How To Be A Wildflower + creative habits 

When Instagram was new (new to me new – #EarlyMajorityAdopter4Life, cozy right behind the curve), and sharing grainy, low quality screenshots of inspirational Pinterest quotes was the rage, I shared this snippet of wisdom with all of my 27 followers:


(#Creativity. Wow. What a hashtag. What an image. Those mighty juices were flowing, y’all.)

Unbeknownst to me, these two cents nestled their roots somewhere nice and deep in my long-term memory, and I’ve found fewer quotes pop in my head as often. Mr. Law’s words were supplemental to an idea drilled down by great mentors and professors through college, which in so many words, is that “one does not simply begin spewing creative genius.”

Sitting in a silent white room, with a blank white sheet of paper (physical or digital it may be), is the best way for that paper to stay blank. Or conversely, filled with so much nonsense, it was better off clean.

Creativity does not happen in a vacuum. Some of your best, creative, most award-winning thoughts may actually happen in the shower (take that, Nick), but I’m willing to bet this is part of your system of creative habit all along, whether you like to think of it that way or not.

Because I might sound like esteemed Creative Guru #1 right now, let’s back up: I don’t know how to unlock anyone’s creative genes so that they begin, actually, spewing creative genius. I also don’t think any guru who may attempt to someday stake this claim with you actually can, either. I don’t even know if creative genius is ever –per se– spewed.

Dialing down to what gets your creative whatever in gear is like finding face wash. The market is nice and overwhelmingly saturated with thousands of face washes and skincare product options, but what is there only one of? Your face. What does it take? Trial and error, and finding exactly which clean skin cocktail works for your face. Not her face, not his face, not Jenifer Aniston’s face -your face.

All I know is, my face really likes philosophy Purity cleanser, and surrounding myself with lovely, inspiring, colorful, life-giving tangible books when I need to jump-start my creative juices. A new favorite I picked up a couple of weeks ago: How To Be A Wildflower by Katie Daisy.

General theme: harnessing the magic of experiencing nature through the eyes of a child, about calming down and taking note of the little things around you, and branching out and doing naturey-type stuff on the regular. Kind of right up my alley -minus the whole experiencing serious nature stuff– but it’s as inspired as I’ve ever been to almost think about going camping since reading Wild.

Thumbing through pretty pages, but also reading particularly well-versed authors and various bloggers, is also part of keeping my mind in a creative place. I also try to write a little something every single day because it just makes my soul feel better.

I keep little notebooks and scratch paper within reach nearly always, and have very full iPhone notes. And a very active Spotify account, because, music.

When I’m out of practice jotting stuff out, reading, or taking time to look through photographs and illustrations of artists and artisans far more talented than myself, I feel it, and I feel sad and rusty.

There isn’t a magic switch to make the acne go away the morning of the big day with the big thing you wish you didn’t have acne for. It’s a bit of a commitment, that pesky standard hygiene thing. With diligence + removing your makeup nightly + using fresh Clarisonic brushes + whatever whatever -there’s a good chance you’ll yield good results.

And there isn’t a switch to make your brain creative. It truly does take habit.

Is it a sure fire way to wake up with the radiance of Chrissy Teigen and the glow of a thousand Kylighters? Heck-to the-no.

I could read How To Be a Wildflower thirty-eight times, cook all the things in all the coffee table cookbooks, write every thought I’ve had the last twelve hours, and all that comes out are stick figures and weak meme punchlines for words. And the pimple is there, right before prom. It happens.

It doesn’t work that way all of the time, but it works for me. Maintaining and trying to keep my mind in a creative space, and develop creative habits, is personally extremely valuable.

I try and stay away from the sad and rusty place, but if I get there, these are all things that help kick my brain back into a space it can start being inspired to make again (and are great preventative tools for me, to begin with.)

And I’m kind of with Monet -fresh flowers never hurt, either.

High Five for Friday(ish) 04

(belated! by 3 days! but who’s counting?)

With last week planted firmly in my rear view, I have no intentions of wanting to rewind and relive. It was that sort of week. But! It is these kinds of weeks, in my humblest little opinion, that are the most important to hunt for “sprinkles” -and not let a half baked HF4F post wither in the elephant graveyard of forgotten posts, however late it might be. Because also, I make the rules, and need an excuse to share my new sunnies with you.

