The semester starts in a week! THANK GOODNESS! I LOVE GRAD SCHOOL!

(I really, really do.)

I’ve been lesson planning, writing, reading recreationally, and getting my life together. It’s always a fun time when “getting your life together” is on the agenda.

Getting my life together involves errand-running and goal-setting. In this post, I’d thought I’d write down a few goals, even though some aren’t really concrete. Some are super vague, and most you can’t check off a list.

So this reads more like a little manifesto, I think. Unless I’m getting the definition of “manifesto” confused with something else. Oh well.

So. During this school year, this semester, and this life, I vow to…

  1. Stand taller, speak louder, and cut I’m sorry and I don’t know from my vocabulary. Or at least limit those phrases to situations that actually call for them.
  2. Take failure as it comes and handle it with grace. Accept that it’s a part of the ‘biz and life and everything.
  3. Celebrate every victory, big or small. Maybe with some cake (but not too much).
  4. Work my you-know-what off every single day.
  5. Rest and relax and do what I love every single day.
  6. Read for my craft.
  7. Read for my enjoyment.
  8. Send snail mail to people, because I’ve realized I love writing letters and I want to spread more ink-smeared magic.
  9. Smile more.
  10. Say, “Yes!” more.
  11. Say, “No!” when it’s best for me.
  12. Find so much joy in the opportunity I’ve been given to learn and teach and write.
  13. Go to [restaurant that is famous in college town], because I feel like it’s essential to the whole experience of living in [college town].
  14. Maybe exercise some. (Really, Kaila. EXERCISE SOME.)
  15. Take pride in my work, take pride in the process, and take pride in the ideas that pop into my head. Because sometimes I have some good ones.

I hope everyone is having a happy day. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch Kids Baking Championship. Baked goods and cute kids = a winning combo for television.

Ha. Okay. Goodbye now.

Twentysomething Thoughts

The following post contains twentysomething thoughts unique to my own experience, inspired by a real-life middle-of-the-night existential crisis. 



Does anyone still feel like they’re perpetually sixteen? Or is it just me?

Should I know how to do [insert random thing you don’t know how to do] by now? (For me, personally? I don’t know how to change a tire. Or the oil. Or fix a toilet or a toaster. Or anything.  Isn’t that what AAA is for? And management? Or am I pathetic?)

Do I look “old?” Or could I pass for a college junior/senior? I mean, I am in grad school… it’s still school, am I right?

I think I look old. I spot crow’s feet. I need moisturizer, stat!

I remember when I was in high school and my friends and I were just sittin’ around chattin’ during lunch about our futures, and I remember thinking, okay, by the time I’m 24/25 there will definitely be a guy I’ve either married or am about to marry, and I’ll have a real job, and maybe a little house and for sure a dog or two, and I’ll be thinking about kids by the time I’m thirty, for sure. 

Isn’t that hilarious?

I mean, if you do have that–good for you. Truly. That’s awesome.

I just can’t imagine that right now. For me, at least–it’s scary. So permanent.

I do have a dog. Ellie. That’s something. My goodness, I love her. Do you want to see a picture? You do? Okay, then! Here you go:

Back to this permanence thing–I think that’s what scares me most. As I’ve grown older, I’ve discovered I like things to change, I like to move around and mix it up. My dreams change, my address changes, my taste in clothes changes, etc.

So when it’s time to “settle down,” will I be ready for it? Could I live in one place forever and ever? Could I do the same thing every day forever?

Is anyone ever really ready for it?

Shouldn’t I be content with permanence? Shouldn’t routine be a comfort? A joy? Only some are lucky enough to have it, I guess.

Okay, this next one is serious:

Do I need a signature shade of lipstick?

The thing is, even though I’m mostly just a chapstick kind of gal, there’s a part of me that loves the idea of a signature lip shade, perfume, scarf, etc. Having a signature anything–now that’s something, isn’t it? Isn’t that the epitome of being a grown-up, a woman in charge?

Maybe I’ll look into it. The signature lip, I mean.

What if I always feel unsure of everything? Why do I always say, “I’m sorry,” or “I don’t know,” after every dang sentence? I’ve noticed I try to qualify everything that comes out of my mouth. I know what I think; why do I feel like I have to apologize for thinking it?

You know what’s sad/funny? I’m obsessed with presentability. I want every aspect of my life to be presentable. Acceptable.

It’s funny because I claim not to be.

I want to be acceptable. Normal. Me. My apartment. My clothes. My car. My bag. The stickers on my laptop.

Am I too old to have stickers on my laptop?

Is anyone ever really “too old?” I mean, whenever I say, “I feel so old,” to my mom, she just rolls her eyes and says, “Kaila. You are not old.”

And I don’t think she is either.

Don’t we all want to get super, super old? Isn’t that the goal, ultimately? So why do we worry about the whole age thing? Shouldn’t people just be people no matter the number of years they’ve lived?

