Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Learning to Say No

I realized that my posts lately have been entertainment-related and I haven't written any serious "advice" worthy posts in a long time. In-Between Life is meant to be a mix of everything that goes on in the head of a twenty-something and all the things we experience in life during this transitional period, with all of its ups and downs. Sometimes it's fun stuff, but sometimes it's on the darker side. That's why today I want to focus on something that many of us need to learn, or at the very least be reminded that you are your own person and no one should force you into doing something you are not comfortable with.

Learning to say no. It's such a simple word, yet it holds so much power. If you ever say no, people should respect your wishes, no matter what the circumstances may be. You are an adult, you can make your own choices now, and no one should be making these choices for you. And yet, many times we find ourselves consistently saying no, over and over again, and people keep on pushing you to change your mind.

I was inspired to write this post after remembering an awful experience I had last summer. I will not go into heavy details over what happened, but let's just say it involved alcohol and peer pressure. I said no plenty of times. I knew what I wanted, and in no way was I looking to get "trashed" that night. But people push you to do things you don't want to, even if you're repeatedly shaking your head and saying "no, thank you." It's because of my nice nature and inability to displease people that I got myself into that mess. Thankfully, I was one of the lucky ones and the situation could have been much, much worse. I'm sure hundreds of college girls experience this, and sometimes it can easily be avoided if you just say "no."

Sometimes it's hard to say no, especially when someone is pressuring you into saying yes. That's where you need to learn to be assertive and not be afraid to do so. Respect yourself and what you want, don't let anyone try to convince you otherwise. Don't give in just to be nice. Don't give in just so people will stop bugging you. If people can't respect your decision, they don't deserve your respect, either. If you can walk away, do so. If you're stuck in the situation, try your best to cope with it, but never give in.

While this post is kind of leaning towards the whole saying no to the typical alcohol and drugs scenario in college, I really want people to learn to say no in all aspects of their life. We find ourselves getting into situations we really don't want to be in, or places we really didn't want to go to, or doing someone a favor that you just were not up for, simply because you didn't want to say no. But if it's something that your inner voice is literally screaming "NO!!!" then LISTEN TO IT!

Being assertive is not being a "bitch." Being assertive does not mean you're being mean or aggressive. It just means you know what you want, and you won't back down. It means you respect yourself. Learning to say no can truly be a very difficult thing to do, but by doing so, I promise it will benefit you in so, so many ways.

-Nora Ephron

Monday, April 28, 2014

Celebrity Crushes: Girl Power Edition

I was scrolling through my Instagram feed the other night and I realized I idolize so many celebrity women. Some I like for their amazing talent, some for their style, some for what they do and what they believe in, some just because they're really pretty, and then there are some that fit all the above.

Here are my top 10 female celeb crushes, and in no particular order!

1. Emmy Rossum

The star of "Shameless" is a super talented and gorgeous actress. She also has a great voice. One thing that's special about her is that she doesn't have a personal stylist like most celebrities do and does her own make-up, hair, etc. 

2. Lea Michele

Lea is my idol. She's such a strong woman and so talented. Her voice is simply amazing and she's been through so much this year but has kept a brave face and continues to pursue her dreams.

3. Ashley Benson

One of the stars of "Pretty Little Liars" and that mess of a movie "Spring Breakers." She plays my favorite character, Hannah, on PLL and I love following her Instagram because she's constantly posting selfies, and who doesn't like selfies from a pretty celeb?

4. Leighton Meester

Leighton is not only a beautiful actress, but she also has an incredible voice! I'm also obsessed with her hair.

5. Teresa Palmer

Tez is an Australian actress who has quickly become one of my favorites. She's a natural beauty. I also admire her because she started this website that focuses on helping people live a "zen" life.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Liebster Award!

I was nominated for the infamous (at least amongst us bloggers) Liebster Award by Alisia who blogs over at Boarding Together. The Liebster Award is an award that is passed along from blogger to blogger and the purpose is to help out those bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Now, I have several social media outlets for my blog and all together I think I have over 500 followers, but my blog itself is pretty new so I think I still qualify for this award. Frankly, I'm flattered that someone even recognized my blog and decided to nominate me! My blog is growing more each day (at a slower pace than I wish for, but Rome wasn't built in a day...) and it excites me when I get some recognition, especially from other fellow bloggers.

Spring Playlist!

