Blog Archives

Life in the ‘Soap Opera’.

Grab your powdered soap!

On Sunday, I went to the laundromat, and I realized something – the laundromat has been a staple in my life for much longer than I realized.

I remember going to the laundromat as a kid; I also remember not liking it, even though it involved absolutely no work on my end. The place was sort of old, and the TVs only had news channels playing.

As I grew older, my parents moved into homes with washers and dryers (although we did have a clothesline in at least one of my backyards). I learned, and did, my own laundry in middle school.

Once I got to college, the dorms had a laundry room, but it only had two washers and two dryers – I quickly learned that going off campus was probably my best bet. I also heard way too many horror stories about cute guys in the laundry room seeing co-ed underwear or whatever. I wasn’t having it.

There was a place just a few blocks off-campus called “The Soap Opera”, and to this day, that still has to be the best name for a laundromat, ever. It was on the edge of campus, near an area that was a tad rough.

But whatever, I showed up with my quarters, powdered soap, and one of those collapsable hampers full of my dirty clothes. I followed the directions printed on the washing machine: add clothes, add soap, add coins, start.

Nothing happened.

I waved over the attendant; an older, thin woman with graying hair.

“I don’t know what happened,” I said. “The water just isn’t coming out.”

She opened the lid, looked inside, and let the lid drop with a loud “thud.” Then she slammed her fist onto the lid, and with that, the water started.

“Sometimes you just have to give it that extra somethin’,” she said.

It was a moment I’ll never forget, and I continued washing my clothes there until I found a washer and dryer elsewhere – usually at a sorority sister’s house who was willing to share.

Once I got my own apartment, I enjoyed the luxury of having my own washer and dryer, but when I was looking for apartments, I decided that a washer and dryer was something I’d be willing to give up (on top of other things) in trade for a lower rent payment.

Currently, my apartment has a big closet housing a washer and dryer hookup, but I use it for storage (a filing cabinet, Christmas decor, and a crafting table). I told myself I would simply go to the laundromat for as long as I could stand it, and if I really started to hate it – I could look into renting the appliances or be watchful for a sale.

But, here I am almost two years later, and I still am okay with going to my laundromat, “The Washatopia” (leave it to laundromats for the clever names). The place is clean, it takes a little card so I don’t have to worry about quarters, plus there’s free wifi – and there’s lots of TVs. And yes, they show the news, which is enjoyable 25 years later.

Going to the laundromat makes laundry a task that I simply just DO and it takes around two hours from loading my car, driving there, washing, driving, hanging, and heading home. When I’ve had a washer and dryer at home, it seemed to take foreverrrrrr – and I also don’t have to worry about the appliances racking up my water or electric bills, or anything breaking down.

Plus, there’s always a lot of great people watching to be had at the laundromat. It’s really a win-win, so don’t be shocked if my next novel has a plot at a place like “The Soap Opera”.

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An unwelcome tradition: Santa Mouse.

Hopefully, this is what the mouse in my house looks like.

Hopefully, this is what the mouse in my house looks like.

I’m really disappointed in myself that I can’t post a new read from Blanche’s Book Club today – I am stuck on chapter two of the book (absolutely NOT a reflection of the content) simply because this week has been NUTS. I keep bringing the book to bed with me, and then when my head hits the pillow, I’m zonked.

But today is my LAST day of work until after Christmas, so you can definitely expect to see a book review next week!

Last week, I mentioned that I’d been blessed with the presence of a mouse in my apartment. A little brown mouse.

I had just settled onto my bed to watch some episodes of “Orange is the New Black” when my cat ran into my bedroom, chasing said mouse through the room. I said nothing, grabbed my keys, and went to buy fresh mousetraps.

Because this is not the first time I’ve had a mouse in this exact apartment. And it happened almost one year (it was just one day shy of being exact) before, when Austin experienced the first cold snap of the season. When it happened last year, I screamed bloody murder while standing on the back of my couch.

This year, I was going to catch the sucker and show all the mice in the ‘hood that apartment 208 is not the place you want to venture. I don’t turn on the heat, and my traps are set with organic peanut butter.

Before last year,  I’d never seen a mouse, let alone had to deal with the terror that comes from the experience of one setting up shop in your house.

Anyway, I set the traps that Saturday night, and locked the cat and I in one half of the apartment, in hopes the traps would snap and the problem would be solved. But they didn’t, so I spent my Sunday cleaning in hopes I’d pickup every little crumb and possibly scare the mouse away.

