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Who is the Average Honey? Part 2

14 Aug

Many of us read blog after blog after blog without knowing the expertise or personal background of the authors. I decided to open my book just a little bit more! Check out Part 1 here. Feel free to ask more questions here!

What’s a subject you wish you knew more about?

Politics. They are a beast of a subject – one that I often struggle to follow. Congressmen, senators, mayors, governors, the list goes on. Who does what? And why? Not only do I wish I could understand the political system in the U.S. more thoroughly, I wish I was better at office and relationship politics. It seems like everything always has some secret agenda. I feel as though my lack in political skills may set me back. But as I grow in my career, I know I will learn to develop these skills.

What’s the biggest personal change you’ve ever made?

Moving away from the East coast to live and work in West Virginia. Besides college, I’ve never lived more than two hours from my family and it has been incredibly difficult living 6 hours away from everyone. With birthdays, holidays and lifetime milestones, I’ve done a ton of traveling to try my best to keep my family ties strong and close-knit.

However, the move has made me a much stronger person. I have learned how to budget, how to communicate with folks in the healthcare industry (dealing with health insurance is NO FUN), how to argue better, how to negotiate prices (we bought furniture), how to make smarter decisions and how to cook a few things.

If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what?

Pasta! As an Italian, I am perfectly happy eating pasta of all kinds. I’ll take it al dente or well done. Chef Boyardee or gourmet…doesn’t matter. Rigatoni, penne, linguine, ziti…YUM!

What makes you feel old?

The fact that I prefer to sleep or watch TV on a Friday night instead of go bar-hopping makes me feel so old. Two years ago I never would have missed a Friday night listening to loud music and having a blast with my girlfriends. Now, the thought of staying awake past midnight makes me feel exhausted. Although I get out on the town now and then, I do enjoy a cozy night in my home.

If six-year-old you was here right now, what would you say to her?

Don’t let your older cousin take all the good barbies and leave you with the beat up ones. Stand up for yourself! You deserve the pink RC Convertible car, not the blue one that’s missing a door.

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Happy 4th of July!

4 Jul

As a proud Air Force brat and sister, I want to wish all of my lovely followers a safe and happy Fourth of July! It is my favorite holiday.

Take some time to kick off your shoes, grab a cold one, have a seat and enjoy the holiday.

But don’t forget everything that this holiday stands for: independence, freedom, patriotism…and don’t forget to thank our troops for the hard, endless work they do to keep that dream alive.

Happy 4th! Now go watch some fireworks!

12 Incredible Life Lessons From 90’S Technology

23 Jun

Before everything was automatic and the click of a button or the tap of a screen became the answer to every single question, the world was a different place. Technology has deeply penetrated our society to the point of no return and it’s safe to say there’s no going back. However, modern technology has nothing on its wiser predecessors which require skill to operate. The glorious technology of the 90’s and early 2000’s offered many life lessons that can be carried on into the current technological era – life lessons that some younger generations will never, ever understand. But we will never forget.

90S Tech Title

I am confident to speak on behalf of everyone in saying that the 90’s were the best decade – No Doubt, Michael Jordan and Lisa Frank? Let’s be serious. The use of technology during that time was no less awesome. Here are the lessons we’ve learned from enduring 90’s technology and how to apply them to modern day life:

1. The hot air technique – that is, blowing as hard as you possibly can into the cartridge to remove dust, dirt and whatever other aliens might be lurking in there When things aren’t going as planned, the answer isn’t always available at the click of a button. Don’t give up. Persistence and a little thinking outside of the box can go a long way.

2. Downloading songs and immediately enjoying them wasn’t an option. We had to await the deadly suspense that was ripping the plastic off a cd case Patience is a virtue. The ability to wait for something without getting angry or upset is a valuable quality in a person. This also takes some serious self-control. If you lost control, the plastic began coming off in tiny pieces and only made the process more arduous and time-consuming, therefore causing even more frustration and less patience. The ability to maintain self-control while participating in a suspenseful activity is a commendable trait.

3. Memorizing your friends’ phone numbers, addresses, etc. Before Google and digital storage of contacts at our fingertips, there was memory. Working to memorize numbers and other information offers constant training for the brain and it is incredibly important to keep those juices flowing for the brain to function as best possible.

