Tag Archives: college life

I Really Loved My Apartment

I moved out of my last college apartment officially almost a week ago. This might explain my lack in writing, but really, I’ve just been attempting to put something together that doesn’t make me need to get a tissue mid-paragraph.

Here, while I compose myself, observe this picture of me and Christie dancing in our former apartment:

I could be overly emotional and ramble in this blog post. I could definitely talk for paragraphs in detail about how moving out was a metaphor for finally leaving college and how each piece of  furniture that left was a piece of the last 4 years finally leaving. I could joke about pawning all our leftover food and cleaning supplies on people even if they didn’t want it, post a link to “The Scientist” since Christie sang it nonstop the last few days we were living there, or tell you about how dramatic drinking the last cup of coffee on our final morning really ended up being.

However, I’m going to attempt instead to keep it simple, which is a new concept for me.

Moving is hard. It’s stressful and messy and at times you just want to throw everything away, but then you can’t throw ANYTHING away because you’re attached to it. We grow attached to stupid things like posters or plastic flowers or knickknacks on shelves because they represent little memories. I spent a good twenty minutes deciding which coffee cups to get rid of. I considered keeping a bottle of coconut lotion with 2 drops left in it. I had trouble fitting all my shoes into my car.

While all these moments could be the ones I remember or the ones that stand out, the one memory that will forever be representative will be the very last one. Christie and I had packed up nearly everything in boxes, cleared out all our stuff, removed all her paintings off the walls and we decided to take a little lunch break. We hopped in her car to go get sandwiches and she predicted I’d get the jalapeno chips, and of course, I did. We brought them back, and since everything was gone, we sat down on our wood floor and had a little ‘last supper’ together.  Our apartment had always been full of our friends and bustling with activity, but in those few minutes, it was just the two of us, roommates, and our last string of Christmas lights still plugged in. We didn’t talk about the sadness of leaving or our next plans, we just laughed about the streamers still on the ceiling from all the parties we’d thrown. We giggled about inside jokes and spoke in ridiculous accents. We talked about what we’d learned over the past year and sure enough, we talked about boys and flirting and relationships and marriage and all the places we saw ourselves in 5 years. When we finished, we sipped the last of our diet cokes and finished packing the last things we had left. Two hours and her parents’ truck later, we handed over our keys and were officially moved out.

If you asked me to be honest, of course I’m sad about moving out of San Marcos. I’m upset about having to move home without a job, I’m nervous about ever finding one and I’d give anything to be back in our rickety little apartment, even if I was just sitting on the wood floors. But, as I’m having to tell myself each day, the best parts of my little story aren’t over. Apartment C104 was one of the absolute greatest times in my life, contained the most wonderful best friend and roommate and basically other half-of-my-brain, was located above 4 of my other favorite people and neighbors in the world who basically let me live on their couch and in their lives for months, had a spectacular living room for movie nights across from one of the busiest kitchens for grilled-cheese-parties, and it was a fantastic little place to call home for a few months, but it isn’t the last of great times.

I’ll remember this past year in my favorite space bittersweetly, but for now it’s a little more bitter than sweet. I look forward to the future, but, all I’m saying is that the next apartment has some pretty big shoes, and wood floors, to fill.

And also, to whoever happens to move in next, good luck figuring out the light switches!

(Photo via Kasey Morgan Photography!)

Graduation Day (Part 2) / THANK YOU!

So, I did it. I graduated college! I walked across a stage and didn’t trip and someone university-esque handed me a diploma frame! Hooray!

This is my favorite photo from graduation, even with the indoor lighting and green tint because it means to much that I was able to be in the same ceremony with three of the most influential friends in my life-

You should hire all of us!!! But seriously, I will now plug these beautiful graduates.

(left to right)

Christie is my roommate, my bandmate, and one of the greatest ladies in the world. She is always such a positive little light of energy and practically radiates love, not to mention that her voice is crazy-good. Go read her blog here!

Ryan is such a force of creativity and fun in my life and I am so glad I got to know and live above him! Keep his design site bookmarked, it will be up soon and will be wonderful! (He also designed Olive & Chuck’s twitter page!)

