Posts Tagged With: personal

Welcome to August!

I have been SUPER busy lately, and the only way I’ve been able to get through it is to take one day at a time.  This is a valid method, but sometimes you’ve got to play the long game.  So, in the interest of that, here are my goals for the month.

  • Finish four books I’ve already started.
  • Write 6000 words (this is a low goal, Kari, come on).
  • Get caught up on your travel journal (WHY DO YOU DO THIS??? IT’S BEEN A MONTH SINCE YOU’VE BEEN ANYWHERE!)
  • Sign up for 401K (wow, adult much?).
  • Fix paystub problem (this has been on your radar for months, Johnson).
  • Stick to the preplanned budget for the month (which…is not your strong suit, but come on).

The next step is to figure out some rewards for if I do this, so…

  • Buy the three books on my (most timely) wishlist.
  • New coffee mug.
  • Day or weekend trip to Asheville.
  • That Kate Spade bracelet I’ve been looking at for months.
  • Nice dinner at Cowfish.
  • New pair of shoes in September’s budget.

Of course, my other problem is that I have a bad habit of letting myself have rewards without actually earning them, so who wants to keep me accountable?  Anyone?

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Introvert Problems

I’ve been working hard this month.  I came back from my beach vacation and dived into both jobs, working three and a half weeks without a single day off.  I was getting a little burned out.

…my candle literally just went out.  Spooky.

I finally took a day off and spent it sleeping.  It helped, but going back to work the next day, I was still feeling unmotivated and a little angry at, well…everyone.

I thought I needed another day, or maybe a few of them, when I didn’t have to talk to a single person.  I am an introvert.  Sometimes I need me-time.

I arrived at the mall Saturday, determined to make it through the full work day and looking forward to the short shift that followed on Sunday.  Most of the day did feel like going through the motions.  At seven, though, a woman came in with her daughter carrying a Disney bag.  I had to ask.  They had gotten two Tsum-tsums (one was Marie) and were planning a trip to the park.

I spent at least a half hour with them, talking about my time working at Disney World and showing them the pink bags we had on sale.  They were extremely sweet and it really was like talking to two old friends.  When they left with their purchase, they were overjoyed with what they got and excited about coming back.  They were my last sale right before I clocked out, and I actually left work feeling less tired than when I’d gotten there.

Since I got out early, I had time to go to Lush after H&M.  The service there is always great, but this time I got to work with Justine, and absolute sweetheart who accidentally cursed in front of me and whose tattoos I found delightful.  We realized we were from the same county and she could relate to the stifled feeling I sometimes get there.  When she noticed my Gryffindor tattoo, we got to compare Gryffindor and Slytherin qualities.  It was a lot of fun and she hugged me three times before I left.

Sometimes I need me-time, but what I’ve really been missing this month are truly personal interactions: spending time with someone and finding out what they value, what they hate, who they actually are.  It’s hard to get that when I’m trying to make a sales goal at Kate or trying to move the line at Amelie’s.  And it’s hard for me in general since I don’t seem to connect well with people, even people I’ve known for years.  (On a related note, how do you turn a work friend into a friend-friend?  I’m asking for a…well, a friend.)  But when those connections come along, they’re worth savoring, however briefly.  And they always make my job more fun.

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A Day at Kate Spade

I started my job at Kate almost two months ago.  I love it, and one of the things i love about it is that every day is new.

That being said, this isn’t a “typical” day, because there’s no such thing.

9:02 – Kasey and I clock in.  I have spent almost an hour in traffic, but feel better as soon as I pass through the doors.

9:12 – While Kasey works on the deposit, I pull out my client book and make sure all my information is up-to-date.

9:20 – We take the trash out.  (It can’t all be glamorous.)

9:34 – Kasey shows me how to check in a shipment.  The first thing I unload is a new box of Glitter Keds!

10:03 – Music comes on and the doors officially open.

10:10 – We get our first client of the day, a woman looking for a dress to wear to her daughter’s “moving up” ceremony.  I sell her my favorite black dress in the store.

10:27 – Kasey and I talk about her time on a cruise ship while we wait for the next client to enter.

10:44 – We get a new delivery. Still preparing for the new floorset on June first!

