Saturday, January 25, 2014

We've Moved!

Hello, dears. Just wanted to let you know that Paper Lantern Lane has moved!

Thank you for an awesome two years, and come join us over at the new blog, The Everyday Thoughts!


Some Favorite Posts: {in no particular order}
Reason for The Move: here.
Summer in LA: here.
Best Father's Day Present: here.
Besties: here.
The Grand Dilemma: here.
A Letter to Junior Transfers: here.
Start Now: here.
Grr, Cover Letters: here and here.
Yay, College: here and here.
Unapologetic Cookie Eater: here.
Homesick: here.
One Little Paragraph Means the World to Me: here.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Before and After // Paper Lantern Lane

This is Paper Lantern Lane circa April 2011. Wow, right? It's so... bright. And busy. Oof.

This is Paper Lantern Lane circa December 2013. Obviously, my style's changed. Just a bit.

Anyways, I just really love this before and after. I'm pretty sure there's a metaphor here...

1. I still don't mind that top layout {although it makes me wince just a little}, but the bottom layout feels calming and clean.

2. Therefore, I'm still a kid at heart, buried deep, but I always make sure to present a normal, "I-have-it-all-together" front to the outside world.

How's that? *grins*

Again, thanks to you all for sticking around this long and I appreciate your company! Visit me at the new bloggy, The Everyday Thoughts, where my ramblings shall continue {reason for the blog move is here}.

Love you all!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Until We Meet Again

UCLA 2013 Graduation with the Proud Parentals

I've been debating this for a while now.

If you haven't been able to tell by the four month break in posting, I've been trying to figure out what exactly I want to do with this bloggy of mine. I love it and I still love having a creative outlet to share my adventures and observations... but.

But PaperLanternLane itself isn't me anymore.

It's just the name. Every time I see PaperLanternLane, as proud and protective of it as I am, it always brings up feelings of resignation and unfulfilled old hopes. There's backstory, I swear. And since I like to start at the beginning, settle in for the long version. {Moohahaha}.

See, I started blogging back in middle school, before blogging was cool {dear goodness, I sound like those stereotypical hipster memes... yikes}. I used that blog like a diary, made it non-viewable to the public and everything. It was just for me.

Then I hit junior/senior year in high school and there just wasn't time for blogging amidst college apps, extracurriculars, and APs. Plus, I'd mostly exited that angsty-drama-teen phase of life and had found my niche in the social strata that is high school. That blog fell by the wayside, living only in fond memories and a few late night rereadings by moi.

Freshman year of college, I found myself with a lot of extra time. Turns out, as a North Campus major, you have more free time in college than you did in high school. So I started reading blogs. Started with food blogs {because, really, fooood}, then I realized I don't cook. So then came style blogs {very eyecandy}, but after a while, they're all the same. Finally, I discovered DIY and lifestyle blogs.

These blogs were different. More confessional, behind-the-scenes, storytelling. If you know me at all, you'll know I love a good story. Books are usually my medium of choice, but people are a pretty great source for stories, too. Getting to know people from all over the country, learning what their normal/everyday was, reacting with them when they made big life decisions-- it's fantastic. But as a freshman in college, what did I have to share with the world that was worth reading?

So I waited. Something interesting had to happen someday, right?

As I've said on here before, sophomore year was an emotional rollercoaster for me. And I had high high hopes that junior year would be so much better-- I had two awesome future roomies who shared the same ideas and excitement for the new apartment as me. We spent most of our time together sophomore year, had a bazillion inside jokes, had the same taste in decor/colors. We were going to have the best. apartment. ever. 

And yes, paper lanterns were considered mandatory for this new space. {Hinthint}.

When I started this blog midway through sophomore year, it was with all the enthusiasm and innocent anticipation my little heart could handle. PaperLanternLane was to be the name of our beloved apartment, home base for tales of undercooked {or burnt} dinners, late night study parties, and the joys of living on our own. Where we could sing along with whatever was on Pandora because we all had the same taste in music, bake cookies at two in the morning because we were all nightowls, and walk to class together every morning.

Yet that following year, very few of those high hopes and big plans came true. Don't get me wrong, I love those girls to pieces to this day. It takes joint effort to make a living situation work and I wasn't fault-free in this. I learned a heck of a lot that year about myself and my friends, patience and God's will, but I also left that year feeling tired and hurt, neither of which are feelings that coincided with the ideal image of apartmentlife I had the year before.

