Fumbling through my First Adult Decision

 

When I decided to go to Randolph-Macon, it was not for the right reasons. It wasn’t for the career center, or the one-on-one attention, or the lab time. It wasn’t about any of the features I’ve come to love, all of that came after. It was totally and completely about the money. I knew my father wouldn’t be paying for college which meant my mother would be carrying twice the burden. My sister and I have shared everything since the day she was born and money was no different. Whatever I chose to spend on my college career, was taken directly from her, as if she wrote the check herself. Now, I have fallen in love with Randolph-Macon and truly believe that fate knew better, but it took time for me to realize that.

So I did what anyone would do. I went where I was blessed enough to get a full-tuition scholarship and found outside scholarship money to cover room and board. And I had made yet another decision for someone else. Growing up in a big family, all choices are made by committee, for the better of the group and I’m completely okay with that. My sister will now, God willing, go to her dream school and I love being a part of that.

This fall, however, I made a life-altering decision completely by myself. No one knew what I had been going through, nor did I care to share. Naturally, when I did what I felt I had to do, I received substantial backlash. That’s the thing about making choices: you have to deal with the consequences. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t irrational. It was, on the other hand, very painful. I know what you’re thinking. If it was that horrendous, and you knew it would be ahead of time, why did you do it? That seems to be the question on everyone’s mind. Why did you do it? What were you thinking?

While I won’t disclose the details of my situation, I wanted to share the things I have learned from my first adult decision.

Nothing about life is Type A

If you have a Type A personality (where are all my OCD’ers out there?), you know the solace of order and organization. If you’re like me, before any encounter, you’ve practiced 291834 ways the situation could go and what you would say in each instance. Mentally practicing makes me feel prepared and being prepared makes me feel less anxious. Usually, this is a healthy way to reduce social anxiety by picturing yourself as successful. Yeah, I know, the visualization stuff all sounds a little too holistic for me, also, but it’s been proven to work. In my carefully constructed world, I have a plan for a plan that already was going to plan. I always want my words to be thoughtful, not emotionally driven. Real life does not care about my plan. Certainly, the universe finds a way to create a situation I didn’t think of, wasn’t prepared for.

Rules deserve rewriting

I have rules for just about everything. When to wash my hair. How to comfort an upset friend. The best way to write a paper. Ideal relationship guidelines. Again, my Type A personality betrays me, but it helps me feel like my day-to-day life adheres to some sort of code. As long as my values are at the heart of the rule-making, I feel safer in my comfort zone with a plethora of rules to keep people away. One of my biggest rules: you have one chance. I easily spot faults in others. I’m a very critical person, but I don’t do so in order to ridicule them. It’s like a coach who needs to know the batting averages of his players. I just want to be aware of what makes others tick. As a busy bee, I only have time for a handful of people and those who rub me the wrong way the first encounter typically don’t hear from me again. Harsh, I know. In this experience, I found my saving grace in a thrown away person. At the bottom of my low, I rediscovered a person I had previously written off and found a really special type of comfort in that. Rewrite the rules, just don’t throw out the book.

Gut feelings mean something

I like science because it has data. I like data because it’s impartial. I like impartial because therein lies the truth. ‘Gut feelings’ to me sound like emotion overreaction, or worse a blatant ignorance of wisdom. I attempted to collect ‘data’ in the form of advice from others. I decided if I collected enough advice, a consensus would exist, and that must be the right thing to do. But in the end, I did what I wanted. After all, prior experience counts as data, too. I’ve come to think now that those gut feelings are just a way of your brain telling you what to do without recalling all of the things that led you to that conclusion. A hint, without the pain.  Just make sure that your past is influencing your future in a positive way. Don’t let that one best friend who talked about you ruin friendships for life. That boss that fired you shouldn’t be the reason you don’t pursue another opportunity in the same field. Ask yourself where that gut feeling comes from and listen up.

 

In two and a half weeks, I’ll be 20 years old. I will retire this year knowing that I grew as a person and as an adult.

