Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Between the Lines: All the Light We Cannot See

Today I'm joining Kristyn from Chits & Giggles for the Between the Lines book club review of All the Light We Cannot See. You can read my initial thoughts and review of the book here.

Review of All the Light We Cannot See
1. When Werner and Jutta first hear the Frenchman on the radio, he concludes his broadcast by saying “Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever”. How do you think this phrase relates to the overall message of the story?
I think this message is basically saying to follow your instincts, think for yourself and form your own opinions about things before the "ways of the world" and propaganda lead you to believe things that just aren't true and your moral compass is ruined.
2. Why do you think Marie-Laure gave Werner the little iron key? Why might Werner have gone back for the wooden house but left the Sea of Flames?
I believe that Marie-Laure gave Werner the iron key because she trusted him. She could not see, so she only had her instincts to go on. She knew he was a German soldier, but she also knew that he came to find her when she needed help. I think Werner left the Sea of Flames for Marie-Laure to find. I think, in his mind, if she returned to find the sea of flames still waiting for her, that she would know how much he cared for her.
3. The author writes, “To shut your eyes is to guess nothing of blindness.” What did you learn or realize about blindness through Marie-Laure’s perspective? Do you think her being blind gave her any advantages?
I had a Great Grandfather who was blinded by glaucoma when I was just a baby. He had his vision for the majority of his life so I'm sure it affected him differently, just as it did Marie-Laure. I think blindness opened their minds to their other senses - they had to rely on their hearing, sense of smell, and touch, instead of sight, and in a way I think this could have given Marie-Laure certain advantages.
4. The narration moves back and forth both in time and between different characters. How do you think the experience would have been different if the story had been told entirely in chronological order?
I liked that the book was written from different times and perspectives. Actually, books with different protagonist perspectives are my favorite. With this particular book, I think the time changes added to the "mysteriousness" of the book and made it a little more interesting.

Did you read All the Light We Cannot See? Do you agree or disagree with my answers to these questions? Answer in the comments below!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Wedding traditions we skipped

Tradition can mean something different to everyone. There are Christmas traditions, first-day-of-summer traditions, and of course, wedding traditions. For our wedding (and wedding planning process) we skipped quite a few things many people would consider "traditional" and our day was just as special as anyone else's -in my opinion.

Sending out Save the Date cards. We were engaged for less thant three months. I think that's pretty self explanatory in that it would have been a ridiculous waste of time, paper, and money to send them out. So we just stuck with the formal invitiations.

Waiting to see each other before the ceremony: I talked already about our first look and our reasoning behind it here.

Tossing the bouquet/garter: We decided to skip this part at the last minute. Before the wedding I wasn't 100% on the idea anyway, being that we were having such a small wedding and only a small number of our guests were "single." I didn't want anyone to feel pressured or like they were being called out as single so during the reception when our photographer asked when we were going to do the toss, Derek and I made the executive decision to skip it. I really doubt anyone noticed.

Wearing a veil. Initially, I thought of wearing my mother's veil. It was a simple circular veil with lace trim around the edges. I had actually worn it for a play in high school. Unfortunately, over the years, between a move or two, it got misplaced. I had intended on wearing it in combination with the floral crown, but after we couldn't find it, I decided to go with the crown alone with a little ribbon. The flowers really complemented the "style" of our wedding, along with fitting my personality to a tee - and I still felt like a bride, even without the veil!

Dances. The only traditional dances we did were mine and Derek's first dance and then I shared a dance with my dad. When I said that Derek and I were opposites, I really meant it. I absolutely LOVE to dance - and I get it pretty honestly. At one point, I looked over on the dance floor and saw my parents (alone) getting down to "Shake Your Booty." Derek's mom and dad, however, barely stepped on the dance floor. At first I wanted Derek and his mom to have a dance but they were both not comfortable with the idea so I didn't push it.

Ring bearer/flower girl. Yes, the pictures are adorable of the little person walking down the aisle with a sign that says "Here comes your girl!" and other cute things. Or being pulled down in a little red wagon. We chose to skip out on this part for several reasons. First, we were lacking in the little people department. None of our close friends or family had kids the right age and though you could probably hire someone out, I didn't want to do that. Secondly, I was in a wedding several years ago and the flower girl & ring bearer got to walk down the aisle with ME! I actually ended up carrying the younger of the two, and when it was time for him to be handed off to Grandpa and me stand beside the bride, well... lets just say it was an interesting transition. Neither of us wanted to go through that, so we didn't. We actually wanted to have an entirely kid-free wedding and we nearly succeeded! 

