The Wimp’s Guide To Winter

Every fall I moan and groan about Texas weather and how I wish cold temperatures would hurry my way so I could pull my favorite sweaters and scarves out of the closet and enjoy curling up on the couch with a throw blanket and a mug of hot chocolate.

Every year I forget how much I hate being cold.

I hate dragging myself out my deliciously cozy bed to get dressed in a freezing bathroom. I hate stiff fingers. I hate having dry, cracked skin. I hate wearing tights. I hate showing up to class/work looking like a porcelain doll with a bright red nose simply because I was outdoors for more than two seconds. I hate having to remove (and find somewhere to put) three layers of clothing once I get back inside.

I used to say, “Psh, I grew up in New England. I’m not like you native Texans. I can handle the cold.” All lies. I always have been, always will be a massive wimp in the cold.

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A very excited, very cold Katie in front of Buckingham Palace

So I’ve compiled a few top tips — some of them practical, some maybe not so much — for my fellow cold weather wimps to help us all get through this difficult time.

1. Make like an ogre and layer it up.

This one is pretty obvious but I thought I’d include it because everyone has different layering strategies. My number one rule is camis: a cami or tank under whatever top or dress I’m wearing, every day. It doesn’t sound like a big help, I know, but every layer counts and this is something you can usually do without worrying about the actual appearance of your outfit. The bottoms’ counterpart to this is tights under pants. It can be a little uncomfortable, but makes a huge difference in warmth for those of us who insist on living in jeans.

2. Have a good hot chocolate recipe.

Truly good hot chocolate comforts the soul as well as the body. If I may say so, I make an amazing hot chocolate using Nutella; I’m planning to work out a real recipe for it to share here. I always make it off the top of my head with no precise measurements, but that’s not too helpful for y’all, so stay tuned on this one.

For the 21+ crowd: Play around with adding Irish cream to hot chocolate. Talk about comforting the soul…

3. “Moisturize me!”

(Two pop culture references in one post? Slow down, Katie, that’s crazytown!)

Once upon a time, I was in London for a few days during winter, and something about the air there made my hands horribly dry and cracked like I’d never experienced before. They were actually in pain, it was so bad. I didn’t have a chance to find relief while still in London, but when we got to Edinburgh (after a pit stop in Cardiff), I dragged my companions to a pharmacy in the train station immediately upon arrival, in search of travel-friendly hand lotion. I found this…

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…and it remains my holy grail of non-greasy, effective, lasting moisturization to this day. I think I should say at this point that this post is in no way sponsored, acknowledged or probably even known of by Vaseline. I just love this stuff and highly recommend it.
Side note: I also use it at work and it’s a godsend in that situation. I’m a barista and that tends to involve a lot of washing/rinsing things and wiping counters down with damp towels, which gets my hands wet and consequently dries them out (because physics is logical like that). I keep a 3 0z. bottle of this stuff in my apron pocket and use it a few times a day depending on how much I need it.

4. Have a cuddle buddy

Another obvious one…whether they’re with a loved one, a little’un, a bff, or a fluffy four-legged friend, nothing is better in the chilly season than cuddles. ‘Nuff said. Unless physical affection isn’t your thing, in which case, blankets and pillows! And again, pets! I’ve also read that holding a mug of hot liquid mimics the experience of human warmth and that’s why we find tea/coffee/hot chocolate/etc comforting. Maybe that’s sad, but it’s also sort of nice to know. Then of course there’s the loving warmth that emanates from the bottom of your most steadfast companion: your laptop.

This section got a little off track, my bad. On to the next one…

5. Drink your vitamins!

With the cold comes colds. And, of course, the flu. It’s so important during this season to give your body the good stuff it needs to fend off endless sniffling and coughing. The way I often do that is (and again, not an ad): Emergen-C. My dad swears by it and he gets sick approximately once a year, so trust me on this. I can vouch from personal experience as well. Whether I’m in the middle of a cold or just starting to feel it creep into my sinuses, I toss back a glass or two of Emergen-C and start feeling better almost immediately. It even perked me up when I almost definitely had caught viral meningitis from my little brother (not the scary, fatal kind of meningitis, that’s the bacterial one — this was more like a REALLY nasty fever that lasted a couple of days). To be clear, it doesn’t cure your symptoms or anything, just helps your body rally its defenses. You can drink it every day to boost your vitamins as part of your overall health routine, or you can keep a few packets around for case of, ahem, emergency.

