Why I’m Moving Abroad Even Though I’m Terrified

I’m scared y’all. In fact, I’m terrified. A week from now I’m moving to a country I’ve never visited to live in a city where I have almost no friends. I’m putting my life in two suitcases and leaving the only country I’ve ever known to go on a crazy adventure. And although I’m excited, I’m also really afraid.

I’m afraid that I won’t make friends and the family I’m working for won’t like me. I’m afraid I’ll say something horrible in French and embarrass myself out of the country. I’m afraid the stylish skinny people will turn up their nose at my frumpy frame and trying too hard outfits. I’m scared that I’ll be alone in the city of love. I’m scared because I’ve never been out of America, no matter how cool and cultured I try to be. I’m scared I’ll lose my friends back home and everything will be different when I return.

I’m terrified of change.

But what I’m more afraid of is never doing anything. I’m terrified of never doing anything and never going anywhere. I’m afraid of sitting on my laptop for the rest of my life watching other people accomplish what I dream of. I’m scared of staying in my comfort zone and missing out on adventures and relationships. I’m afraid of living a stagnant life.

So I’m leaving my safe comfort zone. I’m going to live so that I don’t ask what if. I’m going to follow my dream and go on an adventure that will change my life. I’m moving abroad – because I’m terrified.

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30 Rad Things To Do This Summer

I’m graduating in just 15 days (ahhh!), and I know you guys are counting down to summer too, so I thought I’d share a rad list of fun things to do in Summer 2K16!

 

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  1. Throw an Outdoor Party

 

Spruce up your garden and throw an outdoor party this summer. Hang lanterns and streamersg from the trees. Light candles. Break out the BBQ or set up a buffet table. Invite your BFFs, family and neighbours and have fun. Dance until dawn in the moonlight!

 

  1. Surprise Your BFF

 

Surprise your best friend with unique and unusual gifts for no reason at all. Wrap them in something fun (newspaper, paper bags, etc)  and send them through the post. She’ll dig it, I promise.. And if you feel so inclined, totally feel free to send me anything from this site – because you know I’m cuckoo!

 

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  1. Blow Some Bubbles

 

It’s good to do childish things now and again (or all the time). And did you know that there are several health benefits associated with blowing bubbles? Pursing your lips and blowing focuses your breathing and is great for relaxation. It’s also good, squeaky clean fun.

 

  1. Go Camping

 

Throw your tent in the trunk, grab some friends and go camping. What’s better than sleeping under the stars? Light a campfire and make s’mores. And then tell me about your adventures!

 

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  1. Go to a Festival

 

Everyone should go to a festival at least once in their life. If not several times. Find the perfect event for you and immerse yourself in the whole experience, including Instagramming and Snapchatting the whole thing so that I can live vicariously through you. 

 

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  1. Go to a Fair

    Go to a fair with a group of friends. Not a great big theme park – a small county fair. Enjoy the rides, eat some cotton candy and win a prize. Help me relive my glory days of clogging at the state fair!

 

  1. Go the Beach

 

Even if you’re not going on a long summer vacation, visit the beach. Arrive early to choose the best umbrella spot. Pack a picnic lunch (or get pizza, pizza is always good) and a stack of books and stay all day. Play games, swim and build sandcastles – or just lay out and tan, or burn in my case. As the sun goes down set up a BBQ and roast some veggie burgers.

 

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  1. Pick Berries

 

Ride out to a farm and spend the day picking berries. Bring them home and make smoothies, pies and cakes. There’s nothing better than freshly picked fruit!

 

  1. Take a Nap in a Hammock

 

It’s not all about rushing around (although that can be fun too). Summer is a great time to relax and dream a little. Set up that Eno and force your cat into it with you.

 

  1. Stargaze

 

Drive out to the country away from the city lights – or just come visit my family’s house, there’s a cornfield on our street! Lie down on a blanket and stare at the stars. If you have a portable telescope, use it! Be amazed at the wonder of the universe. Try not to think about the possible children in the cornfield.

 

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  1. Take That Trip

 

Take that trip you’ve always been meaning to take. What’s holding you back? Just book it and go! Hopefully that trip involves you visiting me in Paris, because as of now I have 3 possible friends, one of which will be the child I’m nannying.  

 

  1. Go Paddle Boating or Canoeing

 

Take off your shoes and socks and roll up your pants. Paddle in a river or stream. Or dangle your feet off the edge of a boardwalk. Don’t forget to pack a towel and also sunscreen – don’t get stuck with the thigh sunburn I got last year.

