Best Packing List For College!

Going off to school soon? Check out this list of things you must take with you!

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Going off to college is a huge, exciting change! There is so much happening, sometimes you dont even know where to start! I know I definitely overpacked when I left for school and my poor parents had to help me move all of it around! Here, i want to share with you what is essential for you to bring to college and some insights that will help make packing a whole lot easier! We will talk about whats good to pack by area, like bedroom, closet, kitchen, desk, bathroom, backpack, and car. Lets go!

Lets start with items for your bedroom…

BEDROOM

Bedding for a Twin or Twin XL bed. Check with your housing/apartment complex to see which they provide. Twin XL and Twin beds are very different, one sheet will not fit the other! Twin XL’s are a bit longer but thats about it. Consider the average weather while you will be there. If its sunny and 85 all the time, you don’t want to bulk up on blankets. If its going to be snowing and cold 80% of your time there, bring more blankets or get a very cozy comforter and material that will hold heat better, like flannel.

  • Comforter- I thought I had bought a twin comforter but it ended up being a queen, so I could have totally brought my blanket from home. I love being wrapped up so I was okay with the extra blanketness!
  • Sheets. Heres a 5 piece bed set from Amazon
  • Pillows (sleeping and maybe decorative, 1 or 2)
  • Pillowcases
  • Bed topper- Super important if you want to save your back and actually sleep well! Get a 1 inch mattress topper, preferably memory foam. Anything over 1 inch is even better! This will help your quality of sleep and comfort so much because some beds are old or indestructible. These are not synonymous with comfort. Trust me on this one. Here is Amazons choice for a bed topper
  • Small fluffy/fuzzy rug to make your small space a bit more homey and comfy. Sheepskin rug from Amazon
  • Bed risers- Sold at Walmart for pretty cheap. most complexes wont let you take cinderblocks in to raise your bed. Helps with increasing storage room. Round hole bed risers found here
  • Underbed storage- If you choose to put your bed on risers you’ll have more room to store things. May have to buy after you raise your bed to see what will fit. May be a cloth zip up box or plastic bins. Varies according to storage space available under your bed! Best Seller on Amazon right here
  • Wax warmer and/or essential oil diffuser- I love the sound of the diffuser at night and usually they change colors which is super relaxing at night! Wax warmers are also super fun and are perfect to get the right vibe and feel in your personal space!

Now lets talk about your closet!

Closet space is going to be extremely different everywhere! The main thing I would rely on though is that there will probably be few to no drawers space. Mostly hanging and shelves. To me, that means little privacy if you are sharing a room! So here are a few tips:

CLOSET

  • Plastic three drawer organizer- very prominent at Target and Walmart. Some are extra wide and low, some are tall and skinny. Lots of options for your space. Buy when you get to your apartment. Easy to store undies, bras, socks, and more personal clothing and care items. Buy more than one too!
  • Thin plastic hangers- You want to utilize your hanging space as much as possible, so the thinner the hanger, the more clothing you can cram on the rack! Hangers with plastic nubs on the shoulders or velvet hangers work well to not have clothing slip off. TJ Maxx, Ross are the best place Ive seen for selection of thin hangers. Find velvet hangers here
  • Shoe storage- Find a place to put your shoes! In such a small place that you share it will get messy! No one wants your shoes by the door either, so they have to go in your small room. Find hanging shoe storage for your door or get a rack that will fit in on the floor somewhere.
  • Laundry hamper- make it multipurpose for a hamper and a carrier to the laundry room and back. And durable. Mine fell apart in 3 weeks. Lame. Heres a plastic collapsible basket and here is a cute fabric one that will both work perfectly!
  • Jewelry organizer
  • Duffel bag- for packing, easily collapsable and wont take up space afterward.

Kitchen and cooking packing…. This one is difficult.

