Saturday, March 30, 2013

12 Thanks: V.3

March snuck up on me and went by so quickly. I don't know what happened. Maybe it's because I've had slightly more of a social life. Who knows. But what I did know was that I only had three more days to do my 12 months of thanks challenge.

For March I am thankful for my grandma. This woman is seriously the best! She has done so much for me. I don't even have the time or amount of space to name it all. She hates having her picture taken so instead I took pictures while she was baking cookies. I managed to sneak one in of her, but don't tell her!

My grandma is great because she lets me stay at her house for days on end. In high school and college when I'd be home I'd always find my way over to her house just to hang out. In fact I would even bring my friends over to hang out because she's just that awesome. My cousin makes fun of me saying that my grandma is my best friend. But so what?

My grandma can make anyone feel at home. She doesn't mind getting up to make you a pot of coffee. She even has the best sayings. She can never get phrases or names right. One of her most famous ones is "World Book of Guiness" instead of Guiness Book of World Records. Just today my cousin called to tell her the gender of the baby and the name. My grandma said to me when I walked downstairs, "She's having a girl. I think she's naming it Pepper!" I replied, "Pepper?! Do you mean Piper?" She has our family in stitches all the time.

She is one of the greatest women I know and most liberal old people I have ever met.
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Saturday, March 9, 2013


My grandma has lived in her current house my entire life. I have never known her to live anywhere else. As I was dog sitting the past week I was just looking around at everything and having such strong images of spending time at her house. I took decided I wanted to take pictures of some of the things I don’t want to forget, like little windows and nooks and dogs… and this giant green electrical box I used to lay on as a kid which will probably cause me to have cancer when I’m older. Oh well.003 018 021 025 027 030 031 034 036 039 043 045 051 053 055

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Thoughts on Being Facebook Free

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I have been without Facebook for almost a month now, and I decided to share some of what I've been feeling since because I've had people ask me how it's going. I want to start off by saying that I may or may not have deleted my Facebook account for selfish reasons. I do see some selfish reasons. I am someone who gets very stressed that my life isn't going the way it should be. I thought I'd be married, or at least had my first boyfriend by now. I'm almost 24 and have never been in a relationship. On Facebook everyone I knew was getting awesome jobs, getting married, posting awesome things they were doing with their significant other, or having babies. I was still single, with few friends, living with my parents, and ALWAYS working. You can see how that would put stress on someone. 

Yeah, I might have been selfish in that way, but I really want to be happy for them. Some of my best friends have gotten married or are having babies and I want to celebrate this time of their lives with them because if I would expect the same for them. I knew Facebook was only feeding the negativity and the devil was having a field day with me. So, I deleted them app and now I'll post some thoughts on how I'm feeling.

one. The first week was the absolute hardest. I never realized how often I actually just unconsciously hit the Facebook app button on my phone or clicked the icon when I was on my computer. The first week my finger would go to where the app button used to be only to realize I was clicking something else. I was  actually mad at myself because I didn't realize how much time I actually spent on it. I felt so cut off from the world that first week.

two. I may be Facebook free, but that doesn't mean I haven't been using other aspects of social media. In fact, I think I'm using Twitter more than I ever have and I went back to using Tumblr almost as much as I did in college (although not quite).

three. I feel like I'm building into friendships more without Facebook. When I was using Facebook I would write on people's "walls" random 'hello's' and such. But it would just be a random sentence or two here and there without any actual thought going into it. Now, I have a few friends who I am constantly e-mailing. I feel like it is so much more personal now because I actually take the time to ask how their days are going or keep conversations going.

four. I think in a way we all use Facebook to boost our egos. I know I did. I would post something and constantly check to see if people noticed by liking or commenting on it. Now, I don't have that. I don't even know if anyone really reads this blog anymore since I don't have it sent directly to my Facebook wall. Sometimes it makes me depressed but then I think about the real reason I started this blog. It says right in my "about" page. I wanted it as a reminder of how blessed I am. It doesn't matter how many people read it. I'm not curtailing this for anyone but myself. I want it for my friends, my real friends and if they want to read about my life I know they will read it.

five. I'm still surrounded by marriages and pregnancies. You mean life doesn't stop when you are off Facebook? Nope. There are so many people in this blogging community who have posted about finding out their pregnant. I am happy for them. Am I still feeling down about still being single? Of course, but I'm trying to find ways to over come it, and the blogging world I think is a lot less intrusive than Facebook, so it's  a lot easier to deal with.

six. I also never realized how much was actually on Facebook! One example is that when I found out my sister was going to the Philippines I wanted to contact my friend who lives in Japan to let her know that I wanted to visit her when I visited my sister. However, the only way I could contact her is through Facebook since she is in Australia right now. So, I have to wait until I get it back. Another example is that I went to find a picture to use on my blog and after searching through the folders on my computer I realized that the picture I wanted was actually one my friend had taken and they only way I would be able to retrieve it is through Facebook. Also, many shops and blogs have Facebook pages that I can't follow because I'm not signed into Facebook to do so. Even apps on my phone are connected to Facebook, and I can't use some, like Draw Something, because I don't want to use my e-mail.

