Three Cities; Three Local Coffee Shops to Check Out

I’ve been reluctant to publish on this blog exactly where I live, but it’s getting to the point where I’m really owning the cities I’ve lived in. I’m old enough now to not feel stuck in one place (thank goodness for my ugly old Honda), and so I can appreciate a city’s culture much more than I did when in high school. And when I go exploring, and discover great places, I want to share them! Place is such an important part of life (also of the marketing mix, in case you were curious), and I’m ready to begin sharing some of my places with you.

So where am I from? Tennessee, y’all. It’s one of the most beautiful, vibrant places in this entire country. We have the Smoky Mountains to the east, the rolling farmland of middle TN, and the beginning of plains country right before you hit Arkansas.

I’ve lived in 3 cities in TN; two east and one middle. And I’ve found a good local coffee shop in each of them, one that I’ve claimed (or plan to claim) as my own. So if you ever visit any of these 3 cities, here are the coffee shops you need to check out.

Knoxville: K Brew

K Brew
Source: K Brew’s Site

Knoxville is where I grew up, and thanks to my mom’s outgoing nature, I know or know of a ton of people there. One of the founders of K Brew happens to be the son of my high school band director.

That connection was what made me come in initially, but I stayed for the coffee. K Brew can be a tad pretentious about their coffee, but they have every right to be. They do not skimp on quality. They also have a really cool culture — in addition to two very nice locations, including one downtown, the baristas are encouraged to create new drinks. Some of the drinks are then sold seasonally, with a portion of the proceeds from that drink going to the creator of it. One drink that came from that tradition is their Honey Lavender Latte — a definite splurge at $6, but one that is well worth it. And, if the coffee culture at K Brew really intrigues you, they hold free cuppings every Sunday night so you can learn exactly what it is that makes their coffee so good.

Cookeville: Poet’s Coffee

Poet's Coffee
Source: Poet’s Site

Poet’s is the Cookeville hangout. On any given day, it’s full of college students, young moms, and business professionals all enjoying quaint downtown Cookeville — and of course, good coffee. I spent my fair share of time there in college, doing some studying, but mostly catching up with friends. My favorite drink there is the Iced Vietnamese, a luscious blend of coffee and condensed milk.

They also have seasonal drinks as well as a basic menu, and they serve delicious — and affordable — breakfast and lunch food. I’ve found that while most coffee shops offer some type of snack, Poet’s leads in offering filling, protein packed food as opposed to sugary pastries. Although they have those, too — the house made chocolate chip espresso muffin is to die for. And, if all that’s not enough to make you want to stop by, they also sell handmade, local jewelry, and they have live music every Friday night. What’s not to love?

Chattanooga (Hixson): Sour Dough Cuppa Joe

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Source: Sour Dough’s FB Page

Funnily enough, the owners of this shop are a couple that my parents knew when they were dating. The shop itself is fairly new, however — it’s only been around a couple years or so. So far, I’ve only been a few times, but I can already tell it’s a good one. The Irish Cream Latte I got the other day was a treat.

But what Sour Dough is really known for is their baked goods. They offer scones, cinnamon buns, quiche, and other stuff that you can make at home, but it just won’t be as good. And the owners and employees are just as personable as they can be. Plus, the shop is inside an old drive in restaurant building — it’s very different, and very cute. My other favorite thing about this shop so far is that it’s not in downtown Chatt. The fiance and I both enjoy downtown, and it’s true that there are tons of local coffee shops there. But downtown is not super close to where we ended up living. Hixson is a smaller, more inexpensive, less crowded community, and it still has good coffee. Win!

This post is not sponsored by any of these coffee shops; all opinions are completely my own. I just really like coffee shops! (Also, what it it with coffee shops and round logos?? Is it that it evokes the idea of a coffee cup? I must know!)

Getting Stretchier

Back in April, I discovered a new yoga app. It was a side effect of getting a new phone — I had to re-download all my apps. On my old phone, I had been using Sworkit, an aerobic/stretching/yoga app, but found it repetitive and unchallenging. I decided to replace it with a dedicated yoga app, and I found DownDog. 

