Rockford, where dreams go to die.

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So, here’s the thing about living in Rockford: it sucks.

I know I’m being a brat and living here actually isn’t that bad, but I can’t help it. I feel like I’m in a funk and I think it’s because I can’t seem to get happy here. This is a huge struggle for me because I like to think of myself as someone who can be happy no mater what. I have always believed that happiness depends on you. If you’re not happy, you are fully capable of changing your attitude, changing what you’re doing or whatever it takes to make yourself happy. It shouldn’t depend on your circumstances, but on what you choose to do, say, believe, etc. And I still believe this. I think I’m just having a hard time figuring out what changes to make.

Because here’s the thing. The things that are making me unhappy are things that I have to put up with for the time being so that I can be happy in the future. I know living here and working at the stupid job I have right now is temporary. And that the only way I will be able to go to Europe in January and eventually move to a different place is if I stay here for a few more months and save money. But I still hate it.

I think part of it comes from the fact that I was so in love with my life in Madison for the last four years. Even if I had a bad day (or week or month), I always felt so lucky to be living in Madison with my best friends. I loved that I had the opportunity to go to school there, even if it meant I had to spend hours studying and still work a full time job. It didn’t matter because I was living in a city that I loved surrounded by the people that I loved. I was able to almost always look on the bright side no matter what because I knew that the positives outweighed the negatives by, like, a hundred thousand million.

In Rockford, not so much. I realize that I’m incredibly lucky to be able to live at home and save money. I realize that I’m lucky that I have a job where I make good money and only work 40 hours a week. I realize that I’m lucky that I am only an hour away from both Madison and Chicago, and that I have a car and enough money for gas to visit both pretty frequently. And I realize that complaining about my life even though I have all of these things makes me sound like a total princess.

But at the same time, I can’t seem to get rid of the feeling that I could be doing something more. I don’t want to be stuck working at this dumb job that I don’t like in this town where I have no friends, even if it is only temporary.

Basically, what I’m getting at is that I need a major attitude adjustment. I need to start refocusing on ways to make myself happy, even though I’m not necessarily living out my ideal scenario right now. It’s hard for me because I’ve always been the girl that could smile no matter what, even if shit sucked for a while. I just need to work a little harder to get back to that place now.

I’m not really sure what I wanted to get out of dumping all of this here, but hopefully this will be a reminder to myself that I need to stop wallowing and feeling sorry for myself and make the best out of a (realistically, not-so) shitty situation. Ugh, being an adult is hard stuff.

Throwback Thursday: That Time I Graduated College

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So I’ve been an official, graduated grown up for four months now. Assuming that your definition of “official grown up” is someone who drinks 5 out of 7 days, owns one pair of dress pants and spends 90% of their income on brunch. By those standards I’m killing this adult thing. But it’s still crazy to think about the fact that just 100-ish odd days ago, I was still living in my old apartment with my best friends, going to classes every day and trying to decide which awful college bar to spend money at that night. I was recently looking back through my pictures from graduation, and I realized how grateful I am to have been able to go to Madison. I know everyone probably thinks their school is the best, but anyone who didn’t go to Madison is obviously wrong. I almost chose a different school over Madison, and I am so so thankful I decided not to. If I didn’t go to Madison, I would never have meet my perfect friends, I never would have gone to New Zealand and I never would have know the pure joy that is bacon night. I’m thankful for all four of my college years, but most especially for this last one because it taught me so much about myself, about friendship and about life. Being able to take cap and gown pictures with my three best friends in the most fun city just about anywhere has been one of my proudest moments to date (hashtag apartment 8 fo’ life). Hopefully no one reads this because it is far too mushy gushy for me to own up to, but it’s true. And even though leaving Madison was insanely hard and getting snapchats of my friends at Badger games makes me want to cry and punch everyone who’s there, I’m so happy that I’ll get to return to the terrace and to Camp Randall as an official alum. #blessed

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(Photo cred to the insanely talented Jane Thompson)

 

 

Life After College, aka Kill Me

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So it turns out that life after college is pretty stressful. Who knew, right? But seriously, I had always kind of imagined that after college, I would know exactly where I was going to live and would have a solid job offer waiting for me as soon as they handed me my diploma. Except that that’s literally the exact opposite of my life right now. I have no idea where I’ll be living in a few months or what I’ll be doing or if Picatso and I will be living on the street like hobos. Which we all know he wouldn’t tolerate because he is such a diva.

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I had to stay in Madison for the summer since I had to take a few summer classes to finish up my degree. So I’ve been living in my same apartment, finishing up my classes, waitressing and balancing two internships. Which has been fine. I’ve actually been having a really fun summer so far. I’ve been able to work enough to pay my bills and still buy alcohol, thank God. And I’ve been able to find a decent balance between having fun and doing actual work. But the last of my friends left in Madison are all leaving within the next few weeks and my lease is going to be up next month. So it’s finally starting to hit me that wow, this is actually real and I have to move out and live somewhere else and quit my job and not go completely broke. And it’s so confusing.

