10 Things I Have Learned (So Far) In The Real World

I am not a Real World pro by any means, but I have been out of college for about half a year now. (Mind-blowing.)

Six months, apparently, is enough time for reality to sink in and make one realize that no, you are not, in fact, going back to school. You are done with homework and exams and assigned readings. You are done with college, period.

Now that I have entered this thing called The Real World, learning a new routine has come with several challenges I had not at first anticipated. Who knew not having to work on homework at night would cause a (mini) identity crisis?

I love my job! It’s fantastic!

However, when I come home from work, I often find myself not knowing what to do next. I have been so used to tackling homework or going to extra-curricular meetings for the past few years now, that with that suddenly gone, my evenings are free. No meetings, no homework. Suddenly, I have a personal life again.

I do not miss homework at. all., but I do (in a way) miss the routine I had so strategically created and mastered. For those of you out of college, please tell me I’m not alone, and that I’m normal(ish).

But, that’s not all. Instead of boring you with a long blog post, here are

10 Things I Have Learned (So Far) In The Real World.

1. Finding a hobby you can do at night is a great idea. 

2. Time management is still important. 

3. Packing your lunch the night before is a genius idea.

4. So is choosing your outfit. 

5. Cardigans are the best thing ever. Get one in every color. 

6. Find a podcast series or create a music playlist to listen to on your commute. 

7. Don’t forget about your friends. Stay in touch.

8. Read for fun. It’s not overrated. 

9. Pay your bills, save your money. 

10. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ever. 

There is already many more items I could add to that list, and as I keep learning, that list will continue to grow. That’s the cool thing about life. You’re always learning something new!

What about you? What are some things you have learned while entering The Real World?

The Carly Reads Giveaway!

Love to read?

Want to win a free book?

Have an Instagram account?

If you answered “Yes!” to any of the above questions, congratulations. It’s your lucky day. My fabulous friend Carly has an awesome giveaway happening RIGHT NOW!

Head on over to CarlyReadsfind this photo, repost it, tag three friends, include the hashtag #CarlyReadsGiveaway, and include what book you’d love to win in your caption. 

Yep, I know.

It’s that simple.

But hurry! The giveaway ends on Saturday, August 8 at 11:59 p.m., so there are only a few days left to enter.

P.S. Stay tuned for a future interview blog post with Carly to discuss how she started CarlyReads and all the adventures she’s had so far because of it! Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 12.25.09 AM

The Top 5 Songs You Must Listen To Right Now

 

I commute every day and get sick and tired of the radio.

You can only listen to Ed Sheeran and Maroon 5 so many times before you cannot stand it anymore.

In the same boat? You’ve come to the right place.

Three of these are new songs and the other two are oldies, but I cannot stop listening to them and thought you might love them, too.

Here are The Top 5 Songs You Must Listen To Right Now.

  1. Mike Love – Permanent Holiday
  2. Grouplove – Spun
  3. Elon University (cover) – Sia – Chandelier
  4. Sara Bareilles – (Sittin’ On The) Dock Of The Bay
  5. Chopin – Sonata No. 2 in B Flat Minor, Op. 35 1. Grave Doppio movimento

Bonus song! One of my favorite hymns sung beautifully by one of my favorite worship bands: King’s Kaleidoscope (cover) – How Deep

What song are you currently listening to on repeat? Share it in the comments below!

Several Months Later

* Several Months Later *Several_Monthes_Later..._

I feel like I am living a Sponge Bob episode where time races forward and the next scene occurs months after the previous scene. AKA I have not written a blog post in several months and a lot has happened since my previous one.

A few months can change a lot of things. For example, my role as a student took its final bow and I received a college degree as proof. My role as job searcher ended, as well, and I accepted a post-grad job with great excitement. My role as Smurf-owner changed, because I bought a new {silver, not blue} car.

If you do not stop to take it all in, life goes by pretty fast. It feels like just yesterday I wrote a blog post about the anxiety I felt before entering college and here I am, * four years later * reflecting on the truth that I left it.

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Life goes on after college. That is one fact I had a hard time grasping throughout the last semester or two. It was difficult to imagine a world without homework, exams, group projects, and presentations. To be honest, it has been challenging to get out of the mindset that I start school in the fall. I’m relieved, of course, and very excited — still, it is bizarre to embrace the idea that I’m actually done. Eighteen years of school and *snap* – it’s over.

Life goes on — a truth, a revelation, a promise.

An adult. A real one. I am a full-fledged adult now, but I still feel {sometimes}
like I am 12. Maybe it is because I have not grown since my pre-teen years, or maybe it is because I do not feel “old” like I once thought adults should feel. Nevertheless, it’s official. I’m a college graduate and a new member of this much-talked-about place called, “the real world.” Ready or not, here I come.

In the beginning of the year, I chose three words to help guide me through the next 365 days: First, Risk, and Joy.

My oh my, how perfect those words have been to summarize the many joys, struggles, difficulties, and blessings I have experienced thus far this year. In just these seven months of 2015, I feel like I have been stretched in ways I did not anticipate. Stretched in patience, faith, love, and joy. Stretched in trust, work ethic, focus, and determination. Stretched, stretched, stretched — but stretched in ways that always pointed me towards focusing on the God who gives me strength.