 

  1. Go Sailing

 

Grab a bunch of friends and spend some time sailing. Drive out to a lake and spend the day there. Take a picnic lunch (or pizza) and a blanket and enjoy a lazy day. I’ve always wanted to sail in the Chesapeake Bay, please someone do this for me – take one for the team!

 

 

  1. Swim in a Lake

 

The pool is great but swimming in a lake is something else. Find a safe location and skip a near death experience like I had in a river a few years ago. Okay, I’m being a bit dramatic…but better safe than sorry!

 

  1. Cycle

 

Dust off your bicycle and go for a long ride. Get out of the city and into the countryside. Enjoy the country roads and fresh air. Apparently bikes are more popular in Europe, so I should probably learn how to turn while biking.

 

  1. Go for a Hike

 

Plan your route and go for a hike. Choose somewhere you’ve never been before. Walk through fields and woods and enjoy being outside in nature, knowing that Trump can’t get to you there.

 

  1. Take a Road Trip

 

Road trips are always fun, especially when you choose the right travelling companions. Plan where you want to go but don’t be too rigid. Part of the fun is following those road signs and seeing where they take you. Take lots of tunes to listen to along the way, I suggest Taylor Swift.  

 

  1. Walk Barefoot in the Park

 

Remember the film with Jane Fonda and Robert Redford that my Grandma keeps asking me to watch? Take off your shoes and socks and walk barefoot in the park. It’s freeing and exhilarating.

 

  1. Light Some Fireworks

 

Fireworks are not just for 4th July. Gather some friends and have a firework party. Light some sparklers and have fun.

 

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  1. Have a Film Night

 

Curl up on the couch and watch your favorite films. Make some popcorn and cry at the sad bits. A blanket and a tub of ice cream are useful and obligatory.

 

  1. Visit a New City

 

Visit a city you’ve never been to before. Drive or take the train and spend the day there. Enjoy the shops and restaurants. Eat lunch in a pavement cafe. I suggest NYC. Or Paris, definitely Paris.

 

  1. Go to a Museum

 

Check your local listings and visit a museum or art gallery. Keep a list of forthcoming exhibitions and events. Your local history museum could be more fun than you think – I got a great Instgram pic last time I visited mine.

 

  1. Play Some Sports

 

When was the last time you played some sports (my answer is seventh grade, fyi)? Choose something you like or something you would like to learn and go for it. Book a court etc. and have fun. Pick a friend who is less athletic than you and you’ll always look great playing any sport with them.

 

  1. Volunteer

 

Giving your time is always rewarding. Look for local community groups and projects that may need your help. Spend some time helping other people (or animals). If you want to go big, I suggest going to Asia and volunteering at a bear sanctuary.

 

  1. Learn a Language

 

Is there a language you’ve always wanted to learn? Enroll in a [French] course and make a start. Reward yourself with a visit to that country [France] once you have made good progress. It’s the best way to test your [French] skills. I am in no way biased towards France.

 

  1. Learn a New Skill

 

Learn something new. Enroll in an online course or book a place at your local community college. Learning new things broadens your horizons and allows you to meet new people.

 

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  1. Read Some Books

 

Make a list of those books you’ve always wanted to read and set time aside to read them. Bridget Jone’s Diary, Bossy Pants, and anything by Chelsea Handler are good places to start.

 

  1. Visit Your Library

 

Spend a couple of hours browsing your local library. Pick out some books and look at the information. There’s always something interesting to be found there. Who knows, you could purposefully run into a cute boy and fall in love in said library.

 

  1. Make Some Art

 

Forget any inhibitions and make some art. Take out your paints, glue and glitter and make something fun and creative! Don’t overthink it or try to make it perfect. Just go with your instincts. If your instincts say to draw a cat, your instincts are on the right track.

 

  1. Plan a Family Day

 

Plan a fun day for the whole family. Make some meals, plan some activities, or fire up the BBQ. Spend the day with the people closest to you. The next day you should plan on hiding in your room.

 

So those are some fun summer ideas for you all! Comment below and tell me what you’re doing this summer! Don’t forget to add me on Twitter and Instagram @CelinaTTolbert so we can keep in touch this summer!

Red Keds in Red Hook

The saying goes, “If you don’t got nothin’ nice to say, don’t say nothin’ at all.” Well apparently tween girls in Brooklyn do not follow this wise advice. Let’s be clear, I don’t follow this rule all the time either – but at least I don’t do it to your face on public transportation.

Last summer I bought a cute pair of red Keds before I flew to NYC for 3 months. I wore them on the plane and was excited to take on the city with my new shoes. I enjoyed wearing them in my favorite park and all over Manhattan. A few weeks into the summer, a friend suggested we check out a free music festival in Brooklyn. So, of course, I put on my red Keds and we boarded the subway. Somewhere along the line a group of preteen girls joined our car. This is where our story really begins.

