Since I signed the lease to my post-grad apartment, I've had a lot of peers ask me this question. So, here's my step-by-step answer. Yay for adulting!
When you know how much you're going to make, you need to budget everything, so you know how much you can afford to pay each month in rent. I used this budget, and it worked perfectly!
2. Find what you like.
This means google, google and google. Always be sure to set your perimeters to what you need (if you have a pet, make sure you look at that), and always make sure you're only looking at what will fit in your budget. Don't fall in love with an apartment you can't afford, because you'll be left brokenhearted.
3. Make a list.
Now that you have your top few choices that'll fit into your budget, make a list of them from your fav to your not-so-fav. Be sure to include the distance from your office, the rent price, the amenities and the utilities included.
4. Go visit.
This was where it clicked for me. I visited my top two apartments, and I knew immediately where I wanted to live. This may sound intimidating, but at most places you can literally just walk into the office and they'll show you an apartment. MAKE SURE YOU BRING A LIST OF YOUR QUESTIONS. You're going to forget them all when you see the place, so bring a list with you to ask. Ask about utilities, fees, processes and policies.
5. Budget again.
Now you've seen the place and you've asked your questions. By this point, you know the exact details regarding how much you'll be spending. Budget your rent, utilities and fees a little bit high so you're 100% sure you can afford the place.
You can usually do this online, but be prepared to pay a few fees (backgrounds checks, application fees, etc.). They're going to check your credit history and your renter's history. If you don't have one or either, be prepared to pay more fees and/ or a larger security deposit. I have a great credit score, but because I've always lived in a dorm, I have no renter's history. So, my security deposit was an entire month's rent compared to just a couple hundred dollars.
7. Sign the lease.
You've been accepted, you've chosen a specific unit, you've paid your fees and you've selected a move-in date. At this point, you'll probably be sent a lease. Read it. Read it again. Make notes. Read it again. Once you understand everything in it, sign it.
That's that. It may sound or seem intimidating, but the best advice I can give is to just do it.
In just a few months, I will permanently move to a new state, a new city, and obviously a new street. The street I grew up on, the only street I lived on until I was 18, will be just a memory.
But those memories are small things that I will cherish forever. Countless sandwiches, games of hide and seek and inside jokes with family and friends. Birthday parties, backyards BBQ's, and fireworks on the 4th of July.
Most of my first memories were on that street, in that backyard, looking out that front window.
The driveway to the open garage was where I learned to jump and learned ride a bike.
The cul-de-sac a few doors down was where I waited for the bus each morning.
I learned tag, imagination and how to pick a ripe apple.
The grass welcomed my bare feet, the swing welcomed my worn out jeans and the stars welcomed my curious eyes.
This was the road that I learned to drive on, first a lawn mower, then a moped, and eventually a car.
It was this street that taught me death, first of a bird and then of my family.
It was on these patches of asphalt that I learned that I wasn't living the American dream. It was there that I learned that I wanted to live the American dream. It was there that I promised myself that I would one day make the American dream for myself.
The street I grew up on was my everything for 18 years, where everything took place.
Although I left quite a few years ago, saying goodbye to this street is like saying goodbye to the memories.
And surprisingly, as I officially say goodbye knowing that there's not even a slight change I'm coming back, and as I leave for more, I am not sad. The American dream awaits.
There's no other way to put it. I'm addicted to iced coffee. An iced caramel macchiato, an iced latte or an iced white chocolate mocha are always my love language.
And I know I'm not alone (that's right, I see you at Starbucks from across the building). Here's 8 things that I know you'll relate to if you're also addicted to ice coffee.
1. The weather doesn't matter.
Last week, the wind chill here was colder than Antarctica. Did I still get an iced drink while I was studying? Yep.
2. If you haven't had one in a few days, the headaches take their turn.
You know the second you feel that first stab of the migraine that you need to get some coffee in you, stat.
3. You'll order it from anywhere.
Yes, Starbucks is my location of choice. But Dunkin'? Iced coffee. Breakfast place? Iced coffee. Any local coffee shop anywhere? Iced coffee please.
4. You may drink two in the same day, and that's normal.
This is a judgement free zone.
5. You spend more money on iced coffee than you do on most things.
Once again, this is a judgement free zone.
