Over the river and through the woods and over a mountain and across the plains…

New York Trip Day 2

Wednesday morning had me up with the sun.

That morning we were headed to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Nat, Steph, and I took an Uber to the Botanical Gardens and boy were they GORGEOUS! The security guard that we bought tickets from recommended the rose garden, and Stef wanted to see the green houses that had the cacti and bonsai trees. A picture is worth 1000 words though, so I’ll let them do the talking:

Packing up and heading to lunch:

We went to lunch at the ramen shop, but because it took so long, and traffic and parking was so bad, we had to skip out on MOMA and Central Park. I was a bit disappointed, but there was really nothing we could do. I did get some NY pics of places that I had wanted to see before we left though!

We drove out to New Jersey and played with Stella on the beach for a bit before packing up and heading home.

We spent the night in a hotel, got up early the next morning, and drove to the airport to drop me off, from which I drove to Jeremy’s house to show off all of my souvenirs. I took a nap and later that night was Melvin’s 20th birthday party!

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Kinky Boots and other fashion wear

Hey guys! Sorry for the short hiatus there~ I just returned from my week of gallivanting across the Eastern Coast of the Estados Unidos! Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

New York Post #1: Tuesday

Tuesday morning at o’darkthirty (2:30 am) I awake and leave for the Indianapolis International Airport for my too-early-to-be-sane flight to Newark, New Jersey.

Upon arrival at the terminal, I park in short-term parking ($9/day) and take a shuttle to the airport. There was a suspicious looking man on the bus with me and 20 other poor souls that had to be awake that early in the morning to catch a flight, and when I was standing on the escalator to get to the second floor of the airport, he tried to kill me by ‘accidentally’ letting his suitcase fall down the escalator. Me, being the superhero with lightning fast reflexes that I am, caught it and returned it to the suspicious man who had just tried to kill me. I saved the whole airport (He was really super nice and kept apologizing. Not suspicious at all- it just makes for a better story. Don’t call the cops on him or anything please~ thanks).

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After saving the airport I went to retrieve my ticket for my flight from the flight desk. Only when I went to put my number into the machine that prints tickets, it said that my number was invalid and that I had no registration. I freaked and thanked my lucky stars that I had come as early as I had because there was a decent amount of people there, and finding an attendant was tricky at first. The attendant walked over, took one look at my phone with the flight number on it and said ‘Sweetie, the airline that you’re looking for is over there’ and points to the other side of hallway. She then proceeded to LOUDLY assure me that stuff like this happens all the time and that I shouldn’t be worried about it. Only then did people stop and stare at the girl who couldn’t read her ticket. Luckily, the people across the hall didn’t hear about my mistake and throw up a sparkle banner in my honor that said ‘Congratulations, you can’t read’ so I got my ticket and went to see what sort of foods this airport had.

I’ve recently been on a McDonald’s kick where all I do is crave McDonalds, so I went to McDonalds thinking I would get a caramel hot chocolate, sit around, watch the sunrise, etc. No. I got in line, ordered, and they gave me a mocha. I took one sip and almost cried, but by that time the line was so long that it wasn’t worth waiting around in to have my order changed. I pitched it and rationalized that I didn’t want to have to pee on an airplane anyways.

Security was easy to get through as I didn’t have luggage (I had given it to Natallie earlier in the week so that when she drove to NY the week before, she’d have my clothes and I wouldn’t have to pay for a carry on), and the people in front of me smiled at my unicorn shoes and Eeyore sock combination. Once through security I caved and bought a hot chocolate at the chocolate store and sipped on that until my plane arrived. The lady at the chocolate store is some kind of character- let me tell you. What an interesting little old lady. She was just the liveliest little thing. Didn’t even come up to my shoulder, bright white hair dyed bright purple in spots, clown glasses that were three times the size of her head, and the chattiest Cathy I’d ever met. But she made it extra chocolatey and extra hot without having to be asked so shout out @ her.

The plane was the smallest commercial aircraft I’ve ever been on, or even seen. There were 24 rows, one side had 2 seats, the other side had a single seat, and I was lucky to be able to squeeze down the aisle as is. Of course, having the cheapest ticket on the flight meant that I got on last, and was in the very last row by the window. The poor lady who had the aisle seat had to stand in the bathroom to let me pass, and the a$$hole in front of me had his chair leaned back the whole way the entire trip. ^#$(&*a^@#$.

We landed in Newark, and because I was at the back of the plane I felt every single bump x10. It felt like the pilot had gotten his license off of GTA, but I made it out alive so not too many complaints here. I walked into the airport and was met instantly with the nicest, most smiley airport workers to have ever exist. Everyone smiled at me. I don’t even get that here in the Midwest, and we’re supposed to have that Midwest-friendly-or-whatever stereotype. Nat and Stef had been caught in traffic, so they were delayed by an hour or so. I grabbed some floor next to an outlet and kept myself busy learning the ins-and-outs of my new Google Pixel.

