My Favorite Fall Candles

Hello, World!

My favorite part of fall is finding the best candles. There are so many great scents that sometimes it’s hard to choose! I usually go into Bath & Body Works because they always have great deals on candles, and year after year I find a few scents I love. Last year I got salted caramel, which was to die for, and caramel woods, which was smoky, but caramel-y and sweet.

This year, Bath & Body Works had all their candles marked down from $24.00 to $12.50, then a few weeks later they had a deal where you bought one and got one free, which was great. My favorite scents this fall are…

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Bourbon Maple is delicious. I like candles that you smell and immediately think, “yes, that’s the smell of x season.” This candle is woodsy, warm, and sweet all at the same time! I prefer deeper, woodsy scents, so I was happy to find this one. 367A8131-601A-466B-92BC-E44DC92332B1.jpg

To be honest, Leaves is my absolute favorite. It’s the candle I get every year because, to me, it perfectly captures the smell of fall. I usually burn Leaves until winter, then I switch to ‘Tis the Season, which is more apple and Christmas scented. unnamed.jpg

This is a subtle candle but smells amazing. I think anything with ‘donut’ in the title would have to be subtle because it could become overpowering quickly! Excuse my chipped nails… law school doesn’t leave much time for primping.

What are your favorite fall scents?

Truly,
Callie leigh

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Stylish Academic’s Guide to: Making the End of the Year a New Adventure

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Hello, World.

I saw a few tweets recently that said something to the effect of, “90 days left in 2017, make them count.” This made me think about how my favorite time of the year is also the end of the year. I live for October, November, and December. As soon as the leaves change, the air gets chillier, and I need a jacket to go outside, I immediately get giddy. Still, everyone always acts like the only time you can have a new beginning is in January, when the magic of the holiday season is supposed to wear off and we’re supposed to go back to reality. I’m all for new year’s goals or resolutions, but I think we can work to be better throughout the year.

So, I wanted to share my thoughts on making the end of the year count! Although many people are very busy with school, life, and holiday obligations, we should make time for new things and new traditions. I think Serena van der Woodsen once said, “traditions aren’t traditions if they’re new,” and while I agree with the statement on face value alone, I do believe we can and should start new traditions. So, rather than simply go through the motions of the holiday season and the end of the year, one way to turn the end into a beginning is by actively pursuing new traditions and memories.

One thing I’ve always wanted to do is go apple picking – it looks so fun and seems like the essence of fall. My roommate and I are hoping to go in a few weekends! So, while I could easily not go apple picking and instead spend those hours working on law school-related obligations, I’m choosing to take a few hours to make memories and enjoy the season! The end of the year always goes so quickly – it makes the first few months of the year feel like they took forever. So, it’s important to slow down, enjoy the moments, and make sure you’re making the most of the time.

One of the tweets I saw recently said, “90 days left of 2017. Make the most of it!” So, if there are resolutions you didn’t complete or you wanted to do things this year you didn’t do, don’t wait and just add them to next year’s goals list. You still have time to make a change. Whether it was giving your two weeks notice, applying for the job you’ve always wanted, going to a movie alone, overcoming your fear of rejection and applying to the reach school, ditching graduate school plans, or taking the plunge and applying Oxford, etc. There are many things that we tell ourselves we will do come January 1, but by December 31 we somehow say, “Oh, didn’t happen this year. I’ll just have that goal roll over to next year…” until suddenly its ten years later and we’re wondering why we didn’t do it sooner because it’s too late now. So, do what you’ve always wanted to do! Do not let the “end of the year” be an ending. Rather, use the time that is left in 2017 to accomplish your goals, try something new, or continue traditions but make them better.

How do you make the most of the final months of the year?

Truly,

Callie leigh

Read this when… Someone Massively Disappoints You

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Hello, World.

A few weeks back, I published a post called, “read this when you feel like quitting.” I like the concept of “read this when…” articles, so I thought I might make a series out of them and offer my advice on pivotal moments that happen that lead to a need for encouragement. Hopefully, I can be that encouragement for you when the things that I write about happen (when you feel like quitting or when someone disappoints you).

If you read my article on dating, you know I have “unrealistic expectations” about relationships. When I was younger, and well into adulthood, people have also told me I set too high of a bar for friends and other people in my life. I’m impossible to please. I, personally, don’t think this is true, but do we ever think negative things about ourselves are true? Regardless, I do expect a certain amount of respect, understanding, compassion, and authenticity from the people in my life. If someone misses the point and allows me to second guess their intentions, their character, or their investment in our relationship, I will cut them off. Cold turkey.

This might seem harsh, and it probably is, but as I’ve gotten older, I do not stand for being made to feel silly, unimportant, or betrayed. I don’t really throw the “bully” word around with much frequency, but I didn’t have an easy childhood when it came to friends. I was consistently friends with people who made me unsure of where I stood. Would I walk into class and have my best friend smile or glare at me? Then there was the time in middle school that I got to school and no one would talk to me and no one would tell me why they weren’t talking to me. It was like the scene in Gossip Girl when Serena is trying to talk to Nate after Blair finds out about Serena and Nate’s hookup, and Nate literally refuses to acknowledge Serena. He just won’t speak or look at her. I’ve been there and it’s the worst feeling in the world. I later found out that some girl was annoyed at my friendship with her friend, so lied and told her that I had said a bunch of stuff I had never said. Classy, right?

