Friday, April 29, 2011

Fill in the Blank Friday

I haven't done this one in a long time, but I've always loved this fun meme that Lauren came up with, so I thought I'd jump back in this week. (Finally!)

1.   I am looking forward to getting some rest in this weekend. This week was *definitely* a Hell Week in terms of how much school I had going on, so I need the rest. 

2.  Something kind of embarassing that I still love anyway is: The Fairly Odd Parents tv show (it's a kid's show on Nickelodeon, for those who don't know). I rarely watch it these days, but I will stick up for the show until I'm blue in the face.

3.  My favorite car is a Jeep Wrangler. Don't get me wrong, I love my car too (a Mazda 3), but I love everything about Jeep Wranglers. It's definitely my next car.

4.  If I could pick one type of weather to live with for the rest of my life it would be Texas weather during early spring. When it's like 70s-low 80s and not very humid. It only lasts about a week every year, but it's so fantastically beautiful. 

5.  My favorite thing to do after a bad/stressful day is watch Friends all day all day all day. And sleep. Though I enjoy doing those two things when I've had a good day too.

6.  This weekend is unfortunately going to be full of studying. I have a two finals next week, a paper to write, and then another final to study for the next week. So... boo.
7.  If I were a color, I'd be heather grey because I think it's so pretty and soft, and it goes with everything. It's a very calming color to me, and seems to say "Please, relax!"

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Little Housekeeping


So, I'm sure you guys haven't noticed because you don't have my entire life plotted out on your planners, but I leave for China is ~20 days.


And so, I think a little housekeeping is necessary.

First, I'm not going to have much access to Blogger in China because it's illegal there. I'll post when I can, but that definitely won't be very often. Yet I definitely want to leave y'all with something to read. SO! I'm looking for guest bloggers for the summer.  
  • Travel Tuesdays: Been somewhere cool? Going somewhere cool? Awesome. I'm looking for people who will talk about anywhere they've traveled (international or domestic), including photos, recommendations for hotel/food/things to do, etc. It can be about pretty much anywhere and anything.
  • Photo Friday: You don't have to be a professional or semi-professional photographer to participate! I'm just looking for someone who wants to show off a few of their favorite pictures, old or new. They can be iPhone shots, DSLR shots, old film shots you scanned in, whatever. As long as you have the right to share it and can tell us a little story about what's going on, that's great!
*Of course,* you can link to your blog, twitter, flickr, etc in the post. You can be a guest blogger more than once, and in both categories. If you're interested, email me at valorielovely [at] gmail [dot] com. I'll be taking submissions all summer, but the sooner you get it in the better! :) 

The second (and last) housekeeping thing I need to talk about is that I decided to put ads on this blog. I resisted doing so for a long time, but I'm having financial difficulties and a little extra cash here and there wouldn't be bad. I hope this won't be a huge problem for your guys, I just couldn't in good conscience do that without telling you so. 

Okay, that's all the housekeeping for now. Hope you guys are interested in being a guest! If you are but want to write about something else, email me at valorielovely [at] gmail [dot] com and we'll see if we can work something out. :) 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Aggie Ring

I've been thinking about this ring since I first went to fish camp the summer before freshman year.

Pining after it, really.

I can't count the number of times I double-, triple-, quadruple-checked my transcripts to see if I would be able to get my ring that semester or the next.

I stared at everyone else's rings all the time.

I designed and redesigned my ring online -- diamond, no diamond? Antique or classic gold? TOO MANY OPTIONS.

Well, last Friday, I *finally* got my ring. I'd be lying if I said I didn't kind of well up when I first put it on. It was about damn time.

I can't explain the obsession Aggies have with their Aggie ring. I tried a hundred times to explain to my parents exactly why it was so important they take Friday the 15th off of work to come down to College Station, but the most coherent argument I could come up with was "well.... because... it's important and uhh... hyneehhhh...AGGIE RING."