This is where it gets messy: Nat called as soon as she was 5-10 minutes away and said that she was in Parking Pickup C-2, because supposedly (according to the airport’s website) it was the closest to where my flight dropped off. This meant nothing to me, and I went in search for terminal C, pickup 2. Doing the most logical thing, assuming that I was in the right area, I walked out the closest exit and asked a parking attendant where I was supposed to go. I said “Excuse me sir, do you know where I can find Terminal C Parking pick up?” Thinking I would find terminal c parking pickup, then find lane 2. The guy points at the parking lot and says, ‘Yeah, Terminal C is over there’. I thank him and walk into the parking lot towards a small building only to find that it is a bus pickup. I walk all the way back into the airport (about 10-15minute walk) and the same guy finds me and says ‘You should take the AirTrain there’ (thanks for telling me that 20-30 minutes ago) so I say ‘Okay! How do I get to that’. He gives me instructions that I all but forget within the first few seconds and walk up the stairs in doors to get to the second floor (which was the first part of his instructions). This whole time I am on the phone with Nat and her sis trying to find out where it is that they are parked. My neck is beginning to hurt, so I open my backpack while I’m walking up the stairs to look for my headphones. I get to the top of the stairs, and I’m greeted by the sight of 10 news cameras and security that would make the White House weak at the knees. At least 4 security/secret service men make eye-contact with me as I dig through my bag all suspicious like to find my headphones and I walk up to one of them to ask where I can find the airtrain. He points me in the right direction, and I manage to walk by it about 3 times before I see it. I get up to the platform and ask Nat, ‘OKAY. Are you at Terminal C? Or parking 2? Because they are LITERALLY in opposite directions of each other’ (and I mean parking 2 was on the South end of the track (2nd to last stop), and terminal c was on the North end (last stop)). They said ‘Parking 2!’ So I hop on the train for parking 2. When I get off, I ask them if they see all the construction or the Budweiser building. They say no, and I get on the train for a 15 minute ride to the other end of the airport. Long story short, I find them and we get lost for another hour or so trying to find the apartment we’re supposed to stay in.

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Stella (pupper) Stef (driving) Nat (cutie)

 

My mom later Googles why there was so much security in the airport, and it is because I ran into the Mayor, giving a speech about making the airport easily accessible and quick to navigate (http://www.fox5ny.com/news/261010152-story). The irony is not lost on me, I assure you.

Once settled into the apartment, we strategize a plan of attack for the next day or two that we are in New York which went as follows:

Tuesday Evening:

  • Cookie Do (I couldn’t find the special character for it, soo….)
  • Kinky Boots
  • Times Square

Wednesday Morning: (pictures in next post)

  • Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
  • Come back, pick up Stella

Wednesday Afternoon:

  • Lunch at 5 star noodle restaurant
  • Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
  • Central Park
  • NJ Beach
  • Head for home

Thursday:

  • Drive to Airport and drop Raye (me) off at car
  • Drive back to Champaign
  • Melvin’s birthday party

 

That evening we took the Subway to Times Square (a nice old black lady was our savior and told us tourists where to get on and off), grabbed some McNuggs, and stood in line for KINKY BOOTS!!!!!

What a great show. It was really incredible and I am so disappointed that the sound track didn’t have the cast from the show that we watched. They would have sold SO many copies!!! But that aside, I went for Brendon Urie and came out a true lover of the musical. The cast was truly gifted and I want Lola to be my best friend. The show had us in tears, laughter, and all the emotions in between. I’m a little salty that I didn’t know about the mug until after I had bought all of my souvenirs, but if Jeremy saw me buy one more mug for my collection, I might get in trouble.

We waited outside after the show and got pictures with a cast member, as well as BRENDON URIE’S AUTOGRAPH!!!!!!!!! Nat and I were in shock for the rest of the night. I mean- I got the autograph of one of my favorite singers of all time since who knows when. I tear up every time I see it. (pardon my fan-girling) BUT WE WERE SO FREAKIN CLOSE!!!!

After our encounter with bae-urie, Nat and I toured Times Square, and I was disappointed that I couldn’t buy Hershey Kisses the size of my head to bring back with me because it was quite literally 100 degrees outside, and they would have melted. Taking the subway home was much easier, and I crashed the second my head hit the pillow.

Tuesday’s extra Pictures:

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“Let’s Make Lots of MONEY” -PSB

It’s the end of the year and a lot of people are getting rid of their stuff. How can YOU profit?

How to become a dealer (of knowledge):

Some poor guy is down the street standing in line at the campus bookstore that is out the door and around the block. He is trying to sell his textbook back to the school, knowing that at best he’s going to get 1/3 of what he paid for Satan’s incarnate in text form, that put him through hell this last semester because he didn’t even open it. Sound familiar? That was probably you. Well I’m here to tell you that you can probably get a little more than 1/3 of the price!

Here are some tips, tricks, and apps that you can use to sell your old books, but keep in mind that I am still investigating some of these apps, and that selling back to one place might not get you the biggest bang for your buck, so shop around. Remember that saving money takes a bit of time and effort so don’t give up!

Bigwords.com: This website has saved my tush when it comes to buying books for the year. You enter the books you need and it will compare prices from websites all over to find you the cheapest place to buy the book you need. Keep in mind that some of the cheaper websites will take longer to get the book to you so make sure that you order your books early enough. It works the same way in reverse! You can enter your books into the website and it will tell you on which website you can sell it for the most money! Warning! Some websites require a minimum balance, (ex: my book is only worth $5, but the website won’t pay you unless they’re paying you more that $10 so I would either have to sell more books to this website, or find another website that will take it) so watch out for that. Bigwords will give you the top 20 or so places to sell your books, and I highly recommend it. Do remember that you might be buying your books from 5 or so different stores, and that it is important to keep track of shipping dates and fees.

