Tuesday, May 2, 2017

8th Gen Honda Civic In-Depth Review

This is my car, the day I came home with it.

The original reason I fell in love with this car was the modern look, starting with the sleek exterior starting from 2006 (much more modern than its Toyota counterpart, the Corolla) and including the two-tier instrument cluster. I love the digital speedometer, the convenient brightness adjustment, and the headlight warning light (to let you know when your headlights are on. I've been guilty of forgetting to turn them off).

This car has little storage for bigger items, which is to be expected of a compact sedan like this one. I have just enough space for an umbrella, a baseball hat, and a few makeup bags. Other than that, my purse sits in the passenger seat and so does everything else. It's good in a way, because it keeps me from cluttering it up. The storage for smaller items, however, is ample. Plenty of room for those half-melted Chapstick tubes and runaway pennies. I mainly use them for parking meter quarters, my phone charger, aux cord, my phone, stuff like that. The center armrest (which is adjustable for short people!) has a good amount of space (as you can see, I have my Speak Now album along with Melophobia in there right now), but it has this weird felt stuff at the bottom? Not sure if the previous owner put that there, or if it's an original piece. I wish it was a two-tier storage system, but I understand that's not possible with the adjustable armrest. The glovebox is small beyond compensation.

Next we have the original stereo system. It features an aux port and CD player even in the base model along with a cigarette lighter port. The knobs are easy to find while keeping your eyes on the road and simple to use. The buttons feel high quality. This is an A to B car, so there are no fancy bells and whistles, but it does exactly what you need in a straightforward way.
The stereo system is geared to use a Sirius XM radio, which requires a monthly subscription which you pay for over the phone, which nobody would do and I'm not sure why they included it, but whatever. That's what the "disp" button is for apparently.
 This is the backseat. I stash a cute little throw pillow back there and a blanket in the trunk in case of an impromptu nap.

Some things that bother me about this car are the lack of cupholders and charging ports. There are one cigarette lighter and two cupholders for the entire car. Five people. There is no rear center armrest with cupholders on the LX model. Also, there is no trunk button on the key fob on the LX model, making it necessary to open the driver's side door and pop the trunk that way. Another thing, and this is just an issue with my particular car, is the rear seats are reluctant to fold down. Instead of pulling the release and simply walking around to the rear door and pulling the seats back, I have to get inside the trunk and push on the seats while simultaneously pulling the release. It's probably very funny from a third person perspective. Anyway, it doesn't seem stable enough to take a nap in there with the rear seats down unfortunately. I tried it and all I could hear was the constant noise of the fabric rubbing against itself.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

12 Things I Want to do Before College

College is a time where you make new friends, have new experiences, whatever. But there are some things I want to do before college with the friends I have now, or even alone, just to experience them.

  1. Have my own car and take care of it. I want to have the experience of owning it, washing it, buying gas for it, getting maintenance on it, and making it my own.
  2. Sleep in a car or on the beach. And wake up to the sunrise, or the beautiful outdoors, or something like that. 
  3. Go to a drive-in movie like they did in the 50s or whatever. I think that would be a cool way to experience how people used to live, and be able to talk during a movie!
  4. Pull an all-nighter. I've done this before, but not for fun. I think if I did it with some friends, playing truth or dare or whatever kids do these days, that would be fun.
  5. Join a peaceful protest like the women's march and fight for what I believe in among a group of people who believe in the same thing.
  6. Participate in senior skip day. I think everyone pretty much does this, but I normally don't and I think I should.
  7. Have a picnic in a pretty spot on a trail or something and appreciate the beauty of the town I live in.
  8. Carve something on a tree, in wet cement, or write something on that bridge in town that everyone writes on. Just for the memory.
  9. Go to an amusement park on a rainy day and avoid the lines!
  10. Buy a lottery ticket when I turn 18. Because I can.
  11. Break into an abandoned building and walk around.
  12. Walk around a cute little historical town and buy knick-knacks.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Why Having a Job in High School Sucks

