Becoming a Citizen in the United States

Ah, immigration. I’ve seen so many people scream-typing saying, “JUST DO IT THE LEGAL WAY!!!!” lately, and it turns out that this is quite a loaded statement. Truly, what is it like to become a citizen of the United States? With all of the talk about undocumented immigrants in the U.S., I thought I would do some research in order to inform and educate us all.

I have a friend who is currently going through the immigration process, and she graciously spoke to me and answered the hundreds of questions I threw at her regarding the entire journey. Since she’s in the midst of getting her green card, she would prefer that her real name not be used. For that reason, we will call her BETH!!! Here is her story (DUN DUN).

Right now, Beth is in the process of attaining a green card. Her parents are from Israel, but she was born and raised in Mexico City. Beth is trilingual; a speaker of Hebrew, Spanish, and English. I, on the other hand, speak English and know a few select Spanish words from when I took one class, one period a day in high school. I think many of you are in the same proverbial boat (bota… nope, that’s boot) as me.

After graduating from high school, Beth went to a state university on the west coast. This would not have been possible had her parents not had the money to help. As a foreign student, you have to physically show that you have the funds to pay for the first year of tuition in the U.S. If tuition is $50,000/yr, you have to prove that you have $50,000 in the bank. If your parents don’t have money, there is no way you’re going to college in the U.S.

Beth decided to go to college in the U.S. because there were more opportunities. We talked at length about what it’s like to obtain an F-1 student visa and all of the costs associated with it, but I’m trying to be as concise as possible (which we already know is VERY difficult for me).

When Beth graduated from college, she had to apply for another F-1 student visa so that she could continue her schooling to get her master’s degree in Psychology at a large university in the Midwest. When Beth finished her program, she married her boyfriend of three years, who is a U.S. citizen. Beth applied for her green card via marriage, which meant that she would be applying for a change of status through petition of an immediate alien relative. This is just one of several avenues to get your green card; others include job sponsorship visa, special talent visa, and applying for change of status through a student visa (but you need to get a job within a year… aka job sponsorship… in order to stay).

As soon as Beth and her husband got married, she started working on the 93-page green card application. Beth and her husband are both very lucky to be fluent English speakers, and lucky to have the funds to begin this lengthy and costly process. Beth also applied for work authorization, which normally takes 30-90 days to be approved, so that she can start working. However, this policy has been delayed and rescinded so that it now takes 4-6 months to receive. Funny how that works.

Costs involved in the green card process:

  • Application fee: $1,760
  • Medical exam (including testing for gonorrhea and syphilis): $250 (This is the cheapest she could find and would have been significantly more if she didn’t have her vaccine records on hand.)
    • Oh and they don’t take insurance, so everything is out of pocket.
  • Lawyer: at least $2,000
    • Beth and her husband did not get a lawyer for this process. The lawyer essentially fills out the 93 pages of documents for you and sends it all in to the right people. Beth and her husband are both intelligent people who have graduated from higher education, and she even said it would have been helpful to have a lawyer. Now imagine not being a native English speaker and trying to get all of this done and paid for…
  • Miscellaneous costs of printing all the forms, paper, ink, next-day shipping, etc.

Beth and her husband have their green card interview on October 12th,. Beth submitted everything for her application on June 29th, and this is actually a surprisingly quick turnaround for an interview to take place. At the interview, Beth and her husband’s marriage will be put under a microscope to be determined if it’s legitimate. Do you know your in-laws’ birthdays off the top of your head? Do you have a speeding ticket in your past? A DUI? These are all reasons that your green card application can be denied.

Beth’s husband had to sign a document stating that he is financially responsible for her. Even if they get a divorce, he has to support her financially for 10 years; if he doesn’t, she can sue. So… not as many “fake” marriages are happening as you think.

Although the USCIS website claims that green cards will be issued to you in the mail within 120 days of your application being received, the current 2018 average is 8-11 months after your application is received (https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/historic-pt); but that is only the case for select areas of the U.S. For instance, in New York, the timeframe ranges from 13-28 months. But guess what? Even with her green card in hand, Beth still will not be a U.S. citizen.

Green cards are valid for two years. Upon the expiration, Beth will have to pay $535 to receive a 10-year green card. Beth can’t apply for naturalization until she’s held a green card for at least threeyears, and that’s because she’s married. If you are not married to a U.S. citizen, you will need to hold your green card for at least five years to establish permanent residence. At that point, Beth will fill out another myriad of forms and pay $800 to submit them. While she is not sure on the timeframe that it takes from application to acceptance, once your citizenship form is accepted, you take the test and are sworn in as a United States resident.

The entire point of this post is that becoming a United States citizen is time-consuming, expensive, and not feasible for many people. My friend Beth has a master’s degree in psychology, is trilingual, has a husband who works full-time (she can’t yet because, surprise, her work authorization has not been approved) and is a wonderful person, yet the entire immigration process will ultimately take her 4-5 years and cost her thousands of dollars. And she is just one of the lucky ones who has the time and money to do it.

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My Current Makeup Routine

I know that some of you are thinking, “Wow, Chelsea. Do you seriously wear makeup? Every time I see you, you look like a troll who lives in a gas station dumpster.” And most of the time, I do. However, after watching hundreds of hours of makeup YouTube videos (kudos to my faves: Tati, Laura Lee, and Manny), people have actually asked me to write a blog about my makeup routine. (Even more kudos to ALI, KALIE, MEGAN AND MOLLIE WHO TOLD ME TO WRITE THIS!)