I love music and I love making playlists. The weather's been getting a lot nicer lately and spring is in the air, so today I decided it was about time I downloaded some new music and made a new mix for Spring. I listen to pretty much all genres of music, so this playlist has a mix of indie, country, pop, etc. I wanted to share with you guys and hopefully you find at least one new song you like!

 Enjoy ♥︎

Here is a link to the playlist on Spotify: Spring Mix

Friday, April 25, 2014

Top 5 Favorite 90s Shows

Most of us twenty-somethings grew up in the 90s. It was a wonderful decade, really. The economy wasn't as crummy as it is today and the majority of people could actually find jobs right out of college (that were worth their degree.) We were just kids though, unaware of what awaited us and the real struggles we would eventually face. Technology wasn't "all the rage" so lots of time was spent actually playing outside and we weren't glued to iPads and smart phones. Parents weren't as strict about how much t.v. kids watch (well, at least mine weren't.)

So with that being said, I did watch quite a bit of t.v. back in the day. Most of the time it was actually just on in the background as I dawdled around playing weird only child games with myself. There were a lot of great t.v. shows back in the 90s, which I certainly appreciate more now than when I was a kid. I wanted to share with you what my top 5 favorite 90s shows are.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Earth Day Recap

Happy Earth Day! (well, two days ago.) I've been ultra-busy so I wasn't able to write this post up until now, but I wanted to share with you what I did to celebrate Earth Day. If you have kids, little brothers/sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces, etc., or if you're like me and work as a nanny—this is a perfect activity for them! It not only gets their hands dirty (which for some reason, kids love) but it can also be a good opportunity to teach them the importance of being good to our planet and nature in general. Or you can just kind of teach them to plant, whatever works out. When it comes to kids, you kind of just have to go with the follow and 99% of the time you just wing it.

Supplies needed: 
an empty egg carton (the cardboard kind!)
packets of seeds
cups for dirt picking
some water
dirt (obviously)

First, you'll probably want the kids to "collect" dirt in their cup (bonus points if you use recyclable materials for this!) You can use pre-bought dirt or let them have a go at it and dig in your backyard for some dirt of their own. (Notice the super dirty hands.) 

Then, you're going to want to have each kid fill in every "cup" with some dirt, about half way. Make sure there's enough room to place the seeds and to cover them with enough dirt.

Now, it's time to place the seeds. I poured the seeds into my hand first, then transferred them over to the kids' hands. Otherwise, we'd have a seed catastrophe. 

Once all your seeds are in, it's go time with the dirt again. Have the kids fill in the "cups" all the way (up to the line is probably good enough.) Depending on the age of the kids you're doing this with, you might need to guide them a bit. For example, my kids kept asking "Is this enough dirt? Is this enough?" And you will continue saying "No, more." for about another 5 minutes until it actually is enough dirt. Have them gently pat the dirt down, too.

Add a little bit of water, and you're good to go! Their "science experiment" is done. Now all that's left to do is watch them grow (hopefully...) Honestly, I don't know if the types of seeds we picked out will actually grow in these small little containers, but the kids had fun doing it and it was a cool way to celebrate Mother Nature. Just make sure you place the egg carton somewhere where it will get lots of sunlight and no one will trip over it/step on it and totally ruin your awesome project.

And remember, not to get all cheesy on you guys and everything, but Earth Day should be every day! Be grateful. Take care of our home. If you don't already recycle, start doing it (it's super easy and will make you feel better about yourself, I promise.) If you see a piece of trash on the ground (that's not totally gross, of course) pick it up and throw it out. 

There's lots of ways to help out and make a difference, no matter how small.


Guest Post: Movies about big changes/graduating

Guest Poster: Sarah from Shades of Sarah

Sarah and I are both members of Her Campus Blogger Network, which is how we met, and found we have a few things in common! For one, we are both recent grads who are trying our best to navigate the real world. Secondly, we both have a special love for movies. She posts a lot about movies on her blog and I asked her to write a guest post for me about some movies she recommends for you guys.

Hi, I'm Sarah and I'm excited to be guest posting for Val today! I blog over at Shades of Sarah about all my favorite things, mainly fashion and pop culture. Like Val, I'm also a recent college graduate trying to sort out the real world (while watching too much Netflix.)