But Monday morning, around 2 am, my cat was chasing said mouse – and I ended up back on the couch, screaming. I grabbed a broom – because why not? And I sat there, for hours, waiting for the bastard. It managed to find a hiding spot near my Christmas tree, and ended up running under my stove.

I then got the great idea to set up a trap around the stove – for certain I’d catch it. But, after I set it up, I had to leave for work – running on around 4 hours of sleep. I talked to my leasing agent, and she didn’t really seem to care.

“Hmm.. we can send someone out on Thursday to set up traps,” she said.

Great. Four more days with the mouse.

So, the traps – thick strips of glue – have been lining my kitchen for 8 days now and the fucking mouse is nowhere to be seen.

On that crazy Monday morning, my trusty cat Blanche actually caught the mouse, carrying it around the apartment in her mouth, before setting it on the floor and it running under the couch. I felt terrible for not having something to trap it (I started pacing the apartment with an empty shoebox in my hand for two hours afterward). Nonetheless, I’m proud of her and thankful she found the mouse in the first place, and has kept it away from me – although now I’m convinced we both have Lyme disease.

I am still unsure of how the mouse came in – I sealed my dryer vent last year – and live on the second floor. I hope it came in through my stove connection, and that it left that way as well, and I also hope it told its entire mouse family that there’s a crazy cat lady in the apartment, and you’ll be damn lucky if you make it out alive!!

But you know what’s super annoying on top of all of this? Mouse traps don’t work. Last year, I bought the traps that are like a little tunnel – snap traps that are enclosed so you don’t have to see the mouse. They are easily $10 a piece, and never caught a thing.

When I was chained to my couch on Mouse Watch 2016, I started Googling all sorts of things about mice, and found all of these ridiculous articles about how you have to set one trap per each foot of wherever you saw the mouse, and how you must set the trap using gloves or else the mouse will smell a human scent and know it’s a trap. UMM COME ON.

Like how the hell are you ever supposed to catch a mouse with all of these rules? My mom is coming in town tonight and has graciously offered to help me move some of my furniture to clean and stuff any holes with steel wool in hopes this won’t happen again.

I’m not a fan of this holiday tradition, so perhaps this will be the last year for the real life, Santa Mouse.

Simple ways I’m tackling life.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that I’ve been in the midst of tough times; because, well, that’s the kind of thing that happens as the years pass. We have good times and bad, and getting through the bad times is often when we learn the most about ourselves and the people around us.

I’ve written a lot over the years about happiness – ways to shift your mood and feel happy now, or finding happiness from within (which inevitably fills my inbox with emails about finding Jesus) – but what do you do when the going really gets tough, when you can’t turn to your wallet, or possibly your friends or family, or job, or any of the usual crutches to perk things up?

Several years ago, I read “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin – the first of her several books on how to make, and live, a better life. The book was highly criticized because Rubin is pretty privileged, but that really doesn’t get annoying until book two. I actually really enjoyed “The Happiness Project” and have turned to it in the recent weeks as I tackle life like a 12-step plan, one day at a time.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve really done some searching in my life to discover the small things that make life a little better, and I’m sharing them with you in hopes they help you, too.

Getting up earlier. As nerdy as it sounds, I’ve spent the better part of the last year getting up at least an hour earlier than I need to. Why? Well, truthfully, I really like being able to get things done before I have to go to work. I don’t usually leave important tasks for the mornings – some days I get up to write for an hour, or watch TV, or perhaps I just want to take my time getting ready.

When my life started to turn dark, I noticed right away that I started hitting the snooze button a lot more, to the point that I barely had time to brush my teeth and run out of the door each day. And it took me awhile to realize that it just wasn’t working. So, I got right back into my early morning habit, and it’s amazing how much it helps. I can spend time on my patio drinking coffee with Blanche, or tidy up my living room so it’s clean when I come home, or even just eat breakfast at my counter instead of at my office. I can also do my hair and get my makeup right so I go about my day with confidence. This one little move makes it feel like I have more hours in the day, and that they’re not all taken up by work.

Getting more sleep. This probably sounds quite contradictory to the previous tip, but I realized that I’d been staying up too late, and really for no reason other than to avoid the next day approaching. It was time I invest in myself and the first step toward that was getting a good night’s sleep every night.