I have had my job for about two months now, so I think it's fair to say I get what it's like now.
Over the summer, I had a job at a summer camp. At first, I felt like I didn't belong (read: My First Job: My Experience) but then I made a great friend at some point during the second or third week (who I'm legitimately still friends with). The job was pretty bearable and she made it fun. We spent days laughing over the cringey things campers did, and nights seeing PG-13 movies. Y'know, to get our maturity back after hanging out with five-year-olds for weeks. But I didn't realize at the time how lucky I was. I got 45 hours a week earning minimum wage ($10 at the time), so about $450 per week. After a few weeks, it built up and I had a large sum in my bank account. I also watered plants for people and fed their cats, babysat, the usual. It was overwhelming, but that paycheck made it all worth it. I started to realize that money is earned, not granted. But it was a good job. So I took it, and I enjoyed it. We even went on field trips every week! I didn't realize how good that job was.
Then summer came to a dismal close. Swimming started a few days after camp ended. Then it was three hours a day, every day until school started, when it was back to the grind.
Fast forward to the end of swim season. I aimlessly spent my days after school scrolling through Tumblr. I had no way to get around. Most people would use that extra time after school to go to friends' houses. But I had no license and no car. But in two months I'd have one of those things: a license. But still no car, unless... I got one. At first my parents promised they'd chip in a few thousand and insurance. All I'd have to pay for was $5k and gas/maintenance. So I got a job at a local bakery. My parents backpedaled into me paying for the whole car myself. I agreed under the impression that I'd be proud of it once I got it, and I'd be able to go places.
Now I work 15-20 hours a week on top of a 35 hour honors-level school schedule with six majors and all morning classes. Then add homework, SAT prep, and occasional things that might come up (doctor's appointments, chorus concerts, babysitting). Wait, where'd my friends go?

  1. Your parents expect you to pay for more stuff, on your minimum wage, $100/week paycheck, as you try to have a social life and go to the movies sometimes and save up for a car.
  2. Then they get mad at you for "working too much" and "not putting enough effort in to school work." You can only have it one way!
  3. It's so little income, saving up takes forever.
  4. Bosses are always mean to high schoolers. Some deserve it, but I'd like to think I don't deserve being yelled at for Kelly not replenishing the napkin dispensers like you asked her to. Or having a single fingerprint on the glass door. Oh no! Someone touched the glass door since I last cleaned it?!
  5. Then the same boss tries to talk to you about her personal life. I'm sorry, but after being yelled at for Jenny's mistake, I'm not too interested in hearing about how Jeff cheated on you with Sally back in the day. I know you peaked in high school. I don't want to hear about it.
  6. When customers spill their drinks and then ask you for a new one. On the house. As if I had that kind of authority. After cleaning up your sticky, 90% cream "coffee."
  7. When your coworkers suck or are in college. College kids can be chill, we just don't have anything in common.
  8. Your manager actually expects you to care. Yesterday I saw someone mixing the tea so it would be evenly dispersed when the customer drank it. Maybe I'm just jaded, but the customers can stir their goddamn tea themselves.
  9. When people talk quietly or have a thick accent and then get mad when you ask them to repeat themselves. I'm sorry I'm not fluent in mouse.
  10. The fear of your manager not liking you. If she doesn't like you, your work life will be even more hellish than it already is.
  11. The dreaded to-do list. This isn't my house. I don't care. This list doesn't make me want to do any of these things.
  12. Earning stuff on your own and watching your friends get handed everything. I'm working my ass off to save up for a car, and watching my friends get them for free is inexplicably infuriating. As if they did anything to deserve it more than me.
  13. When you do have free time, it's at weird hours and either everyone is asleep or you don't have that car yet and have no transportation. After a 50-55 hour week and many 13 hour days, I just want to go to my friend's house at 10 at night and watch a fucking movie. But I can't.
  14. Leaving the house at dawn and not coming back until way after dark. Many days I leave the house at 6:40am and don't come back until 7:30pm. And yet I only come home with fifty bucks. Sure, it's not nothing but for all that. You have to wonder if it's worth it.
  15. You could be babysitting and making double what you make at work. It's just that you have nobody to babysit. I wish I could make $15/hour like the good old days and people ask me why I don't anymore. Well... For my resumé, for college apps, for the experience, for the reliability... Shit I don't know.
Right. And now that I work at the bakery, goodbye wonderful summer job.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

