Monday, September 29, 2014

In Between Jobs: a.k.a. back to square one

So here I am, {somewhat} back to where I was at last fall. JOB-LESS! Ugh. I've been working as a part-time nanny for the past 7 months or so for this great family, but decided I needed to search for something full-time and also more relative to what I want career-wise (which to be honest, still no clear cut decision there.) I gave a month's notice and was hoping within that time of applying and interviewing (ahem, just one interview) I'd find a job so I wouldn't be  "in between jobs."

Alas, here I am. Back on that road we call life: still no map, still no direction, still scared out of my f?!ing mind. But that's what being a post-grad twenty-something is all about nowadays, right?

Compared to how I was a year ago, however, I am much more cool and collected about this dilemma I'm in. No, I don't have everything figured out. Yes, I have bills and loans to pay. Yes, I worry about my future. And no, I don't want to settle for a job that I know I will hate. Which makes this whole process that much more complicated. So many post-grads settle for jobs they know are mediocre. I don't want to have to be that person. I'm lucky I have parents who help support me, but I certainly want to be independent—and the sooner the better! 

It all just kind of sucks though, doesn't it? We not only have to compete with an atrociously awful job market but we also usually end up settling for whatever comes our way because what else can we do? It's even harder for people like me. I have a creative soul. I ooze creativity. I hate the regular 9 to 5 routine (but I know I wouldn't if I were doing something I love.) I have so many ideas and thoughts circling through my mind that I can't even sleep at night because my mind never shuts off. I wish I could use all of these skills and talents I have and actually make a career/income out of it, but in today's world "creative" fields are extremely difficult to get into. And even then, sometimes you have to settle for something that is only vaguely related to what you want to be doing in order to just gain some experience. Because how can we forget—they won't hire you if you don't have experience, but you can't get experience if no one hires you! Oh.

As you can tell, I'm a little fed up with this whole job searching conundrum. I'm kind of just fed up with everything a post-grad has to go through. I don't want to be bitching and whining about it all, but it gets terribly exhausting and discouraging. Our generation is so different from past generations (or maybe not so much that we're different, but older generations have forgotten what it's like to be our age... also we live in sucky times.) Post-grad twenty-somethings get such a bad rep and it really pisses me off. How dare we want something different than what everyone else is doing? How dare we want to change the world we live in? How dare we not have a job yet and still be mooching off our parents? There are so many jobs out there! Sure! I'll be a secretary/somebody's bitch! Sure! I'll work at a job that pays $10 an hour even though I went to school for four years in order to NOT have to settle for that! SURE!!!

Okay, rant aside and all, I don't want to sound discouraging. I know there are lot of people out there feeling just as I am or in similar situations. I'm annoyed, yes, but I haven't lost hope. It's super, super important to stay optimistic. Not only are you doing yourself (and your sanity) a favor, but the universe tends to throw good things your way if you keep a positive vibe. It's tough out there, but know you're not the only one dealing with all this BS. Life has a way of working itself out, so just hang in there. In the meantime, please feel free to join me in my rant and let out all that steam!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Spooky Links!

I may be jumping the gun a little bit, but guys, come on! Halloween is only 37 days away! And it is the first day of fall after all, so naturally we all want to jump on that Halloween bandwagon. I'm very big on Halloween and scary movies/stories, so I thought I would share with you some of my favorite sources for finding these spooky things. Enjoy and tis' the season of scaring your pants off!!!

Creepy Pasta is my favorite place to go when I'm in the mood to read a scary story and just creep myself out. I tend to do this late at night right before bed, you know for that added affect of creepiness, ha. All stories are user submitted. Some kind of suck, but there are some really awesome classics in the mix, too. A few of my favorite stories so far: String Theory, Candle Cove, Squidward's Suicide, The Russian Sleep Experiment, The Grimes Home (part of the Candle Cove series), Pokemon Black

This site is brought to you by the creators of Weird NJ, which has always been one of my favorite sites (since 1. I'm from NJ and 2. It's creepy). Weird NJ is an awesome site so I definitely recommend checking it out, even if you're not from NJ. However, if you're looking for stories from your own state you can check out Weird US! The stories are sorted by either state OR category.

In a rush? Want to get your creepy on in a quick way? Then check out these 40 "creepy ass two sentence stories." Honestly, you'd be surprised how scary just two sentences can be. Whoever came up with some of these are super talented.