One thing I love about movies is that there's always a character or situation to relate with—that's something we all need now and then, especially when a big change (like graduation!) is around the corner. These three flicks will entertain and remind you that you're definitely not alone:

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

First, let's just take a moment to appreciate the '80s glory in that trailer. If you haven't seen Ferris Bueller, a) reevaluate your life, and b) rest assured the movie isn't as dated as the trailer suggests. Despite Ferris' shenanigans, the high school senior really can be a voice of reason. He says it best: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it."

The Graduate

"What are you going to do now?"

"I was going to go upstairs for a minute."

"I meant with your future, your life."

"Well that's a little hard to say."

BEEN THERE. Also, Mr. Feeny is in this and it has pretty much one of the best scripts ever so you should watch it (and I couldn't find a trailer that didn't give away the whole thing so you really should just watch the movie.)

Orange County

Some high school angst + road trip + Tom Hanks' son + young Jack Black = this endearing comedy. It also serves as a good reminder that while some things are in our control, a good amount aren't and sometimes we just have to be ok with that.

Any movies you'd like to add to the list? And don't forget to stop by Shades of Sarah and say hi — thanks again to Val for having me!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sponsored Post: 4 Inseparable Colors in 1 Pen

This post brought to you by BIC 4-Color pen. All opinions are 100% mine.

Do any of you remember using those pens back when you were a kid that had like 3 or 4 different colors in one, and you thought it was the coolest thing ever? Well, they're back! BIC® has come up with a 4 Inseparable Colors in 1 Pen and it's about time somebody brought this kind of pen back in style. I only wish it had been around the last four years while I was still in school, because it would have been the best tool ever for note taking and making study guides! I always carried about a hundred pens in my backpack (different colors) because I liked color coding things. Also, sometimes it's just fun to switch up the color you're writing in. Now, with the BIC® 4-Color™ pen, you only have to carry one pen around and still have the option of four different colors to use, all depending on what you're writing! I purchased my BIC® 4-Color™ pen at Staples, but they're also available through Amazon. You can get them in these cool metallic styles, too! 

Even though I'm done with college and all that intense note taking and studying, I still find this pen extremely useful. As a blogger, I'm constantly writing down ideas and color coding things to make it easier to stay organized. It's great that I can carry around just one pen and still have four colors to choose from. It's also convenient to carry around in your purse/bag!

The pen has four distinct colors (black, blue, red and green.) BIC® created a personality to go along with each of these colors. Blue seems to rule everything, he's the boss and everyone loves him (according to him, anyway.) Black just wishes he could be as good as Blue and hopes one day he can be number one, if he could only figure out how. Red likes correcting everyone and is quite the perfectionist. Green likes food, a lot. He loves taking pictures of his meals and then posting them on all his social media accounts (yeah, he's one of those.) I'd say I'm more like Red. I like being organized and making sure no mistakes are made! Check out these videos BIC® created to show off not only what each color's personality is like, but how they interact with one another as well. I definitely got a chuckle out of them. 


If you want to learn more about the BIC® 4-Color™ pen, follow along on Facebook and Twitter!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Guest Post: Another lost graduate who took a different route post-college

Guest Poster: Erin from This Isn't Woody Allen's Paris
Erin is a dear friend of mine who I met my freshman year of college. We graduated the same year and have been going through similar experiences. After not being able to find a job that she felt would truly make her happy, she made the brave decision of moving to Paris to be an au pair, as well as gain some valuable life experience. She, like many other post-grads nowadays, chose a different path after graduating (and one she most certainly does not regret.) She started a blog to document her experience in Paris, so check it out! Hopefully this fellow graduate inspires some of you to go out and chase your dreams, no matter what they may be.

I, like Val, recently graduated from Rutgers in May (we were actually housemates for two years.)  After graduation was tough. Suddenly, you are plunged into adult life and expected to have your shit together. I tried, I really did, but post grad life was not easy. I had applied to a few jobs with minimal response, and the thought of working as an administrative assistant for the rest of my life seemed like a likely outcome.  

When I finally did get a face-to-face interview for an event planning position at the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, I was so excited. I thought I was the absolute perfect candidate for the job because of my previous experience as an event coordinator in a club at Rutgers.  I thought I was going to have my chance and be one of the few people who gets a job right out of college. I could have been so successful and talk about grown-up things like tax brackets and finding a house. But no, I’m not that lucky, and that would have been way too easy.  Instead of dominating my interview and being offered the position on the spot, I got the stomach flu. I started violently throwing up at two in the morning and didn’t stop until the next night.  Needless to say, I was forced to cancel the interview. I figured vomiting on my interviewer wouldn’t help me get the job. Long story short, I didn’t get it. Shocking, right? Nothing sounds like a more legitimate excuse than “I’m sorry I can’t make it… I think I have some sort of stomach bug.”