First Impressions/Review: Acrylic Nails

I got acrylics for the first time for cotil (my school's junior prom basically) and I thought I'd do a review.

As for getting them on, my lady was super nice and I had a friend come with me so it was a fun experience even though it took an hour and a half. I like that once they're done curing, they're all dry and there's no "is it dry? Is it not?" moment.

Here are some things that are hard with these nails on.

  1. Typing on a keyboard.
  2. Using my phone.
  3. Tying shoelaces.
  4. Picking things up, specifically cookies at work.
  5. Clasping a necklace.
  6. Putting on and taking off earrings.
Fast forward a couple weeks... Getting them off was a little painful, a lot of pressure was put on my nails when they were being taken off. She used an extra fake nail tip to pry them off, which was also a bit questionable. My nails soaked in acetone for about 45 minutes, which one can imagine isn't the healthiest for your nails or cuticles. And she didn't polish them afterwards, like a lot of nail salons do. I'm not mad about it though because I only paid $10 to get them removed.

I got tons of compliments, which was awesome, and I loved the way they looked, and I'm glad I got them once, but I don't think I'll ever get them again. My natural nails are ruined and look bad without nail polish, and the fake nails were too hard to do everyday things with and I didn't like seeing my natural nails on the underside. I also think the salon I went to wasn't the best, because of my nails being ruined and because all the nails were different lengths, they weren't painted very meticulously (which matters when you wear them for weeks!), and they put gel polish over the acrylic nails which I've never seen before. They were also really thick, which is normal for acrylics, but it bothered me.

After removal - as you can see I have a cuticle
picking problem (who doesn't?) and it got really
bad after I got my nails off because you can't
really do it with those nails. As for the damage
done to my nails, there are random ridges and
discoloration spots. They are also unhealthily
thin and brittle. if they grow even a little bit,
they instantly break.
I wore them for a little over 2 weeks. I probably could've gone longer, but my boss didn't like them and I was fed up with them too. My boss said something along the lines of, "I really think you should cut your nails. It looks like you can't tap the buttons on the cash register." But I told her you can't cut fake nails, so I got them off the following weekend.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Car Stuff Explained

I've learned a lot in my Craigslist browsing for a used car (a fantasy, not a reality... yet). There's a lot of vocabulary I've learned from it and I'd like to impart some of that knowledge upon you in simple, easy to understand terms. because cars are complicated :)

