Stylish Academic’s Guide to Avoiding Drama in College

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Hello, World.

Remember when Gossip Girl sent a blast announcing the Upper East Side crew wasn’t done with her upon high school graduation and that she would be following them to college? I think we all inhaled and exhaled so sharply in that moment. Bummer for them, but that meant we had more seasons of Gossip Girl! When you think about one’s first year of college, it’s hard to remember that in August, after moving into your dorm room, you’re really only three or four months away from high school.

Some behavior that’s sometimes normal in high school isn’t always welcome in college. The first being drama. Everyone’s life becomes a lot easier when the drama is stuck in a TV show and doesn’t permeate a person’s real life. Note: though this post is focused on college, I will say that in all stages of life minimal drama is desirable. If I notice someone loves drama and does whatever possible to create it, I quickly side-step interactions with them and minimize my exposure to them. So, I think it’s relatively easy to avoid drama in college, but sometimes it can be difficult because everyone is living in close quarters and if you’re at a small school, most people know each other.

I remember when I moved to my college, I thought it was huge compared to my 300-person high school, but others who went to much bigger high schools thought it was too much like high school [pro tip: size of college is something to really consider when choosing where to attend]. College gossip is real and college drama happens, but I want to share my top tips for minimizing drama:

  1. Surround yourself with positive people. Negative people brew drama like it’s a house roast. Whether intentional or not, negative people tend to create drama because their negativity either rubs off on others OR people vent about the negative person, thus brewing drama.
  2. Keep venting to a minimum. People will annoy you most likely, at one point or another. However, if you’re having issues with someone, either vent to someone you really trust, like your closest friend or your friends from home, or keep it to yourself. The more you vent, the more drama will form.
  3. Acknowledge issues as they happen. If someone annoyed you or hurt you, tell them. Handle your problems with people with them directly. There is no worse thing to do than telling everyone but the person that you’re upset. The more you do this, the more you send two messages: (a) you create drama and (b) you aren’t mature enough to handle your issues responsibly, quickly, and effectively.
  4. Focus on individual friendships. Some people believe the best way to live is to be friends with everyone all the time. That may work for some, but it didn’t work for me or many residents I had in college. When you nurture and develop individual friendships, they tend to be longer lasting and more genuine. I’ve never been someone who could hang out with 5 people at once all the time. Sure, I had “friend groups,” but I always made a point to schedule one-on-one time with all my friends. Whether it was coffee dates, study sessions, shopping outings, etc., I wanted to get to know the person as an individual and not just as a component in a larger group. This way, you know what each person is offering and adding, and you can discern if someone fits well in the group, but isn’t someone you want to seek out one-on-one. This also clarifies who the trustworthy friends are!

Four easy steps to an as-much-as-possible drama free college experience. I think the biggest thing is remembering that people talk. You don’t want to build a reputation as someone who talks negatively about people or stirs drama. Additionally, if you realize someone isn’t a good fit for your life, you can slowly step away from them. This may be difficult, as sometimes they’re very present in your life, but I think minimizing interactions is a great start. That way, it’s not some huge dramatic blowup, but rather a mature departure from the relationship. Drama can come about in ways you weren’t expecting, but it’s always best to be the bigger person! Or, if that doesn’t work, you can do as one of my duty partners did in my RA days: ignore it away!

Truly,
Callie leigh

 

 

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Handling Rejection with Grace: Jobs, Relationships, and Life

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Hello, World.

It seems only fitting the banner image for this post is a street in New York, a city that can eat people up and spit them out. New York City isn’t for the weak, but it is somewhere many people go with a dream that may or may not come to fruition. At the end of the day, some people will inevitably fail while pursuing the dream they so desperately want. Inevitably, we all fail in some aspect of our lives. We won’t just fail once, either. We will fail multiple times in different aspects of lives. However, how one handles that failure says a lot about their character. On the same vein, some failure results from rejection. The rejection that rears its ugly head at the worst, most earth-shattering times is the most damaging, but rejection in any form, even the insignificant, can impact us.