Zack is the best friend that I stumbled upon and had no idea I could have so much in common with. He is an AMAZING writer and the funniest person I know. Go read his blog here!

Looking at us 4 in our caps and gowns, all I could think of was this picture:

-(blame my pop-culture obsession.) I guess it could be worse. The O.C. was one of my favorites and my 3 friends are my favorites, so it works! And to you three, THANK YOU for being such great friends!

Now, on to the real thank yous for the past 3 & 1/2 years:

To anyone I’ve met over the past 21 years, to old friends from high school, to anyone who’s ever bought me coffee, to anyone who helped raise me, to anyone who has hired me, to anyone who sang with me, to anyone who helped me do math homework (because seriously, math is the WORST), to anyone who lent me their jacket when I was cold, to anyone who sent me a hilarious youtube video or picture of a puppy, to anyone who helped me study, to anyone who helped me procrastinate, to anyone who challenged me to think differently, to anyone who humored my love of puns, to anyone who let me force my musical taste on you, to anyone who danced with me even if you had two left feet, to anyone who listened to me rant about my bad day, to anyone who watched tv with me til 4 am, to anyone who helped me pick out an outfit, to anyone who baked a pie with me, to anyone who sat next to me in class, to anyone who let me cry on their shoulder, to anyone who walked around Target with me aimlessly just because, to anyone who prayed for me and to anyone who has ever read, commented or ‘liked’ this little blog-


I would not be the lion-haired girl that I am without your help, encouragement, honesty, love, support, phone calls at 3 am, jokes, songs and hugs. You are the reason that I love so wholeheartedly and cannot wait to see what the next chapter of my life holds.

I’ll love college deeply, I’ll probably still talk and write about it, but honestly – I don’t have any jobs lined up yet. I am looking, all around and beyond, but I’m not too worried. I know something will fall into place. However, shameless plug, if you hear of anything you think my lion talents might be lent well to, feel free to let me know, tweet me, leave a comment or email me at kelseyrmanning@gmail.com !

Finally, this blog has been something I’ve always wanted to do more with and now that I’m out of school, I hope to be revamping these parts and being more consistent with posts. If you have any criticism or ideas for me, I’d love to hear from you. If you have any design tips, send them my way! Please contact me with anything you like/dislike!

And if you could do me a HUGE favor, I’d love if you’d ‘like’ this blog on Facebook, right HERE. It would be awesome to get an idea of who I’m reaching with this blog and how I can better grow as an online brand & presence!

So, to repeat myself for the tenth time, THANK YOU. The internet can be a lonely place sometimes, but I am so happy to be able to have found my little corner and feel so loved. Yall are the best!

(OC Photo found: here)

A Letter To My 18-Year-Old Self

dear 18-year-old self,

hi, i’m about to graduate in 5 hours and you haven’t even entered it yet. get ready.

i know you’re scared of college, i know it doesn’t make sense yet and i know it’s not exciting yet, but it will be. you’re going to learn A LOT in the next 4 years (spoiler alert: it’ll actually only take you 3 and 1/2 and you’ll wonder why you graduated early) but i just wanted to share a little advice with you before you enter the greatest university in the world (go bobcats!!!).

based on what i have learned in these college years, here’s some wise words and Advice from me to you:

buy someone a drink. coffee or alcoholic. when they’re having a bad day, when you’re feeling generous, or both. this is the simplest thing to do but it is the easiest gesture to just spread a little love. pay for the person behind you in line. offer a refill. this is a good thing.

stay up all night just to appreciate sleep.

go on a road trip. see things you’ve never seen, even if they’re only 15 minutes away.

stop being so cynical of love. you’re going to heal, you’re going to get back on that horse. i know that you still want to make sarcastic comments anytime anyone enters a relationship but you’ve gotta refrain. you’re gonna get over it. you’re gonna listen to a lot of adele and some nights you’re gonna cry, but you’re gonna become a better woman from all this and more that anything, you’re gonna laugh about it in the end.

