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Last post, I realise that I had made illusions to having photos of my new dorm room, but because of dead batteries and my forgetful nature, they didn’t quite make it into the post.  So, here are all of those photos:

Here are the majority of my things in the room.  Colourful, right?

One of the things I was really worried about was how to get both natural and artificial lighting.  Well, after some moving around of my desk and a five-headed lamp, problem solved.  If this is to be a tip for anyone moving into a dorm, definitely invest in good lighting.  I’d say no less than three lamps–one for your desk, one for by your bed, and one for general purposes.

What I really love about having a dorm twice the size of last year is that I can bring along my own furniture to spice things up.  If you’ve ever been in my basement, you may remember this hideous whitish-yellow coffee table that was by the couches.  Well, do you recognise it now?  TADA!  I painted it a deep mint green and added brown trees to the side that look wonderfully whimsical.  And I just added some throw pillows that I made (okay, and two that I bought), my ugly, patchwork blanket that I finally finished, and my stupid monster stuffed animal that I made last year.  His name is Cedric Stupory.  I made him a girl friend named Cho Chud-up, but she’s not cool enough to make it to uni.

Because of the extra room this year, I was actually able to see my wall, which meant more opportunities to decorate.  I bought a few new picture frames to compliment the paintings that I had brought up last year.  Since my bed is lofted, I get to use that metal frame for even more decorating.  Yeah!  I used some otherwise useless magnets to hang up random photos from Germany, Colorado, and home.

Another cool thing was to be able to hang up all of my necklaces and use them as some dècor.  The best ever hooks are 3M, and they make it super easy to hang everything from jewellery to towels to paintings to curtain ties.  The next best hook would be any over the door hook.  If your bed is lofted like mine, you can put the hooks over the rungs on the side of the bed in order to hang up purses, electrical cords, whatever.

The built-in bookshelf on the desk is a life-saver on many levels.  First, it eliminates the need for me to actually bring up something for all of my text books and resources.  Second, it has cork board.  CORK BOARD.  Back in early high school, I started collecting a lot more jewellery, which caused me to quickly run out of space.  But one day, while rearranging my cork board in my bedroom, I discovered that necklaces could be hung from colourful sewing needles or push pins.  What a marvellous day!  Ever since, I’ve used available cork board for my jewellery since I usually don’t post anything else on the boards aside from important tid bits and old pins.

Here’s a better view of the necklaces.

I also have an array of mason jars for food (everything from almonds to chocolate chips to home made mint tea!), FOSSIL tins from a Saint Charles store called Left Overs, and garage sale wooden jewellery holders for all kinds of pens and post its and whathaveyou.  Around this time of year, you’ll see Walmart carrying those shit organisers in every bright colour and type of plastic.  While they are usually functional, they automatically make your dorm, well, look like a dorm.  If you want to transform your dorm into your own room (or better yet, an apartment), you have to plan ahead and add more sophisticated elements.  Plus, I just like that the wooden furniture hides the sight of bright neon highlighters but still costs less than a dollar.

Most of the time, I shove my text books into my binders/folders for the class.  This helps keep me organised and also allows me to easily pick up everything I need for class.  Sure, there are stragglers that couldn’t find their way into a binder, but I have some neat marble horse-head bookends that my mum bought around the time that I was born.  They’re heavy enough to get the job done but still look pretty neat.

I really do love the food décor, though.  Antique mason or jam jars work great, but you can also buy jars for super cheap at Walmart.

Another really great way to decorate (that’s also useful) is to have plants in your room.  Unfortunately, I killed all of my plants from last year, so this year, I have a slew of new finds!

Oh, and I have a Skittles machine.  Be jealous.

What you can’t see in this photo is that I added curtains today.  They’re the same bright purple ones from last year, but it was an amazing difference putting them up.  It made the hole room look so much more like home.

And I know you’re just thrilled to see the inside of my wardrobe.  Yes; I know that I am Elle Woods.  But since I’ve practically turned this post into a dorm show-off for anyone interested in dorm décor, I thought I’d mention the use of drawers and hangers for scarves.  Oh, and this is my personal entrance to Narnia.  Aslan and I are best-friends.