BookScouter: An app for iOS and Android. It works similar to Bigwords, but its main purpose is to sell books. The app links with your camera, you can scan the barcode of the book you are trying to sell or enter the ISBN #, and voila! Presto! It will tell you the highest bidders for your book. Cons: It doesn’t recognize every book ISBN, scanned or entered manually. The prices aren’t as good as Bigwords, and the range of books that it can find is limited to popularly used books, but have no fear! It works on all of my U of I books, just not any of my community college books.

Chanel your inner Oscar the Grouch:

If you’re like me and you go a school that boasts about its diversity and that about half of the students are from exotic lands (like Iowa) and the other half are foreign, then you need to make it a priority to learn how to dumpster dive. Gross, right? Not if you do it right. I’m not saying hide out in a dumpster at the end of the year and wait for people to throw their goodies at you, but if every once in a while you HAPPEN to drive by a very nice apartment complex or private certified housing at the end of the year when all of the students who will be going back to their homes across the pond, and you HAPPEN to see a bunch of really nice stuff (mirrors, electronics, generic college dorm stuff, etc.) and you HAPPEN to load it all in your truck and sell it online, essentially making free money, then no harm no foul. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure: and that statement has never been more true than at the end of the year when everyone vacates a college campus. Hate all you want, but when I’m paying college tuition without having to take up poll dancing (mostly because I’m too clutzy to ever learn anything that required any form of grace) and you’re in debt 20 years down the line, you’ll wish you had dumpster dived like me.

Testimonials:

  • My friend’s sister found a Prada bag in a dumpster. WHO DOES THAT?!
  • I found a nice looking printer next to a dumpster. Cords and all. (I looked it up- it goes on Amazon for ~$220).
  • I found a table. I’m keeping it, but it’s money that I don’t have to spend to buy a table.

Please do stay safe when dumpster diving though. There is no need to chase down the garbage man. Don’t just jump in the dumpster- that’s gross. If it’s on top, GREAT! If not, you should probably leave it. Don’t fight with the dumpster rats. They’ve been there longer than you and know the territory better. They’re more likely to form a rat gang and corner you in a dark alley at night wearing leather jackets and snapping- you get the point. Don’t do anything stupid. Fun fact: When reselling items in a manner where you have to meet up with the buyer, there are stores that have designated online selling spots (like parking spaces, or a corner of the parking lot with a sign). Stores like Walgreens and Walmart that run 24 hours and are well lit are good places to conduct your deals (that sounds kinda sketch, but you get it).

Good websites to sell your findings on are:

  • Your local VarageSale website
  • Amazon
  • Ebay (only meet in well lit, public areas- STAY SAFE)
  • Have a garage sale
  • Specialty websites (ex: book websites, furniture websites, etc.)

Cash on the go:

There are many apps that allow you to make money simply by taking surveys and allowing ads on your phone, but what are they, and what are the pros and cons? I can honestly say that I do not outwardly seek these kind of apps, as they usually come up with popups that are annoying, or I can never find one that isn’t time consuming enough to be considered an efficient use of my time. However, I have run across a couple that are worth sharing, so here they are:

Google Rewards: This app is, unfortunately and as far as I know, only for Android users- but maybe Apple phones can use it as well? I believe that all you need is a google account, and since  I have an Android, my google account is what everything backs up to. It is a very easy app to use, but you don’t get much money out of it, and what money you do get can only go towards things in the Google Play Store. You will insert basic demographic information and will receive an alert anytime there is a questionnaire to be answered. Cons include that I did not get a questionnaire right away- I had to wait for them to send them to me, and they don’t come on a regular basis (i.e.: one every Thursday or once a month like mother nature intended), and even though the questionnaires that I’ve had to fill out take about 10 seconds (convenient), I only get pocket change out of them, and I wouldn’t complain if I got more of them. But as it sits now, I’ve got $.58 in my account and I’ve taken 3 questionnaires. As a millennial I want things faster. I would happily sit here on my phone, filling out surveys about which sports I have and have not watched for hours if it meant I would earn money towards getting movies on my phone for trips and stuff. But that’s just me. You really do get paid for your time and it IS satisfying to watch the little money meter go up every time you fill out a survey.

Quick Thoughts: This app is much more forthcoming with its surveys than Google Rewards, but you can only receive money $10 at a time. You take surveys until you reach the $10 mark, and you can redeem that money through Amazon gift cards. The questions are a bit more personal, but nothing too serious, and you can choose to not respond to some, should you so choose. There is always a new survey to take which means you can sit around at your desk all day and answer questions- getting money to sit around and get money. I like that. Or I would if I didn’t have to dedicate so much time to studying….

Surveys on the Go: It is very similar to Quick Thoughts in that you are asked to do surveys and they pay you more for it, and they pay in $10 increments. However, it is different in that you are to turn on your location so that it can give you location specific surveys. So far it has paid the best out of the other survey apps, and you can redeem your rewards through three different sites (Amazon, Paypal, or Visa) meaning that you can choose how you get your money.

There are plenty of apps and websites that have surveys for money, but please be safe when using them! Don’t give away information such as, oh, idk, social security, credit card numbers, you know. The important stuff. DON’T BE STUPID PLZ. But also, earn a lot of money by sitting on your phone.

