An Instagram Roundup of Independence Day Shenanigans, Tea, Pink Drinks, Cars, and More. This May Be the Longest Title Yet.

Friday, July 22, 2016

1. This is one of my best friends and I at our church's fireworks' show for this year's July 4th fireworks. Much ice cream was enjoyed.

2. Speaking of ice cream, me and my girls grabbed frozen yogurt from a new frozen yogurt place in town called Whit's. It was my first time there, and I have to say, it was pretty good! I got the caramel apple flavor, which was vanilla ice cream with apple pieces and caramel sauce. It was basically like eating apple pie with ice cream.

3. This was a particularly good lunch from Meridee's, a café and bakery right in Franklin. It's a childhood favorite place of mine, and nothing beats a good peanut butter and honey sandwich with chips and a London Fog. :)

4. Herbie, my car, winks. No, really, every time you open my car door, he winks from my spedometer. Many "awww"s and iPhone snaps ensued that day I discovered this important and adorable instance.

5. I read and drank an Iced Raspberry Chai Latte at Barnes n' Noble. By the way, this book I'm reading is HILARIOUS.

6. Speaking of beverages, I got a Pink Drink. Ever since I discovered this phenomenon via Instagram, I HAD to try it. This particular Pink Drink was definitely not my first, but it was maybe the second I'd had with blackberries instead of strawberries. It was delightful.

7. This is what my workspace typically looks like. There are at least three items that one can definitely find in said workspace: laptop, planner, and brightly-colored pens.

8. And this is my laptop case. I bought it off of Society6 when they were having a sale. It's a fantastic case, and it's been fantastic to use when I commute to and from work. I can't wait to use it when I travel soon!

Thoughts on [and Pros and Cons of] Pokémon Go

Monday, July 18, 2016

How cute is this pattern?! I got it here.

There's a craze that's quite literally swept the globe, and that craze is a little app called Pokémon Go, available for Apple and Android as of my writing this post.

Pokémon Go takes a video game that's beloved by many and steps up its game mechanics. This app uses technology called Augmented Reality to simulate actually "catching" Pokémon in the real world as opposed to on a GameBoy screen.

While I applaud Nintendo for actually stepping outside of the video game console box, it's certainly not the story-driven game I grew up with as a child. Nevertheless, I can think of quite a few pros and cons with this game, especially after having played it for a few days now.

My character near some designated Pokéstops

Pro: It encourages actually "going" places.
Pokémon Go uses Google Maps' GPS system to run, so you can find Pokémon from quite literally anywhere on the map (provided your country supports the game). While it is possible to "catch" Pokémon critters in your bedroom, it's actually better (and more cost-efficient, as lures to draw the characters to you can cost real-life dollars) if you go outside and explore for yourself.

The cool thing is that the locations that are supposedly prime spots to hunt Pokémon are actual landmarks. And the app actually encourages you to walk to these locations, as some of them are inaccessible otherwise. This is a great way to get out and get exercise, and it's also a great way to actually see what's in your hometown that you might not have known about otherwise.

Con: It doesn't encourage being aware of one's surroundings nearly enough.
While it is fantastic that people are actually getting out and exploring cities and towns, it's not necessarily a good thing that common sense is seemingly being placed on the back burner. Though there is a warning (pictured below), I personally don't feel like it's enough.

For starters, simply looking up from your phone and being aware of people and even cars around you is something that's not being done if you're, well, looking at your phone and are only aware of the Pidgey or other pixellated Pokémon on your phone's screen. And you do have to point your phone in a certain direction to "catch" these Pokémon, so that doesn't help if you're in a particularly crowded place or busy street,

Then, there's the landmark thing. While I mentioned earlier that this is a good thing, the Pokéstops (which are little predetermined spots on your map where you can get goodies like extra Pokéballs and other items for your digital quest) are no respecters of historical significance. For example, the app has received backlash when users attempted to "catch" Pokémon at the Holocaust Museum. And where I live, the Pokéstops are mainly around Civil War battleground sites. So it's not just being physically aware that's important and needing to be addressed further, but also mentally and emotionally aware, too.

Finally, there's the thing with the Pokéstops being at any and all churches. It seems like every church in my area has been highlighted on my map as a place to get goodies. This is a cause of concern, especially as someone who is a member of the church. Make sure that small children know that churches, especially the one you might attend, are for worship, not for collecting digital items. Us millennials need to remember that, too.

Pro: It at least highlights where churches are.
While I don't agree with the fact that churches are highlighted as places to farm items, there is a bright side. If I were hypothetically looking for a church after just moving to a new city, this app might actually help me find where they are. And if Pokémon Go can help other millennials my age find churches as opposed to a Google search - and it's actually making people aware of churches - that's fine by me.

Con: It's being used by people driving.
Guys, don't text and drive, and definitely don't play games and drive (See above regarding common sense seemingly being put on the back burner).

Some of my Pokémon, nickamed and such: Goldie the Goldeen, Bacon the Charmander (my starter), and Christopher the Pidgey (named after Christopher Robin from Winnie the Pooh)

So, what are my thoughts on Pokémon Go (besides the pros and cons mentioned above)?