Then came high school and friends weren’t much better there. I had a few people who I really liked, but some hurt me and I continued to be wary of trusting friends too much. Then came college and holy shit. I had female friends that were badasses who I trusted wholeheartedly and who were so positive. They also communicated with me when we did have disagreements or something happened that hurt one of us. It wasn’t me guessing what I did. Instead, my trusty friends said simply and calmly, “hey, you did a thing, it hurt me, and I want to talk about it.” So we talked about it. We apologized when we knew we should, talked about misunderstandings when they were the cause of the argument, and validated each other’s feelings. It was crazy.  I mean, who knew female friendships where you built each other up and respected each other existed? Before college, I didn’t know they did. I don’t want to glorify my college friends, but most people pale in comparison to them if I’m transparent. But what I want to talk about today is the moments when you get that call or text or cold shoulder that you don’t understand and how to handle it.

We don’t intentionally hurt people (unless you’re a psycho, in which case you have bigger problems). However, sometimes we just do. We just hurt people because of a miscommunication, misunderstanding, etc. When we’ve hurt someone, we have to be accountable for that. It’s not a matter of right or wrong, it’s a matter of recognizing you hurt someone and apologizing and trying to understand their point of view. The absolute worst thing you can do when someone expresses that you hurt them is getting defensive and saying, “I’m sorry you’re hurt.” That’s essentially the most mansplaining way of apologizing. So, what happens on the flip side? When we haven’t hurt or disappointed them but they hurt or disappointed us?

Well, let me begin that conversation by offering a little anecdote. When I was an RA, my team and I had a strategy for dealing with residents who broke the rules. Rather than say, “I’m so mad at you! How could you?!” or get really heated, we said calmly, “I’m just disappointed.” There is something in the word disappointment that hits people in the gut. Well, it hits them in the gut if they respect you enough that they don’t want to disappoint you. So, when residents acted out, we pulled that ever-present parent card of “you disappointed me.” That line elicited far more actual apologies than anger, annoyance, etc. The residents who didn’t apologize didn’t really like me, so I wasn’t surprised when they didn’t apologize or express upset at disappointing me.

In friendships, we hurt people. Friendships with no disagreement are like relationships where the couple never argues. It seems fake and unrealistic (see? I don’t think perfection is indicative of strong friendships or relationships!). When you’re friends with someone, especially for a long time, you’re probably going to have issues at some point. There are certain areas that lead to conflict in friendships: religious differences, political differences, moral differences, personality differences, the girl code, etc. I remember when Landon on Southern Charm said there was no girl code, and I disliked her even more than I already did. No wonder she doesn’t have many female friends, right? She doesn’t believe in having respect for other women’s relationships and lives. All of the differences can be mitigated. Your friend is very religious and you aren’t? Well, if religion isn’t discussed 24-7 it probably won’t be an issue, especially if you have mutual respect for each other’s beliefs. However, there are some things you just can’t come back from and that is when that gut-wrenching, head spinning feeling of disappointment washes over you.

I’ve woken up feeling hungover on more than one occasion, and not because I drank too much, but because someone I considered a friend massively disappointed me. It’s a terrible feeling, but you know what’s worse? When you bring that disappointment and hurt to their attention and they explain your feelings away. Like I said earlier, conflict in friendships should never be about who is right or who is wrong. It should be about understanding why and how the person is hurting, apologizing for causing that, and acknowledging that regardless of intention, the hurt happened. Apologizing to a friend isn’t about going through the motions. If the words, “I apologized, what more do you want?” leave your friend’s mouth when you’re hurting, take a good, long look at them, appreciate the good moments, and then walk away because they were never really your friend. Your feelings are not an inconvenience and even if they believe that your hurt is irrational, they should care enough to make it right, genuinely and fully. The ‘friend’ doesn’t get to decide whether or not she hurt you, all that she gets to decide is how to make it right and if she fails, she fails. A good friend will listen and apologize when you’re hurt. She doesn’t get the right to say what is and isn’t hurtful to a person. When a friend wrongs you, s/he loses the right to tell you s/he didn’t wrong you.

The feeling of disappointment that comes after an argument with a friend is hard to recover from and feels a bit like you’re just floating, weightless and unsure, trying to find a firm footing, but realizing the rug’s been pulled from beneath you. Trying to recover is difficult. My advice when someone massively disappoints you? Allow them a chance to explain. If they are receptive to your hurt, attempt to understand, and genuinely say you are important to them and that they will make it right, give them another chance but be cautious. If, however, they explain away your feelings, tell you or imply you’re irrational, or insist hurt is a matter of right and wrong, you have the answer you needed and that answer is that your life will be better, healthier, and more positive without their influence. Again, it can be a very difficult battle to fight the urge to let someone like that back in because you — at one point — thought they were important. I’m here to tell you, they are not. In ten years, you’ll be happy you let them go now. This is an active step, which helps you lead a more active life.

How did you deal with a friend disappointing you?

For more on toxic friends, see here.

Truly,
Callie leigh

Stylish Academic’s Guide to Living an Active Life: How to Avoid Passivity

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Hello, World.

Do you ever feel as if you’re watching your life go by and you don’t have control of over it anymore? It’s funny how frequently I hear people say, “How is it almost October already?” “Where did the summer go?” etc. I mean, I’ve gone as far as to think, “Where did college go?” I just don’t understand where the time went. I’m only twenty-three, but sometimes it feels as if my life is just going by as I focus on getting the next thing. However, I think we are all worried that we’re going to be so focused on the next thing that we forget to enjoy the moment right now. I was also watching a movie or TV show (I can’t remember) where one of the characters said something to the effect of, “stop acting like this is all happening to you. Stop acting like you haven’t played a role.”