When we want to succeed so badly it hurts, someone telling us, “no, now is not your time,” stings a bit extra. It’s like getting lemon juice in a papercut. So, how do we handle rejection with grace while also subtly saying, “that won’t deter me, but nice try!” to our nay-sayers? Well, I think the biggest thing we can do is not let people in our heads. Don’t let someone’s comments or “not good enough,” insinuations get to you. You can take constructive feedback, but if the comment is just flat out hurtful and beyond the nature of constructive, it’s perfectly fine to disregard. I was scrolling through Twitter the other morning, as so many law students who aren’t ready to face mergers and acquisitions reading do, and I noticed a thread from the author of The Nest, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney that immediately caught my attention and made my thumb lift from the lit-up screen. Her tweet said this:

“When I heard When I heard an agent say a ‘middle-aged woman in a writing class’ was not a client he wanted & I thought I’LL SHOW YOU #misfitsmanifesto”

When I read this, I wondered what had spurred it. There wasn’t anything in particular that preceded this in her feed that indicated it was a response to something. However, following this tweet, there was another:

“So don’t listen to dummies and don’t be discouraged. Just make your manuscript the best you can.”

I liked the sentiment of the tweets because the author is encouraging people to ignore those that say such rude, condescending things, and keep pushing forward. The agent who said this was rejecting D’Aprix Sweeney as an author, belittling her work in the process, but D’Aprix Sweeney, rather than curling up and crying, said, “hm. let me prove you wrong.” She may not have said it to the agent’s face, but she took action to become a successful author whose novel is the topic of book clubs and Goodreads threads around the world. This is, of course, just one example of someone handling rejection well. However, handling rejection isn’t easy…handling it well is even harder.

Rejection is just part of life, unfortunately. Whether we’re working hard in law school to get that big firm job, or on every dating app in search of something, or trying to maintain friendships we can feel are failing, we set ourselves up for someone to tell us “now is not your time,” over and over. However, success is kind of like lightning in a bottle. You’re not always sure what’s going to happen, how you’re going to get X, but once you hit it just right, it’s pure magic. So, we have to put ourselves on the rejection chopping block time and time again to see if this time we’ll hit it just right and find success. Handling rejection with grace isn’t some equation or perfect step-by-step process. If anything, handling rejection with grace is saying, “thank you for your time,” walking away and trying again tomorrow. While someone can say no to you, they can’t rob you of your gumption. So for every “no” uttered, remember you only need one yes to get somewhere.

I grew up in an environment where I was told, “the worst they can say is no,” every time I was hesitant to do something – talk to a romantic interest, apply for a leadership position, go after a job, apply to law schools I knew may not take me, etc. It created a less scary aura around everything I wanted to do – if they said no, bummer but I could move on. If they said yes, well, I got what I wanted! Being fearless but realistic is important in handling rejection. We cannot be so scared of rejection that the fear alone is the biggest roadblock in our lives. We have to keep going, putting ourselves out there, and remember that we will get what we want if we work toward it strategically. If you can’t get X immediately (I know, hard to believe in the instant-gratification world we live in), maybe try getting to X the long way around, by starting with Y, moving to Z, and attacking X tangentially.

I’m not going to tell you rejection gets easier or that you become immune. Rejection is discouraging as hell and by the fifth or so “thanks, but no thanks,” you can feel your ego bruising. However, if we stop putting our name out there and let the few rejections push us so far down they become the end game, we’re letting ourselves down.  So, how do we handle rejection with grace? We say, “I understand,” take the night to drink a glass of wine [or a scotch, neat], take a bubble bath, listen to some James Arthur before getting up in the morning, putting on our big-girl pants and showing the world it cannot shake us.

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

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

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

 

Dream Dressing Room with Arhaus

Hello, World.

As much as I love makeup and fashion, sometimes in the midst of studying law and trying to have a life, it’s hard to feel inspired when getting ready in the morning. Sometimes I think about what I want my future home to be like (it includes an in-home library complete with one of those rotating ladders). Recently, I’ve been thinking it’d be great to have a really nice space for organizing my clothes and accessories. I want a room that’s the perfect blend of comfort and glam that makes me excited about getting ready for work each morning or for evening functions. I mean, who can really resist a little glam room?

