Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A post on moving back to school.

Monday morning I dashed into my favorite local coffee shop on my way to school, expecting to grab my coffee and maybe read for a few minutes before I went in to work on our research project. But when I opened the door I was greeted by an old mentor of mine, with her new, sweet baby girl. Such a surprise, and it caught me totally off guard. So, instead of reading, I got to hear about her growing family, the ebb and flow of the campus ministry she works with, and recall a few fond memories of when I was an undergrad student.

It's hard to explain, but after we talked I sat down with my coffee and realized, very intensely, just how different I am now than I was when she and I used to spend a lot of time together. Five years ago, she knew a girl trying to navigate her way through school, and wasn't doing a very good job of it. I'm sure just like many of you guys, I was totally unsure of the direction I wanted to go in. It was so hard for me to make some of my decisions that I began shutting down. Sophomore year was one of the hardest, darkest times of my life, simply because I didn't know how to ask for help, but I also didn't know what I needed. I just kept doing and functioning, but couldn't feel settled. I kept it inside. I sat alone trying to work things out in my brain for hours on end until even less made sense than when I had started. I struggled with big-picture ideas like justice, faith, kindness, hope and friendship. I didn't feel like I even knew how to be "me" anymore.

So, I left school for awhile. I took risks. I asked questions. I came back to school. I took some more risks. I went to counseling. I did things I had been too afraid to do for years (i.e. date a boy). I met people. I learned (again) that we're all more similar than we may ever know. And I remembered what it felt like to be alive - to be me. 

Now that I'm older, taken so many risks, and learned the value of asking for help when I need it and involved others in my decisions and dreams and hopes, it seemed sort of odd to see my old mentor again. I wonder what it was like for her to see me now, starting grad school, able to speak with excitement and passion about my studies and what I've been up to the last couple years. And, on my end, this entire moving experience has really just been sort of surreal. It's like I'm able to navigate my way through old familiar streets, and eat foods I haven't eaten in years, and see friendly faces from years ago, but, I'm so different. It's almost like reliving a season all over again. 

I dont know why I wrote this. I just sat down and it came out, so I hope it's helpful for you, or I hope, if nothing more, that you're reminded of the opportunity you have to grow in the deepest areas that you feel stuck or immobilized. (Maybe it's being in the social work classroom again, but I'm feeling all empowered or something.) haha

Have you ever revisited an old location and felt strangely older and wiser? 


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fringe garland!

I'm so excited to share this post with you. I've had the best day, and I'll be dreaming more sweetly than ever tonight because I made a brand new fringe garland for my room.

A backstory:
I've been hooked on Confetti System ever since Harbor and I saw Beach House open for Vampire Weekend last fall. The set design was insanely gorgeous, and I was thrilled to discover that this talented duo had created the gorgeous, geometric, illuminated pieces that helped make the show one of the best live music experiences of my life. I was somewhat familiar with these genius artists prior to that show, but afterward, I was obsessed. Shortly after, I saw little pieces of their artwork popping up online, including darling little paper fringe pieces on my favorite blog.

So after I saw Elsie's closet make-over on Instagram the other week, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands and add a little sparkle to my closet too. I took some step-by-step photos along the way, in case you'd like to add a sweet little fringe garland somewhere special.

This project is super simple. Ribbon, tissue paper, a piece of cardstock, scissors, and glue. If you'd like, you can use other lightweight papers like newspaper, or paper grocery bags too. We used a stack of free school newspapers because we couldn't track down any peach-colored paper, and I didn't want to spend a bundle on this project. Today all I purchased was the gold tissue paper and glue. My speckled paper was from an Anthropologie gift (years ago). 

Just measure out a piece of ribbon, yarn, rope or fabric and tape it somewhere so your cat can't demolish it while you work. (Hence my awkward kitchen background.) Decide how large you'd like your cute fringe flags to be, cut out a template from your cardstock, and then go to town. 

I used four sheets of tissue paper per flag. You just line the top edge with glue, stack your papers, and fringe 'em! Michelle and I used this prototype to see how the garland would look. After we glued and snipped the first flag, we made a little assembly line to complete the rest. 

Michelle braved the afternoon heat to paint all of our peach squares on newsprint. After these were cut out and had dried, I crinkled them with my hands to loosen the paper a bit.