So there’s no “too old,” or even a “too young,” right? Or is there?

I don’t know.

There I am, saying (typing), “I don’t know,” again. Oops.

One thing’s for sure: I am in my twenties, and I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time.

Except for quesadillas. I know how to make quesadillas. And pasta. And scrambled eggs.

And that’s something.


Favorite Feelings

The first day of a vacation, i.e. what today is for me. (I’m coming for ya, Allyssa and Iowa and South Dakota!)

The first sip of a large Diet Coke with vanilla from Sonic, because it’s extra vanilla-y.

Reading in a pool, your body half-submerged as the sun warms your shoulders and arms.

When you flip on the Food Network and the Pioneer Woman is on. She’s fantastic.

The crunch of a tortilla chip dripping with creamy jalapeño sauce from Chuy’s. UGH. I melt.

A perfectly clean room.

When you sit down to write and your brain actually spits out ideas.

The first time you listen to an album or a song, and you end up loving it. It’s the magic of listening to lyrics for the first time, you know?

When you used to work at Disney World and you visit for the first time in over a year, and Russell from Up remembers you and walks you to the Wilderness Explorer Clubhouse. (Oh, Disney. I MISS YOU.)

Receiving snail mail from your friends. Just sayin’ hi.

Sitting between the shelves of the local library, writing. You feel so official.

Actually seeing–not FaceTiming, not texting–your best friend for the first time in months. (Tomorrow, tomorrow!)

The tickle of your dog’s tongue on your nose.

Watching baby birds evolve: from aliens to gargoyles to feathered gargoyles to real life birds.

Long drives by yourself. You sing at the top of your lungs and no one judges you when you zone out to think about life and stuff.

And on that drive, you’re able to think of new story ideas and blog posts (like this one) and you feel energized and creative and productive!

And, finally, the satisfaction that comes with writing your thoughts down. There’s nothing better.

Hope and New Beginnings and All That Jazz

I’ve talked about how much I love the New Year on this blog before, but this year I love it times ten. I’m so hopeful and so energized and ready to take on whatever comes my way.

Like so excited.

I think I’m ready to not feel like I’m in a “funk” this year. I’ll be honest, after returning home from my college program in August of 2016, I felt lost and out-of-sorts, unsure and hesitant. Kind of…blah. I think the transition from college to Disney World to the real world to graduate school has been daunting and rough at times. But now I’m feeling good. More balanced. Ready. Excited. Hopeful.

Some quick little goals/resolutions:

  1. Enjoy my first year of teaching–I’ll be teaching composition one as part of my graduate teaching assistantship this coming semester, and I am so excited to give it a whirl.
  2. Make my health a priority this year. Work out! Feel like an athlete again! Eat well! Be mindful! Feel great!
  3. Write and write and write and write and write and revise and revise and revise and revise and submit and submit and submit and submit to magazines and whatnot.
  4. Be happy. Stress less. Enjoy the little things.
  5. Find a hobby–maybe cooking? Something?

I hope everyone has a happy, productive, and magical 2018.

3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge

I got nominated to do my very first “blog challenge” thingy by Disney on my Mind (Marywdw) (she writes an awesome blog, by the way), and I couldn’t be more excited! This challenge involves picking three of my favorite quotes and posting them for the next three days. I also get to nominate three other bloggers to participate in the challenge. The three bloggers I nominate are as follows:

It’s A Great Blog After All

How Savannah Smiles

Witty ‘N’ Pretty

I enjoy reading all of these blogs, so I thought it might be fun to nominate them!

Now for the hard part: picking which quotes to post. I’m SUCH a quote person (click here for an old post dedicated to the subject) so it’s hard for me to pick just three. Your favorite quotes can help define what you believe in and who you are.

It’s an important decision, as you can see.

After a lot of debate, here’s the first one:

“The very things that held you down are gonna carry you up and up and up!” {Timothy Mouse from Disney’s Dumbo}.

We all have things that hold us down–fear holds me down, anxiety holds me down, and my one-track mind holds me down. What I love about this quote is that it gives me hope that one day I’ll be able to overcome the things that hold me down and soar.

I hope everyone has a great day! “Believe and soar” today and every day.

Keep Moving Forward

Today on my hot, humid, sticky run, I happened upon a little snail.

That little snail put some big thoughts in my head.

He was just sliding along, slowly but surely, confident of his destination and not worried about how long it was going to take to get there. He was just moving and doing his best to get somewhere.

Wow. What an inspirational little snail.

He reminded me of one of my favorite Walt Disney quotes:

“Around here, however, we don’t look backward for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” 

This snail wasn’t looking backwards. He was just going, moving toward a better tomorrow.

Let’s all “move forward” every day, my friends. It’s hard–we have our doubts, we have our past failures in our back pockets, and we want what we want now. It’s hard to wait.

Just move forward each and every day, and, maybe someday, it will lead you down a new path better than you ever imagined.


Why not?