Have fun with this guys and save the money for a rainy day or your next vacation! All of my funds are going toward my vacation jar. ❤

RayeDeSol

Spring Cleaning

I have at LEAST 10 drafts in my draft box right now of unfinished and unpublished posts, so in the spirit of spring cleaning, I probably won’t do anything about it because I’m not one to spring clean. This post itself is a spring cleaning post. It has been sitting around for at least 3 weeks. Yikes.

Things that are happening in my life:

Memorial weekend had my Mom’s side of the family together for a reunion, and looking back on the photos (I have half of my hair up in a bun and the other half down to keep it out of my face) I have a mullet *cries*.

I’m taking an online summer class (PSYC 101) that is killing me. I have no idea what’s going on. I need to woman up and take this exam before it closes, but I’m too afraid that I’m going to fail it, but while I’m stressing about this exam the second module has already started which is stressing me out because I don’t want to start it until the first exam is done but the second module is due at the end of the week. It’s the circle of stress, but I’m pulling through! To anyone who is reading this and wants to send me baked cinnamon tortilla shells to snack on and regret eating later, message me for my address.

Despite all of this stress, I am thinking about a second job to better regulate my schedule. It will get me moving, bring in extra cash (and discounts at stores are always nice). I have a few places in mind, but nothing concrete until I know for sure that I can handle a second job this summer (this means that it is not top priority right now, and might not even happen).

The New York trip I had been planning and was really excited about has been put on hold until further details can be worked out. There’s an issue with the dates and stuff, so it might turn out to be a whole road trip later this summer. WHO KNOWS! But if it does turn into a road trip, I hope to see a lot of cool things along the way! 😀

  • UPDATE: New York trip has been scheduled and I fly out on June 13th!

Study abroad is back on my radar, but it’s not looking good. The programs that I am interested in would push me behind a semester in school with all of the catching up I need to do in my major change (changing of the major. major that has been changed. the change that has been made to my major. The  changed major. <- it’s a Disney reference. Comment if you know which one ;D) However! Have no fear because there is no way that I will not study abroad! It just might not be for as long as I want, or to my first pick program. BUT I AM DETERMINED TO STUDY ABROAD!!!

My latest apartment decorating fad has been sun-catchers, and not just ANY sun-catchers, but the kind that you can find at Walmart for $.53 and paint yourself. #throwback. They are however, the kind you paint, not the kind that you bake. I used to have one of those that I made with Gma Fields, but it has since been broken and thrown away. Not that I would mind making another one (HMU if you want to make a makit bakit with me). My goal is to have a Pinterest apartment, or at least all of the things needed to make a Pinterest apartment when I move into my new apartment August 6th. Most of my plant babies are doing well. Baby Dude got a haircut recently as he was growing too big for the amount of sunlight that makes it into my apartment. I’m saving up for an indoor trellis to put in my next apartment so that I can better grow my ivies.

Speaking of SAVING UP! 😀 My current phone contract has expired recently which means that I am open to getting a new one! 😀 I am holding off for a bit and waiting until the Google Pixel reduces their price. I know I will be waiting a while, but I figure around Christmas will be a good time to invest because the Pixel 2 and next Pixel XL (whatever they’re going to call it) will be released. The only problem is, is that when they release THAT phone then I will want to save up for it instead of getting the first one :’D. Such is the harsh reality of first world problems.

This has been, a Silly Song With Larry: catch you all next time when I actually finish my drafts! (They will be really overdue. One is about pledging APO, so maybe I’ll just hold off on it until the fall pledge semester) I hope to not be posting 3 a day, but it’s whenever I finish them.

Hope everyone is having an amazing summer and that they aren’t stuck inside all day like me! ❤

RayeDeSol

How to navigate a Grad Party

Aah. Graduation. Those who are graduating are holding grad parties so that their relatives can come, be proud of them, and give them money for suffering through at least four years of school, and so that their friends can come party one last time at school and get sentimental about things before going off to party all summer then face the real world (if they don’t have summer jobs that is). But the million dollar question is: how do you navigate a graduation party? This will be a quick and blunt post about how to get in and get out of house parties without looking like the most awkward person there is.

Hosting:

For those who are hosting, you are expected to have senior photos, baby photos, and the best of your poorly taken photos of fun times with your friends. You must have a cake with your face on it, a place for people to write their favorite memories of you, two different places to mingle (so that your friends and family never meet each other), a place for gifts/cards, and enough food to sustain all of the people you invited for the 3-4 hours that your open house will be running.

Invitations: If you’re going to go the nine yards and spend a bunch of money getting the nice invitations with your picture, your name, etc., send those to your relatives. If you have any left over, you can give them to your best friends or teachers- whomever is really special to you. The rest can be invited through Facebook. It’s cheaper, and you have a better clue of who is attending. No one RSVPs to paper invites anymore, but if all you have to do is click a button on the bookface that you’re either coming or not coming, you’re more likely to get an accurate guestimate of your party #. You should keep track of who you sent physical invitations to, because these are the people who are likely to give you gifts. You need to write a Thank You note to anyone who got you a gift. That’s how gifts work.

