My Last Post – Goodbye!

Sometimes, we grow out of things. We can spend weeks, months, and years doing something we are passionate about and then suddenly, we find our interest waning. Perhaps there is something bigger and better that we would like to pursue or maybe we are just tired of doing the same thing.

That’s how I feel about this blog.

Whatever I do in life – I do well. I do not know “half-way” – you either get all my energy or none of it. But, for the past few months, I have been dwelling in a half-way zone with this blog. I won’t apologize or make excuses because well…it’s my blog and, I can cry if I want to.

The truth is, I don’t want to share myself with the internet anymore.

I am a very private person – never been a big sharer or attention seeker – so it has always been a little out of my comfort zone to publish my thoughts online for everyone to read. I did it for a while, a year and seven months to be exact, but now I am done with it.

That is why this will be my last blog post.

This shouldn’t be a shocker for any of you. I’ve been sporadic for most of the summer, and I haven’t been passionate about my content for some time, and it stresses me out. Like I said, I don’t do “half-way.”

So, I am waving the white flag of surrender. I am saying goodbye to any and all of you who stumble across this blog. It was fun while it lasted but, at this point in my life, I have grown out of blogging.

I have a lot of life to live and, I am living it, changing and growing, and I want to continue to do that outside of the internet.

So, my friends, this is Sam signing off. It’s been a fun ride for this past year and a half, and I hope no one is too bent out of shape that they can no longer read about my recent lip gloss purchase. Something tells me, you’ll be just fine.

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I am So Glad I Don’t Have to Go Back to School

I have always loved school in a nerdy, overachiever, going-to-destroy-you-all-with-my-grade-point-average kind of way. Since I was a child, back-to-school supply shopping has literally been second best to Christmas for me and, I would eagerly wait each August for the Target back-to-school section to pop up like a traveling circus of glue sticks, mechanical pencils, and white boards.

That’s why I am a little disoriented by being so excited NOT to go back to school this semester (or ever again if I choose it).

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When I graduated college in May, I pretty much crawled across the graduation stage. In my usual overachiever way, I had completed my English degree requirements when I finished my junior year so, my last year of college was more of a formality than anything else.

Deciding to use the time to the fullest, I studied abroad in England in the fall of 2013, which turned out to be a tough yet worthwhile, fantastic, and life-changing experience.

However, when I came back to finish my last semester at my home university, I ended up feeling kind of bitter about it.

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It seemed like I was being forced to waste time, energy, and money by fulfilling an arbitrary minimum 120 credit graduation requirement even though I had already fulfilled my general requirements and my degree requirements. At the same time, my university seemed to be trying to make my last semester my worst, with various offices on campus making my life a living hell.

I spent so much time and energy battling with so many different departments on campus during my last semester that by the time that I finally said my goodbyes in May, I was half tempted to flip the bird as I drove down the road.

After such a tumultuous last semester, it’s not such a surprise that I feel sour towards the education system that used to be my bread and butter.

I wrote a few weeks back that post-grad life is better, and I am still standing by that statement. Knowing that I am not returning to college next week is a big sigh of relief for me. I have always thrived on permanency and routine, and college is the exact opposite of that – it is always changing, pushing, and disappearing.

College never felt like a good fit for me, something that didn’t quite click until I realized how much happier I am outside of university system, and that’s not to worry the freshman and upperclassman who will be returning to school come fall but rather to serve as a reminder that whether college is your salvation or your own personal hell, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel waiting for you to find it.

I Forgot My Phone

I have never felt overly attached to whatever hunk of plastic that is my current cellphone however, whenever I forget my phone at home, I begin to feel twinges of anxiety. What if I get a flat tire? What if there is an emergency? What if Cara breaks up with her boyfriend and, I miss her text message? What if Bobby says hi and, he thinks I am blowing him off because I didn’t answer?

It is without my phone beside me that, I realize how much I unconsciously reach for it. I don’t really use my phone much except for email and texts but when I don’t have my phone with me, I realize the ridiculous amount of times per day that I click the unlock button just to check whether something needs to be responded to.

Five minutes. Click. Twenty minutes. Click. Five minutes. Click.

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It’s like clicking the unlock button has become entwined in every part of my life. First thing when I wake up. Click. Leaving for work. Click. Sit down at my desk. Click. Come back from a meeting. Click. Click. Click. Click.

I have always been very conscious of avoiding the “phone security blanket” phenomenon and because of that, I always try to keep my phone away even in the most awkward social situations when scrolling through a screen seems easier than making eye contact or striking up a conversation.

However, despite this, I still feel anxiety when I leave my phone at home as if, despite being surrounded by other people, a landline, and a computer, I am stranded on a deserted island. It’s like when I unconsciously forget my phone (versus making a conscious decision to leave it), I feel like I am missing something important like an earring or a shoe.

Why is it that I feel such an attachment to this hunk of plastic? What causes us as humans to tie our emotions to such an easily replaceable piece of technology? Is it the idea that we are never really alone with this piece of plastic in our hands or does it point to something deeper about our growing hunger for instantaneous information?

Either way, a day without a phone can feel both anxious and liberating, reminding me how much power I unconsciously assign a hunk of plastic.

Gold Smokey Eye Tutorial

This gold smokey eye look is a little less intimidating than the traditional darker smokey eye and, can be easily worn for day and night.

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1. Prep your lids by applying concealer under your eyes to brighten any circles and, apply eye primer to keep all the shadows we will be applying in place.

2. Using an angled brush, apply a dark brown shadow to your upper lash line, winging it out.

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3. Apply a golden shadow to the inner 2/3 of your lid.

4. Apply a dark gold shadow to the remaining outer third of your lid.

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5. Apply a dark shimmery brown shadow in the crease and blend it out. If you don’t blend, the shadow is going to look heavy and overly dark (i.e. racoonish).