As a mini-review, I absolutely love this app. I haven’t ever splurged on in-app purchases for any app, but I’m considering it for this one. I’ve been using it consistently since April, and I don’t see myself stopping. Its fun, it’s challenging, and I’m seeing benefits from using it — why would I not support that?

The app has 5 difficulty levels: Beginner I, Beginner II, Intermediate I, Intermediate II, and Advanced. (I’ve made it to Intermediate I.) While each level gets more advanced, every level offers a great workout. And each routine is different, so you’re not doing the same routine over and over again. An actual yoga instructor narrates the whole session, so you know where to focus your energy and how to position yourself so you pose properly. And if you want to pay the upgrade fee, you can customize your background music and which muscle groups your sessions focus on. It’s an incredibly well-made app, and I definitely recommend it. 

I struggle, though, because my legs and hips are very inflexible. I’ve been trying to focus on lengthening my hamstrings and my inner thighs, and I have seen progress. When I fold forward, I can now almost place my palms flat on the ground without bending my knees — almost. I’m getting there. 

But even know though I am seeing progress, I wish it was going faster. Not being that flexible is limiting me a bit. There are a lot of poses I can’t do, or can’t do as well as I’d like, because my legs just will not bend far enough. My strength and balance are improving, and I’m trying to get to where I could do a yoga sequence on my own, without the app. But I’m just not physically able to do as much as I’d like yet. 

I realized this is kind of a metaphor for my life right now. I got a job working as a bank teller, which I am actually really enjoying. I love the people, and the work is a good balance of challenging and simple. But the fact remains — I was doing this exact same job in a different city during college. It may have the chance for promotion, but it may not, and while I am grateful to have a job I don’t hate, a part of me would rather be doing something else, something that pays a little more, something that made use of my two degrees. I had hoped to be a little higher up in the job ladder at this point — I wasn’t expecting anything glamorous, but I did hope for a little something more. 

My whole life right now is one huge lesson in patience and living in the moment. Sometimes I have to remind myself to enjoy what I have right now instead of always wishing for something better. And I’m having to reevaluate my values a bit. I have always dreamed of some sort of a career, but there’s also a lot to be said for having small hobbies that satisfy me and only me. 

Blogging is one of those things. You may not have noticed, but I’ve been in a bit of a blogging rut for awhile. I’ve missed a few weeks, and several recent Thursdays. Part of this is because I’m struggling to find interesting things in my life to write about. Who wants to hear my rants about bank customers, or my complaints about meal planning, or my lengthening list of home improvement projects I now want to do? I think. In college, there was plenty of fodder for interesting discussions and opinion pieces. Now, it’s harder to find something interesting enough to write about. When I sit down to write about my life, though I enjoy it, it bores me. 

I guess it’s an opportunity to stretch my creativity. I want to continue blogging, because I love it, so I’ll just have to look harder for quality content. I need to get stretchier in all areas of my life — a cheesy metaphor, but an apt one. My hobbies and interests and goals need to stretch around my new life situation if they are to continue to grow and develop. And like with yoga, I’m getting there. Slowly, but I am. 

All opinions expressed about the app are my own, and I was not compensated for the mini-review. 

Evolution of Envy

Everyone gets envious.  It’s not a good feeling to have, but it happens.  I’ve definitely had my fair share of envious feelings.  But I haven’t always been envious of the same things.

I don’t really remember feeling truly envious of anyone until middle school, when all of my friends suddenly looked like women and I didn’t.  I’ve mentioned here before, I believe, about how ugly I felt a lot of the time.  To me, it seemed that everyone else was becoming effortlessly beautiful, while I was stuck with frizzy hair and acne.  It was hard to feel not-pretty.  I felt undesirable, and that was something I really wanted.

Growing up helped, of course.  I wasn’t an awkward teenager forever.  I learned how to at least control my hair, and I learned how to wear a little makeup, which really helped my self-esteem.  And it didn’t hurt that I did well in school and other activities.  And then, once I graduated high school and started college, freshman year did absolute wonders for my confidence and self-esteem.  I met friends who liked me and continued to like me even when we had disagreements, and I met the man who is now my fiance.  Freshman year was a dream come true for high school me, and I was really lucky to have that.

