Meet My Cats!

cats

In the short time that I have been home from college, I have been spending so much time with my feline friends, whom I missed very much while I was away.  Since this blog is about my life, I decided to introduce them to you!  During this last semester, I only got to go home once, and that was only two weeks into the term, so I went for months without seeing my cats!  What’s worse is that I barely left campus during this time (except for my trip to New York City, which was a blast!) and I had no animal interaction at all.  I believe it took an immense toll on my sanity and I am glad it’s over!

My dad is a veterinarian, so it’s safe to say that animals have been a part of my life from the very beginning.  My dad has been running his own practice for several years now, and we adopted most of our pets because of somebody who came into his clinic with an animal in need of a home.  We are thankful for them every day, so let me introduce you!

 

Barty Crouch

meet my cats! -barty crouch profile

Yep, you read that right.  We named him after an obscure character in Harry Potter, just because we love Harry Potter!  Although, there has been some debate as to whether he was named after Barty Crouch Sr. or Barty Crouch Jr.  Not that it really matters, because he has made a name for himself!  He is by far the naughtiest kitty in our household.  He relentlessly tries to eat everything in sight.  Furthermore, he remains unphased by our attempts to shoo him from the kitchen.  He is constantly getting into trouble!

meet my cats! -barty crouch naughty

Did I mention that Barty only has one eye?  He makes up for it with personality.  Barty came into our clinic as a tiny kitten.  He was brought in by a Humane Society that intended for him to get all fixed up and ready to adopt.  Unfortunately, Barty’s left eye was badly infected beyond the point of saving, and so my dad had to remove it.  If we hadn’t decided to adopt Barty, I’m sure he would have been picked up immediately by another nice family looking to care for a half-blind kitten.  In that case, we would have cursed somebody else with his naughtiness and he probably wouldn’t have been named after a Harry Potter character.  Still, he can be awfully sweet and he was an adorable kitten!

meet my cats! -barty crouch kitten

 

Ruthie Mae

meet my cats! -ruthie mae profile

We adopted Ruthie Mae about 10 years ago, and she has changed our family completely!  She is probably the sweetest and most sensitive cat you will ever meet.  She is also quite the chatterbox and hunter of socks.  When Ruthie Mae was brought into our clinic, she was a shy stray cat that had been caught in the woods by a client.  After a while, she warmed up to our entire family, and the rest is history!  Ruthie has tons of personality, which you can observe on her Instagram account!  Follow Ruthie Mae here!

One time my mom bought this bowl that she was planning to use as a fruit bowl.  Almost as soon as Ruthie saw the bowl, she decided that it was hers.  Ever since then, the bowl has been known as Ruthie’s bowl. 🙂

 

Jasmine

Jasmine is my cat.  I found Jasmine when she was just a kitten and I was only 8 years old.  Ever since then she has been my cat.  She is not very cuddly and she doesn’t really like to be petted.  She tolerates other people and animals only at the best of times.  But she is still my favorite!

meet my cats! -jasmine profile

Isn’t she pretty?

meet my cats! -jasmine window

 

… And Bow

Ok, I couldn’t leave out Bow.  Even though I am much more of a cat person, I do love the family black lab.  Bow is about 8 years old, but he still acts like a puppy, and sometimes I think he wants to be a cat.  We tease him for his lack of intelligence, but he is still a friendly dog.

*Update* -Bow unfortunately passed away in August of 2016.  He was unexpectedly put down due to an abdominal tumor.  As much as we teased him, we adored this lovable dog.  It was incredibly sad to see him go at such a young age, but I’m glad we got to be the family that loved him.

meet my cats! -bow profile

Thanks for checking out my critters!

Why Everybody Should Be A Diva

why everybody should be a diva

What do you think of when you hear the word diva?  Chances are you think of someone who is really stuck up, covered in expensive couture, and bossing people around.  The word “diva” has come to mean someone who is generally pretty dislikable, but still seems to get everything they want.

Hang on.  Here is the dictionary definition of what a diva is: a famous female singer of opera.  That’s it.

The term diva has evolved over time, and it is still evolving to this day.  It used to simply mean an accomplished singer, but I frequently hear it being used as an insult or descriptor word of somebody that is pretty high-maintenance.  But as the word has continued to evolve, I think the term diva has come to a completely different definition altogether.  I think the best and most relevant definition of a diva is a person who values their creativity, respects themselves as an individual, and draws attention to themselves because of their authenticity rather than their ego.

Some classic examples of modern divas would be Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Beyoncé (duh).  These people have achieved diva status not only because of their amazing talent but because they are truly one of a kind.  There are many other singers you may not be aware of who actually do sing opera, and sing it very well.  These people are first-class divas too.

This kind of diva sounds like someone I want to be.  In fact, I think anyone with a creative bone in their body should aspire to become their own brand of diva.  Since I aspire to be both a singer-diva and an overall-creative-diva, here are some steps I’m taking that may help you become a diva as well.