Decorations: Let’s be honest here. You’re going to be spending a lot of money on your open house whether you like it or not, and you’re going to pray that you break even with what your Grandma and favorite Uncle Fred put in your grad card- so let’s make it as cheap as possible without having it LOOK cheap. How do you do that? The Dollar Store. You can groan or laugh all you want, but I’m not kidding. If you dig deep enough and are willing to go the extra mile to spruce up some cheap stuff, your dollar store buys can turn out amazing. If you’re looking for a cheesy themed grad party, great! Buy the luau stuff! If you’re looking for a more trendy grad party, you can buy the plain banners, tablecloths, etc., and add some imagination (a sparkly center piece, accent balloons, candles, paint champagne glasses and fill them with candy, GET CREATIVE). Pictures. Pictures are a must. I have never gone to a grad party that doesn’t have pictures, and I’ve gone to a lot of grad parties. Pictures, if you want physical copies, should be bought in bulk and are cheapest online though WinkFlash or Snapfish. You could also have a slideshow on a TV or computer- just make sure that the picture shrine is in a more wide open space so that people aren’t crowding one area and causing people to form human roadblocks. Large crowds of people who are blocking people coming to and from food, or another room are annoying and can easily cause spills that suck to clean up.

  • The shrine is an important element of your party. Here is where people will put their cards they bought for you (in a box that you decorated (large cardboard ones with lids are good because they’re cute, and it keeps things clean. People are more likely to put your card in a safe space if it is clearly labeled, and less likely to hand it to you if it’s in a box with a lid)), and drop their gifts off (leave space under the shrine for this), and admire your achievements. This is where you will display any scholarships you might have won, hang any pictures (if not digitized), where your yearbooks are, and where you have yet another cute box/jar for people to write cutesy things about you.

Don’t forget to get creative with the theme, or the time of the event. One of my friends had a brunch grad party, another had a pool themed party, etc. So mess around with the time of day and the type of decorations you want to use! There are a lot of great DIY ideas on Pinterest. You also don’t want your grad party at the same time as everyone else’s, so having it at an unusual time will bring in more of your friends.

Food: You want finger food. Don’t make people come in for a 4 course meal. Have a buffet, buy in bulk, and make it yourself. Sams is the party grocery store of America. Here is where you can buy chips, candy, and other assorted party foods. For my graduation party my parents got frozen meatballs from Sams, marinated them the night before, cooked them, and served them with cute toothpicks. We bought and cut the fruit ourselves and put them in our own party bowls making it fresher, taste less like cardboard, and we had some left over because there was so much.

Crowd Control: Many people will be coming to your party, and most of these people are going to want to spend time with you. They are HERE for YOU anyways (and maybe food). Make sure to greet anyone who comes in the door, even if it’s not RIGHT as they walk in the door. Don’t spend 2 of your 3 hours glued to your SO’s side or watching your own picture slide show, it’s rude to the people who came to see and celebrate you. Also know that there will be a wide variety of people in attendance. Your great grandma who is older than dirt, your grandparents who are a little too proud of you, Aunts and Uncles from both sides who are only there because of a familial obligation that brought their kids (ages 5, 10, and 13) because they’re old enough to be left alone, but only for 20 minutes at a time, and let’s not forget your friends. Now, you don’t want any of these people in the same room together, and you especially don’t want them SPEAKING to each other, so the best thing to do is have a bunch of space and distract with food. Your family will be in front of the TV watching your baby pictures roll by, speaking amongst themselves, and trying to keep their kids in line. Your friends will want somewhere to loudly reminisce the thing that happened two weeks ago like it was 3 years ago, and your cousins are going to want to terrorize. These groups will naturally separate into their own habitats, but by keeping the shrine away from the TV and food, you keep your friends away from your family and the road blockage to a minimum. A set up that  I prefer to use is shrine visible when you walk into the house, pictures in a side room, food in a wide open space, and have a lot of room outdoors for people to disperse. (That was long winded, I know, but you had to get the point.)

Getting People to LEAVE: By the time your designated party time is over, you’re exhausted. But there’s still people around. The best way to get rid of them is to start cleaning up. Once the host is cleaning up, the message is usually clear: GET OUT. If they aren’t gone by the time you’ve finished cleaning up, and they aren’t helping either- kick them out. They’re a crap friend and you’ll probably never see them again anyway (or make up something about taking a nap, having plans- anything to say ‘I have to go, so you have to leave’ without actually saying ‘Get out of my house I hate you’).

Attending:

So you’ve been invited to a grad party. GREAT. Are you expected to bring anything? What do you wear? When is the best time to go? What are open houses like? What if I don’t even like the guy? What if my best friend invited me, but I can’t go?!

What to give: Never more than $20, and even then, they should be your BEST FRIEND EVER. Your friends don’t expect you to break the bank, and giving too extravagantly can make them uncomfortable if they cannot reciprocate. You are allowed to make a heartfelt card, or some really lame joke and throw in some coins for their future laundry endeavors. (EX: taping $1 of quarters to a card with the words ‘Don’t spend it all in one place!’ or ‘For your laundry cuz you stank’ or even ‘I’m broke, you’re broke, but now you can afford one load of laundry.’) Those are all trademarked btw. You have to pay to use those.

What to wear: Nothing that makes you standout more than the host. This is THEIR graduation party and they are the center of attention. Don’t upstage, but don’t show up in sweats. Don’t neglect, but respect. (i.e.: don’t neglect your own personal hygiene, but be respectful and don’t outshine the host in their own house).