As a cool New Yorker, I never considered talking to strangers on the subway – I’m not trying to get robbed. Or stabbed, because my friend back home heard that was a thing. Anyways, the girls chatted for a while, and then the head of this tween gaggle starts talking louder – and she starts talking about my shoes. She continues to talk to her friends about my shoes, so I proceed to stare at her with a blank expression. I’d dealt with bullies before, but never in the form of strangers in an enclosed space.

As the girl and her friends continued to laugh, I slowly raise my hand to wave at them and smile. The head tween says something like “Oh no she didn’t” and her friend proceeds to apologize for head tween, laughing and joking that “She got problems.” Just at this moment, it’s our stop, so we exit as I tell them to have a nice day, feeling confident that they won’t chase me off the train.

 

The moral of this story is: tweens in Brooklyn will notice your footwear, and your Keds will soon wear out. However, while your Keds are breathing, you should wear them in Brooklyn just to give tweens conversation pieces.

Paris Calling + Free GPSmyCity GIVEAWAY

Moving abroad is a lot of work; well, it’s a lot of paperwork. I have spent the past month or so emailing and sending snail mail back and forth from the US to Paris, France. I’ve made copies of my passport, transcripts, diploma – France has really gotten to know me. I wrote an elementary level letter in French to tell the French government why I want to live in Paris – but I mean why would I not want to live and work in Paris??? I also sent baby booties to my soon to be au pair family for their soon to be bebe!

To keep you up to date; later this month I’ll be doing a day and a half trip to Atlanta to get my au pair visa, which is exciting and terrifying! I have to bring a bunch of paperwork and pictures of me and documents saying I’m American (although I would love to be Canadian), etc. I’m hoping I’ll have enough time to visit the aquarium again!

All of this “work” (really just emails and paperwork) has got me BEYOND excited for my Paris journey! In honor of this, I’ve teamed up with GPSmyCity to give 20 of you their Paris app for FREE (It’s normally $4.99!)! The app has self guided tours for you to explore Paris, with tourist-y tours along with tours that make you feel like a local! It also has a city map and list of attractions, along with other features. It is available for both iOS and Android, so no worries there! So if you’re interested in winning the GPSmyCity Paris app, all you need to do is comment below and tell something about Paris – what your favorite aspect of Paris is, or what you look forward to exploring in Paris, etc. That’s it!

I can’t wait to see all of your comments and use the app in Paris!

 

The Thrill of The Chase

I’ve always liked contests. The rush you get from putting your name in a hat and waiting ever so impatiently for your name to be called. I remember one day when I was in middle school I cut out all the giveaway forms from my J-14 magazine and glued them to index cards for my mother to mail. I cut out tons of them and filled out each line. I remember getting excited when gimmicky fake car keys came in the mail, and I’d ask my parents if we could see if we won a new car.

I loved entering raffles and holding onto my ticket with great expectations. I remember in elementary school at our fall festival I played the moonwalk game (is that just a southern game?) and won a 2-liter of orange soda. I was pretty darn proud of that orange soda. Last summer my friend Julia found a dollar on the street so we bought a lottery ticket. We lost, but it was still fun to imagine our dollar turning into a million. Or just $2. Last summer I also entered all sorts of Broadway contests that I never won (but my friends did, so it all worked out).

I think I love contests so much not because of the prize, but because of the hope, the thrill. Waiting is not a chore with contests; it’s a gift. The time between entering a contest and when the announce the winners is a great time. The thing is, even if I win, I’m a bit disappointed that it’s all over. There’s no more guessing, there’s no more hoping. It’s like climbing to the top of a mountain – once you’re there, going back down seems pointless (to me anyways, obviously if you love hiking it’s probably still fun). I lose this hope not just in contests, but in other areas in my life. When I finally meet up with someone. When I finally get the job I wanted. When I finally finish that class.

I love the thrill of the chase, but I always yearn for the next opportunity, the next big thing. I’m a doer, a never sit still-er. I will never be happy with waiting around. I will constantly enter contests and play the moonwalk game. Okay, I won’t play the moonwalk game, because I not entirely certain if that’s a thing anymore. I also won’t gamble because my roommates all say that I’d go millions in debt, to which I concur. But maybe I wasn’t meant to be content. Maybe there’s so much more for me out there. There’s more than a 2-liter of orange soda and some free earrings from Instagram (although I appreciate both). So I’ll continue the chase and enjoy the thrill, because maybe some people aren’t meant to stop.

