Tuesday, July 17, 2012

books are drugs.

after a 24-hour hiatus, I am here again.
they call to me from the shelves above, inviting themselves into my arms. how else can I explain how the one book I am holding turns into five, ten more, replicating at a pace that would rival that of rabbits.
like an office without greenery, a home without books is lifeless and bleak. there's even something in the smell of a book that makes a room feel richer.
psychological studies tell me that simply by reading a book, you may fall under its influence by adapting your beliefs and the way you live your life.
I bring them home with me, where the most aesthetically pleasing ones are snatched up quickly, while the fatter tomes that beg for my promise of commitment languish on the bedside table. the three week deadline rolls around, despite my attempts to keep them in my possession a little longer, and the greater majority return unread, not even opened. but it doesn't matter. building a book fortress, blanketing myself with books, breathing in books... it's almost the same as reading them, isn't it?
I'm like Alaska Young, constructing around myself a wall of books to hide behind.
but I'm reading myself out.

I won't muddy the waters by starting on my anti-kindle rant.
until next time.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

for the college-goers: how to remain above the poverty line in school

1. Avoiding the highway robbery of the campus bookstore

It's that delightful time of the year again...

Second only to filing taxes as my least favorite thing to do (heck, who am I kidding... somehow I have an amazing dad who still lets me off the hook by doing those for me. Ten points for dad.), it's time to order TEXTBOOKS.

Why is this such a chore? Don't get me wrong, I love picking out the books I'm later going to throw across the room in agony during finals, but when it comes to paying for them... ick. I've never understood why something made out of trees, ink, and some glue costs three digits (and more, if your college bookstore is as painfully overpriced as mine).

I was recently told about this place, campus book rentals. I'm usually not a big fan of renting books because it's so hard to find all of the books from the same company and I end up paying shipping costs from five different places. Plus the prices never really seem that much cheaper compared to used textbooks. But I looked around on this site, and in addition to having ALL my textbooks that I need this fall, one of them was $45, as opposed to the preposterous price of $222 that my college bookstore is charging.
If I'm gonna pay $200 for a book, I'd rather it be for something awesome like the text for my Zombie class (no joke: my college offers a class on apocalyptic-themed literature and films. We're watching Night of the Living Dead, among other classics. Never have I so looked forward to school...)
Also, shipping on everything is free both ways (woot!) and they also buy books back (they don't have to be from their company) for quite a decent sum.

2. Thinking outside the box: Ramen is your friend... if you want to overdose on sodium

Eating nutritious food --> better health --> better studying. And no, I am not referencing ramen here as a nutritious food... Boxes of whole wheat or regular pasta at my local grocery store (Martin's) are only a bit more expensive than ramen. Throw some grated cheddar in there with a splash of milk and a chunk of butter and you have yourself some 10x-better-than-kraft-macncheese.
Cheapest good-for-you foods on a college budget: Oatmeal (old-fashioned/rolled oats - not the instant kind. It takes 5-10 minutes and only uses oats, water, and milk at the bare minimum.), rice & beans (to make it taste less blah add cilantro, salsa, curry powder, taco seasoning, cheese, onions, red peppers, diced tomatoes, whatever.), fruits and vegetables from a local farmer's market (usually a lot cheaper than the grocery store, at least in my area), cottage cheese or yogurt with fruit, homemade soups (there are a lot of really simple recipes using cheap ingredients), peanut butter (oh the many inventive ways I have used peanut butter... but that's another post entirely), tuna, pancakes, potatoes.

3. Take advantage of your cafeteria
Take a few pieces of fruit to go after a meal. If you're really desperate you may be able get away with a water bottle filled with milk or some ziploc bags filled with cereal and the like. Although, after getting yelled at by one of our kitchen staff, I have to say proceed at your own risk with this one.

4. Alcohol is expensive
I'm not sure any further elaboration is necessary.

5. Get over your phobias for secondhand
Dumpster diving. Thrift stores. These two things have saved my life [here meaning wallet] in college. Dumpster diving on campus at the very end of the semester is always the best time, because all the seniors are realizing post-grad life really doesn't require a mini-fridge, bed risers or 2000 extra index cards. A goodwill or salvation army in a college town usually has awesome finds as well, for the same reason. I have yet to actually dumpster dive anywhere besides my college, although it's on my to-do list. A word of caution though, as some places consider it trespassing.

6. On campus jobs 
7. Biking and carpooling
8. Couponing
(http://www.campusspecial.com/ or  http://www.groupon.com) and student discounts (most restaurants and college-age-targeted stores have one)
9. Buy in bulk (costco, sharp shopper, sam's club)
10. Limit coffee and meat consumption 

There are countless other tricks to living cheaply, but it really all comes down to budgeting wisely and distinguishing between the necessities of life.
You don't actually need to wash your hair every day. 
College parties are overrated. 
And ditch those dryer sheets. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

summer nights

sit under the stars and listen to this.

Were our lips to meet, 
our shared breath would speak 
of our love on a level where 
entwined souls gracefully traverse 
the midnight stars.
— (via graciouswords)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


my thoughts are stars I can't fathom into constellations. 

credits to John Green for his gloriously written book The Fault In Our Stars, and to Matthew Cusick for stunning artwork.

