Lemme Tell You a Story (5)

It's been a few months since I've dumped some Instastories on you guys, so here are some to lighten the mood (have you seen the news today? Ugh times a million):





[I won't, I won't]




College: The Rights and Wrongs


This time of the year many of my old students tend to touch bases with me, letting me know what college classes they’re enrolled in, what they’ve changed their major to, what they’re struggling with, and what they’re excelling at. I love it. Not only is it validating that we’ve done something right at the high school level, it’s also genuinely exciting to see the kids that I’ve cared about so much grow as individuals. I also become quite reflective about my own undergraduate career at UCLA, pondering the good along with the bad. If I could go back in time and have a do-over I’d change many, many things, although I also have to give myself credit for not completely screwing up.



Can I Get a Re-Do

Going Abroad- I really, really wish I would have taken a quarter or two and went to Europe. Truth be told, I was worried about my finances and boyfriend issues to make the jump, which was ridiculous. This is hands down my biggest regret. 

Joining More Student Organizations- I was very involved in high school and then hit the brakes on all extracurricular activities in college. It’s such a shame! I almost wish I would have even joined a sorority, just to get me out there more. 

Taking Advantage of Cultural Opportunities- UCLA and the surrounding areas are teeming with museums, readings, exhibits, lectures, etc… and while I got much better about being out-and-about my last year or two, I wish I would have taken advantage of my proximity to so much culture.

Going to More Sporting Events- The Bruins excel at so many NCAA sports and I totally failed at going to watch them. I think I’ve gone to more as an alumnus!

Working Less- I worked a lot as an assistant to the research coordinator at the vascular center at the UCLA Medical Center. It was an awesome job that started as a work study position and extended because we were such a good fit. I worked constantly, though, walking to campus for class, walking back to work, walking back to class, etc… and then working full time for three of my summers. I am so thankful for the opportunity, but I should have worked a little less and played (and studied) a little more.

Ditching the High School Boyfriend Sooner- We were not happy or a good match, and I spent a lot of time commuting from LA to Irvine to see him, as opposed to improving my own life on campus. The relationship made my insecurities so much worse and I wasted a lot of time stressing about it (sorry D if you read this... luckily we are both well-adjusted, married adults now). 

Taking “Random” Classes- I loved most of my English classes, but I wish I would have taken a few off-the-wall courses or ones to enrich my other interests (architecture or nutrition, for example).



But, Seriously. Good Job on This Stuff:

Fiscally Responsible- I left college with less than $1,000 in credit card debt, a reasonable amount of student loans, and a few thousand dollars in savings for an emergency. I was frugal, but I recognized the importance of shelling out the cash for a good haircut, the occasional dinner out, and taking care of my car.

Efficiency- Because I was working a lot and commuting from Orange County to LA for two of the four years, I had to use my time wisely. I was young and my to-do list game was pretty basic, but I learned a lot about prioritizing and multi-tasking (this is something that has it’s pros and cons, but reading for class on the elliptical was always a good idea).

Gym Rat- Because of issues with stress and anxiety that are so common with college students (and humans in general), I took to the gym to get a handle on things during freshman year. I took advantage of the free student membership when I lived on campus and then bought one to LA Fitness later. I will be forever thankful that this habit has stuck with my fifteen years later.

Learning to Cope/Staying- I had a really hard time after moving over five hours away from my family and at one point I started researching how dropping out/transferring would affect my student loans and status. Luckily I sort of woke up and realized that there was no way I’d trade UCLA for Cal State Stanislaus and decided to stay. It was hard and I spent a lot of time feeling lonely, but I am proud of myself for forcing myself to deal with the rough stuff.

No matter what, I'm proud of the fact that I got into a great school and graduated from it, on my own. I figured out how to financially get myself through school and how to manage life in general. My experiences there made me stronger, smarter, and ready for the "real" world. 



Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts


Happy Wednesday (or whatever day you're reading this)! Link up, link back, say hey!

1. I have felt healthier and happier the past few days than I have in weeks- I give credit to the passing of my chest cold, ten or fifteen minutes more of sleep than usual at night, and my increased running over the last week. I ran three miles last Friday, four on Sunday, and three yesterday. Obviously that's not that much compared to when training really ramps up in a few months, but I'm pleased with how things are going so far.

2. Last weekend I took Sawyer to Dana Point to the Tall Ships Festival and we had a really great time. Parking was free offsite and they drove attendees over in trolleys to the dock, which made the whole things so much better. We were able to walk around six ships, explore the oceanography center, and look through the vendors for less than $20 for the two of us. There were lots of pirates walking around and the weather was perfect. 

