23 things I’ve learned in my 23rd year

Because my 24th birthday’s coming up in a week and a few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’ve grown this past year. This was, without a doubt, the most difficult year I’ve faced yet, but it was also the best. I made a big move, I got engaged and married, I started (and left) a new job, and started this website with my husband and some friends.


Here are 23 things I’ve learned during this whirlwind of a year:

1. You should not only step outside your comfort zone; you should be spontaneous while you’re there.

Pretty much right after I blew out my 23 birthday candles, I said goodbye to my friends and family in New Mexico. I packed up my little car with some clothes, my guitar, and my Labrador and drove across the country to my new life in upstate New York. It was the most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done.

2. Sometimes bad things happen to good people.

I spent over $2,000 on multiple trips to the mechanic this past year. The third time my car broke down, so did I. That’s when I learned it’s just how life goes sometimes, whether I think I “deserve” life’s curveballs or not.

3. Making friends as an adult is hard, you guys.

I’ve lived here for a year and I’ve still only met a handful of solid friends.

4. Maintaining friendships is also pretty difficult.

As a teenager, you saw friends at school or on the weekends. Same thing in college. As a real-life adult, your friends start getting married and having babies, and it becomes more difficult to see them on a regular basis. (Moving across the country doesn’t make that any easier.)

5. My favorite movie is The Royal Tenenbaums.

This Wes Anderson film not only tugs at my heartstrings (I cry every time), it’s also full of lessons on love, growing older, and the importance of family. A close runner-up is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

6. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health.

Depression and anxiety reared their ugly heads shortly after my big move to NY, but thankfully a great support system comprising my husband, my family, good friends and a couple of therapists got me through the dark times. Along with that same vein, having a mental illness does not make you weak.

7. Saying “yes” all the time is soul-sucking.

Pleasing everyone all the time for the sake of admiration is emotionally draining, so it’s best to properly balance helping yourself and helping others.

8. Scream-singing songs while driving is one of the best remedies for the melancholies I’ve found so far.

These also work: long showers, short naps, hugs, walking the dog, and vegan ice cream.

9. All dressed chips are the best chips in the world.

Seriously, it’s like barbecue chips and salt and vinegar chips had a beautiful, delicious baby. Because it’s a Canadian thing, only northern states are lucky enough to try these delicacies.

10. There is never a “right” time to do anything.

Travel, switch careers, start your own business, etc. when you want to, and don’t wait. The perfect opportunity will most likely never present itself unless you make the first move.

11. It snows a lot in upstate New York.

Multiple feet of snow on the ground for weeks at a time is something this New Mexican may never get used to.

12. Your biggest critic is yourself.

Most people are usually too occupied with fretting over their own lives to notice your visible toe cleavage in your new shoes, or to care when you’ve spilled coffee all over yourself. In reality, most people will have a neutral or positive opinion about you.

13. Travelling brings happiness.

I visited 11 states this year — five of them were states I hadn’t been to previously. I also saw the Atlantic Ocean for the first time, and what a breathtakingly beautiful sight that was.

14. Sometimes good people do bad things.

After all, they’re people, too.

15. Patience is a virtue.

Especially when it comes to teaching your dog that electrical cords are not food.

16. Normal is just a setting on the dryer.

Although my mom taught me this quip when I was still in the single digits, I’ve only recently started to understand what it means. People shouldn’t be described as “normal” or “abnormal” — none of us are one or the other.

17. Call your mom.

Surprise — she actually knew what she was talking about all along. But maybe it’s just my mom who offers good advice, tells lame mom jokes to make me laugh, and offers good Netflix suggestions I may have missed.

18. Live in the present.

Too often, I’d find myself worrying about what the next day at work would bring me, or reliving regrettable moments from the past. Now, I make it my goal to be grateful for each moment.

19. Meditating is good for the soul.

My husband first got me into meditating, and while I’m no meditation expert, I know that it’s been helping me significantly.

20. Be silly.

My husband and I are the poster children for silliness. Let loose, make funny noises and faces, sing made-up songs, and laugh more.

