Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The hunt: My first apartment

     I am both thrilled and relieved to announce that I have figured out a plan for myself after graduation in May! If you have been in my position of being a second-semester senior, about to graduate with a Bachelor's degree and no plans in sight, then you know just how much better I am feeling now that I know that I will be doing something.
     I have never felt more blessed than the moment I realized that I had a plan. It was a whole lot of "being in the right place, at the right time." I had decided to apply to do an internship during my final semester at my university's office of communication. After I got the internship and began working, I was offered a Grad Assistant position, which will be covering the cost for an MBA. I will also be working as a managing editor of a local newspaper.
     Although I do feel incredibly lucky and glad, this new stage in my life is coming up very quickly, and it is a teeny tiny bit overwhelming. Now, I have to really prepare myself for my latest transition, and a very intimidating part of the real world:
     Apartment Hunting 
     My university and future place of employment are located in a tiny town, almost in the middle of nowhere. I recently found out that it is almost impossible to find open apartments for rent online... there are virtually none listed. Most of these kinds of transactions happen by word of mouth around here.
     I was lucky enough to know someone who will be moving out of a two-bedroom apartment at the end of this semester, so I visited with a friend/potential roommate last week. We were not completely sold on the apartment, and we also may be having a third roommate, so we are not sure if this will work out. Now, I have moved on to looking for town houses/bigger apartments in the area. I am also considering a larger town that is relatively close by. We shall see what happens.
     Before I actually started looking for apartments, I thought the process would be relatively painless and I would find a cute, quaint, cheap apartment for rent in no time. Unfortunately, these kinds of things take a lot of patience and I have come to terms with the fact that I will not likely be able to buy my dream apartment just yet.
     Luckily, I feel very supported by friends, the people in my office, and those who I know in the community. Through them, I have been able to be in contact with around four possible places for next year, and I am now working on talking to my potential roommates to see how they feel about these places. I really feel like a grown up now, and the whole idea of living in the "real world" is becoming more and more real by the minute.
     Honestly, I am most excited to decorate my future apartment... even though my budget is very small. I have already started listing some tips and decoration ideas on my "Living Little" Pinterest board.
     Do you have any tips for me about looking for my first apartment? 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spring Break: Niagara Falls Frozen Over

     Most of my college-aged peers spent their spring breaks in sunny and warm places like the Caribbean, but I, however, spent it in the tundra. I flew home to see my parents over my last spring break ever, and we took a trip to visit Niagara Falls, since it is always so gorgeous in the wintertime. 
     I only live about an hour away from the Falls, so going there is normal for me. I have realized through my experience with going to school in a different state, however, that visiting Niagara is a really big deal for other people. I got the chance to take my boyfriend to visit the Falls for the first time. Little did he know that everything would be frozen or that it would be quite so cold. 
Yeah, we were freezing. 
     Most people who I know that have visited the Falls, have gone when the weather is nice. Obviously, this is the ideal time to visit Niagara, but if you ever get the chance to see them in the winter, it is truly a sight to behold. Sometimes, the mist from the Falls freezes everything near it, including the branches of the trees and the curling railings. It really becomes a winter wonderland, unlike anything that I have ever seen before. 
     When we visited this last time, there were huge floes of ice in the horseshoe of the Falls. It was more frozen than I had ever witnessed in my past visits. 
    Another thing that I would urge you to do if you ever visit Niagara is to go to both the US side and the Canadian side. They are both so different. Personally, I like the Canadian side best, since it feels a bit more like a city. I also love visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake when it is nice outside. I have grown up visiting the Falls, and it has become something that I love to do whenever I can. 
     What did you do over Spring break?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

7 tips for staying in touch

     When I decided to go to college around six hours away from my hometown, the thing I was most nervous about was losing touch with high school friends and family. Luckily, technological advances such as the smart phone and social media have made it much much easier to stay in contact with people who live across the country or across the world from you. 
     Not only have these technologies made it relatively easy to talk to the people that I miss, but they have also allowed me to see them through video, share things through social media, and keep in contact, despite being in a different timezone or continent. Isn't that just amazing?
     So, now that you have realized just how easy it is to stay in touch, here are some tips on how to excel at it:
  1. The "I'm thinking of you" text- What is better than randomly hearing from a friend who lives across the country? My best friend from home and I do not talk every day, but we do exchange a few texts and posts on Facebook a month, just to keep up with each others lives, each starting with something as simple as "HEY" or "HI I MISS YOU WHAT'S UP."
  2. Having a shared Pinterest board with friends- Every time you add a pin can start a new conversation or bring back memories from the good times you've had together. 
  3. Calling/Facetime- I do not get to see my parents very often, so we usually Facetime once a week, just so they can see how I am doing and catch me up on their lives. It is nice to set aside an hour or so to just chat with them.
  4. What's App- This is the best way to stay in contact with someone who lives in a different country. The app allows you to text them without having to pay an extra fee. I still have a group chat with friends that I met in Spain over the summer. 
  5. A good, old-fashioned letter- Getting mail is one of the best feelings in the world, and writing a letter is a great way to let someone know that you are thinking of them, especially in this world where finding stamps and a post office are considered extra hassles. 
  6. Random sharing- One of my very best friends transferred schools at the end of our freshman year, and now attends school in Indiana. He gets to visit my friends and I at our school in Maryland every so often, but our favorite way of keeping in contact in between those times is sending each other links to vines that make us laugh the most. We exchange vines and comments at least three times a week! It's a great way to keep a conversation going with someone who you miss and I always look forward to his latest hilarious discovery. 
  7. Watch a show with someone- I mean, just because you do not live close by each other anymore doesn't mean that you can't have viewing parties of you favorite shows together! Stay in contact with each other during the show or discuss it in great detail over the phone or Skype after you have each watched the latest episode. 
     What are some other ways that you stay in contact with the people you love?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Preparing for another adventure abroad!

    I am so lucky to announce that I will be embarking on another exciting, sight-seeing, photo-op filled adventure abroad this summer! I will be leaving after graduation to take a tour of Eastern Europe, which will be featuring cities in Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Austria. Although I have visited Germany, the Czech Republic, and Austria before, I am thrilled to be going back. Now that I am older, I think it will be a completely new and different experience than the last time. 
     In addition to being excited about actually traveling to these places, I am also thrilled to be able to get back into travel blogging, which is what I love to do most of all. Unfortunately, I can only ever do this when I visit interesting places. So stay tuned this summer for some posts on the places that I visit!
     I have just begun to make lists of the things that I want to see while in these cities. Do you have any suggestions? Please comment below!
     Also, if you have not already, check out my posts on the other countries and cities I have visited in the past few years:

Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Newest Read: Tracks

     Just a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to happen upon a gorgeous movie called Tracks, with Mia Waskikowska playing the lead role of Robyn Davidson. This film follows Robyn, her dog Diggity, and her four camels as she crosses 1,700 miles of the Australian Outback.
     The film is based on a true story and Davidson actually wrote a novel about her journey, which shares the same title. After watching the movie, I realized that the novel would be perfect for me, since I like stories about adventures best. I have just begun to read the novel, and I am really enjoying it so far. Davidson is a strong, independent female lead, which I really love.
     After spending time on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage and the Adirondack Trail, I have wanted to go on another hiking adventure, so this novel kind of lets me to do that without leaving my comfy chair. I have also realized just how little I know about Australia through reading this novel. It was news to me that there are thousands of wild camels roaming the Australian desert, and I also did not know very much about the Aboriginals or their relationships with white Australians. It is a very interesting story, and I recommend both the novel and film!
     Do you have any other novels that are similar to this that you would recommend?