4. What life was like when AIM was the best way to keep in touch with friends outside of school It isn’t necessary to maintain constant connection with everyone in your network at all times. There is beauty – and privacy, for that matter – in not knowing what others are doing 24/7 and not feeling obligated to share what your plans are. If you happen to connect, then great. If not, you will at a later point. Enjoy this moment, instead, and cherish it. Initiating an “unplugged rule” is actually pretty liberating…try it.

5. Speaking of AIM, the amount of time we spent creating away messages Crafting the perfect email, text message or automatic OOO reply takes skill. Writing a clear and concise message that doesn’t lack thoughtfulness and originality isn’t easy and the task shouldn’t be overlooked. Take pride in your writing, whether it is a novel, a text, or simply 140 characters.

6. Hoping and praying that the video store still had remaining copies of the new movie to rent – otherwise, the night was ruined. Guess we’ll just get Flubber…again Don’t procrastinate – think ahead! Always plan for the worst and hope for the best. “You snooze, you lose,” was no joke. That shit is serious. Trust me.

7. The “HELL YEAH!” feeling when you turned on the TV Guide channel and it cycled to channel 2 so you wouldn’t have to sit through it Sometimes, you just get lucky.

8. Printing doubles or triples of a disposable camera film so your friends could have copies Always be considerate and mindful of others. Whether you’re doing a favor for a friend or coworker, or simply helping someone out with his or her bags at the grocery store, thinking of others and giving back offers a sense of self fulfillment and meaning, as well as appreciation and respect from others. Even the smallest of friendly, helpful gestures can go a long way. Plus, you never know when one day you might need a favor! You’d want your friends to be there for you, just as you were for them.

9. Frustration when the 3-way call on the landline gets dropped The ability to improvise is essential. Sometimes, technology can be difficult. It doesn’t always work the way you want it to and occasionally, technological mishaps just can’t be explained or fixed. You have to work through them and perhaps find a way to get a similar result, without following your original plan. How do you think people gave presentations before PowerPoint and Prezi were invented? Hello… poster board and an easel.

10. Creating mix CDs With limited storage space on blank CDs, designing the perfect mix cd taught us decision making skills. The ability to choose the item that is the perfect fit for you, despite many other options, is one that not many people are blessed with. Critical thinking, making judgment calls and trusting your gut are skills required in all facets of life. Not to mention, if you’re the person who can’t decide between a chocolate and a strawberry milkshake, you’re THAT friend.

11. Waiting for your parents to get off the phone so you could get online on the family computer in the living room. Depending on others in order to complete a task isn’t always fun but it is the key to successful teamwork. Learn to wait on others before moving forward on a project without developing feelings of frustration or impatience. Your teammates have requirements and needs, too. Respect those and wait your turn.

12. The giant booklet of CDs shoved in plastic flaps Structure and organization came from sorting those CDs alphabetically or by release date, whatever floated your boat. Without the automatic sort of an iPod or a contacts icon on your phone, it takes some serious organization to get information, so much information, under control. Organization makes life ten times easier without wasting time searching for one piece of information or one item.

Every decade has its lessons. The 70’s taught us about political conspiracies and feminism. The 80’s hosted the War on Drugs and great hair. The 90’s didn’t come up short and with the rapid development of technology during this decade, Gen Y has had the privilege of experiencing the best of both worlds, unlike many other generations. It is important – and fun, quite frankly – to look back on those days and understand how advances in technology have affected our behavior and views on everyday life. As seen on HonestyforBreakfast.com .

Sometimes DIY Just Isn’t Worth It – IKEA Hack

18 Jun

In a world where originality is so highly desired but so difficult to come across, DIY projects are taking over. They’ve become the new norm. Thank you, Pinterest. Everyone seems to be racing to make the coolest, most innovative DIY item around and can’t wait to see how many likes and repins they get on Pinterest. These projects can be enjoyable and make things easier or cheaper. But DIY projects can also be rigorous, expensive and time-consuming. After choosing the DIY path for a recent project, I’ve learned to always consider whether DIY is worth it.

DIY

A few months ago when Vince and I moved into our new apartment, we took a shopping trip to IKEA for some affordable upgrades. A bookshelf, some bathroom storage and a cutting board. Boom! Nice and easy. Unlike many, we survived the inevitable arguments and disagreements that occur between couples while in IKEA. What is it about that place?