Top 5 highlights of last week:

1. I work with some really amazing people, one friend particularly who noticed I was pretty radically “off” one day, and surprised me with this small planet of a cupcake and sweet card. Thanks for being a true gem, Cari, and getting me one heck of a sugar high.


2. The number one way I feel better after a long day is soaking in a fancy tub with a glass of fine wine and going for a fancy facial eating breakfast food. As fancy as I’d like to pretend I may be, my natural state of relieving anxiety is cleaning + eating pancakes.

Alex & I discovered a g.r.e.a.t. diner within walking distance from our duplex, and I was able to drown my sorrows in syrup a-plenty.

3-5. Walking for wine and shopping local with two of my favorite humans at the Bishop Arts Wine Walk.

I could have been having a particularly wonderful week, and this would have easily been the highest of highlights. I just love the community/neighborhood/culture down in this little corner of Dallas. (And anyone who will let me drink wine in their boutique.)

New sunnies? Artisan jewelry? Organic local handmade soap? win win win. Cheers.

Thrifty Dining Table Makeover

This is less of a DIY How-To Makeover Your Table, seeing as that would imply I’m somewhat of a chief expert on the subject of making over tables. (Pause, cue laugh track.)

I would love to go elbows-deep in projects like this and earn my real DIY Wings someday, because it’s a whole heck of a lot of fun for me, and I don’t think I’m half bad.

Plus, the result? I really, really love it. (“How many really’s?” My mother would tease me growing up, when I excitedly double-really’d in a conversation.)

TWO REALLY’S here, Mom, two really’s. Maybe three.

Rather than considering this your holy grail table tutorial, consider this an aggregate source of my sources, with maybe a sprinkle of inspiration on the side.

A coworker buddy of mine moved recently, and as his move occurred around the same time as our move, there have been home-makeover cubicle-talks aplenty in recent months, and he introduced me to the ever-addicting world of buy-sell-trade apps. Think Craigslist, but better, and there are a lot of them.

While you were wondering what I was doing at any given minute in the past two months like I just know you were, you would win a lot of dollars betting that I was trolling buy-sell-trade apps. A brief timeline of the “you should take a look at these apps” conversation-day with my friend:

7:59am: friend tells me to look at apps.
8:00 am: app LetGo downloaded.
4:30 pm: met family to pickup table from app.

Time wasted: 0 minutes, approximately.

I scored this beauty for $30: bonus future-Picasso red-pen etchings on the top and alphabet-sticker legs absolutely included. This is a photo of the table in its best light, and I’m kicking myself hard for not taking better photos that would showcase the “what the heck are you thinking” notions that HAD to have crossed my sweet husband’s mind as he unloaded this gem. It was bad, and I probably should have negotiated lower.

But at the LetGo meeting, I super gelled with the sweet, small family of 6 who had loved this table hard through 4 children and many cousins, and the mom threw in an electric sander, free of charge. I left feeling, despite the evenings of elbow-grease I knew I was facing, like I came out with a great deal.

The piece has awesome bones. It’s structurally super sound, and has a foldable leaf for more dining real-estate that I’m obsessed with. It folds out from the middle and hides underneath; ideal as an apartment-dweller with limited space for trivial things such as table leafs.

As great as I thought it looked structurally, when my brain takes hold of an idea, I have to be careful. I easily have the confidence of ten Chip’s in my ability to DIY a whole roof over my head, and a very short track record of actual projects to prove I can do this.

This confidence stems not from a collection of participation trophies, millennial though I am! But my dad actually teaching me how to sand, stain, and use a hammer from a very young age. (In addition to a vested interest in HGTV from the time I was like eight). I would spend hours at the workbench he built himself with old scraps of wood, sanding them to perfection, staining, and hammering nails at odd angles until I made a Keychain Holder! A Necklace Holder! A Letter L For No Good Reason! And these are some of my fondest memories I have with him growing up. My dad is an expert gunsmith, and I love that he taught me the parts of this craft that I found interesting.

Therefore, sanding was not something I needed to really research. In sanding, the smaller the number, the heavier the grain -aka, the more coarse your wood will feel, but the better to strip crayola drawings with, my dear. Start with the smaller number, and do the job several times, graduating to a larger number each time so the wood begins to feel smoother and smoother with the finer grains.

I left bits of “character” on the surface of the table because that’s the look I was going for. I don’t have to worry about nicking or scratching it myself and creating an eyesore this way. Also, Farmhouse Chic is kind of *the* thing.

