a dream come true to them, and I'd spent the whole day in a slump because of the rain. Seeing them enjoying the crappiest of weather made my day a bit brighter, but I still can't help but fall into a rut when literal or figurative rainstorms show up in my life.

There's so much to be happy about! We live on a planet that has an plenty of puppies AND cinnamon rolls to go around, no one should EVER be unhappy! Well, I wish that logic worked. There's just something about the weather sometimes. Rain is somehow subconsciously tied to my "I'd rather sleep my life away" reflex, and on days like today I'm ready to let that reflex take over.

Sitting inside on rainy days makes me think of all the things there are left to do. All the things that I'm not doing because rainy days suck. That inevitably stresses me out. Cleaning? Homework? Forget it. I'm going to watch Netflix in my pajamas. It's my own doing, really.

But maybe, just maybe, if I get outside and stomp around in some puddles, I'll capture the fun and freedom of a rainy day. Still... a cup of tea and a bit of Gilmore Girls sounds pretty good right about now.

What do you do on rainy days?
How do you get rid of rainy day guilt?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My Decision to Go Cruelty Free

I've been doing a lot of research on Cruelty Free beauty brands lately, and I've decided once and for all to commit myself to going cruelty free. Animals are such a huge part of my life, and every time I think about what goes on at the animal testing facilities, it makes my heart hurt. It made me realize that my "beauty" routine is negated if something horrible goes on to create it. I don't want to cause harm to others for the sake of my face anymore.

As my lovely friend Hayley (who took the cruelty free plunge about a year ago) said: "If you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the problem. And I'm deciding that I don't want to be a part of the problem anymore," and that couldn't be more true.

What does it mean to be cruelty free? It's quite simple really.

It means no longer supporting companies that test their products on animals. Sadly, that means some of the bigger brands are now off limits. Even some of my favorites like MAC, Benefit, and Clinique.

Luckily, some of the best brands ARE cruelty free! That includes Tarte, Too Faced, LUSH Cosmetics on the higher end and drugstore brands like NYX, Wet n' Wild, Physicians Formula, and many others!

If in doubt, do your research! There are so many awesome brands out there that dawn the cruelty free stamp, both drugstore and high-end. I will do my best to keep an updated list somewhere on this blog, and will possibly do cruelty free "dupe" product posts, if that is something you all will be interested in!

Peta and My Beauty Bunny are great recourses to finding awesome new brands that are cruelty free!

Hopefully someday we'll live in a world where testing on animals is out of the question. Until then, I'll be sticking to companies with clean consciences, and I invite you to join me!

From here on out, I'll be purchasing only cruelty free products, and doing my best to use up or give away everything else I have in the meantime. I'm also doing my best at the moment to locate quality cruelty free products other than makeup, like shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant, skincare, and perfumes.

Have you considered going cruelty free?
What is your favorite cruelty free brand?

Friday, October 24, 2014

7 Reasons That Being Grumpy Is Actually the Best

I'm the first to admit that I'm a huge grumpy gills. A stick in the mud, and even sometimes a bit of a negative Nancy. Of course I still know how to have fun, and definitely appreciate all the little things in life, but sometimes crabby is just my default setting. See, the thing is, grumpiness has its benefits. Quite a few, if you ask me. Here are all the good things about being a grump:

1. No unnecessary social interactions - That means what you do with your time is up to you! There's no small talk, no boring "getting to know people" and definitely nobody trying to sell you anything. Those pesky Girl Scouts be damned!

2. There's no hiding it - People know when you don't like something, and that leaves out all the guesswork. Waiters will automatically bring you new food without asking, those crappy Christmas presents take themselves back to the store, and people love that you're so honest.

3. No fake friends - The people that choose to be around you will be around you for the long haul, because people that aren't genuine will be deterred by your cynical and crotchety nature. You might even find friends with people that value your ornery moments, which is a sign to keep them around forever!

4. You're basically a mood stabilizer - You're always the grumpy one, so when your friends get all whiney and complainey, you're the one to set them straight. How dare they encroach on your grumpy territory! Plus, then, you look like a really good friend for making them feel better!

5. You hardly ever get duped - You're suspicious of everything, and that means trust doesn't come easy, so you're definitely not the person to get tricked into anything. You're realistic and observant. Take that, british lottery emails!

6. People think you're hilarious - Sometimes, your bad moods can morph into their own silly, dramatic kind of super-grumpy, where you hate everything and everyone. Once you realize you're being over dramatic, you can capitalize on the comedic moments.

7. You're staying true to yourself - Embracing your feelings is a great thing! It keeps you in balance and people will admire that you always keep it real. Keep doing you, hot shot!

Now get out there and let your grumpy flag fly!
What is your favorite thing about being grumpy?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Graves Mountain Apple Festival

The past few weekends I've been tucked away in the land of no cell phone signal and endless country roads at the Graves Mountain Apple Festival in Syria, VA. Visiting the festival is an annual tradition for my family, and each year I make a point to take in the mountain air, get ahold of some of the delicious fair food, like Apple Butter Donuts and fresh cooked Kettle Corn. There are hay rides, bluegrass performances, vendors, funnel cakes, and pick your own apples from the orchards nearby. It's one of my favorite fall events, and I wouldn't miss it for the world. These photos are just a little taste of the details you'll experience once attending the festival. It makes me want to go back to the mountains already!