PaperLanternLane has bittersweet memories for me. It represents the confusion, heartbreak, and disappointment that follow unmet expectations and unrewarded optimism. It was a learning experience, a growing pain, a transition. It happened.

There were still fond memories mixed in with the life lessons though, excellent moments I look back on with uninhibited smiling and residual laughter. Nothing's ever ALL bad. I grew up a lot these past two and a half years and that's something I wouldn't ever trade for that "perfect" vision I had of apartmentlife.

Which is why I've really been wanting to rename this bloggy. I would never delete it because it's a part of my history and it demonstrates the kind of progress I've made {from overdramatic/oversensitive sophomore me to a *hopefully* slightly more mature me}. However, while researching what would happen to my old posts and this blog domain if I changed the name or tried to automatically direct y'all to a new site, I discovered that I'd lose a lot of past links and that people could use the PaperLanternLane url to spam others. So.

All this to say, that while I won't be deleting PaperLanternLane, I also will be rarely updating it. When I get the new bloggy up and running, I'll post the link here and I'd love for you to come along for the adventures! Sharing those with you is one of my favorite things and I've missed it during my self-imposed blog break.

This is starting anew while retaining and recognizing that the past happened and shaped who I am today. There will always be a place in my heart for the college student I was, but that stage is over and life moves on. I intend to embrace that.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Still Alive, Promise

SuperDog // Zoe with a Super Hero Mask

I had the urge to write. I can't promise you it will be anything that will change your life or inspire you to get out there and adventure, but it will end this unintentional month-long hiatus, so I still consider that a win.

It's been almost a month since I came home. This wasn't exactly part of the plan, coming home after college, but if the last four years have taught me anything, it's that sometimes the deviations from The Plan are the most unexpected blessings. It's when you don't think you're where you should be that you come across something even better. So I've learned to just go with it.

It's funny, I actually like in-person job interviews. I think I'm decently good at them. I like meeting new people, small talk doesn't make me cringe, and the things I majored in during college did a lot to prepare me for the type of questions asked during an interview. I actually like interviewing {both as an interviewee and interviewer; each has its perks}.

Cover letters, on the other hand, are the bane of my professional existence. I've said it here on the blog often enough, that cover letters are high on the list of Things That Drive Me Batty. Finding that careful balance between informative vs bragging and interested vs desperate is a fine line to walk. Which past experiences best portray my knowledge of this position; is it better for me to discuss personality traits that make me a good fit or hard facts of what I've accomplished in the past; how do I explain in less than a paragraph just why I love the company so much without sounding like a groupie; how much enthusiasm should I show so that I sound excited without losing the professionalism they're looking for as well? *sigh* Cover letters.

College started back up again this week for those still in the lovely institution known as the UC system. Ah, college. *laughs* I'm not actually nostalgic just yet {the fact that I'll never ever have another first day of school probably just hasn't sunk in yet}. I'm rather enjoying the myriad of Facebook pictures, statuses, and events concerning the beginning of another year that no longer involve my participation. Welcome Week can be rather stressful; so many new people to meet in such a small period of time... so it's nice to sit back and watch the younger ones handle it. They've come a long way in the last year or three that we've known them. Proud of them. *patpat*

I do miss our class a bit though. It's weird going from seeing them all the time {literally, in Steph's case since we usually spent most of each day either in class together or just hanging out in her apartment}, to not seeing them at all. One of the things that really makes me notice the separation is the fact that fall TV premieres have started and Steph isn't around to watch New Girl and OUAT with me... silly, I know, but true. Many inside jokes can't be made if you're not watching the shows together. ):

That last month in LA and this being at home business has made me realize how much of an introvert I actually am. Before mid-August, I would have said I was an ambivert, someone who's a bit of both in that I love hanging out with people if they're around, but don't mind peace and quiet either. But now... I've found I'm a bit quieter than I realized. When I had the apartment all to myself, I tended to hermit more than I had expected. It's a strange realization, but one that doesn't fully surprise me. Years of being an only child and a bookworm apparently never really wear off... they just go dormant for a while and then reappear whenever you let them back.

Honestly, I'm not sure how to end this post, since I'm pretty much just rambling, so I guess I'll just say bye and go back to staring at my cover letter now. Byyyyyye.