But that didn’t mean envy went away completely.  Instead, the things I was envious for changed.  At first, I was envious of those who could speak Spanish better than I could.  I had had Spanish classes before college, but I felt a little behind during those first couple years.  There was always something I missed in class because I couldn’t understand, or someone who could figure out how to say what I wanted to say faster.  That, though, I overcame as I learned more.  I still wish I spoke and understood Spanish better than I do, but I have achieved my goal of being able to communicate in another language, so that envy has largely been alleviated too.

After that, I became envious of students who knew exactly what they wanted to do.  I was surrounded by a lot of highly driven people, who were good at what they did, who were involved and held high positions in campus organizations, who got great internships, and who had job offers before they even graduated.  I didn’t want to do all the things they did, but I wanted that drive, that passion, that talent.  I got a little lost senior year, trying to find a job, and realizing how little experience and knowledge I had.  I had a plan, but not a very concrete one, and the people I saw did have that.

Now, I’ve been graduated for a month, have just started a new job, and am still fighting envy.  Social media is a cruel invention, because I see people I haven’t seen since high school also graduating, getting their dream jobs, and basically just being beautiful people in a beautiful world.

I’m not trying to sound ungrateful, because most of the time, I really am.  I just graduated with no debt, am living with my best friend in a house that we can afford to rent because we both have fairly well-paying jobs, and I’m getting married in four months.  I am happy with my life, and I’m excited for the future.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t have those moments of oh, why can’t my life be like that?  (Even while I know social media doesn’t paint a full picture.)

I have to remind myself often that everyone is different, and just because someone looks like they are doing better than me doesn’t mean that my life sucks.  I’m working on striving for bigger and better things while at the same time being grateful for and happy in the life I have now.

The things we are envious of change as we get older, but it never goes away.  Do you get envious of people’s jobs or homes or lives?  What do you do to alleviate envy??

In Praise of My Favorite

I have always thought that I don’t get stressed out easily, but really it’s just that I don’t stress out about the same things my friends stress about.  Throughout my high school and college years, my friends have been worried about grades and relationships, primarily.  While I did yearn for a boyfriend in high school, I never worried about grades.  I worked hard, but I didn’t stress out about an 88.9 versus a 90.  I always did my best, and then took what grade was assigned.  Grades don’t bother me — I know I can pass classes, and when I’m truly invested in a project I take a lot of pride in my work.

So while a lot of my friends are panicking about final exams and presentations, I’m coasting right through that.  What I’ve been panicking about recently is my job and living situation.

I’ve always been one to plan for the future.  I have a good idea of what I’d like to do.  But if you’ve been reading this blog awhile, you know that I have had a lot of trouble job hunting.  I have realized that part of my problem is that the jobs I’m applying to are ones that want to hire immediately, and until this Saturday (!!!), I’m still in school.  I’m not physically in the city I’m moving to, so it’s difficult for me to schedule interviews, and I’ve lost a few opportunities that way.  This is so frustrating when I’m trying to be proactive.

An added stressor is that my fiancé and I are trying to find a place to live.  He has a job set up, but we are having to apply for apartments using only his expected income, which obviously limits us to a tighter budget than it would if I had a job already also.  We’re to the point where we need to find one, and fast, and while we have viewing appointments set up for this week, it’s just stressful not knowing.

All this stress has gotten to me these past couple weeks.  I haven’t really been myself, because I’m so frustrated with my job search.  I know I will be able to find something eventually, but at the moment I feel like I am the one holding us back.  And then there is the fact that my parents still aren’t thrilled with the idea of us moving together.  It’s just a lot to handle, and I haven’t handled it very well.

My fiancé obviously notices this.  And I always, always forget what an incredible support he is to me.  When I get stressed or frustrated, I tend to distance myself, because even now I dislike feeling dependent, especially financially.  I like to be a self-sufficient person, and when my lack of a job is the thing hurting our apartment search, it’s mildly devastating.  But I need to remember that he and I are a team.

Whenever he notices that I’m not myself, he goes out of his way to help me out.  He’s kind and patient with me, and doesn’t let me keep my problems to myself.  He asks me what’s wrong until I admit the real problem.  And then he listens to me, and he understands.  And then he reassures me that yes, this sucks, but we’re going to make it.  This is life, and sometimes it’s frustrating, but I don’t have to deal with it alone.  And then he just acts like a goofball until I end up laughing.