21. Fake it until you make it.

Okay, so that’s a cliche one, but I’ve learned this year that if you look confident, you can make people believe you know what the hell you’re doing. Here’s a secret: everyone is faking it and no one knows what they’re doing more than half of the time.

22. Ask for help when you need it. Offer help when you can.

It is really hard to ask for help, whether it’s requesting financial assistance or asking someone to jump your dead car on the side of the road. People are usually happy to provide aid, but make sure to help others out when you can in return.

23. Learning doesn’t stop when you leave school.

If this post is any indication, learning is a lifelong journey.

Cheers to turning 24 — may I learn at least as many lessons in the coming year.

15 big-footed lady problems

1. When one of your smaller-footed sistren complains about wearing size 8 shoes and your eyes roll all the way around in your skull.

2. When you go shoe shopping and the “size 11-13” section is full of cobwebs and your options are narrowed down to two pairs of tan pointy heels from 1996 and a lonely left tennis shoe.

3. Speaking of pointy heels, WHY EVEN MAKE THEM FOR BIG-FOOTED LADIES? It’s unnecessary additional length, people.

4. When you try and convince yourself you can fit into a size 9 (because of the aforementioned better options just three feet to the left of the “size 11-13” section) and you suck in your gut, hoping to somehow also suck in two inches of foot.

5. Sometimes it takes three days to put on a pair of skinny jeans over your feet.

6. You heard all the mean nicknames in the book for having big feet during your school days. “Boat feet,” “flippers,” “skis,” “oars,” we get it; our feet resemble outdoor sporting equipment.

7. When you go bowling with some friends who don’t know you that well, and you whisper your shoe size to the person behind the counter. And of course, they don’t offer the same quiet courtesy, so they say something along the lines of, “HERE’S YOUR SIZE TWELVES!” and plop them onto the counter, which causes a minor earthquake.

8. Packing fills you with dread because you realize your suitcase is half-full after you’ve only packed two pairs of shoes.

9. “One size fits all” is just a sick joke.

10. Your no-show ankle socks are true to their word though — they never show because they constantly fall down in your shoe. Ugh.

11. Tripping on your own feet is just a normal Friday afternoon activity at this point.

12. Forget swimming at a public pool. The first time some kid sees your feet in all their sockless glory, they’re bound to say whatever is on their mind, such as, “Wow, that lady has Sasquatch feet!” or “I bet you could fit into my dad’s shoes.”

13. You can never wear brightly-colored shoes. And FORGET about wearing red shoes unless it’s Halloween and you’re dressing up as Krusty.

14. Wearing a snug pair of high heels for a date night? There will be blood.

15. And finally, you’ve been scolded or shamed for picking up the remote with your toes — and accurately turning up the volume.

Vegan breakfast sandwich recipe

This is a recipe for an easy, savory breakfast sandwich that will leave you full and satisfied. Eating this for breakfast makes me believe bagels and avocados truly belong together.

For one breakfast sandwich, you’ll need a bagel, three slices of vegan smart bacon, half an avocado, and a couple of tomato slices, and some vegetable oil.

Because we always prepare two breakfast sandwiches for the both of us, we doubled our recipe. Go ahead and separate your bacon strips — sometimes it’s tricky. Set them aside and heat up some vegetable oil (just enough to cover the bottom of the pan) on medium heat.

Place your bacon in the pan and heat each side for a few minutes until they’re crispy. We’ve found this is the best way to cook smart bacon.

When the bacon is cooked, place them on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Set aside.

Dice an avocado and slice up a tomato. If you choose, you may also want to toast your bagel. We always put a little bit of smart balance on our toasted bagels and salt the tomato slices.

And that’s it! It only talks about 10 minutes to make both sandwiches. Easy, delicious and not too unhealthy.


Any other vegans out there? What do you eat for breakfast? Let us know in the comments.

Road Trip Playlist: A Curation of Traveling Jams

Okay, so real talk: a road trip without music is like toast without avocado — it’s just not the same.

Music is essential to the road trip experience, and carefully curating playlists for trips is so much fun. For those of you who are planning a trip this summer (especially a group trip!) and are still debating whether to drive or take a plane, just remember: sure, road trips take longer than if you were just to fly to your destination, but driving allows you to soak in the scenery, visit interesting landmarks, and make lasting memories. Life is about the journey, after all.