Will I get my Facebook back? Absolutely. Will I keep  it? I'm not sure. If I don't I do plan on signing in for a little longer to make sure I really do collect the contact information from friends I do want to stay in contact with. However, I will probably just keep it because I have so many friends all over and it's the easiest way to stay connected. When will I sign back on? I've been debating this. From the beginning I said it was going to be April. Now,  I don't know if that's just an ego boost because I want to see how many people remember my birthday because I know people won't if I'm not on there. So part of me just wants to wait until May or June so I don't have to find my happiness from people's birthday wishes. BUT on the other hand I do miss browsing people's Facebooks. I do feel disconnected from everyone, so it would be nice to see what everyone has been up to.

I kind of babbled on more than I expected, but it felt good to finally put into words what I've been thinking about since my disappearance. Overall, it's been a great feeling. I feel like I've been detoxing my mind, and that is something I need. Things aren't all rainbows and butterflies, but I don't feel comfortable sharing that part of my life. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

New Custom Blog Makeover

I spent several hours working on my new blog layout. I love simple, but I wanted it to be a little more "me" than the typical layouts Blogger has to offer. All the writing is my ow handwriting. I don't know how I feel about that yet, but I haven't found a font that was quite what I wanted for my blog. So, for now, it'll stay just like this. 
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I was lucky enough to have Tim create the Cleveland skyline coffee mark logo, which you can read about here.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Asian Invasion

Have you heard the news?! That's right my sister is going to...
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My sister, who has already been to Haiti, Venezuela, and India, is going to the Philippines for two years with the Peace Corps. I already knew that I wanted to visit her where ever they put her, but all along I was thinking Peru because that was her first choice. But here she is leaving in July for the Philippines.

I never thought I'd be wanting to go to Asia any time soon. I've been saving change and the few tips I get at work for possible trips. I've been wanting to visit the West Coast of the USA again (Arizona, San Francisco, Seattle) but I've also been dying to visit Europe. I wasn't sure what I was saving up for but I knew I needed to make a decision soon so that I knew how much I had to start putting away. I always thought I'd visit Europe before Asia, but here I am making a wish list of places I want to visit in Asia.

I figured I'll try to visit next year sometime. It's just tough because it's a LOT of money and I'm already paying a fortune in loans. Not only do I have to buy a plane ticket over there, but I also need to start thinking about food and shelter. If I plan on being their for at least a month that won't be cheap. Luckily, I've been paying more on my car so I should have it paid off by the beginning of next year and then put the extra money towards my trip. But I don't work at great paying jobs, so I'm hoping I really can make it before she returns. I also figured since I'm visiting the Philippines I'll save up and do a bit of traveling to other countries.

Ever since my sister told me about her placement I've been trying to think of places I wanted to visit. Let me tell you it's a lot harder thinking of places in Southeast Asia than it is for, say, Europe. I can name a million places I want to visit in Europe, but when it came to Asia I was drawing a blank. I also want to travel to places that will be the cheapest. Unfortunately, that means I really have to pick and choose where I want to go. That means places like Korea and China will be at the very end of my list and India won't even make it on. Anyways, without further ado here is my list:

I would love to visit Bagan and the Shwe Dagon Pagoda.
Bagan, Burma
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Shwe Dagon Pagoda
Obviously, I would visit my sister where ever they place her in the Philippines and hopefully, if she can't travel to other countries, she can travel around the Philippines with me. I really want to see the Banaue Rice Terraces, Taal Volcano, and possibly some beaches. I'm not a beach person in the least, but when in Rome, or the Philippines, do as they do.
Banaue rice terrasses, Unesco world heritage
Banaue Rice Terraces
taal volcano (hdr)
Taal Volcano
Cambodia has very pretty temples. I'd love to see Angkor Wat or Ta Prohm Temple.
Angkor Wat - Cambogia
Angkor Wat
There are a great deal of places I would love to visit in Thailand! Bangkok would absolutely be one of them. I'd also like to see the Grand Palace, Ayuthaya, Sukhothai, and Phang Nga Bay. I mean come on look how awesome that rock is at Phang Nga Bay. It's crazy that something like that actually exists!
James Bond Island
Ko Tapu at Phang Nga Bay
I would love to visit Vietnam! As a history buff I've learned a lot about the country. Although, the history we learn about is pretty terrible, it would still be awesome to get an understanding of their culture. I would love to see the Old Quarter of Hanoi and Sapa!
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Fruit market in Hanoi
If I have the money and the time I would also like to visit the Great Wall of China in China. I'd love to see Tokyo, Mt. Fuju, and Kyoto in Japan. Those are just a few places I'd like to see. 

I also found this awesome website that shares how to pack for different parts of the world, including places in Asia! You can visit the Ultimate Female Travel Packing List here! The other site I will take advantage of explains how to pack two weeks in a carry on. You can visit that site here!

Have you ever been to Asia? Is there any place you'd like to see, especially around the Philippines? Do you have any helpful tips for traveling or any websites I should check out. I've never left the country (I haven't even been to Canada), so I am completely open to suggestions. Also I'm also recruiting people to join me! :)

**None of these photographs are my own nor do I claim them to be my own. You can find the original source by clicking the photo. The first picture I am using with my sister's permission from her Instagram.
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