I Can Tell That We Are Gonna Be Friends

A lot of people are somewhat wary of people they meet on the internet. And they should be. There are some pretty weird people out there. But there are some pretty great people, too. I met 4 of my best friends through Camp NaNoWriMo, a camp-themed writing forum held in April and July. Essentially, the goal is to write as many words as possible in each month. (I have not yet reached my goal for the month. I’m not even close. Oops.) Campers can choose to be placed in a cabin, they can set up their own cabin and invite friends, or they can choose to go solo. My first camp session, in April of 2014, I requested a random cabin containing two people I already knew (one in real life, one through the internet).

Over the next thirty days, we all grew closer. Naomi and Danielle already knew each other (they’re kind of third cousins, but it’s a long story); Laura and I had been friends since kindergarten; and we’d met Torin through NaNoWriMo. The next camp session, we added Cindy, someone Danielle had met through a website called deviantArt, to the group.

We were cautious, of course. We didn’t give out our real names or our Facebook accounts. Instead, we created a Google+ hangout. (We’re probably the only people other than Google employees who actually use Google+.) Once we knew each other better, real names came out, as did locations and other social media accounts. We now follow each other on deviantArt, tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter. We talk constantly every day, and we video chat when we can. We still have our group chat, and we’ve added several smaller, one-on-one chats. We love each other just as much as friends who see each other physically every day. I can’t imagine my life without them.

Our cabin was lucky enough to be randomly placed in a group of similarly-minded people who are close in age. I understand that this doesn’t happen for everybody and that internet friendships don’t always pan out. I’m not saying anybody should go meet up with random old dudes who claim to be teenage girls. I’m just saying that everyone should be a little more open-minded the next time someone says that they met their best friend online.


College Packing List

It’s that time of year again! College acceptances are coming out, and everybody’s getting excited about school! (Okay, maybe only nerds like me are getting excited about school, but still.) With all the high school seniors starting to think about where they’ll be next year (and the transfers leaving home for the first time), I figured I’d update my college packing list, only this time with a year of experience under my belt. So here it goes!

First, a couple of comments on last year’s list:

2 sets of sheets (twin xl)

Everybody says to pack at least 2 sets of sheets, but I find that it just makes me put off doing laundry for even longer. The only good use I’ve found for my second sheet set is keeping the mattress on my second bed (I don’t have a roommate anymore) covered so that people can sit on it.

Throw pillows

Cute, but not super useful

Mattress pad/foam topper

Absolutely essential

Throw blanket

Also essential

Sleeping bag

Never used. Actually, I never even brought it to school because my brother used it before I left, and then he refused to clean it.

Extra blanket

Also never used it; sent it home after Fall Break

Under-Bed Storage

Still in the packaging.


Super useful both for hanging my jackets when I’m not using them and for hanging my shower caddy, both for storage and while in the shower, since there’s no shelf or hook or anything in my dorm shower.

Printer Paper

I can’t find my printer paper. There have been several times when it would have been useful, but it’s mysteriously disappeared.

Stapler & Staples

Super handy, but not absolutely essential


Ask me when I last used my ruler.

Paper Clips

Needed so often, and I always had to beg, borrow, or steal from a classmate.


Super handy. I recommend more than one, just in case. You never know when your computer will crash, so it’s always a good idea to BACK EVERYTHING UP. Also, a couple of cheap, low-storage flashdrives might be useful in case a friend needs one or you lose it or whatever may come up.


My hair, specifically my bangs, grew out to a point where I no longer needed to straighten it every day, so I sent my straightener home, and of course as soon as I did, I got my hair cut and have to pull my bangs back every day because they really look better straightened.

Blow Dryer

I hardly ever use it, but that’s probably based on your habits and who you are as a person.

Bath Mat *

Not at all necessary. Why did I put this on the list?

Shower Shoes

I don’t use shower shoes because I am a klutz and always slip on them. I know it’s super gross, but shower shoes are hazardous to my health. Plus our bathrooms get cleaned daily during the week.

Air Freshener

Helpful. Dorm rooms always smell weird, no matter how clean they are.

Broom and Dust Pan *

I had to buy a broom and dust pan during my second semester. I’ve only used it a few times, and it’s theoretically possible to check out a broom from the community office, but having it in my room makes me much more likely to actually sweep.

Vacuum *

Never got it. Never needed it, even with my carpet. I do know some people who have little miniature vacuums, but they also never use them.

Sanitizing Wipes

Super useful, especially for when you first move in and need to clean everybody else’s nastiness out of your room.

Toilet Brush *

I don’t have my own bathroom, so I never needed this.

Trash Can*

Even if your roommate brings a trashcan, it’s a good idea to bring your own (small) one. There will be fights over whose turn it is to take out the trash, and there will be many times when you’re too lazy to get out of bed to throw something away across the room.


Get one that fits under your bed.

Lint Roller

Now that I don’t live with any pets, I don’t have fur and lint all over my clothes, so I never needed a lint roller.

Water Bottles

Definitely a must. So important that I actually put it on my previous list twice.

Water Pitcher

I just have a really big water bottle that I fill up in the fountain. It gets me out of my room for a minute and lets me keep track of how much water I’ve had without taking up space in my fridge.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

I don’t actually bake that often because my dorm’s kitchen is super scary, but the measuring cups/spoons have come in handy a lot, for me and my friends.


Check your school’s policy on the size constraints of knives. And plan accordingly.


I neither have a funnel, nor have ever needed one.

Pot Holders*

All the dorms on my campus have potholders in the kitchens, but I bring my own because they’re better and sometimes people steal the community ones.

White Board (Markers, Magnets, etc.)

I actually have two boards: one for my door and one to make lists/work out code on.