And finally…what was I saying earlier about the comforting warmth of your laptop?

6. Hide away from responsibility the cold with Netflix

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but this show is so delightful…..and since we’ve no place to go….next episode, next episode, next episode!

Quick Update feat. Lipstick

Just a few words on what’s been going on and where I’m at and why the second episode of Daily Katie never happened.

Romesick

I’m determined not to let this blog die in its infancy as do so many things I start. The problem is that I’m not really sure what to write about/do here. The solution, of course, is to write about whatever I feel like. Today, I feel like talking (rambling, most likely) about Rome.

Most of you reading this are probably aware of my semester abroad two and a half years ago. It’s been a long two and a half years….people always say things like “I can’t believe it’s been so long! It still feels like yesterday.” Not so for me. It definitely feels like two and a half years. My memories of Rome and the other corners of Europe I dipped my toes in are faded and rose-tinted. The space between then and now feels vast and the nostalgia hits hard sometimes. These days, when I’m struggling to get it together as a bona fide adult and life is so uncertain (and worst of all, mundane) my Romesickness waxes steadily stronger.

Looking down the Via della Conciliazione toward St Peter’s

The Rome semester was thrilling and full of new adventures and freedom, but when I think back to that time I remember the quiet moments most. The stillness of St Peter’s early in the morning before the tourist rush; having a relaxed heart-to-heart with my best friend while “working” late in the Capp Bar; looking up from my homework out our dorm room window to see blue Roman skies and the city on the horizon; the erratic shuffling, scratching sounds of a room filled with a hundred exhausted but happy students taking an exam they knew was their easiest and last.

The view from my window

I miss those moments just as much I miss the big ones: viewing some of the most incredible and important art in history; stepping out onto St Mark’s Square in Venice for the first time; taking stereotypical tourist pictures at Westminster; getting in touch with my inner Scot in Edinburgh; biggest of all, of course, seeing two popes. Yes, I was there THAT spring.

View of Edinburgh from the castle

But lest you think scenic landscapes and wistful prose are all my reminiscing consists of, let’s not forget all the great shenanigans that went down.

At Quattro Fontane

Found in a London gift shop

Train tracks in Olympia, Greece

Behind the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

As predicted, this has become rather a ramble. I could go on forever and post a million more pictures but I’ll just talk about one last thing and be done.

In terms of cultural immersion, I think I hit the jackpot with Dallas Volunteer Program, which is the worst name ever for something we do on campus there. A bunch of UDers sign up, as a 1-credit “class”, to tutor local Italian kids in English every Monday. The kids came to our campus from two nearby schools and were all in the 9-11 age range. Everyone paired up with a certain kid on the first day and stuck with them for the semester, doing different themed learning activities every week (themes like family, cities, geography, etc). My sweet girl, Caterina, was already better at English than most of her classmates, so I ended up learning far more from her than the other way around. My Italian skill level was about the same as hers in English, so going back and forth between the two languages we communicated pretty well. She was quite the little fashionista and when I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, the answer was “stilista”: stylist. Her parting gift to me was this t-shirt:
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Not exactly my style, perhaps a bit juvenile, but touching nonetheless given that most of the kids gave their tutors notebooks and pencils and the like.

The best part of DVP was when we all went outside to play games. The boys always wanted to play football, but we covered a lot of other games as well. How many people can say that during their study abroad experience, they learned that culture’s version of Duck Duck Goose?*

View of the Forum from inside the Capitoline Museums

I don’t really know how to wrap up this mess of a post, other than to say: Roma, mi manchi.