Many, many people struggle with getting sleep, and it’s an issue I’ve had for several years. Everyone probably has their own approach to getting a solid night of sleep, and even Rubin covers this topic in her book. She goes about it the traditional way, skipping out on work, television, or anything stimulating an hour before sleep.

That doesn’t really work for me – instead, I told myself that I wanted to be asleep at 11 pm on work nights. So, around 10, I started winding things down, washing my face, turning on my essential oil diffuser (with lavender), and sometimes taking melatonin. I also stopped drinking during the week. I still watch TV in bed, or sometimes read, but it usually doesn’t take long before I’m asleep. And if I want to stay up late to watch a certain show (such as a political convention) or read a book or work on a meaningful project, then so be it, just as long as it’s not a daily habit.

Accepting the challenges. When things hit the fan, whether they be a growing pile of bills, burnout from workout, or a broken heart, everyone has two options: 1. starting a diet of NyQuil and sleeping in hopes things get better, or accepting it and figuring out how to kick its ass. I chose the latter, and I can say that while accepting reality does suck at first, it makes me feel more in control of my life, and at the very least, I can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Many of my current issues are financial, down to my last dime. So, a challenge for me was creating a budget and then slashing it to live off as little as possible. Once I accepted this challenge, I’ve discovered that I can live on a lot less than I did before, and I’ve made new discoveries, such as how many meals you can get from a single rotisserie chicken, and how to fix a ceiling fan in order to use less air conditioning.

Evaluating. Once unhappiness starts to settle in, it’s time to take a good, hard look at your life. For me, this meant looking at my finances and getting control of them. What kinds of monthly bills could I get rid of, or lower? What was I spending my money on and could it be taken out?

A few things, I found, could be eliminated. Some things I miss, but others were expenses I was paying simply because I was too lazy to cancel an account. Some things I couldn’t part with – such as my dance studio membership. Not only is dance my main form of exercise, it’s also a social activity for me, plus it’s creative, and a stress reliever. So, while I didn’t cancel my membership, I decided I’d make the most of it and attend more classes since my membership is unlimited.

I also looked at expenses I couldn’t change, like my rent. What would make me hate paying my rent less? One thing was that if I just got serious about keeping the place clean and tidy, and perhaps got rid of a few things. Turns out, cleaning felt productive, and I even have a box of things I can sell at a local bookstore. Part of my rent expense is a $30/month trash valet fee that is non-negotiable. I’ve never been able to use the service because of its strict time limits, so I talked to my leasing office to make sure I had all of the right information.

Turns out, they’re a little more lenient than I thought, so I was able to use the trash valet service twice last week – I just put my designated trashcan outside between a certain chunk of time and my trash is taken away for me. Now, I feel better that I’m not just wasting the monthly fee, and it saves me dreaded trips to the dumpster, which keeps my apartment even cleaner.

But evaluation doesn’t necessarily mean monetary things; for me, it also meant people. I started to recognize people in my life that were bringing me down – I cut them out. If they were only planning on being with me during the good times, it was time to let them go.

Reading & writing. Whether you’re a creative or not, I think it’s healthy to have some form of escape plan, even if it’s fictional. One of the first things I did when I realized I needed to penny pinch was get a library card. I have always loved going to the library, and there’s nothing bad about tackling a reading list. Now, I go to the library at least once a week, and I enjoy the tiny adventure of searching for books on my reading list, looking for any good DVDs to check out, and adding any of the library’s free activities to my calendar.

I have yet to master the art of journaling, as most things that come into my brain end up on this blog, but I know for some, writing privately is a great way to cope. When I lost my job almost two years ago, one of the first purchases I treated myself to was a thick notebook that had an inspirational quote on the front. As simple as it sounds, I used the notebook to hold my life together – lists of jobs I applied to each week, upcoming interviews, and my weekly work schedule as I juggled three retail jobs. I have since used the entire notebook, but have kept it since it was so helpful to me.

Making the most out of everything. I have always appreciated the small things in life, but now, I pretty much realized they’re all I’ve got. So, when a song I love comes on the radio (“One Dance” by Drake is my recent favorite; along with Justin Bieber’s new one), I turn it up and dance in my car. When I wakeup before my alarm, I get up and take a few moments to enjoy the sunrise.