Let me say this first. You don’t need as much as you think you do when it comes to packing your cooking items! And you don’t need to buy it all brand new either. Or all of it before you leave even, because you can acquire more items as you advance as a single student cooking for yourself. I bought a lot of things new to go to school and i regret some of that. Some things i thrifted too, and i was super happy with that! One thing to remember is that your items will be in a community living area of the kitchen, so if you don’t want your things to get snagged, don’t bring quality items and don’t bring items that look like what everyone else has. If you thrift items, you can easily customize them without fear of ruining a more expensive item. Let me show you what I did…

KITCHEN

  • Cutlery- I thrifted some cute forks, knives, and spoons and then personalized them by spray painting the ends of each of the handles with colors I liked, and finished with a clear coat. I had unique cutlery that I liked and no one would get it mixed up with mine!
  • Rice cooker- super easy and convenient. Rice is cheap too when you’re a college student on a budget.
  • Mini Crockpot/Slow cooker- I LOVED my slow cooker! I would throw in some frozen chicken breasts and broth and come home a few hours later to a nice little home cooked meal! It was seriously so easy. Since the pot was smaller, it made it easy to not cook too much food for one person, it had just the right portions for a meal and some leftovers. Little prep for very yummy food. Heres a cute small one
  • One good sized pot- You really don’t need more than 1 medium-large pot
  • One multipurpose pan- a pan with high sides makes for a small pot and large pan. Still make pancakes but still warm up some sauce if needed!
  • Strainer/Colander- you’ll be eatin’ a lotta pasta honey!
  • One large measuring cup- a Pyrex measuring cup that holds two or three cups total with markings.It cuts down on space as opposed to stacking cups.
  • 4 Corelle plates- These are very common at the thrift store! I happened to get mine at Walmart because my mom told me to get them because they are very durable, perfect for a mobile and not gentle college life.
  • Cups-find cute ones at the thrift store or wait to acquire some at school
  • Small plastic cutting board- sanitary no matter what you are cutting and requires no care. OXO is a good brand and has a great one here
  • One or two good cutting knives- 1 big, one small. One smooth, one serrated. Here is a super bright and colorful set
  • Dish towels- find a unique pattern you like. TJ Maxx or Ross are a good choice to pick from. “What the fork is for dinner” towel set!
Single black non stick pot
Still hvae the same Walmart pot that I had while on campus. used it for everything while cooking! Hot chocolate, pasta, sauce, rice pudding, ramen noodles, soup…. All of it!

Now for some study and desk tips.

DESK

  • Printer- I hated using school printing and I had my own printer. Best thing ever. Heres the same one I took to school with me
  • Favorite pens and pencils- Don’t go for cheap exactly here, find what you like and buy it. You’ll be writing a lot so its okay!
  • 3 hole punch
  • 5 subject notebook- I started using these because each class doesn’t need a separate notebook and I took less notes than I thought I would. I took about 4 or 5 classes too so it worked out.
  • Laptop
  • Laptop case- snap on case for Mac AND a soft sleeve for transport in your backpack! If you have a PC a soft sleeve will do great. It will extend the life of your laptop a long time. Heres the same one I have on my computer now.
  • Bluetooth mouse for laptop
  • Sheet protectors
  • Nice resume paper- if you plan on applying for jobs.
  • printer paper
  • college ruled notebook paper
  • tape
  • stapler
  • blue tacky gum- hanging up pictures in your dorm
  • white toothpaste- fill in holes in your walls left from tack holes
  • 2nd computer monitor- if you’re using excel or Photoshop or any big, in depth programs, you can hook up your laptop to it for more monitor space.
  • Desk top lamp- preferably with different light settings for different times of day while studying.
  • Noise cancelling headphones- drown out noise from roomies and rock out 🙂 Amazon has great inexpensive options, they don’t NEED to be Beats!

BACKPACK

  • GET A NICE DURABLE BACKPACK OR BAG
Jansport backpacks last forever!
Ive had this backpack since sophomore year of highschool (2011) so over seven years! Its gone all around the world with me and still works perfectly. Absolutely no holes or rips or anything. Could probably need a good hose down and wash but its good to go!