I layered two types of stain (jacobean and dark walnut), an idea from this great place, to get the color I was looking for, and because I thought it would add a little depth. I sealed with a clear polyurethane, and will likely reseal again several more times real soon when life settles down. (I just needed the project to be dry, and not look like crap, and be out of my Bustling & Unpacking A New Duplex way for a bit).

The legs + piece under the table top (professional name) received a face-lift with a couple coats of handy-dandy chalk paint, no sanding required, and sealed with the same polyurethane. I read an awesome comparison of Home Depot brand chalk paint vs. infamous Annie Sloan paint here, and went with the Home Depot brand at half the cost. (Thrifters, unite!)

The industrial-style chairs we virtually stole on a weekend furniture deal from Target (this wood and natural metal style sold out now), and the place mats are also Target of many moons ago.

I found the the aluminum charger plates at Pottery Barn to tie natural metal up into the place settings, but the centerpiece + napkins + rings are the brainchild of my mother-in-law and I working out the visual details of the space.

Napkins & rings are simple from World Market, but her idea for me to antique for something milk glass for the center really set off the look. (Thank you, Lula B’s Oak Cliff, for making all of my/our milk glass centerpiece dreams come true.)

Meals are so incredibly central to community, and for us, that is supremely important. We wanted a centralized place that was inviting, spill-friendly, and as un-cramped as possible in our space to be able to break bread with friends, and I hope we met that goal. By Robin standards, I’m thrilled with my $30 table to these ends.

Growing Pains

“Hey Michael, go get me some milk!” a bossy 12-year-old-Robin chirped from in front of the living room television. This was not uncommon. In fact, as the middle sibling, I knew my rights to practice the skillful art of bossing that had been exercised on me for years. It was the natural order!

Dutifully, Michael slid his Bob-the-Builder-undied bottom down from his perch on top of the back of the leather sofa, and scampered toward the kitchen.

He reached the entryway, and that’s when he stopped. I looked at him. He pivoted to look at me with the bewildered self-actualization of one discovering their self-autonomy for the first time and said, “No… get your own milk!” And resumed his position on top of the back of the couch. I argued, relented, and sighed.

The jig was up. My baby brother wasn’t a baby anymore. He was growing up, and that meant fetching my own snacks from the kitchen. He was too smart for his own good. It happened so fast!

But as quickly as that moment came, nothing compares to the eye-blink seperating splitting a cookie-jar’s worth of Oreos together after a day of hide-and-seek and the moment Michael walked the stage a fully-graduated 18-year-old, 6’3″ human man last weekend.

(I swear I just picked him up from basketball practice… the hip older sister with a license who stops for ice-cream on the way home! What, he has his own license?! He’s driven himself to practice for years?! He buys his own ice-cream?! Someone, quick, make it stop!)

The get-your-own-milk moment isn’t when he stopped being a baby. This he-shaves-and-drives-and-is-gradating moment is, and realization hit me all over again two months ago when my mom asked me to shoot some senior photos.

There’s a lot I miss about being kids together, but as less of a Mom #2 and babysitter now and more of an equal, there’s a lot I love about my grown-up relationship with my brother, too. I couldn’t be more proud of his goals, dreams, sense of humor, and gentle heart. And I love him.

Meet Kendrick 

“Let’s take our calm, sweet puppy into this random meadow for some photos while he’s still tiny!” AK and I thought on day 7 of our newfound pet-parenthood.

 

Immediately after being released onto the damp grass, however, Kendrick Lamar Karber became a wet bullet of fur streaking around our feet, circling the field, and back again in a burst of manic energy we had never seen the little guy exert before.
Why we chose the wettest day in February?

 

Sheer naivety, Pet-Parents. Sheer naivety.

 

In our defense… We had grown quite accustom to hours of lap naps, lazy tug-of-war games where *we* did the pulling and he did the clamping-onto-the-end-of-the-rope-with-tiny-teeth and starring at us, and a general abundance of mellow puppy snuggles during waking hours -so it was nothing short of shocking to see our puppy be a puppy. 

 

Equally assuring, though, that he wasn’t broken.

 

But we knew he wasn’t! He’s just becoming fully-puppy the more comfortable he is around his new home, but full-Kenny: affectionate, people-loving, and mellow in the very best way that makes him a top-shelf apartment puppy, and perfect addition to our little Karber family.