Without firsts, without risks, and without joys, life is pretty dull. As a girl who usually loves routine and order, the idea of risking a comfort zone to try new things can be a true test of what I am made of.

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 10.42.51 PMI have a lot of adjusting and stretching to do. Obviously, I am not nearly as stretched as God wants me to be. Every day of life stretches you a little more towards Him. I’ve been stretching my identity to be more then just a piece of resume paper. My identity is more then the tasks I perform, the activities I participate in, and the motions of everyday life. My identity is through Christ, in Christ, alone.

A professor said to my class two weeks before the semester ended this past spring. He said to me, to us, “Stop thinking about what you want to do after college. Who do you want to be?” It struck me. Not because of the question, but because I realized how often I think about the things that need to be accomplished that I often forget to stop and really enjoy the moment.

The ironic part of this sort-of epiphany is how often I have blogged over the years about learning to find the little joys in every day life. It is a constant, life-long battle, and one that requires me to be constantly stretched and tested.

All I know is that I’m excited… and ready.

Another chapter has opened, full of new firsts, risks, and joys.

Let’s do this. IMG_1385

“I’ve had more Starbucks coffee this week then…”

“I’ve had more Starbucks coffee this week then…”

This fragment of a sentence was overheard at a local Starbucks this afternoon. I sat at the counter, overlooking the dreary, grey and rainy skies, slaving over to-do lists — and a woman’s thought resonated with me.

That fragment of a sentence pretty much summarizes March so far, yep. The good thing about this semester is that most of my activities are finished by 3 p.m. I look forward to Wednesdays, in particular, because of the long afternoons of nothing scheduled {usually}.  There is no where else to be except where I end up being.

For today, and for most Wednesdays, that place usually ends up being Starbucks. They know my order {finally}, but still cannot spell my name correctly {of course}.

“Is it C-A-R-E-Y?” A hopeful barista asked me.

“That’s one way to spell it,” I joked, half-smiling. I have given up the battle of correct spelling. If only it was not too late to tell them a completely different name. By now they know Keri’s order by heart, not Whitney’s or Sarah’s or Holly’s.

Half-way through the semester, almost. Next week is spring break and that means I am officially almost a bachelor’s degree graduate. Two more months and it will be here. The cap and gown are ordered and ready for pick-up, the 150+ credits of courses are taken, and the resume has been critiqued and perfected more times then I can count. There is a to-do list that is ever-growing and a mind of thoughts that is ever-thinking.

Yet, on this rainy, springy hump-day, I cannot help but pause and wonder how many cups of Starbucks brewed coffee I have consumed this month… let alone year… let alone life. The question is not “Can you survive without coffee, Keri?” It’s more along the lines of, “Why would you want to survive without coffee?”

I am a passionate enthusiast who believes in the perfect blend of rain and coffee. I do not think there is anything better that complements rainy afternoons then coffee. I dare anyone to try and think of one. At least for my life, Starbucks has helped me through many-a-stressful-time. Why stop now?

“I’ve had more Starbucks coffee this week then…”

Me too, lady. Me too.

The 3 Words: January and February Review

It’s been two months and five days since 2015 began.

To me, it seems like we rang in the new year yesterday… time flies! But, so far, so good!

Remember when I chose 3 words to focus on in 2015?

Well, like all ‘resolutions,’ keeping them requires time, energy, and evaluation. Here’s a review of how the progress is going…

First.

So far, there have been a lot of firsts. Professionally, I purchased my first stack of business cards from Vistaprint. They were very affordable and extremely easy to customize. But that’s not all! They arrived only a few short days after I ordered them, which made my day enough to take this picture. Another first this year was reading Gone GirlYes Please, and Bossypants. These three books were incredibly well-written, inspiring, and hard to put down– I definitely recommend them. {Check out the entire stack of winter session reads here.} I’m also pleased to announce I’m an official The Skimm Ambassador and a member of the Her Campus Blogger Network {hence the new ‘Networks’ tab on the right of this page}

There have been several personal firsts, as well. I won’t name them all {I know, I know– I’m a terrible person!}, but here are several I will share with you. For one, I had my last first day of school — ever! And, in typical Keri fashion, I found a throwback of my first day of school {pre-K} and created this collage to summarize 18 years of school. Time flies! It has also snowed {a lot} this winter. Actually, it is snowing as I type this– just another snowstorm to add to the list. This was the first snow sunset photo I took this year — winter sunsets take my breath away.

Risk.

Thankfully, physical risk has been nonexistent; although, there have been several times while driving on icy roads that I have been convinced otherwise. This entire semester will be one big, risky adventure, if only for the fact that people keep asking, “What’s next?” It is hard for me to answer this question sometimes, because the unknown is…well, unknown. My need to plan, plan, plan is going out the window, and it really has pushed me out of my comfort zone. However, as my word ‘joy’ will explain, risk is not always a bad thing. It can lead to…

Joy.