Thats all I have to say about that. Don’t want it falling apart and don’t want to have to buy another bag while out there and you don’t have much money. Jansport with a leather bottom was the best for me. Amazon has a lot of amazing options too. Heres the Jansport options

CAR

If you are taking a car to school, how exciting!! Not everyone gets to do that so that is amazing! Heres a few things that are a must to have in your car/for your car.

  • JUMPER CABLES- put them in your car NOW!! Your car will die at the most unexpected time and someone else may not have them. Buy some now and put them in the car trunk.
  • Car air freshener. Buy a few trees from Walmart or get a small container that fits in a cupholder, poke some hole sin the lid and place a few wax melts on the inside. When the car warms up it will melt the wax and your car will be smelling wonderful!
  • Outdoor blanket- might want to go for a picnic or sit outside and it good to have if you have to stay in your car for whatever reason.
  • Extra water and snacks- if you go on a little trip and are stuck in traffic, you’ll have some backup supplies!
  • Extra charging cable for phone- cable and cigarette lighter insert.
  • Flashlight
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Extra things you forget all the time! Personal for you- me, I have lotion, chapstick, mints, pads and tampons, car charger, pen, sunglasses. Just some ideas.

Along with all these practical packing ideas, Id also encourage you to find a couple items that are YOU to take with you that can help you have fun, be a conversation starter, and help you make friends. For example, I brought a volleyball, a longboard, and a horse head mask to college so I could have fun with others, have some me time, and have a funny thing to talk about and mess around with, with my roomies and friends. Don’t forget to be yourself at school and also create yourself to be who you want to be!

There! Thats the list! As I said before, this is a list for things you might not think about when packing up for school. It’s not a complete comprehensive list, but it will get you going and give you some tips on where to start! Keep in mind your climate and your amenities included in your living situation and try to keep it minimal and frugal. Have a great time at college and make the most of it!

Please comment any other suggestions you may have from your own experience or anything major that you think was left out of this article. I would love to make sure its all on here! Share this post with a friend or family member who is going away to school, or a parent thats helping pack a kid up! Thanks for reading!

 

 

Children Born Truly A Blessing

What a blessing it is to see a child grow up in a family surrounded by a loving community.

Mothers work hard to carry a child and to take care of a baby when it is born. It is such a wonderful experience though to see a child grow up and see a woman become a mother as she nurtures that baby to grow and learn by her love. It is amazing how connected a community can become when a baby is born. As I sit here in church I see babies being passed around here and there from mom to a long time friend sitting next to her. I see women who are very well aged holding a baby, as they probably reminisce on how they once raised their own children and had that position of a new mom. Both the older women and the young lady hold the baby, adoring eyes on their tiny bodies, tender hands grasping their soft chubby legs and belly, and the warmth of the baby warming every heart.

It does take a community to raise a child. Mom is under a lot of pressure and going through many changes. With a first child, she has officially become a mother. Her status among her peers may change as she is no longer as free to meet up and likely holed up for days at home with her new little nugget. She may be struggling socially as each day becomes monotonous. Mothers of more than one child may be seeing the change of adding a sibling for their other children. Meanwhile, there are friends and family surrounding her, excited for the new addition, a new little personality to get to know. Family is there to help with meals and chores as mom recovers and learns to manage with baby. Friends are close to coo and hold the new child and take the baby from mothers tired arms. Peers are near to socialize and congratulate after a much needed week of baby care. Her husband is near her side through all of it as well, helping as much as he can while he is home.

A baby needs to feel loved. They sense and know much more than we think. It can be stressful for a baby when there are fewer people around (as it can be when there are too many people!). Having a community surround a family brings so much needed support and the families new addition can bring so much joy! It’s a beautiful thing to watch, so many sisters being benefited from having a baby in the room. Babies just bring a light and happiness! And even when they cry, heads turn because instinctually we know that baby is important and demands our attention. I know all family situations are not ideal where both mom and dad aren’t around or family is not close, etc. but I just wanted to highlight what I have seen in families around me and in the community of the church I am a part of. Families here are not perfect either, but it is obvious that children are a light in our lives that we cannot deny.