 

 

And smart. I thought it would be, like, harder having a puppy? He’s taken to potty & crate training like his human-mommy to shoe shopping and it has been quite a surprisingly easy affair.

 

The #1 debate we have with everyone is Kendrick’s breed.

 

 

We know Mom was Shih Tzu/Yorkie, and Dad was Chihuahua/Question Mark. Coined by my father-in-law: he’s shi-yorkuahhua.

 


To me, he just looks like a dog: a precious, breed ambiguous, tiny dog.

Like if you walked into an elementary school classroom and said “everybody draw a dog now!”I think 90% of the drawings would look something like Kendrick. Big eyes, four legs, floppy ears, and a happy wagging tail.

Good parents we are trying to be, Kendrick’s big day was followed up with a “it’s good for you, trust us” traumatic experience:

After which the cold shoulder was given for a ten-minute eternity. He really showed us.

High Five for Friday 03

Or should I say, High Five for Getting Back On the Blogging Wagon (more accurately blogging-publishing wagon because don’t think for half a happy minute my iPhone Notes don’t runnith-over with potential content, always.)

The concept of H54F is “Five Highlights of the Week”, but since I haven’t been active on the blogging ball, let’s stretch the definition to include “Five Whatever I Want To Talk About Today That’s Happened Lately” just this once.

1. Perfectly ordinary Sundays with brunch & movie dates, evening church services, and spending regular time with AK have become my favorite days on the whole planet. Our schedules are so flipped + packed, I cherish the together-time, and usually commemorate them with sappy Grams.
I get a lot of questions about that nail polish. I rotate it year-round as a serious go-to when I’m feeling particularly indecisive.
They are almost identical shades, with Chinchilly being ever-so-slightly-lighter. Perfect if you have undying allegiance to either brand, and fancy a greige with the *tiniest essence* of purple.
2. Considering myself something of a 19 Crimes Enthusiast for a hot minute, I tried their newest dark red blend a couple weeks ago and man oh man if you’re looking for a $10 Friday Night Investment, you’re welcome.
Addendum 1: That is, if you’re a fan of bold reds. It’s a gorgeous opaque, deep red-almost-black-color, fairly fruit-forward, and smooth in a way my palate adamantly approves.
Addendum 2: I’m less of a wine connoisseur, more of a just a girl who really likes wine. Take my advice with a grain of salty dark chocolate.
3. I cooked salmon for the first time in my life on Monday, and if that isn’t an exciting update for you, I don’t know what you want from me.
Except maybe, also, a photo.
By cook, I mean I bought the pre-seasoned pieces of fish from the deli of Central Market, moved them onto a cooking sheet, and baked them for 20 minutes. Served alongside Ready Rice +asparagus I tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic salt then roasted for 20, and voila… color me a dang 5-Star Gourmet Chef. *bows*
4. The Super Bowl.
It happened Sunday.
There was a winner, but I don’t really wanna talk about that.(Forever Skeptical, Forever Salty).
But! I will talk about snacks and commercials and the best Halftime Show that’s happened in a while, if you want! You go, Gaga, you go.
Pictured: Cream Cheese + Raspberry Chipotle Sauce + Ritz Chips and Oreo Truffles to satisfy an unhealthy urge I’ve had lately to do work on family-pack of double-stuff’s single-handedly. Letting myself eat a few of these felt like a healthier compromise.
5. Brunch with some great pals at Bolsa in Oak Cliff perfectly punctuated last week, leaving AK and I rearing do it again real soon. Fantastic locally roasted coffee from Ascension Coffee, some seriously off-the-chain Chilaquiles, or Shrimp & Eggs (my plate below) come highly recommended out of the Karber house.
And instead of, you know, capturing a great moment with friends, we snagged this selfie instead.
Alas, a paparazzi fail on my part.
Cheers, my friend, as I’m sure you are, too, counting down to the weekend.

Antler Jewelry Tree

JewelryTreeAntlers-1

I enjoy target practice as much as the next red-blooded Texas girl, but the thought of actually personally hunting freaks me out down to my potentially-closet-Yankee bones. So understand I have no earthly idea, then, what compelled me to become nothing short of obsessed with real antler jewelry trees last summer.

I guess my general hate of knock-offs extends to deer? Who knew.

We’ll put this one on record as a bad case of Pinterest Fever.

