My Kids Will Be Lucky I’m Not A Hoarder

Last week I went with my parents to help out at my grandparents’ house. As of last September, both my grandparents on that side are dead, so now the family has to deal with their estate. My dad, as an executor, has been doing a lot of work there, getting the house ready to sell and sorting finances and whatnot. My grandparents had been living in that house for about fifty years, so they had fifty years worth of junk in there. When my dad and I arrived there on Wednesday night, I was led to the basement where my dad had piled boxes and boxes of stuff in the back rooms. He said he had already taken not one, not two, but twelve van loads of junk to Value Village, and that was after the five kids already took a bunch of stuff for themselves. Twelve van loads and there was still so much junk to sort through.

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And that boggles my mind because when I go to away University every September, basically everything I own fits into one van. And yet my grandparents had accumulated probably over fifteen van loads of stuff. Stuff ranging from broken furniture to TVs to ancient books to candles to glasses to shaving cream to screwdrivers to scarves to approximately 500 curling pins. It took us two whole days, but we finally managed to sort it all and, with the help of several aunts and uncles, have a successful estate sale on the Saturday.

But it was a lot of work. I’m so glad my dad already took those twelve van loads away because I can’t even fathom having to go through all of that too.

My future kids will be lucky because I am not a hoarder. And I’m not saying my grandparents were hoarders by the technical definition, but there’s really no excuse for having about 15 sets of drinking glasses. My mom, who we put in charge of sorting all the kitchen stuff, was not pleased when we kept unearthing yet another dirty box and bringing it up to her for arranging. When I’m away at school, my mom gave me a few glasses, maybe four, but last year, I only used one. I’d just keep washing and reusing that same one glass. And the same two plates and two spoons and one bowl. I work well on very little.

Though I don’t really identify as one, I guess I am a minimalist. Except with more colours because I really don’t understand why minimalists are scared of colours.

minimalismI used to laugh at minimalists. Like, do they really think they’re so much better than the rest of us because they don’t have a bed skirt or any wall art? But it’s not about that. It’s about living a freer life and not having a lifestyle that revolves around material possessions. You don’t need ten pairs of shoes to live a full life. Besides, think of all the money I save by not buying things.

When me and my future attractive husband are dead and my future successful children are left to deal with my house, they’ll be lucky I don’t hoard things or have an excess of belongings. They’ll be lucky that I understand how unnecessary so many things are and do not care for a lot of things (like decorative pillows).

My future successful children will have it fairly easy. I can’t say the same for myself though. While my parents’ eyes have been opened by the recent events with my grandparents’ house and they plan to do a small purge, they are not minimalists at all. My mother is constantly trying to get me to buy more clothes and I’m not sure how someone could need more than one or two screwdrivers, (especially if they have interchangeable bits) but I guarantee my father has several down in his workshop.

I’m not saying everyone has to immediately convert to a minimalist lifestyle or toss out all their favorite things, I’m just suggesting that perhaps you take advantage of spring and do some spring cleaning. Get rid of any old stuff. Sell it online, throw it out, or, better yet, have a garage sale! Tis the season to make dealing with your inevitable death easier on your loved ones!

That’s all for now!

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Things I’d Do If I Had The Time

I often dream about having unlimited free time. Can you imagine never worrying about going to work or school or making money and instead being able to do things you actually want to do? I can’t fully fathom it, but I do like to think about it. So much so, that I have a list of things I wish I could do, but don’t have the time. And while I do know that I waste a lot of time online or watching TV reruns, I justify those actions because they’re temporary fills. I’m scrolling Tumblr for an hour because I can’t very well watch a movie in that time instead. If I had five hours to kill, then things would be different.

Anyways, in my perfect little dream world where my bank account has a lot of zeros to the left of the decimal and I have no commitments, here are the things that I’d do, and one day hope to:

Watch the Star Wars and The X-Men movies

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I have never fully seen anything from these franchises. It’s shocking, I know, considering you’d think they’d be right up my alley, but I just never got into them. And now they’re both up to like seven movies each and I don’t have time for that. I do want to watch them, though. Eventually I’ll get around to it…maybe I’ll do one franchise over this summer…

Read more books

With school and TV, it takes me a while to read a book, which sucks because I like to read. There are a few books that I’ve heard good things about and want to read and hopefully this summer I can try. My lack of time to read is also a reason I’ve never seen Game Of Thrones, because I know I’d want to read the books first and I have no time to read those huge things.

Finish all the video games I started

I don’t play video games anymore. I got back into them last summer for a few weeks, but that’s all. I still have all my games and would love to go back to them, but some of them, the console ones especially, need several hours of time. With the Nintendo Switch being released last month, I’m seeing a lot of people online playing Zelda, one of my favourites, and I yearn to get back to that world.

Finish my novel

I’m slowly working on this. I’ve just finished some editing and started writing again, which is great because I do enjoy it, but I know I need to sit down and write for several hours rather than the hour or so I’ve been doing. If I had time, I’d definitely commit to it.