-K

*It’s called Topo e Gatto (mouse and cat). As you would in Duck Duck Goose, you go around the circle patting everyone on the head saying “topo, topo, topo….GATTO!” Then, instead of chasing you to their seat, you and the “gatto” race in opposite directions to get to the spot.

Daily Katie – Week 1

So, this is new. And very late, thanks to crashing software and laziness. From now on, the goal is to post these on Sunday evenings.

Firstly, apologies for the terrible, terrible quality of this. All I’ve got is a phone and Windows Movie Maker, and I’m still working out the kinks.

Secondly, a slightly more in-depth explanation than I gave in the video. As I alluded to in the video, this blog was originally meant to be a place for me to keep track of my day-to-day activities. I should say a little more about the reasons, though. Basically, I’m really foggy sometimes. Days and weeks go by and quickly become blurry in my memory, especially without a class schedule to measure by. So this is partially to help me feel a little less like I’m drifting; recording snippets of my life adds a little extra purpose to the day. Plus, I just need a hobby.

At least for now, I’m definitely thinking of these videos as a part of this blog, and again as I mentioned in the video, I still have other plans for this blog. So stay tuned, keep an eye peeled, all that jazz.

Ciao,

K

P.S.

As you can see, I decided to have fun with the day-of-the-week title cards. Except for Wednesday and Thursday (the latter is a little nod to my school), they’re all song references, and a rather eclectic bunch. How many did you get?

Oops, I did it again

As far as I know, I didn’t mess with your heart or get lost in the game…I just forgot about blogging again. I’ve had a metaphorically cloudy couple of weeks; lots of moping around, feeling crappy and forgetting to do things such as blog.

However, this week things appear to be turning around. It’s been a productive few days for grownup stuff: I applied for an apartment, got my first credit card and just today got offered a job! I will be celebrating later with cheap moscato and probably a corny ’90s movie on Netflix. We’re nothing if not classy here on MDK.

While I’m doing that, you should check out the sale going on at my Chloe + Isabel boutique! That’s right, I hooked you with a Britney lyric followed by an innocent life update and now I’m plugging my business. What else is social media for? But seriously, the sale is great and another one like it won’t be happening for a good while, so take advantage of those low prices while you can. I’m always happy to answer questions and make style recommendations; the best way to contact me for either of those things is on my Facebook page.

I’ll be trying to do more with this blog soon, so keep an eye out for what is sure to be all kinds of thrilling and fascinating content.

Ta-ta for now,

K

Goals – Or, Getting My S*** Together

A little housekeeping first: In the interest of transparency, I’ll confess that the title for this blog came about because I thought “dailykatie” was cute but of course it was taken, so I added the “maybe” to differentiate and to add a touch of, well, honesty. True to form, I’ve already skipped two days. I may just change the title and url altogether to avoid giving false expectations…as soon as I think of something good.

Now on to the purpose of this post and really one of the purposes of this blog: Goals I have and how I’m reaching them.

1. The Big One: I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell…
Since my naive high school fantasy of finding my One True Love in college, marrying him the summer following graduation and immediately starting a family in an idyllic house in the country didn’t happen, I’ve adjusted my expectations a bit. My overall big life goal now is simply to travel. A lot. Ideally as a workawayer. The plan is to spend the next few years – let’s say four or five – working hard, paying off my student loans and saving up until I’m ready to jet set out of here.* If love happens at some point along the way, cool.

*Yes, I am aware that this is only slightly more realistic than the original “plan”. I didn’t say I wasn’t still a romantic.

2. The Health One: For those who don’t know, I have an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I was diagnosed when I was 8 and for the most part I was fine, until college began and for some reason the simple habit of taking a pill every day fell by the wayside. I’ve stopped and started over the past few years, with the meds-free periods getting longer and longer with extremely crappy results. To name just a few symptoms; I’m constantly tired, I go through periods of insomnia, I’m susceptible to anxiety and depression, I never had a chance at getting rid of the freshman 15, and I deal with brain fog that makes it easy to forget and hard to focus. Besides just being not fun to live with, this has had a devastating effect on my academics, especially this past school year. Add to that the fact that I’ve gotten very, very little in the way of exercise in recent months, and I’m a poster child for overall unhealthiness. These days, I’m FINALLY starting to do something about it. More on that in another post.