Some wedding traditions we DID participate in:
-Cutting the cake/champagne toast (and by champagne I mean Miller Lite).
-First dance as bride and groom
-Having my dad walk me down the aisle
-Serving dinner (I was NOT about to starve) instead of "finger foods"
-Getting married by a church officiant (I surprised myself with this one)

What are some things you decided to skip when planning your own wedding?


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Thursday, March 12, 2015

An open letter to nursing students

 Dear Nursing Student,
The first thing I want to say to you, nursing student, is I'm proud of you and you should be proud of yourself. Nursing is not easy. It is not for the faint of heart. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, but mostly it makes me appreciate the little things in life: my health, my limbs, my ability to speak, etcetera. So be proud of yourself for taking the hard road.
Whether you're just starting out or you're getting ready for NCLEX, you're probably feeling a little overwhelmed right now. At any given point during my time in nursing school, I was feeling overwhelmed about something and I learned, throughout my journey, that is completely normal. It's completely normal to question even wanting to BE a nurse anymore (believe me, I did that many times). It's completely normal to come home feeling exhausted and thinking you can't take one more day of this. But you know what? You can.
The important things to remember are:
Grace. Give yourself lots and lots of grace. You're going to make mistakes. You're going to blow that vien, mix up medications, not know the right answer sometimes. Grace is important - you need to forgive yourself, and learn from these mistakes - that is what will make you a better nurse.
Rest. Take time for yourself, your spouse, your friends. Take an hour to call an old girlfriend or go for a walk. Clear your head and come back to it later. Stay refreshed. Stay hydrated and stay  nourished. You can't expect to keep other people healthy if you aren't healthy yourself.
Patience. You aren't going to learn nursing in a day. You aren't even going to learn it in a year. Or ten years. Be patient, the knowledge will come. And keep coming and keep coming. The day it stops coming and you stop learning, is the day you need to stop being a nurse.
Love & compassion. To me, this is what separates a good nurse from a great one. The one's who really invest themselves in their patient's well being and the ones who truly love what they do and have compassion for everyone. Don't ever stop loving people.
So, little nursling, I hope this letter to you has helped you in some way. I hope you remember why you started nursing school. I hope you remember to trust your instincts and question everything. Whether it's your first semester or your last, don't give up. Keep on keepin' on.
A nurse who was once in your shoes.
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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What I would do with a million dollars | Lauren from Lot 48

hello  geez louise readers!! i'm lauren and i blog over at lot 48!  i blog about anything that pops into my head, from my life to entertainment, to guessing who would play me in a movie.  you won't find DIY projects, recipes, fashion or beauty tips on my blog.  i am clueless about all of that!!

today, i am going to talk about what i would do if i had a million dollars.  i know i couldn't do all of these, so these are each one by one situations.  i know i couldn't buy a mansion and travel through europe.  so these are all 5 different things i would do with a million, yeah?

buy a mansion.  oh the glamour!  i love mansions! who doesn't, right?  when i was dating my husband, we went to the parade of homes.  we saw this absolutely GORGEOUS mansion that is like a dream.  we went there twice and i was so in love with it.  i had been wearing a promise ring for months and a proposal was near.  i told taran, my husband, "i want to get engaged here."  they had this adorable little gazebo in the backyard and it was surrounded by all these pretty trees and it was just so beautiful.  i told him i wanted to get engaged there.   nobody was living in it, the construction company just built it, so he called the company and they said it would be okay for him to use the gazebo!  he decorated the pathway with beautiful tiny candles in bags and hung fake garlands with pretty flowers (all per my mom's suggestion) it was so beautiful.  and duh, of course i would love to live in a mansion. 

travel through europe:  who wouldn't want to travel through europe?  given my recent travel experiences, i have learned that i get really cranky after 3 days of walking and sightseeing so i would want to do it at a slow pace.  it becomes not fun anymore when you are so exhausted and your feet hurt so badly.  my sister and her best friend went to DC and they walked until literally her friend's feet bled.  not for me.  i would want to do it slowly.  and if we had a million dollars, we could right?  i would want to see greece (especially santorini, above) germany, paris, amsterdam, prague, venice, florence (already been to rome) all the hot spots.  i think i would just follow casey's list and go that way.  

pay off debt + put a downpayment on a house because realistically, my husband wouldn't let me spend a ton of money until we pay off our debt.  so this seems like the most realistic solution.  that man is so responsible and careful with money.  it's good, but also, i just want to go to europe.  we really want a house but don't want a house until our debt is paid off, so if we won a million, that is probably what he would make us do. 