When I was evaluating my expenses, I considered eliminating my Tuesday night latte ($4.28) from my life. But, I decided against it, as it’s a small expense, but more importantly, it’s an hour I spend each week reading between work and dance class, and it’s a treat to myself; a chance to just breathe. Instead of just grabbing your latte each morning, consider actually enjoying it, and the people around you. The coffee shop I go to is a game house; they host weekly war game tournaments, and Tuesday nights are very popular. And while I have no clue what these games entail, I enjoy seeing all of these people gathering for something they’re passionate about.

Take a break. This could mean a lot of different things for different people. For me, this literally meant taking a break. Before allowing myself said breaks, I’d taken less than three lunch breaks in the last year. I was overworked and burned out. So, I vowed to stop skipping my lunch breaks. Even on days when things felt crazy, I’ve taken a break; gone outside, taken a walk, sat on a bench and read a book. And, it’s pretty amazing how much good it does for the brain. It makes the work day seem so much shorter, and I look forward to it each day.

I also vowed to stop taking my work laptop home. I often took it home even when I had no looming deadlines, and at the very least, I would check my email before bed, or find a 30-minute task to complete. Not anymore. If I had too much work to complete within 9-5, then I was just going to have to tell someone that it couldn’t happen. And so far, I’ve been more efficient at work – probably due to my sleep schedule – and I’ve been way less stressed. Home is for being at home, not for work.

Creating new goals and working toward them. I am a dreamer, so I’m always thinking ahead. What do I want my life to be like in 3, 5, or 10 years? I honestly don’t know. But I know I’m going to keep writing and I am always working to continue my craft. Recently, I’ve discovered a great interest in teleplays and screenwriting, so I’ve set a goal for myself to write a script. I even bought myself a how-to book with a gift card I got for my birthday. Will my script see the light of day? Who knows! But I will work to find out. And who knows what will happen along the way.

 I’d love to know what kinds of things keep you going throughout the week! Maybe it’s your daily food journal, taking the scenic route home from work, or a weekly sewing class – share it in the comments!

The bathroom & closet tour.

It sounds a little weird that I’m giving you a tour inside my bathroom, but hey, when I say I’ll let you in my home, I mean it!

Click on the video to get the visuals on my bathroom (which is attached to my bedroom and has a separate entrance in the hallway) and my clothes’ closet. However, I’ll give you some extra details right here.

I don’t think my new bathroom is any bigger than the one I had before, but it’s long and skinny instead of perfectly square. It’s definitely taken some getting used to.

One thing is for sure, this bathroom has SO much storage — some of my drawers and cabinets are damn-near empty.

More fun facts on my bathroom & closet:

  • My shower curtain was custom-made for me on Etsy. I chose the paint colors, and it’s 10 feet long to fit my high ceilings in my previous apartment. My new ceilings are only 9 feet, so my mom used hemming tape to temporarily shorten the curtain (I was too scared to cut it in hopes I’ll get tall ceilings again one day).
  • I use daily shower cleaner from Melaleuca to keep my tub/shower as clean as possible, without harming Blanche with chemicals. She loves to lay in the tub, which is why you probably got a glimpse of some of her cat toys near the drain (she brings them everywhere).
  • My giant candleholder and my bathroom rugs are from Home Goods — I love finding cool things for great prices (who doesn’t?), but they have some really unique things there!
  • All of my organization crates in my bathroom closet are from Dollar Tree! I’ve had them for years and they keep my closet nice and neat; even when I’ve got loads of makeup and toiletries to sort through.

It sounds ridiculous, but I get really stressed over having my things sorted in certain ways. In my last bathroom, there was NO storage, so nearly every single days, my makeup and toothbrush ended up right on the counter. And, I don’t know about you, but I like things neat and clean.

So, accepting the fact that having my hairspray in one drawer and my makeup in another messed with my OCD brain that likes “Morning things” in one area, meant that it’s organized in a way that allows me to keep my countertop clean all day, everyday.

Thanks for coming into my home, once again! I’ve still got a few more rooms and areas to share, so keep checking back to see more of my little apartment, and of course, catch the Blanche cameos!

Check out the kitchen tour if you haven’t already. As always, catch glimpses of my home (and my crazy cat) on SnapChat @OrangeJulius7 

Pic of the Week.

As I mentioned yesterday, I spent my weekend getting a ton of stuff done. On one hand, it was really nice to go into a new week having all of my “chores” done, but on the other hand, I wish I would have relaxed a little.

Truth be told, I’m not sure if I know how to relax.