PICK UP THE GUITAR IN YOUR CLOSET AND ACTUALLY LEARN IT. also, think about finding a ukulele. trust me.

offer to drive everyone. make playlists for the car. don’t overlook how much bonding is going to take place just driving around your small college town.

make cookies. learn that cookies take almost no time or effort to make, but they are secret code for caring.  LEARN THIS EARLY and then make them often, make a lot of them and give them to your friends. no reason needed.

i know it seems stupid right now, self, but you’re gonna get really into fashion and you’re gonna have a heart for it and you’re gonna find a style that suits you and looks good. just trust me on this one. embrace the fact that you love leopard print and vintage 1960s looks and go with it. also, thrift stores will be your new home, so bring febreeze.

try not to be so dramatic. keyword: try.

you’re gonna watch a heck of a lot of good tv. don’t let anyone tell you that this is a waste, because certain episodes are going to bring you to tears and you’re gonna realize that that’s what you wanna do with your life. you’re gonna make a best friendship cemented with buffy the vampire slayer. you’re gonna marvel at mad men and be blown away by the heart and simplicity of pushing daisies. share these with other people and watch episodes together and all fall in love with the artform of visual media.

take pictures!!!! take a million pictures! TAKE SO MANY PICTURES -but don’t get lost in the nostalgia of them. appreciate the memories but don’t get stuck trying to relive them. the past can hurt if you try and stay in it. always be moving forward, always look for new little places and people to give your heart to and share your life with.

call your mom. you’re gonna grow so close to her. she understands that a spoonful of nutella counts as a meal. she understands that growing up is hard. she knows what to say and when to listen and when to pray.

call your dad. he’s gonna teach you how to fix a flat tire and a broken heart.

call your brother and grandparents. they’ll always have a good story to tell and a good restaurant recommendation.

don’t worry so much.

everyone’s gonna get on you about dating and at family gatherings everyone will ask if you have a boyfriend. just smile at them politely. i know you want to punch them, but please, smile.

and whenever you get sad, just switch decades and go live in the 60s and 70s for a little while. play soul music and old country and psychedelic tunes and dance in your room till it gets better. let jimi’s guitar solos speak when you can’t, let sam cooke cheer you up with that divine voice of his and let john, paul, george & ringo continue to sing you to sleep.

keep writing songs, please. keep writing them and singing them even if no one hears them. maybe let someone hear one. and then two people. and then three. and before you know it, you’ll be strumming them in a coffee shop with your best friend adding harmonies. ps, you’re gonna grow so much from this.

don’t be so negative on the internet. don’t vent. use the internet as a place of creativity and humor and connection.

smile at people you don’t know. it’ll freak them out a little, but what’s not fun about that?

go play. go be outside and run around and do cartwheels in the sunshine. build blanket forts and eat candy.  you don’t have to grow up just yet.

pray, read your bible, talk to people about jesus. seek him when it’s not going right, cry to him when it’s not fair and tell him everything you need. don’t let loneliness creep in; remember that you are loved.

you’re going to live with some wonderful ladies who make college apartments feel like one big sleepover. cherish this even when yall get on each other’s nerves. reconcile by making breakfast and going shopping and getting manicures and watching chick flicks, because it is perfectly okay to be a girl and be feminine and sometimes spend too much time talking about ryan gosling and shoes. embrace those x chromosomes.

guess what? get ready for the greatest men in the world to enter your life! you’re gonna find boys who teach you what you want and they’re gonna respect you and make you feel pretty and loved even without saying anything. you’re gonna be the luckiest, most envied lady for all the great guy friends you have in your life. appreciate this and love them back.

go to that stupid freshman year seminar that has that speaker who you’ve never heard of and look for the boy who’s messing with the zebra phone case. i know that looking back it will be embarrassing when you tell him within the first five minutes of meeting that you two will be best friends someday, but trust your instincts. and get ready for the best friend of your little life.

and you know what? even though sometimes your feelings are messy and undecided and up-in-the-air, don’t be afraid to share them.

oh, and don’t forget that no one looks good in that silly hat, but the least you can do is add a little pizazz to it.