Despite being completely embarrassed and disappointed, I now see that fluke illness as one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I’m not implying that I would have gotten the job if I had been able to make the interview, but if I had, I would probably be working there now.   Instead, I am working and living as an au pair in Paris, and I could not be happier. Sure, I could have been an au pair without a college degree, and yes, some people may see my choice as a waste of my education, but nothing could be further from the truth. Since I studied French at Rutgers, this is the perfect opportunity to speak the language on a daily basis and fully immerse myself in the culture. It’s not like I picked a random country on a map and said “hey why not go there.” I knew I wanted to do something a bit different, and I do not regret my decision one bit.

I have received a lot of feedback about my decision to move to Paris (most of which I didn’t ask for), and my choice has really shown me the social pressures we all face after graduation.  Suddenly, after four years of “figuring yourself out,” you are expected to know exactly who you are and exactly what you want. I do envy people who are able to figure that out during college or even high school because their lives are much easier in a certain respect. I, however, still have no idea what I want to do or what kind of person I want to be.  Although I am jealous that other people have everything so figured out, I am also grateful that I don’t.  If I already knew what I wanted, maybe I would have missed out on so many experiences that I now cherish.  Who knows, I could still be in Paris, but most likely I would be sitting in an office typing up a memo that would be read by no one. I never would have been able to travel and accomplish so much. Through my choice to “throw away my education” and “not have a real job,” I have learned so much more about myself than I ever did in college. That being said, I’m still not sure what I want to do, but I do know that Paris is where I belong. I would have never figured that out if I hadn’t puked my brains up before an interview.

I have to be honest, I feel really conceited talking about myself so much. I also want you to know that I don’t think I’m super awesome and free-spirited and that everyone should just pick up and leave for another country. I kind of think I’m a lovely screw up who’s figuring things out as I go and faking it till I make it. I hope this article helps any other confused, unconventional individuals, like myself, feel like they are not wasting anything and that everyone will find themselves in their own time.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

Inspiration Monday: Be You

This week ask yourself - Are you being yourself? Are you doing what makes you truly happy, and not someone else's idea of happiness?
Don't try so hard to fit in. But don't try so hard to stand out, either. Just be natural. Be you.

Here are some inspirational quotes on being yourself to start your week off:

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Wanting to be someone else is a waste of who you are." 
-Kurt Cobain

"The most daring thing is to be yourself and to do exactly what you want to do at that point in time and not to be worried with what other people are doing or what's popular." 
-Wiz Khalifa

"About all you can do in life is be who you are. Some people will love you for you. Most will love you for what you can do for them, and some won't like you at all." 
-Rita Mae Brown 

Have a wonderful week.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Weekend Snapshots: A walk in the park

This weekend I got to catch up with a lot of blog-related things, which was AWESOME! I feel like I've been lagging behind a bit. It was a relaxing weekend in which I didn't really do much, but I'm not complaining because it was much needed. Sometimes we just need a break, you know?

The highlight of my weekend was probably going to this gorgeous park with my mom for a light stroll and a chance to test out my photography skills. It was a bit chilly, but sunny out and a ton of people came out to enjoy the nice "spring" weather. I got a few stares my way while I was in awkward photo taking poses, but oh well. Check out some of the shots I took!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Has our generation gone too far with the drinking lifestyle?

I’ve been experiencing some serious writer’s block. It’s not that I don’t have any ideas, because I have enough ideas to fill up my entire spring and summer post schedule. The problem is I’m having trouble just sitting down and actually writing it all. My ideas bounce around in my head like jumping jelly beans and then it’s hard to put everything into words. I also get stressed out knowing that I should be writing but I’m not. I almost feel like I’m back in school, dreading that paper I have to write but continuously procrastinating until the very last second. Except now, there’s technically no due date. I’m all about being organized and setting goals for myself, with tight run schedules and all. Then, it all just flops. I’m trying to work on this, but sometimes you find yourself in a funk that is just tremendously difficult to get out of.