I’m still decorating the new place, so I started Saturday off by hanging 8 frames in my kitchen (check out yesterday’s kitchen tour to see what I’m talking about). Next, I hauled my ass out off the apartment to run some errands.

Once I got the supplies I needed, I sanded and painted an old black shelf I’ve had for years. In the past, I used it to hold my small collection of tacky shot glasses, but my collection outgrew it – I’m still looking for a cool shadow box to house my collection, so if you know of any good places to look, let me know!

I kept the shelf, and decided to paint it metallic gold, and planned to hang it in my bathroom. If you’ve never been to my home, my bathroom is orange and white, with vintage (and authentic) Playboy covers on the walls. I wanted the shelf to match my retro look.

My wondrous @ sign.

My wondrous @ sign.

So, while the gold paint was drying, I got to work on another project. Many months ago, I bought a tin “@” sign that was embedded with small LED lights. I hung it above my desk, my dubbed “blogging station,” and I loved it! But, about two days later, the lights burned out and… I couldn’t get them to come back on, even with new batteries.

I got the sign for $4, which was a steal, but obviously it was junky. The tin signs are everywhere now, but certainly not for that cheap, not to mention, I loved the “@” symbol to go with my job and my blog. It was so fitting!

So, I decided to attempt to gut the entire thing and replace the lights with a small light set I got at Big Lots for $5 (which I actually had a coupon for, making them free).

It took me a solid hour to get all 20 bulbs out of their original sockets, and then rip out the old wiring. Then, I lined up the new lights and glued them into their new slots. But, in the end, it worked, and now my sign is back in action!

Once my sign was hung, I reorganized a closet, cleaned my bathroom, and hung two more pictures. Next, I decided to hang my shelf.

That’s when shit went south.

The shelf is supposed to be one of those “invisible” shelves, so you are supposed to line up the nails so they are hidden in the back, if that makes any sense.

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that nothing I do is precise. That is why I like to cook more than I like to bake. It’s why I write blogs instead of calculate dollars. When I hang pictures, I eyeball it. I tried measuring things and I even got a level app, but in the end, I just eyeball it.

Sure, my curtains are totally off-center, but that’s just the way it’s got to be. So this shelf really kicked my ass.

I did attempt the whole, “two hidden nails” thing, and I measured the holes in the shelf, then marked them on the wall, and at first it worked! But then, the shelf was too heavy for just nails.

Have no fear, I have a toolbox, and I had two wall anchors. So in the wall they went. And then, the shelf wouldn’t actually get onto the nails. So… I then put two additional holes in my wall. And that did not work. So then, I attached two L-brackets to the bottom of the shelf. While it helped, it wasn’t solving all the problems. So, I put a third L-bracket in the top of the shelf, and that seemed to do the trick.

So much for that whole “invisible” thing. If you are following me on SnapChat (@OrangeJulius7), you saw the whole thing live, and I’m sure I looked like a crazy person; I felt like one too!

Honestly, I felt two things: 1. I remembered the reason why I secretly hated that damn shelf, but now that I had 8 holes in my bathroom wall, there was no turning back, and 2. I wished that I could have just called my boyfriend in from the other room and he’d save the night, whether it be with his power tools or his knack for being precise, and we’d laugh off my crazy and live in harmony, complete with gold shelf.

But there is no boyfriend.

I can very easily sit here and tell you that I’ve spent the last two years convincing myself that I can, and will be, perfectly happy living my life as a singleton.

And for a majority of those two years, I’ve believed every word I told myself. How? Because what I have known of men hasn’t been pleasant. I’ve sought after men in times of weakness, and in turn, I’ve become weaker.

It’s easy to wish for a man during an exhausting move, at the sight of a creepy insect, a haunt in the night, or sometimes, when you just need a snuggle. No matter how many pillows I surround myself with, it does not a man make!

I am still working each day to overcome my baggage, and more importantly, to forgive those that have hurt me. I know I need to heal and I will continue to get stronger.

There are plenty of days I wish for a partner that I can share my day with, and nights to wish him sweet dreams. Instead, I always tell Blanche goodnight, and she returns the sentiment with a slap of her tail (bitch).

In my heart, I believe good things do come to those who wait. My job, my apartment, hell, even my crafted gold shelf is proof of that. And so, I carry on. And in the end, we’ll just have to see what happens.

But if a man that’s handy in any way steps foot in this apartment within the next two years, he might have to fix a few crooked frames.