This playlist is a surefire way to get you started on compiling your own road trip playlist this summer:

  1. Do a Thing – Street Joy
  2. Highway Tune – Greta Van Fleet
  3. Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire
  4. At the Beach – The Avett Brothers
  5. Walkin’ On The Sun – Smash Mouth
  6. Mr. Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra
  7. The Passenger – Iggy Pop
  8. Should I Stay or Should I Go – The Clash
  9. In the Summertime – Mungo Jerry
  10. Get in My Car – BRONCHO
  11. Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  12. I’m Bound To Pack It Up – The White Stripes
  13. Ride – The Vines
  14. Dashboard – Modest Mouse
  15. Gronlandic Edit – of Montreal
  16. Heart It Races – Dr. Dog
  17. Lake Michigan – Rogue Wave
  18. The Summer – Coconut Records
  19. Ocean’s Deep – Born Ruffians
  20. Run Run – Those Dancing Days
  21. One Headlight – The Wallflowers
  22. Road Trippin’ – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  23. Another Travelin’ Song – Bright Eyes
  24. Daylight – Matt and Kim
  25. Feels Like Summer – Weezer
  26. Whole Wide World – Cage the Elephant
  27. It’s A Trip! – Joywave
  28. No Sleep Till Brooklyn – Beastie Boys
  29. The Distance – Cake
  30. This Must Be The Place – Sure Sure

If you have a Spotify account, you can listen to the playlist here:

What do you listen to on the road? Let us know in the comments.

Why getting a dog was right for me

I’m a dog person and I always have been.

A year and a half ago, I went into a dog shelter to help my mom pick out a new puppy. Unbeknownst to me, within the first five minutes I would make a spontaneous decision to pick out a puppy of my own: Steven (not to be confused with my husband Steven who I met later on 💁). Through the good times and the bad, having a Labrador for a roommate was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.


Realizing it’s not for everyone, here are some of the reasons why getting a dog was the right decision for me:

1. It’s good for my health – mental and physical.

I go on multiple walks every day with my pup. My husband, the dog and I go to parks and beaches, walk around tracks, and go for hikes. I probably wouldn’t have done nearly as many outdoor activities if it weren’t for him. The pup has also acted as a great therapy dog as far as cuddles after long days at work go.

2. He’s taught me patience.

While I’m pretty sure I’m the one supposed to be teaching patience, Steven has taught me to quite literally stop every so often to smell the roses. Together, we enjoy the simple things in life.

3. I’m now a much better actor.

I’m good at talking about how great my dog is to strangers at the park while knowing Steve ran full speed into a wall earlier that day.

4. I no longer obsess over material objects.

When I first adopted 3-month-old Steve, he chewed nearly everything he could sink his sharp little teeth into: phone chargers, shoes, books, remotes. One time I caught him chewing on a rock. His destructive behavior made me go bonkers. He eventually stopped (now he only occasionally chews on rolls of toilet paper), and along the way, I learned to place books on higher shelves and shoes in the closet. More importantly though, I learned that my stuff is exactly that — just stuff.

5. I finally have things to post on Instagram.

He’s so gosh darn photogenic. And I’m sure my friends love seeing pictures of my dog every five minutes. Maybe.


As cheesy as it sounds, my dog is my best friend and I’m grateful for him every day.

Do you have a pet? Let us know why you value them as a member of your family in the comments.

10 Quotes on Being and Becoming Yourself

If you’re having an identity crisis, you may find comfort in knowing most people don’t have a clue what they’re doing, who they are, or who they’re supposed to be. I feel as if I’ve been riding the exciting wave of confusion and self-discovery for the past 24 years, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that boat.

Maybe we never stop questioning who we are. Life’s voyage is challenging yet rewarding, and at certain points, we all surprise ourselves. I’m told there is no need to know exactly who you are in order to do well in life.

Here’s a roundup of quotes that inspire me to be myself and continue growing into who I ought to be.

 


1. “Me, I can change during the course of a day. I wake and I’m one person, when I go to sleep I know for certain I’m somebody else. I don’t know who I am most of the time.”