Friday, March 16, 2012


I could start off with what is becoming my compulsory opener, "I've been so busy", "school is kicking my butt", "the resident mice in my dorm room chewed up all the important wiring to my computer beyond repair"... (okay, that one might be less than true..) but I think I need to realize that, like it or not, blogger and I have an open relationship. I'd like to settle down and commit to a post-a-week, but the days of my youthful fancy are not yet over. I admit been having somewhat of a fling with pinterest (I'd like someone to explain to me how in three months this beast left facebook and twitter in the dust of my internet obsessions list. HOW?!). But I am dragging my fingers away from obsessive compulsively pinning every cupcake recipe in sight to bring those of you who haven't yet become exasperated with my bipolar blogging this long-overdue update.

I've been thinking a lot recently about this generation and its obsessiveness with being different. I suppose it's not something limited to this time alone; being unique has always been something we've sought after. I guess what bothers me about the way it is now is the superiority. The "it's only a cool band when you're the first or only person to know about it" mindset just about makes me want to poke my eyes out in exasperation of how petty we are! I've certainly had my fair share of accusations that slander me with the oh-so-dreaded h-word, and while I know it's all in good fun, I hope it ends there. Sure, I like indie music as much as the next person, and there's a special place in my heart for cupcakes and thrifting, but I dislike the thought of being associated with such an aloof and apathetic group of people. Since when has the expression of emotion ever been a bad thing? To quote a great mind, "nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." :) So be joyful; shout a song, laugh, cry.

Speaking of expressionism, I came across the amazing music of Lindsey Stirling the other day. I can't believe I hadn't heard of her before now, and I'm completely and utterly blown away. It's so refreshing to see someone so moved by music, and so freely able to express their love for it. My initial impression of the first few seconds was that she was strange, unconventional, and completely amazing. More often than I'd care to admit, I quickly write off people that I don't understand or think are just a little too strange. But crazy people are, after all, the spice of life. How boring life would be without those friends who never do quite what you expect.

"here's to the crazy ones. the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers. the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. they're not fond of the rules and have no respect for the status quo. you can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. about the only thing you can't do is ignore them. because they change things, they push the human race forward. and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." 
— Jack Kerouac

Sunday, February 5, 2012

no words today. just listen.

Monday, January 9, 2012

ode to oatmeal

breakfast is a beautiful thing. 

Sorry for the lack of an intellectual post today, I'm just really happy about food right now. recently I've become quite obsessive about oatmeal. I think it was the realization that I can put ANYTHING on top of it and still fool myself that it's a healthy breakfast. Not like I'm garnishing my breakfast with chocolate cake or anything, but nutella? coconut? white chocolate cranberry larabars? (ohh that was the best breakfast ever.) I used to think oatmeal of as a bowl of bland white mush, so if this has been your limited experience as well, please please change your life. SO GOOD.

1/2 C oats (old fashioned, rolled, steel cut. I personally prefer steel cut, but if Walmart as opposed to Whole Foods is your grocery stop, they may be more difficult to find.) 
1/2 C milk
1/2 C water 
dash of salt (secret: I never use this. I understand using a pinch of salt in anything with yeast or baking soda/powder, but oatmeal? I fail to see what it adds. So if you're a compulsive salt-adder, feel free to frown upon my rebellious cooking habits.) 
1/2 banana, cut into chunks
1 tsp PURE vanilla extract (never ever ever use imitation! please, for the love of all that is delicious!)

Combine all ingredients (minus vanilla) in a small saucepan over medium heat. I normally just let mine sit (no stirring yet) while I get dressed, do dishes, whatever. Because I hate waiting. When the oats have absorbed most of the liquid, stir/whip around the edges to make the bananas nice and fluffy. yum. Add vanilla, and whatever you want on top. Excellent combinations include raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, walnuts and extra bananas, peanut butter (trust me, it's fantastic.), trail mix, peaches, apples and cinnamon, pumpkin, almonds and coconut, pumpkin seeds, maple syrup, crumbled cookies, muffins, breads, or plain brown sugar if you're boring. ;) there's no wrong here. NO WRONG. (lots of caps in this post... and parentheses... it's just one of those days.) 
also, yesterday I had a revelation. Bananas were made for nutella. And any kind of chocolate goes wonderfully with oats (these cookies? delish). So... nutella-banana-oatmeal is definitely going to be tested in mornings to come...

other favorite morning foods? As wonderful as oatmeal is, I'm looking to expand my breakfast horizons. ;)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

so this is the new year

2012. I already like the sound of it. I don't know if it's looking back at mistakes and regrets from last year, or just that I like the rather cliched thought of turning over a new leaf, but I'm so excited to see what this new year holds.

aspirations for the year...

learn a new instrument. crossing my fingers for accordion, though I'd happily settle for banjo or cello. :]

stop having such an entitlement attitude, and instead see everything as a blessing, even if it seems like something to be taken for granted.
the other day while driving (did I mention I drive now? :] getting my license and college parking pass was waaayy overdue..) I saw a bumper sticker that had striked a line through the typical phrase "God bless America", and above it was written instead, "America bless God." this simple little bumper sticker really hit me, and I thought about it the whole way home. I started thinking about how many times I have seen God bless America brazenly written all over every household plaque, back bumper, facebook wall, etc. I think patriotism is a wonderful thing, but not when it comes at the cost of humility. Certainly we should be grateful that we can live, praise, love, read, and write freely, but superiority is such an ugly thing. And furthermore, how twisted is it that we as a country expect God to bless us, when every day His name is reviled and cursed in our country?

love more.
well, here's hoping. ;)

do more impossible things. I've only crossed off 7 of my 100 things to do before I die list in the past year, which is rather pitiful. here's to a more daring year!

be less dependent on money.

live this: 
Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
  Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
  Make me to hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins
  And blot out all my iniquities.
  Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
  Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
-Psalm 51:1-12