This may go without saying, but obviously makeup is going to look best if your face is freshly washed and moisturized. Once I’ve done that, I start all of my makeup looks with primer. I’ve loved Smashbox Photo Finishprimer FA-EVA, but I know it’s kind of expensive. For a cheaper option that’s pretty similar, I also like the Maybelline Baby Skinprimer. It does not age rewind me down to an infant, but it does the job. I use a little dab and press it into my face, mostly focusing on the areas where my pores are gaping craters.

I then move on to foundation. I have been LOVING the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Stick Foundation (why? Why is this name so long???). It’s… pricey but it feels like I am smoothing a room temperature stick of butter across my face – in a good way. It should be noted that I love full coverage makeup, and this foundation covers IT ALL. It blends like a dream. I also like the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation(again – WHY ARE THESE NAMES SO LONG? Rihanna & Hourglass, hear my pleas.) and for a cheaper option, I really like the Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation. I like getting cheaper foundations for the summer when my skin is much darker, but only for a few months. I blend it alllll over my face and neck so that we don’t have a case of orange face, white neck.

Cool. Since I use liquid foundation, I put on concealer AFTER foundation. If you prefer a powder foundation (e.g., BareMinerals, any kind of pressed powder), you should put on your concealer first, then your powder foundation. My favorite concealer is the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. I put it under my eyes, through my T-zone, and on my chin. I’ve tried tarte Shape Tape and IDK – I feel like maybe I got the wrong shade, because it just wasn’t doing it for me. But the NARS has never done me wrong. If I had to suggest a cheaper option, it would be the Maybelline Age Rewind(Maybelline, maybe I’m okay with my age. Have you thought of that?) Okay, concealer is boring. Next topic.

SETTING POWDER – possibly even more boring than concealer? Setting powder is used to set ALL of your liquid makeup and prevent it from falling off and sliding all over your face. It also prevents creasing with concealer. I’ve actually been using a drugstore option, Coty Airspun Loose Face Powderand I’m a fan! Under the eyes. In my T-zone. Wherever I’m an oily bish. I also use the Hourglass Ambient Light Powderwhen I want to be a glowy, ethereal fairy. I will say that the Hourglass powder makes me look a little ashen when I have a tan, so you’ve been warned.

Next, we are here to bronze. It’s summer, so you may be naturally bronzed. However, this is a bronzer that works in all season. You guys. The Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer IS LIFE AND IT SMELLS LIKE COCONUTS!!!! I used the tarte Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer for a long time, and loved it – but the Physician’s Formula bronzer is like a third of the price, and I like it even more. And we love a sister steal (hi James Charles). I basically use my bronzer to contour, so I bronze on/right below my cheekbones, on the outline of my jaw, on the sides of my forehead, and along my nose (to make it skinny AF, to the point where my new friends in Louisville think I’ve had a nose job… I’m not kidding).

Then I put the rouge on. I use blush on the apples of my cheeks and sweep it up to my hairline until I’m a blushing baboon. I LOVE the NARS blushin the shade Orgasm. Look… I’ve never said it before, and probably won’t say it again, but this blog is not suitable for kids 13 and under, so skedaddle. I haven’t found a drugstore option that I love, so if you have any, LMK!

Don’t worry everyone, we are getting there. YOU, THE PEOPLE, ASKED FOR THIS SO YOU CAN’T COMPLAIN. Next we need to HIGH.LIGHT.THAT.FACE! I’m not a “blinding highlight” kind of gal, so just know that what I use will give you some sister sparkle, but not cause people to lose their eyesight. I use Wet N’ Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powderand LURV IT. I’ve used higher end highlighter in the past and good ol’ drugstore has worked the best for me. I haven’t tried it, but all my beauty gurus also love the Maybelline Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter.

Next I fill in my eyebrows. I have been blessed with v thicc eyebrows, so I mostly just fill in the sparse areas. My favorite is the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil. I feel like this works especially well for thicker eyebrows because it doesn’t have a super fine tip and I can just draw it on like a little brown crayon. I’ve also used the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wizand enjoyed it, and that works well for people of all brow shapes… and sizes? IDK how to refer to brow type.

Okay, I will admit that the makeup I’m worst at is eyeshadow. I feel like this is not an area I excel in, therefore I don’t feel like I should give recommendations. The only life-changing tip I have is to use dark brown/black/whatever color you want eyeshadow as eyeliner on your top and bottom lash line instead of actual eyeliner. Thank me later. Now go watch a NikkieTutorials or Tati video on doing eyeshadow.

After I do eyeshadow (if I even do that), I curl my lashes and put on mascara. I LOVEEEEE Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashesfor my top lashes, and Buxom Volumizing Mascarafor my bottom lashes. Yep, I am that high maintenance and no, I do not care about your judgment. I’m also a fan of Covergirl Lashblastin all of its forms for a cheaper option.

Now that we’ve done ALL of this hard work, we do not need our makeup sloughing off on our third karaoke set of the night. You need a setting spray to keep it all in place! I use the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray and that’s honestly all I will ever use. It’s the best. If anyone has a drugstore option they enjoy, let me know!

OKAY. THANK YOU FOR READING! G’BYE.

How to make an embellished collar (Thanks Riverdale!)

I have become newly obsessed with the TV series, Riverdale. If you’re not familiar, it’s probably because you aren’t a 15-year old girl. I, however, am. It’s essentially the newest craze where hot teens (who are actually all in their 20s IRL, so don’t judge me) run around trying to solve murders and mysteries, all while partying and participating in town drama. Sounds great, right?

