Current Quarantine Favorites

Although this is not one bit how I imagined spending the last months of my senior year, here we are. Covid-19 is impacting us all whether it be directly or indirectly, and I do not want to come off as insensitive to anyone whatsoever through this post. There are so many food banks, organizations, and people that you can donate to in order to help the greater good. All of us are struggling through this in one way or another, and there is no better time than now to simply love thy neighbor. A smile and a wave to a passerby on your daily walk or a card via snail mail or a FaceTime to your grandparents or elderly friends is making an impact all of its own. This time and space is awkward and uncomfortable for us all, but is is nothing we cannot get through with a little love.

I was home for a bit in Omaha with my family and am now back in Lawrence living in my senior house and Zoom-ing my kindergarteners everyday. They truly do make days a little brighter even though I’d give anything to go back and spend the rest of the month with them in the classroom like originally planned. In the meantime, I figured I could share a few things with you that I have been enjoying throughout the past few weeks.

WATCHING :

Little Fires Everywhere. Oh. My. Goodness. I read the book by Celeste Ng earlier this summer and fell in love with the details and characters of the story so I was beyond thrilled when I saw none other than Reese Witherspoon was helping bring the story to film. If you haven’t binge watched already, go watch the first 4 episodes that are live on Hulu now.

Also Love Is Blind. I hopped on the train. I did It. I hate how quickly I zoomed through It and STILL am not over how obsessed Jessica is with being 34…#iykyk 😉 What are your thoughts on the absolutely wild show?

READING :

(or…re-reading for that matter!) I am yet again reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It is the coolest idea for all the Type A’s out there on how the author creates a “system” to allow herself be happier in her life. Although as a 21 year old I don’t find it logistical to apply ALL of Rubin’s “rules” (an entire section dedicated to marriage life isn’t exactly part of my agenda right now ;)) I find the book overall as a great refresher and reminder on how happiness really is a mental choice!

DRINKING:

I’ll be real honest, there have been a solid at least 3 days where I have cracked open a Truly Lemonade before 4pm. I don’t know what year it is during this strange time, let alone what hour. However, whatever hour it may be, I am a large fan. I have never been the biggest carbonation drinker and the great lack of bubbles in the lemonade version opposed to the classic Trulys really sold me. The classic lemon lemonade one reminds me of the “Simply Lemonade” flavor, which I have grown up loving. Welcome to the 21+ version!

SNACKING:

Chile & Garlic Cashews from Trader Joe’s. I don’t even have the words to describe how much I love these. I didn’t know I needed this flavor in my life until I bought these on a whim. They are SO good and have just the right amount of spice. 11/10 recommend.

LISTENING:

Lots of everything for various moods of the day, but I’ve been a big fan of Fran’s “At The Beach With You” playlist she put out a few weeks ago. A perfect mix of longing for summer sounds and late night drive windows down songs. It’s been the current soundtrack of my more than once daily kill some time drives and I’m still not sick of it.

I wanna hear what you’re loving during this strange time. What is keeping you busy? What is comforting you or allowing you to find little joys? Leave me a comment below or let me know what other kinds of posts you’d like to see! Until next time. xoxo, Ally

March Moodboard & Wallpaper Download

We are already 5 days into March and to be honest I still feel like we just started February. The days are long, but the weeks are flying, anyone else? I’ve been spending days student teaching kindergarten and nights working, at class, or attempting to squeeze in a grocery run or episode of This Is Us (I finally caved and started it over the last holiday weekend and am hooked!)

Life is crazy busy per usual, so I am really in a spring break mindset this March. The weather is finally starting to warm up here in the midwest and dinner & drinks al fresco and sandal shopping sounds like the perfect celebration. My spring break isn’t until the week of the 16th, but a girl can properly mentally prepare, right? 😉

I created a mood board for my spring mindset that is all things floral, sun, and bright colors that match my mood! I am linking both the desktop and phone wallpaper downloads to share with you all as well! Go ahead and click on which one you’d like to use, click on the three dots in the upper-right hand corner and download!

Share them on Instagram if you use them and make sure to tag me so I can see! Over at @xoandco!

Desktop Download / iPhone Download

Until next time, xoxo, Ally

Truth Chats: dealing with the future as an unknown.

Life is currently best described as the photo below featuring myself attempting to balance three different liquids to and from school and most likely spilling at least 2/3 of them by the time we make it to the door. Messy. Crowded. Overwhelmed. Grateful to even have three types of liquids in my life to be carrying, but really wishing that I could physically see everyone else in my life attempting to do the same in order to not feel so alone in this balancing act stage of life.