The media does not portray family and children like they used to or should. We are surrounded by ideas that marriage and children tie us down and are not important any more. That’s not the case. When children come into the world, they are a blessing, they are a piece of goodness from the Lord. I’m so grateful for the sweet babies I have been able to hold and take care of and the motherly instincts they have helped me connect to. I hope one day to be able to have my own and share the blessing of children with my family and friends. I hope this Father’s Day we can appreciate the family. Every member is needed and we can give special appreciation to Dad this day.

Last Minute Gifts For Mom! Amazon Edition

Mothers Day has always creeped up on me. I remember one Mothers Day when my sister and I realized it was the day and we had nothing planned and nothing bought for mom AT ALL. We put together the infamous “coupon book” that every youngster makes or is given to gift their parents that no one actually ever uses. We drew some cute drawings on colorful paper and made breakfast in bed for mom and all was mostly well! It was fine for being like 9 years old and unprepared. But now its different. Now that I am older, I realize all the things my mom did for me and for our family, all that she sacrificed, all the difficult decisions she had to make,  and all the money it requires to raise children. Now I try to do there best I can for my mom on Mothers Day and Christmas to let her know she is appreciated. I try every day to let her know she is loved by keeping in contact with her. She deserves it.

So Mother Day is coming up quick! And I want to show you some of the awesome possibilities for gifts available on Amazon because it quick, easy, and inexpensive. But I want to preface the post by saying that gifts are NOT THE ONLY way of showing your appreciation and are not completely necessary. You know your mom best and will know what to do/say/buy/create for her! So if you find anything on this list that fits in please go for it and get it for mom! Your call 🙂

First up! Generally beautiful jewelry’s always a great pick! Moms love functional memorabila for their family.  Check out these beautiful jewelry gifts from Amazon Handmade. (did you know Amazon sold handmade gifts?! Its like super-Etsy!)

Alex and Ani Dupe with your childrens name charms

Personalized Birthstones and Family Names Necklace

Personalized Family Name Bracelet

Sterling Silver Personalized Stamp Rings

Second, here are some cute baking gift ideas!

Rustic Wooden Recipe Box

Home Is Where Your Mom Is Cutting Board (I love this phrase because its so true!)

InstantPot Pressure Cooker (not exactly cute, but this thing is AMAZING. I have one and it makes any food so quickly and so easily its insane)

Adorable Farmhouse Kitchen Canisters

Third, and my fav write and more my style in gifts to give and receive, QUIRKY GIFTS!

Best Mom Ever Desk Nameplate (reminds me of the Office and it makes it even more funny)

Powered By Caffeine Mug (I know lots of mom who drink the Diet Coke!!)

Flower 2018 Planner (not quirky but planners are cheap after February!)

Mom Life AntiStress Coloring Book

Unicorn Cupcake Bath Fizzies! (I don’t need to say anything else, check it out!)

Ok thats the list! Hopefully some of these gifts will help you find the perfect way to express your undying, extreme, and sometimes goofy love between you and your mama!

Love you all! Happy Mothers Day!

 

Affiliate Disclosure- This post deeeefinitely contains affiliate links. When you click on them and buy something, I get a teeny commission so it’d be much appreciated if you did so! If not its all good 🙂 happy reading!

Inspirational and (Actually) Helpful Resources for Starting a Instagram/Blog

Want to grow your Instagram or blog but don’t know what else to do? Here are some (mostly) free resources to help you get up and get inspired!

Since I have started an Instagram account for makeup and beauty, I have looked into a few ways I can make some money form it sometime in the future. (Also because I have a cruddy job that I am looking to get out of, and I kind of have an entrepreneurial spirit. but mostly don’t want to work for a corporate business!) I feel like this are of Pinterest, Instagram, and blogging, is a center for clickbait and supposedly free tips which then turn into a slew of emails begging you to buy into their online course FOR ONLY 297$ Today only!!

Yeah not really for me when thats one whole paycheck for me…

I literally feel lied to when I click on a “free masterclass” and then get bombarded with emails. I know, not that smart because I even know what they’re doing but I put my email in anyway!