When to leave: You don’t want to overstay your welcome at a grad party that you just attended out of politeness. If your at the party of a good friend and you want to stay a long time because you know everyone and you’re having a good time? Great! But if it’s someone you’re more acquaintances with and you’re not sure when to leave, here are a few good guidelines:

  • Meet and greet the host
    • This doesn’t have to be your MISSION. It does not have to be the FIRST thing you do. But why did you go, if you’re not even going to say hi to the person who’s graduating? Be polite, don’t butt in if they are talking to someone, and if you do end up hovering for a while and you have to leave, find a polite pause in their conversation and say something along the lines of ‘Thank you so much for inviting me _________, I’ve had such a great time and it was so good to see you! I have to leave now, but I just wanted to stop in and say ‘Hi’ and ‘Congratulations on graduating”
  • Stop by ‘The Table’
    • Most everyone that is graduating will have a table that has pictures, memories, a place for gifts, somewhere to write a nice note, and any of their awards/scholarships they got at the award ceremony that you had to sit through last week. If there’s somewhere to write a note, you should write a memory or inside joke that you might have shared with that person, even if it was from 3 years ago and they might not remember the joke. If they think you’re weird, well, you’re going away and won’t see them again, and if they don’t, then they’ll think it’s sweet that you remembered that obscure reference. If you can’t think of anything, THEN AND ONLY THEN should you write *insert generic congrats on graduating here*.
  • Eat the food
    • You went through all the trouble and awkwardness of getting through the front door and greeting people that never talked to you in school but now are greeting you like you were acquaintances all year. You deserve to treat yourself, and it will keep you from having to make awkward conversation with people.
  • Greet friends
    • Not acquaintances. That gets awkward fast. If they’re acquaintances, say hi and bye. If there’s no one there at ALL to talk to, make a new friend? Say hello to the house animals? But close friends are usually the best way to feel the least awkward.
  • Leave
    • If you have stayed at least 20 minutes, you’re good. Maybe an hour if they’re a close friend and you have more than one grad party to go to. There’s no need to stay longer. If the host is free, let them know you’re leaving, if not, just leave. Unless you waited to talk to the host until last, you’re free. Obviously no one is trying to kick you out of the house, but never stay longer than the time designated on the card, and don’t hold up the host. They should have time to talk to everyone and if you’re Chatty Cathy and talk their ear off for an hour, they will be unable to greet all of their guests. That being said, don’t feel like you’re in a rush to get out of there- just know that there usually isn’t much space because the host has invited all of their friends and family.

Hope this has been helpful!

Enjoy your graduation and Congrats to those of you who are graduating! ❤

RayeDeSol

The Purge

Hello friends, family, and others!

I have a wonderful new cousin who is super into this ‘cleansing’ thing- you know, where you eat the healthy food that comes in the mail that looks like a brick and tastes like dust? HOWEVER!! As I have never actually TRIED any of it, I can’t say that it’s horrible. The whole ‘don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it’ mentality and all. Back to my cousin (in-law? just cousin? who knows. I like her enough- but hate that she lives in Florida… she should have to suffer in Illinois with me. We’ll just call her Emily. She’s great. <ily Emily>) who lives in Florida (not jealous) who sent me some samples of the health foods and face masks. She is a sales rep for this company called Arbonne Essentials and asked me to try some of her stuff. In all honesty, I love trying new things but I’m a VERY picky eater (heads up), so you have the privilege of testing out these new samples with me! Here’s a pic of all the super cool stuff I get to try: 20170515_100654(I assure you that these looked newer BEFORE I left them in my backpack for a week, and please excuse the poor quality of my pics. I have shaky hands.)

Now, because I’m trying these at work and not at home- because I never remember to do anything when I get to my apartment at the end of the day- I won’t be trying the face mask. I might make another post for it, or I might update this one later (at the bottom or something)

The Chocolate Bar:

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Looks like chocolate, smells like chocolate, tastes like a s’mores bar, and has the consistency of a granola bar (go figure). Leaves my mouth feeling dry because of the consistency, but no fear! That’s what I have the tea and the fizzy drink thing for. Way better than what I was expecting (which was dirt… because it’s supposed to be healthy). Final thoughts: would eat again, but not in the same quantities that I down chocolate bars when I’m on my period.

The Tea:

Choosing the right mug is always the hardest part of drinking hot beverages because there are always so many good mugs to pick from.

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Now, I’m not a religious tea drinker by any means, nor do I like coffee. I stray from caffeine as much as possible, and I’m really glad that this tea is caffeine free. In fact, my preferred hot beverage of choice is hot chocolate (if anyone has hot chocolate recipes for me to try I will willingly do so) tea just… isn’t my cup  of tea? Any who, when I first tried it I did not let it steep enough so it tasted like watered down dead leaf juice with maybe some mint? But as a former Starbucks Barista *hair flipgiphy* I know that steeping it longer will bring out the flavor or something. So I am currently waiting for it to steep as I find more gifs to put into this post.

So it’s been steeping a while and it still tastes like dead leaf juice, but with a really nice smell- so for those of you who like tea that doesn’t have a strong flavor, I’d say that this is a great tea for you. It’s really light with a bit of mint flavor, and it smells nice. But for those of you who like stronger flavored tea, this makes a really good air freshener or something to play with at work to make you feel more sophisticated.

Keep in mind, however, that this is a cleansing tea so the purpose is to clean and not fit MY specific standards of good tea and that even if it’s not my favorite cup of tea ever (I’ve had worse), you might LOVE it 🙂 so don’t knock it ’till you try it!