Good luck adult-ing 🙂

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Restaurant Reviews- The Boathouse, Short Pump Town Center

There is nothing better than a good meal, so on Saturday when I needed a pick-me-up, I grabbed a best friend and my mom and headed to The Boathouse for the first time.

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Atmosphere:

The original location, directly on the James River, set the bar high for atmosphere. This location, however, meets the challenge with it’s raw bar and sushi assortment. My brother’s company, Karn Custom Woodwork, did the design and, of course, I have to brag on that. The booths have the softest brown leather while the large circular tables are surrounded by luxe arm chairs. Blown glass pendant lights hang from the ceiling and  exposed white brick adds a more polished urban look. The front windows roll up, like a garage door, in the summer and make for a posh outdoor patio. The wait staff are attentive, and strive to give you the luxurious experience without the pretentiousness.

 

Food:

This menu has a little something for everyone. Sushi, steak, salads, and excellent seafood. While there oddly isn’t a pasta option, I’d say that the chef does a good job integrating different tastes. We personally sampled the cheese board, spinach crab dip, pie mussels, New York strip steak, pizzkookie, and apple cobbler. Both my mother and my best friends ate appetizers for their meals and were happy with the portions. The New York Strip was well cooked and topped with herb butter and onion rings while sitting on a bed of mashed potatoes and asparagus. It was heavenly to finish all of that with French press coffee and a half-baked chocolate chip cookie dessert and an apple cobbler. Prices are somewhat higher, but a very good value for the product.

 

Overall:

This restaurant is incredibly versatile. Some diners there were dressed for a fancy date night and others were casually enjoying their family time. With an urban, modern interior and a great menu, this restaurant will be on my personal favorite list.

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Clean Out that Closet (And Make Some Money)

I’m a pack rat. There! I said it! Don’t judge me. I have clothes that I swear I’ll wear again one day. I still have my Halloween costume from kindergarten. It’s a problem. But two of my best friends and sorority sisters mentioned to me an app called Poshmark and I’m officially hooked.

Poshmark is a closet sharing app that allows you to sell your old clothes and buy new ones (for 50-70% off). Think about it. The second you drive a new car off of the lot, it’s already lost a ton of value. Same deal with clothes. That’s how Poshmark offers such incredible deals.

The process is simple. Grab that skirt you can barely zip, take a few photos, and price it. Then, if someone is interested, Poshmark emails you a shipping label to send the package right on its way. That money then can be deposited into your Posh account and spent on other purchases, or into your personal checking account. Here are a couple cool features:

Liking

Liking a post will save it for you and constantly update you if there are any price changes or specials. I got an email that my favorite J.Crew skirt has been lowered by 20% and had half off shipping!! Win, win!

Categories

The site has plenty of categories so you can quickly find what you need. (think: brands, item type, size filters, price ranges). I found a pair of Louboutin’s for $225! Started with the brand, filtered it by sizes, and then found a pair that was 70% off. Insane way to get investment pieces (which we’ll talk about in a later post).

Find friends

It’s easy to find friends from Facebook, Twitter, or your own contacts. That means you can see what they’re shopping for, too.

My Purchases

Tracking your purchases is easy with this feature. You receive notifications when the items have shipped and then you must verify with the seller that you got what you ordered before your money is release to them. Double safety check!

Anyway, if you’re like me and still have dresses from your eighth grade graduation, it’s time to let go. What do they always say? If you love it, you’ll let it go?

 

Happy Poshing! Add me @_laurapeyton

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The Diversity Dilemma

I think it’s the word itself, diversity, that makes everyone so uncomfortable. “Diversity” to most is merely balancing the amount of blacks with the amount of whites and suddenly people lay their heads on their pillows at night thinking all is right with the world. But is it?

This weekend Randolph-Macon College was lucky enough to host Dr. T. Leon Williams for our annual Dream Speak Conference. With over 20 years of experience in the field of multicultural affairs, he was a perfect resource for our predominantly white institution. He began with volunteers whom he asked to recite the very first thing that came to their mind when he said words like “Obama” or “white female” and the anxiety in the room was palpable. What are you supposed to say? There are plenty of faces staring at you, waiting to be offended, yet that fear it what stops us from having those conversations. Dr. Williams wanted to push beyond that.

