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Personal Life

Dear 2017

Dear 2017,

Wow. You went by so slow, yet so fast at the same time. You brought beginnings and you also brought along endings in a mere twelve months. I turned 19 years old in early March and did not really feel any older. I accomplished something that I never thought would happen: I completed my first year of college. During the summer, I got my first job and had a horrific (probably an over exaggeration) time of working at a gas station only a few miles from the county fair, earning me moments of getting hit on by carnies. My little brother finally entered into his double digit years in late July. I started my second year of college and took one of the most challenging English classes in the major! I joined the girls soccer club team and also the committee team for The Lighter on campus (yay for being social!). My parents got the kitchen remodeled, which is still not complete and has been one heck of a bumpy rollercoaster. Baby Driver was added to my list of favorite movies (you can read my gushing review of it by clicking here). I got to enjoy wonderfully, amazing music from artists that include One Republic, James Arthur, Fitz & The Tantrums, Demi Lovato, Maroon 5, and Jon Bellion. I swear Maroon 5’s new album ‘Red Pill Blues’ is one of their best ones yet and during these past few months, I became more and more obsessed with Jon Bellion’s music. Of course, I did A LOT of reading and always will be (I’m currently reading JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series and HOLY MACARONI I CAN’T PUT IT DOWN). My mom and I were able to get tickets for an event called ‘Readers on the River 2018’ where we will get to meet at least 20 authors, including a few of our absolute favorites! So, I thank you 2017, for bringing all of this goodness and more into my life during your twelve months.

Unfortunately, 2017, you also broke my heart by bringing events into my life that left me spinning. The life of someone my family loved dearly ended and the hole he left will forevermore be present. However, after this transpired, I learned the lesson of never taking a day for granted. It seemed like almost everywhere I turned there was drama around every corner, whether at school or at home. I have never been one to gravitate towards drama, but 2017, you pulled me in that direction so many times. I could go into more detail on the sad or negative events that occurred during your year, 2017, but I prefer to write more on the happy events, which I have done in the paragraph preceding.

2017, you led me to where I am now and I will be forever grateful, but it is now time to look to the future rather than hold my mind prison in the past.

Yours truly,

~Lex

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movies, Music

‘Baby Driver’ Will Make You Want to Head West in a Car You Can’t Afford…

I first saw the movie ‘Baby Driver’ with a friend back when it premiered in theaters in late June. I was drawn to it because Ansel Elgort plays the role of the main character, Baby. Little did I know I would walk out of the theater for that first time with a movie to add to my ‘all-time favorites’ list. It seemed I could not stop talking about it and ended up dragging my dad to the theater so I could see it for a second time and for him to get introduced to the amazing movie. Now, basically five months later, the movie is in my possession and my eye has set its enthralled gaze upon the action-packed scenes that are impressively choreographed to music for a grand total of six times. The sixth time commenced last night, when Valparaiso University’s UPC showed it for free along with popcorn. I have not grown tired of watching it yet and I do not think that I ever will…

‘Baby Driver’ follows the storyline of Baby, a getaway driver for a crime boss named Doc. In order to stay focused on the tasks at hand, Baby listens to music constantly and while the movie is playing, you get to listen to the music along with him. Whenever the headphones get pulled from Baby’s ears and his listening stops, so does yours. The music helps him stay focused because he has a condition called Tinnitus, which means he has a constant ringing in his ears that he got from getting in a car wreck when he was a little boy.

You glean the information of how Baby came to work for Doc around the middle of the plot. I would release that information here, but I do not want to give away a lot of details. All you need to know is that Baby is a getaway driver that wants to get out of the business and in the midst of all the craziness falls in love with a diner waitress. You’ll have to see the movie for yourself to fill in the missing holes. Make sure to play close attention to not only the actors, but also to the surroundings because lots of easter eggs are hidden throughout.

As I watched it for the sixth time, there was yet another easter egg that I caught and I did not think there could have possibly been more for me to miss. Baby Driver is such a fun and fast-paced movie filled with music, action, and intertwined with a little bit of love.