Divas don’t try to copy others, they love being themselves

Has anybody ever become successful by copying others?  No matter what field you are attempting to achieve diva status in, I’m sure you have people you look up to.  However, aspiring to be exactly like these people isn’t your key to success.  I think it’s wonderful that there are so many incredible people that feed my inspiration, but if I’m ever going to be that kind of inspiration for anyone else, I must be totally confident in being myself.

They look fierce all the time

Of course, it is natural to assume that divas “look the part” all the time, but that is not necessarily true.  Real divas own whatever they are wearing because they don’t get their confidence from the clothes they wear or how their makeup looks.  Divas wear whatever they like, even if it doesn’t conform to current trends.  In modern terms, these divas are called trendsetters.

Divas value their own creativity

One of the biggest mistakes an artist can make is selling themselves short.  It’s easy to compare yourself to others and see that you haven’t accomplished as much, but give yourself credit where it is due!  I am so guilty of undermining my success, but it is something I am working on improving.  Every diva knows that what she creates is worth her time and a success in itself.  So don’t sell yourself short!

Every diva knows that what she creates is worth her time and a success in itself. Click To Tweet

They may have fear, but they don’t let it stop them

Obviously, you can’t be a diva if you are constantly checking for approval from others.  No one can truly escape fear, but that doesn’t mean you should let it control you.  Any good diva will look fear in the eye and move on with her life.

Divas lift up themselves by lifting up others

One of the problems I have with the popular definition of a diva is that it seems to imply that divas don’t care about other people’s work, or will even slam the work of others to build herself up.  Divas are of course honest all the time, so when she sees something she likes, she will, of course, say something!  Take every opportunity to praise other divas; they will surely return the favor.  True divas are not threatened by the success of others.

True divas are not threatened by the success of others. Click To Tweet

They don’t need the approval of others to be happy

Divas sing or act or write or paint or do whatever because they love it.  Of course, it’s always nice to have the approval of others at hand, but take it or leave it because you should only be trying to make yourself happy.  If your work can make others happy, great!  But your work doesn’t need the approval of others to survive.

Divas graciously accept compliments and critique

Do you ever find it hard to accept compliments?  I know I do.  Sometimes all you need to say is a simple and sincere “thank you” and leave it at that.  When people compliment you, it’s because you earned it.  So like I said before, don’t sell yourself short and simply accept the good that others see in you.  Likewise, critique can be equally hard to accept, but the same procedure applies.  Whether or not you agree with the critique, smile and say thank you.  It’s the least you can do, and it may help you improve yourself.

While I am still aspiring to become a singer-diva, I am taking these steps so that I can become a diva in all areas of my life.  I believe that divas are a powerhouse of confidence, which they exude in all areas of their life.  In fact, I’m sure we all know plenty of divas in our own lives that are pretty fierce!  It might be your mom, or your best friend, or one of the upperclassmen at your school.  Either way, I believe we all have the power to be a diva.

Oh, and I also think guys can be divas too. 🙂

So, what do you think of this?  Do you like this new-and-improved definition of a diva?  Let me know in the comments what you think about aspiring to become a diva or some divas that you might look up to! 🙂

The Pros and Cons of Being an Introvert

the pros and cons of being an introvert

The spectrum of introvert to extrovert is something very near and dear to my heart.  I believe that understanding a little bit about yourself and the way your personality works can help you relate to others and take care of yourself.  I consider myself to be an introvert; more specifically my personality type is INFJ.  It just so happens that INFJ’s cling to their personality type the most, which explains why I wrote this post I guess!

My introverted friends and I bond through the struggles and perks of our personality type.  So, I thought it would be fun to put together this list and see if any of you relate!  Keep in mind that these are only the things I have observed from my own journey as an introvert, so I can understand if you can’t relate to all of these.  Afterall, though we may all fall somewhere on the introvert/extrovert spectrum, we are all individuals. 🙂

The pros of being an introvert

  1. People think you’re really smart because you internalize everything and emerge with earth-shattering deep thoughts.
  2. You have no problem shopping, eating, or working by yourself. It’s actually pretty fun to treat yourself to a coffee or a movie all alone.
  3. People praise you for your amazing listening skills.
  4. You can read people in an instant.  It’s like your superpower!
  5. You are energized by alone time, especially with a good book, your favorite movie, or a walk outside.
  6. You have an uncanny understanding of cats.
  7. Introverts can actually process larger amounts of information than most people in any given situation.
  8. You are able to rationalize and problem solve much easier than your extrovert counterparts.
  9. You are ambitious. Contrary to the quiet evenings and mild social lives, introverts have all the tools they need to pursue their goals fearlessly.
  10. You learn things easily and have an incredible ability for self-correction.

The cons of being an introvert

  1. It is really, really hard to relate with people who are different from you.
  2. Although you love being by yourself, other people don’t really understand why you are keeping your distance.  It’s not them, it’s you.
  3. Making phone calls is the worst.
  4. You have to rehearse what you’re going to say to someone before you speak to them.
  5. You overthink everything. Hopefully it doesn’t drive you insane.
  6. For some reason, people feel like they need to help you be more outgoing. (Please don’t)
  7. Group projects!!!
  8. You hate being late, but you hate being early even more.
  9. You feel misunderstood sometimes.
  10. You struggle developing relationships with people at the same speed as everyone else.