Again, 3M Hooks are your best-friend.  I use them to hold up old bra hangers, and from there, the bra hangers then become SCARF HANGERS!  I’m one of those girls who collects massive quantities of scarves, so I had to find a good way to store them.

Drawers are also your friend.  But, ye be warned: measure first.  You don’t want to be coming home to find your drawers not fitting into your wardrobe.  Last year, these were showing right next to my desk, which wasn’t all that bad.  It just didn’t look that great since they are see-through.

Also, get a nice plastic caddy for your shower things.  And a soap container.  THEY ARE AMAZING.

Storage.  It happens.  And it doesn’t always look nice.  But whatever.  I brought along the fridge again and bought a cheap microwave from Walmart.  And it works cheaply, too, but it eventually gets the job done.  Target had some great storage cubes last year, and this year, the price dropped enough for me to get a door and more shelves for the inside of them.  Now they hold food.  Yeah!

MORE STORAGE!

Anyway, this has turned into one of those posts that was meant for my friends but has turned into something that people will find on Google and then look through before heading off to uni every August.  Oh well.  Here are some pictures from my dorm last year:

The first stages, before I had figured out how to make things pretty.  TRANSFORMATION:

Much better.  Getting the cords out of the way and removing random junk really helped.  And, just a little tip, store extra things in your car.  My room mate used to store some of her cooking supplies in her trunk to save on room because, as you can tell from the next photo, it was cramped.

We had the smallest dorm on campus that was shared by two people, but we managed to make it work.  It just felt a little bit like a cupboard.  But not in the good way–you know, like Harry Potter.

Speaking of Harry Potter, I make really terrible first introductions with people I don’t know who have to live with me.  Get ready 1 North, you’re living with Missi–the girl who says that hummingbirds and chicken nuggets are synonymous.

I’ll leave you now.

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It was a long day of working outside in 96 degree heat with small children around a camp-fire, cooking up stick bread and dump cake and making our own butter.  Six bottles of water, one packed lunch, and an entire outfit soaked in sweat later, it was time to go home and chill.  Of course, first things first, I needed food.  So I took some old black beans, added pepper jack cheese, onions, and a tomato, cooked it in the microwave and ate it along with bread and butter and yet another bottle-amount of water.  And then I showered.  Or, rinsed off would be the more correct phrasing.  And, finally, I was then able to chill and read random fashion/living blogs and avoid Facebook like usual.

The reason that I mention this to you is because I was informed during my blog reading this afternoon that this is not normal teenage culture.  Nothing seemed weird to me when I was making my own breakfast, lunch, and dinner; volunteering at an historic site; or not washing my hair.  But, turns out that these are all faux-pas.  During my reading based off of a Seventeen article, we are supposed to eat macaroni and cheese or go out to get good food.  Then, we’re supposed to work at the mall in some fashion forward boutique where we will be yelled at by gorilla-managers and stomped on by customers for a small pay check.  And, last, we’re supposed to take that second shower of the day where we rewash and then attempt to add the oils back to our skin and hair before blow drying and straightening our hair before just going to bed.

And it left me thinking, “What the fuck?”

Or maybe it just had me reeling that some ordinary day wasn’t ordinary at all in the standards of big businesses or media that would like to think that teenagers are all one stereotype.  According to them, at nineteen, I should still be painting my toenails every night before talking to my gal friends about who I should totally go on a date with after watching that new Twilight film.  They believe that women my age should be more interested in clothing, make up, and hair rather than careers, education, or our own opinions.

As much as I suppose I’ve known all of this goes on, it still manages to sicken me.  Teenagers are not the same person duplicated over and over again.  We are a force of many different people–perhaps even more varied than the majority of the adult world.  As a woman (and, yes, a WOMAN) who is both an adult and a teenager, I feel that my word on this should be fairly solid since I can see both worlds for the time being.