Even now, having roommates, whenever we get ready for a function (law prom, fall formal or a night out), my friends and I hangout in each other’s rooms, asking if our dresses look okay, whether the lipstick we want to want to wear is too much, or laughing over champagne about how complicated getting ready can be! Therefore, when I think of the perfect dressing room, I think of a space where my friends can hangout with me while I get ready, laughing and listening to a great playlist.

I recently discovered Arhaus, a company that offers amazing pieces for your home that are the perfect blend of trendy, classic, and comfortable. A major plus? They work hard to be sustainable, using recycled natural resources. One of the things I love about Arhaus is the mixture of unexpected elements. Recycled wooden tables blend perfectly with velvety tufted chairs that look like something from a Jane Austen novel.

Today I’m sharing my mood board of what I would include in my perfect, dream dressing room! This post features Arhaus pieces that I think would make a dressing room comfortable and practical. Now, I definitely have a fairly large dressing room in mind in planning my perfect room. I’m picturing this room as a full room closet. I mean, if you’re going to dream up the perfect room why not dream extra big? Arhaus Paint in Wind (4).png

1 – Arhaus Paint in Wind | 2 – Leyland 22 Light Chandelier | 3 – Acadia Tray | 4 – Small 2 Drawer Bombay Chest | 5 – Fiona Cushion 40″ Upholstered Tufted Chair | 6 – Malou Basket | 7 – Evelyn Mirror | 8 – Petrified Accent Table | 9 – Lena 40″ Upholstered Chair | 10 – Coastal Blue Paisley Square Pillow | 11 – Nori Rug | 12 – Fulton 26″ Upholstered Ottoman 

I love gray hues and bright spaces, so I would begin my dream dressing room with a light gray paint. Gray is a little softer than white and I think it grounds a space a bit without feeling heavy. If you’re going to be spending time in a space with the purpose of trying on clothes and getting all glammed up, I think a great light fixture is a must have! This Arhaus chandelier has an old-world feel and I love the gold finish. I personally believe gold makes most thinks look even more luxurious. Check out even more lighting options here.

I have a lot of jewelry and accessories, but sometimes its hard to keep track of it all. How do you display jewelry without it feeling like clutter? Well, on my favorite display methods if by having a tray on top of your dresser for your favorite small pieces. I would have a gold tray in my dressing room that has some fresh blooms (I adore fresh flowers in the house), and my favorite perfume and lipstick. I’m also obsessed with turning vintage teacup saucers into displays. So, I would get a cute saucer, and use it as a catch-all for my favorite pieces (earrings, necklaces, bracelets, watch).

No dressing room is complete without clothing, so of course I’d have a chest! I love the French country vibes that this Arhaus chest gives me. White furniture is my favorite, but I love the small scallop detailing of this chest. While traditional dressers and chests are great, I like slightly more creative storage methods. Therefore, I’d add the Arhaus basket to house hats or blankets or even scarves (if they’re folded and stacked).

A full length mirror is essential when getting ready. You never know how an outfit looks all together until you see it in a mirror. The Arhaus mirror has a great stand that makes it the perfect finish for the corner of my room.

As I discussed, I enjoy having friends hangout while we’re getting ready for events, so I wanted to incorporate a seating area in the room. While couches are great, I think chairs are better. When I saw the pink velvet chair, I squealed. This piece is exactly the kind of chair I would love to have in my house someday. When I saw the pattern of the Lena chair, I knew it would complement the pink chair perfectly. I like the feel of having statement chairs and then toning them down with rich, neutral accents. A neutral accent that drew my attention is the petrified wood table, which is small enough to sit between the chairs, but big enough for morning coffee or evening wine glasses. I also knew I wanted a foot stool in the room, in case my guests or I wanted to lounge a little more. The Fulton ottoman is perfect because it mixes clean whites with deep wood tones.