Oh. Sidenote. The parentals and I finally joined the twenty-first century and got smart phones, so now I have an Instagram account. I keep thinking how useful this could've been had I had an account while still in LA because ohhhmygoodness is that campus photogenic. Instead, I now spend most of my time indoors... with my dog. Hence, lots of Zoe pictures. And apologies while I figure out this filtering business. Eventually, it'll stop looking so whacky and be more consistent, but hey. Learning curve.

Instagram // @sammiellers 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

List Love // Autumn 2013

Since I'm headed back to NorCal for an indeterminate amount of time and with no specific purpose once I get there {classes, internship, job, summer break, etc-- none of those apply at the moment}, I need another list. A list that keeps me on track, gives me something to aim for, goals, purpose, structure, so I'm not just wandering around aimlessly. I've noticed over the last four years in college that once you go home, it's SUPER easy to get distracted and let time slip away from you. So. Another list is necessary. Here we go. Unlike the Summer 2013 List, this won't consist of all fun things. We mean business this time around!

+ do at least three productive things and one creative thing per day.
+ spend an hour or two either job-hunting or applying on days I stay at home.
+ try for normal people hours. That means wean myself off this crazy "sleep in the evening, work in the wee hours of the morning" thing I've got going right now.
+ drive whenever possible. This sounds super environmentally-unfriendly and unhealthy, but considering I loathe getting behind the wheel, this goal is simply to get me more comfortable driving on my own.
+ keep my parents and Zoe company when they go to all these regional park volunteering events they've been attending recently. Zo is now an American Kennel Club certified Canine Good Citizen. Whoot.
+ figure out what I want my voice on Instagram to be... *grins* 'Cause our old phone contracts just expired and we got smart phones this time around. And you know that a social media/photography platform is right up my alley.
+ find somewhere to work/intern within two weeks of being home. I need to be doing something.
+ clean my room. *shakes head at self* For someone who cleans the apartment top to bottom as soon as her apartmentmates leave for breaks, I fail when it comes to keeping my childhood bedroom neat.
+ go through my stuff and donate a lot of the things I never use anymore.
+ work on some diy/home improvement project things so that I can learn how to do some of the technical stuff from Daddy while I'm home. {It says something that getting my own toolbox from my dad was one of my favorite parts of moving into the apartments}.
+ cook for the parentals. I don't cook super often in the apartments since I'm only feeding myself and standards are lower *sheepish*, but I can cook. I just... don't usually find it worth it for one person. Since I'll be home anyways and there's more people to feed {and my parentals have a HIGH tolerance for my cooking experiments}, I might as well practice.
+ read at least one article a day about something technical {in hopes of better understanding how things around me work} or entrepreneurial {because it's super interesting and keeps me inspired}.
+ continue adventuring. Always. 

What else should be on this list?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thoughts // So long, Los Angeles. Hello, dear NorCal.

It has been decided. I'm heading home next weekend. Goodbye, LA; hello, dear, beloved NorCal.

I'm not sure my brain has fully registered what has been decided in the last few hours. Basically, here's what's been going on and what led to this:

+ Before summer officially started, I made an agreement with my parents that I would stay in LA for the summer and job-hunt. If I found something, great, everything's settled. If I didn't by the end of August, I'd head home since it would save on rent, utilities, food, and transportation. I told my roommates about this plan and they were okay with it.

+ At the beginning of July, I came back down to intern in LA.

+ I applied for a job in mid-July and had an interview with them late July. They seemed to like me, so we scheduled a second interview mid-August {the earliest they were willing to go since two out of four of the people interviewing me would be on vacation until then}.

+ Had the second interview. Wasn't entirely sure how that went. Crossed fingers for a speedy decision since the roommates had been getting antsy since the end of July. One of their friends really wanted to take my spot in the apartment and they really wanted to have her. But they were waiting on me.

+ Was told at the end of the second interview that they'd get back to me "early next week" {which was this past week}. To me, "early next week" means Monday, maybe Tuesday at the latest. Well, Wednesday passed by. Then Thursday... At this point, I needed a decision. It's officially the end of August.

+ I got an email from my apartmentmates that if I didn't have a decision by end of the day Friday, they were basically kicking me out {which I can't blame them for; I totally get where they're coming from. Had the situation been switched somehow, I probably would have done the same}.

+ Called the woman in charge Thursday morning, left a voicemail, sent an email midday, called again in the afternoon. Nothing. Gave up hope that I'd get an answer yesterday and decided to call again this morning.