I'm not sure what year this list was made, so there may be some movies that aren't on the list because they are fairly new, but it still has some of the best scary movies I've ever seen. I've watched the majority of the movies on the list (surprise, surprise) but there's actually some I haven't seen! I've found that the best scary movies are the older ones (like from the 60s to 80s). Anyway, if you're looking for some scary movies to add to your Halloween list I definitely recommend checking this out!

If you have any "spooky links" of your own, please share with me! As you can tell, I love creeping myself out ;)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Some "fall" things I'm loving lately

*warning: this post will be incredibly cliche*

Since summer is finally winding down and the weather's getting chillier, lots of changes come with the new season. Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons. I can go on and on about the reasons why, but it all pretty much sums up to there being something in the air that just sparks something in me. This quote explains it a bit better than I can:

"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall."

So with that being said, and since it's officially "fall" in a couple of days, I just wanted to compile a list of some things I'm loving lately now that the weather is getting crisper and pumpkin spiced lattes are all around us.

  • Fall scented candles: I went into the Bath & Body Works store yesterday and besides being bombarded by all their employees to test out this and that and "do you need any help?" it was a somewhat enjoyable experience! Why? Because there's like a bajillion new "fall" scented candles. Of course the majority of them have "pumpkin" in the title and yes, one of the candles I ended up being guilted into buying was called "Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin" (it smells wonderful by the way). I love walking into a house and smelling that cinnamon/pumpkin/whatever candle scents they have that are always associated with autumn. It just smells so homey and comforting!
  • Wearing my Uggs: Okay, so I have outgrown that phase where I wore Uggs with everything, but my favorite shoes in the whole wide world are my totally worn out Uggs that I've had for SEVEN years now. They are so ugly but they are so, so comfortable and for me, that makes them beautiful. I don't really wear them to go out into public, unless I'm going on a lazy errand, so these babies get to stay indoors now. My favorite outfit during this time? Light sweater, pajama shorts and my precious Uggs. I don't even wear socks with them. So yeah, you don't want to go anywhere near them.
  • Anticipating Halloween: Halloween is the new Christmas, amiright? Okay, so maybe not everyone is as crazy about Halloween as I am, but it is truly one of my favorite holidays and I'm starting to get pumped up that October is almost here. You know what that means! Scary movies galore! I love movies in general and the horror genre is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, I've basically seen all the ones worth watching already and nothing shocks me anymore. Every Halloween season I want to do something epic but my attempts usually fail. This year I want to try and really scare my pants off, but I'm not sure how... Last year I went to a "haunted house" with a couple of my friends and it basically lasted five minutes because we ran through the entire thing screaming our heads off. I am a little ashamed that as a horror buff I was that much of a pansy when it came time to it. I'd love to go to a real haunted house or somewhere else historic, like Sleepy Hollow or Salem! 
  • That "chimney/smokey" smell: Does ANYONE know what this smell really is? Like is there a specific name for it? Do you even know what I'm talking about? It's that smell that comes with the chillier weather. You walk outside at night in the fall and sometimes you catch this smell and it's just so nice! For me at least. I'm very big on smells, if you haven't noticed, and this is definitely one of my favorite parts of fall. 

Okay, so that is all for now. It's only the very beginning of this wonderful season, so a lot of the typical "cliche" fall favorites are still a few weeks away. I hope you appreciate the fact that I did not include "pumpkin everything" aka the pumpkin spiced latte. I've been a favorite of those so called fabulous drinks for years, but lately I think they're overrated. GASP. I know. How dare I. 

So tell me! What are some "fall" things you're loving lately?

Monday, September 15, 2014

My Favorite F. Scott Fitzgerald Quotes

I've recently been reading Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler and am totally fascinated by it. Not only does it fall under historical fiction (one of my favorite sub genres as a history major, duh) but it also delves into the world of the Fitzgeralds and their story. Now, I haven't really looked into how accurate of a story the book itself is, but it still intrigues me. The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books and it's known that the character Daisy was inspired by Scott's wife, Zelda. A few of Scott's most famous quotes are thrown in the book here and there, so I wanted to share with you what some of my favorite of his are.

"Everybody's youth is a dream, a form of chemical madness." 

"A woman should be able to kiss a man beautifully and romantically without any desire to be either his wife or his mistress."

"Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy."

"My idea is always to reach my generation. The wise writer writes for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever afterward."