11:29 – A man comes in to buy his wife a purse.  He talks about how she was there for him when he had nothing and how they’re still close now.  It’s the most precious thing I’ve heard all day.

12:00 – I’m introduced to a muse (that’s my official job title – how darling is that?) who has transferred from Charleston.  She gives me some suggestions about where I should eat on my trip next month.

1:30 – Kasey and I work with a woman who’s just turned 70.  She’s a sweet, colorful person who falls in love with our camel t-shirt and a pink pair of sunglasses.

1:34 – Off to lunch.  I have a chat with one of the employees at Coach about the acquisition.

2:34 – I clock back in.

3:02 – I help a lovely woman find a comfy dress to replace hers that’s falling apart.

4:28 – A girl comes in with her grandmother, looking for a bag to take on her trip to Charleston.

4:47 – Lainey and I tag-team markdowns.  Neither of us know all the product names yet, making the whole thing an interesting scavenger hunt.  (Spoiler alert: most of the items have already sold out at our store, so it’s a bit fruitless.)

5:58 – Dawn finishes her work in the back just as Britt is arriving.  The back room has never been so organized, at least not while I’ve been there.

At the end of the day, I’m tired and my feet hurt.  With the adrenalin fading, I start to realize some of the things I could have done better.  It’s a continuous learning process, and can be emotionally exhausting for an introvert like me.  I’m looking forward to my day off…but I’m also excited to return Saturday, when I’ll meet new, interesting people and spend time with all the shining girls I get to work with.

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A Few Observations of My Life Right Now

Objectively speaking, writing hasn’t been going well lately.  Blog posts are late.  Everything else has stopped entirely.

This is in spite of the fact that I have a plethora of new experiences to draw on.  I have a new part-time job I love; I’ve been attempting freelance writing; I found a bakery, a restaurant, and two bars I enjoyed; I even changed my own tire.

Theory one: The problem is the writing itself.  Looking back on the work I did last year, I was experimenting with styles and that made it fun to write and fun to read.

Theory two: While I have been finding inspiration in my hometown, the environment in which I actually write (my desk/writing corner) is intimidating, making it difficult to work.

Theory three: My emotional state has left it difficult to find the energy to do things and write about them.

Theory four, and this one has legs: Some combination of the three where the problems compound so it becomes impossible to overcome any one of them.

Other things happening right now:

  • Thanks to my AMAZING employee discount, I own a $600 bag but my debit card got declined for a $13 purchase at the grocery store.  The irony.  But I still haven’t used my credit card since I got this job, and the purse was a MILLION percent off, so I don’t feel bad about it.  I just find it hilarious.
  • Brad Paisley’s new CD came out last week and, for the first time in years, I haven’t bought it yet and don’t know if I will.  I didn’t love the singles “Without a Fight” or “Today,” which was unusual in itself.
  • I’ve been feeling sick lately.  No water + no vegetables = sick Kari.  Time to go back on Weight Watchers because it’s the best way I’ve found to keep me personally accountable to healthy eating and exercise.
  • After going through old “keepsakes,” I got rid of a ton of papers from high school and all but three trophies.  It’s funny, the things that mattered back then: the grades, the test scores…I kind of wish I’d done more stupid things at that age.
  • The new Power Rangers is a fantastic movie, and you should go see it in theaters.  I also really loved Sense and Sensibility, and I miss Alan Rickman SO much.
  • Planning to do some fun things in May, leading up to something REALLY COOL in June.  There will be a blog post about it, but if you want pictures or specific updates…

This blog is supported by Patreon.  You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

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5 Ways to Take Care of Yourself Right Now

I’m taking a break from politics this week.

I know: you’re thrilled.  Don’t get too comfortable – I’m sure I’ll be angry again next week.  But if I’m going to survive four years, I have to occasionally take a break and do some self-care.  If you are also overwhelmed by politics, here are some of the things that have made me feel better this week.  Maybe they’ll work for you too.