(and don’t worry, your hair’s still big in the future.)


your 21-year-old ready-to-take-on-the-world-but-not-really blessed-with-the-greatest-friends-in-the-world self

Graduation Day; Part 1

I know that I haven’t written in weeks and that I should have philosophical reasons for doing so, but if anything, my life as of late has been defined by five words:

“i’m graduating college on friday.”

I am a huge mess of emotions right now. I feel like a little kid who doesn’t want to grow up. I feel like an adult who somehow is still holding onto my college sweatshirts. I feel like everyone around me is getting married and I’m sitting pretty on single island, holding onto my Lord Of The Rings dvds and musical soundtracks. I feel like I’m going to trip and fall onstage when they call my name at graduation. I feel a bitter confusing sense of nostalgia for freshman year when everything seemed new. I feel giddy realizing I won’t ever have to study again in a few days! I feel sleepy because I haven’t slept for 4 years while getting this degree. But mostly, I feel extremely and totally happy.

Everyone is telling nightmare stories of the current job market and suggesting grad school and cocking their heads to the side when I tell them I don’t know what I’m doing after this Friday, but I am just so happy; so overjoyed with the love I’ve experienced in the past 4 years.

I believe in Jesus. I believe in God. I’m not trying to convert you and you don’t have to echo my beliefs to read this blog. You don’t have to read this post or agree with it and I won’t take it personally if you stop reading altogether, but I just can’t honestly write a sentence about college and how it has changed my life without name-dropping Jesus and saying that I know he placed me here, at this university, for a reason. He put me here to surround me with knowledge and so much creativity and so much music to encourage my career goals. He put me here to grow and learn to go after what I want, no matter how hard or impossible it might seem. Mostly, he put me here to meet people that would challenge me, make me laugh harder than I ever have and love me unconditionally, and for all of this I am so thankful and gosh-darn happy!

So, come Friday, I’ll take on the real world. I’ll wear a funny hat and take pictures and keep replaying graduation cliches from movies and tv shows in my mind the whole time. I’ll try not to, but I’ll end up listening to Youth Group’s version of ‘Forever Young’ and I’ll get a huge lump in my throat. I’ll hug my best friends that I’ve been blessed to meet here and I’ll most likely do a bunch of happy dances. And I’ll cry- oh, that I already know, thanks to my sentimental heart- but you can bet that the tears will be happy ones.

And, you can also bet that my lion-maned hair will be Texas-sized and in full force.

And, of course, that I’ll blog all about it.

Tent-Or-Treat ; Year 4

(Don’t worry, internet, you don’t even have to read! It’s time for another SHAMELESS PHOTO POST!)

I’ve shared before about the annual tradition that my friends and I have of camping on Halloweekend, but I have to say that it truly does get sweeter every year. I mean, dressing up has its perks and Halloween parties can be entertaining, but I’m spoiled by expecting the great outdoors when the end of October rolls around.

This year’s highlights included-

Actually getting the tent up and assembled in less than an hour (instead of 4)

Singing “All Star” at the top of our lungs around the campfire

Making snugglers since this is the first year we are all of legal drinking age!!! (seriously so good)

Freezing to death when the sun went down, even with 7 people inside of a supposed “4-person tent”

Waking up and going hiking the next morning

Channeling Katniss Everdeen and reinacting scenes from The Hunger Games in the woods

Being young and carefree and all those other great adjectives

We started this tradition freshman year, now we’re seniors, and it’s been a grand 4 years. (Hence Z & I’s 4 hand signage!) So, excuse me if I get a bit sappy, but, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO NEXT YEAR?! We’ll have to figure out how to skype-camp if we’re not in the same place. It’s gonna be crafty, but I think we could attempt to have a cross-city-campfire…just know that if you smell something burning next October 31st…you never read this blog post.

Here’s to plaid flannel and smores and smelling like campfire with the best people in my life. Always.

(All these fantastic photos are credited to my lovely roommate and bandmate, CZ !)

This Lion’s Den

(Don’t worry, internet, you don’t even have to read! It’s time for another SHAMELESS PHOTO POST!)

Thinking about the real world and being a grownup and all that entails is a scary thought. And so I present you with something that comforts me always- home!

Anyone that knows me well knows that I am a nester. When it comes to my home and space, I like to curl up and be surrounded by colors and things that I love, despite if they match or even belong. You know how some people adopt animals? I adopt decor and inspiration ideas and throw them together in my little space. Luckily I live with a roommate who feels the same. So I thought I’d share our little haphazard apartment, because even when I am stressed or freaking out that I’m a senior and will be graduating in less than 2 months to take on the real world, I walk into our place and I instantly am cheered and safe and comfortable.

Welcome to the Lion’s den! (Or at least, a few selected rooms of our ‘estate’)

we really like heart-shaped things.

…..and hamburgers….

and cluttered shelves.

(judge me, but vinyl is the one hipster habit i can’t quit!)

(who says a cooler can’t be a tv stand?)


I really love little details and knickknacks, like my ‘inspiration shelf’

the gumball lamp,

the fact that our microwave wears a sombrero,

and the fact that the hamburger chair has recently been altered to accommodate a certain furry roommate.

I don’t really believe in following any major design rules, except to buy things that entertain me and make me happy! I’m still developing my personal style so I don’t worry about making everything a theme, although most of the time I end up leaning towards the 1970s and vintage mixed with comfort. And you know, I might grow out of the lava lamp someday and maybe tone back the music memorabilia a little, but I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow my man Jimi.

I mean, some things are just necessary.

What inspires the decor in your den?

Updates and ACL. Wait, what?

Dear Internet,

My head has been in 563 different places at once for the past few weeks and I have barely had time to sit down and even string together more than 140 character updates, but I thought I’d fill you in…yes, all 4 of you reading. I’m horrible at consistently blogging so here’s a quick little list (!) –

I’m back in TEXAS! Aka the promised land. Nuff said.

I had an AMAZING summer with one of the greatest internships in the world at SiriusXM Nashville, specifically, The Highway (holla!). I left a big part of my heart in Nashville and I revitalized my love for country music. Judge me, but it is the greatest.

I moved! My lions den is now in a different apartment, still living with C– one of my great roommates and playing in a little band with her called Olive & Chuck. Other roommate, S, is still closeby up the road and is starting a style blog that I’m excited about and will be sharing soon!

I’m graduating in December! WHAAAAA?!! Yeah, I don’t know where that came from either, but graduating early is happening. What am I doing after I graduate? HAHAHAHAHA…yeah. Ask me tomorrow.

My best friend got published!!! I can’t even tell you how excited I am that my boy Z got to write HERE for Dark Horse Comics. From one Whedon/Buffy nerd to another, I am so proud. He’s got such a way with words!

I turned 21! Big deal. If you’re wondering – Shiner Bock. Please and thank you.

And last but not least, as I type this, I am sitting in the Moody Theater waiting for soundcheck for Arcade Fire to start for the Austin City Limits TV taping tonight. I tried to say that in the least-obnoxious way I could, however, I’m now interning with ACL TV and I couldn’t be happier. I am so thankful, so grateful and seriously appreciative to work for such a great program. I feel super lucky and am already 2 tapings in and obsessed. If you want more minute-to-minute updates, you can always follow me; @kelseyrmanning !

I promise a longer more coherent post with photos and flashing lights eventually, internet. For now, here’s a photo of me that I literally took 5 minutes ago, continually freaking out with Win Butler & Co.’s 4853957394583 instruments on the stage behind me.

what’s up, floating head?


Yoda Slippers and Guitar Licks

San Marcos, Texas- I love you.

Just when I should be the most stressed out due to projects, papers, finals week (aka this week), ongoing senioritis and schoolwork madness, I’ve got a permanent grin on my face and sore feet from dancing to live music. My beloved college town hosted a free concert festival this weekend, (holla atcha, MR Fest!) and lemme tell you, internet, please fall in love with THE BRIGHT LIGHT SOCIAL HOUR. This band is the answer to all my dirty, gritty, loud-and-soulful rock and roll problem. Essentially, they’re like Led Zeppelin– only less poetic.

Also, they have more dance grooves….

…..more keytar…………and more ‘STACHE!