ANYWAY…

Here I have compiled a list of blogs, youtube videos, and podcasts that are mostly COMPLETELY FREE! No, I do not collaborate with these people, I just have been clicking and reading around and have found some great sites that I think you might enjoy as well! I will list some that are 100% free and let you know which ones to watch out for with hidden email marketing down the road… So lets get to the list!

Mostly COMPLETELY FREE Blog to Business Resources!

  • Podcast by Amy Porterfield “Online Marketing Made Easy With Amy Porterfield” Available on Podcast app on iPhone.
  • She also has a website with a lot of cool free stuff for you to download! Podcast linked on website as well. WARNING: She does sell webinars and courses so be cautious but they are high quality because she is super successful! It might be worth checking out.
  • Whatever Is Lovely blog. I found this one from Pinterest while at work (hehehe 🙂 smug) and she has some great insights about how to get started! Here is the start of a great post series that expands on how to get started. Its all free!
  • Elise Darma has great blog posts on her site and her free masterclass has a lot of great Instagram insights! But I put my email in and have gotten a blast of “buy me”, so theres that. elisedarma.com
  • Miranda Gardley on Youtube has a series about working on Instagram that I thought was helpful. heres the link to the first part of the series.
  • The Preview App’s website has some great articles about organizing your Instagram and how to grow a following. Heres a very helpful link for finding an attractive layout for your page from them. And some more articles… Instagram Shadowban and 2018 Instagram Hashtags Rules
  • List of affiliate programs from HerPaperRoute

These are a small but growing list of places I’ve looked at and read and have found helpful insights! Please check out these resources for help growing your blog and Instagram!

Also, please drop any links to resources you have found helpful and a little blurb about the resource and how its helped you! I would love to branch out and find more resources and be able to provide them for you and readers as well!

Happy Blogging everyone!

Why I Started A Beauty Insta

A quick tale of starting a new social media page!

You may have noticed that I have changed my posts up a little lately. I have been posting more about makeup! Yes, I am a woman so thats natural to want to talk about makeup and beauty and etc. BUT…I created an Instagram account for all my makeup tips and finds, and favorite looks! Thats why I have been talking about the best makeup brushes and makeup light up vanity mirrors and things of the sort. Its been a hard road to travel! So in todays post I want to tell you more about the background on why I started an IG account for makeup and beauty and why you’ll be seeing more of it here one the blog as well!

To start off, I have not always been a avid fan of makeup. I am the average woman who likes to play around with it but nothing too serious or wacky. I started wearing makeup in 6th grade, and my 7th grade picture was AWFUL because my foundation did not match my face or neck and I wore a ruffly high neck shirt and it was just all bad! My 8th grade year, I was basically a man and never wore makeup except probably a tiny bit of mascara but I mostly wore basketball shorts and tees and had no friends…ANYWAY thats beside the point! I loved makeup all over again as a freshman, because boys were new and interesting all over again after going into high school. It was all downhill after that, I wore less and less makeup, kept it minimal unless I was going on a date or to a dance. Rewind to just last year, 2017, when I started taking makeup a lot more seriously! This is where I feel like my true genuine interest started. My wedding. I did not want to hire someone to do my makeup for the big day as I did not think they would know my style and I wouldn’t love the look they created for me. I knew my cousin Shannon was pretty good with makeup, better than my other friends and cousins so I asked her to do my makeup. I am not the closest with her but I wanted her to feel included in my big day so she slept over and her, my sister, and I got to work early in the morning before I went off to be married to my honeybun! She did amazing! I loved that she was so confident with all the products and I just felt amazing! I couldn’t stop thinking about how she had done my face up. At the time I also had my nails done and eyelash extensions, so I was feeling extra EXTRA! Once we were done with our lovely honeymoon and back to real life together, I got a job at a furniture store. Now I had a lot more money that was mine. I am guilty of waaaay overspending at Sephora! I had bought my first real eyeshadow palette at Ulta right before our wedding, and at Christmas time, my husband and my m other in law gave me two eyeshadow palettes I had been DYING to get my hands on! Now it felt real, Ive got REAL, NICE makeup! It was a dream come true.