What's your favorite Fitzgerald quote?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

C&V: Statement Jewelry!

Statement necklaces have been all the rage lately and for good reason! They can really add a nice pop of color or style to your outfit. It's so easy to dress up any simple, classic outfit with statement jewelry. Although necklaces seem to be the most popular, there are also awesome rings and bracelets out there to add to your style. Cynthia and I got together to display some of our favorite statement pieces. A lot of these pieces of jewelry were purchased from the following stores: Forever 21, H&M, Charming Charlie, Shop Ruche and thrift stores!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Millennial Talk: Your job does not define you.

Something I've struggled to learn in my past year as a post-grad, and only recently have begun to realize, is that your job, or what you do for a living, does not define you. In some cases: sure, it does. There are people out there who get paid for doing their hobby. There are people out there with careers they are completely passionate about and it revolves around who they are as a person. But the majority of us end up doing something completely irrelevant to what our "hobbies" and interests may be. 

Our generation in particular is prone to having quarter life crisis' because we find ourselves at jobs that we aren't crazy about, doing things we have no passion for. We were brought up with these ideals: pursue what you love, study what you enjoy, don't worry about the rest because it will all fall into place. But now, we're faced with an economic disaster, bombarded by loans and nowhere to turn. Almost everyone I talk to at this age truly hasn't got a clue what they're doing, or what they'll end up doing. Many post-grads find themselves working for the first job that comes their way once they graduate and a lot end up miserable. The reasons for this vary completely based on each individual, but it seems a lot of us are on the same boat. We simply don't know where to turn to anymore.

One of the reasons we are faced with such a dilemma is because we live in a workaholic society. People here make their job their life. Some have no option. Others just slowly enter this never ending dreadful cycle and then don't see a way out. Your job should not, and does not, define who you are as a person. Don't let that happen. You may be at a job that bores you or you see no real interest or future in, but that doesn't mean you should let it make you dread waking up every morning. It's true that we live in a society in which we spend much of our day at work, and sometimes feel there is little time for anything else, but don't let yourself fall into that mindset. There is certainly enough time in the day, in the week, to work your job and still have time to do what you love and work on your hobbies. Don't have a hobby? Find one. Find what you have a passion for and work on that. Who knows, maybe in the long run you'll be able to turn that into a form of income. But even if you don't, it doesn't matter. You are not your job. What makes you you is what you have passion for, what you believe in, what you do in your free time.

While I believe that life is too short to settle for anything less than extraordinary, sometimes we need to be realistic and find a balance. Since graduating college, I've found myself questioning my future a lot. As I'm sure many other post-grads do. One of my biggest fears is not figuring out what I want my career to be and essentially not living up to my true potential because of all these obstacles that get in the way. It's really scary when you're staring at your entire future and all the potential and possibilities, with about a gazillion paths to take and you are utterly confused. I still feel this way, almost all the time, but what has started to make me feel somewhat more at ease is the realization that whatever my job ends up being, doesn't really matter. It's just a job. It's not who I am. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Back to School Giveaway!

Does anyone else love giveaways? Because I sure as hell do! I love organizing them and setting them up and then watching the entries roll in. My favorite part is emailing the winner and getting back an email of one very happy person. The first giveaway I ever ran was the Target gift card giveaway back over Memorial Day weekend and it was such a huge hit that I wanted to do something similar this time around. This giveaway will be for a $100 Target gift card PLUS a $30 Starbucks gift card which means you can get all the pumpkin spice lattes you want while you stroll around Target buying endless supplies of back to school goodies. What could be better?!

Good luck! And spread the word! 
Thank you to all the lovely bloggers who contributed to this giveaway!
xo, Val

Monday, September 8, 2014

Inspiration Monday: Be Strong

I can't even recollect how many times I have heard the words "be strong" or some variation of that. Not just said to me, but to people around me or people saying it to someone else. "You have to be strong." "You can get through this, just be strong." "Be strong, you got this." Of course, they are wise words and in this hectic, chaotic mess of a life sometimes the only thing you can do is be strong. The thing is - so much easier said than done. Being "strong" is not easy, nor is it something that can easily be defined. Everyone has their own definition or perception of what "being strong" is all about.