+ Woke up in the middle of the night, couldn't go back to sleep, checked my email. Oh look! A reply! That said no decision has been made yet, but she'll do her best to finalize a decision tomorrow morning {today} and that she'll call me around 11 AM with news.

+ Avoided my computer all morning. No call at 11 AM.

+ Checked email again around 1 PM. Had received an email around noon that said the decision meeting got pushed back and that she'd call around 2-2:30 PM.

+ 2:30 PM passed. Started texting my parents since I was getting super antsy and fidgety. In the middle of texting them, I got a phone call from the woman in charge. And basically, they still couldn't come to a decision today, and they didn't know when they would. She was really sweet about it all.

So. I'm going home. I'm excited. Besides the one week after graduation and the four days during Spring Break, I haven't been home for an extended period of time since Christmas Break. Prepare yourself for the influx of Zoe pictures coming your way!

{One thing I'm kind of worried about, though, is what if the people decide next week or later that they DO want to hire me? By that time, I'll have given up my $500/mo apartment (in WESTWOOD no less, which is walking distance from the office), sold/packed up all my furniture and clothes and things, etc. I'd have to go apartment hunt for a studio/1-bedroom apartment elsewhere (going rate is $1300ish/mo) and set up utilities and move everything back DOWN and find a car so I can get to work... *wrinkles nose* I'm not sure what I'm hoping for at this point}.

Ah, the joys of postgrad life. Anyone need a toaster oven?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Thoughts // Alumni Dinner, Birthdays, and Narwhals

^ it was Steph's 22nd last week. this was my present to her via Le Petite Elefant. thanks, Genevieve! ^

I've had the urge to write something these last few days, but haven't been sure what exactly I wanted to talk about. Not much adventuring has been happening {lots of hermitting though}. And when I ran my computer security scan the other day, it cleared all my open tabs, so I can't share the articles and things I liked this last week. Boo.

I guess the only two things of note that have happened recently were (1) Steph came to visit last week and (2) I'm waiting on an email AND IT'S NOT ARRIVING AAAUUUGH. Let me ask you, doesn't "early next week" mean Monday, mayyybe Tuesday morning? I'm pretty sure "early next week" doesn't mean Wednesday or later. Grr. I was refreshing my email inbox all day today and NOTHING. Whyyyyyyy.

Evelyn's law school orientation thingmerbob was last Friday, so Steph came up Thursday night to hang out for the day and attend the ceremony. It's like the equivalent of a med school White Coat Ceremony, but there's no white coats and the new law students don't get anything. We thought they should at least get a mini gavel or something to commemorate the occasion. But no. Just lots of long speeches and a reception {at least food was provided} afterwards. 

Since a lot of our GOC classmates are still in the Westwood area, we decided to have an impromptu class dinner Friday night at 6pm in Sawtelle. The more people there are eating, the harder it is to pick a restaurant. Sawtelle basically has three choices: ramen, curry, or tofu. It felt like one of those logic puzzles from elementary school when Person A doesn't want X and prefers Z, Person B wants Y and doesn't want Z, and Person C likes Z and dislikes Y. *facepalm* Since our car was the first one to arrive, and none of us had our hearts set on any one type of food, we decided that whoever showed up next got to choose the restaurant {since the last two cars had more adamant views on the matter}. Thus, we ended up at Curry House, got Yogurtland/boba afterwards, and took a quick group picture before we drove back to Evelyn and Mickeyla's new place to play. Three more friends joined us there.

 ^ noticeable height differential ^
 ^ the decor in the Marie Callendar's on Wilshire where we had our intern lunch ^
 ^ the publisher and editor-in-chief share the same birthday, hence an office-wide celebration. think gourmet cupcakes and champagne. *O.o* ^
 ^ our boss with her Summer 2013 interns minus Rainbow ^


Random Notes:
+ Yogurtland's Lemon Cream Cookie flavor... tastes like Sunday school. *grins* I tried it, started laughing, and made Mickeyla try it, too. She agreed. Those of you who grew up going to Sunday school might know what I mean. Ah, the days of lemon sandwich cookies and mini-Dixie cups of ridiculously tart lemonade mix.

+ JLin and I won at Nertz after dinner at Evelyn and Mickeyla's new place! Whoot. It felt like spring quarter all over again. Nertz all day, everyday.