I can’t explain enough how good this is for me.  I can be a negative person, and I also tend to give up when I get overwhelmed.  He reminds me of the good things that are happening in my life, and reminds me to take things one step at a time.  These past few weeks since we got engaged have been stressful and intense, but that is no better reminder that it’s for this and a million other reasons that I’m so, so excited to marry him.

Change Comes With Compromise

News first: the boyfriend is not the boyfriend anymore; he’s the fiance, because we are engaged.

We’ve been together almost 3.5 years, and have been talking about this for a good bit of that time.  It’s so surreal that it’s finally happened, but I’m so ready.  We’re both ready.

His proposal, though, came in the middle of a roller coaster of a week.  For one, last week was the second-to-last week of class before finals, so all our projects are culminating.  Then, on Monday, his dad had a heart attack (he is fine and back home now, thank goodness).  Wednesday morning I butted heads with my parents about my plans for after graduation.  Wednesday afternoon he proposed, because it was the first sunny day after he had picked up the ring, and he didn’t want to wait any longer.  Thursday evening I went home to see my parents, to show them the ring and talk about plans.  Because of all of that, I changed my mind about 5 times in 2 days about what I’m going to do in May, and reached a compromise only after a lot of vacillating.

My original plan had been to not move back home at all.  He got an internship in a city to the southeast of us, and I was looking for jobs there as well.  But first, my parents began asking me whether I would come home for a month or two after graduation.  Then, my job prospects dimmed, as I kept applying and applying but got very few calls back.  When my plans didn’t change, my parents got restless, since to them, the lack of a ring signaled a lack of commitment on his end.  I knew that wasn’t the case, and while that was frustrating to deal with, I can understand that view.  After a couple emotional discussions with my mom, I changed my mind completely and decided to move home until whatever date the fiance and I get married.

But I couldn’t feel good about that either, since he and I planned to move together and I would be leaving him in the lurch for those few months.  So I had the idea to move back home right after graduation.  But in June, I’ll join my fiance.  It is a compromise, and by definition those don’t really make anyone completely happy.  But I will get to spend some time with my family, and an added perk will be that I will have more time to job hunt.  Neither of my parents are completely happy about this decision, but they’ve both accepted that it’s the one I’m making.

The real struggle for me is that when it comes to my family, I am a pleaser.  I want to make my own decisions, but it is hard to be the first one really leaving the nest and thus the cause of some grief on my parents’ end.  It has to happen, and I’m excited to have my own space and my own life, but it is not without its downsides.  There comes a moment in time where the paths of the parents and the child separate, and my time is now, and it’s weird and hard.

Of course, it’s not like I’m going to drop off the face of the earth.  When I move to join my fiance, I’ll only be moving two hours away from my hometown.  It’s about the same distance from there as my school, and the drive is a lot easier (according to my dad).  Even though I’m notoriously bad at keeping up with people, I’m not just going to let my family float away.  They’re too important for that.

I know they know this, and I know they’re going to be able to accept whatever decision I make, even if it takes awhile.  What’s made this more difficult than it had to be is my job situation — I have tons of applications out, and on the off-chance I finally get a job, there’s the possibility I’ll move earlier than expected.  I have a plan, but it’s a little bit contingent upon various prospective employers.

So what I’m trying to say, I guess, is that my life is messy right now.  Up till now, I’ve always had a clear plan.  I still have long-term goals I want to achieve.  But the immediate future is unclear.  When will I get a job?  When will I move out?  I don’t know.  It’s a little stressful.  But it’s life, and it’s gotta happen sometime.

In Which I Regret Keeping Spiders in My Room

The apartment I live in is a great college apartment.  It’s cheap and close to campus, and that’s all I need. But it’s a bit old and surrounded by trees, so since I moved in I’ve had a bit of a bug problem.

First, it was slugs. There’s a door in my room that opens to a wooden deck, which, when I moved in in January of last year, was covered in leaves. Naturally, this leaf pile was home to lots of bugs. This was fine, except when it rained. When it rained, slugs would find their way to my not-so-greatly-sealed door, think, Oh! It’s not raining anymore! and proceed to crawl around on my carpet. I’m not about to squish any slugs, because ew, so more than one slug almost thirsted to death trapped under a mug until I could get my boyfriend to throw it outside. 

