A Lovely Weekend

A Lovely Weekend

These past few weeks have been about soaking up summer. June has been penetrated with long drives through rual Indiana, writing freelance feature artilces, learning about tax forms and earning first post-grad paychecks, staying bunkered down through the tornado-fourming storms, and getting out when I can when the blue sky shows itself. This weekend has been especially wonderful.

Columbus Indiana has been a place I’ve been visiting every week, and every time I’ve found a little secrete of the small city–like a flying pig resting on a legde in a quiet ally that leads to more of the interesting archeticure. Did you know that Columbus was designed by several famous architects, both present and historical? The modern-mecca buildings are like nothing else you’ll see in Indiana and they have such an instering history.

On Friday, I kicked off the weekend by going to an escape room downtown Indy with my boyfriend and one of our friends. We didn’t eacpase, unfortunately, but we were pretty darn close. Afterwards, we walked around the city, treated outselves to ice cream and fugde, and visted Rocket Fizz.

Yesterday was the Freedom Festival in my hometown, Greenwood. An annual festival that happens the week before the 4th of July. Although the day was pretty busy, I took over the instagram side of social media of our family buinsess for my mom, I think the best part was at the very end of the night, where it was just my mom and I walking through the crowds who were anticipating that evening’s fireworks. We ended up walking where concession stands and food trucks where set up, and at the every end of the long line of options, was Ben’s Soft Pretzels, the absolutly best pretzels ever. Of course I snagged one, along with cheeder cheese sause to go with it.

Today I have a few articles on deadline that I need to finish up. In college, one of my favorite assingments that I ever did was for my journalism class. We had to write a profile of someone or some place we thought was interesting. I loved it so much because I got to look closely at a subject, ask questions, and show their story in a way that it could be accessible to many. I never thought I’d get to do it as an actual job after graduation, but I am doing it. And I love it.

Oh, and of course I’ll be enjoying these beauties all day.

So what about you–how have you been spending your weekend?

Redefining My Relationship with Social Media

Redefining My Relationship with Social Media

I hear the term on the daily, especially in terms of social media: comparison

Among the people I follow, questions about social media itself and how to deal with comparison have been circulating a lot. How do you feel about social media? How do you handle comparison on these platforms? Should I take an Instagram hiatus? 

I’d like to think that we’re all just sharing our most intimate selves on this platform, but we’re not. As it has been said before, all the squared off corners and filtered pictures are just a hint at what is the trueness of what our lives are. And that’s all it really can be. Airing too much on social media is considered dirty laundry is another form of sharing that can be too much and not needed. Where is the balance? Is there one? 

When you’re reading this post, I want to make it clear that I don’t think that Instagram, or any other social platform, is bad. I also don’t have all the answers, as a twenty-something, I’m just as much trying to figure it out myself as anyone else it. I’m not advocating that people should give it up altogether, but I am questioning its use and its impact in my life, and invite you to question that for yourself. 

The thing I love about Instagram is the visual storytelling. I love expressing through photos, videos, and words, but I think it might be time for me to reevaluate how I use this social platform. Every time I’m bored or when I feel like running away from the hard stuff, I have an inclination to turn to scroll—submerging myself in other’s lives and pictures.

It’s here were this term, comparison has become prominent to me, it has flooded into my life. While it was once an abstract word, one that had meaning but I didn’t see the effects of, it has now become very real for me. I’m starting to see how social media, Instagram in particular, has come to affect my overall well-being.

When I’m trying to make a decision in my own life, even if it’s as small as what to do for lunch, I end up consulting the ideas that I’ve gotten from what I’ve seen from other people that day. What would so-and-so get for a quick hour pick-me-up? What is the most Instagram worthy sandwich I can order? It also comes with larger life questions. I unconsciously ask myself if this next step in my career, if this job will allow me to be like her/him, will it give me the same opportunities, will I be as successful? This is what they did when they graduated from university, should I do that too? 

When these questions pop into my head, I don’t automatically think, Oh, I’m starting to compare myself to someone else, but it’s more of after the fact—after I’ve made the decision and thought about the effects of it, and if it really was a genuine one. 

Instead of being in the present moment, focusing on my own work—or even on the music that is playing in the cafe I’m sitting in—I am constantly in my own mind, comparing myself to whoever’s Instagram feed I just looked at. 

Inspiration is good, advice is good, guidance is good, but there is a deeper conscious and gut feeling in each individual’s lives that can’t be compared to any other. 

I’ve thought about ditching Instagram for a week, or even a month. Normally, when I set goals that I set for myself they never work. If I say that I’m going to take a week off of Instagram, it will feel too clinical, like I’m giving myself a dose of medicine to prevent the pain and not actually go to the root of it. Or if I fail at the goal I set for myself, I’ll feel worse about it than if I just continued to use Instagram. 

I’ve decided on trying to use Instagram differently. I still like sharing and being connected into people’s lives but perhaps limiting the time I give myself on the platform each day and unfollowing the accounts that don’t add any meaning to my feed. I’ve also considered using this blog more as an outlet than just containing all of my posts on Instagram.

This platform also seems more authentic for me, more genuine, and more approachable. I’ve been blogging since 2014, and although the past few years I haven’t been posting as much, sharing my writing and photos on here is more of a means of expression and rather than comparison.