There you go!  Just some observations from the life of an introvert.  Despite all the pros and cons, I wouldn’t trade any of these characteristics for anything.  Do you relate to any of these?  What are your own struggles as an introvert?  To my extroverted friends, what are some of the struggles you face?   Let me know in the comments!

10 Reasons Why You Should Be a Camp Counselor

10 reasons why you should be a camp counselor

I have had my fair share of summers that are less than spectacular, but now I know the secret to having the best summer ever: camp counseling!  Last summer was my first time working at a camp, and it was truly the best summer of my life.  Even though I was hired on as part of the kitchen staff (which is totally fun and awesome, by the way!) I got to do my fair share of counseling as well as other fun camp activities.

I am happy to say that I have been hired back as a full-time counselor for this summer!  While I’m waiting for the semester to finish I might as well share with you why being a camp counselor is the best way to spend your summer. 🙂

This post is in collaboration with Tori from toriinthousandoaks.com, another college blogger who works at a summer camp.  Camp culture is something you can’t really explain unless you’ve experienced it, so there is an instant bond between camp people!  The two of us are bringing you 10 reasons why YOU should be a camp counselor for the summer!

1. You will definitely get a good tan

Listen, I had never been tan in my life until I worked at a camp.  If I can tan, anybody can!  Especially if you’re a lifeguard, you will be leaving camp at the end of the summer with a bronze glow as a souvenir of all the wonderful times you had outside!  Being outside and running around with your campers is a sure way to soak up some rays.  Just make sure to bring sunscreen and aloe, because you will get burned too. 🙂

2. You get to learn some parenting skills years before you have kids

Most of the time, campers are pretty well-behaved, but you will definitely be working on having patience with kids!  Every now and then there will be a camper who acts out severely, and you will of course have to deal with them in an appropriate way.  But besides that, you will be learning how to keep kids engaged, how to listen to them, how to have fun with them, and how to be instructive.  Maybe your campers will teach you a thing or two as well!

3. Being crazy and outgoing is practically part of the job description

I often find that when I am with campers I am a completely different person than I am outside of camp.  Even though I’m generally more reserved, I completely let loose while I’m counseling.  The excitement and energy from the campers is contagious, and they will love you for being funny and outgoing!  As a counselor, you are responsible for bringing the enthusiasm to your cabin, so go crazy!

4. The food is really good!

Um, yes!  The meals we have at my camp are often one of the highlights of the campers whole time at camp.  Not to mention you will have some great bonding time with your campers over meals while you share funny stories.  Don’t forget the constant s’mores, popcorn, and candy that we snack on all week.  I even sneak some late-night cookie dough into my cabins sometimes!

5. You get to have an impact on young lives

It never ceases to amaze me how close all the campers grow with each other and with their counselors.  In a camp atmosphere, relationships are often hyper-accelerated, so you are sure to meet people that you feel like you’ve known forever.  Not to mention, the campers often feel like they can open up to their counselors easily, so you will surely have a positive impact on their lives!

In actuality there are a million reasons why you should consider being a camp counselor this summer, but I hope this list helped peak you interest.  If you have any questions about camp life or you have a crazy camp story to tell, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.  I’d love to hear it!

Don’t forget to head on over to Tori’s Blog, Tori in Thousand Oaks, to find out the other 5 reasons why you should be a camp counselor.

 

Real Talk: Community Post + Questionnaire!

real talk community post plus questionnaire

Adjusting to college isn’t the easiest thing to do, but I think the hardest part of the whole experience was adjusting to the people and how they interacted with each other.  Have you ever been in a situation where everyone seems to be talking but nobody is actually saying anything?

I think it is natural for people to put up their defenses around people they don’t know very well, but there is something so liberating about speaking from your heart!  Sometimes showing a little bit of vulnerability is a great way to gain the trust of others and make some genuine friends.

I was having a casual conversation with one of my academic advisors recently who clearly wasn’t afraid of asking honest questions.  Amidst all the surface level conversations I have everyday, it was like a breath of fresh air!  I couldn’t help but wonder why everyone couldn’t just speak honestly?

I don’t want to make this a very wordy post; I want to hear your words!  Answer one, or two, or all of the questions that resonate with you.  Unlike the beloved Coke or Pepsi questions, I think this questionnaire is a great way to help us better understand our character.

One last thing: this is for everybody!  No matter if you found this post by accident, sought it out, or you are 50 years in the future!  It takes all kinds of stories to fill the world. 🙂

1) How do you deal with disappointment?

2) What is your greatest success up until now?

3) In what ways do you hold yourself back?

4) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

5) What book/movie/artist/musical has influenced you the most?

6) What is your greatest failure?  Did you overcome it?  How?

7) What is something you haven’t done yet, but you would like to?

8) What are you an expert at?

9) Who is your personal hero?

10) What is a belief that you cling to?

11) What is your story?

12) What do you struggle with?

Let’s not be afraid of vulnerability!  And most importantly, we must take the time to listen to others.

Here are some of my posts that in which I have a “real talk” 🙂