The kitchen tour.

Happy Monday, y’all! After the weekend I had, I feel like I need another few days just to rest, what about you?

I did a ton of cooking and baking (look for a new recipe right here on Thursday) over the last few weeks, and as promised, I told you I’d invite you into my home once I got things settled.

Click to view the Flipagram of my kitchen!

Click to view the Flipagram of my kitchen!

With all the traveling I’ve done lately, I won’t say things are “settled,” but they are getting there. My kitchen is probably the best it’s going to get for awhile, so I’m inviting you into my kitchen today!

As you know, I moved into a smaller apartment (although it doesn’t seem that much smaller), so I’m getting creative with how I store things — my kitchen is especially one of those places.

The video will give you the full tour, but I’ll provide a few things to note.

  • While my kitchen may not appear as organized as many other blogger-kitchens out there, I cleaned out a ton of my kitchen stuff in attempts to get things as neat as possible (including my fridge).
  • I haven’t had a pantry in 4 years! At my old apartment, I turned the coat closet into a makeshift pantry by hanging a shoe rack in it! Now I have a full pantry to house my dry goods, cookbooks and cocktails guides, and hide my trashcan.
  • There is no room for all of my cooking utensils in this kitchen, so I utilized an old vase to house a majority of my wooden spoons and spatulas right on the counter near my stove — it’s turned out to be quite handy.
  • A hanging wine glass rack leaves more shelving space for other glassware — plus it looks really cool. I got mine from Amazon.
  • I have never been one to go for “traditional” kitchen decor. Sure, I love lemons, but my kitchen has always been part of an open floor plan, so it leads into other areas of my home. For that reason (plus the fact that I’m the only one who sees it), I go for creative pieces that inspire me — even if it means a shirtless picture of the Biebs, right above my cabinets.

I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things — grocery shopping, cooking, baking, and meal planning. I’m well-aware it sounds so weird to say that, but my world was completely flipped for almost a year, and nothing was on any type of schedule. It feels so great to be getting back to the way I’m used to things being; and being in my kitchen creating yummy food is a big part of that!

Hope you enjoyed the tour — even the”organic” production!

The grand finale.

Over the weekend, I drove back to Baton Rouge to get a ton of things done. It was one of my best friend’s birthday weekends, plus I needed to see my CASA boys, get my hair done (very important), and I needed to get any remaining things out of my apartment, clean the place, and turn in my keys.

It was a lot to cram into a 28-hour visit.

So, I got up Saturday morning at 1:30 and hit the road to Louisiana at 2am. Shockingly, it wasn’t terrible. There was no traffic, so I was able to whiz right on through and get into town at 9 — just in time for my hair appt at 9:30.

After that, my mission was to get to the birthday party/LSU-football-watching party (more on this adventure tomorrow), and later, I took my CASA boys to dinner.

The real chore was packing up the remaining crap at my apartment. It wasn’t much, but it was that annoying, little stuff that probably sometimes gets left behind. I checked all of my cabinets and wiped them down as I went. I also had to clean out my fridge and freezer (a task that took way longer than I expected).

Around 9 Saturday night, I was taking my fridge trash to the chute, and started chucking bags of frozen fruit down it, when I thought I heard a voice. I stopped. Heard nothing. Kept tossing.

Then I got to tossing frozen containers of soup. One clanked its way down the chute when I hear:

“Yo, you trying to kill us or something?”

It was obviously someone at the dumpster — and they didn’t appreciate what I was throwing.

I stood still.

“Yo, FUCK you,” said another voice.

So, onto another chore, I quickly decided. Somehow, cleaning my entire apartment took way longer than I’d hoped. Around midnight, I still wasn’t done, but I was exhausted, and pumped up an air mattress to sleep on.

This also took forever, but I happily crashed once it was done.

Sleeping in my empty apartment will classify as a LOW point in my life. It looked completely different without all my stuff in it, and while I loved that apartment, all I could think about were all the bad things that happened in it.

And when I woke up to my alarm 5 hours later, I was laying on the ground. My air mattress had failed me — so it took a sail down the chute as well.

Sunday morning, I finished cleaning, and someone came to pick up my last piece of furniture: my dining room table and chairs. When I did my final walk through, and took a long look out my living room window, I cried.

It really was a beautiful apartment. One that I probably could never afford, but I budgeted my ass off in order to live there. I will miss seeing the palm trees and the brick buildings out of my windows every day (my view in Austin is less-than stellar).