My need to plan is a silly one, because God’s plans are far better than mine will ever be. Every time I think I know what the plan is, He patiently reminds me that He has it all under control. His have {and always will} be better than I had ever imagined. From job searching to figuring out what the next chapter entails to everything in between, it is easy to dwell on the question, “What’s next?” It is easy to rush through the little moments of life, but those are the experiences memories are made of. Joy is in the perspective, and 2015 has been the year of God teaching me more about it.

So that’s a {general, brief} overview of the first two months of 2015! If this is foreshadowing to how the rest of the year is going to be, 2015 is going to be a whirlwind of {awesome, exciting} adventure.

How’s 2015 shaping up for you? Let me know by sending a tweet or commenting below!

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Liebster Award Nomination

Happy Monday!

Last week, I was nominated for a Liebster* award by Haley from Honestly Haley, a talented blogger and photographer I met through the blogosphere. Go check out her stuff; she’s great!

You may be wondering what a Liebster award is, and that is a great question. Let me try to explain. In short, a Liebster award is kind of like a piece of chain-mail in the blogging community, but without the annoying ‘threats’ that can come along with it. You nominate other bloggers to get to know them, meet new people, and share the love. You receive 11 questions to answer and then you create 11 of your own to pass on to your nominees. Thank you for the nomination, Haley!

* My Mac keeps wanting to auto-correct Liebster to Lobster. Haha!

And so we begin…

liebsteraward-roses-tag

1. What is your favorite flavor of jellybean? 

I’m a jellybean lover, so this is difficult! I know I hate the white ones; those are nasty. Hmm… I’d have to say my favorite flavor has to be pink watermelon (Starburst jelly beans, for the win) with green apple as a close second. I like them all, though. Except the white ones.

2. What are 10 things you can’t live without?

Oh snap! 10? I’d say: my Bible, Mac, phone, planner (I do not go anywhere without it), coffee (well, Starbucks coffee to be exact), a book (more specifically, anything written by Jodi Picoult), my grey boots (I’m not a huge fan of the color black, but grey is definitely my favorite neutral– they go with everything), Essie nail polish (specifically, “Cute As A Button” for spring), The Smurf (my bright blue car), and infinity scarves (I wear them allllll the time).

3. Who would play you in a movie about your life?

Jennifer Lawrence would be rad! She’s hilarious and I’m not, so it’d be a step in the right direction, I think. Either her or Karla Souza (the girl who plays Laurel on How to Get Away With Murder) would be awesome.

4. What would a perfect day consist of?

Any day at the beach or in New York City!

5. What are you most grateful for?

The fact that God loves me and died for me, even though I do not deserve it. His grace amazes me and I am eternally grateful for it.

6. What do you look for in a friend?

I can summarize it all in four words: Integrity, humor, encouragement, genuine.

7. What is your favorite food?

Grape leaves, which is a Lebanese dish I’ve eaten every holiday since I was young. Chicken and broccoli casserole is also a favorite of mine, followed by homemade vegetable soup. To die for.

8. What is your favorite season and why?

Autumn is, by far, my favorite season. I love watching the leaves change and the air turn colder. Football season begins and fall colors are everywhere. Throughout college, I’ve also noticed some of my favorite memories come from fall semesters so I have a lot of happiness in those couple of months. It’s also not too hot and not too cold, high 60s or low 70s and sunny. Perfect.

9. What is your dream job?

If you had asked me from age 5 to 15, I would’ve told you it was to work as a news anchor for Fox News. If you had told me last year, I would have said it was to become a sideline reporter for ESPN or for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now, it’s public relations– plain and simple. I would still love to work in sports PR, but ideally, my dream job is to go into work every day loving what I do, and that is public relations, social media/marketing and event planning. Whichever job can let me do one, two, or all three of those is my dream job!

10. Where is your dream home?

Home is where the heart is, right? Cliche, but true. Where the people I love are, that’s where I want to be. But, that’s a cliche answer so I’ll give an unrealistic answer. I’d love to live in Australia or Hawaii, at least for a month or two– actually, I take that back. A vacation would suffice.

11. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or Oreo. I’m a fan of the chocolate-y pieces, but hate chocolate ice cream.

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Okay, so my nominations are as follows for the Liebster award… These are blogs I think are awesome and I read them almost every day. I’ve also had the privilege of meeting two and personally corresponding with a few, as well. Check out their sites– they’re fantastic, just like the authors!

Meagan at The Millenial Martha

Courtney at The Everyday Elegance

Carly at The College Prepster

Katy at Daily Katy

Laura at Center Stage: Communication

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Have fun! I can’t wait to see your posts.

Here are you questions…

1. When did you start your blog?

2. If you could meet anyone, who would it be?

3. If you could go anywhere, where would it be and why?

4. If you could have one super power, what would it be?

5. Describe your dream day.

6. If you had $100,000, what would you do?

7. What is your dream job?

8. What are five things on your bucket list?

9. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

10. What social media channel do you check first when you wake up?

11. What is your favorite season and why?