No matter what I do, redefining my relationship with social media is a task that I’m working on. I’m still trying to figure out this age of social media and how to navigate it as a millennial, but I’d like to open up the conversation to you. What do you think about social media? How does it affect you? What are some things you like and some things you don’t? 

Feel free to leave comments below or contact me via the contact form. Let’s keep this conversation going.

Storytellers and Coffee Shops

Storytellers and Coffee Shops

I’ve had this little project tucked in its folder for the last month. Today, I pulled it out again—reading through it all and making notes. Being a freelance journalist is my dream and goal, but since I was little, I’ve always wanted to write a novel. Who says I can’t be a writer of both non-fiction and fiction? 

I worked on this story for my last semester of college, it was supposed to be a finished novella by the end of the semester; however, it took so many twists and turns (and I am a way slower writer of fiction than I thought I was) the story changed so much. By the end, I only came out with about 20 good(ish) pages. Today I have determinded that I’m going to keep working on it.

I’m not sure what it’s going to be once it’s finished, maybe that novella, maybe a novel, maybe just a story the little kid I was growing up needed, but, no matter what it turns into, I’m going to show up and write it. 

Summer Garden // 01

When I was a kid, my mom used to grow a huge garden every summer. It was a raised garden bed, made out of wood two by fours. The bed was about four feet wide but rain the entire length of the yard. Our yard wasn’t that big, but the garden always seemed huge to me. It hosted an array of plants–peas and green beans, cucumbers and tomatoes, carrots and lettuce, and a variety of herbs ranging from thyme to rosemary. There was also a smaller garden on the side of the yard where a strawberry plan liked to expand its vines, always came back larger and larger every season.

I remember that garden because it provided the staples for our summer dishes. We’d make jams and jellies and chop up the carrots to go along with the chicken ‘n noodles. We had so many tomatoes and cucumbers that we’d canned some of them for the colder months.

My Mom’s Garden – Circa 2012

I’ve had relatively small gardens myself since then. Nothing more than a few herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, and, this year, spinach. They are in raised garden beds, but not the kind made out of wood slates that are a big as the yard allows, but ones that are plastic and sit nicely on a patio deck.

When spending all of the prior cold months inside, it makes me excited to spread out all the green and tend to something that I can harvest later. It also reminds me of when I was a kid, gardening with my mom in the months of May, June, July, and August.

Since this spring was my senior year in college, I spent most of my time with my head in the books while on campus. I didn’t have much time to shop at gardening stores or Lowes for seeds or even started plants. However, my school has its own greenhouse on top of the science and technology building, and–at the end of every semester–the biology club sells the pants from the greenhouse. So, miraculously, I picked up the few staples I grow every summer thanks to the break that I took studying and the biology club.

The only small thing that this came with was I had to bring the plants with me to class the rest of the day. It wasn’t so bad, I just had a lot of people commenting on my plant babies.

They had a nice little box to sit in while I toted them around.

Now that they’re planted in my garden, they have been growing steadily. My tomatoes have stemmed out and have become fuller, while my lettuce is becoming leafier. I’ve already harvested a few leaves from the basil plant. The rosemary and parsley haven’t grown too much, but they’re a bit slower at growth. I added fertilizer to the beds a few days ago, the growth of all the plants started to become stagnate and it made me worry, but as soon as I fed the little baby plants they’ve been lively since. I planted spinach by seed a few days ago. It’s slightly late in the spring seasons to plant the first batch of spinach, so they haven’t sprouted yet. Hopefully, they will sprout soon.

I’m looking forward to harvesting the first of my lettuce soon, hopefully, the tomatoes will come shortly after. I’ve been looking for good recipes so I can use my herbs in summery dishes. Maybe I can make a full-on meal with everything I’ve grown, substituting a few things from the grocery store.

The whole process of growing plants and getting to use their harvest is both humbling and satisfactory. I hope this tiny garden that I’ve had the past few years can grow into a larger one in the years to come, just like the one my mom used to tend to in the summer months when I was a kid.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even get into winter gardening, something that’s always peaked my interested but I’ve never ventured out to try.

The Quotes That Have Stuck With Me

The Quotes That Have Stuck With Me

Saturday was the official end of an era: I graduated from college. The days of backpacks filled with books so heavy your shoulders hurt, a desk filled with used coffee cups, and early bird/late owl classes have come to an end.

I’ve been out of classes for a week. It’s a crazy feeling, I still have a to do list and places to be, but the feeling of being done with a huge milestone is just like a wieght off my sholders. I started to clean off my desk today and while I was in the midst of moving around some papers, I found a few a few pieces of paper with quotes on them that have stayed with me, some how or another, throughout my life as a student.

They mostly have to do with the unknown, having confidence, and being yourself. I know they will stay with me, even after school. But inlight that I now have the depolma coming to me by mail in about two months, I’ll post them, hoping they will inspire you.

“If you’re feeling frightened about what comes next, don’t be. Be brave. Embrace your the uncertainty. Allow it to lead you places. Be brave as it challenged you to exercise both your heart and you rmind as you create your own path towards happiness; don’t waste time with regrat. Spin wildly into your next action. Enjoy the present, each moment, as it comes, because you’ll never get one like it again. And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breatha dn start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart… where your hope lives. You’ll find your way again. ” -Everwood

“If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together there is something you must always remeber. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.” – A.A. Milne

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without careing twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine time out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.” – C.S. Lewis