Reflection on 2017

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2017 was a BIG year for me. It’s safe to say more than a few life milestones occurred this year. As the new year begins I can’t help but reflect on all of the changes that have happened in my life. Chase and I got engaged, I graduated from college, got to visit Europe twice, landed my first full-time job, and so much more.

 

In June, my high school sweetheart proposed to me. You can read about Chase and I’s love story on The Knot. This summer I got to travel with Chase’s family throughout France and Italy. I plan on writing a separate blog post about this experience but to keep it simple it was nothing short of magical. It was everything I have ever wanted in a proposal and I am looking forward to the next step in our life together.

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I cannot believe I actually graduated from college! I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Psychology from the University of North Texas. My college journey hasn’t always been easy but I can already say it was all worth it. From starting out in community college, transferring to a four-year university I pushed through it all. From being a commuter student, working every semester, taking night classes, completing two internships, being involved in student organizations and graduating with honors. I am here to say that if you work really hard you can achieve your goals. Adjusting to life post-grad is probably going to be challenging but I am still too caught up in the whirlwind of the holidays and graduation for it to hit me yet.

Anyone who knows me knows how important travel is to me. I am so blessed to have traveled to Europe TWICE this year. These are both trips that definitely have individual posts coming. Last week, I got back from a Rhine River Cruise with my aunt Diane. This was a graduation, birthday, and Christmas gift all rolled into one. Fortunately, we have been able to A LOT of amazing places over the years and I will write about our most recent trip soon. Hopefully, I will be able to continue to squeeze travels into my life even after college.

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Lastly, I started Life with Lauren. In 2017, during my last semester of college I learned that time flies by and if I don’t start chasing my dreams I may lose the time and motivation to pursue them. Even though I am still in the beginning stages I have already been pleasantly surprised by the responses I have gotten from my blog. Readers I barely know (or have never met at all) have contacted me letting me know that I inspired them by my community college story and other posts. After all, that’s what this space is about. Even though it’s just for fun (for now) my blog is a great way to express creativity and keep loved ones updated about my life.

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I have so much to look forward to in 2018 including; getting married to Chase, start working full-time for a company I love, and moving to Dallas. I am in such an exciting chapter of my life so I am trying to take it all in and make the most of every day. I am so thankful to live this life I’m living. Thank you to everyone who has benefitted my life and for reading this blog.

Thanks for stopping by! What were some of the biggest lessons you learned in 2017?

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I’m Employed!

trunkclubskyBefore I started this semester, I made a list of goals (what else is new). At the very top of that list was locking down a job before graduation. I had several peers (and even mentors) tell me I was aiming too high or to not get my hopes up. Truth be known, December graduates have a tough time because we’re trying to apply for jobs right before the holiday season and the new year. Companies aren’t always looking to hire during this time. However, I persisted. I began applying for jobs in the beginning of October. I did research on Glassdoor religiously and sent more e-mails than I can count. I received plenty of rejection letters, held several phone interviews and visited a few offices for in-person interviews.

There were times when I wondered if this was going to pay off or if I was going to continue searching after graduation like everyone else. To my surprise, an HR representative from Trunk club contacted me! There are several companies that contacted me but almost all of them were scams. Luckily, I remembered that one of my friends from North Texas Sweethearts works there.

I will be working as an Associate Stylist at Trunk Club Dallas. I will be in contact with clients and in training for the first few months. I  will be providing styling advice and manage relationships. Trunk Club is part of the Nordstrom family. Yay for Nordstrom discounts!

You can learn all about Trunk Club here.

My Life as a Redhead

I have grown to love my red hair, but it hasn’t always been this way. As a child, I begged my parents to let me dye my hair blonde or brown, basically any color but red. I would plead “please, all the kids are making fun of me and I just want to be normal.” Normal is such fallacy. The truth, is there is no such thing as normal.

IMG_2439As a child, I was bullied mercilessly for having red hair. However, it comes to no shock that elementary school children are mean. Anyone who is different is called out. So much so, that in 2016 there was a fake story of a kid who sued his parents for giving him red hair *insert eye roll. Apparently, a believable enough scenario for people to think it was real. Hate crimes like “Kick a Ginger Day” inspired by South Park don’t help either.

In middle school, bullying morphed into boys calling me “ginger” and teasing me about my freckles. They would make jokes about kicking a ginger or other distasteful terms. Growing up, I was told “you’re pretty for a redhead.” Can I never just be pretty? In high school, I was finally old enough to dye my hair so I tried everything from blonde to brown. It wasn’t until I started dating Chase that I started to love myself for who I was. He always disapproved when I wanted to color my hair.  There is nothing wrong with coloring your hair, but I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. I was trying to become someone I wasn’t and it was anything but healthy.

 

“What sets you apart can feel like a burden, and it’s not. A lot of the time, it’s what makes you great.”

– Emma Stone

It has been years since I have been made fun of for my hair. Growing up, people always told me I would grow to love my red locks. I didn’t believe them until I reached college age and realized how unique I am. I also happened to meet two amazing redheads I regularly refer to as my sisters. I met Kyleigh and Eryn at recruitment for an organization called North Texas Sweethearts my junior year of college. At first glance, I was automatically deemed Eryn’s doppelgänger and we all connected from the start. There’s just something about a redhead bond, am I right?

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Ever since meeting my ging sisters I have refused to color my hair. Just by having red hair we connect on so many levels like shared trauma from bullying to foundation that will actually match our fair skin. We also regularly discuss different tanning lotions, but for the most part decide to ditch them altogether. I didn’t see how beautiful my hair was until I saw it through them and now you couldn’t pay me to change it. We love going out and tricking people into thinking we’re triplets. Two out of this trio have even successfully swapped ID’s *not recommended.

Red hair comes with a lot of unsolicited questions like “Who did you get your red hair from?” and “OMG is that your natural color?”. But I don’t mind now. I am proud of what makes me different.  Everyone used to make fun of my fiery locks but now, they’re one of the things that everybody says they love. I know my experience of being bullied pales in comparison to others. Instead, I want this story to serve as an opportunity to lift others up and stop critiquing each other for what we’re born with.
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If I have a daughter with red hair in the future, I would hope that she grows up in a world that tolerates people for all of their different characteristics. But if not, I’m sure that experience will turn her into a resilient young lady who hopefully shows empathy towards others for things they cannot change.

Proud Redhead,

Lauren

What makes you different? Did you ever wish you could change it?