6. You know your heart by heart, and that includes "Light ice, please."
I ain't paying for ice. I'm paying for the coffee.
7. The barista's probably know your order when they see you park your car.
8. Now that you've read this, you're craving your fav iced coffee drink.
Go get it. You deserve it. 💖
I recently had someone, in the midst of an argument, tell me that I'm too religious. Immediately, my first reaction was to apologize. But before I said it out loud, I stopped myself.
Why should I apologize for being religious? Why would I apologize for something that, in my opinion, determines my eternity?
The truth is, I don't think there is such a thing as too religious. And even if you think there is such a thing, (sadly) I wouldn't categorize myself as it.
Like I said, I don't think being too religious, as a Christian, exists, but if it does, I wish it was me. I wish that those around me would look at me and see Jesus. I wish they would see me and how I behave and know that I am a follow of Christ.
So yes, I read my Bible. Yes, I pray to Christ. Yes, I talk about Him often. And yes, I behave as a Christian most of the time.
But I don't see anything wrong with that.
As a Christian, I believe that my relationship with Christ determines everything about my current existence, as well as my eternal future and the future of those around me.
If I believe this (and I do), why wouldn't I be too religious? In fact, I would strive for it!
If my relationship with Christ and my beliefs according to the Bible determine whether I spend eternity suffering or joyful, then why wouldn't I do it well? Go big or go home. Especially when it impacts literally the rest of forever.
With all of that being said, I will not apologize for being what one may call too religious. In fact, I will take pride in it.
If you can tell that I am a Christian, then I am doing something right. If it bothers you, I am so sorry, but I hope you hear me out. I am not judging you, because that is not my job (thank God). But I will determine my own actions and my relationships based upon my religion.
If you've ever attended a group fitness class, you know that they're a life saver, especially as a college student. Two summers ago, I began taking group fitness classes at the YMCA where I interned, and it honestly changed my perspective about my health and my fitness journey. This semester, I get to take two Turbo Kick classes and a Zumba class, and they're going to save my life. But why do they work?
1. They hold you accountable.
If you don't show up to a specific class, your workout buddies will call you out and ask where you are. If you don't have a good excuse, the guilt sets in ...
2. It's fun!
It's so much more fun to dance or kick your way to a sweat than run on a treadmill.
3. The time goes by so much faster.
When you're in an hour-long fitness class, it doesn't feel like an hour at all. When I'm on the treadmill or elliptical, every minute feels like an hour. I know which one I'd pick any day.
4. You know that what you're doing will help.
When I'm on the elliptical or working out on my own, I don't know if what I'm doing is good for me or will even help me to get healthier. When I'm in a group fitness class, I know that I'm being taught by someone who is trained and knows what's up.
5. I don't feel singled out.
When you're working out in a seas of dozens of people, you don't feel as if anyone is looking at you, which makes you feel better and less self-conscious. Trust me, it makes your workout much more enjoyable.
6. The music is awesome.
If you're anything like me, you need music to get your body moving. Most fitness classes have playlists that will get you boppin' to the beat!
Spring break is ONLY 50 DAYS AWAY!!
It's all I can think about, and it's all I can talk about (sorry, not sorry). So of course, I have to tell you why.
1. I'm soooooo excited to spend time with Courtney!
Courtney and I both interned abroad in Australia this summer, and we became fast best friends. She was one of the top reasons my summer in Australia was the best of my life, and I can't wait to take another adventure with her!
2. The senioritis is real
I already need a break from school (and it hasn't even been a week). My last semester is making me ready to graduate NOW. A break on the ocean, by the beach is all I need in the midst of these emotions as this chapter comes to an end.
3. I love crossing new adventures off of my bucket list
If you've been around for a while, you know that I'm a huge advocate of bucket lists, and I cannot wait to cross more things off of my lists during this spring break. Costa Maya, Mayan ruins, paddle boarding, swimming in a cenote hole...
4. I can't wait to be tan again
I love being tan. Call me a prep, but I love it. Because I spent my summer in the Australian winter, I haven't been tan in a while, so I cannot wait to be tan again and have my summer glow.
5. I'm so excited to have a reason to dress up
Once again, call me a prep, but I can't wait to wake up in my swimsuit and change for the evening into a dress. There's something so special to a girl from a small town about putting on a pretty dress, doing your hair and makeup, and going to dinner and a show.
I recently opened my Instagram to my followers to ask me what I should blog on! Here's one of those blogs. Be sure to follow me at @dezaraybarr! Be sure to follow me at @dezaraybarr! 🤗
Someone asked me who the top five people are who've had positive influences on me throughout my life. The truth is, this blog was incredibly hard for me to write. Coming up with the individuals wasn't hard and explaining why I selected them wasn't hard, but it was emotional.
1. Grandpa Bud
My Grandpa Bud is by far the most amazing man or person I have ever come face to face with. He's the one who taught me faith and who showed me Christ. He taught me to live on my means and my means alone. He taught me to be kind to all, but to never let anyone take advantage of me. And he taught me how to shot my first gun and grow Indiana's best prize winning tomatoes in the back yard. Sadly, we lost this amazing man to cancer when I was in middle school, but his last words were the Lord's Prayer, and that describes him as accurately as anyone can.
2. Grandma Barr
Anyone who married Grandpa Bud must've obviously been incredible, and she was. She was stubborn, sassy, funny, and loving all at the same time. She taught me how to stand up for myself in a world where no one would do it for you. She taught me how to raise a family (and she raised four boys, so she knows what's up). She taught me how to make the most amazing Sunday dinners for a family event, how to play Sudoku puzzles, and how to do a crossword. I hope to one day be half the woman, wife and mom she was.
3. Aunt Rhonda & Uncle Scott
These are who I call the closest people to my mom and dad now that I don't have either with me. Neena and Pop Pop, as my family calls them, have taught me life lessons I didn't know I needed to learn. They've taught me how I've been cleaning, cooking and budgeting wrong. They've shown me love in ways I sometimes forget to show myself, and they've opened up their home to me as if I was their own (which I might as well be).
4. Uncle Brett
He hasn't been here in person, but he's always been just a phone call or text away. He teaches me about my money and other adult things I really don't want to deal with. When I have a negative attitude (which is more often than I'd like to admit), he reminds me to stand up tall and get positive. He helps me pursue my dreams, while also keeping me on track.
My oldest goddaughter is 11, a sixth grader. It may silly, but she inspires me in ways I can't even describe. She reminds me to focus on the little things and take joy in the things I tend to take for granted. She knows how to play a killer CD in the car and how to get wild to said CD. When I'm upset, she always knows what joke to make so I realize how important the situation may or may not be. She reminds me that I'm who she looks up to, which reminds me that this hard life I've been given is so worth it. She's my little hero.
This was one of those books that I was assigned to read ... but couldn’t put down. I laughed. I cried.
I felt empathy and pride for my country in ways I never have before.
Although I read this for a features writing course that I'll be taking this semester, what I gained from it was so much more. Yes, I learned more about how to write a feature. But I also learned so much about those who give their lives for our country ... so that we can have the freedom we do each and every day.
I can't tell you enough - read it. It'll give you a new insight to what really is happening in our country and in our world.
And, of course, I'm going to share some of my favorite quotes with you.
"They're falling - either literally or figuratively - and you have to catch them. In this business I can't save his life. All I can do is catch the family while they're falling."
"My mind races and I can't sleep. Some days I'm OK but most not."
"You can't tell people what it's like over there. You can describe it, but you can't feel it ... I like to think we did some good over there."
"Freedom isn't free ... but you never really know until you carry one of them in the casket."
"That mother, I would suck all her pain away if I could ... Every Marine would. They'd take every once of pain and just absorb it."
"Sometimes I wish they would do this for us when we come home alive."
"It's something that this country hasn't had to deal with. But there's going to be a whole generation that doesn't know their father ... "
"They say if you spend enough time in the military, you'll know someone who died. I never thought it would be this soon ... "
"I lost my legs, not for this country, but for the country of Iraq, so their children will be able to run around just like mine."
"He didn't think he was coming back. Still, he went. That is courage. That is bravery."
"'Is the war worth it?' And he said, 'I don't know about the war, but I do know that these people need us here because they can't protect themselves.'"
"It's not just the Marines and the family who need to see it ... society needs to see it ... because we need to remember."
Seriously, read this book. You won't regret it.
We all know that I love my new Erin Condren planner 😍, and one of the many reasons I do is because it features a page for monthly goals. So, instead of planning New Year resolutions, I've decided to use this aspect of my planner and set four goals for each month of 2019.
1. Fill out my Gratitude Journal daily
2. Read syllabi 😅
3. Keep up to date with national and international news
4. Stretch daily
1. Finish a specific piece of writing (no spoilers)
2. Lose 10lbs
3. Tan (spring break will be here soooooooon, and this girl is allergic to sunscreen)
4. Read a book for fun
1. Secure a post-grad job
2. Vacation 🌴
3. Wear a two-piece for the first time (here's to body acceptance)
4. Find a new fav podcast (I'm almost caught up on MFM 😔)
1. Establish a post-grad budget
2. Graduate 🎓
3. Find post-grad housing
4. Lose ten more pounds
1. Learn to bake/ cook
2. Find a new home church
3. Read a self-help book
4. Get a new phone plan
1. Find a volunteer position
2. Create a DIY birthday calendar
3. Get a professional haircut
4. Get a bike & use it
1. Take up knitting again
2. Explore my new home-town
3. PET! 🐶
4. Subscribe to a monthly box
1. Digital clean-up
2. Make DIY wreaths
3. Visit museums
4. Lose ten more pounds
1. Deep house clean
2. Digitize photos
3. 'Me' day
4. Learn Spanish
1. Clean fridge & pantry
2. Health cleanse
3. Buy a fancy piece of art
4. Plan vacay 2020
1. Schedule doctor's appointments (yay adulthood)
2. Buy Christmas gifts
3. DIY crafting day
4. Begin investing
1. Decorate for Christmas 🎄
2. Visit family and decorate graves
3. Re-learn the piano
4. Set new goals for 2020
I recently opened up my Instagram to my followers so that they could ask me what I should blog on! Here's one of those blogs. Be sure to follow me at @dezaraybarr! 🤗
I'm not a huge coffee person. I'm more of a 'sugar and milk with a bit of coffee somewhere in the mix' person. I know, I know, no judgement.
That being said, I love the atmosphere of a coffee shop. When I'm home for the holidays, I spend way too much money on coffee just so I can sit in coffee shops. At school, you can find me doing homework in one of the three coffee shops in town. It's my fav kind of place to talk, work or literally do anything.
Someone recently asked me what my fav coffee places are, so I'm gonna tell ya (in a list, of course).
1. McConn Coffee
This is my university's little coffee shop located in the heart of our campus, but it's become my fav place on Indiana Wesleyan University's campus. They play the best music, have the perfect height of high tables and there is always someone around to say hi to between classes.
Fav drink: Avalanche with peanut butter 😍
Call me your basic white girl, but I'm a sucker for any Starbucks. What makes them the best? Their app 😍. I love the app. It helps me budget (no automatic refill for me), and it always helps me order my favorite drink ahead of time if I'm running late. Plus, who doesn't love a cute little cake pop. 🤷♀️
Fav drink: Iced caramel macchiato or a Pink Drink if you're not feeling coffee
3. Five Lakes Coffee
This is my hometown coffee shop, and I have way too many drink punch cards to prove it. I live in the middle of the country, and we never get WiFi or reception, so I always make this cute little place my office when I'm home for the holidays. They have the BEST little booths that are super comfy and cozy. I mean ... I might be writing this in Five Lakes.
Fav drink: Vanilla caramel latte
4. The Abbey Coffee Company
This place is any hipster's dream. The atmosphere is literally the best of anywhere I've ever been. It's cozy. Upstairs is quiet. When they're busy, they open a huge reception room. When it's Fall, they open a fireplace and when it's nice outside, they open the garage door wall. Literally, perfection. 😍 I'd go here for a date or to do homework for six hours.
Fav drink: Mocha frappe and pair it with one of their chocolate chip cookies (you won't regret it, trust me) 😍
5. Any Melbourne coffee ever anywhere in the city
I'm serious. I had soooo many lattes and mochas in Australia, and each one was better than the last.
About the Author
Hi there! My name is Dezaray Barr. I'm a public relations professional who loves Jesus, cereal and puppies. I'm a firm believer that God's greatest gift is our communication.