Have you signed up for the book swap yet?
Only a couple more days to do it!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Great Big Fall Time Book Swap

With the weather cooling down, what's better than curling up with a nice cup of tea, coffee, or cocoa, and reading a fabulous book? Absolutely nothing! That's why, I've teamed up with a few bloggers to bring you the Great Big Fall Time Book Swap!

It's quite simple, really! Sign up below, and in the next coming weeks you'll be matched with a partner. From then, you will be able to get to know your partner's likes and dislikes, and on November 15th, you'll send them a book of your choice!

Other than shipping a book to your partner, there are very few rules. Once meeting your partner, you can discuss if you'd like to trade brand new, used, or even multiple books. Then, if you have a blog, there's always the option to post about the book you got, and your experience in the swap!

*This swap will be open internationally!

If you'd like to join the swap, be sure to sign up by October 30th!

Can't wait to get swapping!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Halfway to Halloween Party!

This past weekend we had our "Halfway to Halloween" or "Half-Assed Halloween" party! Since it was in the middle of the month, instead of on actual Halloween, we knew that we could get away with the bare minimum for decorations and costumes (hey, we're broke college students here!) and still have a great time. Plus, everyone we invited showed up, because hardly anyone is busy on the 17th of October! The party was great fun, so fun in fact that I forgot to take pictures of every guest and all the fun they were having! But I managed to scrounge together the photos I did take, and stole a few from friends, so here is a little peek at our Halfway to Halloween party!

I dressed up as Ariel from The Little Mermaid, sans shell bra. I did wear a green maxi skirt as my "tail" and put a little red tint in my hair. I also threw on quite a bit of sparkly eyeshadow, which was fun as it's way out of the ordinary for me. I may do a full outfit post as Ariel later on this month if you all would be interested in that!

My spooky Halloween bark was a huge hit at the party. It was gone before I knew it! I'll definitely make more next time!

And what's any party without Angry Orchard? Hands down my favorite drink of all time. And HOW ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE is Le'Andra as Rosie the Riveter?!!?!

Le'Andra and Tianna hugged it up before the festivities began. They're the two best friends that anybody could have! (Sung like Zach Galifianakis a la The Hangover)

Maddy and Chris came too, as Little Red and a Zombie. They're kind of my favorite couple ever. Such cuties! BE STILL MY HEART!

All in all, we had tons of fun playing HeadBandz, Kings, Ello Gov'na, and a strange but super interesting hybrid of Taboo and Charades. We drank "Witches Brew" and ate junk food to our hearts' content. It was a great way to kick off the Halloween spirit!

What are you doing for Halloween?
What is your favorite party game?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Bread on the Floor Incident: And Other Moments When Living with People Got Really Weird.

The other day my friend sent me this photo. She'd come home to her apartment to find two slices of honey-wheat bread laying in the middle of her kitchen floor. There was no explanation, just bread. This got us started on a conversation of all the crazy things we've experienced while living with people the past few years.

I asked some of my friends to tell me some of their weirdest roommate stories, and this is what I got:

"One of my roommates managed to pull the sprinkler out of the ceiling and ended up flooding the entire building the night before finals. The building was evacuated and I had to sleep across campus and finally got to bed around 2AM..."

"My roommate used to take hour long showers... three times a day."

"My roommates left a trash bag full of dishes (both mine and not mine) in front of my bedroom door with a note..."

"One of my roommates always walked around the suite completely naked, without warning, all doors open."

"My roommate threw away her waffle iron because she didn’t want to clean it..."

"One of my roommates had her boyfriend living in her room for months."

"My roommates always seemed to use my kitchen supplies that took more effort to take down than their own that they have in an easy access drawer. Of course they never wash them or put them back where they belong."

"Once, my roommate woke me up and kicked me out of the room to have a "personal" Skype date with her boyfriend, when I was clearly in the room before she was."

"My roommate had friends over, they all got drunk, and she allowed them to barf all over the bathroom and living room. It took her quite a few days to even start cleaning it up."

"I had one roommate that only came out of her room to do laundry or get food."

"My roommate always snuck into my room without my permission to use my beauty products and stole things like my tampons and postage stamps."

"My roommate got drunk and was convinced she had been in the bathroom for two hours, but in reality it was only like 10 minutes."

"My roommate would stockpile tons of food each week, but never eat it. Then I started noticing that a lot of my food was disappearing..."

"A roommate I had accused me of not cleaning up after (wine and beer bottles) from "my friends" when they were actually hers."

"My roommates had people over without a heads up at 11PM on a weeknight and were loud enough to be heard over Skype through a closed door."

"I told two of my roomies they could have some of my lime-a-ritas, as long as they were staying in for the night. I came home from work a few nights later to find red solo cups and empty lime-a-rita cans strewn all over the kitchen and living room."

"When it was cold outside, my roommate would turn up the heat to 89 degrees"

"My roommates used my pots and pans to cook dinner super late at night and didn't clean them for at least a week..."

"After about half a semester one girl wasn't seen again until move out day."

"My roommate flooded the bathroom taking a "romantic bath" with her boyfriend."

"My roommate constantly mispronounced words and corrected me on my (correct, mind you) pronunciation... with confidence."

See, the thing is... that no matter who you are, each and every one of us is a little bit insane. We all have our quirks and our particular annoyances and our strange mannerisms. Living with people can be a pain, but it can also be an awesome experience. You learn so much about other people and can learn a lot about yourself too. You learn to adapt, you learn to solve problems, and you learn to remember which day is yours to wash the dishes.

Do you have any crazy roommate stories?
Any idea why there was bread on my friend's floor?