Energy Fizz Stick:

I kid you not, that is what it says on the package. I can’t make this stuff up. Now, after further investigation (and by that, I mean I texted Emily and said ‘wtf is this?’), you’re supposed to put this in a water bottle and shake it- but I don’t have one of those, so we’re gonna put it in a glass, stir it, and hope for the best.

It turns out that I cannot open things that are perforated so I must now go get some scissors.

Right off the bat this reminds me of those orange tablets you drop into water and drink when you’re sick. I don’t know if any of you know what I’m talking about, but I know that my Grandma ALWAYS has them at her place and whenever I tell her I’m feeling a bit under the weather she makes me drink a glass of the fizzy orange juice stuff. Only this is pomegranate flavored. I’ve never tried pomegranates so this will be an interesting test run!

It smells like Capri-Sun pouches, is kinda fizzy when you drink it, and tastes like fizzy fruit punch.

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All in all I would like to thank the amazing Emily for letting me try her products. I’ve had so much fun with this and getting to try new things. I can’t wait to try the face stuff when I get home!!! But I want to let you know that I am still the blogger that you know and love, and treated myself to a bag of M&M cookies for all of my hard work.

See you all soon and I hope you’re enjoying the weather!

RayeDeSol

 

Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

WARNING: I WILL GIVE YOU WARNING IF I AM ABOUT TO GIVE A SPOILER!!!! Make sure to read the warning headers. Some might consider it a spoiler, some might not- but I’m not taking chances.

Now, I HATE people who spoil movies for me. I don’t like watching more than one trailer for a movie because I’m afraid that they will give away the whole movie in one trailer (or that all of the funny parts of the movie will all be in one trailer- it’s happened before. I was upset). But let me tell you that GotG2 was SO GOOD.

I was originally a little nervous about seeing this movie because the last movie I saw in theaters was Beauty and the Beast with Nat in Florida on our Spring Break trip and I threw up afterwards because I got motion sick from all of the spinning. And not even just the ballroom scene- the whole damned movie felt like it was filmed on a roller coaster. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the movie! it was a good movie! I just- with all the spinning- and food doesn’t taste good twice- it was a less than magical experience.

Anyways, back to the GotG2. Mom took me to see it on Saturday (and might have taken Leah to see it again on Sunday), and we both agreed that it was an amazing movie.

 

WARNING: I talk about how I feel about the character arches and misspell names

 

 

My Dad had listened to the radio earlier that day and was repeating what the talk-show hosts had said about what they had thought about Guardians of the Galaxy 2. One had said that the whole movie was about Groot, and I could not disagree more. I thought that everyone had their own thing and got pretty equal screen time.

Peter had his daddy issues, Gomorra had the feelings for Peter, Drax had the thing with Mantis lady, and Rocket had the thing about friendship and stuff (yes, I know how vague that was but I don’t really want to spoil it, and those who have seen the movie know what I’m talking about).

 

WARNING: Only kind of a spoiler and is in no way important to the plot line whatsoever.

 

 

 

THEY PUT A ZUNE IN THE MOVIE!!!!!!!!!! I don’t think any of you understand how excited I got when I was watching the movie and I saw that they mentioned the Zune and how popular it was on Earth which only made me laugh really hard because besides me, I’ve only known two other people to know what a Zune is (my cousin Jay (think he goes by James now?) and my friend Eliza- who got ecstatic when she found out I had a Zune because we were able to play games and stuff together). The Zune is an MP3 player that Microsoft made to compete with the Ipod. Obviously it didn’t do as well because not very many people know what it is, and the software for it is out of date and Zunes are no longer in production. I am aware that it was a drag on the Zune, but I laughed when I Googled ‘Zune’ later after the movie and saw how widely searched it was because of its reference in GotG2.

High School Musical 1

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(https://giphy.com/gifs/refinery29gifs-summer-high-school-musical-refinery29-l0HlIk8EALDCUHCA8)

Hullo frands. It is that time of the year again where I have to begin planning the next three months of my life, a.k.a, summer. As much as I would absolutely LOVE to sit around and do nothing, I am an ‘adult’ now which means I have to go to work if I want to be able to afford anything fun or necessary in my life. (I’m sorry guys, I regret putting the gif in- it’s really distracting, but it makes the post more fun? I should have put it in last or something).

Summer is a great time for college and high school kids to find a job to be able to pay for anything they might want to do during the school year, or any trips they might want to pursue during the summer or breaks- in theory. I myself am currently saving up to go to concerts (Def Leppard, Queen, Fall Out Boy- you know, the usual), however motivation is hard to come by. I’m almost done with finals, I don’t have any more homework, the days are getting longer, the weather is nicer- I WANT TO SIT ON A BEACH ALL DAY AND READ FOR PLEASURE!!! And I’m sure many of you are thinking similar thoughts.

-Reality Check- ( This is where s*** gets serious)

This is only the beginning. You have to be able to afford things, and if you are anything like me, and impulse control is an issue, then you need to sit down and buckle up because working is in your future. But you’re in luck because I’ll be right there beside you, bitching loudly the whole way.

I have come to the conclusion that should I want to go out with my friends, eat out at a restaurant every once in a while, have food in my apartment, gas in my car, travel, I need moolah. Cold hard cash. Dollares in my account, and that doesn’t come from sitting on my ass all day every day, wishing I had a summer body without working for it *sighs wistfully*.