  1. Watch some feel-good TV.  Personally, I recommend One Day at a Time on Netflix, which has this little bonus: feminist activist Elena Alvarez is always up in arms about something.  Let her be angry for you.  (Or you can shake your head and wonder why she’s always angry, like her grandmother does; that’s your choice.)
  2. Spend time with people who agree with you.  I’m not saying you should exclusively spend time with people who agree with you, but sometimes it’s nice to be with people knowing you aren’t one comment away from a “fight or flight” response.
  3. Watch for the helpers.  This story from New York City made me happy.  This AirBNB Super Bowl commercial was the highlight of my night.  There are people doing good in this world right now.  Let them give you some hope.
  4. BE a helper.  Protests are important and there are some big problems in the world you probably want to solve Right Now.  But these can be overwhelming, so take a break and do something small.  Give a couple dollars to a cause you believe in.  (If you need suggestions, I got you.)  Don’t have any money?  Some celebrities and organizations will give you opportunities to tweet or click in support of something and they’ll donate on your behalf.  The best way to find them is to follow people who share your values and concerns on social media.  You can even tweet your own idea and see if anyone picks it up, like this BRILLIANT woman‘s idea to pay off kids’ school lunch balances.  Every action you take doesn’t have to be huge and world-changing.  Doing a little something can help you feel better and help somebody else.
  5. Do things that make YOU happy.  Read a book.  Watch a movie.  Spend time with someone you love.  Go on a trip.  Unplug for a little while.  Don’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself.  You’re important too.

This blog is supported by Patreon.  You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

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Another Piece of the Puzzle

Let’s talk about me.

(But Kari, I don’t want to talk about you.)

Then you shouldn’t have clicked on the link.  It’s my blog and I want to talk about me.

(Fine.  What about you now?)

You ever have days when you look in the mirror and you aren’t sure what, exactly, you’re looking at?

(…I thought we were talking about you.)

I have days when I look in the mirror and I’m not sure what I’m looking at.  The good news is that they’ve been coming less frequently because I finally figured it out.

I am a puzzle.

I don’t mean that I am a problem you have to tilt your head at and consider before coming up with a solution.  I mean a puzzle made up of many pieces, and only in putting them together you can see a complete picture.

I’ve spoken of other pieces of my identity before, pieces I have struggled and searched to discover, but this one’s easy.

I’m an introvert.

(You?  Really?  I had no idea!)

Okay, if you’re being sarcastic…rude.

Some people, on finding this out, are genuinely surprised because I “like people.”  And I do…you know, usually.

But god, are they exhausting.

I know some people who seem more energized the longer they spend time with people.  It doesn’t work that way for me.  I start an event with a certain amount of fuel, and people slowly drain it out of me.  It’s why I was always more tired working four hours at the library than I ever am spending all day in my little cubicle.

The hard part is that it’s impossible to tell where my energy levels will land.  I last longer with a few close friends than in crowds of strangers, but if I start tired or anxious anyway, I require more energy to be social.  When I’m having a “bad week,” I can barely find any at all.  Alcohol can boost it some, but when I get to the point where I’m too tired to even drink, there’s no coming back from that.

(All right, I get it.  So why are you telling me this now?)

Because, for better or worse, it’s part of me and it affects how I interact with the world.  It kept me from doing something this weekend that would have been fun if I weren’t so worn out to begin with.  And that particular occasion reiterated something I’ve been learning as I try to take better care of myself: you have to listen to your body.  Even as I am trying to say yes more, “I can’t right now” can still be the right answer.  Even the people who mean to be looking out for you are not inside your head.  They may not see every puzzle piece.  Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine how each one is going to fit together.

It may not always look the way you want, but it’s going to feel a whole lot better.

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Gryffindor

For the last month, I’ve written and rewritten “Gryffindor” on my wrist with a Sharpie, testing it out before I get it in permanent ink.  When someone asks, the easiest way to explain it is “It’s a Harry Potter thing.”  Truth is: if I were going to get a tattoo because of what a book did to me, there are other stories that have affected me more.  This is different.  It isn’t something the Harry Potter books made me into, just something they gave me a name for.  The tattoo is meant to remind me to act like one.

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When I first read the books, picking your Hogwarts house was another way of defining yourself, and I spent a lot of time debating which I would have belonged to.  Slytherin was the only one I didn’t consider, because I am not cunning by any stretch of the imagination, and my greatest ambition right now is to never have to drive down Billy Graham Parkway again.