We found a pretty cool looking and perfect-sized bookshelf – Gorm by Ikea – for just $30 but the wood was fresh out of the chopper – it wasn’t sanded, stained or finished in any way. It didn’t come in a box – just slabs of wood tied together with zip ties. We figured, “No big deal, we’ll just finish it ourselves!”

“It’ll be fun!” we thought.

Wrong. Oh so wrong.

We thought we were saving money by purchasing a $30 shelf that we’d finish on our own. Some of the other bookshelves at IKEA were $100 so the one we chose seemed like a total steal. Right?

After the purchase of all the necessities to make the shelf user-friendly, we began second guessing our decision. Here’s what we needed:

  • 2 sanding blocks: $2.28 each
  • 1-quart Rustoleum Stain (the second-cheapest option): $8.48
  • 4 staining brushes (again, the cheapest ones they had): $0.99 x2 for small brushes, $1.48 x2 for large brushes
  • 1-quart Rustoleum Polyurethane: $12.06
  • 2 paint stirrers: $0.49 each

Materials

A total of $31.02 in supplies, before tax. Now, this seemingly inexpensive furniture project wasn’t looking like such a steal for this young couple.  The bookshelf was now $61.02 – before the start of what ended up being a time-consuming, inconvenient and labor-intensive project.

Our apartment does not offer a ton of room for activities. The lack of work space meant the entire project had to be done on our 4.5×12-ish balcony that isn’t exactly fit for 10 slabs of wood, a bunch of supplies and two tall people.

 

IMG_2340

First it was the sanding. Sanding, sanding, sanding for days. It took two evenings to sand all the pieces by hand. Next, it was time for the stain. We chose a darker stain, American Walnut, which meant that any mistakes or missed spots beamed like the North Star. Mistakes weren’t really an option. The staining and drying took three days. There was a lot of waiting and flipping the wood and waiting some more. Some rainy days over the course of the project eliminated the opportunity to work some more on the shelf. Inclement weather meant hauling all the supplies into our already cramped apartment and allowing the foul odors of the chemicals to fill our living space.

Wood Shelves

After letting the stain cure for more than 24 hours, it was time for the polyurethane. Since the polyurethane is clear, we didn’t have to be quite so gentle. However, it had to be equally coated, or else there would be shiny spots or dull spots. Like the stain, the polyurethane needed numerous coats and hours of drying time in between. After some more bad weather pushed the project back, we were able to finish the polyurethane and let that sit for 24 hours before use.

Often, we found ourselves dreaming of the day when it would be put together and out of mind. The day seemed like it would never come.

Building

Building

Finally, all the steps to the project were complete and it was time to put this damn thing together. Ten pieces of wood, 30 screws and some other pieces was all it took to turn misery into bliss…and the extra storage we badly needed in the kitchen. Although the total cost of the bookshelf – materials included – may have been only $60-$70, the amount of labor, stress and back-aches that came along with it wasn’t worth the work.

Admittedly, I absolutely LOVE the outcome. Though sometimes, DIY just isn’t worth it. That extra $30 would have meant a fast, odor-free assembly and having the storage we desperately needed.

Kitchen Storage

So, when debating whether DIY is the right route for you, its important to consider all things.

1. Most importantly, do you have the space?

2. Do you have the time?

3. Do you WANT to do the project?

4. Will you cherish the product?

5. Is it cheaper than simply buying the product?

6. Will you still be sane afterward?

7. Will it be FUN for you?

The last thing you want to do is begin to resent your project. This could result in a poorly finished product and an incredibly long blog post complaining about how difficult DIY can be 😉

In my case, it was a bonding and learning experience for the both of us. But I vow to never, ever sand, stain and finish a piece of furniture again until I have time and a work space!

Do you have a DIY horror story? When have you opted for or against DIY? Let’s talk about how un-crafty we are in the comments! 😉

Professional Wardrobe: Spring Must-Haves

17 Mar

What a bipolar winter we’ve had! I’m starting to think this is how the world is just going to be forever…and ever. One day 65 degrees and partly cloudy, the next 27 and snowing. When will it end?!

In an effort to keep an open mind about this weather, I’ve started to prepare for my spring work wardrobe – and by that I mean I made a Pinterest board full of items my closet will probably never see. My fashion goals this spring are plain and simple: achieve a stellar outfit without having to work too hard…or iron. Then again, isn’t that every lady’s goal?