I sent my storage ottoman home at Winter Break. It held my extra blanket and towels and stuff. I sent home the blanket and only have one spare towel which fits nicely at the top of my wardrobe.


A full-length mirror would have been super helpful. As it is, I have a tiny makeup mirror and make do.


More helpful than I ever could have imagined. I never realized how little I’m in the rain while at home, just running from the house to the car and back. Now that I walk everywhere, my umbrella is my best friend. I’ve been a drowned rat more times than I can count.

Tap Lights

I really like my tap lights, but I never actually use them.

Mace *

I never actually got Mace. It would probably make myself and my parents feel more comfortable about me walking around alone at night. Instead, I lace my keys through my fingers. However, I’ve never had a problem walking alone at night, even off campus. This is just me being paranoid, but as a girl you can never be too cautious. Make sure you check your state’s laws about pepper spray before you buy, though! If it’s illegal where you live, there are little metal stabby things shaped like cats and dogs that you can attach to your keys as a pretty good alternative.


I’ve actually only used my flashlight when the power went out in my building, and even then only inside my room, since there were emergency lights in the hallway.


The food in the dining hall is so bland that I haven’t had heartburn since being at school, so I haven’t needed TUMS.

For the rest of the list, check out my previous post. Happy packing!

Is there anything I left off the list that everyone absolutely needs to pack? Or anything you found helpful that isn’t on there? Or maybe something that’s on there that you didn’t need? Let me know in the comments!


(The finished product is at the bottom of the post!)

I love elephants, and I love being crafty, so I decided to combine two of my greatest loves and learn something new all at once. I bought a cross stitch kit from Hobby Lobby (I can’t find the exact kit I used online, but they have tons, and you could easily find one you liked), and I set to work… after leaving it my junk drawer for several weeks.

Cross stitch was something that looked interesting but that I’d never tried, so I didn’t want to tackle anything too huge (my finished product is about 2″x2″). I found it quite relaxing, and now I’m looking into Stitching Out Stigma, a really amazing organization, as well as just fun little projects. My goal is to stitch at least one row per day. I like that I can take my cross stitching nearly everywhere because it’s fairly small. Also, I don’t have to keep up with a huge ball of yarn!

What are your thoughts on cross stitch? Have you started (or finished) any new projects lately?

Here’s my first cross stitch attempt:

The original pattern wanted me to put ugly spots all over the poor elephant, so I modified it a bit.

The original pattern wanted me to put ugly spots all over the poor elephant, so I modified it a bit.

How to organize your college binder

I’m going to shamelessly steal and modify this great organization system for school this year!

Study. Read. Write.

Having an organized binder for your study material is important. There’s nothing worse than not remembering where exactly you wrote down the homework or getting your papers all mixed up.

Being a student myself and having just re-organized my entire binder, I thought I’d share my system with you.

Free downloads of the cover sheets are available below!

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30-Day Writing Challenge (Day Two)

30 day writing challenge blog

It has been entirely too long since I’ve worked on this supposedly-thirty-day challenge. Oops. I’ve had a lot going on and haven’t felt like getting too personal, quite honestly. I’ve been avoiding responsibility in the most fun ways: binge-watching Supernatural (OMG Sammy is totally my baby I love him so much), finally reading some of the books on my shelf, getting ready for school, and tackling some of my Pinterest board (check out my Mother’s Day project and these Origami hearts). But now I’m going to tackle this. And hopefully I’ll keep up this blog a little better; my goal is to post at least once per week until school starts back, then we’ll see.

So onto the challenge!

#2 asks for my earliest memory.

My earliest memories are kind of odd. I have flashes of noise, colors, smells… things my mind couldn’t quite form into thoughts at the time. So I guess my first real memory, the first one with a story, is actually a really weird dream.

I had the dream when I was about three and in it I was wearing a diaper and standing in a crib and crying. Because I was crying in the middle of the night, my mother became very angry with me and started yelling at me.

At this point, I woke up to find my mother actually standing beside my bed and asking why I was crying. I can very vividly recall sobbing “You were spanking me.” I can also perfectly picture the look of confusion on my mother’s face.

I’m not sure what this means. Are any of you dream analysts? What would Freud say? What’s your first memory?

We Need More Male Protagonists in YA

Here’s a really interesting post about the need for diversity in the gender of YA lit!


male YAWhen was the last time you read a YA book told from a male character’s POV? And I mean entirely from his POV, not switching between a female character’s?

Can you name one? How about five? Ten?

Of all the books on my shelf, the only YA books I have with a male lead is Harry Potter. That’s it. All of the others books from the 20+ series on my shelf are told from a female perspective, or a male shared with a female.

That’s a HUGE contrast!

So what gives? Am I just drawn to stories with female protagonists? Maybe. Or are we seriously lacking some gender diversity in YA?

Honestly, I’m thinking it’s the latter.

Browse the YA selection in your bookstore or on goodreads and you’ll quickly see what I mean. It’s overwhelming how many books are told from the female POV.

This raises the question: how…

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A Reply to Lauren Southern’s “Why I’m Not a Feminist”

Everyday Geopolitics Houston

Dear Lauren,

In the last couple days, I have seen your video “Why I’m Not a Feminist” pop up a few times. In the video, you describe why you are not a feminist. At the heart of your message is the assertion, “I am not a feminist because I believe both genders should be treated equally.” Setting aside for a moment the problems with your assumption that gender can be reduced to a binary of male/female (here’s a decent introduction to that if you want), I want to talk about the misinformation you offer in your video: misinformation about feminist activism and scholarship, and misinformation about domestic violence and rape. I don’t often find engaging in these types debates online to be the most fruitful use of my energies, since people that produce anti-feminist content generally are not very open to meaningful engagement with feminist thought, however I’ve been stewing over your…

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