It is a movie you do not want to miss out on so pull up your bed, couch, chair, or whatever you find comfiest; grab that bag of popcorn or your preferred snack and enjoy. Afterwards, you will understand what I mean when I say ‘Baby Driver’ will make you want to head West in a car you can’t afford with a plan you don’t have…

~Lex

(P.S. If you would like a viewing buddy, hit me up)

 

Personal Life

Stop Making Excuses

Monday October 23rd, 2017 started out as a pretty good day for me. My mom informed me that morning that I would be able to come home for the weekend since they were not able to come up to Valparaiso to visit me for Family Weekend. Mother Nature made her monthly, albeit unwelcome, presence known right on time. I survived my 8 a.m. Theology exam and returned back to my dorm room after my 9 a.m. English class to work on some homework before lunch. Everything was going as it typically does on a Monday until 7:30 p.m. came along.

I was sitting at my desk watching Netflix on my laptop, waiting until it was time to leave for The Lighter meeting (Valpo’s student Literary and Fine Arts Journal). When the clock showed 7:30 my phone rang and my mom’s name came up on the screen. I answered right away with a “Hey, what’s up?” Then came my mom’s unstable voice when she asked, “Are you sitting down?”

My heart immediately went to my throat, thinking something had happened to my dad, my siblings, or another immediate family member. I cautiously answered with a timid “Yes, what’s wrong?…”

She then went onto tell me that my brother’s closest friend since elementary school and someone who had been like a brother to me, had passed away suddenly. I abruptly broke into sobs that wracked my body and instead of staying at my desk, I stumbled over to sit on the floor next to my bed. The tears would not stop and Mother Nature being partly in control of my hormones did not help one bit with keeping my emotions in check. I was in shock and not in shock at the same time. I definitely did not understand why it happened.

I woke up Tuesday morning with swollen eyelids from crying so much and not sleeping (thank goodness I did not have an early class). At first, I thought it had all been a dream, but one look at social media proved it was not. So of course, the rest of my week was spent trying to keep my mind off of it. I think the hardest thing was not being able to go home right away; the fact I had to wait four more days until I would be able to see my family was not sitting well with me. Luckily, I have an awesome roommate that helped me and was there for me, but it was still difficult nonetheless.

Several times throughout the week I kept thinking back to the time a couple weeks ago where I thought about messaging him, seeing how he was doing, and just checking up on him. I ended up deciding not to send any message and now I deeply regret that decision. Now, it is too late to reach out.

I know you probably hear it a lot and I know I have heard it a lot. However, I now understand more fully just how important it is. Does a thought cross your mind to message/text/call someone you have not talked to in a while? Make that thought reality. Send that message or text, make that call. None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow and no matter how sad or depressing that statement is, it is true.

Life is too short. Stop making excuses for not sending the text or not making the call. Even if the person on the other end does not respond, at least you can feel better knowing you tried to reach out.

I am not only speaking to you, dear reader, I am also speaking to myself.

So, please, stop making excuses.

~Lex

Personal Life

When Life Knocks You Down

 

Sometimes we may feel that life just keeps throwing consistent obstacles at us that seem like they have no way out. Lately, and especially in these past few days, this is how I have felt. Fall break was not long enough at all (only a mere 4 days) and after returning to campus, everything is being piled on me all at once. I have an exam in one class tomorrow, an exam Monday, an exam next Thursday, a group film paper project, and will soon have an essay project to work on in my English class. I am someone that stresses out very easily, obviously, so all of this is too much of a weight on my shoulders. I feel very overwhelmed and it is hard for me to look at and think of the positives in my life. However, after the dreadful time I had last year adjusting to college life, I have been working on focusing on those positives and trying to create a mantra that I attempt to follow…

Amidst all the negatives going on in my life, I try and take time to reflect on the positives:

  • I am alive (yay!)
  • I have a family that loves me and supports me in anything I do
  • I may be blind in one eye, but at least I still have great vision in the other!
  • I survived my freshman year of college
  • I have a room to live in and a bed to sleep on
  • I have food to eat and water to drink (cannot forget about the essentials)
  • I have friends that care for me
  • etc. etc. etc. etc.
My mantra that I try my best to live by is this: Take life one day at a time
  • I admit I struggle sometimes with this, but whenever you make it through a whole entire day, give yourself a pat on the back!
  • Looking too far ahead in the future, especially focusing on the stressful aspects of the future, is not good for your emotional and physical well-being
  • Having a planner is a great way to stay organized! You can write down tasks you need to complete each day and then once you complete a task, you can check it off and feel super accomplished!
  • Taking life one day at a time is really helpful, even though I know it is super hard to do

 

Stress is something no one likes, at least I do not see how one could like being stressed out. We have different ways of coping with this stress and it varies from person to person. Most people have things they do that are considered “bad habits”. Some of the most common ones are biting your nails or shopping until you drop. I have my own bad habit and it is something I detest.