However, I think sometimes we do let things just happen. We don’t really take an active role in our lives and suddenly we’re living a passive existence where things are happening and we’re just taking them as they come without really thinking much further. It’s hard to know when we allow passivity to consume us. Sometimes we blame it on other things: “I can’t deal with that right now, so I just won’t.” “I’m focusing on my career so I don’t have time to deal with that.” “I cannot possibly date because I haven’t had good luck recently and I don’t want to get hurt again.” “I won’t be friends with someone who makes me feel bad.” We have justifications regarding why we aren’t taking active steps in some aspect of our lives.

However, Elena Gilbert from The Vampire Diaries, who wasn’t my favorite character, but had some great dialogue, once said, “Don’t take risks. Stick with the status quo. No drama; now is just not the time. But my reasons aren’t reasons, they’re excuses.” This statement was said when she told Stefan, her almost-boyfriend at the time, what she would write in her diary about them. While it probably seems super dramatic out of context, Elena’s words have depth. Life is so much easier when we don’t take risks or when we play by the rules and take the safe, knowable route. However, I doubt wildly successful people, those so-called “household names” became such by playing the safe game. They undoubtedly took risks and defied the status quo. While none of us want drama in our lives, sometimes facing things that we’re unhappy with will lead to a better life. It’s important to stand up for yourself, to take active steps toward finding out who you should trust and who shouldn’t. We all want to live our best lives and that’s difficult to do when we refuse to take chances, put ourselves out there, and accept that disappointment is inevitable. If we live life with the purpose of never being disappointed we will make regret inevitable. When we’re ninety, looking back on our lives, we will most likely think, “I wonder if I had done x, y would have happened.”

People tell us we shouldn’t have regrets. People also tell us that everything happens for a reason. How do we reconcile things that happen when we do regret something? People say, “Oh, everything happens for a reason, even if you can’t see the reason right now.” Honestly, I’m someone who thinks this way and I never thought it had a negative side until recently. Until recently, I thought “karma will get that person,” or “my time isn’t now, so I’ll wait for my turn.” But then, while walking down the street one afternoon, “Home” by Chelsea Lankes blasting through my earbuds, I had a thought that stopped me in my tracks. Literally, I stopped walking, looked around, and thought, “hmmm. That’s new.” My thought was this: we regret the things we had complete control over and chose passivity or inaction instead.

There have been many times in my life when I did everything possible to make something happen and the thing didn’t work out (relationship, friendship, job application, academic application, etc.). When I fail initially, but then something does work out its much easier to say everything happens for a reason, and move on because something better came along eventually. However, when I knew I could make something happen, but allowed fear or anxiety control my actions, and rather than make it happen, I just… froze, watched the situation play out as if it was someone else’s life, moved on and didn’t give it much thought until I had a pit in my stomach that felt a lot like regret. It’s hard to be active in all aspects of our lives. It’s hard to make ourselves vulnerable, give someone else a little power over any aspect of our life, or put yourself out into the world and give it the power to crush you. Most people don’t want to relinquish control, but sometimes we have to if we want to expand, grow, change, and adapt. So, how do we overcome passivity?

Well, revising your life to be more active is similar to revising a paper to get rid of passive voice. You have to be strategic, you have to look for the problem, you have to address the problem when you see it, and you have to have confidence that the change is a correction. So, when you like someone, let them know. When you want the job, do everything in your power to get it. When you want to go to Harvard, work your ass off. When you want to move to that city, visit, make connections and do the thing. If what you want doesn’t pan out after all the work, maybe it wasn’t meant to be. However, if you put in the work, and it works out, you won’t regret it. Even if you discover later that what you wanted isn’t what you needed, you can make a change. Going after something with your whole heart won’t lock you in forever, but it will surely prevent those moments when we’re ninety, writing in our diaries about how sad we are we didn’t call that guy (Hello, “the one who got away”), or we didn’t go after the promotion in year two instead of year ten, or we didn’t live in New York for a few years, or we waited until it was too late to cut a toxic friend from our lives. Disappointment is evitable, but don’t allow your fear of disappointment dictate your life… it will only create inevitable regret.

How do you cultivate a more active life?

Truly,
Callie leigh

Stylish Academic’s Guide to Working with People Different Than You: Co-Workers who you don’t like, have a different leadership style than, or make you uncomfortable

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Hello, World.

There’s a good chance that all of us have worked with people we didn’t necessarily consider “our people.” Sometimes you work for certain organizations or hold a job with people that you wouldn’t be around normally, but because of the circumstances, you are working closely with frequently. Working with someone who you don’t get along with can be difficult. Sometimes it’s not even that you don’t get along, but you just have different leadership styles, and that alone makes working with that person harder. However, situations where you are working with someone different from you or who you don’t like working with (note: the two are different, so you need to decide which is the problem, i.e. leadership style or personality). Today I want to share some methods of turning an unhappy working relationship into a healthy one. Truth be told, the people we work with are the people we see most often, so we should do everything in our power to make those relationships as strong and healthy as possible.

First, be kind. I know, I know. This seems obvious. You’re probably rolling your eyes thinking, “well, duh. Don’t you have useful advice?” However, I think an unhappy working situation can really wear a person down, and it becomes less and less easy to be kind and positive to co-workers. Your internal unhappiness starts to be projected outward. Even if you believe you’re handling the situation well, people are more intuitive than we think and they likely know, or at least feel, your discomfort or annoyance with the situation.

Second, do not discuss your disgruntled situation with other co-workers. I will admit, I made this mistake in college. I was really unhappy in a working relationship and at first, I kept all my emotions about the situation bottled up, then I started making comments to my other co-workers about how I was feeling. I told one co-worker just how unhappy I was (I was thinking of quitting or not returning the following year). While people listened, I know I was putting them in an uncomfortable position: they worked with both of us and some were friends with both of us. I’m not perfect and this mistake was one of my biggest in my first college job. Since then I’ve made a habit of never venting about work to anyone I work with because while venting is sometimes, and often inevitably, needed, try to keep the line between personal and work very visible.