In the spring, I swept all the leaves off my deck and put a line of salt on the carpet right inside, and that solved the problem. 

But then it was beetles. That summer, it was very hot — one of the worst droughts came through the area than it has seen in years. Somehow, a colony of lightning bug-looking things found their way into our front door jamb, seeking the cool air. We had out landlord come spray, but that didn’t deter them. Usually they’d stay outside, but occasionally a few would have a meet up in the living room. It was the winter that finally got rid of them. 

After that, I didn’t see a whole lot of bugs for awhile. One or two small spiders made their way into the corners of my room, by the back door, but honestly, I don’t mind spiders. If they’re small, they generally stay on their webs and kill smaller bugs. It’s a mutually beneficial situation, so I tend to leave them. 

The real problem appeared about three weeks ago. One day, my boyfriend and I were getting ready to leave my apartment. I opened my closet door to get a jacket, and disturbed something near it. INTO MY CLOSET ran a 2.5 inch centipede (and I’m not exaggerating on size). I was horrified. We looked around for a while, but it had completely disappeared. 

Last night, I hadn’t forgotten about it, or my spiders, either. Over the weeks, a few more had joined ranks in the ceiling corners, and the original ones were getting bigger. As I was about to go to bed, I noticed a really huge spider on the  ceiling dangerously close to my bed. I finally decided it was time for them to go.

I prepared for my battle well. I’m only 5’1″, so I got my kitchen stool. I also grabbed a huge wad of toilet paper so I wouldn’t have to feel the spiders as I squished them. So I went for the big spider first. But even with my stool, I couldn’t reach him. I tried my desk chair next, which was iffy since it’s a swivel chair. I didn’t want him to fall on my head, so I put the chair as far away as I could and reached out and smacked. 

Success. I felt him squish into my nail, which was gag inducing, but he died. And he fell on my floor. So I thought, hey, my tissue paper is still clean. I’ll kill the rest with this. But even with the chair, I was too short for the rest. 

I had to resort to our straw broom. I swiflty stabbed each spider with the straws, then brushed their bodies onto the floor so I could collect them all and throw them away. (Y’all probably think I’m so gross for having all these spiders in my room. I am.) But once I got done killing all the spiders, I looked at my floor and realized the whole thing was kind of dirty. 

No problem, I thought. Neither of my roommates were home yet, so I’d just vacuum my room real quick. My floor would be clean and the spiders would be gone. So I went and got the vacuum, and turned it on. 

I vacuumed by my room door first. Then I went toward my desk. I picked up my backpack to get it off the floor, and as I returned to the vacuum, from under my desk RAN THE CENTIPEDE FROM THREE WEEKS AGO. 

I screamed a high pitched shit! and decided to chase it with the vacuum, because what else could I do? 

I finally got it under the vacuum, and it didn’t come out. I paused, and looked in the dust reservoir, which is clear plastic. I thought it might be crawling around in there, and I wanted to be sure. But I didn’t see it. 

I wanted to look around, so I propped up the vacuum handle. And from underneath the rollers, out popped the centipede — minus all its legs. And that is how I killed the centipede. Safe to say, from now on, I will not be keeping bugs of any kind. 

A Non-Tech Person’s Case for Android

I’ve owned a total of 2 smartphones in my life. One was my iPhone 5, which my parents gave me for my high school graduation. The other is the Google Pixel I’m currently using to type this blog post, which I received only a little over 24 hours ago — again, from my parents for graduation.

Lord knows I could not have afforded to replace my iPhone, so I’m doubly thankful that my parents did. After having my iPhone for 4 years, it had gotten persnickety. It was on an exponential decline. It glitched all the time. Apps took forever to open, if they opened at all. Neither camera focused anymore. The screen was coming off. And on the last few phone calls I got, it thought headphones were plugged in when they weren’t, so I couldn’t hear a thing.