Binge-watch TV more shows

I have a small list of shows I want to watch including Smallville, Arrested Development, and Veep, but I know that if I had complete freedom I’d watch so many more. I love TV.

Learn how to make pottery

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I’ve always wanted to try pottery. Shaping things just with your hands looks so interesting and I’ve always wondered what that clay feels like as it spins.

Teach myself Photoshop and video editing

I think the Adobe suite is really cool and I have a basic knowledge of it from a course I took last year, but I’d love to learn more. There are a lot of tutorials out there and I know people say they taught themselves just by clicking around on it, so if I had time, I’d teach myself. This is also something I feel I should do sooner rather than later as a lot of the jobs I apply for want a knowledge of Adobe.

Go on a roadtrip

The idea of roadtrips are so romanticized nowadays but I’ve completely fallen for it. I think it’d be so much fun to pack into a car with friends and drive across a country while listening to music and eating junk food. Though I guess the problem with this one, aside from my lack of time, is the fact that I don’t have a group of friends or a place to go.

 

One day. One day I’ll do all of these. Some aren’t too unrealistic and if I really budget my time and commit, I should be able to complete these tasks. There’s only 86400 seconds in a day. As anyone can understand, things like school or work or parenting or sleeping take priority, sucking up a lot of those seconds, but there’ll come a day where all 86400 seconds are mine.

What would you do if you had the time?

 

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A 5 Step Guide To Dealing With Fictional Characters Who Make Bad Decisions

The list of fictional characters I love is far too long. I, in some weird sense, feel like a mother to many of them because I want nothing more than to protect them and love them and see them happy.

That’s why it’s really hard for me to watch some of them consistently making bad decisions. When real people in my life make bad choices, I can talk to them and discuss with them and help them, but I can’t do that with fictional characters on account of them being fictional and me being not crazy. I’m sure you all know those feelings though, doesn’t matter from shows, movies, or books: disappointed and worried and weary. Fictional characters are supposed to be fun!

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So in an attempt to cope, I’ve created a 5 step guide to dealing with fictional characters who make bad decisions, and now I’m sharing it with you because if you’re watching the same shows I am, you’ll understand.

Step 1 – Yell at the TV but in a sassy way. Sure, no one but your mildly concerned roommates can hear you, but if you’re going to shout at the TV anyway, doing it with some humor makes the situation a bit more enjoyable. “Oh my God, Bartholomew Allen, I swear, if you’re even thinking about messing up the timeline again, I will come down there and trip you while you are running.”

Step 2 – Tweet. In caps. This way, you’re quiet physically but your shout into the void can at least be immortalized on the internet and be seen by fellow frustrated people. You’re all in this together, and that is comforting.

Step 3 – Go back and watch episodes where they were all making good choices. Try to cancel out the new stress by watching good old episodes. Ones where everyone was doing as they should and it’s all calm and sane. If it’s a show that’s been on for a few years, I suggest going back to season one because that’s when everyone was younger and simpler and the show’s writing is probably stronger. If you think season 1 Rachel Berry would have made the same choices that season 5 Rachel Berry did, then you and I need to speak.

Step 4- Re-evaluate things. Spend portions of you day wondering where you, as metaphorical parent, went wrong. Stare at a blank wall or a blank TV as you do this. Perhaps fold your hands over your face. Sigh deeply, in and out. Imagine what life would be like if the characters didn’t make bad choices.

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Step 5 – Repeat. Yeah. You really can’t deal with it. Psyyyyych (or is it sike?). This list is a lie. We’re forever stuck and nothing will change that. You can’t un-see and unless you’re willing to stop watching, you’re in for a ride. Make peace with this sooner rather than later so you can prepare yourself.

Fun, right?

That’s all for now!

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Sometimes The Blogosphere Annoys Me

Everything isn’t sunshine and roses in the blogosphere. There are many wonderful parts, way more than negative for sure, but that doesn’t mean we can ignore the less than pleasant parts. And maybe these are only less than pleasant to me, someone who is admittedly very over-critical, but that doesn’t make them any less of a problem.

This is not a call out. I am not targeting anyone. Everyone is free to do what they want with their blogs and that is super-duper. Goodness knows I’m not perfect and neither is my blog. The point of this post is just me letting my readers know my blogosphere pet peeves. Maybe you agree. Maybe you don’t. That’s fine. Please don’t argue too much with me. I’m far too tired to argue.

