THE ULTIMATE APARTMENT CHECKLIST WITH BED BATH & BEYOND

This post is sponsored by Bed Bath & Beyond and Her Campus Media. All opinions are my own.

Hello all!

These past few months have been so immensely stressful for me. I never really labeled myself with anxiety because I figured basically every ambitious millennial has it, but lately....it's been bad. 

It felt like not being tired enough to fall asleep but not having enough energy (or even the motivation) to actually do anything. It felt like I was wearing super tight skinny jeans 24/7 like every emo boy in 2004 - like the circulation of my ankles were constantly being cut off, like I had to stretch my legs every 2 seconds or else I would pull a muscle. Like I had to actually think about breathing or I would suffocate in my own thoughts. Like my throat was itchy and my mind was blank.

When my mind goes entirely blank, that usually just means there are too many things I don't want to be thinking about. In a sense, it's my brain just practicing self-defense. If I allow myself to think about all these things, I know my body isn't going to respond very well. You know...my entire body will tighten and wrap itself in a cocoon of stress.


This happens to me a lot during transition periods of my life. Obviously, I've always been able to get through it...but lately? I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to. The uncertainty of the future was KILLING ME. I was between jobs, between apartments, and to be honest, between lifestyles. I was so focused on finances and "adult responsibilities," so much that I started to fall behind on my work and my personal life. My creativity was at an all time low and I just didn't feel like myself.



Normally, I'm a champ when it comes to handling these things. But when they all happen at once...I start to feel helpless.

However, this past weekend, I knew I had to step up my game and get this all out of the way or I would just dig myself deeper into this mess. So here I am, writing this blogpost so you don't have to deal with the amount of anxiety I've been dealing with!

Starting college or a new job, moving into your dorm or apartment, and dealing with all the paperwork that comes with that can be rather annoying. In fact, it's an inconvenience because it's so uncertain on our end. You have to make all these appointments and go to all these meetings and interviews and put in all this paperwork....only to be told 'no.' "I'm sorry, we won't be able to accommodate your needs because our policy or whatever blah blah blaaaah..." (Usually, they lose me at "sorry.")

We have to play this waiting game with the world while throwing all of our time and money away. It doesn't seem too fair, does it?

When all these responsibilities and obligations come in all at once, you definitely want to keep your life as simple as possible. That's exactly why I partnered with Bed Bath & Beyond on this post - the one brand that'll actually make your life easier. (All opinions are my own.)

When you're moving into your new dorm or apartment, you're probably feeling extra frantic. You don't want to forget anything, right? I remember when I was a senior in high school, I typed out this huge college checklist that actually took me a few months to complete. I edited and revised it so many times....if only I knew Bed Bath & Beyond actually had a checklist waiting for me.



Yes, you heard me right. On their website, they have an entire college / apartment checklist for you based on your school. And if you're shopping in-store and forgot to take a look, you're in luck. They have general college checklists all over the store, and even college-specific checklists there too! The list has all of the general items you may need and gets your brain juices flowing so you can figure out other items you may need that aren't on the list. Regardless, it's way better than working from scratch! 

Regardless of where I'm living, I like to have ambiance on a budget. This obviously takes time, you know, buying and styling furniture. But I think it can be achieved, especially with Bed Bath & Beyond. They have literally everything you need for a price that doesn't totally empty your wallet. You can get comforters for under $100, which is rare. You can get really affordable decor and storage units for under $10 to add ambiance - and of course all of your basic essentials for under $10 as well.

Below is a collage of some of my top picks. (you can buy them all at Bed Bath and Beyond!) 
From decor, to essentials, to pillows, all the way to organization and kitchen utensils. 



apartment style with bed bath & beyond




I was amazed I could buy everything I need at one store in less than an hour. It wasn't too hard to find items that fit my brand and aesthetic, either! I signed up for emails before I went and got 20% one item which saved me a lot of money. They offer a lot of promotions throughout the year which is a Godsend for bargain hunters like myself.




The first item I knew I had to get was this white faux fur pillow. It can make any couch or bed go from basic to glamorous all while being SO. INTENSELY. COZY. Plus it's perfect for flat lays, as you can see. 