Not only have I become obsessed with the series, I have also become obsessed with the amount of embellished collars that are worn on the show. Veronica Lodge and Betty Cooper are classy, sassy, and bad-assy, and wear embellished collars on the DAILY. I immediately decided that I needed to own 17 articles of clothing with embellished collars, so I began my internet search. Unfortunately, clothing items with embellished collars are more expensive than I wanted them to be. So I decided to MAKE MY OWN.

At the risk of looking like Cousin Eddie with a dickie, I bought two plain white bibs from Asos (you can find them here). I also bought three jeweled, stretchy bracelets from Charming Charlie’s, so that I could cut them apart to put the pieces onto the collar. You could also buy individual jewels from Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. Really, the options are endless.

(I took pictures like I’m a fancy DIY-er, but I’m not and I’m realizing I should have taken more pictures.)

First, I cut apart the bracelets. If you’re buying jewelry, make sure it’s something that’s put together with some kind of stretchy string or elastic so that it’s easy to cut through. I put aside a plastic baggie to catch all of the little beads that I wouldn’t be using.

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Second, I had to decide whether I should sew the jewels on, or use a fabric glue. As I’m not an avid sewer with a plethora of needles, the only needles I had were too big to stick through the little string holes (??). Because of this, I had to go the gluing route. Since this is just a bib, I’m okay with using fabric glue, because I won’t be washing it like I would an actual shirt. So, I had to cut the string holes off so that the jewel would sit flush with the collar after being glued on. I used regular scissors, but I did have to use my brute strength to cut them off. Here is a picture of what I’m talking about.

IMG_4286

From there, I placed the jewels on the collar to determine their placement. I put enough fabric glue on the jewels to hold them down, without the glue spilling out underneath. The fabric glue dries clear, but we want to look like we bought this fancy top at J.Crew or Nordstrom! But if someone asks where I got my top, you know that I will smugly tell them that I made it myself and let them fawn over how creative and handy I am. (I’m joking. I’m literally gluing jewels to a collar. This is v easy.)

IMG_1738

Yeah, that’s about it! I made two different embellished collars, and kept the additional jewels for any projects I want to use them for in the future.  Since I DON’T want to look like Cousin Eddie, I recommend wearing a tank top over your bib so that the bib sits more smoothly under your sweater or dress.  Here are my cool collars. Here I am wearing them. Wee!

The Luck of the Match (Residency Match Process)

I’ve promised this blog for a while now, and it’s finally here! Yahoo! Yippee!

Oh, the match process. Some people think of it and are either a) dreading the day, or b) thanking the high heavens that it’s over with. Other (most) people are like, wut r u talking abut??!! If you read nothing except this first paragraph, YOUR DOCTOR FRIENDS AND THEIR FAMILY DO NOT KNOW WHERE THEY ARE GOING UNTIL MATCH DAY. YOU DO NOT NEED TO KEEP ASKING THEM IF THEY KNOW WHERE THEY ARE GOING. THEY DON’T. For reference, Match Day is on Friday, March 16th this year. Okay, moving on.

Medical school is typically four years long. After their fourth year is complete, all of the new doctors must complete a residency in their specialty in order to practice as a physician. This means that during their fourth year of medical school, students have to apply and interview for a residency spot.

First, the student has to decide what specialty they want to go into. I’ll be using Michael as an example… because he is my husband and by marrying me, he unknowingly signed a contract to let me talk about him in my blogs as much as I want.

Michael decided to go into Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose, and Throat), which meant he would be applying for only ENT positions. In September of 2016, we sat down and selected all of the programs we wanted to apply to. It’s difficult to decide which programs to apply to without knowing anything about the program; Michael did some internet sleuthing, but for the most part, he went in pretty blind.  In all, I think we applied to about 70 programs. And yes I’m saying “we”, not because I’m also a physician (LOL), but because I would also be uprooting my life because of this decision.

From there, we patiently waited for the interviews to role in. No, we did not get 70 interviews. Most people will get interviews to a fraction of the programs that they applied to. This is based on test scores, references, research… all that good stuff.

Interviews were between November and January, and Michael flew all over the country for them. I only traveled to two interviews, and they were both programs that we could drive to. Since the interview process was already so expensive, and we had to pay for ALL OF IT, it just didn’t make sense for me to go to more. If money wasn’t an option, I would have been at all of them in a heartbeat. Don’t worry, I looked at climate, recreational activities, employment rates, Crime Maps, and Zillow for each city and made an Excel sheet with this information.

After all the interviews were done, we had to rank each program. It’s tough to determine how to rank. We had already determined that we wanted to move out of Nebraska, but there were still a lot of factors to consider: how much he enjoyed the other residents, cost of living, how much there is to do in the city, etc. IT’S HARD YOU GUYS. In the end, we knew that the University of Louisville would be the best match for us, and we crossed all of our fingers and toes (it turned into a sort of finger-toe braid) that we would end up there.

Not only are you ranking the programs; the programs are ranking U2 (and I stillllll haven’t found what I’m looking forrrrr). If you are familiar with sorority rush… this is literally the same thing. I honestly think they even use the same software.

If only Michael had ended up in Alpha Phi.

The match is computerized and takes both sides of ranking into account. If you want to know exactly how that works, watch this video. (Thank you Bre White for sending this!)

The Monday before Match Day, all of the medical students find out if they matched or not. That’s the first big day of the week. The second is Friday, when the students find out where they are going for the next 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 years of their life. Every medical student across the nation finds out where they matched on the exact same day at the exact same time. They are handed an envelope, and told not to open it until 12:00 CST (or 1:00 EST, etc.). This caused me to have a lot of nervous gas between 11:55 and noon. When it was time, Michael ripped open the envelope and I immediately started crying. WE GOT INTO U OF L!!!!

