Refining Toward Elegance.

On Saturdays we wear purple, watch college football, and drink wonderful things.

“Elegant and refined with layers of unfolding flavor…” – the description on the bag of Starbucks Guatemala Antigua Blend.

That’s about how I feel as I start my last Thanksgiving break as a college student. It was cloudy and cold yesterday here in Manhattan, but today is clear and sunny, with a high about 10 degrees higher than yesterday’s.

There’s something poetic about that. Today is a day where students, faculty, and staff alike can collectively breathe a sigh of relief after an emotionally draining semester that has featured a controversial presidential election, enough celebrity deaths to lose count of, and a bout with illness for seemingly everyone.

All of us are ready for this vacation. Even those who still have to work have a slightly easier week with very rare exceptions.

But you already know this.

What I’m really writing to tell you is that today I feel elegant and refined, but I need a little more refining to become more elegant.

Traditionally, I have always written out my goals for the next year in the week leading up to my birthday in August. I haven’t done that this year though. This year, I’ve simply been too caught up in all the wonderful and chaotic changes that have happened in life.

This, however, is not the year to forget to create those.

As I hung out with a friend at her work yesterday, I started to reflect on where I’d been this year. Yet even as I tried to reflect, I realized so many changes were ahead that I simply wasn’t able to feel reflective.

By this time next year, I’ll have graduated college. I’ll be starting the next phase of my career. Maybe I’ll be in Austin, Texas, or in Shelton County, Washington, or in Casa Grande, Arizona, or in so many other places.

For all the wonderful changes that have come as I’ve transitioned to primarily sports-journalism and been honored and blessed to have begun covering women’s sports, the next year will bring even more changes. The next year will bring even crazier ones. Life, by this point next year, will have begun to evolve, and it’ll never be the same.

So today, I’ll start writing out my goals for that time. Spiritual, Personal, Professional, and Athletic.

They won’t mean much to the stars or the coming sunrise that is the future. But they’ll mean a lot to me, and that’s kind of the point.

 

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The Purchases We Make; A Story About Coffee

In fall semester 2013 I took a Principles of Advertising class here at K-State. It was tough, partly because the professor was only beginning his post at the university with that specific class. It was his first, and it was my first semester back after taking three and a half years off to fulfill other interests.

In his class we took Vals surveys. These surveys, he explained, would give us some insight into how we individually tended to make purchasing decisions. In a sense, it’s a sort of financial personality profile. It groups each test taker in two of eight categories, a primary and a secondary “Vals Type,” and provides the participant with a description of what it says about how they tend to choose what to buy. This can give companies valuable insight into how to target them as advertisers. If you’re curious about yours, click the word link.

I printed mine, and have kept it every since. I refer to it often, both because I love such things and because it has proven accurate time and time again. Here’s an example.

The Conundrum Of The Coffee Order

This morning, my favorite coffee shop on the planet, Mozart’s Coffee Roasters in Austin, Texas, posted a fascinating photo of a bunch of boxes on their Facebook page. The caption talked about how you could email one of their people who would help you order coffee and have it delivered to you wherever you were. According to their post, you could subscribe to get coffee weekly, biweekly, monthly, or “as often as you need!”

This immediately tempted me. It’s my favorite coffee shop in the world, something I feel like I can actually say because I’ve consumed coffee in shops in at least one state besides that of my birth and in one other country. That’s another discussion all together though.

Still, I have great coffee! I love the Sumatra roast sold by both Starbucks and Caribou coffee shops here in town, and Manhattan, KS actually has some great local coffee too, such as Radina’s and the recently opened Arrow Coffee. As much as I love Mozart’s down in Austin, it was hard to say definitively that the extra cost and hassle of waiting on coffee would be worth it just to have coffee from there. So why was I tempted?

That’s when I remembered my Vals profile, and the answer became clear.

My primary type labeled me as an “Innovator.” The description is long, but here’s one excerpt:

“Image is important to Innovators, not as evidence of status or power but as an expression of their taste, independence, and personality…Their possessions and recreation reflect a cultivated taste for the finer things in life.”

So I understand why I’m tempted to deal with all the extra hassle and cost, even if the benefits aren’t particularly noticeable in the actual product itself. I consciously realize that maybe I just like the idea of being able to sit on my couch one day soon and think “yeah, I have my coffee custom shipped, from my favorite coffee shop in the world.” Quite selfishly perhaps, I immediately realize I think such a daydream would be amazing if it were made true. Not because it will be expensive, though potentially it might be, but because when I brew that stuff at home for guests, it’ll be an accurate representation of who I am. Not cooler or less cool than anyone who does it differently, but rather just different; more unique, and off the beaten bath. That’s pretty much how I like to think of my life.

Apparently I’m easier to understand than I realize.

Vals wins again.

Catching Up

Dear readers,

It’s February 3rd today. As I stand here, waiting for laundry to finish on a busy Monday morning, I write y’all to explain my noticeable (I’d hope anyways) lack of writing since the NFL divisional round of the playoffs. Or, for you non-sports fans, about three weeks ago.

Here’s what happened. The day before I went to write my post about the upcoming playoff weekend, I was sitting down and enjoying coffee. It was a gorgeous day, I had just finished a run the previous night and I was still, somehow, feeling the endorphins run through my system after a wonderful eight hours of sleep.

As I sat on the couch, coffee in my hands as my laptop sat in my lab, the little dong that one of my roommates was babysitting came and jumped up on my lap. Now, this wasn’t a problem in and of itself because I heard the dog come out as my roommate opened her door, and had moved my arms up so that the dog could run over my lap and just past me on the couch. No problem right? Well, as my roommate walked through the kitchen, she knocked over a cup of pens and markers we have. This caused the dog, who was then already excitedly sitting on top of my keyboard in my lap, to be startled. Thus, she actually jumped STRAIGHT UP. The result? My coffee lost about two ounces, not to my drinking but to my keyboards absorption. That kind of shot any writing plans I had all the heck for the next week, which was wonderful since it was the week school was starting again for the Spring 2014 semester. Awesome….

However, God is good. Very good. As school started, I was provided with the funds via a “Pell Grant” from my school that allowed me to buy a second one. Don’t get me wrong, my faithful MacBook Pro is still working full speed, but it was too irritating to use with the coffee on the screen and keyboard. Nothing I could do was able to remove the stickiness form it, short of toughing it out. But I had needed to buy another laptop (a Windows based one on which I now write this) because unfortunately I still work for the United States Government, which requires me to take regular different classes so that they know I won’t drink and drive and stuff. The U.S. Government websites on which I have to take these courses however, does not support Macs in any way shape or form though.

Hence I have a new laptop, which I consider mainly for play (it’s a touch screen) and government work. It’s not as fast as my MacBook, which has a solid state hard drive and a dual core i5 processor, but it’s still fast enough for what I need (maybe faster for just it’s processor, which is a quad core AMD A6).

I’m protective with it too, though it was less than half the price of my MacBook. We’ll see how she holds up in the long run, but for now, I’m just letting you guys all know why I haven’t written in some time. For now, I hope y’all stick around.

 

Thanks for reading…! 🙂