Third, ask the person if there is anything you can do to better the relationship. While you may feel that the other person is entirely at fault, that may not be true. When we’re uncomfortable, we sometimes make other uncomfortable. Some people are oblivious. If they aren’t unaware we’re feeling a disconnect, they may just carry on, full force ahead, and never stop to think about whether we’re actually working well together. So, slowing the pace and asking if there’s anything we can do to better communication, openness, etc. may make them reflect on the relationship and go from there. Sometimes they will say “nope, we’re great together!” This is the nightmare answer. However, you can adjust the question. Say, “I noticed you seem to prefer email communication. Would you mind setting aside ten minutes each week to meet in person?” If the problem is blocked communication, having a weekly meeting will force in-person communication, which will allow the comfort level between you two to increase and allow for more honest communication down the line.

Fourth, figure out what the problem is and address it head-on. When I had my college job in which I was working with someone who I didn’t work well with, I couldn’t pinpoint the exact issue. I knew how I felt generally and I knew how I felt in specific situations, but overall I couldn’t figure out why we worked so poorly together. We had been friends for two years before working together and suddenly I felt like I was working with a stranger. Looking back, I think some of the dynamics of our friendship and things that annoyed me when we were friends were amplified when we worked together. I hate being put down or treated like I’m less intelligent than someone (though I do recognize when someone is smarter than me). The person I worked with made me feel like way regularly. I also felt like I was co-parenting. People would ask me something, I’d give my answer based on what my co-worker agreed upon and then they’d respond, “but *** told me (insert something completely different than we discussed).” Or, sometimes when I’d be handling a situation, she’d appear in the hallway, and just watch. It felt like Big Brother was watching and made me feel like I wasn’t strong enough to handle the situation. Let’s just say, different leadership styles, being made to feel inadequate or lesser, and lack of communication was at the root of this failed partnership. While it’s hard to pinpoint, finding the specific reason(s) for your feeling of discomfort in your working relationship is key to improving the situation.

How have you dealt with working in uncomfortable, less than ideal working relationships?

Truly,
Callie leigh

Dating as a Girlboss: Thoughts on Ambitious Goals, Guys and Making It Work

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Hello, World.

Today I come to you with a topic that’s far more personal than my recent posts. Today, I want to discuss modern dating; specifically, if you’re career driven, have many goals for yourself, and are hesitant to settle down until you achieve your goals. For the purposes of full disclosure, I am by no means an expert on dating. In fact, I’m probably quite the opposite. However, lately, relationships have come up in conversations with friends more and more. I joked recently with one of my friends that I left for the summer with mostly single friends and returned to find a good portion of my friends dating someone or at least having a hand in the dating game.

During a night of drinking with my roommates a few weeks ago, we swapped war stories about relationships we’ve had in the past. As I sat there, the sweet scent of a Mike’s Harder wafting up my nostrils, listening to my friends lament the failed attempts of relationships past, I couldn’t help but think that I’ve never been really really burned. I mean, I’ve had failed relationships and once they ended I thought, “That wasn’t the healthiest, but overall I learned a lot.” Additionally, I’m a firm believer that most of the time, there isn’t one completely innocent party. A relationship is a two-way street, and often both parties act in a way that contributes to the relationship’s demise. In all honesty, looking back on the relationships I consider significant, I don’t think the guys I was with are bad people, not then and not now. But I look at where we are now, individually, and laugh. We couldn’t be more different. The guys I dated went their own way, and I went mine, and we ended up in very different places. There’s a reason we separated and it was for the best.

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However, it’s funny how different dating is as you age. In high school, dating was fairly easy. You went to the movies, you hung out by firepits in backyards, you argued about whether you were going to hang out or not based on if he could borrow the family car. In college it was different, but still pretty easy. You studied together, went on dates in your college town, attended parties together and argued about whether you were going to go to that party with his friends or go to that event with yours. I’m not trying to simplify dating, sometimes it is heavy and sometimes it has intense, serious consequences. However, in the grand scheme of things, dating in high school and college seems easier because it’s easy to meet people, it’s easy to see them, and you’re both operating in similar spheres of life. However, dating post-college isn’t as easy. My friends are all on dating apps and recommended I sign up. So I did. I scrolled through a few profiles and didn’t find anything promising, so said maybe that wasn’t the best approach. My friends often tell me my standards are too high. Maybe they are, but I also haven’t met anyone I wanted to lower my standards for, so I remain steadfast in my pursuit of the “unrealistic.”

In addition to relationships entering conversation more frequently with my friends, some of my favorite bloggers have also been contributing to the dialogue. Katy Bellotte, the Youtube persona and author of TheKatyProject.com, has constant negativity clogging her comment sections with readers ridiculing her videos and blog posts for focusing primarily on relationships. This obviously raises the question: why do people react so viscerally to a college-aged woman (who has her own business) discussing relationships, f*ckboys and casual sex? Some women comment with “I like you, but all you talk about is relationships. It’s annoying. You don’t need a man!” But here’s the thing: she doesn’t need a man, but maybe she wants one. Maybe she doesn’t even want a man in the sense of an ever elusive creature who she can chase through various frat houses, she just wants a relationship, someone she can feel something for who isn’t going to text her “Send nudes” at 3 am or “you up?” at midnight. People expect someone like Katy, who is a business owner, driven, dedicated, and absolutely killing it, to stand firm and say, “I don’t need a man.” They expect her to have walls on all four sides of her being that refuse to let anyone in because she’s a strong independent woman. However, I think vulnerability is important. Vulnerability is what allows us to learn. If you can only be either a strong independent woman or a senseless romantic that’s extremely limiting. Why can’t women who are strong and independent want relationships?