Media outlets try to push every piece of merchandise and accessory available to teenagers through the presumption that we are all the same person, and maybe they make a lot of money doing that.  But they also lose our trust when we are all labelled as trouble makers or fashion addicts or skater punks.  As an example, there was an occasion once at the mall when I was fifteen when I was followed around by a security guard and then questioned just because I was a teenager and because I was wearing the colour black (which happened to be a black polo with a grey pearl necklace, mind you).  When confronted, I commented that I was being pushed into a category I didn’t belong in simply because of my age and that it was blatant ageism.  And that security guard no longer had my trust because of that, which is sad since authority figures should be respected–not flattened because you have no faith in them.  I’m not saying that Media should be authority, but if it wants to act as such, then it needs to win over our trust by treating us as actual people.

So here’s what I have to say to those who believe my life is not the norm of teenage culture:

What is the norm?  Is it really that abnormal that I don’t work in the food or fashion industry?  Is it that abnormal that I love uni and learning?  Is it that abnormal that I not only cook all of my meals myself but cook them very healthily?  And is it really that abnormal that I don’t always wash my hair?

I mean, really, I like that my fifty year-old co-worker at the historic site quotes Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy while talking about politics or that my hair is healthy because I don’t over wash it.  I like the food I eat, even though it’s not fried, full of chicken, or dumped in sugar.  So to those who say that I shouldn’t enjoy these and that they aren’t normal teenage culture, stuff it.  Here’s to all of those teenagers out there who are real people rather than what someone would like to think of them as–one dimensional zombies, bumping into each other while trying to buy another 26 dollars in anti-frizz serum.

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The Fashion Bitch

There’s a quote somewhere that says, “With blogs, never have there been so many people writing with so little to say.”  As odd as it sounds, I completely agree with this.  Blogs aren’t some new force to rival media outlets or really get your opinions out there.  They’re public diaries followed by close friends in order to keep in touch.  Sure, every once in a while, you’ll get a blog that is actually viewed by thousands of people, usually because they’re either about fashion or entertainment.

I’ll fully admit to lavishly looking through European fashion blogs about street style and the blogs of my friends, but I otherwise stay far from other people’s ramblings.  Which brings up a point.  If I don’t like to read blogs all that often, then why do I keep one?

In a way, it’s a vanity.  It’s the thought that someone out there will read it (even though I couldn’t care less), and I realise that many people start blogs for this express reason.  The reason I started mine was because I was behind in writing in my diary (which is not public in any form, may I add), and typing was simply faster.  So, I figured that I would keep a blog as a secondary diary when I had something interesting to say that maybe a wanderer would be slightly interested in.

Well, I’ve had my fair share of wanderers, and I’ve also had my share of friends read what I’ve posted.  But, it still comes back to “why do I really have a blog?”  I can’t answer that with anything other than the paragraph above.

And, here, I’m going to send you on another loop–I’m interested in starting a second blog.  Actually, interested is too light of a word; I’ve already started it.

As mentioned before, my guilty pleasure is to scroll through the pages of European fashion blogs (particularly Copenhagen Street Style and Dam Style) in search of what will inevitably be in style three years off.  Yes, the Midwest is three years behind European fashion and Japanese fashion.  Only in big cities (New York, Chicago, etc.) in the US will you see some of the newer styles.  So, you could call it interesting to see into the future.

Now, I’m not obsessed with fashion.  I don’t scour the malls for what’s just come into stock (because I don’t find American fashions appealing in the least bit).  But I will search Goodwills and thrift stores for the perfect shoes or skirt.  And I will buy things that are unique and then sew them up to fit better.  I like chic skirts with opaque tights, cardigans, and Rockport shoes.  And I’ve found that Europe seems to like that as well.  Granted, some of the styles are a little crazy (they will never be marketable to the US public), but I still like to muse over them.

I fully realise how vain I sound at the moment.  But let me sum this up in the best way possible: I dislike American styles and love European ones because they are more mature, classy, and unique.

So, let’s talk about the Midwest.  We’re one year behind the coasts, two years behind Japan, and three years behind Northern Europe.  Why is this?  Is it because we’re in a state of isolation?  Or is it because too many Midwesterners are content going to work, school, and shopping in sweatpants and an old t-shirt?  Occasionally, we see someone breaking that mould a little, but it’s not often enough.  Even on campus, I’ll see person after person in the same pair of grey sweatpants, and it saddens me to see the lack of originality.