Except instead of Pinterest-ing the probably literal thousands of how-to’s, I went totally rogue in the least Southern Living Clean & Classy Crafts fashion possible. But since I’m not anticipating a visit from Martha Stewart anytime soon, I ain’t even mad about how crazy it looks in the back because it gets the job done.

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Except that it didn’t. Not at first. These babies took a nose-dive to end all terrifying thumps in the night that landed them hard in the Pinterest Fail column and a backseat to my closet for a solid six month time-out so they could think about what they’d done.

Unable to hide for long in the zero-storage situation that is my apartment, my bruised ego eventually pulled them back out and now it’s Antlers 1 : Robin 1, and I can live with that score.

I went as cheap as possible with this project, which was only ultimately bad in one regard: glue.

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The antlers themselves came from the Sweat-A-Thon that was our trip to Canton Trade Days last Fourth of July weekend; fifteen thousand (slight hyperbole) acres of flea market and an experience I highly recommend in any month that isn’t the month we went.

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The hanger is unscrewed from an unusual collection of unused picture frames I’ve somehow managed to collect and had lying around. If you *don’t* stockpile useless crap, Google will help you find something of the kind.

The original glue was an off-brand Kroger *Super* aka Super Bad At Gluing Things Glue. Glue that wont make you jump out of your skin as fifteen thousand pounds of necklaces come crashing down on top of your dresser: Gorilla Glue, of course.

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I just eyeballed where the hanger fit best on the back, glued, sat to try for 24ish+ hours, and hung on the wall on two nails. I wish I had more detailed images to show you the process, but those were deleted in the flurry of a tantrum I threw at Antlers 1 : Robin 0 and never retaken. Whoops.

I enjoy having my options visible rather than stored away because Hi Reader, meet High Maintenance, but I also love that it frees up space on my dresser from the table-top jewelry trees these were on originally to make room for the rest of my jewelry stash.

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So there you have it. The story you’ve been craving on how I came to hang my necklaces on the wall. Riveting.

Office Outfitting: week one edition

OO1-8

I unsubscribed from job alerts this week. It was the most freeing click of a button I’ve maybe ever experienced.

Being the Robin that I am, a small (large) part of me was particularly excited by this turn of employment events because it meant dusting off my pumps and slacks from their 4 month hiatus from circulation. Hello again, trusty Business Caj!

(I realize I’m a freak. A freak who feels safer in her skin while donning a blazer than a T, and being in an environment which requires it. To each their wardrobe-ing own. Starched Collars, I just can’t quit you.)

I gram’d earlier this week about my first day, so this development is likely old news, but that’s never stopped me before.

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Workaholic from birth, I’ve been on the BusCaj scene *roughly* seven years. Dressing for work isn’t quite as anxiety-inducing for me as I’ve come to realize it is for some friends and clients I serve at Loft.

I have a handful of trusty “formulas” or “when in doubts, reach for _____” –ifyouwill– when it comes to putting together work outfits. Through this series on workwear (a request that’s popped up a few times), I’ll probably unpackage them for you, although it’s more of a feeling than a science. Am I an expert? Not likely. Do I own more suit jackets than you? There’s a chance. A pretty solid chance.

Formula 1: When in doubt, reach for a shirtdress. Top with jewelry. Done.

The structure of a shirt. The comfort of a dress. Who loses? Not me, I’m wearing a shirtdress.

The first two days in the new digs I’ve worn black. Day 3, I decided I better prove to them I’m not in mourning for joining their company, as if anyone has even really noticed my ensemble, but let’s pretend today. I’ve been head-over-wedges for a rose gold/purple combo lately, so decided to bust that out for this.

Facetune

(Who has a purple dress and needs her ends trimmed? Haircut on the calendar, worry not.)

Dress: Loft, spring collection, aka old.
Shoes: Franco Sarto, last fall, aka old.
Earrings/Necklace: Kendra Scott
Bracelet: Fossil Outlet, aka, old.
Bag: Louis Vuitton.

4-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

PB Cookies-1Few linguistic pairings catch the eye of a sugar-holic on a shoestring budget quicker than  4-Ingredient + Cookie.

No sooner was I on my 249-thousandth mindless Facebook thumb-scroll of the weekend than Southern Living’s 4-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookie video caught my cookie-craving eye, and my apron strings were tied.

“4? That’s it? We’ll see.” My ever-the-inner-skeptic questioned. “To waste or not to waste the cup of peanut butter on this experiment, though?” My more recent proclivity for penny-pinching battled.