The Bold Type, the new Freeform show, is a current obsession of mine and it’s mainly because the show portrays driven, successful women grappling with friendship, their careers, and relationships. Relationships and the ability to feel strongly for another person is what makes us human. Sure, we fear that stomach-dropping, ears ringing feeling that comes with a read, but unanswered text, or when he’s over an hour late and doesn’t call, or when you find out through the grapevine he’s implied you’re desperate. Dating is scary but I do think that sometimes we–‘we’ being successful and driven women–use our status as a blockade against feelings. If we’re too busy building our empires, we can’t possibly get hurt. There’s only so many read receipt rejections, minutes over- thinking responses, and disappointed evenings women can endure before they feel like sitting on their couch with a bottle of wine and chocolate, pathetically watching romantic comedies and thinking the following

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I mean, dating is hard enough and then you factor in all the conventions of modern dating and it’s basically a no go. By modern dating conventions I mean the whole “don’t catch feels,” “don’t seem too eager,” “make him jealous,” “you have to be casual” stuff. There’s this expectation that we cannot feel anything and if we do feel something then it’s our own damn fault when it goes wrong because we weren’t supposed to feel anything to begin with. To be frank, this idea of dating makes it pretty easy to feel nothing. Few people have the conviction to say how they’re feeling and pursue what they want openly. Why is it bad to admit you care for someone and then pursue them? To be fair, some of us have that “he said you’re trying too hard and he’s not interested,” playing on repeat in our head as background music in the movie of our lives where he asks for our number, ask us if we’re going to make a move, then has the audacity to call you desperate, thinking you’d never find out. Hello – high school isn’t dead (news travels faster than if I live tweeted the whole thing).

Returning to my “too high of standards” for a moment, I think the funny thing is that my standards aren’t actually that high. Is it really asking too much to want someone who is witty and understands that I’m not being snobby, I’m just really sarcastic? Is it too much to want someone who will return texts or calls without it being weird? Who won’t gawk at the phone, exasperated I’m showing my hand if I call them simply because I want to? I don’t think it is. As a general aside, when my last serious relationship ended, someone close to me said I was one bad relationship from seriously screwing up my life. They were joking, but there was some truth in this.  Perhaps because when I’m in, I’m all in or because if I dedicate myself to something, I will sometimes try to work it out for much longer than I should. Regardless, the comment stung. Since then, I’ve refused to let anyone derail my plans. I’ve refused to settle and I’ve refused to pursue someone unless I really felt something (I know, feeling something is breaking the rules… But I don’t always like playing by the rules, so…)

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Some people want a Nicholas Sparks movie to play out in real time. Some people are being “realistic” for accepting modern dating as it is, building their fortress and refusing to “catch feels.” Some people think dating should have an aspect of *gasp* mutual respect. All of us think we have the dating game somewhat figured out, and if we don’t we come up with coping mechanisms… either refusing to acknowledge feelings or recusing ourselves for a few rounds (aka months/years) of the dating game. I joke pretty regularly that I have horrible timing. I tend to catch people on the cusp of a major life change. My first serious boyfriend and I broke up because he was going through a personal change that affected all the relationships in his life and our relationship was part of the collateral damage. My second serious boyfriend figured some things out and acted upon certain discoveries, which terminated our relationship unexpectedly and quickly. Then, the next person to come along entered my life before I was about to move across the country and few people desire a long distance relationship, especially in new relationships. However, I do feel like the expression “you’ll meet the person when you stop trying” is becoming a cliche for a reason. We don’t have to actively look for someone to date. In fact, I don’t think we want or need to engage in such a pursuit. However, regardless of the path you choose when it comes to dating, remember it’s okay to have standards, it’s okay to stick by those standards and it’s certainly okay to feel. How are we supposed to have lasting, healthy relationships if their beginnings are built on games played through emotional fortresses?

This post is getting long and so I think I will conclude with this: find someone who makes you laugh, who the conversation is easy with, who challenges you, who supports you, and who won’t waste your time, forcing you to wonder where you stand. Find someone who makes it clear that you’re important and that you matter.

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What are your experiences with dating post-grad or while in school?

Truly,

Callie leigh

Becoming Your Best Self: Thoughts on Improving Ourselves

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Hello, World.

Most of us are striving to become the best versions of ourselves, and that’s really what life is about, isn’t it? Getting to a point where you can stand up and say, “I’m living my life how I want to live it and I like the person I am.” There are moments throughout our lives where we reflect on where we’re going, what we’re doing, who we’re surrounding ourselves with, and I think those moments prove pivotal. Reflection is what allows us to determine if we are doing what we want or if we’re hanging out with people who bring love and positivity into our lives or simply drama and negativity.  Today I want to share my thoughts on how we become our best selves.

I believe that becoming your best self is fluid and doesn’t really have a clear end point. It’s not mathematical. You can’t say, “at 25 or 31 or 45 I will be my best self if I add love subtract toxic friendship and multiply by career success.” Rather, it’s a fluid process that never truly ends. We can always be better and we can always grow more. While it’s not clearly mathematical when you will be your best self, I do think having more of one thing and less of another will enhance your life, making you happier and a better you. I am happier when I’m active. I like having people in my life who support me and who don’t bring unnecessary drama to the table. I think most people would agree such factors make them happier. However, happiness is just one aspect of being your best self. While happiness is crucial, I also argue that unhappiness also makes us better. When we experience negative things, it exposes us to situations that can make us stronger, more empathetic and more self-aware.