But there's something about this ring. Maybe it's the fact that it's the same for every class year -- the only customization you get it the type of gold, your class year, and whether or not you want a diamond on it. Maybe it's because you have to earn it. Maybe it's because seeing it on someone else's right ring finger is like an immediate sign that that person is an Aggie; that he or she is family. Which sounds crazy -- at a school of thousands of graduates a year, how can everyone who wears an Aggie ring be family? But they are. There's something about being an Aggie that means you're part of a family, a family beyond yourself and within which you're constantly discovering new members.

But enough of my existential rambling. Here's some photos the very sweet Mike took on my Aggie Ring Day. Also, yes, I *am* wearing a maroon fancy dress. Typical, really. :)

Again, all photos property of Mike. I'll take my own close up of the ring and add it, so you can see the detail. :)

Raise your hand if you've got your Aggie ring!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ea Alis Propriis Volat


I was facebook/blog-stalking myself a few days ago, going through old posts and photos and reminiscing. And I started reading these two posts and marveled at how, without even knowing it, I have gone from being so stuck to being so unstuck.

About this time last year, I began feeling trapped. I started feeling stuck. I was unhappy, and I was so jealous of all my friends who seemed to have their lives together, who knew what they wanted, who seemed to glide through college without once doubting themselves and where they were going. That wasn't me, and I couldn't understand why. I was in the middle of a time of change, but I didn't realize it yet. It felt like I had done all I could up to that point, and had to kind of bide my time until I could take the next step.

I can look back now and see what it was -- it was that I had been in college for two years. I had figured out what I didn't want for my life, but was still trying to figure out what I did. I was half way done with school, but I still had half the way to go. It wasn't a fun perspective. It felt dry. It felt boring. I felt like a shell -- like the Valorie I knew had gone into hiding and all that was left was her body. Now I see that it wasn't that she left, but it was time for her to go into her cocoon, and emerge as a butterfly, ready to be who she was always meant to be.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you I've got it all figured out now. I don't. I have a better idea of what I want, and I'm becoming confident enough in myself to verbalize that to others, even if it doesn't fit their (read: my mother's) expectations of me.

It's been rough. There's been nights of crying on my closet floor, there's been mental health days. There's been starting projects, and abandoning them the next day. There's been living alone, there's been loneliness, but there's also been a wildly satisfying sense of freedom. And overarching all of this, there's been this sense that, wherever the hell all of this leads me, I will be getting there on my own terms, and that, more than anything, has been the most simultaneously comforting, enthralling, and inspiring part of this sometimes very scary process.

Back then, I was feeling so stuck. I was trapped in this mind-numbing cycle that sometimes made me want to bash my head into a wall just so I could feel something. But now it's like my life is hurtling toward graduation and goals and The Real World at a pace I can barely keep up with. Every day is so busy, so full of something that will matter, something that I enjoy, that I find myself dropping onto my couch at the end of the day and wondering where all the time went. And even though I'm exhausted, I'm smiling. And that is the most fantastically satisfying part.

Ea alis propriis volat is Latin for 'she flies on her own wings.' And that's what I intend to do.

Monday, April 11, 2011

basically, I just miss coffee. there, that summarized this whole post for you.

{totally unrelated to this post: I didn't take this picture, but I totally own those same coffee mugs. IKEA for the win!}

So, I gave up coffee for two weeks. If you read the title, you probably don't need to read the rest of this, but if you're really curious, this is how I feel about it so far:

Withdrawals. Withdrawals, withdrawals, withdrawals. Withdrawals. WITHDRAWALS. Withdrawalswithdrawalswithdrawalswithdrawals. Withdrawals, withdrawals. Withdrawals. Withdrawals. Withdrawals.

Caffeine headache. Caffeine headache. Caffeine headache. Caffeine headache, caffeine headache, caffeine headache, caffeine headache; caffeine headache. CAFFEINE CAFFEINE HEADACHE HEADACHE. Caffeine headache. Caffeine headache. Caffeine headache, caffeine headache, caffeine headache. Caffeineheadachecaffeineheadachecaffeineheadachecaffeineheadachecaffeineheadache.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April Goals & Dreams

I've been noticing that Rachel does this every month, and I think it's a really good way of holding yourself accountable to...yourself? I find so often that suddenly a month has gone by and I've accomplished absolutely nothing during that time, which not only bothers me, but kind of scares me. So, my April Goals:

1. Get my Aggie Ring. I mean, yes, okay, I already ordered it. But I get it on April 15th and I'd like to not only get it, but make that weekend be a good weekend. It'd also be nice if I dunked it, but since I don't have a ring dunk planned yet, I'm avoiding making that an official goal.