Okay…so maybe they’re nothing like Led Zeppelin. But they rock hard, and I can’t get enough of obnoxiously-executed guitar solos and rowdy energy that pays off in fantastic live shows, of which I was a part. My voice is a little hoarse from yelling, my ears may have rung for hours after, but it was all worth it and needed after being cooped up with my notes and reviews! Thank you, BLSH, for making my ears and toe-tappin’ all excited. You’re so much better than a library, and I’m streaming you daily now.

Of course, this is all a nice vacation from the stacks of notes and books staring me in the face from across the room, yelling, “STUDY US! READ US! CONSUME US FOR HOURS!”

Fortunately, there’s light at the end of this stressed-out tunnel.

All I gotta do is make it to Tuesday and Wednesday, because they mean two more concerts that I have been excited for nearly months about and I’m ready to start! But more on that later, internet. I’ve got studies to get back to.

Oh, and I almost forgot! Most importantly

I just realized I’ve been walking around most of the day in both my Empire Strikes Back tank coupled with my Yoda slippers.

Geek overkill or simply not enough? Decide, you must, internet.

Soul Music > Studying

It’s the last full week of classes and motivation in this Lion’s den is at an all-time low.

Also, I should mention that I am completely obsessed with soul music, especially that of the 1960s.

I should not be let anywhere near a computer at 1 AM after having at least 4 cups of coffee in rapid succession, but let’s just say that combined insomnia and horrible study habits have lead me back into my caffeine-fueled haze where nothing that I am attempting to read over is sticking in my temperamental brain.

What is sticking, however, is a certain melody you may have heard called “Hound Dog” and consequently, how much I adore Big Mama Thornton. No, seriously, this woman is FIRE. She wrote the book on rockabilly, has a voice that can command a room and if she was wonderful enough that even Elvis, the KING, stole a single from her, you know that she has something insanely good wrapped up in her soul.

Here’s a little something for all you visual learners-

See what I mean? Magical. Yes, Elvis made the song his own (as evidenced by this attractive video, seriously, the 1:03 is dangerously good) but I can’t get enough of how much she tears it up like it’s no big deal. Her emotion is effortless but so felt. It’s normal for me to dance along with my Spanish notes in hand, right? Can’t help it!

You know, I may have days where I’m distracted, but give me a toe-tapping rhythm and you’ve got my entire attention span from the first beat to the end. People write a million essays, books and thesis prompts on the science of sound and the transcendental qualities of chord progressions, but I think it’s simpler- satisfy my ears and you’ve got everything else. My focus, my conversation, my voice singing along, my interest and my dancing feet all are yours! No seriously, I fear I might just sign away my life if a good band was playing at the time.

So, you see, it is incredibly difficult to learn the subjunctive and imperfect verb tenses when my record player is right across the room- Aretha Franklin vinyl all ready to spin!

Is this a white girl problem? Naah. Too much soul to be one of those!

Two Weeks Left

It is getting to that point in the semester where I start sleeping in my yoga class clothing so I can sleep in an extra five minutes.

We can call this a continuation of this post, because all I’ve been feeling lately is senioritis. I can’t write a blog post, much less a ten-page paper, no matter if it is double-spaced or not. Graduation for this lion is in December, but that feels as soon as this afternoon.

Luckily, all hope is not lost. I’ve been setting mental incentives for myself to be productive, like having Destiny’s Child dance parties when I get home from class, convincing myself that I’ll see Robert Downey Jr on campus if I take good notes and walking into every hour-and-fifty-minute block believing that confetti and balloons are going to drop from the ceiling at the end of my professors’ lectures.

Whatever works, right?

Two more weeks of caffeine-fueled schooldays and then it’s finals and semester’s end, internet. The fact that I am finishing this post as fast as I can, clutching a second cup of coffee in my bed so I can get twenty minutes more sleep before Spanish might be a little sad, but I just remember that truthfully, and according to my wise father, that college isn’t the real world anyway.

I have already mentally decided that today’s incentive in going to class is to read the best thing to have ever been in my mailbox after. Don’t keep me late, professors, I’ve got a date with a soul-power princess.

(Oh, and if you don’t love Adele a whole lot yet, I suggest starting to, although, I might be a little biased.)