At this point, I considered making a IG page but it never happened, I was too self conscious. While I work, I also taker online classes. Two of my classes required me to make a social media account for a brand that I created, and create a website for a topic that was school appropriate. My idea to create a brand and page for makeup just became homework. I created an account and got to work taking pictures of my favorite makeup products, mini tutorials, and makeup looks. I was still scared at first to show my page to anyone. I didn’t let my friends know until I had almost finished my two classes. I still haven’t outright put it on my personal account. I am so glad that I had those two classes that pushed me to put my love for social media and marketing together with something I consider a hobby and really like! Its been uninteresting road, learning about how the Instagram works and getting your page exposed and posting the right content that will bring people in. Its been. challenge but its definitely been a wonderful passion project for me. I don’t know everything but I feel like I have made myself a lot more useful for my future in social media marketing and web design.

So thats my backstory on why I made an Instagram page for beauty, makeup, and skincare! I hope you will stay tuned for more greats tips and stories form me about my adventure in learning about the ins and outs of Instagram  and social media. Hopefully you’ll learn some great things too!

Please feel free to follow me on Instagram. My personal account is Kenzerfacee and my wonderful, starting out, novice, beauty page is MakenziReviews

POLL: Are there roadblocks you have run into while trying to get a Facebook or Instagram page started? What do you find most challenging in running an outside page besides your own personal account? Let me know in the comments below so I can see if we have some of the same issues!!

 

Fave 3 Products of the Week!

Talking about 3 of my favorite products this week!

Goooooooooood Morning this beautiful Tuesday!

Well actually, its more like afternoon, but thats okay…

Today I wanted to share three of my favorite products that I am obsessing over right now! This is the first post of its kind on my blog. I’ll give it a try and hopefully it’s a helpful post for you! I will be talking about 3 products I love and 1 that I created thats working really well for me! If you want to check out how I made my own DIY Lip Scrub, head over to my makeup Instagram page to check it out in my last post! @MakenziReviews

So the first product I want to tell you about is a brand new facial cleanser I grabbed at the store LAST NIGHT! It’s the first product in the photo above. I already love it! Its the Baking Soda Cleanser by Biore. You can find it at Walmart, Target, Maceys Grocery, basically anywhere there are general bathing and grooming products! To start off, this product has really great packaging. I love how it is all a translucent white/clear color. From the pump, to the gel itself, and the whole container, it all just ties in. The color reminds me of when you make a mini volcano in grade school and put the baking soda and vinegar together…IDK if thats a good thing for a face cleanser but I like it! Next, it smells great, which is typical for all Biore products. Its got a lovely fragrance, similar to the Charcoal cleanser. However, this one does not have the cooling effect like the Charcoal cleanser. It does have a few small exfoliating beads, I think they are supposed to be little baking soda beads. Theres not enough for me to say its an exfoliating gel though because I still use it with my Clarisonic brush. Overall it is a great face wash! Heres the Biore Baking Soda Cleanser as an add-on on Amazon. And the Mia 2 by Clarisonic

Next product is a hair product! This one is the Taming Elixir by Sebastian Professional. I love this as a conditioning heat protectant for when I blow-dry my hair. I don’t blow-dry my hair often, I normally let it air dry and sometimes straighten a few weird curls. But when I do use hot tools to dry my hair, I use this. I don’t usually buy higher end products for my hair or very few because I am low maintenance with my hair but this one is so great because it leaves my hair super shiny, I feel like my hair is much stronger when I use it, and its a great heat protectant. It contains avocado oil in it so that provides the natural heat protecting element. Its very light weight too so its not going to be a heavy greasy hair product. Perfect for me and smells wonderful! Check out the Sebastian Taming Elixir here