But that’s to be expected from an old phone. My real bone to pick with Apple is more than that. The longer I had the phone, the more I learned I was an Android person. (Having an Android guy as a boyfriend helped, too.) I found I didn’t like Apple’s exclusivity with charger types. I was annoyed with the storage options. And as I used other people’s Androids, I felt my phone was so cluttered with all the apps on the screen.

So my boyfriend helped me shop around, and I ended up with the Pixel, which so far I love. Even though I’ve only had it a day or two, here’s why I already much prefer it over iOS.

  • Customization. This is the age old argument for Android, but it’s true. With an iPhone, you don’t have a lot of control over where apps go. If you want some hidden, you have to put them on another screen. On Android, I can have only my most used, quick access apps on my front page.  I have a weather widget displaying the temperature. I could add my WordPress stats if I wanted. And apps I don’t use as often I don’t have to put anywhere, and Android will hide them for me. But when I do need them, all I have to do is swipe up.
  • Voice commands. This may not be true for all Android devices, but the voice controlled assistant for the Pixel is incredible. She understands everything I’m saying, and gives me relevant solutions. Siri did not do that for me at all.
  • Charging accessories. Apple has always annoyed me. Why is it so special that iPhones must have their own charger type? Android devices use either micro USB or USB type C, which are both universal cables – ie, you can also use it for your tablet, or your camera, or your mom’s dumb phone. (The type C cord is just starting to become the standard, so it does only work with newer devices. But regardless, it will be becoming the industry standard for tech – something the lightning charger can never boast.)

That about hits my limit on tech knowledge, so I’ll let actual tech nerds take it over from here. But the truth stands: I’m a converted Android person now, and I couldn’t be happier.

How to Survive an Interview (or Audition)

I’ve worked random part-time jobs since I was about 16.  While not every singe job I’ve had required an interview, and while a lot of those interviews were more formalities, I’ve been through a few.  In high school, I also did a lot of flute auditions, which kind of count as a musical interview — the judges are assessing your skills and qualifications, just like they do in interviews, and the nervousness beforehand feels about the same.  So although I’m not an expert, here are some of the things I do to 1) survive and 2) do my best in interviews.

  1. Tips from my flute teacher: eat well beforehand.  This sounds like the opposite of what you’d want to do — nervousness makes some people nauseous, so why would we want to eat?  For auditions, my teacher told me that eating tricks your brain into thinking it’s not in “danger.”  If your stomach is full, your brain says, you must be in a non-threatening environment, because no living thing eats when they are in danger.  Choosing what you eat helps, too — turkey and bananas both have tryptophan, which just makes us fall asleep after Thanksgiving, but calms our bodies down before auditions and interviews.
  2. penguin
    If you visualize, you can avoid this

    Visualize yourself in the interview or audition.  This does work a bit better for auditions, because you usually know what you’ll be expected to play, but it can be modified for interviews as well.  Before auditions, when I was practicing, my flute teacher told me to close my eyes and imagine myself walking into the audition room.  I would visualize how I was going to stand, how much I would breathe, and then would imagine playing each and every scale.  Don’t just think about the audition, she said, imagine every single finger position and every movement that your body will be making.  It’s a way of being in the environment without actually being there, and it helps to alleviate fear of the unknown.  For interviews, you can imagine yourself going in and saying hi, and then sitting down and taking a deep breath before you answer a question.  You can imagine how you will explain your skills and experience, and then imagine giving a strong handshake before walking out.  It feels a little weird at first, but it really has helped me in the past.  If you’ve done something before, it’s not as scary, so this is a good way to practice for an interview or audition.

  3. Be prepared.  When I apply for a job, I try to always looks around the company’s website a bit to get a feel for the company, products, and culture.  If I get an interview request, I go back to the job listing and match responsibilities and skills to relevant experience on my resume.  I try to come up with specific anecdotes to illustrate those skills.  Then I go back to the company’s website for two reasons: 1) to re-familiarize myself with the company and the department I am interviewing for (if possible), and 2) to learn more about the company so I can come up with intelligent questions to ask during the interview.
  4. flawsAnswer questions genuinely and honestly.  We all know that when asked about our weaknesses, we’re supposed to say that we are perfectionists and pay too much attention to detail.  But unless that truly is your weakness, I think it’s cliche.  Interviewers would rather hear about the real you, so be honest.  When I’m asked that question, I typically answer that I avoid tasks I know I’m not good at.  I’ve noticed that about myself and jobs.  However, I do mention that since I know that about myself, I try to be intentional about learning and practicing in weak areas, and knowing when to ask for help.  Knowing your weaknesses and having a plan to correct them should impress employers.  And while some people have told me that it’s better to have a “strong” weakness — ie, one that can be spun into a strength — when I’ve gone that route, I’ve ended up sounding fake.  So for me, being honest is better, and if that is the thing that loses me a job, so be it.
  5. Waiter-pun
    A great interview — but did he get the job??

