20 August 2014

Wordful Wednesday//Going to College with a Chronic Illness (Do's and Don'ts)

college first year freshman

Thaaaat's me! My first year of college. I wish I still had that bod. But not that greasy hair. And not that lipring!
Can you believe my school's blacksmithing crew made that bench? Ahh, takes me back!

When I first started school--a year late, due to health problems--I was so nervous. Of course everyone's nervous, but my nerves were due to my illness and what I was going to do on my own. I bawled when my parents left that day. I wanted to fly from the nest, but it's so hard to do when you have a broken wing.

I did tough it out and I surprised myself along the way with how well I did--with grades and with how I changed as a person. However, going to college with a backpack of health problems is hard. That's why I'm here to try to help you birdies fly from the nest.
While I did end up medically withdrawing from college my last semester, and I'm still nursing my wounded wing, I do intend to finish what I started. I also want to help you by learning from my experiences and prevent you from making any of the mistakes that I made...

DO: If you're unable to walk long distances, either check to see if there's a service available to take you back and forth to classes (sometimes the public safety on campus will do this), or bring your car with you. If you are fortunate enough to have a car, get your doctor to sign for you a handicapped sticker. This will save you a lot of time searching for a parking space, and a lot of time walking.

DON'T: One of my biggest mistakes was that first of all, I picked a college that was nothing but hills. I couldn't complain much because, well, it was my dream school, but I was constantly out of breath and my body was frequently in pain. The college I went to also did not allow for freshmen to have cars on campus EXCEPT for people with disabilities. I didn't check for this exception and they told me only after I arrived on campus and had sold my car. Bummer! So make sure you check every mobility option BEFORE you arrive on campus.

food vegan
Food from my college's vegan cafeteria 
DO: If you don't think you'll make it to every meal because of how awful you're always feeling, you can ask an RA/RD to bring you back some food from the cafeteria--they should offer these services. Or, if your school operated like mine, you can have a friend use the flex points that comes with their meal plan for you. Later on, perhaps you can do the same for them. At the very least, scope out a few close restaurants that aren't too bad healthy and ask a friend to pick you up something.

DON'T: I was too shy to ask anyone for help with food. I also didn't want to feel like a burden. When I did eat at school, I ate extremely healthy because the college was very eco-friendly and self-sustaining. When I was feeling really rough and just didn't think I could make it across campus, what did I do? I would either call in a delivery for Papa John's or chow down on the microwavable yuck I stockpiled from Wal-Mart. This only added weight to me, upped my insulin, and increased my inflammation. Plus, knowing I had food in my dorm room prevented me from going to the cafeteria where I could have been socializing instead.

party friends college
You'll never find me!
DO: With socialization, you really do need to try to get out when you can. Trust me, that doesn't necessarily mean partying or running around playing extreme frisbee, exerting yourself to no end (been there, done that). Instead, find a like-minded group interested in a tame hobby and work on meeting regularly to knit, have a silent circle of drawing mandalas, or even just to watch movies!

DON'T: While I was friendly with many people, I didn't go to a lot of cool offerings at my school (I mean things like "Let's Make Hula Hoops" or "Learn to Craft Soap") because I didn't think I had enough expertise or I would imagine myself as the outcast. First of all, there's always going to be a beginner--or beginners, more likely--and most clubs or meetings are prepared for this and willing to teach you! Also, if you have the mindset that you're going to be ostracized, you're already setting yourself up for a bad experience. Try not to make excuses to get yourself out of an event that you kinda maybe want to go to; you might be taking away the opportunity to make a new friend!

My final words of advice:

  • Subscribe to Netflix. It's a great escape.
  • Get your own printer. You're not always going to be able to rely on the library.
  • Try try try to go to classes, even if you have to walk out in the middle of them.
  • Know your accommodations! Immediately speak with whoever is in charge of disabilities and accommodations on campus. Even try to talk to them before you arrive--be aware of what you need and if your requests can be met. I was able to request being able to wear sunglasses in the classroom, extra time needed for assignments, and a medical single dorm room (as well as other needs). 
  • Try not to pick up any nasty habits. Smoking is a big one. And I was a failure on that part. Even drinking too much coffee can be harsh on your body. Try to stay nourished and hydrated. Buy a reusable water bottle--it's well-worth it. My favorite are these bottles from Nathan. 
  • Buy a really organized medicine holder. I had a pretty small one in college (big mistake). I recently bought this one and have been in love ever since. 

Have fun! Be yourself! Don't quit just because you had one bad day.

You can do this!

19 August 2014

Playlist: "Crisp Mornings"

I've had the good fortune to wake up to some wonderful crisp summer mornings lately.
With that inspiration in mind, I picked out some songs that I would jam to on one of these mornings--but that I thought you would enjoy too.

The lyrics to this song are sweet and fun. As is the song itself. Torrini's voice is so nice to hear in the mornings, and if you remember, I've featured her before on the blog. Can't get enough of her!

Let a little love in! A definite different direction in sound from Torrini, I still like where Arlissa is heading with this song. It's something to get you going in the mornings without being so upbeat it gives you a headache first thing in the morning. I especially like the beginning of this song!