Most schools have their own traditions and ceremonies for Match Day. It’s a day of enormous celebration (and don’t get me wrong, disappointment for some), and schools make a big deal out of it! At the University of Nebraska Medical Center, each person walked up to a song of their choice (with spouses, kids, even siblings or friends, in tow) and announced to everyone where they would be heading. Some brave souls even waited to open their envelope until they were up on stage in front of all of their classmates. Most of you know that I don’t exactly have a poker face, so I banned Michael from doing that to me. THIS DAY WAS ABOUT ME, MICHAEL.

The Match is a very odd process. Since this got a little long, I didn’t even delve into all of the emotions I was feeling during this time. I felt out of control, overwhelmed… but I did feel excited for the future. And that doesn’t even take into account the person actually traveling, going through all of these interviews, and putting the fate of his future into the match process: Michael. In the words of Michael on Match Day (which was on St. Patty’s day, mind you), “I can’t wait until this is over so I can have an Irish Car Bomb.”

The Klinginsmith 2017 Year-in-Review

Talk about a year of change! 2017 has easily been the most unpredictable year of my life, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My word for 2017 was “adapt”, and it was an act that I had to do often. Below are the major events from each month, so keep on reading if you care enough about the Kling Klan (okay… never using that nickname again) to reflect with us.

January:

  • We rang in the New Year in Nashville with Nikki and Riley Essay! We were there for the Music City bowl game, in which Nebraska… didn’t play their best, but we did our best to drink the sorrow away.
  • I attended my first NFL game with Michael and several other friends in Dallas! We were there for the Packers/Cowboys playoff game, and the Packers won – it was magical to be in the same building as Aaron Rodgers.
  • I attended the Women’s March in Omaha. While I wish I could have traveled to D.C. for the event, I was amazed by the turnout in my city. You can read my other thoughts on the March here.

 

February:

  • Michael’s brother, Matt, proposed to his girlfriend, Liz! We are so thrilled and honored to be a part of their big day in August 2018. Michael and I truly take for granted how much we love each other’s families; we are #blessed.
  • Looking back, our February seemed relatively calm. What did we even do for Valentine’s Day? I don’t remember. We were simply living in agony, waiting for Match Day in March, when we found out where we’d be living for the next 5 years!

March:

  • Match Day is such a bizarre event. It can be difficult to explain, and I’m planning on writing a blog solely on that.  Long story short, Match Day is a day when all medical students across the nation find out which residency program they matched to. All four years of medical school, all of the interviews, all of the test scores, boil down to one day. So yeah, JUST A LITTLE NERVE-WRACKING. That’s when we found out that Michael had matched to the ENT program at University of Louisville!
  • We took a trip to Silverthorne, Colorado with a group of Michael’s med school friends for spring break. With many of us moving to a completely different state, it was kind of the “last hoorah” to spend time with them before moving!

 

 

April:

  • We took a short trip to Kansas City to see John Mayer in concert with our friends Josh and Laura. I’m a concert junkie, and have attended concerts of all genres; I can easily say John Mayer is one of the best artists I have ever seen. GO. GO NOW EVERYONE!!!!
  • We took a trip to Boston to visit our friends Pete and Nicole. They are amazing hosts, and with it being Michael’s first trip to Boston, we did. it. up. We went to a beer festival, a Sox game (where they beat the Cubs, nbd), and toured around the phenomenal city of Boston.

 

May:

  • May brought us graduations and weddings galore! Michael graduated from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and officially became Dr. Klinginsmith. *swoon*
  • My sister, Ashley, graduated from Mizzou with her PhD in Human Development  and Family Science. Her boyfriend, Paul, also graduated from Mizzou with his PhD in Biomedical Engineering. And yes, you are correct. I am the underachiever of the family.
  • I also switched positions at work so that I could work remotely. I started working in the Training department at C&A Industries, where I mostly edit and format our training manuals, social media blogs, and other assorted materials.

 

June:

  • Every free weekend in May and June was filled with a wedding! So much love to go around. We had several very good friends get married this year, and it’s been so fun watching our best friends marry their besties!
  • We made the big move to Louisville. Michael and I have never lived outside of Nebraska, so moving several states over was definitely terrifying. Our generous, thoughtful, patient parents made the 10.5 hour drive to help us move all of our belongings! Then they left and I was like WHAT DO WE DO NOW?? JK – kind of.

July:

  • I turned the big 2-5. Since Michael was working a 24-hour shift on my birthday, I had two new friends take me out on the town! Michael and I celebrated a few days before by touring the Woodford Reserve distillery and having dinner at a steakhouse… my ideal day.
  • Two days after my birthday, the most wonderful thing happened: WE ADOPTED LUNA!!! She is our perfect, sweet little greyhound babe and we are obsessed with her. I recommend greyhounds, adopting animals, and loving your pets like they’re people. Did you miss the blog where I talked about how greyt greyhounds are? No worries, you can read it right hurr.
  • I flew back to Nebraska for my friend Nikki’s bachelorette party! The party was in Long Pine, Nebraska: population, 286. We stayed in her uncle’s cabin and spent the weekend tubing down the river and drinking Busch Latte. An absolutely perfect weekend.

 

August:

  • Michael and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary! We had dinner at Ruth’s Chris and watched Game of Thrones; can you imagine a more perfect anniversary?
  • We had our first visitor!! My sister, Ashley, came to stay with us for a weekend. We  went to Brew at the Zoo, the Evan Williams distillery, and Mammoth Cave for a cavern tour. We ate and drank very well.