My curiosity (sweet tooth) won out, and judging by the three cookies left in <12 hours, we kind of liked them in my house.

Well duh, I hear you thinking. Like who am I, Robin Karber, to question Southern Living?PB Cookies-3

Not-So-Pro-Tip: praise the Lord for the mother of invention, or in this case, peanuts. Wedded to a devote Team Crunchy disciple, crunchy peanut butter is all I had on hand, but otherwise would have probably opted Team Creamy. Because I’m extra boring like that sometimes.

However, IMHO, the extra peanuts may have kicked these babies up from “a pretty good experiment” to “on the regular baking rotation.” PB Cookies-2

Rolling dough balls approximately yay-big and fork criss-crossing like my southern mama taught me:

From approximately yay-amount of dough:  I baked approximately a baker’s dozen in the end? I forgot to count before my husband began to vacuum-inhale these heavenly morsels down. Not enough to host an all out bash, but just the right amount for a small family of two to stuff themselves shamelessly onto the brink of a sugar coma.

A successful experiment from the Karber Kitchen, in my cookbook.

RECIPE-1 copy

 

Bitter blessings as of late! Mostly one. And it’s a doozy.

I’ve been in the funkiest of limbos having serious work done on my heart -which is/should be every day-but between you and me, this one has been a real up-and-down-roller-coaster- of a season.

There’s a post in the wasteland of forgotten daily sprinkles drafts titled Resolutions, with a particularly hilarious opening quip:

 Haha, no change. Right. Writing like I know anything about what’s good for me.

The last time I’ve posted in these parts was ironically -or not so ironically- the day I found out my position at work had been eliminated. The position I accepted only in November. I wasn’t *fired* so much as they just didn’t see the position they had created, that I accepted three months prior, to be the most necessary to the company. So off with my teeny-tiny severance I was sent packing that afternoon.

I’ll be honest, as this was explained to me out of the clear-blue nowhere, the conversation was mostly white noise in my ears, so the specifics of why float around my brain a bit fuzzy. I’ve replayed the moment often, piecing it all together with the 20/20 clarity hindsight provides.

I hadn’t been with the company long enough to get necessarily *comfortable* or make unbreakable, unforgettable emotional ties. None of that was particularly difficult, and there had *obviously* been some communication issues that needed to be worked through (or not, ha ha. ha.)

Immediately, it was simply a major blow to an ego so big and fat and cloaked in denial that I wasn’t even aware it still existed. But oh, it exists. And it is grimy, and embarrassing, and after years in the making, maybe finally being chiseled away by the pruning of my savior.

When anyone posts #blessed, 9/10 there is a corresponding photo of a house, or a baby, or a car, or a really fancy looking steak. And there’s nothing wrong with that, except not all blessings are as shiny and gram-worthy.

I would love to be posting that I have been #blessed with a new, sexy and better job and to the depths of h-e-double-whatever with the lot of them who caused me this pain(!!), because that would be oh-so-much easier. But I can’t. And it’s taken a couple of months, but I’m in a place where I am sincerely emotionally pretty fine. This has been a blessing of the most bitter kind.

If anyone but my mother is still reading beyond this point, you’ve probably already audibly asked why the heck I’m penning this maybe embarrassing open-diary entry:

  1. I’m writing in the interest of transparency and honesty in light of the work I feel God doing in my heart. I’m been convicted and terrified to write about this, or have any number of people “find out” before I really “got it together.” In the interest of said transparency, you should know a few tears have splashed out in the process of the last few paragraphs. This kind of sucks.
  2. I’m writing in the interest of, I don’t know, comforting or warning new-graduate-job-hunters that job-hunting is no joke. And it takes time. And it kind of sucks. This isn’t the first season of job-hunting I’ve had, but definitely the most unexpected and sanctifying in the best and worst way.

To the end of my second point, I cannot count the number of conversations I’ve had with recent college graduates struggling to find their footing in the job market. Can. Not. Count. (And if that isn’t you, I’m sincerely happy! If it is you, you aren’t alone.)

Reiterating: it is no joke.

I don’t feel like anyone did –or maybe could have –prepared us for this battle. I was one of the lucky ones who found employment merely four months post-graduation. It was a terrifying four months brimming with anxiety and self-doubt… mirrored if not magnified in this season, two+ years later as I am here again.