To try to claim that I am the only scared to death of the future second semester senior would be an absolute lie. I’m completely aware that I am one of approximately one billion other students in their last year of formal education that is questioning anything and everything possible. Which is exactly why I decided to write this post, because I know I am not alone in my feelings, and chances are someone else who reads this needs to hear the same. So there, to start us off and calm us all down, WE AREN’T CRAZY! LIFE IS MESSY! LET’S DO IT TOGETHER!

If there was a handbook for this stage of 20-something life it would be one of those choose your own adventure ones. The kind where I always cheated on as a kid and skipped forward to see the results of the choices you were given before “choosing” one. Basically, I was cheating the system at age 8; setting myself up for failure in the future in all reality. Because in those books we are able to take a glimpse at the result of our choices like I did, before making our decisions. Real life? We don’t get those glimpses. We don’t get to be like, “okay so if I choose this I will end up in 10 years here BUT if I do that other thing I’ll get this and this…So based off of those I’m gonna go with option A.” Our choices are instead pretty much completely blind, minus the occasional gut feeling that something is just right.

I’ve been struggling with not being able to see my exact future right in front of me for about a year now. I have never been someone that needs to know my schedule far in advance, and I actually am pretty go with the flow. But there is something about this whole real adult job situation that has thrown all go with the flow out the window and introduced all kinds of please-someone-just-make-my-life-choices-for-me-so-i-don’t-have-to. I have spent lots of time letting those emotions sink in and know that a big part of that is due to my life looking a lot different than those I am surrounded by in my head. I student teach all day long and then either go to class or work and then that is on repeat all the time until May. When there is time to make decisions about my future once you throw sleeping, eating, and breathing in there…I have zero clue. Our society these days glorifies both a culture of *hustling* and in all honesty- I hate it. I hate feeling exhausted over daily routine, I hate being stressed yet still adding things to my to-do list that I most certainly don’t HAVE to do, and I hate comparing myself to my peers subconsciously to make sure they don’t think I’m lazy.

Since when are we afraid of being lazy? When did it become such a negative word? I want to reintroduce lazy as a selfish term that allows us to have five seconds to breathe and not feel guilty about It. I want lazy to mean we have free time do indulge in a hobby FOR FUN. I want to be a productive kind of lazy on a week night where I am doing my homework HOURS before the deadline (unheard of if you know me, oops, QUEEN of the 11:59pm turn-in over here.)

I have felt more exhausted the past month and a half of this semester than I thought possible, and I won’t lie, I feel downright guilty for claiming that’s how I feel. I despise telling friends and family I am exhausted because we live in this hustling world that seems to expect us to be, especially as students. I spend 8 hours a day being my happiest and *attempting* 😉 to be my most patient with 5-6 year olds. I adore it, I genuinely do. I love being there and this semester has absolutely confirmed my choice in careers through student teaching with kindergarteners. But yes, I also am exhausted after! A huge part of that is myself being an introvert and needing alone time to fuel after a day spent interacting with people all day long. I love my alone time but this year specifically have felt so guilty for It, or like I am not properly being a senior by spending my time after class making a Target run alone, or heck, sleeping by 9. (the 6am alarm thing has really taken a toll to my usually a night own sleep schedule!) I want each and every one of you reading this to know that you do not need to feel guilty or not-cool for taking time for yourself when you need It. You need to be proud of yourself when you recognize your emotions and listen to your body!

Back to the unknown for a bit, and to what the heck we should do about It. As for me, I won’t lie and say that I will be perfect at this, but I am going to try to be grateful for the unknown for just these next few months. To let myself understand patience in a way that I am so uncomfortable with, and to remind myself that my own path is my own, and it is happening the exact way it should be. Your life may look different than everyone else around you. You may feel as if you are the only one that has zero clue what they are doing. I promise you, you are not. But that’s what almost-grad / post-grad is all about; defining your own path and knowing it is yours and yours alone. You are not disappointing anybody, you do not have anything to prove to anyone, and you are allowed to be selfish while you wait for the unknown to become known.

Chances are this won’t be the last scared second semester senior chat posted, but it feels like a good first. To knowing you aren’t alone, to finding comfort in knowing that everything is already sorted out in God’s plan, and to enjoying college nights out with cheap drinks on Thursday nights while we still can.

Until next time, xoxo, Ally