    Don’t get too excited after a good interview (but don’t beat yourself up, either).  Not to sound pessimistic, but I learned this from experience.  Back in the fall, I had an interview for a manager trainee position.  I went to the interview, and felt it went really well.  I had specific examples to back up my skills and qualifications, the interviewer was friendly, and the job sounded great.  I even had more than one intelligent questions to ask about the job.  I was sure I’d get chosen for the second interview, so I told a bunch of people about it and got really excited.  And guess what?  I didn’t get the second interview.  It was quite disappointing.  I don’t know why I didn’t pass that stage — it could’ve been that there were other, much more qualified candidates, or it could’ve been that my interview didn’t go as well as I thought.  Either way, I chose (for once!) to look on the bright side — doing that interview was excellent practice, and I learned a lot from it.  So while I didn’t get the job, it was definitely still worth the time.

  6. Know that you’re not going to nail every interview.  You’re just not.  Sometimes, you’re off your game, sometimes the interviewer is in a bad mood, and sometimes you’re just not a good fit for the job.  It’s okay.  Interviews are a part of life, and you’re not going to “win” all of them.
  7. Finally, no matter how the interview went, you should celebrate that it’s over.  Interviews and auditions are stressful.  If it went great, that’s awesome!  Congratulate yourself with an ice cream cone or something.  If it went terrible, that sucks, and a wine and movie night is definitely warranted.  Even if you don’t get the job, you got through the interview (or audition), and that in itself is something worth celebrating.

 

This Should Be Everyone’s Pet Peeve

Yesterday, my boyfriend and I went to get a pizza.  He drove, because I hate driving.  From his apartment, it takes about five minutes to get to the pizza place.  It’s a straight shot.  Turn out of the parking lot, drive, turn into the pizza lot.  The end.  It’s so easy.  And it should’ve been a happy drive, because I got pizza at the end.  But it wasn’t.  Do you know why?  Because in the five minutes that it took us to get to the pizza place and back, I saw five drivers staring at their phones instead of looking at the road.

Five drivers.  In five minutes.

Behavior like that infuriates me.  By this point, we have all heard the statistics.  In case you haven’t, here’s a rundown:

  • Texting while driving makes you 23x more likely to crash,
  • slows your brake reaction speed by 18%,
  • causes 1.6 million accidents a year,
  • and is the cause of 11 teen deaths every day.  Source

These are ridiculous numbers.  This stuff shouldn’t be happening.  It’s really not that hard to not use your phone while you’re driving.  And I know most of us have seen these statistics and messages at one point or another.  So why the crap are we still doing it?

  • I need everyone to see that I’m driving fast.  Live large!  A lot of people I know Snapchat while they drive so they can put up the miles per hour filter, as if we’re all going to be so impressed that you’re going 80 in the left lane.  Congratulations, friend, all you’ve done is give me road rage from my living room and also endangered everyone on the road around you, including yourself.
  • My fave song came on the radio and you have to listen to me sing along. #totalfan  Again, this is a common Snapchat thing.  Even if your viewers share your music taste, which they probably don’t, if they wanted to hear the song they’d just pull it up on Spotify, where they don’t have to listen to your (probably terrible) voiceover.  Not only is this dangerous, it’s dumb.
  • I’m texting a romance interest and I have to reply now because if I wait too long they’ll think I’m not interested!  No, they won’t.  They should think more highly of you for practicing safe driving.  And if they don’t, well, you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
  • I’m a good driver; I can use my phone while driving and be fine.  I’m still paying attention to the road.  Maybe, but not enough attention.  Your brain is not wired to do two things at once.  Sorry.  See brake reaction time stat above.
  • I’m bored and I’m tired of just looking at the road.  Sucks.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to die anytime soon.  And I don’t want to be the cause of anyone’s death, either.  I think most people agree with me on that.  So I honestly don’t understand why people think this is still okay.  It’s not okay.  It’s stupid.  You can be the greatest person I’ve ever met, but if I catch you using your phone while you drive, my respect for you will plummet.  And while I know my opinion of you means nothing, the fact that you’re more likely to harm another person by texting while driving definitely should.