give it to charity:  this is the children's hospital in my city, i would give all the money to that hospital.  it is a really good hospital and is ranked nationally in some categories.  i would want to give the money to a place that counted.  like a hospital or a homeless fund or something like that.  

follow maroon 5 through their entire tour.  we had plans to go see maroon 5 next month and had our tickets bought and everything.  but now that i have lost my job, we can't afford to go.  it breaks my heart.  it really does.  i hate it.  i wanted to see them sooooo badly and every time i listen to their new album (which is their absolute best) i imagine seeing them perform it live.  it totally breaks my heart that we can't go see them.  we had to put our tickets up for sale.  we were going to see them in LA, which is the tour stop that is closest to us.  heart.  broken.  

thanks for letting me take over today! i hope you stop by my blog soon! 



Monday, March 9, 2015

No Shampoo: My first reactions

For a while now, I've been toying with the idea of trying the whole "No 'Poo" thing that's sweeping the nation. Well, maybe it's not "sweeping," but I'm sure you've heard of it. If not, here's the tl;dr version: instead of washing your hair with shampoo and conditioner from the drugstore (if you're me) or salon (if you're not me), you use products that you find in your home like baking soda, honey, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice. It's supposed to be much better for your hair and scalp in that it doesn't "strip" away your natural oils, resulting in over-production of even more oil. 

So anyway, back to my "toying with the idea". I first read about it about two years ago. Actually, I'm pretty sure I wrote a post about never wanting to try it because it just seemed too far-fetched. The transition period was too long, my hair was already so oily, I couldn't go over 24 hours without washing it, I sweat too much at the gym, etc, etc. But after careful consideration and a little preparation (I'll write more about that in another post), I tried it for the first time this weekend and here are some of my (initial) thoughts on the process/results.

-I wasn't sure of how much to use or what the water:baking soda or water:vinegar ratio should be. The general consensus was about 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda/vinegar, BUT the difference was in how much water to add. It ranged from 1/4 cup to 16 ounces. I just winged it.

-Was this going to make my hair smell bad?? There were several suggestions to over come the Easter-egg-dying smell, I ended up using honey. 

-My husband is probably thinking I'm a loon, measuring out these things and taking them into the shower.

-It was hard for me to tell if it was "working" because it never lathered. I knew it wasn't going to, but it was still a different sensation - it felt like I was just dumping water on my head.

-I was nervous that I would get it in my eyes or ears (it definitely got in my ears). I used a 16 ounce cup filled a little over half way with warm water from the shower - it seemed to be enough but since I was already wet it was hard to tell if I would get it all over my head evenly.

-Like I said, I mixed about one tablespoon of honey in with my vinegar, but it still stank a little. But it went away almost immediately after I rinsed.

-I knew going in (from the internet of course) that I needed to keep my hair as tangle-free as possible, so I brushed before showering, after I wet my hair with water, after I washed/rinsed with baking soda, while the vinegar mixture was still in my hair, and again after I rinsed the vinegar mix out. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but still pretty tangled.

-My hair definitely did not feel like it did after using a "normal" conditioner (kind of slick) but it didn't feel horrible either. I used the wide-toothed comb to dry my hair initially before switching to a round brush.

-I have naturally wavy hair, but because I had company coming over shortly, I didn't have time to let it air dry. When I blow dry my hair, I usually don't have to use a hair straightener if I take my time with my round brush - this time was no different. My hair dried/styled almost exactly the same.

-My hair did feel a little drier than usual, but not like a piece of straw - it's hard to describe but at the same time it felt drier, it also felt a lot lighter. 

-I'm (writing this) one day after the wash - my hair is just a little oilier than it would be on day two after a "normal" wash/condition. BUT I thing this could be attributed to not actually getting all of my hair/head when I washed because it's mainly the back of my head, the front still looks pretty good!

Other thoughts/what I'll do different:
-I'd like to get some kind of squirt bottle so that I can aim a little better when I put this stuff in my hair. I think it will help with (1) not getting it in my eyes and ears and (2) covering my whole head.

-Since my hair felt a little drier than usual, I'm thinking about trying some type of leave in or spray on conditioner so it doesn't dry out. Or maybe a once per week deep conditioning treatment. What are your thoughts?

-I'm not going to quit! If after a month, my hair continues to be dry or I just don't like it anymore, then I'll give it up. I've heard (mostly) good results from all of my internet browsing, so we shall see!

Have you tried the "No 'Poo" method? What are your thoughts on the process?