When I get stressed and even sometimes when I am just bored, I pick at the skin around my fingers. I know, it is a terrible habit to have and yet I have lived with it my entire life it seems like. During middle and high school, I would have friends come up to me, see the multiple band aids, and ask, “What did you do to your fingers?” I would always respond with, “Oh, you know, the darn scissors got away from me again” or “I just have some nasty paper cuts.” When in reality, I had picked at my skin with my nails and was trying to cover up the damage. Did people know that I was lying and know what I truly did? I have no clue. I hate myself for doing it and sometimes there will be periods of time where I do not do it and my fingers look great! All it takes is for one little stressful thing to happen or for my hands to get really dry and I am right back at it again. This bad habit of mine is something I have never shared with anyone, except for my closest friends and family.

So if you have a bad habit similar to mine or do exactly what I do, I feel your pain and if you ever want to talk about it, please reach out. I love listening and will carve time out of my schedule if you need to be heard or just need to vent about something. When life knocks us down, we have to do our best to not let it hold us down, but rather pick our selves back up.

Please visit my contact page if you would like to reach out or have questions!

~Lex

 

College

College Pet Peeves

My Sophomore year of college has begun and wow, has it been crazy! Crazy enough that it has been weeks on end since I have published a post on here and for that, I sincerely apologize. I promise to try my best to post more, but on that note, it will most likely be more spread out instead of weekly. This past week however, a lightbulb inside my brain went off for my new topic…drumroll please…

College Pet Peeves!

This list could probably go on forever, but I am going to highlight some of the most important ones on my personal list:

  • Being sick on campus

This pet peeve does not count for those students that are commuters and get to go home and live through the illness there. No, this pet peeve is for those of us that have to suffer in our dorm rooms without the ability to go home and fall dead into the comfort of our beds. I have had a bad cold this past week and all I wanted to do was jump in my car and make the almost two hour drive home. Alas, I could not 😦

  • Waking up early

Last year, I was lucky enough that my earliest class did not start until 9 a.m. and that was not even until second semester. However, this semester, I have an 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This means my alarm is set for 6:45 a.m. those mornings and I am barely surviving. For all of you college students out there suffering through 8 a.m.’s, I feel your pain.

  • Being a picky eater

My taste buds do not allow me to enjoy all the delicacies of food cuisine that exist in this world. I am a very picky eater and it shows when I am on campus. My meals continuously consist of either pizza, chips, pasta, cheese quesadillas, or burgers/fries. Sometimes, fruit makes it into the mix. Yes, I know, I am not a healthy person. When I am at home, I have more variety and am able to eat more foods that are healthy. Do not blame me, blame my taste buds. It is biology!

  • Rude Classmates

You all know who I am talking about, even if you are one of them. I am speaking of those students that talk while the professor is talking and obviously do not care that they are distracting other students. I did not earn scholarships and get student loans in order to attend this almost $50,000 tuition college just to talk during class and not learn. So it always boggles my mind those people that do just that. I had this issue in my psychology lecture class yesterday with a group of three girls sitting in front of me. It got so bad, in my opinion, that I felt like there were hidden cameras in the room and I was on the show “What Would You Do?” Please, do not be that student. Not only for yourself, but also for those students around you.

 

Obviously, like I said before, this list could go on and on. Do you have any college pet peeves that I did not list here and you wish I had? Comment them down below 🙂

~Lex

 

Miscellaneous

Fictional Characters: Can’t Live With ‘Em, Can’t Live Without ‘Em

Raise your hand if you have ever felt personally victimized by the fictional characters that have been brought into our lives through television, movies, and books…

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I can definitely say that I have felt personally victimized by them more times than I can possibly count. This past week I completed the entire 7 seasons of Sons of Anarchy and I can unashamedly say I shed tears almost every episode. So when I was in the middle of sobbing during the final episode, a lightbulb went off in my brain as to what my topic should be for my next blog post. My immediate thought: “Write about fictional characters and how they make you sob.”