 

September:

  • As with every year, not everything that happened was positive. My Grandma Ruth passed away in September; and while her health had been declining the past few years, it’s never easy to lose a core member of the family. She was a sassy, honest lady who loved her martinis and port wine.

 

October:

  • We attended Wine on the River, which is basically just one big booze festival. And it was fantastic. However, drinking wine in the hot sun all afternoon doesn’t exactly leave you feeling like a million bucks.
  • WE CLOSED ON OUR HOUSE! Michael and I bought our first home and could not be more thrilled to be homeowners. We had an awesome experience, and a lot of that is thanks to our realtor, Jamie Tronzo. She didn’t care that I had grave concerns (no pun intended) about every house being haunted.
  • We closed on our house, moved everything into our new house, and started driving to Nebraska within a 36-hour span. NOT IDEAL, but it was all worth it for our best friend’s wedding! Michael and I were both in the bridal party and we were so flattered. We are so grateful to have Nikki and Riley in our lives.

 

November:

  • We had another wonderful visitor in our new home! Bradley came to visit, and while it was *mostly* for the Lady Gaga concert, visiting me was a close second. We went to Churchill Downs for a few races, we ate a TON of good food, went zip lining through a cave, and obviously saw Lady Gaga in all of her glory. It was a dream.
  • Michael, Luna, and I made the trek back to Nebraska for Thanksgiving. We got to see both sides of our family, and even went to Lincoln for the Nebraska/Iowa game… which we will not talk about.

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December:

  • I started listening to My Favorite Murder (a podcast) about 6 months after the podcast’s inception.  From there, my love affair began. I love Karen and Georgia, the way they add humor to the darkest of events, and how openly they talk about mental health. When I heard they would be in Kansas City for a live show, I was like OK I’LL BUY A TICKET AND SIT BY MYSELF. Thankfully, I reunited with three friends for the show, two of which got engaged the night before (to each other)!! It was unreal.
  • Michael and I hosted a Christmas party, and it reminded me of when I was in college and had to clean up beer and alcohol the day after a party and wanted to die of my hangover. But I digress. We love hosting and had an amazing time; as usual, Michael and I fell asleep on the couch while guests were still here.

 

I think that about covers it. If you made it to the end of this blog, I applaud you. Truly though, thank you for being a part of our lives, and we wish you a VERY happy new year!! Love, the Klinginsmiths.

Advice from a First-time Home-buyer

Michael and I are officially HOMEOWNERS and we could not be more excited!!! Yes, I know that we will have extra responsibilities as homeowners, but just let us be excited right now, okay???

I am obviously a novice when it comes to home-buying. I read a ton of articles on what to expect, what the process and timeline looked like, what to look for in a realtor… anything to do with home-buying, I was reading it. We decided to rent in Louisville for a few months before buying, and that was the best decision for us. We could scope out and experience several different areas of Louisville and decide which location was best for our lifestyle. We also moved 10.5 hours away, so it wasn’t an easy feat to go down for a weekend to look at houses and make a decision. This brings me to what we did first…

Get your finances in order early

Trust me, I know this isn’t the fun part, but it’s the first thing we did. We spoke with two different lenders to decide which one would be our best option. We received recommendations for lenders, and one of them works with A TON of the residents in Louisville. That made our decision even easier, because we literally had no clue what we were doing. They will speak with you about your different loan options, what your interest rates will be, and what documents you need to get the process started.

Oh, the documents. Some of the items will take a while to receive if you don’t have it in hand, so starting early will only help you. I also recommend doing everything as soon as your lender tells you to. They will appreciate it, and it won’t give you time to forget about it.

Decide on your “must-haves”

This. is. VITAL! You need to decide what features are a NECESSITY and what are just PREFERENCES. Do I NEED a ranch fountain built into my kitchen? No. Would I PREFER if I had one? You don’t even need to ask. Should I be concerned about every house being haunted? Probably not, but yes.

Michael and I knew of several “neighborhoods” that we wanted to live in. Because we were looking in a relatively small radius, we had to be a little flexible on other features. If you’re more flexible on location, you can be pickier on other features.

The area we looked in consisted mostly of older homes; that meant that few homes had attached garages and/or finished basements. We had to decide if that was going to be a deal-breaker. We also really wanted a fenced-in yard for our perfect, furry friend, Luna. If there wasn’t a fenced-in yard, we had to decide if we were willing to spend money to build one. We ended up buying a house with an unfinished basement, a detached garage, and a fenced-in yard… and we love it. You give and you take!

Know the market

This is going to dictate how your house search goes, and this is something that our realtor was able to help us with. The Louisville housing market is HOT in the price range we were looking in, with homes being sold within hours of being listed. Not only that, but many of the homes were being sold above asking price, and people were even getting into bidding wars on houses. Cool!

Because of this, Michael and I knew that if we were super interested in a house, we didn’t have a lot of time to think on it before offering. As a first-time homebuyer, this was a little stressful. Is it worth putting an offer in even if it didn’t have a garage OR a finished basement? Do we put an offer on the house that’s spacious, has an attached garage, but isn’t in the area we want? With that being said, we knew that we would NOT be putting in an offer on the 115-year old house that someone had for sure died in.

Expect the unexpected

Michael and I were supposed to close on our house on a Tuesday. Due to Equifax drama, we weren’t able to close until Friday. Normally that wouldn’t be an issue, but we were also driving to Nebraska that Sunday. We essentially spent 28 hours moving over a 48-hour span, and somehow we are still happily married.