I was scrolling through Pinterest the other day, where I like finding inspirational quotes (along with about a million other "pin-worthy" stuff), and I found this list of "18 things mentally strong people do."  I didn't really agree with all of them, but these are some that stood out to me:
  • They move on. They don't waste time feeling sorry for themselves.
  • They embrace change. 
  • They are kind, fair, and unafraid to speak up.
  • They invest their energy on the present. They don't dwell on the past.
  • They are willing to fail. They don't give up after failing. 
  • They accept their feelings without being controlled by them.

I can go on and on about what makes a person strong, but what I may consider strong, you may not. Some people view being strong as being void of emotions and feelings, of not letting yourself get caught up in any of that messy stuff. Others simply view being strong as getting up day after day, despite how hard your life may be. You know what? What's most important is that you view yourself as strong. Figure out what your definition of "strong" is and then strive to be that, every chance you get. It's not easy, but if it were, I don't think we would see it as such a virtue. 

Don't base your "strength" off others. Everyone is facing their own battles, everyone faces life differently. You alone are the one who determines how strong you can be, how strong you are willing to become. You have the power to "be strong." Don't ever let anyone define what your own strength is. 

Have an awesome week.
xo, Val

Friday, September 5, 2014

C&V: Summer to Fall Transition

So currently, it's still hot as tamales outside. I'm desperately awaiting the return of nice chilly weather. However, I know that perfect fall weather is still weeks away, so I'm going to try and enjoy the rest of this weird summer to fall transition we're gonna be facing for awhile. Dressing in this weather is impossible. The worst is when you start off with chilly mornings but sweltering heat by the afternoon. How do you dress for that?! Obviously layers are your best friend, but still.

For the second part of our first C&V Adventures photo shoot, we snapped a few pics of some "summer into fall" transition outfits. There's really an infinite number of possibilities, but these were just a couple of ones we came up with on the spot. Combining shorts with cardigans is always a good way to go for this type of weather. It's especially great for those of you who don't want to let go of the summer just quite yet!

Monday, September 1, 2014

My favorite things to do when I'm sick

Since my life has the tendency to take on ironic twists and turns, I would, of course, get sick over the holiday weekend. I had a lot planned to do this weekend and wasn't even annoyed that I wouldn't get much of a chance to be lazy. That all went down the drain when I started feeling achy and dizzy on Saturday (although that didn't stop me from a 4 hour mall trip, ahem) and by night fall I was bed-ridden. That basically lasted all the way through Sunday and Monday. Today was the worst. I have some kind of head cold, so my brain has felt like a bowling ball all day and I'm just generally feeling like road kill. I'm only now beginning to feel a little bit better, which hopefully lasts because it's back to the real world tomorrow. I'm sad I didn't get to give summer the "unofficial" goodbye, but I'm also excited for fall weather and activities soon!

While I was sick this weekend I thought back to the bajillion of other times I've been sick and what I usually do to try and make myself feel better or at least just pass the time with. So here's some of my favorite things to do when I'm sick!

  • T.V. Show Marathon - I spent most of tonight Netflix binging and did not feel guilty about it in the least bit. I think the fact that I'm sick allows me to lounge around and do nothing but watch show after show without feeling like I'm wasting my life away. What else am I going to do but lay in bed and let Netflix take over my life? I don't even have to click "next episode"! When I got mono over winter break my freshman year of college, I spent two weeks in bed watching 4 seasons (or more?) of Supernatural. It was awesome.
  • Shower - Okay, this may seem like a weird one, but hear me out. Whenever I'm sick, I unfortunately do not have the energy or will power to maintain my personal hygiene. So, once I finally do get that little spurt of energy, I hop into the shower and start to feel better instantaneously. It's almost how some people like taking showers in the morning because it wakes them up (that doesn't work for me, by the way). When I'm sick, I like taking showers once I'm able to because I start feeling refreshed and a lot less like road kill. 
  • Pig out - I ate quite a bit of Chinese food and chocolate ice cream with peanut butter cups this weekend. No regrets. I don't feel guilty for eating junk food when I'm sick because I pity myself. Yeah, I said it, so what. No0o0o it's not the best to be fueling yourself with crap, but I'm still drinking lots of water and taking vitamins so I like to think it evens out a bit...
  • Sleep - This one's pretty self-explanatory.
  • Knock myself out with NyQuil - This kind of goes hand in hand with sleep. But really, what's better than getting a good night's rest when you're feeling like baloney? 

This is one of the laziest posts I've ever written, but I'm letting it slide because I'm sick. So there.

What's your favorite thing to do when sick? Help a girl out :)