  1. Horsepower. This just means the amount of power an engine has.
  2. 1.3L, 4-cylinder. This refers to the ease of acceleration and stuff. I don't really know so ignore it.
  3. Fwd, rwd, and 4wd. FWD refers to front wheel drive, which is when the engine powers the front wheels so that's where the steering comes from. A common suggestion for getting up a snowy/icy hill is to drive up in reverse, which only works if your car uses fwd. RWD is rear wheel drive, and 4wd is four wheel drive (awesome for snow).
  4. Coupe, sedan, and hatchback. Coupe means a 2 door car, where there is no second row of seats or you need to fold back the front row to get in, like the Fiat 500, the Mini Cooper S, or the Scion tC. An example of a sedan is a Toyota Corolla/Camry or the most common Honda Civics and Accords; it's a compact car with a small trunk. A hatchback refers to the trunk--like the trunk in a mom minivan such as the Toyota Sienna. Smaller hatchback cars include the Toyota Prius, Yaris, and Matrix.
    Top - hatchback; bottom - sedan. Source
  5. Compact, mid-size, and full-size. Google defines compact car as a "medium-sized car," and according to Wikipedia, mid-size is defined as "equal to or greater than a compact." It also defines full-size as "larger than a mid-size car ... designed to be comfortable for six passengers and their luggage."
  6. Reliability. This is usually measured in Problems Per Vehicle, meaning non-maintenance issues such as transmission replacement, and air conditioner compressor replacement. Regular maintenance would be oil checks, tire rotation (rotating the front with rear, left with right, etc.) and replacement (tires need replacing when they wear down so the veins are flush with the tire or when you pop one), battery replacement, and break pad replacement. I like to look at J.D. Power's Vehicle Dependability charts for the model year I'm looking to buy. I find that vehicle dependability forums are unreliable because many consumers misguidedly see too many carmakers as reliable.
  7. Hybrid, gas-powered, and electric. Hybrids and gas cars do not need to be charged. Gas cars run on gas. A typical sedan/hatchback gas-powered car gets somewhere from 25-32 combined (city and highway) mpg (miles per gallon).
    Hybrids run on the kinetic energy regular cars throw away when you brake down a hill. They get better gas mileage, usually somewhere in the 39-45 mpg range. Sounds like a sweet deal, right? Here's the catch: they run an average of $5k more than a gas car and need a $3-4k hybrid battery replacement somewhere after 100k miles or it can last the life of the car (as it hypothetically should). Of course, if it happens within the warranty (usually 8-10 years ish) you get a free ride. I've gotten the impression that the older generations of Priuses' hybrid batteries fail sooner than the newer generations, so keep that in mind when buying a new or used hybrid.
    Electric cars need to be charged. Whole Foods has charging stations, and charging is usually priced around $2-5/hour, taking 2-3 hours to charge. I'm not sure how many miles they can run on one charge. An example of an all-electric car is the BMW i8, the Nissan Leaf, or any model Tesla.
  8. Cars with a hybrid and gas model vs specifically hybrid cars - Specifically hybrid vehicles (Toyota Prius, Honda Insight) have a more aerodynamic shape, giving them slightly better gas mileage. For example, the 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid gets 42/38mpg, while the 2016 Prius gets 54/50 according to Toyota.
  9. Why electric cars don't need a grill - The grill allows oxygen to enter the engine, but the engines of electric cars don't need oxygen so they don't have grills.
  10. Aftermarket parts. These are car parts that don't come from the car manufacturer. It can be a bumper you didn't get from your car manufacturer itself, or a whole new Pioneer audio system.
  11. Make vs model. The "make" of a car is like the brand - Toyota, Honda, BMW, Ford. The model is like the Corolla, Pilot, i8, or Focus.
  12. The relationship between Toyota, Scion, and Lexus, and Honda and Acura - Scion and Lexus are Toyota's luxury brands. Everything is made by Toyota, but they use the Scion or Lexus names to signify premium. So you get Toyota's reliability, but a premium vehicle. Acura is Honda's luxury brand. Another example is Smart brand, which is owned by Mercedes.
  13. Clean vs Salvage vs Rebuilt title: a clean title is on a car that has not been in any major accidents. A salvage title is given to a car that has been totaled (when the repair cost would be more than the car was worth at the time of the accident). A car with a salvage title is illegal to drive. The rebuilt title is given after the car has been repaired and inspected for stolen parts. The inspector does NOT check for safety or drivability, he only checks for stolen parts. This is why you should never buy a car with a rebuilt title.
  14. Features to look for when buying a new car. Sunroof, moon roof, automatic climate control (you set 67 degrees and the car does the rest), automatic dimming rearview mirror (versus manual, which is when you push the thingy under the mirror and it makes everything dimmer in the rearview mirror so you don't get blinded by inconsiderate drivers' high beams), heated seats, folding in side mirrors, steering wheel tilt seat raising adjustments, Bluetooth, USB ports as opposed to cigarette lighter ports. Also feel for how bumpiness and numbness/responsiveness of steering and break/gas pedals. And style of course.
  15. Manual and automatic transmissions. With a manual transmission, you use your left foot to push the clutch pedal before you gas or break or change gears (but it has to be at the perfect time. It's rough.) and use your right hand for the gear shifter (gears must be changed at certain speeds and you have to feel when to switch gears). With automatic transmissions, the car does all that for you. Stick shifts get slightly better gas mileage, but with modern advancements in technology the difference is almost negligible.
  16. Automated manual transmission? Smart cars for example use an "automated manual transmission," which is a fancy name for a shitty automatic transmission. Basically you get the ease of an automatic, with the lurching between gears of a manual.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Where to Buy Wide Shoes