It's just a fun little game. I'm not consumed by it; I'm not frantically running around town just to catch Pokémon. If I'm sitting as a passenger in a car (key word: passenger), or if I happen to be in an area where I might catch something and give it a goofy and/or adorable nickname (see above), I'll open the app. Then again, I'm also a young adult with a lot on my work plate, and I don't have time to frolic just for Pokémon. In other words, my usage of the app is incredibly casual. I enjoy playing it because of the nostalgia and as a game in general.

All in all, if this game is used with respect and common sense in mind, and if it's treated as that - a game - I say it's fine.

What do you think of Pokémon Go? Let me know down in the comments! :)

Mondays Are for Music: [Listen] While You Work

Monday, July 11, 2016

It's Monday. And I say it's time for some music. :)

So I have gotten into the habit of listening to specific tracks while I work. I've even made editing playlists on occasion. When it comes to picking music to work to, I usually do one of two things: I either listen to an album that I hadn't heard before (for example, I listened to a whole Sufjan Stevens album, and it was a blast and a half), or I listen to a few preselected tracks or a curated playlist (like a Pop or Electronic mix).

But here are a few of the tracks I listen to a lot for work:

What's your favorite thing to listen to while you work? Let me know in the comments! :)

Things to Remember in Dark Times

Saturday, July 9, 2016

It goes without saying that the world hasn't been the happiest place, lately. That's apparent just by turning on the news or scrolling through news outlets online.

Even when tragedy seems far away, it affects everyone. And you never know if someone's struggling with something, whether it's been reported on the news or not.

I can't help but think of this quote, said by Mr. Fred Rogers: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'"

So, what else can we remember in dark times?

  • We can remember that Perfect Love casts out fear.
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." - 1 John 4:18a

  •  We can remember that God has already conquered the evils of the world.
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

  •  We can remember that God has assured us we are more than conquerors in Him.
" all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." - Romans 8:37

  • We can remember that we can anchor our hope in Him.
"We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek" - Hebrews 6:19-20
  • Last - but not least - we can remember that He is our strong tower and refuge. 
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe." - Proverbs 18:10

Random Thoughts on Modesty

Friday, July 8, 2016

In the Christian blogging community at large - of which I consider myself a part - modesty is a hot-button topic around this time of year. While it feels like a tired topic, it's still important to talk about in this day and age.

So, in this post, I want to outline random thoughts I have on modesty and beliefs I hold regarding modesty based on my faith. I don't expect to agree with everyone on everything - nor do I expect everyone to agree with me. I have thoughts, and I want to lay them out on the proverbial table, plain and simple. Also, my aim is not to judge anyone else. I'm just stating what I believe and where I stand.
  • Modesty is not about you. It's always been and always will be a matter of respecting those around you. This does include the opposite gender - and believe me, it does help them a lot - but this also includes workplace and school environments, as well as family functions. It truly is a matter of respect.
  • At the same time, modesty is about you. When you cover up a bit more, it's apparent to those around you that you respect yourself as well as others. Notice a key word here brought over from the previous point: respect.
  • In some cultures, modesty is a requirement. For example, I went to Italy a couple of summers ago to visit the Sistine Chapel, and if your shoulders weren't covered, they handed you a paper poncho to wear. See, respect is a pretty big factor here. If you're traveling to a country with such rules, do your research beforehand so you know what to pack.
  • And all this being said, modesty can be just plain practical sometimes. When it's cold, you ought to cover up. When you're taking care of kids or moving around in general, you generally don't want a short skirt. Never underestimate the power of a basic cardigan, or leggings under a dress, tunic, or skirt.
  • I've also always believed that you can be modest in action, too, not just appearance. You can be a gentle and quiet person, or you can have a loud voice, but you don't have to curse or slander others with it. Be different. Be kind. Have courage and be kind (to quote the newest Cinderella movie).
  • You can be modest all you want, but if someone around you attempts to harass, harm, or otherwise disrespect you, that is on them and you are not at fault. People are going to make bad decisions, and no amount of clothing can change their actions. Protect yourself, use common sense, ask for help when needed, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • What other people wear and their reactions are outside of your control. You only have control over your example and what you wear, and that can make a world of a difference.
  • Finally, covering up gives you the chance to let your personality shine through. Creative pieces can be a great conversation starter (i.e. "Where'd you get that Atari shirt?"). And have fun with it! Pinterest is an EXCELLENT resource for creative outfit ideas (and who doesn't love Pinterest?).

Instagram Roundup: Planners, Horses, and Dory, Oh My!

Friday, July 1, 2016

1. I went and saw "Finding Dory" with college friends...and loved it! In fact, I miiiiight like it more than the original "Finding Nemo." But it's Disney. And you can't go wrong with Disney. (insert fish emoji here)

2. My 2016-17 planner came in the mail last week! It's an Erin Condren 18-month planner, and I absolutely love how it turned out, especially the rose gold details!

3. These are the horses I pass by on the way to work most times I go into the office. I nicknamed them Sherlock and Watson, but I believe one of their real names is Princess. They are mom and daughter. Aren't they the cutest?

4. I got my hair cut last week! :) It was time for short[er] hair again.