100 Happy Days Challenge :: Days 11-20

Keeping up with the challenge has been difficult the past ten days, partially because I've been so busy getting everything in my new home but mainly because I've found it hard to stay positive overall. This move has taken so much out of me physically and mentally, but something as small as this challenge keeps me focused on what's coming up next.

I'm hoping to have a very important job application submitted my tomorrow, but in the meantime these are the things that have been keeping me occupied during the past few days. I honestly almost forgot on day fourteen, so I might have to begin setting a reminder on my phone before the day is over.

To read why I'm taking part in the challenge, you can click here, and also catch up on the first ten days. I'd love for you to follow me on Instagram and comment down below if you're currently taking part in the challenge or have in the past.

DAY 11: Visiting family one last time before my move and admiring my dad's new hobby of creating the most adorable terrariums.

DAY 12: Flight number two. Yes I did take my terrarium on board the plane, and yes, I did eventually prick myself.

DAY 13: The first of many East Coast sunrises I captured.

DAY 14: I found my high school honor roll buttons while packing plus my first cell phone ever!

DAY 15: Cat sitting my favorite kind of cat, black. She kind of had an attitude but I loved her anyways.

DAY 16: God is real y'all. Chicken fries are back!

DAY 17: If over packing was a sport, I'd always be MVP. 

DAY 18: I spent 2-3 hour wandering Target, it's sort of the place I go for comfort. No matter where you are, Target is always the same. 

DAY 19: My mind has been a mess lately, so I decided to at least not let my nails follow suit. 

DAY 20: You know you've been living in California too long when you are legitimately excited that it's raining. (I lit candles guys. And maybe some incense.)

If you are participating in the 100 Happy Days Challenge I'd love if you comment you're Instagram account so I can go give you some love, and if you've already finished it(or tried to), how was your experience?
You can keep up with my progress here >>

Why Do We Travel?

**I wrote this during my last few days in California. I have since relocated to the East Coast and will soon be discussing how the move has gone**

The majority of my day today was spent running around with my mom, purchasing last minute items I was in need of before my move to Washington DC. Ordinary things that I never bother to buy myself, like shoes or new sheets, the kind of stuff your mom (or at least my mom) likes to nag about.

The day wrapped up with me purchasing a new piece of luggage because mine was beyond repair after having been lugged around the cobblestone streets of Europe and stuffed to the point that I once pulled a muscle while picking it up.

Moving to Washington DC has become this bittersweet event in my life, because while I love the idea of being back in the city and working on completing my masters degree, I have to leave everything behind once again to be happy. And that's me being completely honest, I am utterly unhappy when I'm home. Or anywhere for longer than a year for that matter. 

I'm not sure where my need to constantly be on the move stems from. I had a pretty stable childhood, we didn't move constantly from home to home and grew up in the same town my whole life. Yet when it came to choosing a university to complete my undegraduate degree in, my only criteria was how many miles I could put between myself and home. 

Four hundred miles away wasn't enough apparently because I eventually decided to study abroad, and then I grew bored of England and decided to spend weeks backpacking. Coming back from the UK to my small college town felt like a death sentence, and I can distinctly remember crying the entire flight across the Atlantic Ocean, just wishing didn't have to come back to California. 

I eventually escaped California by taking part in an internship program in Washington DC, and in those months I fell in love with the feeling of truly living in a city. 

I don't travel for the photo opportunities, the chance to learn about new cultures and definitely not for the food. When I took a moment to think about it today I realized I travel for that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when your plane lands. That feeling of uneasiness when you're not sure which way is baggage claim, you're anxious that the directions to the hotel you printed out ahead of time won't help you get any less lost, and you cant for the life of you find anyone who seems approachable enough to ask for help. 

My favorite feeling in the world is moving somewhere completely new, having to learn the quickest walk home, the way the aisles in the grocery store are organized, and adapting to the new weather. Eventually though that feeling of newness fades away, and I'm left wishing I could just pack up again and start a life somewhere new. 

Have any of you traveled somewhere new for an extended period of time, and if you, for what purpose? 

100 Happy Days Challenge :: Days 1-10

So much has been going on the past ten days I don't know where to begin, but through it all I've managed to keep up with the challenge and capture some very big moments of this year.

Tomorrow night I will be catching my flight to Washington DC, where I have a room in a gorgeous house waiting for me and my graduate program to begin. Below are my photos from days 1-10 of the 100 Happy Days Challenge, and a quick explanation of each.