How can you not love this voice, first of all? It is so captivating--great for the morning, when you are still a little drowsy. While the lyrics are a bit more melancholic than the other songs listed today, I just couldn't help but add it because of the incorporated synth and how dreamy it sounds. Dreamy, "Fever Dream," get it?

Sounding a bit like a more chilled out version of The Black Keys, I just couldn't help but think this song was too mellow to pass up. The man behind Bahamas, Afie Jurvanen, has put forth a song that makes me relaxed, inspired, and happy. What more could you want?

Hope you're ready to take on the day now!

18 August 2014

Macabre Monday: You're Next

movie youre next you're next horror film

If you've seen The Strangers, then you might have in mind the same idea that I did when coming into this film. 

However (and it's a big however), without giving away too much of the plot, I need to stress how less of a horror movie this really is because of how comical the scenes stretch themselves out to be. They aren't in-your-face comedic like Shaun of the Dead, for instance, but more of something along the lines of Evil Dead. You know--almost cheesy, that kind of deal. 

Like I said, I don't want to give away all the goods, so I want to tiptoe around my words with this review. But the basics of the plot are that a family gathers to celebrate the parents' 35th wedding anniversary at a secluded house. It seems obvious in one of the opening scenes who the main characters are going to be, including one of the children's cheerful, charismatic, Australian girlfriend, Erin. We learn more about the other children and the parents, but very little, because this is one of those movies that doesn't really seem to care about who's who.

sharni vinson you're next horror
Sharni Vinson as "Erin"

A few elements of this film that were reasons why it stayed with me were: well, my favorite is a spoiler, so there's that, but the others have to do largely with the music score (which is just one song, really), the juxtaposition between comedy and horror/suspense, and the beautiful camerawork. There is one scene in particular that happens where a character knocks a light bulb out and it's actually quite spectacular.

I know this film has been out since 2011, and I also know that it hasn't necessarily received the best reviews from critics. But this film doesn't play off of numerous jump scares or shaky camera movements (thankfully) like the norm; instead, it's one of those movies where the pacing is crucial and you will have nothing to do but sit with your knees knocking from suspense. There is a lot of carnage, but I wouldn't call this a slasher flicker, exactly... 

What I will say is that it's worth it to watch. It's fun and it's bloody and it includes a song from the '70s that you won't be able to get out of your head. Which may or may not be a good thing.

17 August 2014

{Widened Horizons}

Golly, it's been a full week since I last posted.
I'll be back in the swing of things soon. With a chronic illness, you just never know what will come your way.
And lately, what's come my way has been a bit of everything.

I'm going to begin with a compliment for you guys (via plateandpencil). For putting up with me--especially when I do things like go on a week-long hiatus.
funny print whiskey whisky

The following earrings I picked out are stunning beyond belief. I have a feeling that anyone who is lucky enough to wear these will be getting better compliments than what I just dished out.
elegant earrings

I love pleats. I don't know why I didn't realize it until the other day, but pleats are perfect in my eyes...especially on a flared dress.
party pleat blue dress

The American Gothic painting should be pretty familiar to most, if not all, of you by all. (I love the parodies of it.) When I saw this painted American Gothic barn, it sort of took my breath away. I mean, really, how awesome is this?
american gothic barn wow

As far as the owl find goes, I just love this throw, or tapestry, or whatever it can be used as. Perfect colors for fall and it just looks so cozy!
owl tapestry throw comfy autumn

And finally, some words of wisdom from good ole Socrates:
socrates quote

Quick Links: 

10 August 2014

{Widened Horizons}

I'm hot, excited, and rearing to go for this week's Widened Horizons.
Of course, I'm probably hot because I have a fever. And a possible kidney stone.
I cannot win.

I won't put you through my misery, though. I'll just get straight to the goodies!

Anything upcycled wins points in my book. These unique record earrings fit into that category, and they are pretty cute too if I do say so myself.
quirky record upcycled earrings

I am a candle hoarder. There, I admitted it. I don't have enough of a problem for any kind of intervention (now my lotion hoarding on the other hand...), but I definitely need to stop shopping for them.
Well, at some point I'll stop shopping for them. But for now, check out this handmade blueberry and vanilla candle.
handmade candle virginia

Who is into the palazzo pant trend? This girl. I don't know how I feel about all the crazy prints, but when I saw these chiffon pleated ones, I just knew they would work wonders on so many gals.
bright chiffon palazzo pants

I couldn't figure out exactly where this is from, but the photograper is Jessica Antola and what I'm about to show you is just...OUT OF THIS WORLD.
galaxy moon star room beautiful

Looking for purses is a challenge. For example, my mom just went out hunting for a purse and it took her three hours. She came up with nothing.
What I like most about this beautiful bird-themed purse is that it's more of a crossbody type, which is basically the only type of purse I wear, and it has those awesome wooden buttons! I hope it finds a home soon.
bird wood purse handmade

I own 100 billion owl earrings, but I still want more. I'm greedy.
These owl find studs are different because it's just the head of the owl, and I really like that.
pave blue head stud earrings owl

Finally, before the quick links, I just wanted to pull in something new for Widened Horizons: a visual quote.
inspiring motivational quote positive dream
I'm sure a lot of you, especially those of you--like myself--who are still trying to figure out what the heck is going on in life, can relate to this.
So dream it, build it, and they will come.
(just kidding. sort of.)

Quick Links: