Dress for Success

Credit: BuzzFeed Life

A friend of mine shared this post on Facebook today, and MAN did it hit home for me.

A few weeks ago, I started reading 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Venderkam after Kasey at PhDs and Pigtails posted about it. Part of reading this book has involved keeping a detailed log of how I use my time, mostly in an attempt to see if i can use said time more wisely. I think most people would agree that we all could.

After a couple of days of time-logging, I noticed something happening: I was already starting to use my time more wisely. I would sigh heavily when, after checking my e-mail on my phone, I had jumped over to my Instagram app even though I had only checked my e-mail as part of other work-related activities I was doing.

Why am I on Instagram right nowI would have to ask myself, especially when I was scrolling through a bevy of posts I had already seen, liked, or commented on. What a waste.

Part of this time log and my overall plans for self-improvement are centered around making my routines work better for me. In the past, I would have experiences just like the “reality” of the BuzzFeed post above. After wasting half an hour laying in bed, I’d begrudgingly brush my teeth, pull my hair into a ponytail, and slap on the first logical and mostly-clean outfit I could find. Because of this morning routine, I often felt rushed or behind schedule (even when I was arriving to work with more than enough time to prep my classes and start my day).

So, I’ve been trying something new, something to help me get to that “expectation.”Read More »


What Exactly is a Removed Cousin, Anyway?

The worst part about getting sick this week was not going out of town to see Boo or check out LouFest with him. . .and also not getting to enjoy the AWESOME cool weather we got and heading down to Blues at the Crossroads to enjoy drinks and sati-babis with friends.

The best part about being sick this weekend is feeling not at all guilty about sitting in my recliner on the internet all weekend.

Now, I don’t mean I just blinded scrolled through Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest, though I certainly did some of that. Instead, I had a way more exciting/productive/informative weekend bingerneting session (I just made that word up: do you like it? I like it).

You see, family lore has always said we were related to Confederate Civil War General Robert E. Lee. You know those stories–they get passed on from generation to generation and you forget where you heard them or when you first heard them, and only remember that someone once said you were related to someone very famous, if only you could remember more about that time.Read More »

Can’t Buy Me Love

I’ll give you all I’ve got to give
If you say you love me too
I may not have a lot to give
But what I’ve got I’ll give to you
I don’t care too much for money
For money can’t buy me love

Do you ever have those days where you read something and it goes right through you?

Today is one of those days for me. And that “something” was “Attention, Straight Men Dating Women: Here’s Why They Still–Yes, Still–Expect You to Pick Up the Check” by Rachel Kramer Bussel over on Salon.Read More »

To PhD or Not To PhD

Life does not always go as planned.

In my first year of graduate school, I made the decision to GO STRAIGHT THROUGH. I would work my butt off and apply to PhD programs in the second year.

And then I decided not to: that I needed a break, that I needed to be 100 percent sure I wanted to stay in the academic world.

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Time to return all those library books.

A post shared by Caitlin Martin (@longdistancelife2020) on

And so for the last couple of years, I’ve been teaching and thinking about applying to PhD programs. Last summer, I made a decision. I would apply this year, to start in the 2016-2017 school year.

Then I met my most amazing partner, and he moved to St. Louis, and life started getting in the way again. And now I’m conflicted.

It’s not all about my partner. Part of this conflict is: do I really want to spend the next 4-6 years pooooor? What is the job market really like? I certainly do not want to end up going to school again just to wind up in the same position I have right now. Smart, hardworking people who know me have reassured me this is not likely to be a reality. I just happen to have a real tendency to agonize over things in too far in the future that shouldn’t be stressing me out right now.

I’m lucky to have so many people that believe in me. I met with my grad thesis advisor back in March, and he encouraged me to pursue the best schools for me. Many of the people who were my peers back at Miami shared their confidences in my decision to pursue a PhD. Boo reminds me every day that he thinks I’m a smart and successful woman who should keep doing smart and successful things. My colleagues and friends encourage me to get a PhD, almost as if that’s just a given.

And maybe it is. I love researching and studying and learning. I love teaching and working with students. I also would like to be able to contribute to a happy and healthy life for my partner and (eventual) family. There’s really only one reason to not do this.

I. Am. Scared.


In fact, I am feeling so much anxiety over the ramifications of this one decision–simply to put out applications to programs where I might enjoy studying and from which I would benefit–that I just scratched all of my nail lacquer off with a metal cuticle pusher, against what I know to be a reasonable practice.

My nails feel terrible and I am no less anxious.

This decision seemed a lot simpler a year, two years ago. Now it seems like all of my choices are both excellent and terrible at the same time.

Saying Goodbye to “Free Time”

It’s Monday, but it doesn’t feel like it. Classes begin on Wednesday and that makes every day between now and Wednesday feel like Sunday.

I’ve spent a lot of the last couple of weeks prepping for back-to-school, and with the exception of a few minor things I’ll wrap up tomorrow, I’m good to go. So what’s a girl to do at 10:00pm on Perpetual Sunday?

Drink a Raz-Ber-Rita and think about what a good weekend she said.

I spent my last week of freedom with my boo in the Lou.

And what a good time we had! We finally checked out Riverbend Restaurant and enjoyed some great stuffed mushrooms, cocktails, and sandwiches. We also were super lazy and watched a ton of movies, including Enemy of the StateRed DawnShottas, and Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure

Oh, and I watched a LOT of cooking shows.

We also had a semi-failed adventure at Castlewood State Park. It actually really bums me out because I love parks, nature, etc. etc. But the weather has been so bad for being outside lately. It seems like it’s either pouring down rain or a billion degrees (not that I’m exaggerating at all, here).

So, on Saturday we decided to hit the State Park. We’d picked out a MODERATE trail that looked like fun and headed out.

That trail was not moderate.

Okay, okay. I’ll take the blame for first getting on the wrong trail that we knew nothing about and that was probably, in hindsight, rugged. But that meant we walked a killer incline. After pausing several times, we finally reached a bit of a plateau and enjoyed the incredible view.

My boo out on the rock overlook!

But then we noticed that the trail just kept that steady incline. Of course it does: it’s Missouri! So we opted to walk back down the hill and get on the correct trail.

This trail had a much better incline; a narrower path climbed a bit more smoothly My hips were thankful. Then the path turned, and I said “I have a feeling we’re about to end up exactly where we were a little bit ago.”

And we did.

A selfie stick would've been REALLY handy right here.
A selfie stick would’ve been REALLY handy right here.

So what’s a moderately out-of-shape, young couple to do?

Walk back down the steeper, but wider, path, admiring other people’s dogs along the way.

And then we went home, showered, and ate wings and burritos at Atomic Cowboy.

Atomic Wincs
Atomic Wings
Also margaritas.
Also margaritas.

Breaking Up with my Food

"Crossing Road Grunge Sign - Heart-Stricken" by Nicolas Raymond on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.
Crossing Road Grunge Sign – Heart-Stricken” by Nicolas Raymond on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.

Okay, let’s be upfront: I’m obviously not completely breaking up with my food.

No, Soylent is not for me!

I recently have had a bit of a . . . crisis? Reality check? Realization that I’m not that healthy?

It started about a month ago, when I got on the scale in front of my boyfriend (who, by the way, is the most absolutely supportive and reminds me that I am beautiful and loved and strong). As supportive as it is, though, I could not shake that feeling: My body is not what it used to be.Read More »

Adulting is Hard

Adulting is hard. Like, sometimes really hard. I saw this the other day, and BOY did it hit home for me:

not paying bills

I don’t know who @RebelCircus is, but they sure do get it.

Life is just one big cycle of paying bills. You know sooner pay a bill, then you have the statement telling you how much you have to pay them next time. This isn’t news to me, really; I’ve been paying my bills for several years now. But it is certainly infuriating.

Today, I took on the task of sorting out all of my recent bills. Why? I don’t know. Just seemed like the right time to do it. In doing so, I discovered that I had been seriously overcharged by my cable company when I moved a couple of months ago.

If I hadn’t set my accounts to autopay, I probably would have caught this in. . .April. But I’m a millenial and that means all of my bills are set up to auto-deduct or auto-charge to a credit card so I just don’t have to think about it. I use Mint.com to track my spending, but even then I didn’t realize that I had paid 1.5 times what I should have paid for cable that month.


My aversion to talking on the phone suddenly disappeared. I tried to tell myself the situation could be remedied later, when I finally call to break up with my cable provider.

But they’re still open, I found myself thinking. They’re open 24/7. I can call them right now.

I tried to push it aside, but I just kept staring at the bills, my Mint.com screen, my account.

So I called them. And I feel kind of bad for the rep I spoke with. He was very kind, and after 15 minutes on the phone, he was initiating the process to have a credit put on my account because I’m right. . .they overcharged me. It took less than an hour to get a confirmation that the credit had been “approved” by a supervisor (which really feels like a superfluous step in the process, but, okay).

Here’s the thing. I’m not going to whine about my cable company overcharging me (unless they don’t credit my account). I’m not going to lament how terrible most cable companies are. I’m not even going to company about customer service people, because this guy was really, genuinely helpful and polite.

Instead, I’m going to take this as a reminder to pay more attention to where my money is going and when it is going there. All the apps in the world will not help us live a more adult life if we don’t pay attention to them. When the budget says $130 estimate, but you really paid out $217, there’s a problem. Sometimes I just spend more money than I anticipate: electric goes up; I run the heat too much; I fall in love with a dress that I buy even though I know I shouldn’t.

Adulting is hard. I certainly hope it gets easier. But that isn’t going to happen magically. And all the technology in the world can’t make us better adults if we don’t try just a little bit.