Ravenclaw seemed like a possibility.  I like to consider myself curious and creative, and I did enjoy school, but I wasn’t one for “knowledge for its own sake.”  Then there was Hufflepuff.  Loyalty and fairness sounded good to me, but I’m not all that hard-working.  (I’m actually not always that fair either, but I didn’t work that out until later.)

Looking back, it’s one of those things in my life where I can’t believe I ever thought there was another way.  If you haven’t read the books, this is something you might not know: you aren’t sorted solely on the traits you possess, but also on the traits you value.  And the majority of the fictional characters I loved growing up were Gryffindors through and through: people who chose to seek adventure or defend the weak.  The two ideals I value above all else are courage and kindness.

In my life, it comes through in my wanderlust and the way I face my anxieties.  I see it when I stand up for others.  (I’m not so good at standing up for myself, but hey: I’m getting better about that one too.)  It’s in my idealism and indignation in the face of injustice.  My best writing comes when I do it the Gryffindor way: openly and freely.

It’s also where I get my stubbornness and my inability to quit, even when I ought to for my own or someone else’s good.  It’s part of my hot-head and how I’m getting worse (or better, depending on how you view it) at keeping my mouth shut about it.  It’s the rash decisions and going with my gut instead of planning ahead.  If I had a dollar for half the things I’ve done or said without thinking them all the way through, I could afford the other half.  It’s the part of me that likes my high heels and short skirts, not to mention the hard-drinking, fast-driving, fun-loving side.

I’m not saying they’re all good things, but if you ask me if there’s anything I love about myself, those are the ones that would come first.

And there’s something inherently courageous about calling yourself brave because it means you no longer have an excuse not to be.  If you openly admit to being a coward, there’s no shame in taking the coward’s way out.  The moment you call yourself brave, you are forced to hold yourself to a higher standard: to stick it out when you’re not sure you can, to make the hard choice when someone has to, to stand up and puff out your chest no matter what you’re staring down.  It’s a matter of honor.

(Honor’s a big thing for Gryffindors too.)

That’s why I’m getting it tattooed to my wrist.  It’s a promise to myself to do the brave thing.  It’s a justification for my impetuous behavior.  And it’s a sign that, good or bad, I am who I am and I get to own it.

I’m not saying I won’t change and I’m not saying that I shouldn’t aspire to grow, but if I’m going to fuck up, I’d rather err on the side of courage and daring and chivalry.

Basically: life’s short.  Lion up.

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10 Random Songs

It’s about ten o’clock on Tuesday, which means it’s time to write a blog post.  Let’s make this quick, because I have an interview in the morning.

Okay, there’s this challenge on Tumblr where you put your music player on shuffle and then say the first ten songs that come up.  This may be amusing.

  1. “I Wanna Know You” by Hannah Montana featuring David Archuleta.
    I am not ashamed.  I love this song, and it’s the first time I listened to Archuleta.
  2. “Cups (When I’m Gone)” by the Barden Bellas.
    This is from the Pitch Perfect 2 soundtrack.  It was the moment the girls got their groove back again, so it’s really emotional for me.
  3. “Settlin'” by Sugarland.
    This song used to really hit me.  Now…not so much.
  4. “Guns and Ships” by the Hamilton Original Broadway Cast.
    EVERYONE GIVE IT UP FOR AMERICA’S FAVORITE FIGHTING FRENCHMAN!  But seriously, this song is so great.  It’s so energetic and even very informative.
  5. “Cheater, Cheater” by Joey + Rory.
    Usually, this song makes me smile, because…yeah, I’d totally say that if my husband stepped out on me.  But now it’s kind of sad because Joey is so sick.  I mean, I’m not a huge fan of the duo, but cancer is always sad.
  6. “The Hard Way” by Eric Church.
    I love this song because there are a lot of things I feel this way about.  There are a lot of lessons I think I learned the hard way.  But it’s also a reminder that some things can be learned another way.
  7. “She Can’t Get That” by Blake Shelton.
    Ugh.  I can’t listen to a Blake Shelton song the same way lately.
  8. “Isaiah 45:23” by The Mountain Goats.
    The thing about Mountain Goats songs is that I generally need to listen to them several times before I “get it,” and this is one I haven’t listened to enough.  But I love the Mountain Goats, so much so that I read Wolf in White Van by their lead singer and lyricist.
  9. “Draw Me a Map” by Dierks Bentley.
    Actually, this is a song I keep meaning to take off my phone because I never actually listen to it.
  10. “Already Gone” by Sugarland.
    Whenever I think of running away and living like a nomad, this is the song I think of.  Well, this one and their other one “Fly Away.”  But this is the first, because it’s just about being that kind of person and having already made up your mind to go.
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Oh yeah. I turned 23 last week.