Michael and I were actually under contract with a different house a couple months ago. It was a newly renovated, gorgeous house, and we were thrilled. However, after the inspection (GET THE INSPECTION. EVERY TIME. DO NOT SKIMP ON THIS, and please be there during the inspection if you can!), things weren’t looking so good. Of course, we didn’t foresee this happening. We had to decide whether we wanted to put even more time and effort into this house, or if we wanted to walk away. We decided to walk away and thank goodness we did.

Just know that buying a home isn’t always a smooth path, and that’s okay. We put offers in on four houses. We toured around 20 houses. Because I’ve spent the last 2 years of my life obsessively looking at Zillow (in places I didn’t even live/wasn’t planning on moving to), I expected home-buying to be fun and laid-back. It is fun, and our realtor helped make it laid-back… but it can also be very stressful. Don’t let this sway you from buying! I just want you to be aware.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our realtor. She was AMAZING and knowledgeable and helped us through the entire process. Find a good one! Use recommendations from friends, or be sure to look at reviews online before deciding.

Any other words of advice for prospective home-buyers?!

Staying Sane as a Medical Resident Spouse

As some of you know, Michael is an Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose, & Throat) Resident at the University of Louisville. I wanted to write this because I know there are many people (close friends and family included) who are still unsure about what mine and Michael’s lives consist of now that he’s in residency. This is also for anyone whose significant other (SO) is going through medical school or residency, and is wondering HOW WILL I GET THROUGH THIS?! Not to fear – I am here to help you stay sane (as much as I can… I’m sure I will have far more wisdom after this residency program is finished).

I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T (do you know what that means?)

If you aren’t already an independent person, this point is something that you’ll have to work on in order to maintain your sanity. This means going to movies alone, going solo to hang out with your other couple friends, going on trips without your SO, going to weddings alone, other family gatherings alone… okay, you get the point. Just because your SO is unable to attend, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t either. Solo also means solo cups, AKA you can drink alone on the couch with your dog!

In residency, Michael gets 2 weeks of vacation a year, and he has to take them in week-long increments. So in general, weekend road trips with Michael are out of the picture. No, he can’t just take a day or two off here and there. No, he can’t fly to Kansas City to see My Favorite Murder live in December… however, I can! And I should continue to live my life, rather than be upset that Michael can’t join me. Moving to a new state while Michael started residency forced me to go out and explore on my own. And I have learned so much about myself by doing so!

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Louisville frands!

 

 

My Sacrifice (the hit song by Creed)

They will not be able to hang out as much as you want. They will not be able to make it to every activity that you want (as stated above). They will not be able to listen to Creed’s “Greatest Hits” album as much as you want. They will spend a lot of time studying. They will need to make time for their friends and family too. This is something that you absolutely have to be okay with, or it will cause a lot of rifts. What I’m saying is: know what you’re getting into, and know that you (and your SO) will have to make some sacrifices with your time, and even life decisions.  And trust me, this is easier said than done.

During the busiest times, we had to get creative in how we saw each other. Sometimes “hanging out” consisted of us sitting next to each other on the couch while he studied and I read a book. Sometimes I brought him a treat or a meal at the school while he was studying so that we could talk for 5 minutes before he got back to studying for the rest of the night. If Michael had one night of the week he was able to hang out, I made sure to clear my schedule so that we could be together. This can be frustrating; I totally get it. If I had major plans, Michael and I had to forego hanging out that week (sorry bruh, ovaries over brovaries!!!!). However, Michael always made time for me, even if that meant studying less for a test. Relationships are a two-way street, and your SO has to put in the effort as well.

Fast-forward to the match process (which I will write an entire blog about on its own; think sorority rush, but with medical residency programs). Both born and raised in Nebraska, Michael and I decided we wanted to go out of state for his residency program. That was a huge decision, and can be a massive sacrifice for a lot of couples. We were moving away from all of our family, our friends, and the job I’d been at since I graduated college. Michael and I had many discussions about this, and we both had to give and take. Please make sure that you and your SO have talked about your future plans; if they don’t align, you need to resolve them before any further commitments are made. Michael and I were already married at this point, so this decision may be different depending on where you are in your relationship.

I hope I didn’t make this section sound easier than it is. There will be tears. You will get upset. You will wonder why they didn’t choose a position with 8-5 M-F working hours. Unless you’re like a perfect fairy-person. Of which, I am not.

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We had just found out that he matched at U of L on Match Day!

F is for friends who do stuff together

I cannot over-state this point enough. Making friends with other medical school significant others is vital. Nobody else understands the craziness of their schedule and hours… and the fact that this schedule is constant. It’s not just a season of 14-hour shifts; it’s a lifetime. DO YOU HEAR ME? IF YOU DIDN’T REALIZE THAT, GET OUT NOW. JK – kind of. If you aren’t prepared for a lifetime of independence, long shifts, your SO leaving at 2:00 AM because they’re on call and an incident came in… then having a physician as a life-partner may not be your cup of tea.

Anywho! Not only do you have someone to vent to, but you also have someone to hang out with while your SO is working! Michael started residency on July 1st, and this month is the first month that he’s had weekends off. He’s also worked plenty of night shifts, and 24 hour shifts (People have said to me, “There’s no way he works 24 hours without a break!” You are correct. That shift often ends up being 27-30 hours long.) With all of that complaining being said, I would have gone crazy sitting at home wishing that Michael was there to hang out with. Because of the friends I’ve made in Louisville, I’ve been able to experience so much of our new city, and grow closer with them as most of us explore a new city together! That’s another great part about residency; there will be plenty of other significant others in your same situation.