*This short yet rather profound post brought to you by one of my high school teachers, Sister Natalie. She was a nun and told the best anecdotes, one of which I still remember to this day. Hence the blog post. 

*Another note: this post would have been more effective without the little note above, but I always want to give credit where credit is due. 

*Lastly: that’s it. The end. Now go answer your own “Why?” 

Life: It Gets Busy

I’m just a little buzzin’ busy bee!

Seriously. These past few weeks have been non-stop projects, practices, and obligations. And Easter. Easter just consisted of delicious cookies and candy, to be honest. Anyways. Long time no blog, my friends! Here’s a few things/obsessions/fun stuff I’ve been thinking about lately:

  • I’ve discovered/binge-watched/fell in love with the television show Parks and Recreation. It has cracked into the list of my top three TV favorites of all time, I believe. Season 7 isn’t on Netflix yet, so I just have to wait to see the final season and cry because I didn’t get to experience it in real-time. Why do I always wait to find out the good stuff is really good? Take Harry Potter, for example: I didn’t even read the entire series until my senior year of high school, right after the final movie came out. I missed out on so many midnight premieres! Oy.
  • I’ve become a Disney Etsy addict. Not really. But I can’t help but be blown away by the talent some people have and the want-to they possess to literally start their own business from scratch. I keep discovering new artists and entrepreneurs via Instagram. If you love Disney and want to grab some custom ears or painted Toms, just browse Etsy to discover your own obsessions.
  • Summer is so close yet so far away. I can’t wait to read recreationally and not be burdened with a billion trillion gazillion papers and projects.
  • I’ve been browsing Pinterest lately for the perfect professional, yet young and fun, outfits. I’m almost a grown-up now (sort-of), and being a grown-up means going after internships or starter jobs while looking put-together and stylish and awesome. Also, it means just being awesome in general and figuring out that you are not a snowflake. For more grown-up tips, I suggest you check out the book Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown. Good stuff.
  • Sleep is hard when you are just so stressed/excited about all the happenings of life.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day, despite any elevated levels of busy-ness. The semester is almost over. We can do it. We can succeed. We can even smile whilst among piles of papers. Take a cue from Leslie Knope, my favorite character from Parks and Rec, and be proud of everything you’ve accomplished thus far:

“I am big enough to admit I am often inspired by myself.”

Now keep on buzzin’, you busy little bees!

Believe and Soar

Who doesn’t love Dumbo, the little elephant with the biggest heart and ears you ever did see?

It’s impossible not to love the little guy and his story–ridiculed from the start because of his ginormous ears, Dumbo finds success and happiness when he discovers his hidden talent to fly, to soar. He just needs a little encouragement from Timothy the mouse, and then he’s up, up, up and away, soaring above all the naysayers and meanie heads. Dumbo finally learns to believe in himself, and the rewards are endless.
I needed some encouragement from Dumbo today, so I chose this adorable mug:

 Dumbo inspires me to let go of my doubt and embrace the things that make me feel insecure. He believed he could fly, so he finally did. It’s about time I take each day head on and believe in my abilities–in time, belief opens doors to opportunities you never thought possible.

So, as the sign above the Dumbo ride at Disney World says, “Believe and soar!” Work for what you want and know that you can do it. If it doesn’t turn out the way you plan, always know it’s never to late to pick yourself up and start from scratch.

“The very things that held you down are going to carry you up, and up, and up!” {Dumbo}

Chasing the Rabbit

Kasper is my sister’s little dog back home–small, white, yappy, and extremely cute.

Every single morning, Kasper stares longingly out the window. He yips and he yaps and he scratches at the door with his little feet. His eyes are fixated on a minuscule bush just outside our back door–a rabbit takes shelter there every single night. Kasper wags his tail and whines, begging for the chance to chase that rascally rabbit. We always open the door and let the little beast loose. He springs to action, stretching his pudgy white body as he gallops after the rabbit, the escape artist.

Kasper does this every single morning. Kasper also fails at catching this rabbit every single morning.

We, as imperfect humans, can learn a lot from this seemingly dim little dog. Even though he fails–and he fails miserably I might add, Kasper is an extremely non-athletic little dog, poor thing–he tries each and every day. He never loses his optimistic tail wag, he never loses his zeal for pursuing the bouncy bunny, and he never, ever gives up.

Kasper tries. Even though he fails, he tries.

Kasper isn’t lazy. He doesn’t lie around and waste the day (he might do this a little…he is a dog). Kasper works for success–his success has yet to be realized, but he keeps trying.

Maybe Kasper just needs another game plan. Maybe it’s time to ambush the rabbit, or set a little trap. One thing is for certain: as long as the rabbit is within Kasper’s reach, he’s going to try to catch it, no matter his past failures.

I think something very valuable could be learned from little Kasper. Don’t give up, no matter how many times you have failed. Keep trying, and trying, and trying. If things don’t work, go at it from a new angle.

You never know; one day you might catch your own rabbit.