He claims that diversity initiatives aren’t inclusive and therefore everyone feels left out. Despite the best efforts of many, the programs, or lack thereof, just don’t seem to be cutting it anymore. First, he says, whites are consistently excluded as some sort of payback for inherited privilege. And a sigh of relief goes through the mostly white crowd that deflates some of the tension. Some one said it out loud.

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Racism is real. So is ableism, sexism, ageism, and any other -ism you can think of. People everywhere are judged for the way they were born. Dr. Williams opened the door for us to reevaluate our campus attitude by changing blame into power.

And for that we are incredibly grateful.

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My Life as a Three

One of my favorite beauty bloggers, Cara from maskcara.com, is always filling my Pinterest with crazy interesting beauty tips. She recently wrote a post about the RHETI personality assessment (that, of course, piqued my curiosity). Without high hopes, I read through the short questionnaire and discovered something very important about myself.

The RHETI (Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator)  personality assessment describes itself as “a forced-choice psychological test which requires you to chose one statement in each pair of statements that describes you best.” I took the sampler version (about 10 minutes), while the real assessment has 144 questions. According to their website, [Take the test here!], there are nine personality types:

1 THE REFORMER

The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic

2 THE HELPER

The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive

3 THE ACHIEVER

The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious

4 THE INDIVIDUALIST

The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental

5 THE INVESTIGATOR

The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated

6 THE LOYALIST

The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious

7 THE ENTHUSIAST

The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, and Scattered

8 THE CHALLENGER

The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational

9 THE PEACEMAKER

The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent

Cool, Laura, you learned something about yourself that you probably already knew. Not quite. When I read the short descriptions, I battled with which type I most associated. I like to think I’m a fun-loving type 7, but I’m also incredibly rational, more like a type 1; all of these options had good and bad things about them! It’s no secret to those that know me, that I am a driven individual. I was the valedictorian, the President of the National Honor Society, blah, blah, blah. So it was not to my surprise that I am The Achiever. But what does that mean?

Threes are driven and fear, above all, being worthless. Success, no matter the definition, remains crucial to the self-worth of an achiever. I’ve always been a performer and that’s great. Until it’s not. Threes are at a huge risk for cocaine addictions and exhaustion. Relationships often suffer at the hands of an obsessive three. More importantly, threes are very aware of their self-image.

I’ve NEVER been able to blow off what other people think. I often use my personality to respond to people in a way that will make them feel better, at the expense of myself. That’s not to say I get stepped on or used, but in a confrontation, I always try to save face. When people arbitrarily don’t like me, it drives me CRAZY. I am then on a mission to figure out exactly why it is they feel this way. If this makes any sense: I don’t care so much that this person doesn’t like me, but that they might encourage others to feel that way. Don’t mistake this for insecurity. I am happy with who I am and what I do, but as a three, I put value on reputation.

On the surface, a three has their life figured out. People describe them as “put together”, but often times happiness is elusive. Threes train themselves to perform for praise, however, not from themselves. It’s confusing really, because I always work for a cause and not the applause, but I do like that affirmation. The more in-depth description of The Achiever states that these people lose touch with their own wants and desires. Especially in college, a place where everyone is trying to find themselves, knowing the difference between what I want and what others want for me is difficult.

They say, “follow your heart”, but when I ask what my heart wants, it doesn’t know.

This test also reaffirms that people move between healthy and unhealthy levels of these traits. A healthy three places value on relationships, while an unhealthy three is doing cocaine to pass the Bar exam. It’s a give and a take.


I find myself looking for that inner voice more and more, before it loses its ability to speak.

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My Mary Kay Decision

What do you think of when you hear “Mary Kay”? When I asked my friends and family, I got responses like “old lady”, “trusted brand”, and “expensive”. They all sat, rather disapprovingly, when I told them that I had made the decision to start my own Mary Kay business. There are common misconceptions about how direct sales companies work.