I felt really safe in that apartment. It was really difficult to get into the building, and once you did, it was very much like a hotel. My door didn’t open to the “real world” and I loved that.

Of course, there are things I love about my new apartment. But locking the door for the final time in Baton Rouge was tough. I know I left for the best reason there is: to take that opportunity of a lifetime.

But as I drove yesterday, I couldn’t help but think about how many awesome people I was leaving. There were times when I felt so alone in Louisiana; I felt like I never fit in. But, there were also a lot of cool people who befriended me, or who took me in for no other reason than to just be kind.

It’s not like I won’t see them again, that’s for certain. But I think this month in Austin has been a HUGE reality check. I definitely DID move 7 hours from pretty much everything I know. Sure, I moved from Indiana to Louisiana for college, but then, at least it’s pretty much laid out for you: where you’ll live and eat. And, there are lots of other people in the area who are in the same boat.

My month in Austin has been exciting! I love my new job, my coworkers are great, and I do love my apartment. But, it’s also a little lonely. I know THREE people who live here, and I know my way to and from work. Other than that, I need Siri (even though she took me to the wrong place three times last weekend).

I know, these things will change over time, and I’ll meet people and build a life here. But Louisiana, and everything in it, will always have a place in my heart.

When I was a senior in high school, all I did was dream about my life that would-be in Louisiana. It was pretty much nothing like I imagined, but it was something special. And I’ve also dreamt about my life here, in Austin, and I know there’s great things waiting for me (like trips to the wine outlet).

So there, I did it. I said my goodbyes. But it sure as hell wasn’t easy.

Pic of the Week.

It’s no surprise that I’m moving, since my lease is up at the end of September. So, over the weekend, I faced reality and starting getting things done — packing, cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of things (lots of things).

While the physical act of moving completely sucks, there’s something to be said about having the opportunity to evaluate all of your crap, decide if it’s worth keeping, and what kind of vibe you want at the new place. It’s a chance to restart, completely.

At the end of my lease, it’ll have been four years that I’ve lived in this apartment. The day I moved in, I was leaving an apartment where I’d also lived for four years. I’m starting to think I’ve got commitment issues.

When I left my old apartment, I was really looking for a fresh start. My apartment had seen too many failed relationships; and ordinary things — like the sound of a slamming door, the view out my living room window — felt like baggage to me. When I got to my new place (where I currently live), I felt great comfort in knowing that no ex knew where I lived. It was an undeniable sense of freedom.

But soon enough, I opened my new door to relationships that would hurt me all the same. These walls have seen the highs and the extreme lows; and while I know that technically, you can make a home anywhere, I’m really, really looking forward to that new beginning once again.

The place I’m moving to is really nothing fancy. In fact, I’m trading in many of the luxuries I’ve gotten used to, in order to have different ones, and even save a little money on rent. My new apartment has a balcony (which I currently don’t have), a pool (don’t have), a gym (don’t have), and tons of closets — including a walk-in (!!!), and it even has a garden tub.

I’m already super pumped to have my coffee right outside; and Miss Blanche will get to enjoy the fresh air for the first time in her life. I’m planning on changing up my decor a little at the new place, too. It’s time for something different.

One of my bigger moving tasks was cleaning out my closet. As you may know, this is something I’ve been working on for months. I have a lot of clothes, and I wanted to make sure I tried every single thing on and really be choosey about what I kept. So, that’s what I did, and Friday night, I finished the task, with two trash bags of clothes to giveaway and one basket-full of things to take to Plato’s to try and sell.

After 3 hours of waiting at Plato’s, they told me they could take TWO of my items, a pair of shoes and a bracelet. I got $7. I didn’t care about the money; but I couldn’t believe they passed up some of my boutique dresses (don’t worry, I’m trying Style Encore next)! Regardless, I’m pumped it’s all out of my closet. Now I’m just down to the stuff I really love to wear.

Part of cleaning out my closet involved changing up the hangers. I switched from glossy wooden hangers to thin, velvet ones, purely because I need more room. But I am selling the wooden hangers on eBay (see the listing here). If you really want some, and are a loyal reader, shoot me a message and I’ll send you some. Seriously, I need to get rid of these things.

If you’re free these next few weeks and want to join me for a packing party, come on over. I’ve got bottles of liquor that I refuse to pack and they’re definitely not going to waste. Cheers, y’all!