6. Use a brown liner to tightline your upper and lower lash line.

7. Apply mascara (I am using brown mascara here) to your lashes and, highlighter to the inner corners of your eye and your brow bone.

Meeting My Nephew!

Yesterday, I journeyed to Towson and back to meet the new bundle of joy that is my nephew, Greyson. At 8 pounds 12 ounces, he’s on his way to being a linebacker, but even though he weighs more than a gallon of milk, everything about him still seems so tiny.

Greyson is now one of three nephews and one niece that I reign supreme aunthood over and having been in the aunt game since I was eight years old, I have long gone pro status.

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Greyson is the first niece or nephew that has been born in my adult life, and I can’t help but marvel how much different it is to meet a new child now that I am no longer a child. When my oldest sister had my niece, I was still in elementary school and, I remember holding this tiny baby in my arms and thinking – I am an aunt! Oh snaps, I am going to be the coolest person in the third grade. I wonder if Digimon is on tonight.

However, as an adult, it was a much different experience to hold my nephew in my arms.

For the first time in my life, I saw the briefest glimpse of what it means to be a parent as I felt an unmistakable spark of fear when realizing that this tiny human in my arms will soon grow and grow, only to eventually walk into the world on his own.

I also felt the biggest sense of elation for my sister and her husband. There are some people and couples that you know will make great parents, and from the moment my sister told me she was pregnant, I knew she and my brother-in-law were going to raise an amazing son.

I really can’t wait to watch Greyson grow up. But, if there is one thing that has made me realize that I too am growing older, it is watching the infants that I once held in my arms growing along with me.

I Don’t Know What to Write About

I have been wondering if I want to continue blogging anymore. It used to be that I was filled with all these ideas and things to write about but lately, I have just been watching the cursor blink in empty Word documents. My life has changed a lot over these past few weeks.

Suddenly, I am a “real” person. The idea that I do not have to return to college next month is so liberating that I want to do the electric slide in my PJs. I use coupons. I iron my pants. I go to work. I climb rocks. I use reusable bags.

This is the real deal, people.

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I also have had some not great times these past few months.

I was in a pretty awful car accident and, I was so petrified of other cars afterwards that I broke down in tears on three separate occasions while driving different places. Honestly, I didn’t even start consistently holding the minimum speed limit again until last month. Yep. #needforspeed

Then, I got a flat tire in my two-week old, brand new car and had to perform an emergency stop on the side of the interstate. Luckily, the amazing and fabulous public service that is the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Emergency Patrol found me and changed my tire for me (tire changing is not a skill of mine).

I also almost didn’t graduate from college because a professor in England gave me a F as my final grade and, I spent weeks fighting it only to end up with a very, very low C (but, I graduated with a 3.73 GPA anyway (so suck it Professor Jerk Face)).

Then, I made the pretty rough decision to let go of a long-term friendship that wasn’t working anymore and was reminded how much it sucks to lose one of your best friends.

Some bad shit has gone down this year but, I’m still here.

I survived. And, if in a two month period I can survive: a car accident, a flat tire on the highway, a failing grade, and letting go of my best friend, than I can do this.

And maybe after all, I do still have something to say.

I want to talk to you about what a roller coaster life can be and how even when you think you can’t make it, you do and you will. I want to tell you about how surprisingly fun it can be to eat pizza in a parking lot at 10 o’clock on a weeknight using your friend’s trunk as the table.  I want to talk to you about life, beauty, feminism, rock climbing, and half marathon training.

So, after three months of wishy-washy posting, a bout of wondering what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life?, and the new car smell in my ride slowly but distinctly fading, I remember what I want to write about.

tl;dr – I’m back.

Women Are So Hard on Themselves

Have you ever known a beautiful, amazing woman who just can’t see how great she is? It’s frustrating – incredibly frustrating – you just want to make her see what you see. Sure she might not be perfect but, why does that matter when everyone loves her all the same?

Have you ever considered this woman may be you in someone else’s eyes?

The standards that many women hold themselves to can be pretty ridiculous. While body image is the usual culprit, these unattainable standards also surround expectations of being a “good mom,” the perfect employee, the “marrying type,” a lady, flawless, calm, perfect, funny, fun, but not too fun – a list that goes on and on.

Even the strongest women live with these cracks. I have listened and spoken with many confident ladies in my life and despite their achievements and successes – so many of them live with the weight of their expectations.

That color is beautiful on you.” “I just like this shirt because it covers up my love handles.”

You did awesome!” “Didn’t you hear how bad I messed up towards the end?”

I am so proud of you.” “I got lucky.”

So often, I see women blinded by the standards they set. Instead of celebrating what they have done, they criticize what they could have done better. We speak in this language of defeat, and we pass it on to younger women. It is the unintentional language that we pass on to our daughters.

Recently, I have been hanging out with a group of mostly men from the rock climbing gym, and as I speak to them and listen to their words, I have begun to see the difference between how men talk about their achievements. When men finish a climbing route, many talk about the parts where they kicked ass. When women finish climbing the same route, most of them immediately start talking about the parts they screwed up on.

Women are defeating themselves through their own self-deprecation. When we nitpick every thing and every part of our lives that are imperfect, we take away our energy from becoming stronger and better. I want to encourage women to see the good in themselves and what they do and, I would like to know a world where women stop being so hard on themselves.

The words that we use about ourselves and others have power, and it is far past the time that we teach our daughters to be proud of who they are and to speak in words that do not undermine their success.

I hope for a world where one day men and women can truly be considered equal, and the only way that will ever happen is if we as women truly start to like and believe in the people we have become. After all, if we don’t believe in ourselves, who else will?