 

Mini Quirky Giveaway!

It’s time for Quirking It Out’s first giveaway – a mini giveaway for my quirky friends and readers! I recently won an Instagram contest and was inspired to start my own giveaway to share the love with you – my friends, whether IRL or virtual. I’m holding a “mini” giveaway because I’m a broke college student, but still want to show love to my readers. I also know that this giveaway might only have two entrants – my friend Courtney (shoutout to this boss friend) and my mom – and that’s okay! However, for every 20 people entered (if we get above 20), I’ll add another surprise to the giveaway, so share with your friends. Or don’t – live your life.

The giveaway includes some heart lollipops, Victoria’s Secret Mints, some nice Katy Perry fake eyelashes (ooh lala, such beauty, much eyes), and a mini journal saying “LOVED” and a tiny Bible verse. Like I said, it’s a mini giveaway, but I hope it will make the winner smile!

This giveaway opens 2/22/16 at 12am and ends 2/29/16 at 12am. It is open to US residents over the age of 18 with a mailing address in the US. It is not affiliated with Instagram, Victoria’s Secret, Katy Perry, or Jesus. This is not sponsored. There will be one winner who I will announce on Twitter, Instagram, and here.

There are a few ways to enter:

  1. Follow me on Twitter @CelinaTTolbert and like the giveaway tweet
  2. Follow me on Instagram @CelinaTTolbert and like the giveaway image
  3. Follow me on WordPress (and comment below with your blog URL)
  4. Tweet about this giveaway and tag me @CelinaTTolbert
  5. Tag friends on my Instagram giveaway image (Please tag friends only once, and no celebrity/spam tags)

You can do one of these or all of them; the more you do, the more chances you have to win! A winner will be randomly picked after the giveaway is closed and will be announced within 24 hours.

A Pet Boyfriend?

Last year I told my mother that I needed to get another allergy test, as I thought I had developed a bunny allergy (yes, I know how sad this is, I LOVE bunnies). Turns out that in addition to my old allergy diagnosis of cats and dust, I was now allergic to mold, grass, DOGS, and BUNNIES…and also the hay that bunnies eat. So I’m basically allergic to any fluffy animal and the outside world.

This was crushing to hear, as I am a passionate animal lover. If you know me, you know my favorite pig is named Esther and that I love my cats at home even though they make my eyes itchy. I even struggled to pick a photo for this post because of how many cute animal pictures there were from which to choose. So when after they scratched my back 100 times and gave me 10 shots in the arm, it was just insult to injury to tell me all of my new allergies.

I was pretty discouraged with the news, but I thought my allergist might have some advice. She was a nice lady who pretended to be interested in my life every year, so I figured she could pretend to care about my sad diagnosis. So here’s our conversation:

Me: Is there anything fluffy I can cuddle with, what kind of pet should I get?

Doctor: A boyfriend?

My Mother: Oh my, no!

 

So now I guess I’m searching for a pet boyfriend? Where do you find those?

Liebster Award Nomination

If you’re involved with the blogging world, you probably know that the Liebster Award is given out to new blogs. Basically the whole point is to discover new blogs and give each other a pat on the back. I was nominated by Jannika (and her two lovely cats!) over at Travel Without Ends, so thank you Jannika! Here are the questions she asked me, along with my nominations and my questions for my nominees!

 

  1. If I die tomorrow, where should I travel today (convince us!)? I have to say Paris! I am moving there for a year in June, so it would crazy for me to say anywhere else. I haven’t been there, but I feel the city of love calling to me, and I think it’s a place everyone should visit at some point. Also, if anyone reading this does visit Paris within the next year or so, reach out to me so we can meet up!
  2. Can you imagine to travel with a pet? I wish I could travel with my pet cat, Cheetah, as he is mischievous and would love the adventure, but taking him from America to Europe would be a bit difficult…also, I’m actually allergic to anything fluffy. However, this doesn’t stop me from wanting to adopt a cat in Paris!
  3. According to you what is the one thing we should do or keep in mind when travelling? Be open to trying crazy new things! Get off the beaten path and be spontaneous – don’t get stuck in a crazy strict itinerary.
  4. What do you always carry with you when travelling (apart from passport)? Some sort of lip product, usually a matte lipstick. I always try to look classy for my destination…although that doesn’t always happen.
  5. Did you ever regret to go on a journey or travel-related adventure? I haven’t regretted both the trips I have and haven’t taken; I think when a trip is meant to be, it’ll happen, and vice versa.
  6. Please give me one sentence that describes what travel means to you. Travel is the freedom to explore and discover new things not only about the world, but also about ourselves.
  7. What was the best food/ drink you tasted ever and where can I find it? The Shortberry Strawcake at Big Gay Ice Cream in NY, NY is delicious and holds lots of sweet memories for me, as I lived directly above the shop for 3 months. It’s a must do if you’re in the city!
  8. Your remedy for feeling lonely on a trip? Ask someone to coffee! If you have friends where you are, ask one of them; if you don’t, ask someone at your hostel or a fellow traveler you meet. Also, don’t stay in your room, go explore!
  9. If you had all the money in the world, how would it change the way you travel? I don’t think it would change that much. I’d probably travel a bit more, and maybe indulge in first class, but other than that, I wouldn’t want to change my traveling that much. Part of traveling is meeting new people and getting out of your comfort zone, which might be a bit hard if you lounge in a 5 star hotel all the time.
  10. Why do you blog? I blog to share my stories/memories/adventures/travels with others. I want to make people laugh and I am grateful that I can do so by doing something I love – writing.
  11. Can you show me your favourite inspirational quote or picture? One of my favorite quotes is from Coco Chanel, saying “The bravest thing you can do is to speak your mind.”