One thing I do want to share with you all is my experience at the Taking Back Sunday concert I went to on Wednesday night. There were three other bands playing before them, so it was a really long wait (after an already exhausting day at work.) Taking Back Sunday has been my favorite band since I was about 12/13 years old and it is literally written on my bucket list “go to a Taking Back Sunday concert.” Ten years a fan and I had never been to one.

Now, I do not consider myself a “concert-goer” in the least bit. I’m not a fan of large crowds, so I stay away from things like that. I also don’t like spending a bunch of money on nosebleed seats. Just don’t see the point. But, this time was different. I was super pumped.

To say it in the politest way possible, it sucked. Not because of the music or the bands. It was the people, the crowd. I was expecting a crowd of older people or people somewhat my age, those who grew up listening to these bands and just felt like being nostalgic, etc. Instead, the crowd was a mix of overly obnoxious and rude drunk teenagers. Or maybe they were older than that, but I really couldn’t tell by the way they were acting. Everywhere I turned I saw girl drama and fights. People were doing drugs left and right. Everyone was wasted. I did not get to enjoy myself and it was truly disappointing. 

I don’t blame people for wanting to have fun and letting loose for a night, but after my night it really made me think: 
Must we rely on alcohol or drugs to have a good time, all the time?

I think drinking every once in a while is perfectly fine, especially if you know your limits and can contain yourself. However, I see it all around me, all the time. People don’t know how to have fun unless it involves intoxicating yourself in some way. They rather go to bars every weekend than try out new activities or just plan a nice night in with your friends.

College pretty much has a drinking culture of its own, and that’s really never going to change. I’ll admit that I, too, indulged in this type of lifestyle. At what point does it get old, though? For me, this idea of drinking all the time or overindulging in this lifestyle started getting old by the time I became a senior in college. Now whenever I see people my age still acting in such ways or having this mentality, it’s just disappointing. 

I wish it was easier for people to have a good time without having to drink or go out and rage. I understand that it’s fun to let loose, go wild and just have a good time with friends. But, you have to remember a few things:

1. Know your limits. At a certain age, you should know how much you should be consuming. You should know not to get so drunk that you become a problem for others or even for your own self. 

2. There are other things to do besides drinking. Like, an infinity amount of things to do. Finding new activities or hobbies with your friends could open so many doors. Or even simple things, such as going to the movies or cooking a new dish at home with friends, or ordering chinese food and watching Netflix all night. 

3. If the reason you’re going out to bars every weekend is to meet your dream sweetie, think again. Is this really the type of environment you want to meet someone special like that? Sure, a lot of people find their boyfriends/girlfriends at bars, but more likely than not you’re not going to find what you’re looking for. 

4. Alcohol is not good for your body. MAYBE the occasional glass of red wine, as studies have proven, or whatever. But to be binge-drinking all the time causes some serious issues. We all know hangovers suck. You feel that way for a reason. You just threw your body into a spinning hell ride of torture. Also, as we get older, our bodies can’t handle as much alcohol as we used to, so sometimes taking it down a notch is actually literally necessary in order for you to survive the next day.

5. If you rely on alcohol to be less shy, forget about your problems, etc. there are underlying issues that need to be resolved. Alcohol is not the solution. In fact, bringing alcohol into the mix of these pre-existing issues will probably only make things worse in the long run. Deal with life in a different way, a healthier way.

So there you have it. End of rant. Some of you may agree with me, some of you may not, but this is just the way I see things and how I feel. Sometimes it seems that our generation is so involved in the drinking culture and I think it can result in so many problems for our futures and our well-being in general. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Inspiration Monday: It's the little things

Today is going to be a long day for me and just thinking about it starts to make me tired. I usually stay up late doing blog work/writing and then wake up mid-morning to have some time before my afternoon/early evening job. Today I'm working the more typical 9-5 hours and we all know that's hard to do even when you're already used to it (which I am not.) So this morning when I woke up and laid in bed for awhile, I thought to myself "what can I do to make this day, even this week, be more positive and keep myself in a good mood?" That's when I realized that sometimes life is just about the little things. Those small moments in your day that make you smile or laugh or just grateful to be alive. Sometimes it's the little things that really affect us the most. Here are the five "little things" that I came up with this morning while laying in bed, trying to prep myself for the week ahead:


1. Having a pet that sleeps with you every night and then every morning when you wake up, she gets up too and comes over to you to snuggle and purr for awhile before you have to start your day.
2. Having to google some pop reference that you have no idea what it stands for and realizing you are starting to get "old" because you are not up to date with these teeny lingoes (but having a laugh about it!)
3. Waking up and hearing the birds chirping. Hearing the hoot of an owl because it's early enough that they're still out. Looking out your window and see the sun is shining.
4. Starting your day off with a loved one, getting ready simultaneously, complaining about "what a long day it's gonna be" and "Monday's suck ugh omg bye" but knowing you're not alone in your "struggle" - everybody's tired.
5. You are alive. You woke up to a new day. It can hold just about anything. Endless opportunities await you. Maybe it'll be just an ordinary day, maybe it will be an awful exhausting day, but maybe it will be a day that changes your life forever (in a good way.) You really never know.



Have a wonderful day and a great week!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The warmest weekend in months

Naturally, when the weather gets warmer and it's the first really nice day of spring (that falls on a weekend) people come crawling out of their hidey holes like a bunch of ants swarming all over the place and everything is just chaos. That was basically my weekend. While I normally kind of really despise any type of crowds, it was okay this time because the weather was nice and people seemed happy and carefree. Winter is over! I hope. I had plans to do a lot of writing this weekend, but who wants to stay cooped up in their office while the sun is shining and the breeze is blowing through your hair? I promise my blog will get back to having some quality content this week! In the meantime, here are some snapshots of my weekend (all pictures taken with my new Canon Rebel T3 which I am in love with, as you can tell.)


Saturday, April 12, 2014

It's time for... A GIVEAWAY!

I'm so excited to announce my first giveaway! I teamed up with the lovely Shane over at Whispering Sweet Nothings and a few other bloggers to spread the love and have one of you lucky readers win free stuff! Giveaway includes gift cards to Amazon, Target and Sephora along with some ad space on a few blogs. Entering is easy (especially if you're already a fan of my blog's Facebook page!) Check out the links below to enter! A winner will be chosen this upcoming Friday. Good luck!

Check out the sponsor spotlight I'm part of & the official giveaway on Shane's blog: April Giveaway
OR to go straight to the giveaway through Rafflecopter click here: a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thank you for reading In-Between Life and for all the support!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Why you should shop at Plato's Closet instead of the mall

I am and forever will be a bargain shopper. I don't believe in spending $40 on just one shirt (unless it's like, super cute and I absolutely must have it.) When I was younger, I gave in to all that pressure that I must have the latest brand or else I'd be a total loser. I followed the crowd, the latest trends, and didn't really care what it cost because I was your typical selfish and clueless teenager who didn't know the true value of money. Now, I am the complete opposite. 75% of my closet comes from thrift stores, consignment shops or the sale racks. And I love it. For one, you tend to have a more unique wardrobe this way. Secondly, you're saving a BUTT LOAD of money. Believe me. It's a beautiful thing. You just have to know where to go, how to look and most importantly, not be skeeved out by the fact that someone else you don't know has worn the clothes before (come on now, people.) We live in a tough economy. Most of us are broke as hell (or at least trying to start saving up your hard earned cash) but you still want to look cute and stylish. That's where Plato's Closet comes in.

If you haven't already heard about it, Plato's Closet is a type of consignment store that can be found in various locations throughout the country (and appears to be a growing chain.) They carry a variety of items from handbags, jewelry, woman's clothing and shoes as well as some men's clothing. Everything is "gently used" and it is not like your typical thrift store. Items you find here are the latest trend and practically new. They tend to carry a lot of name brand items and at seriously awesome prices compared to what you would pay at full retail price. You can also SELL your stuff! Don't expect to make a bajillion dollars out of it, though. I've tried selling some of my clothes a few times and have only gotten money for things once. I brought in three bags worth of clothing and they only bought one bag's worth- but I still made a $40 profit. You also get a 10% off coupon if you sell anything and then decide to buy items from them that same day. They also have one of those "punch cards" in which you get a stamp every $10 you spend, and once you get 20 stamps you get a 15% off coupon for your next purchase. As a bargain shopper, I couldn't be happier.

Although I consider myself a "bargain shopper," I tend to go overboard when I realize I'm getting so many things at reduced prices. While yes, it's great that I'm saving money and getting so much for what I'm paying - I still need to take it down a notch when I visit Plato's Closet. During my most recent visit I ended up spending around $75 for 9 items. I would have bought more but they don't have shopping carts so my arms could only carry so much...