Here are the things that happen in the blogosphere that annoy me. Let’s get salty:

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  • Bloggers with Twitter accounts that are almost all just sharing post links….over and over and over….and over. I probably won’t follow you if you do this, but I do follow a few of those Blog Retweet accounts and I see some of the same bloggers so many times anyways. It gets annoying. No one wants to be spammed by the same three posts 50 times in three days. Why bother having social media if you only use it for blog posts? And perhaps these Blog Retweet accounts should look at who they’re retweeting and go “Hm, I just retweeted three posts from this person already, so I’m not going to retweet their other five,” instead of just blindly doing it.
  • When someone starts a new blog and then says “I don’t know what I’m going to write about” or “Tell me what to write!”. That isn’t convincing me to stick around at all. There’s a difference between wanting your readers’ opinions and wanting readers’ to do all the thinking for you.
  • Follow for Follow or Like for Like. I’ve been seeing a surge in these kind of requests on Facebook. I know blogging is largely a numbers game, but numbers are meaningless if they do nothing. I don’t want someone following me back or Liking my posts/page because I did the same first, I want you to do it because you genuinely like what I have to say. Don’t follow my blog but never read my posts.
  • People who spam likes. I see this in WordPress’ Community Pool sometimes…someone will go through and like literally every single comment in there. As much as I enjoy getting likes, I know it’s probably not genuine and you’re doing it so you have more chances for people can go to your site.
  • Bad grammar…I know I sound snobby here, but I really can’t stand it when people don’t use uppercase I’s or have run on sentences because they’re used to talking, not writing. I know it’s a learned skill and I know some people probably choose not to do it, but I can’t imagine why people wouldn’t try to make their blog as professional as possible…especially because sometimes these are the same people who bought their domain and spend hours taking good pictures so they can seem more professional. The bad grammar extends to social media too. I know 140 characters can be tough on Twitter, but try to be consistent in terms of style.

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  • I really hate how clique-y the blogosphere can be. There’s so much I can say here, but I think anyone who’s been in the blogosphere on Twitter knows exactly how it can be. It kind of makes it harder for other bloggers (me) to fit in.
  • When people use too many emojis. This means in the post as well as on Twitter. On Twitter at least I understand that they draw the eye and are fun, but in a post they sometimes look silly. Like, what, you’ve written all those words but you don’t know how to express yourself without a little face showing it? 🙄 (<- this is both a reaction and an example).

You know, now that I think about it, this is the second blog post I’ve written where I am critical of blogging aspects. Perhaps you remember the Blog Drinking Game I made up? Sorry for being a downer all the time, especially on a Monday morning. The good news is, now that I’ve complained publically, I’m able to just move on and be quiet about my frustrations in the future.

Do you have any blogosphere pet peeves or are annoyed by something in the blogosphere? If yes (and we all know there is something that bothers you), let me know! Come on, be salty with me!

 

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4 Life Hacks To Make Your Life Coolbeans

I’m all about the hacks, y’all. I love reading life hacks. Life is already so hard, so I’ll take any chance to make it a little easier.

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I like to think that I’m a pretty creative person and have actually come up with a few hacks worthy of sharing. These won’t revolutionize your life but they may help you out a little, and if you can do them with success and then think of me fondly, then that’s good enough.

1. Get back a lost USB

It’s always a good idea to have a USB on you. Especially if you’re a student. I own several sticks but one of them I’ve had for years and it holds many important files, including my WIP novel, so it’s kind of important that I not lose it. So I came up with a way to ensure that your chances of having your USB returned to you are greatly increased. Check it out:

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That second last file you see there is a simple Word Doc that has my name, cell phone number and email. No one just blindly deletes files off a found USB, so chances are, when going through my files, someone will see my message, contact me and return it.

2. Overnight hair waves

This is for my long-haired ladies (or dudes) who hate spending time with a hair curler. It’s taken me a few tries but I’ve finally managed to get a system down that lets me get nice waves in my hair while I sleep. First, take a shower and wrap your hair up in a towel for about an hour. Go watch an episode of a TV show while you wait. Then take your hair out, comb it, and let it air dry for another fifteen minutes. Then, when it’s still slightly damp, wrap it up in a really tight bun and sleep on it. When you let your hair down the next morning, it should have some nice, light waves and curls.

3. Make rice in the microwave

Maybe this isn’t complete news, but everyone I’ve mentioned it to, including my high school cooking teacher, seemed baffled at the idea of making rice in the microwave. Trust me, this is so easy. In a microwave safe dish with a lid, add rice and water following the 1:2 ratio of cups of rice to water. Then you put in the microwave for 20 minutes on power level 7 and boom: perfect rice. No need to buy a rice cooker or anything. You’re welcome.

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4. Make your own nasal strip

As much as a small part of me thinks these things are just placebo, I’d rather use them than not when I have a cold. However, at school when I can’t swipe one or two from my parents and don’t want to go buy my own, I make some, and they work just as well. I take a sticky note and cut and fold it so it’s stiff and long enough to cover the bridge of my nose. Then I put a piece of scotch tape over it to tape it to my skin. There’s really nothing special about the actual product, so paper and tape work just as well when it comes to applying light pressure to one’s nose.

I know these may not be the most useful of hacks, but hopefully they’ll help you a little, as they’ve helped me. There are several other little life hacks I’ve kind of created over the years, but these four were the most useful to the most people. If you guys created or know any other life hacks, I’d love to know them!

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