To bring in some blue from the Lena chair, I think the paisley accent pillow is perfect to sit on the Fiona chair. I also imagine my space to have hardwood floors, so the Nori Rug would add texture and pattern to the room! I adore that the rug has an already worn feel, which would go so great with the other pieces in the room. I prefer my spaces to felt lived in!

I think all of the pieces discussed above would create a beautiful dream dressing room! It’d be the glam rooms of glam rooms! I feel inspired just looking at this virtual mood board! While I was picking my items, my dad leaned over and asked what I was doing. I explained, and he asked if there is a store nearby. There is a room in my parent’s house we’ve been unhappy with for a little while, and I’m confident they can find some great pieces at Arhaus!

What are your dream dressing room must haves?

Truly,
Callie leigh

Being a Maid of Honor for Family

Hello, World.

With wedding season upon us, I thought it might be interesting to write about being a maid of honor (or bridesmaid) for family! I personally feel holding this role for family is different than doing it for a friend. I was my sister’s maid of honor when she got married in 2015, and it was a very unique experience. I was in fall of my senior year of college 3 hours from home, and let’s just say… it was a busy time. I wanted desperately to “do a good job,” but also was limited because of school and work as an RA. However, the day of the wedding went off without a hitch, and was an absolutely perfect celebration of one of the better loves I’ve seen in real life.

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I have four tips that I think are valuable to making sure you have a successful run as maid of honor or a bridesmaid for family!

  1. Be present. | As I briefly mentioned earlier, I was really nervous when my sister told me her wedding date and asked me to be her maid of honor. Of course I wanted to be there and hold this role. Hell, I’d been excited about it my whole life. But I was really overwhelmed by my own stuff, and I was having trouble remembering that I needed to just be present in the moments leading up to the day. When we met photographers or florists, I tried my best to tune out my own stress, and just focus on my sister.
  2. Let them be mad at you. | Weddings are stressful, and people tend to get mad at people they love most when under stress. So, there’s a very good chance it won’t all be rainbows and smiles leading up to the wedding. But, it’s your job to smile, and allow the bride to be angry or upset or emotional (within reason). I will say that you only need to deal with the bride’s attitude. If other people are being rude, you don’t need to keep a smile up if that’s not you.
  3. Stay positive. | Again, weddings are stressful. So, while everyone freaks out, just stay positive. The day of my sister’s wedding, her groom tore his pants (you know, the ones he was going to get married in) right down the butt. Like imagine a huge, gaping hole where the seem on the butt is supposed to be. Everyone was in pure panic, but you gotta stay positive, and try to see the good or the humor in the crazy situations that will undoubtedly arise.
  4. Remember that this is, likely, one of the biggest days of their life, and they chose you to stand next to (or near) them. At the end of the day, there is a lot of crazy in weddings. There is family drama, weird intricacies that I didn’t know existed, and a LOT of detail. But, in all the chaos there is a moment of calm. It may happen as you’re chowing down on the dinner, or as your walking up to the mic to give your speech, or as the happy couple is heading out the door. In that moment, whenever it comes, you’ll realize that the bride chose to have you by their side for this one day, a day that, quite seriously, opens a new door or begins a new chapter of their life. You get to be there for the transition, and you get to see it happen. That’s a special moment. So, enjoy it!

I will forever cherish my sister’s wedding day. It was absolutely stunning and it felt so special. It was also one of the only weddings I’ve been to as an adult, so I think it felt right that my sister was getting married… and beginning this new life with the perfect guy for her. Being a maid of honor is such an, dare I say, honor. So, remember to be honored!

Truly,

Callie leigh

How to be Single: Why it’s important

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Hello, World.

I recently watched How To Be Single for the first time, and was cracking up through the whole movie. I totally loved it: loved the message, the cast, the whole thing. While the film is meant to be a comedic look at the different ways people are single, and how they handle the status, I think that the message of the film is actually really important. Sure, watching Rebel Wilson make vulgar comments about men or show up late 3+ hours to work is funny, but I think the storyline I most enjoyed was Dakota Johnson’s, which shows a college graduate terminate a long term relationship so she can figure out “what she’s like on her own.” Frankly, being alone is something most people struggle with.