As a wide-footed girl, I understand the struggle of finding cute and affordable wide shoes. Because apparently if you have a wide foot, you're only interested in kitten heels and clogs.

  1. Asos
    I will be the first to admit Asos can be pricey, but if you find something on sale, many cute simpler heel styles are in the $30 range. And honestly, it's hard enough to find cute wide shoes, treat yoself! Also, beware they just switched over to UK sizing, so your size will be 2 sizes down in women's from US to UK. They also include videos of a model walking in the shoes on the website so you can see exactly what you're buying!
  2. Newlook
    Newlook is a supplier for Asos, so they have a lot of overlap in styles. If there's something labeled "Newlook" on Asos and they're out of your size, check here. Also in UK sizing and in British Pounds.
  3. Payless
  4. Torrid
    These shoes are designed for plus-sized women, and although I have never tried on any of their shoes, I'll bet they work for straight-sized women with wide feet too. Plus, I love their product descriptions.
  5. Nordstrom
    Many department stores have a surprisingly small array of wide width shoes for women. Nordstrom is not one of them. In store, I can't say, but online they have a respectable variety. Just refine your search by width. (Although again, this isn't the most affordable place to shop.)
  6. Amiclubwear
    I haven't ever ordered from here, but I have heard good things. So if you do order and it never comes, don't hold me to that. They also don't have a huge selection of wide width footwear. However, what they do have is buy-one-for-every-outfit prices.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Everything is Temporary

I think (one of) the keys to happiness is understanding that nothing lasts forever and that everything is temporary.
If you understand that, you won't be upset over change because you expect it. You won't be upset when you lose an expensive water bottle, or your favorite necklace. You won't be upset when you have a fight and lose a friend. And it's okay for that to happen, because it does, and it's meant to. I had one of the most fun summers of my life this summer, and I didn't want to let it go. I met new people, I did fun things, I took risks, and I also spent time with kids, because I love working with kids, and it was exactly as fulfilling as I expected it to be. At the end of the summer, the camper I had been working on to come out of her shell did, and she thanked me for it. She gave me a card. I spent the last three weeks of camp playing hand games with her and other kids, trying to get them to talk to her. I invited her over to play games with other campers. I found her a seat at the table she wanted to sit at during lunch. And that card was more than I ever wanted. Helping her was reward enough for me, but her card gave me even more joy. I miss another camper who gave me a hard time. She sat in my lap sometimes when she was in a good mood, and I miss that. I miss being one of two counselors who could get her to stop crying. But now I got a new job, and I can't work with kids anymore. I just need to understand that this is a new beginning in my life. The hustle and bustle of swim season is temporary, my job as a summer camp counselor was temporary, and this new job is also temporary. But that's not a bad thing. All I'm doing is living life, gaining a variety of experiences and putting myself out there. That's a key to happiness.
So live life, understanding that, and don't get attached to any one thing, one person, or one experience. These will come and go, and all you have to do is allow them to.