10.29.2019

College Apartment Tour - Sophomore Year


Welcome to my (possible) favorite post of the year -- my sophomore year apartment tour! Living with my two best friends in an apartment close to campus has seriously been the best part of my sophomore year so far. I love having my own room again, having a kitchen, a bathtub, and huge windows. I have had so much fun getting to decorate my own space. 

I was originally sort of overwhelmed by the fact that I would be decorating my room from the ground up -- layout, color scheme, bedding, wall decor. At the end of summer, I tried to plan as much possible in advance. This really stressed me out because I hadn't actually seen my apartment yet! So, I decided to just get to school, bring the basics, and figure the rest out once I arrived. It worked out for the best because I could take my time creating a space to relax, study, and just "be" in. I repurposed a lot of things from home and my dorm and added some new items to give the room flair. 

BED

The star of the show! Bedding really sets the tone for a bedroom, and so I wanted to make mine simple yet fun. My apartment came furnished but without a headboard, so I used some hefty square pillows to create a mock headboard. Over my bed I re-purposed a vintage mirror that used to hang in my family room at home. I use a metal cart from my dorm as a bedside table. I store extra blankets on the lower shelves and have the top shelf for my lamp and charger. Blackout curtains were my saving grace last year, so I knew I needed them in my new room. I don't have a ton of floor space but wanted a rug, so I went with a fun runner next to the bed. 



DESK

I firmly believe that an inspiring + non-cluttered desk space helps productivity. To achieve this, I hung a corkboard and motivating print on the wall, used a gold desk organizer, and added frames of some of my favorite people. 


BATHROOM

MY! OWN! BATHROOM! This is the first time (ever) that I've had my own bathroom, and it is game-changing. I feel so spoiled! Of course, I had to decorate it with my favorite colors. I hung prints from my childhood nursery and grabbed some super cute bath mats. I had this shower curtain saved for months ever since I saw it on Meg Hall's Instagram -- I love it. Keeping a candle in the bathroom adds such a sense of luxury, I feel like I'm in a spa.


LIVING ROOM & KITCHEN

Having a living space to have friends over, watch movies, and decompress in has been the best. Our apartment came with very modern furniture, so we made it more homey with plants, a funky rug, a tiny embroidered tapestry, and throw pillows. The kitchen is a basic set-up, complete with our coffee and espresso machines!



Living in an apartment has already taught me so many "adulting" things -- how to install a curtain rod, split responsibility with roommates, sign a lease and so much more! I hope you all enjoyed this look into my living space.

Stay sunny,
Meg

9.20.2019

How Are You? : The Simple Self Assessment That Has Changed My Days


Twice a day (while I brush my teeth) ask myself a simple question: how are you?
It seems silly, and definitely felt awkward at first, but these twice-daily check-ins are the bookends of my day. Along with a few other q’s to practice gratitude and self-love and ending with a little prayer, this daily practice surprised me with its power in such a simple way!

So many times I found myself rushing to bed at night and rushing out the door in the morning without ever taking the time to analyze (or even notice) my emotional state. This lead to me winding up anxious and wondering why I was so stressed all of a sudden. However, through checking in with myself, I've noticed that stress is rarely an "all of a sudden" occurrence.

Whenever someone asks me "How are you?" my immediate, automatic response is "Good! How about you?" This isn't always honest and rarely leads to a conversation beyond the surface level. But what if we were honest and vulnerable with ourselves and others when answering "how are you?" What if we made it okay to say scared, sad, exhausted, confused? Or even excited, happy, joyful? This can begin in your own bathroom mirror ;-)

What follows "how are you" on my morning and nightly examen is just as important and I want to share that with you, too!

MORNING
1. How are you? 
2. 5 people you're grateful for - Take account of all the people in your life that make it better!
3. One thing you're looking forward to - Every day has a reason to live it. Think of one thing (as simple as your daily coffee!) in your day that you are excited about.
4. One thing you like about how you look - The mirror can become a place of self-criticism if we aren't careful. By saying one positive thing per day about our appearance (I'm having an amazing hair day!), we can combat insecurity in a small way.
5. Intention + Deep Breath - Name an intention for your day. For example, "today I will greet every opportunity with joy!" By saying our intention, followed with a deep breath, we can give more purpose to our day.
6. A Hail Mary!

NIGHT
1. How are you?
2. One thing you're proud of from today - Small victories are real, people! And it's important to notice them.
3. One way you saw God today - Did you pass a friend just when you needed someone most? This is your chance to notice God working in your life!
4. Smile! - A simple smile can actually boost your mood!
5. A Glory Be 

I hope this post helps you to check in with yourself daily, I promise it will go farther than you think!


Stay Sunny,
Meg


This content originally appeared as a shortened version on Instagram.

7.31.2019

Answering All the LDR Questions (with Co-writer Greg!)


Today is the first time I have a CO-WRITER on a blog post, and a very special one indeed. My boyfriend, Greg, is joining me today to talk about our experience having a long-distance relationship and what we've learned!