Some of the biggest learning experiences in my life did not come from moments of pure joy, they came from moments of heartache. Learning how you react to certain situations, how you handle stress, how you handle discomfort is a major step in learning who you are and whether that is who you want to be. I think in order to become your best self you have to take risks; you have to be willing to be let down or disappointed. In moments of frustration or moments of feeling defeated, we are able to begin again. We can reevaluate, understand any shortcomings, and bounce back stronger than ever. Or, we can simply crumble. I reiterate this theme a lot in my posts, but it’s because I feel it’s an important one: It’s not whether we fail, it’s how we respond to the failures.

I think a crucial part of being your best self is surrounding yourself with good people who make you better. I was recently out with friends and this rumor that circulated the law school during the first few weeks of the semester came up in conversation. I asked about its validity and the guy I asked essentially called me out. His face and demeanor said something like, “really? Are you serious or is this a joke? How immature are we?” I immediately froze, in part because I was caught off guard, and in part because I appreciated the moment. It’d been far too long since someone called people on gossip and talking about people. We’re all in law school, shouldn’t our conversations be a little more…elevated? Or at least not so immature in nature? In that moment I was thankful that someone reminded me that indulging in gossip isn’t worth our time and isn’t actually the norm in some circles. What. A. Breath. Of. Fresh. Air. So, my point in relaying this story is to say that who we surround ourselves with can greatly impact who we are. Did I spend my undergraduate days asking about rumors floating around regarding people I didn’t even know? No. So, becoming our best selves also requires us to be around people who make us better, and who encourage us to refrain from negative interactions (like spreading, even if inadvertently, rumors we hear).

When we know there is something we’re unhappy with or want to change, we should change it. We need to take active steps in making a change and moving toward becoming better. So, while it’s not mathematical per se, our best selves exist somewhere where we have better people in our lives, where we feel happy, and where we make an active change to the aspects of our lives that we feel are inhibiting our personal growth.

How do you work towards becoming a better person?

Truly,

Callie leigh

Celebrating Without Gloating: Thoughts on If It’s Possible & How to Celebrate Your Successes

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Hello, World.

Have you ever had a friend who constantly gloated? Have you ever been that friend? People often get annoyed when people celebrate their own successes, and it’s a fine line between celebrating our triumphs and being the “gloating” friend who stops being invited to things because she’s too self-involved. I’m of the belief that women should support women. We should champion our friends and encourage their dreams. We should be happy for them when things work out and celebrate when they take a major step in their careers. However, there does seem to be an unspoken rule about the line that separates celebrating and gloating. When does a friend relishing her own success turn into gloating? I’m here to share my thoughts on the topic and offer a little advice on how to celebrate yourself without coming off as self-involved or narcissistic.

To begin this discussion, I think it’s important for me to acknowledge the first time I thought, “ugh, how many more times do I have to tell her congratulations before I can stop hearing about this?” I will say this didn’t happen in high school. Sure, I had friends who were a little conceited, but I was usually happy for them and I never felt annoyed by their comments about their own successes. However, in college, I did have a friend who was constantly making comments about how smart she was how she did this well or that, etc. Again, most of the time it rolled off my back and I just nodded, internally rolling my eyes but thinking that eventually, the self-centered comments would subside. In law school, I’ve noticed that being happy for other people is limited. Law school, for better or worse, is a competition ring. Sure, higher education doesn’t have the same formalities as the Roman Gladiators, but there is a constant undercurrent of competition. Suddenly, someone has a great first semester, and there’s a quiet, steady rumbling of dislike directed their way. Or, the guy that sits next to you is constantly asking you and those around him to stroke his ego (that’s not a euphemism, some people really just need positive reinforcement).

However, there are other people who do well and succeed and we applaud them without hesitation. This double standard, where we eye roll and ask “when will it stop?” about one person’s success but congratulate and admire another’s – I’m not sure what the root of the inconsistency is, but I have a strong feeling it has to do with the person’s actions. How someone handles their individual success is informative for how those around them will respond. As soon as someone begins saying, “I mean, I got all A’s. It’s not that hard,” you can cue the collective eye roll of their peers. If someone doesn’t say a word, but suddenly graduates Order of the Coif, we’re all thinking, “she’s humble. Hell yeah! Congratulations.” When we hear, “I got another interview, ugh,” those students who haven’t gotten one are going to feel resentment. The actual person the resentment is aimed at doesn’t matter much. The fact of the matter is this: people feel annoyed with people they feel are purposely bringing up their successes purely so they can talk about them. Therefore, whether you get the eye roll or the praise boils down to how others perceive your intentions.

If people perceive you as arrogant, you get the eye roll. If people perceive you as humble, you get the praise. If people perceive you as a know-it-all, you get the eye roll. If people perceive you as genuine, you get the praise.

However, how you’re perceived probably had a lot to do with the insecurities of the other person. In all honesty, I believe that people perceive someone as more arrogant when they are insecure about something. For example, if someone is upset that they’re not doing as well, they may take someone’s comments about their own successes far more personally than if both people were confident in what they’re doing. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some people who are just flat out arrogant a**holes. The type is easily recognizable. Look for the person who doesn’t have many friends, who people who hardly know they person refer to in a distasteful manner, and who pursues other people’s dream just to prove they can do it even if it means nothing to the person. That is the person who will, no matter what, get the eye roll. However, sometimes well intentioned people get placed in an arrogant box. This is rare, but it does happen. When this happens, I attribute the placement to the fact that whoever perceived them as arrogant, gloat-y, etc., may have just taken their actions a little more personally than necessary.