For the past 3 months, Michael has had one day off a week. The other SOs will understand that that one day off is PRECIOUS and that it will be spent with your SO. You can also have weekday adult sleepovers while your SOs are working, which are the best thing of all time, and I recommend them to everyone. (Hi Mollie!)

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Mollie & B, my sleepover buddies.

 Be flexible (a bit of a stretch for me – ha ha ha)

This is/was definitely the hardest part for me to get used to. I’m a huge planner, and I can still plan for MY life, but it is nearly impossible to plan as a couple unless Michael has a scheduled day off. Even in medical school, we often had to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays before or after their actual day. That didn’t bother me as much. What did bother me was Michael telling me that he’d be done studying at 8:00, and would come over to hang out after that. When Michael didn’t come over until 10:00PM because he was studying late, I was a fire-breathing dragon. Let’s just say that being flexible isn’t something that comes naturally for me.

How did I improve on this? (WARNING: sappy sap sap coming up) I reminded myself that being a physician is truly Michael’s calling. He studies late and is at the hospital late because he cares. He wants to provide the best for his patients, and I admire him so much. I could NEVER do what he does. Ever. I put myself in his shoes – would I want to come home after a day of sewing people up and seeing nightmarish traumas to a SO who was mad that I didn’t get home two hours ago when I said I would? No freakin’ way.

It took me 3-ish years of medical school to improve on this. Now when Michael says he’ll be home late, I’m like, “Okay, that’s more time for me to watch This Is Us and cry without anyone judging me!” See, it’s a win-win.

Wow, this got very long. When Michael asked what I was writing about, I told him the topics I had. He said, “Oh you should add something that says just because your SO might be in class, or studying with their friends all day, that’s not considered hanging out and they have to hang out with their friends outside of school.” Heh…I don’t know what would ever make him give that sort of detailed, thought-out response, but you can keep that tip in your back pocket. 😉  Other resident spouses: do you have tips on how to remain sane during medical school and residency?

Why Greyhounds are the Best: written by an unbiased source

Everyone thinks their dog is the best. So, I may be biased when I say that we have the world’s best dog. Luna is sweet, cuddly, quiet, and well-behaved. Seeing her tiny dog face peek over the bed in the morning is enough to make my heart explode. When her and Michael cuddle on the couch… all bets are off. I melt into the couch and become one with the couch cushions, all while snapping 60 pictures and trying not to cry.

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Like, look at them. I love it.

Since we adopted Luna about 3 months ago, I’ve had a lot of people ask me about greyhounds. They seem to be a breed that not many people are familiar with, and I am MORE than happy to educate. I can literally talk about them all day. Ask my friends. Because of this, I thought it would be handy to give you the ins and outs of why greyhounds are THE BEST.

We adopted Luna from an organization in Louisville that finds homes for retired racing greyhounds. Most states have a greyhound adoption organization, and if not, there’s likely one in a neighboring state. Many greyhounds come from a racetrack, and because of this, they’re a bit older when adopted. I totally get the appeal of puppies; they are freaking adorable, super ‘gram worthy, but you also have to do a lot of training, and get through the initial craziness of the puppy stage. Adopting an “adult” dog (Luna is 4) was perfect for us because we didn’t have to do much training with her, and because we could accurately assess if her personality was right for our family. (This goes for adopting any breed, not just greyhounds.)

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And they’re so goofy. This is called roaching, and Luna sleeps like this.

Due to their past racing days, many people assume that greyhounds are high energy dogs. However, if you follow me on Snapchat, you know that Luna is lazy AF, and that she loves bacon. Am I describing myself or Luna? We’ll never know. Greyhounds sleep 14-18 hours a day, and require 1-2 walks a day. While it’s nice for them to get a full-out sprint once in a while, you can rely on a greyhound to be a super low-maintenance dog. Luna definitely gets the zoomies when she’s excited, and she’ll chase after toys, but she tends to spend most of her time on her Slumber Ball. (IF YOU HAVE A DOG, GO BUY ONE RIGHT NOW. THEY WILL NEVER SLEEP ANYWHERE ELSE AGAIN. YOU MIGHT NOT EITHER. IT’S SO SOFT.)

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They are SO LAID-BACK! Greyhounds are quiet doggos. Luna barks only if another dog is bugging her, and she howls when she’s excited to go for a walk. Aside from that, she does not make a single doggie peep. Which is great, because it drives me insane when we are minding our own business on a walk and a dog starts barking and growling and going completely insane. Then the owner is, like, profusely apologizing and feeling embarrassed… and we don’t have to worry about that! Especially when it’s a tiny dog that Luna could literally eat in one bite. But she wouldn’t. Because she’s perfect.

Michael works seriously crazy hours. They’re long and completely unpredictable, and I happen to work from home. I told Michael that I wanted a cuddly dog who would fill the void of him being gone. Luna fills that void and so many more voids I was unaware I had (did I know that I had an affinity for picking out a dog’s eye crusties every day? No I didn’t.) She’s so loving to everyone that she meets, and she is never aggressive around our friends. I love that people can come over and she won’t jump up on them or be hyper dog. She’s just like, “Hey pet me, until your hand falls off.” She loves cuddling and spooning and I literally can’t get enough of it. I often ask Michael if Luna understands what it means when I kiss her face 100 times a day and hold her so tight that she can’t run away from me.

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omg HI yes I’ll cuddle forever.