This summer, I have decided, will be a summer of hardcore- parkour, let’s get down to business to defeat the huns kind of summer. This doesn’t mean all work no play, but it does mean buckling down and getting stuff done. I have already enrolled in two summer online classes, I have one job (my job from the school year), and I am looking to get a second that would function as more of a night job that would beef up my savings account for the upcoming year. I won’t be moving back home this summer because the lease on my apartment is a year long and I can’t afford to pay for something that I am not making use of, however this also means that I will still be buying all my own food, and not saving as much as I would be if my lease were shorter (but you can’t have your cake and eat it too. There are benefits to this though- my own Wi-Fi, most of my neighbors move out in a week to go back to their homes abroad, and I’m 4 blocks away from my current job).

I know that if I want to achieve something that I will have to work hard for it. For me that means graduating on time, gaining new and diverse experiences to be able to apply to my life (and put on my resume), as well as being financially stable when I leave college. To achieve my goal that means picking up extra classes over summers and breaks, studying abroad at least once, and working enough to not have to worry about how I am going to afford basic necessities. Something that I have challenged myself with this year was to make enough money to cover my living cost. My parents gave me enough money to cover my apartment, but I wanted to prove to myself that I could be responsible, find a good job that would pay the rent, and maybe have leftover money for food so that I would not have to dip into the money my parents gave me, and I could invest that in something. That did not happen this semester, but it is a goal I am striving to achieve in future semesters.

Now I realize that I am very fortunate in what I currently have and where I am in life, and that when I graduate I won’t immediately move into my very own 4 story house in the Bahamas, but having a plan is something that is important to me, and something I value. It makes me feel more secure in my future. Obviously, however, this is not everyone’s take on life and I know and respect this. You do you, Imma do me.

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On to lighter topics! Sorry I veered off track there for a bit- ANY HOW! My summer plans that I am trying to save for include, but are not limited to (note: the following information is subject to change):

  • Concerts
    • Queen
    • Def Leppard
    • Lalapalooza
  • Traveling
    • Summer Family vacation (I want a bunch of souvenirs)
    • Broadway show
  • Festivals and other miscellaneous adventures that pop up

I originally planned to go on a trip for the Harry Potter Day festivals on the 30th of July, but I’ll most likely be in Colorado on vacation with my family at that time (no complaints!) so I’ve rescheduled that for next years adventures. I know the list isn’t a long one, but again, I still have 2 sessions of summer school and work so I can’t take THAT much time off. Let me know if you have any suggestions of things to add to my list! I’m always looking for new experiences (even if they’re small things)!!!

Hope you all are enjoying the weather: let me know if you have any summer plans that you’re excited about! 😀

RayeDeSol

The Office: S1E1 (The Bathroom)

At work, on my floor, there is a bathroom. This bathroom is all the way at the (opposite) end of the hall, and despite having luxurious soaps, only has two stalls. Now our building tries to be energy efficient. This means that if no one is using a room the lights are off. This applies to bathrooms. This is not an embarrassing story, but it is about my greatest fear. The point of saying that there are only two stalls shows the infrequency that this lavatory is in use. Rarely is there more than one person in there, but should someone else have the urge, there is no line and no awkward waiting for that single user to finish. However, since this is not a large room and rarely are there two people letting nature take its course at the same time, it has become muscle memory that I turn the light off when leaving the throne room. Now surely you all are wondering what my greatest office fear is that so clearly involves the bathroom. Well, here it is:

What if I turn the lights off on someone (by accident) while they are still on the throne?

The John is a sacred place, and similar to fight club, no one talks about fight club. This does not discourage small children from disclosing their secrets to their parents, but your bowel movements are not generally something you post to your Facebook page or something that gets you the most retweets (no need to prove me wrong as a social experiment). But what if- WHAT IF- I walk in, and walk out while someone is using the loo and SHUT THE LIGHTS OFF?

Do I apologize, flip the switch and run away (they could track me down later using the 50 different cameras on the way back to my office in the Hall of Presidents)? Do I calmly act like the incident didn’t occur and flip it back? What if the recipient to my blunder later recognizes me by my shoes?!

WHAT DO I DO IF IT HAPPENS TO ME?!

Should I shout indignantly and hope no one stays around to find out that it was ME that was just sent to the depths of my dark tomb labeled ‘EM-BARE-ASS-MENT’? Do I sit in silence upon the throne until my work is done? Do I carry night goggles with me at all times?

Please discuss.

RayeDeSol

Not the Color Run

Holi is a traditional Indian celebration for the coming of Spring. I was made aware of this holiday last year by my roommates and have been enamored with it ever since! Last year I brought my friend, Natallie, with me. This year I brought both Nat and my boyfriend, Jeremy, and NEXT YEAR I’ll be bringing even more people as I’ve had SO many questions about what this event is and how to become a part of it. The event that I hope becomes an annual occurrence for me is run by ASHA UIUC (for those of you who are looking forward to attending next year but don’t want to come with). This year Michael Giger Photography was there and he took such amazing pictures of my friends and I that I just HAVE to share them and get his name out there. For those of you who follow me on Facebook and Instagram, I’m sure you’re sick of all my Holi posts, and I’m sorry! This will be the last one! Swear!

Love you all!

RayeDeSol