I’ve been applying for jobs online like crazy, but it’s so discouraging to not hear back or to hear back and not be selected. And since I’m mostly looking for jobs in other states, half of the places that do want to interview me fall through because they aren’t willing to do so over the phone and are looking for local candidates. And as much as I wish I could, I can’t afford to drop hundreds of dollars every few weeks to travel to interviews for jobs that I might end up not getting.

But then I try to imagine myself in a big girl job, one that I’m “supposed” to be getting right now, and I don’t know if I’m really that excited about it. Sure, it would be nice to have a set schedule with nights and weekends free and more money and a place of my own. But I don’t know if I would be completely happy. What I really want to do is travel, except that’s really hard to do with no money and a brand new fur baby. I was tentatively planning a trip to Europe in January but if (by some miracle of God) I do find a real job before then, I won’t be able to do that and it makes me really sad. Like, really sad. But the idea of traveling around by myself is just as scary, if not more scary, than the thought of moving to a new city by myself and starting a big girl job.But it’s also really really really exciting. My mind has been going a thousand different directions lately, and I keep deciding what I want to do and then changing my mind a few hours later. I know that everything will work itself out in time, and that I should be excited and happy and grateful because this is pretty much the only time in my life where I have literally endless possibilities. And I am. It’s just hard to remember that sometimes when I’m busy stressing out about the smaller details of it, like where to live and whether or not to keep applying for jobs.

So basically what I’m getting at is that my life is in shambles and if anyone knows of a company that will pay me six figures to travel around the world with my cat and post adorable Instagram selflies in various destinations, please email me. Much appreciated.

A Day At The Lake

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Yesterday God smiled down upon Madison, WI and gave us a day of perfect weather. There’s this place called Picnic Point that is basically a mini-peninsula in Madison where people go to run, hike, bonfire and swim and even though it’s a Madison staple I had never been out there. I met up with some of my favorite friends to explore yesterday afternoon and it did not disappoint. I had to leave early because I’m a slave and had to go back to work, but I really want to plan a day soon where we can bonfire and swim all day. Splashing in the water and exploring totally reignited my inner flower child and I can’t wait to go back!

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I’m off to pretend I’m back on the beach and not at work boo hoo. Hope your Wednesday involves more adventure than mine does!

 

Weekend Recap: 4th of July Edition

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4th of July has been my favorite holiday since forever. When I was a little kid, my whole family used to spend the 4th at my grandparents house cooking out, catching fireflies and watching fireworks from their front lawn. My family would always be in from out of state and I would be so happy to see them. I would also have a lemonade stand every year and would set it up near the sidewalk at my grandparent’s house where lots of people would pass by to get a good spot for the firework show. Needless to say, it was a huge hit. I also think it’s a great opportunity to recognize and appreciate the amazing country that we live in and all the men and women that have sacrificed their time and their lives to make America, in the words of my hero Borat Sagdiyev, greatest country in ahh world!

Now that I’m old enough to add adult beverages into the mix, 4th of July has pretty much become my version of Christmas. It gives me the excuse to day drink, wear a tutu and sing the National Anthem in public so really, what’s not to love? This year I celebrated by going into Chicago twice in one weekend. First to visit friends then to explore Andersonville with my family. Lots of fun and lots of driving.

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Friday

I got an early start and left Madison around 9:45 to head to Belvidere to pick up Brock and my USA tutu from my mom’s house. Just the necessities, obviously. We ended up making it to Chicago around 1:30 because we had to stop and visit with our families and also stop at Wal-Mart to buy beer and toys. God Bless America. Once we got to the city, we took an Uber to Rachel’s new apartment so we could see where she was living and drink on her porch. She lives about 2 blocks from Wrigley which is basically my dream come true.

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After a few hours we got hungry and headed to a Badger bar in Wrigleyville with a pool/fountain thing outside and little cabanas to eat in. I had the best nachos of my life and we got to participate in a USA chant so I had a ball. From there, we met up with some other friends and headed down to Monroe Harbor to watch the fireworks over the water. That has to be one of my absolute favorite activities of all time. Rachel and I both said that it reminded us of the fireworks we saw while we were in Sydney and it made me really happy and really sad at the same time. We spent some time splashing around in the fountains at Millennium park and then walked around downtown, admiring all the lights and drinking from plastic bags like hobos. But really, my bank account would not be happy with me if I spent $12 per drink while we were out, $14 vodka out of a water bottle is much more my speed. We ended up going to a country bar first, then a tequila bar and ended the night dancing at a little dive bar, which everyone knows is kind of my forte.