The third product is a sample of the Coconut Sheer Oil by Kopari Beauty. I have actually had this product for a couple years now but never really knew what to do with it. I used it in my hair a few times but it did NOT go well! My hair didn’t soak it in very quickly and it looked greasy 😦 but now I am using it on my face as a moisturizer along with my Elta MD SPF moisturizer! It makes my skin sooo soft and hydrated and I have not had any problems with break outs while using it. I feel like it makes my skin softer and helps impurities move through easier which = less fiery red zits! And OH MY GOODNESS this oil smells SO GREAT! Like it smells the best out of all 4 of the above pictured products! I absolutely love it! I like this small size but I don’t know if I am ready to commit to the bigger size that is 45$ at Ulta…Maybe when I make more money…one day… 🙂 If you have the $$$ to get the regular size or if you get your hands on a sample size TRY IT OUT! It’s a wonderful multi use coconut oil! You’ll fall in love 🙂  Luckily this product is on Amazon for 39$! Check out the Kopari Coconut Sheer Oil here!

Pictured above is a glass container of lip scrub that I made the other night foe you all on Instagram. Its super easy to make and has so many exfoliating and softening properties! Check it out on my Instagram! @MakenziReviews

 

This page does contain affiliate links which, when you click and purchase a product through a link, I may get a commission as an Amazon affiliate. Doing so does help me out but no sweat if you don’t click or choose to buy. Thanks!

“Home” In A Strange Place

Thoughts on coping with calling an unexpected location your new home.

Have you ever thought about how you love the place where you grew up? The warm Saturdays at the field, the way laundry smells when mom is home doing work around the house, how that one Mexican restaurant is your families favorite, and the lady at the bank remembers you from when you were just tiny and stealing more candy than you needed from the bowl at her desk. Sometimes I just sit and think about how the Sacramento area was just the perfect place to grow up and how my family and I just fit in so well to the community. We had our spot and things we would do and people we knew and favorite hang out spots that no one else knew about. I also think about how my mom grew up somewhere else and that the way I feel about home may not have been how she felt about our home until she had been there awhile and settled in. I feel that way about where I live now.

Now, I am not a mother yet, but I don’t live with my husband where either of us grew up. I live in Salt Lake City now and its been a strange experience. Its only been about 8 months that Ive been here and I am just waiting for those “home experiences” where I am comfortable, people know me, and I love the little undiscovered parts of town and the surrounding area. I’m not there yet. I don’t know if that just happens as you grow up, you see the truth behind the glowing memories and see what is really before your eyes, but I have to think that I can have those glowing memories come from this new “home” as well. And then I don’t want to because I know I won’t be here long. We will only be here as long as my husband is in school for his Masters degree and thats only a couple more years. So do I settle in and try to make this home feel like my childhood home? Do I create that halo effect of the memories that I will have of this place and put effort into making it that way. Or do I welcome the new experience of now. Do I wait for a new “home” where I can settle in and find my place in the community so that my children will have that feeling of belonging and close knit neighbors and friendly passerby? Here in SLC, I drive to the packed Southside of the city for work, I work on my online classes in my apartment in an older complex hidden in a suburban neighborhood. There are people I am afraid of in my complex, there are children that are loud in the morning and frustrate me as they pound down the stairs and wake me up. there are smokers who make my home smell, there is a dirty creek behind my building, and someone stole a tire iron from my husbands jeep. These are the things that come to mind when I think of where I live now. Maybe its just a shift of mindset that needs to happen?

As the weather grows warmer, my memories and attitude toward this place warm up as well. I see the ducks in the rising creek play around, I see the flowers bloom on the trimmed bushes, the vitamin d from the sunshine makes me smile as I soak in the rays from the forgotten sun after months of cold winter. I look at our cozy and bright apartment int he evening, when its 7:30 and still light out, and I smile because we have all this together. And I think thats what makes up those golden memories from the past: warm weather, clean kitchens, ducks in the pond, flowers coming out to say hi, snow on the distant desert range melting day after day, and hope in the future to accompany the company of your loved one. I think it is possible to make a home in a strange place. It will definitely not be like your childhood home, but the halo effect on your memory of where you now occupy will come with time as you take in the moment and appreciate whats around you and who is around you. In no time, your memories and feeling toward your home will be as picturesque as if you had taken it with a polaroid. Imperfect yet just they way you wanted it to turn out.