2. Take 26 of 30 possible photos for this Project 365 this month. I almost always miss at least one day a week, but I'd like to make sure it doesn't go above that.

3. Hang up my 'Keep Calm Carry On' poster. It's been sitting on the floor against the wall for roughly two months now. THIS MUST HAPPEN. Along with this, I'd like to hang the other 8-10 framed photos I have lying around.

4. Work out at least three times a week, every week. I'd like to say five times, but I'm trying to be realistic here.

5. Attend the Every Victim, Every Time conference here in B/CS. (Registration is still open! And I still have to register, so you should too!)

6. Do at least one photo shoot with a friend. I need to start getting comfortable behind a camera with someone modeling for me. Any volunteers? It'll be free for you and you'll get some cool pictures out of it. :)

7. Keep up with laundry and cleaning so they don't became overwhelming all-day chores on Saturdays. I have a bad habit of not doing laundry for three weeks or not cleaning often enough, and then I suddenly have to spend ten hours doing it all on Saturdays, which is a waste.

8. Take some suuuuper legit photos at Chilifest on the 9th. I'll be there for Maroon Weekly, so (again) find me if you're there!

9. Keep up with a budget. I've been doing pretty well so far and it's very necessary that I actually do this, so I'm pretty proud of myself at this point. Now let's see how the rest of the month goes.

10. Complete at least two of my 101 in 1001 goals. I'm working on #32 -- give up coffee for two weeks, and I'm thinking this month sounds like a good month to either #82 send more secrets into PostSecret or #92 take pictures in a photobooth. I'd also like to keep the little mini-garden I planted alive for more than like, a day.

What are your April dreams/goals? :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

It's like daycare, but with alcohol.

Sometimes (read: all the time), I think college is really just a holding pen created to give people my age a little extra time to get our shit together before we're allowed out into The Real World. It's almost like a day care where our parents dropped us off before The Real World is ready to pick us up, except now alcohol is involved and also, we can drive. College is like a little extra time to tire us out, so to speak, because The Real World doesn't really know what to do with us just yet. We're not quite ready to be productive members of society, but we're starting to figure out how to actually be a Grown Up.

And so, we wait. We wait for the inspiration to come to us, for something to click, for us to figure out what we're supposed to do next.

It doesn't always work for everyone. Some people spend their whole lives trying to figure out who they are and where they're going.

It's working for me.

I've almost got it figured out that there are some days when I can't have fun all day but have to sit down and do some real work. I've realized that I have to get a decent amount of sleep every night or I can't function the next day.

It's taken me a long time to admit it, but I don't want a job where I will have to wear a suit to work every day. I don't want to sit inside at a desk, I don't want to attend staff meetings, I don't want to do the 9-5 bullshit, and I really don't ever want someone to tell me what to do and when to do it. I don't want to can't be part of corporate America.

I haven't quite figured out what that leaves me with.

But I know I still have a semester left here at this daycare. I know I've still got a few more late nights and missed deadlines and good laughs and cram sessions left before The Real World drops by and asks if I'm ready to go yet. And, if I'm not, I know there's always grad school, which is maybe a little less like daycare and more like kindergarten, where I'm expected to know how to tie my shoes, but maybe I still need a little help remembering my home phone number. And there will be alcohol involved there too, and people will probably still expect me to show up to things hungover more often than not, and Grown Ups will tell me about how 'they remember those wild days when they were my age,' and maybe I'll finally figure out what it is I will do instead of just knowing what I don't want.

And, to me, that doesn't sound too bad. That sounds like something I can handle because my only other option is not knowing what I want but just doing what's expected of me by other people who don't really know me at all. And that sounds like the worst kind of time out ever.