Then, as I was looking at their organization section, I saw this makeup organizer. Usually, my  makeup ends up going all over the place every morning making my bathroom look cluttered. But with this organizer, I get to have the products I use the most right in front of me in a clean manner. Talk about ambiance. 

Although things have been extra stressful for me lately with going between jobs and moving, I'm pretty thankful Bed Bath & Beyond helped me out with everything.

xoxo,
Maria Elena

When A Writer Writes For a Living...

Illustration by Midnight Breakfast.

I've been consistently writing ever since I was 8 years old. It all started with poetry inspired by Kronk from the Emperors New Groove (yes, I'm serious) and a short story about an unsolved murder at an all-girls school in France. (Still very proud of this one.)

However, through all of this somewhat-silly yet somewhat-serious writing, I always was doing something else at the same time. You know, school, work, social stuff. Just being a human, I guess?

Then...I started writing professionally, which is one of the best things to ever happen to me. I have complete job flexibility meaning I can travel whenever I want and shape my own schedule. All of my work is remote / freelance, meaning if I choose to get a permanent not-so-remote job, I have the power to do so. 

All of that is obviously very awesome and I would never complain about it. I no longer have to clean up urine someone 'accidentally' left on the bathroom floor at Chick-fil-a. I no longer have to be emotionally abused because there was too much foam on someone's drink at Starbucks. I no longer have to participate in hidden corruption. Yay!

Charles Bukowski once said, "Bad luck for the young poet would be a rich father, an early marriage, an early success or the ability to do anything well."

In a sense, Bukowski is right. The writer isn't inspired to write when everything is perfect. I wrote poetry on a daily basis in my notes on my phone during my first semester in college. Why? I was broke in New York City, slaving away under a corporate company, dealing with social drama, and going to college. I had so much to write about. 

Not saying everything in my life is perfect. It's far from it. Like, really far from it. However, considering I write for a living now, things have changed a lot. My job is staring at a computer writing about everything for everyone. 

Sometimes I think to myself, "If all I do is write, what will I write about?" Yes, I have a pretty vast imagination. And yes, with the internet, I could easily educate myself on any subject within a very small time frame. Therefore, technically speaking...I could write about anything and make it sound somewhat decent.

But I don't want decent. That just doesn't sound okay to me. My love for writing started in elementary school, but I defined what it meant for me in high school. Writing was about authenticity, connection and feelings. 

These two quotes pretty much sum up why I started writing and why I still write:

"Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility." -William Wordsworth

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” -Henry David Thoreau

_________________

I've had to write about things I don't particularly care about a lot. And even worse, I've had to write personal articles that don't even relate to me. It's not like I was writing a huge narrative that ended up being a lie, but I was being assigned articles that I couldn't 110% relate to. The subject matter makes it seem like it's not a big deal...but still....

Most of them were listicles in the format of: 
XX Things You'll Understand If ___________
XX Things Only ______ Will Understand
You'll Relate to This If _____________
Yada yada yada, you get the point. They were things I didn't personally understand or experience, but I still wrote about them. The listicles turned out fine and people positively reacted to them, but something just felt weird on my end.

Personally, I feel uncomfortable reading an article about black women when it's written by a white man. You can tell they are trying their hardest not to be offensive or not to make it about them, and I think that distracts from the point their trying to make. It's just not natural to write about something you can't relate to. Sigh.

________________________

I don't consider myself an expert when it comes to words. I mean, I know proper grammar and I studied a lot of literature in my lifetime, but I'm certainly no academic writer. I make mistakes, I make typos, and I don't consider everything I put out there a masterpiece. (So random people in my email, stop attacking me because I accidentally forgot to add a period or something.)

But at the end of the day, I want everything I put out there to represent me. Sometimes, people will say, "You're a writer! Oh how cool. Can I see some of your work?" I quickly browse my portfolio, looking for the best example. Sadly, I never know what pieces to show them because most of my pieces are for other people.

This is just one of my writing gigs though. I still write poetry when my soul calls me to do so, but even now, I feel like expectations are high. I used to just write for myself. Now I am aware I have an audience...sometimes, that can be terrifying. 

Still, all of this reminds me of yet another quote by E.B. White, "A writer who waits for the ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on the paper."

Not everything I put on paper (or on virtual paper) will be perfect. It's not all going to represent me, but at least I'm still writing. At least I'm still putting my thoughts into words...