3. This weekend I'm hoping to get up to the hills, to Oak Glen, for some early apple picking. I've been before, but it's always been later in the season when things are picked over and the warmer weather makes a reappearance. This week it's barely supposed to be 70 degrees and the orchards have just been open for a week or two. Should be fun and will be a good excuse to make a pie. 

4. I love this post from Sally on cupcakes tips. It's always a good idea to review the basics.

5. Fantasy Football is in full swing! I lost horribly last week, but I'm still having fun. There are ten of us, women I invited from work and friends, and I'm hoping to host a big brunch at the end of the season.

6. I really miss bike riding outside. It's such a hassle, though, taking my bike off the trainer, taking the car seat out of my car, detaching the wheel, driving to the trail, and then reversing the process when I'm done. 

7. I started Hillary Clinton's new memoir What Happened last night. I'm about 25 pages in and it's a lot more readable than I thought it was going to be. I was worried it would be dry and too full of facts and figures, but it's not (at least not yet). 

8. I ordered The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas this morning, since I have heard nonstop great things about it for awhile. I don't read YA, but given the fact I teach high school and the way things are socially in our country, I thought I just should. So I will. 

9. I finished Cat Marnell's How to Murder Your Life audiobook and... wow. She was a beauty editor at Lucky and worked at several other magazines over the years, all while being a massive addict. I felt so conflicted while listening to her; I sympathized with her mental health issues, but I was also disgusted by the connection between her privilege and drug accessibility. I rooted for her, but I was also frustrated by her. It was a good listen, and if you've read magazines for ages like I have you would probably enjoy it. 

10.  I am currently listening to The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena (clearly my listening choices differ very much from my actual reading choices, but that's for another time... unless I've already written about it...?). I think it's going to keep me interested, if I can get over how idiotic the parents of the missing baby are...

Four Reasons Why You Should Read I Hear She's a Real Bitch

The kind people at Penguin provided me with this ARC- all opinions are my own.

I am a huge sucker for restaurant-related memoirs and the fact that I Head She's a Real a Bitch by Jen Agg is written by a  strong, feminist owner made it even more enticing. Here are five reasons why you should pick it up:

1. Jen Agg is honest- you can just tell. She admits her strengths and weaknesses, is the right amount of self-deprecating, and is willing to provide multiple perspectives. She gives a candid look at relationships, intimate (seriously- you will learn a lot about her very active sex life) and professional, as well as her thoughts on her role in the industry. 

2. As someone who spent several summers working in different restaurants during college, including one that was just opening, I greatly appreciated the attention to detail regarding the ownership side of things. Opening a place is no joke and Agg's passion for entrepreneurship is exciting and energetic. I love the nuts and bolts that go on behind the scenes and she provides plenty of them. 

3. She's unapologetically feminist, but admits to her flaws. She's strong and up to the task and isn't afraid to tell men to back down and let her execute her plans. Agg is willing to stand for herself and other women, even when it's not the popular opinion, which she has faced public backlash for doing.

4. The writing is witty, conversational, tough when it needs to be, and obviously comes from the place of experience and intensity. I'm maybe a tiny bit afraid of Agg, but mostly I want to sit down and talk crap over a G & T with her.

It's not perfect- I didn't love the excessive caps at a few points and I thought some of the chapter ending illustrations or diagrams were a little overkills. But the strengths definitely outweigh the flaws- this is a book I would have picked up anyway. 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts



Link up, link back, say hey!

1. This has been a really frustrating week: I brought home a chest cold last week, Sawyer got it with a fever and I had to stay home yesterday, DACA ending and worrying about my students, a new weird stomach pain I've developed, not getting to run/work out for almost a week, etc... I just need Friday. I'm a mess. 

2. I know this is silly, but I can't wait for Trader Joe's to bring out their $1 mini pumpkins. I buy a million.

3. If Sawyer and I are up to it I hope to go to the Dana Point Tall Ships Festival on Saturday. They have I think four or five out to explore, plus lots of other fun activities to participate in.

4. I'm currently reading an arc of Jen Agg's I Hear She's a Real Bitch and so far it's excellent. I'm a sucker for restaurant-related books, thought. 

5. Any brilliant tips for helping a little guy not bite his nails? I put the gross polish on them after trying a few other things, but it wears off and I forget to reapply and I feel like we're not making progress. He seems to just do it when he's bored, and I know he's doing it at school. 

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