I'm hoping on completing this challenge for a lot of reasons, but my biggest goal is to just capture all the changes that will be occurring during the remainder of this year. If you aren't following me on Instagram you definitely should, I post minimal selfies and promise to not use more than 3 hashtags. Check out my account here >>

DAY 1: Announcing my decision to move to Washington DC to all my friends. 

DAY 2: Found $20 while sorting things for my yard sale. Score!

DAY 3: Made very little money at the yard sale and had been up since 5 AM, bought some ice cream to reward myself. 

DAY 4: Paid my tuition deposit that secures my space as a grad student at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. You can read why I chose this school here

DAY 5: Went for a random walk near my home. Watsonville (my hometown) has some secretly gorgeous trails. 

DAY 6: Booked my flight to Washington DC. And surprisingly didn't pay an arm and a leg.

DAY 7: The one random day a year that my mom decides to have fast food for dinner.

DAY 8: Group photo of my Washington DC Academic Internship Program. It was snowing on us but that didn't stop me from wearing my favorite work dress.

DAY 9: A snapshot of my seventh grade yearbook. I've had haters since 2005.

DAY 10: My postcard collection has grown to 143 total.

If you are participating in the 100 Happy Days Challenge I'd love if you comment you're Instagram account so I can go give you some love, and if you've already finished it(or tried to), how was your experience?

You can keep up with my progress here >>

How to Choose the Right Grad Program

Full of so many hopes and dreams, until the DC housing situation crushed them...
Going to college wasn't something I thought about at all throughout my childhood and teenage years. As a kid I was always pretty smart, and as I grew into a teenager I was able to keep an interest in most school subjects and make good grades without having to try too hard.

Colleges and universities weren't a complete mystery to me though, with a sister who was attending a local junior college and the hours I spent watching Rory on Gilmore Girls talk about her need to get into Harvard. (Was anyone else pissed she decided on Yale?) The thing is though, I never had a passion to go to college.

It wasn't until late in my junior year of high school that I realized I had to make a decision about what life after high school was going to be for me. And with good grades and the means to attend, it was an easy choice to attend a four year university right out of high school.

My time as an undergraduate was amazing! I was involved with on campus organizations, made friends from so many walks of life, lived on campus, lived off campus, spent a semester in England, backpacked through Europe, interned in DC, and just overall worked my butt off to graduate on time with two degrees and a handful of lifelong friends.

It wasn't until a few weeks into my last semester as an undergrad that I realized I was in the same position I had been four years ago. What was I going to do next? Except this time, the concept og more schooling wasn't so foreign, in fact, it felt like it was all anyone talked about.

Being a Psychology and Women's Studies double major, I had the friends who were in the STEM field constantly telling me I had to go to grad school to be competitive in the workforce. My Psychology peers were all attending a grad program in the fall, every professor I spoke to advised I should go, the only problem was this time the decision didn't feel as effortless.

GRE exams needed to be taken to prove my competency, never mind the dozens of grades I had earned over the course of four years. Every application came with a fee, essay questions about what I wanted to do with my life, requests for resumes to hear my experience but they weren't interested enough to want it to be over a page long.

It just all seemed like so much damn work, which slightly pissed me of because hello, I finished my undergrad, I think I can handle your (overpriced) grad program.

With the stress from all the application requirements and hurdles you have to jump to talk to admissions counselors, I decided I needed to take a year off to evaluate what I really wanted to do, or more specifically, when and where I wanted to do it.

It wasn't until my now academic counselor contacted me after having visited an open house event at a school in Washington DC. I wasn't able to meet with the main admissions counselor because I had unluckily arrived just after another prospective student, but instead spent an hour talking about my goals, questions and hesitations about attending grad school at all.

A few days after I attended the open house event I received a call from the admissions counselor, and since that day I have spoken to him on a weekly basis. He encouraged me to apply to grad school, helped me through every step of the application process, and even gave me some recommendations of places to visit during my weekend trip to Boston.

Coming from a large university, it was strange to have someone on staff answer my calls at all, let alone help me find housing in a city like Washington DC, allow me rant about my student loan debt, and do what an adviser is supposed to do; help when they can and serve as a person to throw all your thoughts and questions at in hopes of making sense of it all.

This September I will be starting my graduate program with The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at their DC campus. The feeling I left the campus with on that open house day is the same feeling that led me to choose UC Riverside. I felt welcomed.

