Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I'm but a poet.

As you can see, I just attempted to make that title poetic but came up short.

I'm blunt. Blunt is the opposite of poetic. (I would insert an eye-opening metaphor at this point had I possessed the capability to do so.)

I say things like, "Wow. She looks forty years older than the last time I saw her," and "My science class makes me want to stab myself." And that's just how my brain processes thoughts.

Instead, I could write an eloquent haiku on the topic of how aging occurs to those who least yearn for its consequences. I could compose a brilliantly harmonious melody in which I confess how even though science is the most intriguing of subjects, it unleashes in a me an undeniable urge to inflict pain upon myself and those surrounding me.
I could.

But I can't.

I'm physically unable to think like that.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is one by the great Eleanor Roosevelt:
"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."

This was one of my favorite quotes -- until I realized that far too often I'm caught within a discussion concerning the latest happenings and who was involved within these occurrences. Far too often does my conversation consist of events and people; therefore, my mind is caught somewhere between small and average. If my mind was to be rated on a scale of one to ten, Eleanor would deem me a three -- which corresponds with the term "unsatisfactory."

But does my inability to produce the art of poetic literature affect my intelligence? Is there some sort of direct correlation between output of articulate rhetoric and greatness achieved in one's life? Is the fact that I used a thesaurus to come up with the phrase "articulate rhetoric" an indication of how small-minded and unintelligent I truly am?

Or does the fact that I'm concerned for my intellect indicate otherwise? Does this mere post qualify as discussing an idea or a thought? Does Eleanor's assertion apply to those who discuss people, events, and ideas?

Maybe I'm intellectual after all. Maybe there's no true measurement of intelligence. Maybe my ineptitude of making words dance off a page has nothing to do with my mental capacity.

Maybe being blunt is a good thing.

Regardless, I'm going to go eat some Zaxby's.

I apologize for wasting your time, you who is probably not actually reading this.

Blue skies,
Brett Westmoreland

Monday, November 12, 2012

One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Wardrobe

Everyone is aware that college is expensive. Everyone is aware that trees are still -- for some unexplained reason -- unable to produce money. But not everyone is aware of how to cope with or overcome these two truths. College students and politicians alike have not yet mastered the concept of maximizing one's income by reducing unnecessary spending. But all resentment toward the US political agenda aside, I offer one budget-friendly remedy to this inevitable collegiate dilemma -- thrifting.

Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte tastes twice as
 delicious in my three dollar, leather-accented, 
acid-washed jean jacket.
Young adults in general simply strive to look good. Many students view their time in college as offering much potential for opportunity. You never know if your future husband awaits you at the bus stop -- if the woman with whom you're making small talk in the grocery store could be your next manager. The bottom line is looking presentable and expressive is constantly imperative for college students.
But how can one achieve the status of perpetually fashionable while still maintaining a college budget?

This is where the thrift stores come into play. All you have to do is go online and search for thrift stores in your area. Google and Yelp offer an awesome feature that allows you to access reviews that others have written about the store that you are searching. While searching for thrift stores in my area I came across a store named Outreach Thrift. Reviews of this store consisted of posts like these:

"As good as it gets for thrift stores. Inexpensive, clean." -Shelley M. Gainesville, FL
My good friend, Dianna Ta, rocks the
jean shorts that she cut herself from a
pair of thrifted blue jeans. 
"Wow this place is awesome, it is always clean the people are nice and you can always get a good deal!" -Isaac V. Orlando, FL

After seeing these reviews, I knew I had to see what this store had to offer. Since my initial visit to Outreach Thrift I've converted to a firm believer in the age-old expression, "Once you go thrifty, you never go back." (Okay, I made up the phrase, but it was just so applicable.) With my newest economical breakthrough, I have learned that I can live day to day with a unique wardrobe while still being able to afford three meals a day -- maybe even four. 
The catch to thrift stores, however, is that they are only as good as their contributors. Their purposes are not to keep up to date with the latest trends and fashions. There are no color-blocking mannequins rocking a high-low skirt and combat boots -- but that does not mean that you can't use what you find to create a trendy outfit or even add a little vintage twist on your everyday apparel. 
Some days you may go thrifting and find absolutely nothing that catches your eye as remotely acceptable to wear out in public; on the other hand, some days you may leave with two trash bags full of new (well, slightly used) clothing. Persistence and patience are key; however, in the long run you benefit both economically and fashionably. After all, nothing is more rewarding than being asked, "I love your jacket. Where did you get it?" and being able to answer, "Thrift store! Two bucks!" 
Pondering life by Lake Alice, wearing my newest thrift:
a lumberjack inspired flannel button-up.
You'd be amazed with the deals you find. High-fashion jackets and pea-coats sell for at least 50 dollars at leading retailers, such as H&M and XXI Forever. Similar styles sell at local thrift stores anywhere from three to twelve dollars. Forget "extreme couponing." Thrift stores offer deals of lifetime without requiring you to cut out of a newspaper for hours on end. Take that, TLC.
I highly recommend visiting at least one of your local thrift stores; you never know what lies there for your discovery. And whether you're a college student on a budget or just trying to live out the broken philosophies of politicians across America, thrifting can definitely benefit you economically -- and even fashionably. But always remember: Once you go thrifty, you never go back.

Blue skies,
Brett Westmoreland