So, if you want to celebrate your successes, tell your support group the exciting news, get dinner or drinks, relish the moment, then keep it to yourself. Write in your diary. Go for a drive where you blast your favorite song and sing your praises. Then let it go. While it may suck that people may not be super happy for you for an extended amount of time, the chances of being classified as arrogant will likely decrease. Also, those who truly matter will continue to be happy for you. Those who believe you shouldn’t be allowed to express your excitement about your successes are probably temporary.

Truly,
Callie leigh

Read This When You Feel Like Quitting – A Guide to Overcoming Failure & the Fear of It

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Photo by Andrew Robles via Unsplash

Hello, World.

Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to quit things. If I signed up for a sport, I played the whole season, even when I realized I would rather do math problems for 10 hours a day than play (see: softball my freshman year of high school). I think the first thing I was allowed to quit was the school band because my band teacher wouldn’t teach me music, and being in the band with no knowledge on how to read music is pretty much a waste of a time. This mentality, of not being allowed to quit, had its advantages and disadvantages. Obviously, I stick things out for a long time… sometimes too long. However, the thought of quitting takes a long time to enter my mind. I try and try and try, and it’s not until I feel like any semblance of hope has disappeared that I think, “Maybe I’m in the wrong _____? Maybe I should just let this go.” The word quit doesn’t even come up necessarily, sometimes it’s just that I feel I need to shift focus. However, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that as we get older and things get harder with higher stakes, quitting seems worth it.

Why? Why does quitting seem like the best option? Why does it feel like there isn’t another way to make something work? Why does “stop while you’re ahead?” seem like a popular mantra? Well, I think people’s thoughts of quitting sometimes relate directly to our fear of failure. I think if when we’re doing okay at something (career, relationship, etc.), not spectacular but not on life-support either, we think, “maybe we should get out now so that we still have some control over what happens.” By this, I mean that quitting keeps the power in the quitter’s hands. Failing seems to place the power elsewhere, like whoever sees you fail has somehow had a hand in your failures and is laughing at you on your way down. It can be really frightening to take a leap of faith and go for what we want, fighting against anyone and anything that stands in our way. Sometimes we get so many “thanks, but no thanks,” or “you’re so qualified, but we still don’t have room for you here,” messages, that we think, “let’s just change it. Let’s get out while we’re relatively unscathed.”

But let’s think about this for a minute. Feeling like a failure is probably the sh*ttiest feeling we experience in most aspects of our lives. Failed relationship? Ugh. Failed career? Even worse. Failed before you even got to the career part? Double ugh. The thing is, most of our failures leave open the tiniest sliver where change and greatness creep into our lives. Every time I’ve “failed” in my life or something didn’t work out, it was a turning point that led to something much greater. Think about all the people who probably felt like epic failures at one point in their lifetimes, only to go on to become household names that so many people envy.

J.K. Rowling was living on welfare and suffering from depression when she penned Harry Potter. Numerous publishers rejected the manuscript before a publisher’s daughter at Bloomsbury recognized the potential contained in its pages. In 2004, Rowling became the first billionaire author in the world. Imagine if she’d stopped after writing a few lines on a napkin whilst on the train? What if she stopped after the first few pages? The first few rejection letters? But she didn’t. She kept pushing forward. She didn’t quit.

Marilyn Monroe, one of Hollywood’s most notorious sex symbols, was told to find secretarial work because she would never succeed as a model. She easily could have quit right then, looking for secretarial work in the classifieds but she didn’t.

As mentioned in National Treasure, it took Thomas Edison over 10,000 tries to create a lightbulb. If he stopped at try 9,999, who knows when we would have had electric light.

Stephen King threw a manuscript in the garbage, feeling so discouraged by the rejections of publishers. His wife dug the manuscript out of the trash and urged him to keep moving forward.

The point of telling you the above stories is not to imply that if we keep going we will reach astronomical success. Rather, the people above were regular people who probably never dreamed of living the lives they lived or having the legacies they have, but the fact that they stared failure down and kept pushing led them to where they are.

When we feel like quitting, it’s important to remind ourselves that the stories we hear of “overnight successes” probably required a lot of work on the person’s end that we will never hear about. Sometimes things take a long time to get going, but once they start picking up, suddenly there is an overnight success aspect. There’s a reason social media only highlights our best moments. Even before social media, the only times we heard about things was when something really good or really bad was happening. We report our extremes. So, we fear that intense failure because we know people will know we failed, and failure or success seem to be our only options. However, there is a spectrum there, dots along the line that mark important movements toward or away from a particular end. Those moments, the ones in which we keep chugging along, are the moments that decide our fate and which we have complete control over. How we react to a setback or a step forward is critical.

Sometimes quitting is completely called for – like if you’re living a life you hate or returning day after day to a job that leaves you feeling empty or trying to work out a relationship that you know died a long time ago. If you know that the only thing that’ll make you successful or happy is quitting, quitting may be the right choice. However, other people telling you you aren’t enough or won’t be successful is NOT a reason to quit. If anything, it’s a reason to prove them wrong and push even harder.