― Bob Dylan

 

2. “People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates.”

― Thomas Szasz

3. “I reinvented my image so many times that I’m in denial that I was originally an overweight Korean woman.”

― David Bowie

 

4. “I am made and remade continually. Different people draw different words from me.”

― Virginia Woolf

5. “Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?”

― Charles Bukowski

 

6. “I don’t want other people to decide who I am. I want to decide that for myself. I want to avoid becoming too styled and too ‘done’ and too generic. You see people as they go through their career, and they just become more and more like everyone else.”
― Emma Watson

7. “I remember feeling enormous pressure because I didn’t want to be Shirley Temple. Shirley Temple was Shirley Temple, and I didn’t ever feel like I could live up to that.”

―Mara Wilson

 

8. “Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.”

― Chuck Palahniuk

 

9. “People think you have to know what you want to do with your life by the time you’re 19. Wrong. Or that you have to be in a significant relationship in your twenties. Wrong. It’s all just nonsense.”
― Tilda Swinton

 

10. “What the really great artists do is they’re entirely themselves. They’re entirely themselves, they’ve got their own vision, they have their own way of fracturing reality, and if it’s authentic and true, you will feel it in your nerve endings.”
― David Foster Wallace

 


What are some of the words you live by? Share them in the comments.

Moving Playlist: A Curation of Bittersweet Songs for Your Big Move

Moving: haphazardly stuffing boxes with a bunch of crap I call my stuff, using one of those packing tape dispensers and attempting to not get the tape stuck onto itself, vigorously spackling nail holes in the wall in hopes at least some of the deposit back…

For me, moving has always been a bittersweet affair. I’ve lived in several homes and apartments in my life — seven apartments in my adult life alone. Moving usually means you’re on to bigger and better things. Or maybe it means your landlord raised your rent. Or perhaps, like my next move, it signifies moving in with your significant other into a place you both call home.

Whatever the reason, you’ll usually feel excited while packing. But simultaneously, you may also feel as if you’re mourning the end of a chapter in your life.

This playlist if full of bittersweet songs to get you through moving day:

  1. Yellow Ledbetter – Pearl Jam
  2. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards – Tame Impala
  3. You’re a Wolf – Sea Wolf
  4. Books from Boxes – Maximo Park
  5. Brand New Start – Little Joy
  6. Moving to New York – The Wombats
  7. Two Weeks – Grizzly Bear
  8. Sound & Color – Alabama Shakes
  9. This Must Be The Place – Talking Heads
  10. Excuses – Morning Benders
  11. Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap
  12. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel
  13. Pretty Pimpin – Kurt Vile
  14. Bad Kids – Black Lips
  15. The Way We Get By – Spoon
  16. Future Primitive – Papercuts
  17. End of the Movie – Cake
  18. All Outta Angst – NOFX
  19. The Way We Move – Langhorne Slim, The Law
  20. Pretty Vacant – Sex Pistols

 

What’s on your moving playlist? Let us know in the comments.

DIY Tea Bag Cozy

If you’re ever looking for a simple and quick gift idea, think about making this cute tea bag cozy! Not only is it the perfect size to hold a couple of tea bags; it’s also the perfect size for a gift card or cash. I think it’s the perfect little handmade gift for a friend in need of some tea.

You’ll need a sheet of felt, a pair of scissors, some embroidery thread, a needle and a tea bag.

Cut out a 3.5″ square of felt. This will be your basic cup shape.

Fold the square in half and use scissors to round out the bottom corners.

Make an exact copy of your cup shape.

Take one of them and embroider simple shapes. You could also use your sewing machine to do this if its capable of making fancy stitches. I did this on a couple of my tea bag cozies, towards the top of the cup.

You’ll need to cut out two handles. They can either be backwards C-shaped or almost ear-like similar to mine below.

You can either machine or hand sew the two handles together. For this cozy, I used a blanket stitch with matching orange embroidery thread. I used my sewing machine for the other two I made, just by pinning the two pieces together and sewing a straight-line border around the perimeter.

Sandwich your handle between the two cup pieces and pin.

Then sew a U-shape, making sure your stitches catch the handle.