To get the looks I want, I’ll need a few essential pieces that I can pair with numerous other items already in my wardrobe. Here’s what I’m thinking:

Usually, polka dots aren’t my thing but with the pop of the bright aqua cardigan, they aren’t overwhelming. Key item: patterned blouse.

Before I ever had a blazer, I didn’t realize how much I was missing out. Blazers are lifesavers! They keep you warm AND you can put just about anything under them. My favorite: all my cute summer tanks that I never get to wear in winter. Top them with a blazer and I’m good to go! Key item: blazer.

Although I could never pull this off, I love this look! She looks so put together but fresh and free-spirited at the same time. Key item: striped pencil skirt.

You can’t beat this classic fitted dress. It has the perfect amount of professional and sexy. Plus, it goes with just about anything. Score! I’m loving the solid, quiet grey that allows the accessories to do the work for it. Key item: solid fitted dress.

Here’s a fun, easy look. She has a classy but edgy blazer with the color pop skirt. I’m thinking some coral somewhere in the outfit would have topped it all off. Key item: solid pencil skirt.

Since I work in West Virginia where the signature colors are old gold and blue, this outfit struck my eye. It was a great idea to pair the green statement necklace to add another element to the outfit. Key item: statement necklace.

Of course, I could go on for days and days about all the wardrobe items I need this spring but I’ll not bore you with my tired wardrobe desires.

So, what items or fashion trends are you trying to achieve this spring?

Another Millennial Wants More – But Its Not What You Think

12 Feb

Hundreds, if not thousands, of arguments exist out there that millennials are spoiled, egocentric and lazy. We want too much, expect too much and ultimately get too much. Blah. Blah. Blah. Well you know what, world? I want more and I’m not sorry for it.

Is it more money? No. More time off? I’ll pass. More work-life balance? What life…

What I want – brace yourselves – is something more. Something more than earning a degree and getting a job. Something more than a paycheck. Something more than a nice desk. Something more than my boss’s acceptance. And I’m not alone. 

The problem is that our society isn’t built to support these kinds of “outlandish” dreams all in one lifetime. Seriously, how many 20-somethings can start an awesome company, travel to India, meet Bono and get invited to the Oscars all in one lifetime? Probably about seven. While some lucky folks get the opportunity to fulfill these desires, most do not. Unless your dad’s coworker’s aunt’s daughter’s best friend’s sister-in-law is planning to open a start-up company, you’re pretty much bound to societal expectations: get a degree, get a job, and shut up! There’s intimidating competition, limited time, and yes, inadequate amounts of money. I know, “GREAT! Another millennial complaining about money.”  Well you ain’t about this life so please continue reading. 

With that being said, you should know that I did graduate college, I did move away from home, I did get a job in the field I wish to pursue, and I do plan on being successful. And maybe I am the typical millennial but it is just not enough. While sitting at my desk all day, every day, I can’t help but dream about who I want to be. The torturous question, “Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?” haunts me because the answer is nowhere to be found. Besides becoming Beyonce’s personal assistant, obviously. If only!

This is an honest confession, if you will, where I admit that I want more but I don’t know where to start and doubt my desires. Ultimately, I struggle with who I am and where I’m going. But I’ve learned that that’s okay! So, here’s a [working] list of the dreams I have and the doubts that come along with them. I welcome your feedback! Please, feel free to offer suggestions, rebuttals, comments and the like. Here goes nothing…

 I want to:

♦Start a business, but what business?

Make a difference in someone’s life, but in what way? 

Advocate for change, but what’s a good, trustworthy cause?

Organize and host a 5K run/walk, but for what and who?

Learn accounting and bookkeeping, but where to find the time? 

Meet inspiring, educated people, but how and where?

Design a mass-produced invitation, ad, or brochure, but for who? 

Become popular on Twitter, but for what?

Play a significant role on a team, but what team? Athletic? Work-related? Volunteer?

Teach someone something meaningful, but I’m no teacher or expert, am I?

Donate a gift to my alma mater, but what would actually make a difference?

Create a useful, life-changing mobile app, but do I have any good ideas?

Be a role model, but for doing what and for who?

These are silly dreams, maybe. Attainable dreams, probably. Some of you might encourage me to just go for it! But like a true millennial, I want it all…and fast. However, I shouldn’t be sorry for wanting success, service, and education. Either way, the road is not yet paved and it should be an interesting journey.

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