I’m really not trying to sound all self-righteous here (I know it sounds like I am).  (Okay, maybe I am a little.)  But really, in all honesty, I am just genuinely baffled by the fact that texting and driving is known to be one of the most dangerous things you can ever do, and yet people still do it.

Y’all, it’s not that hard to just wait.  I know it’s tempting.  I know think you’re a good enough driver.  I know there might be no one else on the road right now.  But please, for the love of God, just stop.

Big Decisions

I’m two months away from graduating from college.  (With two degrees.  I’m proud of myself, but also kind of wondering why the crap I did that to myself.  But it’s too late now, so.)  If you’ve been reading this blog recently, you know I’ve been looking for jobs and trying to plan for the real world, for my next steps.  And y’all — it’s kind of hard.

I know I am not the first person to grow up and leave home.  And honestly, I do feel very well-prepared (as prepared as I can be at this point, anyway).  I know I don’t know everything there is to being an adult, but I feel like I can handle what will come my way next.

The thing is, I don’t know what that is.

My degrees will be in Marketing and Spanish, so (obviously) I’d like to find a job where I can use one or both of those.  I’ve been applying to jobs and internships since last summer, and still have gotten nowhere.  I have a Plan A, and a Plan B, and a half-baked Plan C.  I have long-term goals I know I can achieve, and I know it’ll take some doing to get there.  I’d just really like to know which one I will be starting on in two months, you know?

I’m at the point in life where I’m starting to have to make big decisions.  I’ve made biggish decision before, like deciding where to go to college, what to major in, and whether or not to move off campus.  I’ve decided not to go grad school, even though I considered it.  I’ve decided what I want to pursue long-term.  Those are all big decisions.

But now, I’m starting to make decisions I can’t turn back from.  The boyfriend and I are starting to plan for engagement and marriage.  We’re planning which city to move to, and how much we want to save up for a down payment on a house, and which big expenses we’ll need to make in the next three to five years.  I’m making decisions that will completely rule out other options, which I’ve never really done before.

I’m not really nervous, per se.  I know a lot of people my age who are terrified of graduating, because they have no idea about the future.  But I do have an idea, and I am not afraid I won’t be able to make a living or anything like that.  I know I’ll be able to move out of my parents’ house, and I know I’ll be able to find some kind of employment, even if it’s not necessarily my first choice.  The thing with me is I know I’m about to be independent, and I’m really making my own decisions.  And I know that some of the decisions I make may not be what others want for me.

That shouldn’t be a big deal.  After all, it’s my life, right?  But like any child, I do want to please my parents, and I want them to be on board with all my decisions.  I know they are with my job plans.  But the boyfriend and I are planning on moving in together after graduation, mostly to save money.  And neither of our parents are thrilled with that idea.

I’m the oldest kid in my family.  It’s up to me to kind of draw lines.  The thing is, I’m not sure where to draw this one, and I don’t know if my parents are, either.  On one hand, we both know that it is my life, and I am going to make the decisions that I feel are best.  But on the other, I do want them on board.  Even if it’s reluctantly.  But the decision is pretty much already made — the boyfriend turned down the housing he was offered through his internship so that we could move in together, and neither of us can really afford our own apartment by ourselves.  So now we just have to hope our parents will go along with it.

It’s been weird this semester to see our lives start to fall into place.  We both knew that this would be happening, but it’s an odd feeling to actually be searching for apartments and making real plans.  It’s nice and exciting, as I knew it would be.  I wasn’t counting on feeling a little nervous, too.  But I’d be a robot if I wasn’t.  As nerve-wracking as it is, I can’t wait for these 1.75 months to fly by so I can dive into whatever happens next.