I’m sitting here, racking my brain for something to blog about, when suddenly I remember…I had a birthday last week.

The celebration lasted practically all week.  We started the Saturday before.  My best friend Emily woke up SUPER early to bake me a chocolate rum cake (Thanks Em).  She and a few other girl friends came over that night.  We had a few drinks, ate the cake, and watched Scooby Doo until we fell asleep.  We were also cuddling with kittens that night, so that was fun.

The next night, my boyfriend made me a steak dinner.  It was SO good.  I wish we had the opportunity for him to cook me dinner more often.  He’s really great at cooking.

I picked Mom up from the airport on Wednesday and then met Jennifer at Freeman’s for some birthday drinks.  I finally got to try an Old Fashioned cocktail, and my boyfriend, Jennifer, and Heather (my favorite bartender) sang me “Happy Birthday” exactly at midnight.

On the morning of my birthday, we went to breakfast like we always do on my birthday.  It’s the same place we used to go with my dad, and they would cut my pancakes into the shape of a horse.  They also have excellent coffee.

And then we went to T.G.I.Friday’s for dinner.  Mom let me have a $3 margarita, plus I LOVE their Jack Daniels sauce.  It was all good.

So all in all, my first week as a 23-year-old has been pretty good.  Here are my goals to reach before I turn 24:

  • Finish my novel to the point where I can send it to agents.
  • Get a full time job.
  • Move out of Mom’s house.
  • ACTUALLY learn to play guitar.
  • Get the amount of books I own but haven’t read below 100.
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A Peek Into the Past

This past weekend, I drove up to Chapel Hill for a reunion dinner.  The group of people I spent six weeks of my life, watching Shakespeare, drinking ale, and wandering London with had a dinner at Top of the Hill.  Obviously, everyone couldn’t make it, but I did.  Even though I was kinda sick.

I didn’t think I was sick when I drove up, or when I sat down for dinner, but over the course of the meal, my stomach turned and lurched and it didn’t end up being the best time for me.  And while I did enjoy seeing those people, it occurred to me that it still wasn’t the same, that what I missed most was the time and the place.  I may go back to London again, and I may see those people again, but it will never be my last class before college graduation, my first trip to King’s Cross and Paddington Station, my one chance to actually study at Oxford.

I went to bed early Saturday night, thinking I shouldn’t have gone.  But, while I sincerely hope I didn’t make anyone sick, I am glad I went, if only for Sunday.

The stomach problems were completely gone Sunday morning.  I ate breakfast at Alpine Bagel, went to one of my favorite bookstores (Flyleaf Books) with two wonderful friends, then got to have lunch with them at RamsHead Dining Hall.  Their omelettes are still amazing, by the way.  Then, I had coffee with a different plain at Caffe Draida.  I had intended to take her to Sugarland for a martini (I’ve been wanting to try one since I was 20, and it still hasn’t happened), but the coffee was really great too.  They gave me a mocha bowl and we discussed writing, our plans for the next steps of our lives, and even a little wedding planning.

I’m not exceptionally happy with the way my life is right now, so it’s very tempting to romanticize the past.  To be fair, my life was possibly less put together then.  I think the difference was, I didn’t feel like it was supposed to be.  I didn’t want it to be.  You know what I wanted?  To take odd jobs and live everywhere for a little while.  Now I feel like I’ll never do that, but if my 20s can’t be that way, I want the other goal: the marriage, and the career, and the white picket fence.

…that is not what this post was supposed to be about.  It was supposed to be about how happy I was to see my friends and how, even though the weekend began on a disappointing note, it ended happily.  Instead, I sort of rambled about feeling lost.  Umm…stay tuned next week?

See? I literally got a bowl of mocha.

See? I literally got a bowl of mocha.

Coming up this month: Big Hero 6, my weekend in Ireland, and my job search.

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