 

Here’s what I DON’T do:

  1. Walk door-to-door
  2. Work for a boss
  3. Sit in beauty salons and act like a slimy salesperson

Here’s what I ACTUALLY do:

  1. Make FIFTY PERCENT (yes, friends, that is a 5 and a 0) profit from my sales, making MK the highest paying direct sales company
  2. Meet incredible people that I never would have gotten the chance to know otherwise
  3. Sharpen my personal and business skills under the direction of an experienced sales director who acts as my coach

 

Interested in the story? Keep reading.

Toward the end of my freshman year at Randolph-Macon, one of my sorority sisters asked me to attend her ‘kick off party’. All I heard was: free pizza. When I arrived, I met Future Executive Senior Sales Director, Michelle Walters. She had big hair, big nails, and even bigger dreams. I could tell from the moment I met her, we were both stinkin’ overachievers (or as my sister says, just stubborn). That evening I tried products that were under $20 and better quality than anything I had ever gotten at the drugstore. Michelle asked me what I used on my face. I looked at her as if she had just asked me what designer I was wearing on the red carpet and said, “Whatever is on sale in the drugstore.” The look on her face was priceless and she simply asked me, “Do you want a drugstore face when you’re 40?!” I LOVED the products, the prices, and the idea of working hours around my busy life, not shift work, but it was finals week and I had some thinking to do. So I left it alone.

 

A few weeks later, I returned to campus for my summer research job and found myself in a different place in my life. I gave Michelle a call and started my journey. There was A LOT of doubt. My sister didn’t believe in the products. My mother thought I was stressing myself out too much. My friends didn’t understand why I was doing it in the first place. During my first two weeks, I listened into a few sales calls and tried to learn about the products and the process. I thought, “how do I teach people about this incredible company?” Michelle was there every. step. of. the. way. She drove over an hour and a half to my hometown to teach my first party. I called her multiple times a day and she was always there to answer any of my questions.

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Mary Kay Ash was a real person who created a real company for the advancement of women. She was tired of promoting men over herself simply because they were men, but that was how the business world worked. She took $5,000 of her savings and launched a worldwide brand.

On the first day of the new fiscal year, I attended July Jumpstart where Sales Directors shared their advice on how to make my business successful. There,  met women with Cadillac’s, Equinox’s, and Fusion’s, diamond rings, and paid vacations all from the company. I sat in the third row wearing three pieces of jewelry I had been gifted for launching my business and reaching certain milestones. I was blown away at how generous the company is and the dreams of the women who stood before me. Some women paid for kids to go to college, others quit full-time jobs.

 

For me, I want to study abroad in Spain. I want to save enough money to fly to Paris, Milan, and London while I am there. I want to enjoy my freedom and have an adventure while I still can.

 

Life is short and Mary Kay is helping me reach my goals.

Message me about how to start your own business. More information here!

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How to Speak Other (Love) Languages

Have you ever heard of love languages? If not, it’s something everyone should know.

I’m way too interested in personality tests and understanding how people work (I guess that’s why I’m a neuroscience major). Rather than learning about yourself, this test helps you learn, and fulfill, the needs of others.

Love languages are how other people feel loved. Have you ever heard this dialogue:

“You never do anything for me. I’m so unhappy.”

“I do things for you all of the time, you’re not appreciative.”

The classic couple conundrum. So, who is right? Plot twist: THEY’RE BOTH RIGHT. They’re loving each other the way they want to be loved, not how their partner wants to be loved.

Think: It’s like calling a cell phone that is in a dead zone. You sent the signal, but it was never received.

There are five love languages:

  1. Gifts
  2. Physical Touch
  3. Quality Time
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Words of Affirmation

Most people are a combination of all of them, but we all have our favorites. I’m a Quality Time and Acts of Service tie. When people take time out of their busy schedules to spend time with me or take something off of my to do list, I am eternally grateful. But touch me, and we’re not friends. Don’t touch me.

Take the test here! And let me know what you think.

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