Don’t take this as a slam, of course.  I want each person to wear what they want to wear.  It isn’t my choice to decide your wardrobe for you.  But, I have come under the thought lately that you should take care of yourself.  Take it from someone who dressed like crap for a good portion of her life, once you tug on something that is classy and mature and well-fitting, you feel a little better about yourself.  You may not feel rich and super-powered, but I find that you’ll respect yourself more.  So, it really all comes down to respect, I guess.  And if you really love your body, you’re going to want to treat it with nice things to show that respect.

So, this all boils down to the thought that I want to start a fashion blog called “Midwest Style Watch”.  It is a paradox, I realise, but I want to post photos that show that the Midwest is not only trying to catch up, but that there are people here who have interesting styles and quirks that you won’t find in an American Apparel catalogue.  Too many people get slammed for dressing “weird” when really it’s just another style that does not involve sweats and an Aeropostale shirt.  My goal is to show these individuals.

Now, it will be difficult.  It’ll mean carrying my camera at all times, finding the courage to confront people on campus to see if I can take their picture, and it will be a lot of work keeping up the blog.  But I am highly interested in starting this project.

So, wish me luck, and if you have any recommendations, ideas, comments, criticisms, questions, etc., they are greatly appreciated.  And when the blog is up and running, I’ll post a link.  Thanks, and watch for the fashion bitch. ;)

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It’s Tuesday, and I’m missing Kirksville.  My mum stresses me beyond all reason, and my waterbed is no longer as comfortable as it used to be.  My dorm bed has spoiled me, which is an odd statement to make.  Usually, people complain about those things…

Meanwhile, I finally got a car–my step-dad’s old Explorer.  It’s not much, but it will get me from point A to B, it has working heating, and the CD player is… well, there.  It’s not the best, trust me, but I’m still pretty happy with it.  The only downside was that it took a little time at the Licensing bureau to get all of the paper work ready.  And after that, I just renewed my license.  Ha Cha Cha–and it was a much better picture than last time.

Aside from my daily drivels, I’ve been cutting more and more meat out of my diet lately, and now I’m down to about one serving of meat per week.  It’s much healthier for you to cut down on meat, which is why I’m doing it (none of that obsessive PETA crap).  I’ll most likely be a vegetarian at the start of the new year.  That will give me a lovely goal for 2010.  I’m sure I’ll do fine keeping it up, especially with Aaron encouraging me; he’s already a vegetarian and often informs me that I might as well become one.

The cool thing with cutting down on meat, though, is that I’ve actually lost weight.  I lost six pounds (which really isn’t all that much), but I did lose two inches around my waist and went down a full dress size.  So, after getting home, I had to stop by the mall to get new jeans.  Size eleven definitely feels nice.  Plus, I actually treated myself to some Levi’s skinny jeans instead of Walmart’s sorry excuse for trousers.  So, much to Rebecca’s liking, I now have fitting jeans.

And pause.

Why would Rebecca care if I bought new jeans?  Well, it wasn’t the new jeans part, but she’s been trying to get me to buy Levi’s for the past three months now.  They’re good quality; I won’t deny that.  It’s just that, when I had looked at the Levi’s store a year ago, they didn’t have any skinny jeans above a size nine, and nothing in talls.  Being the five foot nine giant that I am, I was in serious need of thirteen talls.  But, now, not only do they have all sizes in skinny jeans and in talls, but I could buy the elevens.  Awesome time, seriously.

Anyway, time for dinner, even though it seems to early at 17.17; I like that time.  My mum made spinach lasagne for me, which is nice.  I’m honestly surprised that she has become receptive of my attempts at limiting meat.  That, or she just feels bad that I had to eat a chicken sandwich yesterday and it upset my stomach since it was too much meat.

Either way, I’m happy.  Let’s just wait and see how Thanksgiving goes, though.  After all–it is the holiday that’s celebrated with turkey…

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