Because I’m in law school, the story of perseverance that comes to mind regularly is that of Elle Woods. For my fellow law students or lawyers reading this, I imagine we can all share a collective eye roll. Sure, there are wildly unrealistic aspects of Elle’s story, but I still find it commendable that a woman who was told, repeatedly and by many people might I add, that she wasn’t smart or good enough, went and showed everyone they were wrong. She easily could have said “okay,” and let Warner go to Harvard and never follow up on that. She probably could have said “bye, Harvard,” after wearing a playboy bunny costume to a party with a bunch snobby students in brown polyester who thought she was a bimbo purely because she was feminine and bubbly. However, she didn’t quit. If you take anything away from the somewhat silly movie, it’s that Elle doesn’t quit – she proves you wrong. So, the next time someone tells you that you aren’t good enough or can’t do something, let it sting for a moment, then get out there and make some magic (I mean, J.K. Rowling literally invented her own magic to deal with all the stuff in her life that was dragging her down).

Truly,

Callie leigh

 

Chasing Dreams: Musings on How to Be Active in Making Your Goals a Reality

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Hello, World.

I recently did a post about changing dreams and it received a lot of positive feedback! If you’re new and missed that post you can read it here. I thought it might be interesting to talk about chasing dreams as a continuation of the discussion that started with my ‘changing dreams’ post. Once we know what our dreams are, the next step is to chase them. I think it’s important to chase dreams because it’s not enough just to have them. We can have hundreds of dreams, but what happens to them if we don’t actively pursue them? Well, they probably fall to the wayside and we forget they even exist.

So, we need to begin actively pursuing our dreams once the dreams take form. Rather than offer specific, listed steps, I want to have a discussion about methods for pursuing our dreams. I believe that pursuing your dreams is an art form. Chasing your dreams takes dedication, perseverance, and grit. You have to be willing to fail and fail again because chances are you won’t have your dreams handed to you after exerting minimal effort. However, you have to have the grit to keep going even when you think it’s probably best to just say “whatever, I’m getting cheese fries,” and walking away.

I read an article recently that was talking about the importance of grit and the fact that a high IQ isn’t enough to be successful. The article’s main point was that truly successful people put the work into whatever job they’re doing. Harvey Specter, the handsome attorney on Suits, once said: “The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary.” I couldn’t agree more with that statement. I used to get so immensely frustrated when people I knew would score super high on standardized tests, like double digit points higher than me, only to waste opportunity after opportunity. I have never been a great test taker. If I can study material and apply it, I’m golden. However, the whole standardized test issue gave me sleepless nights, panic attacks, and a lot of tears. I know people who scored well over 2000 on the SAT (I took the SAT in the period where it was out of 2400 rather than 1600), got into great schools, but totally flopped when they got there. Here is the key: how well someone can score on a test gives the minimal indication of what their work ethic is or how badly they actually want to do the thing that follows. Sure, someone can get into Harvard, but do they even want to go to college? Sure, someone can get into UC Berkeley, but can they actually do the work to succeed once there? By this, I don’t mean “do the work” as it relates to the intellect. Rather, I mean can they “do the work” as it relates to work ethic. Are the going to put in long hours at the library or attend class regularly? I’m fairly certain the number on their SAT scantron won’t tell you that information.

I once felt that my inability to take the SAT or the LSAT well prevented my foot from getting in the door. It’s like I went to step into a building and suddenly the door shut before my foot could cross the threshold. Now, I’m not trying to make this a rant about how standardized tests are ruining the dreams of young people across the nation… while I feel like they certainly impede them sometimes, I’m not that naive as to make such a blanket proclamation. However, I think we can find analogies to the standardized test game in many aspects of life. Going for a promotion? Maybe it’s a big assignment that’s standing in your way. Trying to get a job a top 10 firm? Well, you’re having trouble getting an interview. To return to my “getting your foot in the door” explanation, I firmly believe that in life, most of us are most concerned about the foot. Once we get our foot in the door, we can accomplish what we need to relatively easily. However, our foot hasn’t crossed the threshold. It’s as if we’re living an episode of Vampire Diaries where we’re the vampire who hasn’t been invited in (you’ll need to watch the show to see what I mean or watch a clip on YouTube both of which I recommend). So, how do we ensure that our foot will get over that threshold and we have an opportunity to reach our dreams?

I would say the biggest piece of advice I’ve gotten that I agree with is that networking can create opportunities where there weren’t any before. Only roughly 20% of available jobs get posted. Let that sink in. So many opportunities aren’t public but are available only if you know someone or know someone who knows someone. I think the more you can network, the more you are creating opportunities to reach your goals. Actively chasing your goals means talking to people who are where you want to be and figuring out how they got there (i.e. so you can get there, too). Additionally, I think actively chasing your dreams requires you to take risks. If you aren’t sure whether graduate school is possible, look into more and apply! If you aren’t sure whether to go to college away from home, but you know the program is better, take the risk. If you get to point B and hate it, you can reroute back to point A or figure out a new path and head to point C. I don’t recommend blindly taking risks, I think you should do your due diligence first. However, I don’t recommend taking so much time to think it over you miss your chance entirely either.

Therefore chasing your dreams seems to be about balancing the ability to go after what you want with building relationships. Chasing dreams is easier when people are willing to give you advice, give you a heads up when the perfect opportunity for you arises, etc. Chasing dreams is also easier when you’re willing to fight for what you want. To circle back a bit, you have to have grit. You have to work hard to see the trade off. If you feel like you’re pouring energy into something and nothing is coming from it, reevaluate and come up with a new plan. You can chase a dream to the end of the earth, only to realize you weren’t chasing it at all. Sometimes we believe we have amazing strategies… but in practice, they yield zero results. If this is the case, we have to be able to acknowledge this and move on to something that’ll deliver.

This post is long and I’m not sure I said everything I wanted to say, but I think the gist of what I wanted to convey is present. What I wanted to convey is that we can’t chase dreams if we aren’t willing to run. You have to put work in and you have to figure out what work will be able to deliver the result you envision.

How do you chase your dreams?

Truly,

Callie leigh