My nominations:

The Au Pair Blog

Ultimate Au Pair

Kallia’s Everyday Talks

The Travel Journal

The Soigne Soul

Gem Hunt

Realweegiemidget

Juggling Mother

Salwakisswani

Sarah’s Musings

eat.love.wear

 

My 11 questions for you:

  1. What inspires you?
  2. If you could visit me in Paris, what is one thing we’d have to do?
  3. What is your biggest goal with your blog?
  4. What is your biggest fear?
  5. Would you rather be wealthy stuck in one place or poor but able to go anywhere?
  6. Donuts or coffee?
  7. Most embarrassing moment?
  8. How do you start your day?
  9. What do you do when you don’t feel like writing?
  10. What’s the absolute best thing to watch on Netflix?
  11. Which of your dreams/goals scares you?

And with that, the Liebster is done! Be sure to tag me in your post so that I can read your answers!

A Change of Clothes

When I was six or seven I went to summer care at the YWCA. I learned how to play mancala and swim to the bottom of the pool. I convinced myself the graveyard visible from the playground had a ghost who wore a hat (it was a nice hat). I made a friend named Greyson or Bailey or something and we both agreed we hated it.

So we came up with a plan to break the monotony – we would get sent home.  We had to come up with a way that would get us sent home without getting us in trouble. We decided the easiest way was to pretend that we had peed our pants. So we did, and were sent to the office of the summer care manager lady. She was very nice to us and called our parents, who picked us up. I think Greyson (Bailey?) and I were able to do this trick one more time before they made us bring a change of clothes with us everyday. By that point we were a good bit through the summer and didn’t feel like fighting it anymore, so we threw in the towel and played another round of mancala.

Now I’m not telling you to pee your pants to get out of summer care, but just hear me out. Going home was the “dream” of my seven year old brain, and I fulfilled it twice, but let a change of clothes stop me from pursuing that “dream” further. That may sound silly, but a lot of us get so close to our dreams and stop short because of something little, something like a change of clothes. Your change of clothes might be money or time or motivation or stress or whatever. But let’s make it a goal to get out of that YWCA building and leave our change of clothes behind (but please wear clothes) so that we can fulfill our dreams – even if that dream is just to go home and drink a juice box.

 

*Just to be clear, I know I was a very naughty child, and I did tell my parents about this…a few months ago.

Hair, Voltaire

They say the more you change your hair, the more issues you have. Another way of putting it, which I learned through my mother who read it online, is that people who change their hair a lot do so because they feel it is one of the only things they can control in their lives. I have changed my hair about 16 times, only including hair color switches and one major cut. Oops.

I don’t know if these theories are true, but I do know that I love changing my hair. If I could I’d get extensions and then switch to a bob the week after. I’ve had red, blue, purple, pink, and bleached ends before. I’ve had red, purple, blonde, brown, and now dark burgundy colored hair. I didn’t do anything with my hair last summer so I spent around $200 to get purple hair in the fall…which turned into fried white blonde. So at this point my hair has about 1/3 recovered and my mother is about 50% less mad.

But can I say, “Hair, Voltaire? I’d rather discuss Voltaire” (hello Princess Diaries!). I change my hair for me, for fun, for la joie de vivre! It’s cool if you don’t like my hair – sometimes don’t like my hair. And that’s life yall. Sometimes my hair reflects a change in my life, sometimes it means I’m bored, sometimes it means absolutely nothing. So yeah, last week I cut my own bangs that I don’t even wear today. C’est la vie!