Choosing a graduate school, or any type of school, is a hard decision to make, especially when you have very few people to help you navigate it all. My opinion is this; if you are asking yourself if you're ready, then you're not. But if you visit the campus or talk to a person on staff, and leave the experience feeling as if you're already a part of the campus community, go for it!

Maybe I could have been accepted into Harvard or Yale, but who needs a big name school when you have an adviser that understands your love of cats and genuinely cares about your transition to a new city and life. Figuring out grad school is tough, but once you find the right program, it's effortless.

Humpday Confessions: Adopting and Job Hunting

I confess...

>> I've been putting a little too much effort into photographing the perfect photo for the 100 Happy Days Challenge. I've just become really particular about the photos I post on my Instagram account overall.

>> The rumors are true, you do gain weight after graduation. Hopefully living off pennies in Washington DC will make me drop this weight.

>> The thing that keeps me from posting on a regular schedule hasn't been content lately, it's been photos to go with my posts. A fellow blogger in a network I'm involved with just had a company threaten to sue her, which explains the lack of GIFs in this post.

>> I've spent too many hours that I care to admit to browsing cats available to adopt in the DC area. Never mind that I have no job and haven't yet moved to DC.

>> I signed my lease today for a room in a house in Maryland, and I'm praying this doesn't end up being another scam on the internet.

>> I haven't really started job hunting in the city only because I'm scared I can't compete with the other people there. I'm straight out of college with a whole lot of volunteer experience but zero actual work experience.

>> The thought of moving across the country for three years is beginning to terrify me, but at the same time it's equally exciting. Why must our twenties be so confusing?

Make sure to link up with Kathy from Vodka and Soda!

Can You Trick Yourself to be Happy?

The 100 Happy Days Challenge is something that crossed my radar months ago, but like most other interesting things got bookmarked and buried under dozens of cat videos and DIY projects. Once I returned from my blogging hiatus I noticed that bloggers I followed we're taking part in the challenge, and some were close to completing it!

This past spring was one of the most exciting times in my life, with me living and interning in Washington DC, getting dangerously close to graduating college and just about everything else in life seemed to be going so smoothly. It wasn't until I walked across the stage and picked up my fake diploma that everything came crashing down...

This summer has been a never ending stream of stress, with grad school decisions hanging over my head, trying to find housing in Washington DC while I'm all the way in California, needing to basically toss or donate everything I own(because all I can take with me to DC is two suitcases) and just a general early twenties existential crisis.

After talking to multiple bloggers and just reading general posts about the experience in completing the task overall, I decided I was up for a challenge, but even more, I am in desperate need of some happiness in my life.

Travelling back home, no matter how short the stay may be for, just makes me feel like I woke up on the wrong side of the bed every day. I made the decision to go to a college far away for the same reasons why I don't enjoy visiting the small town I grew up in. I can honestly say I don't have a single friend here, there's not much of anything to do, and I overall I feel like there is no room for me to grow as a person. Being that I've been home all summer, there is no time better than now to force a little happiness into my everyday life.

My most often used excuse for not taking part in the challenge was that I didn't have a smartphone, so uploading photos every day would require me use my digital camera and then transfer the photos. I just couldn't picture myself doing that on a daily basis for longer than a week or two. Now that a friend graciously let me have his "old" iPhone, that problem is nonexistent, leaving me with no more excuses.

My hopes for the 100 Happy Days Challenge is to trick myself into being happier each day, until I eventually do start finding happiness in the small things that would usually go unnoticed. I am about to start a chapter in my life thousands of miles away from home, with nothing but two suitcases and my childish dreams. If all goes right, I'll be moving to Washington DC mid-August, starting school in September and adjusting to East Coast weather all through fall, so what better time to document my life on a daily basis?

The plan is to recap the challenge here on the blog every ten or so days, for those of you who don't follow me on Instagram. (But who totally should.) I'm incredibly competitive so hopefully that will keep me motivated enough to not bail halfway through, cause there's no way I can be part of that 71% of people who fail the challenge! My official start date is August 1st because is it just me, or does fall feel more like a new beginning compared to January 1st? Maybe it's because August means new grade level in school, school supplies, clothes (if you were lucky), etc.

Wish me luck, and if you've completed the challenge comment below with any posts you may have written about it. Or just any kind of comment, they kinda sorta definitely make my day.