 

I’ll keep this short (lol what am I saying, this still isn’t short) because I have an audience to entertain, but I love greyhounds so much. I’ve loved every single one I’ve ever met. And y’all, let’s be real; I’ve loved just about every single dog I’ve ever met. So although I love greyhounds, we obviously got her for a reason. We did our research on what breed matched the traits we were looking for. And don’t get me wrong; if you’re looking for a guard dog, or a dog to marathon train with, or a small dog, then a greyhound likely is not for you. And that’s okay! No it’s not. Yes it is. If you ever have questions about greyhounds, PLEASE let me know! I’d love to talk to you more. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how great it is to ADOPT a pet! I may write a blog solely on that topic.

Honoring my (middle) Namesake

I have been so very blessed to spend the last 25 years with all of my grandparents. In fact, until this May, Michael and I were privileged enough to have all 8 grandparents still alive. At our wedding in August of 2016, our priest told us that we were the first couple he had married in over 10 years who still had all 8 grandparents. That’s so crazy, and a fact that I absolutely took for granted. How unbelievably fortunate were we?!

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My mom, sister, and I celebrating Grandma Ruth’s 80th birthday!

 

On Saturday, I attended the memorial service of my mom’s mom, Grandma Ruth Purple Miller. Ugh. Just writing it makes me want to sob. (You may learn that when I start crying, I do not stop… for hours. So unless I’m in the privacy of my own home, I try not to start.) My Grandma Ruth was a classy, independent, kind-hearted woman who fiercely loved her family, friends, traveling the world, and vodka martinis. These facts, and so many others, were reiterated many times throughout the weekend by her friends and family members. Although her health had been declining for the past couple of years, her spirit and vigor remained until the very end. In fact, the morning that she died, she was scheduled to have her first sponge bath. She told my parents that she would rather die than have a sponge bath… and what do you know? It was often Grandma’s way or the highway, and we found that was true even in the face of death!

 

Unfortunately, I’m sure many of you have felt the sting of losing a family member. I doubt I’m writing anything about death that hasn’t been said before. Do I feel utterly depressed that my grandfather lost his spouse of 60 years? Do I feel nauseous thinking of how heartbroken my mom and her three siblings feel about losing a supportive, wise, amazing mother? Or do I feel relieved that she is finally able to breathe without her oxygen tank? That my grandpa, mom, and many others no longer fulfill the role of caretaker for one of the most precious people in their life? I’ve felt all of these things, and more over the past couple weeks. Death is weird, and I’ve had a very weird week trying to grasp it. It’s a true mix of emotions. For an ailing grandparent (or any family member, loved one, etc.), it’s difficult to hold onto the selfish thought of keeping them around. Grandma Ruth was sick, exhausted, and would readily tell you that she had lived a glorious, long life. However, we loved her so very much, and wished she could live for eternity.

 

At the memorial service, my grandparent’s dear friend said a few words. A friend of theirs for over 40 years, he spoke of how much they had in common, the many dinners they enjoyed together, and the value of honest and genuine friendship.  Although I know Grandma Ruth is drinking ALL of the port wine up in heaven and living the dream, we can still embody her here on earth. How can we do that, you ask? Well, by drinking all of the port wine, by being kind to literally everyone, by being a trustworthy and sincere friend and partner, and by encouraging all of your loved ones to be unashamedly themselves. Chelsea Ruth misses you, Grandma Ruth.

 

The Difficulty of Naming a Blog

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Here’s my husband and I doing the most Louisville thing of all time: seeing a horse race at Churchill Downs. My eyes might be closed in this picture. IDC.

I’ve always enjoyed writing. I used to write stories all the time, and I’ve always loved English class. I was even planning to double-major in Psychology and English, until I learned that I’d have to create a capstone project as an English major. It quickly became an English minor.

Writing is therapeutic for me, and I love to get my thoughts down on paper/computer. However, after the election (HOW was that fiasco almost a year ago?), I found myself with the urge to write more than ever. And girl (guy? Are there guys reading this?), those Facebook statuses just weren’t cutting it.  I also felt like Facebook wasn’t the correct platform to express all of the thoughts that I wanted to. Alas, the blog idea was born.

I obviously did research on free blogs, because my husband has been a medical student for the last 4 years and only gets paid once a month as a resident… so yeah, money isn’t exactly growing on trees on the apartment patio that the Klinginsmith family rents. I’d also like to clear up any confusion for people who think that Michael was, like, immediately given $1 million when he went to residency. Why do people think that? Stop thinking that.

We also just bought a HOUSE! You guys, I literally have so much to talk about. Is anyone even still reading? I haven’t even gotten to the section that my title refers to. MOVING ON.

Can we talk about how hard it is to name a blog? When WordPress told me to type in my “title”, I was stuck.

Chic Chelsea

What?? No. You are not chic and this is not a fashion blog. And chic doesn’t even have the same “ch” sound as Chelsea. You know what? Just no.

Chockful of Chelsea

No, that somehow sounds inappropriate. 

Chatting with Chelsea

No. You sound like a horrible morning talkshow. This sounds like North West got her own Kardashian spinoff show, and was able to pick the name herself.

I googled. I looked up synonyms. Nothing sounded right. I then started thinking about all of the life transitions I’ve had in the past year. I got married last August to the studliest of all studs, I switched positions at work, we moved from Nebraska to Kentucky, and we adopted our sweet Luna. What could possibly encapsulate all of these things?! Aha. The Lou Life.

We’ve only been in Louisville for 3 months now, but we have absolutely loved it. Michael’s residency program is 5 years long, so we will be here through 2022 (LOL OK). Upon which, I guess I’ll have to come up with a different blog name.