Friday Link Love

TGIF, am I right? Here are some lovely links I've been coveting to awesome things around the web to kick off the weekend. Hooray to just surviving another week. We're awesome.

Things I've Gotten Better At Since Living Alone

The transition from living with roommates to living alone can be a scary and exciting one. I know that I cycled between a bevy of emotions when I decided to live alone for the my senior year of college. The prospect of living solo had it's theoretical perks like "I can decorate every inch exactly how I want!" and "I don't have to be mindful of anyone else's schedule!" and "I can invite people over whenever I want to without having to ask!" On the flip side, living alone also had it's potential downsides like not having someone to split the cost of bills or food and not having a constant person there to hang out with. Both sides have come to fruition in some way or another.

Freshman year I lived with a roommate and two suite-mates in a dorm that was probably too nice for my unappreciative freshman self. Sophomore year I transitioned into living in a new two bedroom apartment in a brand new apartment complex (that was also way too nice for me, retrospectively) with my freshman roommate in tow. Junior year, I took a big leap and moved into a sorority house filled with 90+ girls, four of which I considered, at the time, to be my best friends. Fall semester I lived in a three girl room, with two of said friends and Spring semester I lived in a two girl room with a girl a year older than me (who was actually a pretty great roommate and owned a TV). Now, this. I'm living alone in a cute apartment with a decent rent, plenty of space, and huge closet (but no TV). Despite my mid-summer apartment struggles, I'm here and I'm doing this.

I've been living on my own for almost a month now and here are a few things I've gotten better at since making the big transition from roommates to solo living:

  • Holding Myself Accountable: Since there's no roommate there to remind me to do things or "hey, we're out of milk!" (and definitely no mom and dad), it's really up to me to keep myself accountable for things. There's no one to take turns taking out the trash with and there's no mutual grocery list going on. It's up to me to keep up with the bills and when all the things are due. This whole experience has made me a much better planner and list-maker, which I definitely didn't think was possible. 
  • Not Being So Scared: The first three or four nights after moving in were semi-terrifying. Me in this unfamiliar moderately sized apartment all alone with all of these unfamiliar sounds? #nope. Everything set me on edge and I triple checked to make sure my doors were locked and slept with my room door open and the hallway light on. Yes, I'm a scaredy cat. In hopes of not running up the electric bill, I eventually moved my bed to a more 'safe feeling' location, decided to get into a bed time routine that involves checking to make sure everything is locked and unplugged, invested in desk lamp and closed my door at night. Though there are sometimes I still get a little spooked (mostly because I can hear my neighbor lock and unlock their door really much so that it sounds like someone's trying to break in at times and sometimes the air kicks on a little too suddenly), I've gotten a lot better about not being so scared when I'm alone. It's a mental thing and it's all about baby steps. 
  • Making Plans With Other People: Living alone has actually caused me to be more social. Since I don't have a live in person to go do fun stuff with at any hour, I have to be more intentional and proactive about my time spent with others. I make sure to plan to eat at my sorority house a couple times a week, plan wine and movie nights, nights on the town and dinners with others. I feel like my social life has never been more fulfilling or more in order.
  • Cooking at Home More Often: One of my favorite parts about living in my apartment (one thing I missed dearly when living in the sorority house) is my kitchen. I love my kitchen and I love that I have unlimited 24/7 access to that bad boy. I've been cooking and baking more than ever. I don't eat out nearly as much as I have in the past and it makes my eating out more intentional. I love having the option to cook at home and am taking advantage of it frequently. So far I've made lots of pancakes, stirfrys, cookies, my first homemade apple pie, a new spaghetti recipe, and lots of other things!
  • Planning for School / Other Things: Getting to school is slightly more of a challenge these days. I live off campus, not terribly far by any means, but not terribly close either. It takes a lot of time and effort to plan out getting to school in the mornings. I have a class that starts at 10:45, but I usually have to leave my apartment in the 10:00-10:10 window. I get in my car, drive to school (account for traffic), get to a green lot (aka a general parking pass lot which is usually filled to the brim by the time I'm there because of all the people who got to school earlier for 8:30 and 9:30 classes), park in the back, walk a few minutes to where the bus picks up and wait for a bus that's on rotation every ten minutes (and that's if it's on time). I take the bus up to campus and then walk to where my class is from there (roughly 4-5 minute walk). So, nothing is simple about getting places. Same goes, if I want to leave campus or come back for chapter. I could park in a garage right on campus and pay the meter, but at $1.55 an hour, those rates aren't too friendly. This also goes for nights out on the town. After a few times of being late, I feel like I've finally gotten into a good groove. I miss living on campus simply because it took me no time to get anywhere I needed to be. Class was 15 minutes or less away and a night out consisted of only walking a street over. Those were the days!

Soaking Up September

(salty caramel ice cream cone from Pure Joy Ice Cream)

We had our first two 70 degree days of season and though they were short lived, they were amazing. I am so ready to launch myself into fall and complete all the fun things on my Fall To-Do List. However, I keep holding myself back from things like buying new candles and fall door decor and even a PSL because it's just not time yet

September is tricky month here in the south. It's still basically summer if the humidity is of any indication of the season, but then there are those rare 70 degree days that give you just enough of a taste of what's to come. One day calls for cardigans and another for tank tops. I found myself craving ice-cream one day and hot cocoa the next. It's madness, for sure. 

Hearkening back to my goals for a kick ass 2014, I want to remember to live more intentionally and live in the moment this month. No rushing and no pressure. I want to take life one step at a time. So, today I'm reminding myself to soak it up this September, whether it be the sweltering sun or the sights and smells of pumpkin everything. This year has already been such an amazing one and I have no doubt it will continue that way.

I suppose this post didn't have much of a point, but they don't always have to, do they? Sometimes it's just nice to check in and let ya'll know where my head is at this week. I have lots to update you guys about and maybe a little recapping to do. I am scheduling some posts as we speak.

Stay tuned.

In the mean time, what does September mean for you?

Fall To-Do List

It's hard to believe it's September and now that the last hoorah of summer (aka Labor Day) is officially over. And now that Labor Day is officially over, it's officially time to start thinking about the impending fall season. I woke up this morning after extensive Labor Day lake time this past weekend and was met with tons of rain and lightening...and coldness. Yikes. I didn't think the transition from summer to fall would happen so quickly, but hey, let's embrace it.

Last year I started doing little seasonal "to-do lists" of things I want to do/document during each season. Fall is a favorite, because there's just so many festive things to do! It may be a bit early to think about purchasing a new sweater and carving pumpkins, but on the other end the PSL (pumpkin spice latte) is already available at Starbucks. If that doesn't scream 'fall,' I'm not sure what does.

Fall To-Do List

  • Drink a PSL
  • Buy at least two decorative 'fall' items for the apartment
  • Have a horror movie marathon
  • Carve/decorate pumpkins with friends
  • Buy a fall scented candle
  • Document Fayetteville's beautiful leaves whenever they begin to turn
  • Buy new fall apparel (tall socks/cardigans/sweaters/scarves/etc)
  • Make a fall inspired cocktail
  • Go to a haunted house
  • Try pumpkin flavored beer
  • Go to a pumpkin patch date (with Jack)
  • Bake something with pumpkin in it
  • Go apple picking and make something yummy from picked apples
  • Have a bonfire

What's on your fall to do list? Let me know!