Sometimes I feel like I should rename my blog "Things-I-Wish-I-Knew-But-I Didn't-So-I'm-Telling-You" but that doesn't have quite enough ring to it ;-) instead, I'll just start this post by saying that sharing this experience is so exciting for us, and we are not experts but perhaps you can learn from our failures, or at least give our insights some thought!

So let’s start with a little background information -- Greg and I will tag-team this!

Greg: Meg and I became friends through our best friend, Caroline, during Meg's sophomore year of high school. We later started dating when I was a senior and Meg was a junior. When we started dating, we both knew that we had the tough bridge of me going to college next year, but we decided to be present every day, taking one day at a time, and cross that bridge when it comes to us. 
Meg: Greg decided to go to college in our hometown (go flyers!) because the program was perfect for him -- not because of our relationship! But I was grateful to have him close nonetheless. That year of adjustment -- not quite apart but not quite together -- was great to prepare us for the next year of me going 8 hours away to USC.

Our first picture together in 2016 -- ugly brown school uniforms and all! We started dating half a year later.

G: We just want to let you know that long-distance is a process, not a destination, and we are very much not arrived. We don’t have it all figured out, but over the last two years, we feel like we have learned a lot of tips that might help you or your loved ones. 
M: Long distance is hard, really hard, but it’s worth it so long as you don’t compromise your joy, peace, and contentedness in your life. As long as you feel like your LDR is life-giving, even when it’s hard to miss the other person at times, I say go for it! I’d rather have Greg in my life from a distance than not at all, and we’ve found ways to support and love each other through the distance.

Today we’ll be answering some questions that you all asked!

Q: Do they actually work?
M: Studies say about half of long-distance relationships work out in the end, and we’re willing to take those odds! Jordan Lee Dooley has great advice as well that helped guide how we were going to live out our relationship.
G: We’re so lucky to have great LDR role models in our life: My sister, Ashley, and her husband, Jake, who started dating in high school as well. They got married after 10 years of dating, five of which were distance! 

Q: What’s the best way to coordinate talking with different class schedules?
M: SHARED GOOGLE CALENDAR. We both shared our g-cals with each other so we could see our class times compared and  know when each other would be unavailable. Be creative and don’t discount little blocks of time that you know you can depend on. For example, we had a ten-minute block of time every MWF morning where we would be walking to class at the same time. I looked forward to these calls and counted on them as a time to say good morning and briefly catch up!
G: Don’t take ten minutes for granted! You’ll soon learn that the hard way ;-)

Q: How do you communicate besides texting, FaceTime etc.?
G: We like to get old-fashioned! Turns out, giving and receiving mail is a thousand times cooler than texting. Be original. I loved sending Meg cards that I would buy while grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s. Sending packages, like Meg’s favorite cookies from home, was a way to make our relationship more tangible. One of the greatest surprises was receiving a box of small goodies and a note from Meg. 
M: We would also email each other articles, send Instagram DM’s of cool things we find (it really does go down in the DM’s), send voice memos, and Venmo each other a few dollars for coffee on us when the other person needs a little extra encouragement.

Q: What communication issues did you face?
M: Trying to catch each other up on EVERYTHING happening in our lives. At the end of the day, what boring lecture I had or what temperature it is outside isn’t crucial. 
G: Getting out of the habit of saying go-to cliches like always starting a conversation with “how are you?” I would always try to be spontaneous and different in conversation. It’s also important to be patient on the phone and try not to interrupt the other person. Talking without body language or facial expressions is hard so Facetime instead of call when you can.
M: When you’re on the phone or Facetiming, treat the other person as you would if you were really together. Don’t be on your phone or doing something else. 

Q: How can you be intentional with the other person?
G: We had so much fun going on Facetime “dates” to the same restaurant. I looked up places that were in both Dayton and Columbia and we would go to them and eat a meal.
M: On our anniversary, we dressed up and went to Whole Foods. We started Facetiming as soon as we got into the parking lot, picked out our meals on Facetime, and ate “together.” 

The virtual Whole Foods date!

Q: How long did you go without seeing each other for a time?
M: Nine weeks! It sucked! 
G: We were apart more than we were together. But that doesn’t mean that we grew apart in our relationship, we just had more time to better ourselves which ultimately makes us a better couple.

Q: What’s the hardest part?
M: The hardest part for me is the anticipation of saying goodbye and actually saying goodbye. Once I get back to school and can focus on studies
G: The constant wanting to be together, especially when you see other couples out. You have to learn to be okay with it. 
M: It can be frustrating to try to find time to connect, and that's okay! Honestly, a lot of the time I looked like this:


G: Long distance has totally refined us as a couple. We don’t sweat the small stuff, it has made us more mature, grateful, and better able to value each other’s time. It reminds us of the universal truth: you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone!
_________

Thank you, Greg, for co-writing with me! And thank you to everyone who asked us questions -- you got this!

Stay Sunny,
Meg