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Saturday

Saturday I woke up in Chicago, got grumpy because no one would come get a bloody mary with me, and drove home to go to work. Pretty boring in comparison to Friday, but you win some you lose some I guess.

 

Sunday

Sunday I ventured back to Illinois to visit with my family that was visiting from out of town/state. We went back into the city where my cousin Nick gave us a tour of Andersonville. He works for the Chamber in that neighborhood, so he was basically our own personal tour guide. We went to the Swedish American History Museum, popped into a few local specialty shops and had some ridiculously good pie. My mom and I split key lime and chocolate peanut butter and the woman working told us they go through at least 15 key lime pies a day. I could probably have eaten those 15 by myself, it was delicious. We headed back to Rockford for dinner and a hot tub at the hotel and called it a night.

 

So now it’s back to a super exciting week of work work and even more work! Hope you’re having a great Tuesday!

Meet Picatso

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This may very well be the most important post I have ever written. It’s time the world knows about the little ray of sunshine that has been lighting up my life and destroying my couches for the last 7 months.

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First name Pablo, last name Picatso. Catso, Kitsy, or Asshole for short. Picatso came in to my life the way you fall asleep- slowly at first and then all at once. (Just kidding). Long story short, one of my sorority sister’s friends needed to get rid of this furry little creature and I had been half seriously not really looking for a cat for a few months. Picatso’s cute little beauty mark and the fact that he was free sold me. He joined our happy little apartment 8 family in early December and we immediately became obnoxious white girls (I had had a lot of practice up to this point, so it was an easy transition for me).

Things that Picatso enjoys include making me late for work, being the bathtub, watching me shower, climbing in the fridge, girls with red lipstick and humping my roommate’s giant stuffed dog named Hashtag. He also does this really fun thing where he meows at the top of his kitty lungs everyday at 7 am because no one is playing with him aka feeding him.

Things that I enjoy that are related to Picatso include giving him cat nip, forcing him to let me hold him, talking to him in a baby voice, making him wear his fancy boy collar (pictured above) and taking pictures of him next to alcohol bottles.

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Things that Picatso does not enjoy are cuddling me and loving me in general, being ignored, not being allowed to eat human food and when we make him wear adorable costumes.

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Picatso also has an Instagram and approximately 115 followers. This makes sense because all of my friends like him better than me anyway. I think the fame is going to his head a little and that’s why he refuses to cuddle me but who knows, maybe he is just the worst. Feel free to follow him, Mr_Pablo_Picatso. I can’t promise he will follow you back, like I said he’s pretty sassy.

You can look forward to many more posts about Picatso’s shenanigans in the future, but in closing, here’s a picture of Catso getting his Beyonce on and filling the tub up halfway and riding it with his surfbort.

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Summer Goals

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I need to write these down somewhere to keep myself accountable. And since if I wrote an actual paper-and-pencil list I would probably lose it in a half an hour, I think something a little more permanent is a good idea.

By the end of the summer, I want to:

  • Read at least four books. This one should be a piece of cake since I’ve read two so far, but I’ve been slacking recently.
  • Get a big girl job. Please God please. Otherwise Picatso and I will be out on the street and we all know how big of a diva he is so that is clearly not going to work.
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  • Clean my car. The inside of my car is horrific. This is one of those things that I know needs to be done but I just hate hate hate doing. So hopefully sometime in the next two months I will stop being a lazy bum and actually do work.
  • Visit Chicago. It has been way too long since I have seen my best friends.

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  • Go to a drive in movie.
  • Do something at Picnic Point. I feel like I would be a disappointment to Madison if I don’t go at least once before I move away.
  • Go swimming outside. Technically I did this while I was in Mexico, but I’m not counting that. Unfortunately Lake Mendota isn’t quite as nice as the Caribbean Ocean but it will have to do for now.

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  • Pay off all of my debt. This is probably my biggest goal for the summer. Earlier this year, my cat got sick and I wasn’t working because my arm was broken. This series of unfortunate events left me with a looong list of credit card bills and that needs to go ASAP.
  • Go to the zoo!!!!
  • Go through all of my stuff (especially my clothes!) and find a bunch of stuff to get rid of. I will hopefully be moving within the next year, so I’m trying to downsize.
  • Put sheets on my bed. This should obviously be a no-brainer and I could even do it right this second but it is seriously my least favorite task in the entire world. My bare bed is also a daily reminder that no matter how hard I pretend, I’m clearly not a real adult yet. Good or bad? You decide.

Okay now that these are officially written down I will have no excuses if they don’t get done. Except for my constant excuse of “I got tricked into going to the Laurel for beer and cheese curds!” So I guess we will see how this goes…..