I want to share with you guys what I bought so you see the type of items this chain carries. They really have something for everyone and I've seen all age groups shopping there (from teenagers to moms.) Below are pictures of each item I purchased, along with the name brand and the price I paid. Check out the deals!

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Benefits of Classical Music

I love music. I love the effect it has on me, on people. I love how there are millions of different kinds of music. I love that you can almost always find a song that will fit perfectly with the mood you are in. Or a song that just speaks to you, in a way no one else really can.

I listen to just about all genres, but my latest kick has been classical music. I've never really been into classical music - definitely not one of those people that played it in the background as they did their work, etc. For some reason I decided to give it a go on Pandora, and not to be super dramatic but, my life has been changed.


I have faced issues such as insomnia, anxiety, stress, the whole works, for just about as long as I can remember. Obviously, college only escalated those issues. I have tried various ways of coping with these problems. Listening to classical music has become a blessing in disguise. I started playing it before bed at night because I found it relaxing and stress relieving. I leave it playing while I sleep (with the t.v. timer set so I don't waste any unnecessary electricity, blah blah blah.) My sleep has really improved. I don't think I've ever found anything (natural) that works this well.

Since I was having such success with classical music for sleep-related purposes, I decided to also play it while I did things that might cause some stress (such as painting my new office) and found that it really helped my levels of stress from rising. It's also been great as background music while I do work for this blog.


I'm sure you've heard it before, that classical music is very beneficial for your brain and health. I did a little bit of research and discovered that some benefits of listening to this type of music include: increased learning capabilities, lower blood pressure, stress reduction, reduced muscle tension, improved sleep quality, etc. Apparently because of its melody and rhythm, classical music affects our brain organization and abilities. More specifically, its rhythm can raise the level of serotonin produced in your brain (which in turn helps with certain mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.)

You might have also heard of the "Mozart Effect" which is a term that originated in the early 90s. According to this claim, Mozart's music (and other similar music) enhances deep rest and rejuvenation as well as creativity and imagination. If you want to learn more about these types of studies, I recommend reading Dan Campbell's book "The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit."

I don't know to what extent all these studies hold truth, but what I do know is that I gave classical music a chance and it helped me tremendously. That's why I want to share with you the benefits it gave me in particular, not just some article you happen to come across claiming all the crazy good benefits you get from listening to Mozart and Beethoven. If anything, just try it for a night or two, or when you're feeling particularly stressed out, and see for yourself what kind of effect this beautiful music may have on you.


For more information check out these articles: one & two

Friday, April 4, 2014

A bit of this and that

I haven't had much time to write any new posts this week (although I have a zillion posts planned - including a review of my new Roku and a guide on picking your first credit card!) I've just been so busy. It's hard trying to balance life. I always say there are not enough hours in the day, but maybe I just haven't learned to manage my time wisely yet. It has also been really difficult to find a time and place to actually do my writing. I need my own "office" here at home in which 1. I don't have any distractions and 2. I actually have space for my things. One of the parts of living back home that really kind of sucks is that I have no space. My clothes are all over the place, my files & papers are here and there, etc. Don't get me wrong - I'm so grateful that I even have a place to live (for free) and I have my own room, but my lack of space and privacy gets frustrating at times. So, I FINALLY convinced my parents to let me turn part of the guest room into my very own office!

That's partially why I've been so busy this week. I love planning and prepping new projects, and this is a big one. I'm repainting the room, rearranging everything, buying new furniture, the whole nine yards. Hopefully by the end of this weekend I will have my "office" all set up and ready to be used. Then, I can start writing some quality posts ;).

Some snaps from my exhausting week:


I fell last Friday (no surprise there, really) and now I have a bruise kind of shaped like Africa? So many pretty colors. -____-


Is Spring finally here?! A field of purple flowers... next to a pile of dead leaves.


Room planning. Look at my tiny desk/office space. But hey, it beats having nothing :)


And finally, some words to leave you with, from someone I have been admiring for awhile now:

"It is what it is. If things could be different, they would be. Trust that you are doing the best you can right now. Keep breathing. Keep moving forward. Keep dancing. There is beauty in this space of in between, too."


If you have Instagram, follow Rachel. She's full of light, a truly positive person and she posts pretty cool yoga poses, too!