However, they make me feel more emotions than just sadness all the time. Anger, sadness, happiness, and surprise are just some of the emotions that fictional characters bring out in me. I will start out liking a character and then think to myself: I could never dislike, or even hate, this character! Then sometimes that character does something and my feelings of like turn to feelings of passionate dislike. Hate is a bad word and I try not to use it so I say passionate dislike instead, but sometimes I slip up. I mean, how could I even hate a fictional character? They are not even real and yet I am still stuck putting my entire soul into their storyline and feeling like the world is ending when something wrong happens. I can also be found raising my voice at books (inanimate objects) when certain characters are being frustrating.
Other moments I can be found smiling without even realizing it because, gosh darn it, fictional characters can also make me really happy.

So yes, I feel personally victimized by fictional characters A LOT, but I have survived and will continue to do so since I do not think I could live without the storylines that the writers of movies, television shows, and books allow us to be a part of.

Have you ever felt personally victimized by fictional characters? If yes, comment below which ones and we shall discuss the wrongs done to us if I too, have been personally victimized by that character.

~Lex

 

Personal Life

Reading is the Best Medicine

Ever since I was able to understand the different combinations letters can make on a piece of paper, I read as much as I could. I started out with picture books and moved my way up from there. Junie B. Jones dominated my young childhood years, Harry Potter dominated my late elementary and middle school years (still does), and now I am most of the time found with my nose stuck in a good romance novel. I am a sucker for those, I will admit. However, I read all types of genres and I am not averse to trying out something new.

Back in elementary, my school had a reading program called AR or Accelerated Reading. You would pick out books in your level, read them, and then take quizzes to earn points. After you earned so many points, a prize was headed your way. In my case, I earned so many points and received all the prizes that I got to go as far as reading a book to a younger class in the library and also helping out a teacher of my choice for a day during my fifth grade year. The library at my elementary was my favorite place to be during my K-5 years.

As I grew older, my love for books grew right along with me. I still have my dollhouse bookshelf that is filled with books along with a new bookshelf right next to it filled to the brim as well. I only plan on adding more to the collection that I call my “mini library”. No, I have not read many classics, but you can bet I will be soon since I am in college and an English major! I was drawn to all the typical YA novels in middle school that either involved magic, vampires, werewolves, teen drama, or dystopia. Let us not be rude here, though. All of those YA novels I read are AMAZING and I do not doubt I will reread them again at some point in my lifetime.

Like I said before, I am currently and have been on a romance novel streak. One of my absolute favorite romance writers is Kristen Ashley. I actually just purchased one of her boxed sets today because I have always read her novels through my tablet. I am practically screaming on the inside just thinking about getting to hold a physical copy of one of her books and being able to read it that way. I have always preferred print over eBook, but until I have the money to splurge on the hundreds and thousands of novels I would love to have in my possession, free eBooks are the way I will go! Other amazing romance novelists include Stephanie Bond, Karen Robards, Jennifer Crusie, Linda Howard, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Tara Janzen, and so many more-it is impossible to list them all here. My mom is a huge fan of J.R. Ward and here in the very near future I plan on beginning her Black Dagger Brotherhood series – I am so excited to finally delve into these books you have no idea!!

Books give me life and I do not know how I would live without them. When you are sad, you can pull out a happy book and bam…mood lifted. Need to have a good cry? There are plenty of novels out there just for you. I read so much when I was younger that my parents would punish me after I got in trouble by taking away reading time. Those were dark times that I do not like to ponder. Once, during my early high school years, I was reading during dinner (a big no-no) and my dad grabbed the book right out my hands and hid it from me. I gave him the silent treatment the rest of the night, ha!

Will I eventually write my own novel one day? I honestly could not tell you right now, but I do know anything is possible in anyone’s life. You, my lovely reader, could write your own novel someday or become the next President of the United States because literally ANYTHING is possible if you put your mind to it.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars”

~Lex