A lot of people see others coupling off, and feel like maybe it’s time to settle down. And we won’t even go into the subtle societal comments that imply we’re living in a Jane Austen novel… We are conditioned to believe that being with someone is best. However, I’m pretty happy being single, and I have a ton of friends who are also happy being single. I dated someone my freshman year of college, and I’m so glad it didn’t work out because the next three years were REALLY transformative for me, and I don’t think they would have been so important had I still been dating someone. I think being comfortable alone is important, but what I think is more important is using the time alone to really figure out who you are as an individual. Sure, one day you can be part of a couple, but you need to know what you’re bringing to the table, what you’re offering, and how the person you’re dating can compliment the person you are.

Not to hate on people who date a lot or switch from long term relationship to long term relationship, but I sometimes wonder if the people who do this know who they are. It’s hard to imagine that those relationships haven’t sort of defined who the person is. From the outside, it appears that the growing and maturing that happens in early adulthood is happening in relation to someone else. This is probably not true for everyone, and I don’t mean for it to sound like a standard. However, I do think it is fundamentally important for people to know who they are. Here’s the thing: if you don’t know who you are and what you’re looking for and what you deserve, how can anyone appreciate who you are when even you don’t know who that is. Relating this to How To Be Single, [NOTE: this may contain a spoiler, so avert your eyes if you don’t want a small plot point ruined], Dakota Johnson’s character spends much of her time that she’s supposed to be “finding herself” hooking up with or trying to fall for a new guy. The irony, of course, is that her idea of finding herself is finding another male counterpart. It’s soon revealed this is, quite obviously, the wrong way to go about finding yourself.

I think the most important part of being comfortable alone is recognizing you don’t have to settle. Now, naturally, one of the concerns about people being too comfortable alone is that they won’t ever settle down, but I think this is unreasonable as far as arguments go. Yes, people can be too comfortable being alone, but the thing is, if someone really wants to be part of your life, you will accommodate them because it’ll be too good to pass up. While you may be stuck in your ways, and stubborn about the proper way to put toilet paper on the dispenser, if you know the fit is right, you might ease up on the little things. However, you still remain steadfast in the things that make you you: belief systems, what treatment you will allow, your career goals, etc. I think there is a reason a large percentage of people say they found their significant other, spouse, etc. when they weren’t really looking. So, if you’re single, go out there and be yourself, and do your thing, and the love stuff will come when it does. If you’re in a relationship or married or whatever, make sure you know who you are, and what you, as an individual, are bringing to your relationship.

Now, to close, I will say if you haven’t seen How To Be Single, I suggest renting it, making some popcorn, pouring a glass of wine, and watching it ASAP.

Truly,
Callie leigh

Gilmore Girls Revival Preparation

Hello, World.

I’m SO excited for the Gilmore Girls revival. I can hardly express how truly ecstatic I am. I’m trying to have too many expectations, but I have a feeling it’ll be amazing. In light of the premiere, I wanted to share some essentials for getting the full Gilmore experience while watching the episodes!

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Lorelai and Rory ALWAYS order Chinese take out, so for dinner, get some Chinese food from your local spot.

Redvines are the junk food of choice (Amy Sherman Palladino shared this is her junk food go-to). I love Redvines, even though they are so bad for me.

Pop-tarts are a Gilmore essential. They almost always have pop-tarts on Friday nights.

I also recommend getting pizza for good measure. If you’re having a viewing party, Chinese AND pizza are musts!

The coffees should be self-explanatory if you’re a fan of the show. If you’re not, Gilmore Girls drink more coffee than water. Coffee is a must for a complete viewing experience.

Popcorn is an essential for any viewing of any show! Add some M&Ms or caramel or butter, and you can spice up your popcorn bowl.

Finally, for the super fans out there, tissues will be necessary. Whether we cry happy tears or sad tears, I have a feeling the revival will be an emotional experience.

I will likely do a review of the revival epsiodes (but not for a while because I don’t want to give spoilers). Also, spoilers will be clearly marked!

Truly,
Callie leigh