Arrange and rearrange until you've got the pattern you like. Then I recommend affixing the flags to the ribbon with a bit of glue so you can transport it easily.

Sew across the strip of fabric or ribbon to reinforce.

And, viola! Your gorgeous little fringe garland is ready to spruce up any area you'd like. Originally, this garland was designed for my closet space, but I won't show you a photo of that until it's organized. Plus, I think I'll keep it above my head for a few weeks while Linds and I work on the instillation that will go above my bed. Anyway, I think this project would be the sweetest for a wedding or bridal shower. Super pretty and cute. And, I love the sound the paper makes when it catches a breeze. 

I've still got a few other projects in the works. Michelle, Lindsey and Jaclyn made today a very crafty, girly day and it was heaven. I really am looking forward to the time I'll get to give you all a virtual apartment tour... I'm nesting like nobody's business.

Sweet dreams!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Destin days.

School starts in five days. Thus, I made it a point to visit Harbor's family in Destin before things got busy with the changing of schedules and all my time spent holed up in my apartment studying. My family was nice enough to stop by my place to feed the Matilda girl in-between unloading our UHaul unit and helping my little sister get settled into her new space so I could run away to the Gulf Coast for three days. 

And now, the Instagram photos. If you'd like, you can follow me; my Insta handle is kaitlynmeanspure

In other news, I bought (some of my) books today. I'm tempted to read them early, and today I spent a while thumbing through the pages and trying to refresh my memory with old knowledge to know how to anticipate my learning experience. School is fast approaching! Any suggestions for things I should be sure and do before I get sucked into my little grad school world? 


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Settling into my new apartment.

Phew. What a whirlwind it is to move somewhere new. I feel like I've been going nonstop, but I wanted to check in, share a few photos and let you know I've got a few fun posts planned for the week. Keep your eyes peeled for a post full of gorgeous Destin photos, a post about returning to a place you haven't been to in awhile, and a surprise post dedicated to someone in my family. :)

But first... some photos from move-in week.

My bed the first few nights I was living in my new space. Queen fitted sheet, full-size flat sheet, and twin comforter. haha

My kitchen-in-progress. It's already looking tons better since this photo was taken.

Cooking and making tasty things in my kitchen. Study sessions with Matilda. 

I've gotten to explore the city a bit in the past two weeks, and I am happy to report that I've scored some major thrifting deals, including a cream-colored, floral couch that's nearly 9 feet long, and a vintage bedspread. 

I normally don't like the color orange, but when I saw this spread I knew I had to have it. I'm definitely up for the challenge of decorating a room around an orange bedspread. In fact, I have a cute piece of luggage from Urban Outfitters with a color palette I'm going to draw inspiration from when decorating. 

I also whipped up some peanut butter pies after reading this post. Talk about rich. Those pies were the heaviest things I've ever baked, and were devoured in two days. However, if you're itching to make a PB pie after reading this, I strongly urge you to make sure you have the proper mixing equipment first. I had to do it all by hand and I think my right bicep is twice as large as my left after that experience.

More moving, more exhausted naps. What great help I've had from Harbor and my family. Love them all so much. 

Tomorrow is my first of two orientations at FSU. Both are providing free food, and will be chock full of information. So I'm gonna finish eating this popcorn and fall asleep.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

An all-around good day.

I'm sure having one. Today I spent all day training and running assessments for the research project I'm participating in this year, and I feel confident that I'll be all caught up to speed in no time. My professor and I even met up for coffee later in the evening to discuss some goals I have with my studies this year, and I felt so understood. I haven't felt this excited about an upcoming year of school in ages - looking ahead to my coursework and getting to work alongside some of my professors in research and publication is thrilling to me. But, enough nerdy stuff...

I also enjoyed lots of little things today:

Leftover Indian food for dinner. A frozen custard date by myself. Morning snugs with little Matilda. The smells and sounds of the College of Social Work building becoming familiar again. Laughing on the phone with Harbor. A decaf iced americano with skim milk. Learning new things.

Oh, and I picked up my photos from CVS today! It's a shame they're such low-quality. Maybe it's because I used a Walgreens camera and developed at CVS? (haha, No, it's probably because I neglected to use a flash when I really should have. Lots of grainy photos that couldn't be salvaged.)

Loved spending the day at Cedar Point with my sister and cousins.

And, remember blueberry picking? :)

Heading to bed now. I hope I dream about blueberries.