3. The Character Development One: One of my biggest goals is just to take my goals more seriously. I need to overcome the procrastination habit, be more assertive, more of a go-getter, etc etc. For far too long now, I’ve been letting things happen to me instead of making things happen for me. I’m sick of it. I don’t like where I’ve ended up and I want to get better. Hence these goals, hence this post, hence this whole blog.

Thanks for reading,

KK

An Open Letter to Well-Intentioned Extroverts

Please stop making a big deal out of introversion.

I don’t want to get too into the definition of introversion right now because with all the discussion of it that has happened on the internet these past couple of years, I really shouldn’t have to. If you’re confused about anything, Google is your friend. I will stress a couple of points about it, however. Firstly, an important thing to note when thinking about the introvert/extrovert personality trait is that they are not separated opposites. Think of it as a scale, on which some people are closer to the extra- end and some are closer to the intro- end. So there are different levels of each, and most of us are somewhere in the middle, having tendencies in both directions. Secondly, regarding what introversion is not: It is not social anxiety. It is not shyness. It is not a handicap, and most importantly it is not a big deal. It doesn’t need to be used as an identifier nearly as often as it is.

With that in mind, here’s my main point, on behalf of all the introverts who have been rolling their eyes along with me: I’m not your token introvert friend. Introversion doesn’t make me some special snowflake anti-social nerd to be patronized and joked about.

I don’t need you to always be introducing me with the tagline, “she’s an introvert,” as if people need to be warned about me, or I need to apologized for.

Above all, stop trying to “help” me. Stop pushing me. I’m not broken, I don’t need your assistance to function. I’m an adult. I know myself and my limits and I thoroughly understand the introverted aspect of my personality. You don’t get to decide when I need to “come out of my bubble,” I do. I decide when and where to expend my energy.

I’m not shutting you out or ignoring you. Sometimes I just need to be in “quiet alone time” mode and when I want to (and have the energy to) switch gears and hang out and make conversation – which is far more often than you presume – trust that I will. I need you to let me take initiative instead of insisting that I need to leave my “bubble” and complaining when I contradict you.

You don’t have to empathize. I get that you can’t fully understand what it’s like to be this way instead of extraverted. That goes both ways; your apparently endless social energy confounds me. Let’s all just agree that we have different ways of dealing with life, drop the ridiculous introvert stereotypes, and stop making a thing of it all together. I’ll end with this: While personality typing (introvert/extrovert, Myers Briggs types, the four temperaments, etc) can be informative and fun, we shouldn’t rely on any such simple system or categorization of traits to understand people.

Guess who’s back, back again…

Back to the blogging world, that is. Very few of my current internet friends knew me back in my Blogspot blogging days. All the better for them. I recently revisited my old main blog and there was a lot of cringing.

This time is a little different, though. This time I have purpose and I’m not just blogging because everyone else is. I have two main objectives:

1. To use this blog to write about my day-to-day adulting struggles and stuff I’m working on. I want to track my progress, so to speak; both for my own benefit as a way to keep myself accountable and add some structure and routine to life, and to make it easier to keep my mom and sundry others updated (as opposed to sporadic facebook messages). Hence the “daily” part (the “maybe” is because I know myself too well).

2. To write, period. Because I don’t do nearly enough of that and I want to get better at it and get more comfortable with it. Ranty text posts and headcanons/meta in tags are all well and good for tumblr, but a space for “real” writing – structured, thoughtful writing (hopefully) – is important too.

So if you want to follow along, be aware that there is going to be a lot of complaining. Why? Because that “stuff I’m working on” is mainly health-related and job hunt-related, plus general coping with adulthood and to be honest, I’m a big baby.

Beyond what I’ve outlined above, this blog is fair game for a host of other interests, rants, ideas, etc. Anything can happen.

Until it does,

Katie K

(I probably won’t sign off on posts after this but I liked that segway so there you go.)