And that’s pretty much it. You can stick a tea bag inside and give it to a friend.

DIY Potato-Stamped Print Fabric Pillow

One of the most fun crafts I’ve done involves a potato. It’s a really simple craft that can either be used to replicate trends at a fraction of the cost, or easily create your own unique pattern. You can alter this tutorial to make patterns on tapestries, tea towels, linens, and more, and you can make it as simple or as complex as your pattern-loving heart desires.

You’ll need a pillow form, a rectangle of fabric (size dependent upon your pillow), large potato, a knife, fabric paint, a foam paint brush, a sewing machine, and some basic sewing skills. Alternatively, you could use an pre-fabricated pillowcase.

Cut your potato in half and draw a design in pencil or marker. The design could be anything from a dinosaur to a flower; an anchor to a peace sign. In the spirit of Curious Disposition and our logo, I chose a light bulb.

Use a foam brush to evenly spread some paint onto your new stamp and start stampin’. I chose to do mine in a diagonal-line pattern. It wasn’t perfect, but I wasn’t going for perfect.

I got a smaller paintbrush and some gold paint and added some details to some of the light bulbs. Wait for your fabric to dry completely. Since I live in a house with a cat and a dog, I hung mine up for 45 minutes or so.

After your fabric is done drying, hem the two short sides. Just fold under twice and sew with a straight line. I needed, you’ll need to cut your fabric to the correct size. My pillow form was a 15″ square, so I needed my fabric to be 17″ x 37″. (The way I got those measurements: 15″ plus 2″ for seam allowance = 17″; 15″ x 2 = 30″ plus 5″ for an overlap plus 2″ seam allowance = 37″.)

Fold into thirds, and then overlap the two a little bit more, as much as you can to make a square. Sew down the sides, leaving a 1″ seam allowance.

Turn right side out and put your pillow inside its new case.

And you’re done! The next time I do this, I think I’ll make a wall hanging with crescent moon shapes, or maybe unique (and inexpensive) gift wrapping using brown paper bags.

DIY Denim Pouf

Old jeans are pretty much the perfect reusable material when you feel like upcycling something for basically no cost. I had a few pairs of jeans sitting in my drawers that were either falling apart or no longer fit and I thought I could recycle them into this chic pouf.

You’ll need lots of denim in contrasting blues. I used three pairs of jeans and an old denim jacket.

First, I cut my jeans into four 5″ x 18″ strips, placed them right sides together and sewed, using a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Then I did the same thing to six 4.5″ x 9″ strips.

I was going for an abstract-looking pattern, so I sewed my two rectangles together right sides together with the four-strip rectangle perpendicular to the six-strip rectangle.

I cut the strip rectangle into a 17″ circle. This circle will be the top of your pouf.

Then, I cut more strips of jeans, this time there were nine of them and they were 15″ x 8″.

I sewed all of the 15″ x 8″ strips into a long rectangle similar to the first step of rectangular strips. Then I sewed the first and last 15″ x 8″ strips right sides together to form a large tube. Remember to use a one inch seam allowance. I pinned that onto the top of the pouf, right sides together. This will be the sides of your pouf.

During this time, I also made a 17″ circle for the bottom of the pouf out of random denim scraps from a jean jacket.

After you’ve sewn the top pouf circle to the striped sides, get your scissors and clip the seam allowance perpendicular to the seam, but don’t cut too close. This will allow for a more professional-looking appearance when the pouf is turned right side out.

Grab the 17″ bottom circle of your pouf and pin it, right sides together, to the sides of the pouf. Sew, leaving a 1″ seam allowance, as well as a 5″ opening so you can turn the pouf right side out.

Turn it right side out and start stuffing with some poly-fil. I used some old pillows to truly make this upcycle-friendly.

Pin the 5″ opening you had left before, and sew it closed using a ladder stitch.

Optionally, you could add a button to the top, but you would need to add it before you stitch your opening closed. I found an extra-large button wandering around in my craft bin and I thought it would be the perfect final touch for the pouf. I just threaded a needle with some thick thread (think embroidery thread) and pulled it down through all of the stuffing so I knew it would stay in place.

I just love the way it turned out. The contrasting hues of denim blue are great.

 

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