The people who can’t get hired didn’t work hard enough. Their resumes are no good, or bare, or riddled with typos. Their portfolio is garbage. They’re being too choosy. Be the model student. Be the model employee. Network. Earn your degree. Get hired, and make *a really good amount of money when you do*.

Unfortunately, that’s the mindset I had post-graduation, and wasn’t the only one based on said conversations.

I absolutely worked my. tail. off. through college. It’s easy to say I made a lot of decisions I would take back if I could. If you knew me in that season, Current Robin could speak to College Robin, and you know College Robin wouldn’t have listened. Bit of a workaholic, consumed with being elite, a total perfectionist, and I made sure that reflected on my resume. I was sure to get a great job after graduation. The possibility of *not* never entered my mind until I was filling out applications for retail jobs because my savings was depleting, no “big girl job” in sight, while it was already midterm season for the graduating class behind me. Talk about humbling.

I don’t think I realized how great I thought I was until no one would hire me. I definitely didn’t realize how much my self-worth relied on my professional title until I didn’t have one.

With every part-time application came a flood of shame, and the reality of my sin reared its ugly head. I thought so highly of myself and had so much faith in a piece of paper that said I was worth one degree’s worth of something to the world.

I shouldn’t be vacuuming dressing rooms. I shouldn’t be folding clothes that didn’t come from my own laundry basket. I worked my butt off. This shouldn’t be me. This wasn’t my plan.

That was the disgusting truth I felt about my situation.

Truth: a college degree does not mean you’re too good for minimum wage.

And here I am again! I don’t know that I had ever made it facebook-official, but I picked up a part-time retail gig last July for fun money + discounts + the fact I actually enjoy the retail environment. I never pictured it being where the lump sum of my income would come from, but it is right now. And that’s okay. I’m realizing: who the heck cares how any person ever anywhere makes their money, including myself? What an absolutely silly waste of time and energy.

 (Life at Loft, aka the front for my REAL new secret business “adventures in ghost-busting.”)

I’ve had many a-back-and-forth day going from shame, to shame for feeling shame, back to shame, to depression, to really being okay. Really. I’m okay with the fact I’m a sales associate at Loft. I’m okay with the fact I enjoy getting up and going to work every day in this capacity. I’m okay with the fact that these 35 hour weeks with *incredible* coworkers and relationships has felt like the sweetest vacation (with the most rad discount) from the draining 60-70 hour weeks I’d been clocking for nearly half a year between two jobs. The value of the time it has given me for community, reflection, prayer, and time with my husband is immeasurable.

Some of you might be reading and not understanding why this has been so hard on my heart, apart from the stability of our financial situation and the grand mystique of the unknown (always a little unnerving.) Honestly, losing my job shouldn’t break a person the way it has broken me.

Truth: I have a difficult time not placing my identity in my reputation/achievements instead of rightfully in Christ. My worth so often has come from what others think of me. This is a struggle I have battled, real-talk, for like a decade. But as a daughter of Christ, I am so much more than my business card, or lack-thereof.

Truth: I am not the point. Christ is the point. He is the only point. Whatever my circumstance, that is the most solid truth of all.

Christ is better than any comfort of the world. Christ is better than any amount of acceptance of my peers. Christ is better than living up to expectation I’ve felt anxiety over for years. Christ is better than the pain of this season.

I’ve reached a place -not concretely, that definitely takes much reminding on the daily- where I don’t know where I’ll end up, and I’m okay. Sitting here, clacking this out on the laptop, I really don’t have a clue. What do I know is that God knows, and I’m going to go where I’m needed, because His picture is so much greater than my comfort. (These are truths as a Christian I know are supposed to come much more naturally to me, but I’m definitely working on growing them beyond just head-knowledge, and just knowing the truth, into heart-knowledge and actually feeling the comfort from that faith.)

PLUS! I have a husband who is the bomb-diggity, and supportive beyond words. And friends/family who have done nothing but pray for and love on me during this time. Praise be to God.

Very last transparent thought: No, I’m not okay everyday, that would be a lie. Which defeats the whole point of *this.* But I’m working on it and it’s mostly true. For me, part of that was writing this..confession? Whatever this was. And sharing it with you. In some crazy way, it helps.

Very very last transparent thought: if nothing that I wrote makes sense to you, or you have any questions, especially in regards what what “point” Christ is exactly, I’d love to have a conversation about it. I’ll even buy your coffee. (Cheap, black coffee, probably, right now because I am half-unemployed after all. Ha. haha. ha.)