I can only go up from here.

XO

Maria Elena

SILVERLAKE & LOS FELIZ ADVENTURES // ♡ PHOTO DIARY ♡

Today was pretty damn cute. For starters, I took some pretty cute pictures. I visited some even cuter places. And I was with the cutest boy ever. 

So, I thought I would do a photo diary! I haven't done a post like this in a while but I think they spice things up a bit, you know? My blog started as a place solely for my personal experiences and I'm not gonna to stop sharing them.

ALLONS-Y!
(If you don't know what that means, it means 'lets go' in French. One of the few things I remember from French class.)

I've been eyeing this place called By CHLOE for quite some time now. As you can see below, the interior of the place is absolutely stunning. Everything in the entire joint is just one big instagram post waiting to happen. I mean, would you look at the packaging? I literally felt bad for throwing the fry container out.

However, that's not what made me fall in love with the place. IT'S ALL VEGAN FAST FOOD. Every time I hear the words 'vegan' and 'fast food' together in the same sentence, you know I'm there. 


I got the 'classic burger.' The patty is made of tempeh, lentils, chia seeds and walnuts, topped with pickles, onion, lettuce, beet ketchup and special sauce all on a potato bun. It was honestly so F*CKING GOOD. It was a clean eating experience. The burger didn't fall apart at all, which is common for veggie burgers. I would recommend it to carnivores.  

Also pictured: regular fries & avocado pesto pasta. 


A closeup of the masterpiece. 


LIGHTING GOALS. Even the ketchup dispenser is absolutely stunning? This is why this place is doing so good.


Andrew and I then stumbled upon Jeni's Ice Cream, which originated in Columbus, Ohio. (Our home state!) We always loved going to the Chagrin location to get ice cream by the waterfall. It definitely made us nostalgic, especially the sweet, sweet aroma of the freshly made waffle cones. 


Just wanted to point out how adorable the menus are at By CHLOE.


Driving through Los Angeles! We actually like being in traffic. We just get to be in our own little world together, observing all the beauty around us, listening to music, laughing until our ribs hurt. I would say something cliche like "I'll never get sick of this city" or something but that's still to be determined. 


During our walk. Passed these gorgeous orange flowers. I've been realizing lately how much I adore orange flowers. The colors of autumn in flower form. Yaaas.


I'd like to call this one 'the floating head.' Waiting for our ice cream at Jenis, still enjoying that sweet waffle aroma. His eyes looking so beautiful as always. ♡

Strawberry Smiles

source


Women are told to avoid the sun at all costs. Every ethnicity and every skin color is told that the sun is their enemy. Because, you know, you don't want to be too dark, too burnt, too freckly, too wrinkly, too oily... 

The sun will give you cancer, the sun will make you age badly, the sun will make your skin oily and imperfect, the sun will make you ugly...

Avoid it at all costs.

It is your enemy.

Yet here we are drawing freckles on our faces.
Just enough, not too much. Just a touch, to add character. How quirky.
An old insult turned into a modern trend, shit. Not this again. 
Little girls are told to powder their faces to cover their polka-dotted skin,
and you're putting a pencil to your face just because Kendall Jenner did it once.

Yet here we are turning orange, turning brown, just the right amount.
A little bit foundation and a whole lotta bronzer goes a long way
when you want to look exotic for a just moment.
Women everywhere are shamed for the skin the sun has blessed them with,
and you're forcing yourself to look 3 shades darker for aesthetic.

Ew, you look paler than a ghost, you should get a spray-tan.
And you? You're too dark, maybe you should bleach your skin again.

We fetishize these colors,
longing for the perfect in-between. 

So I think back to our childhoods, when we were all so carefree.
Our feet in the grass and our strawberry smiles...
all we wanted to do is chase the sun. Chase something.
Our noses were wrinkled but that never stopped us.
Our faces were dotted and our skin melanin-rich.
The shade or the state of our skin did not determine our worth,
it just meant we had a whimsical adventure outdoors.

And we wanted to do it all over again.
The sun kissed us,
and we kissed it back.

You are a daughter of the sky,
friend of the stars,
lover of the sun and the moon.

The sun is not your enemy,
it gives you light, it gives you life.