Happy September!

It is officially my favorite month--September! September's always been my favorite month; fall is starting, and Chicago's about to get a ton of beautiful dog-walking weather!

The first exciting thing that will be happening for me in September is my 25th birthday, which will be on the 8th! I'm one of those people that LOVES celebrating my birthday, even though I don't like getting older. I'm a little freaked out that I'll be in my "mid-twenties." At least, being 24, I could kind of pass myself off as "early 20s." Although, as I've mentioned before, most people still think I'm 14 based on my appearance anyway, so who cares?

Then, that following Monday, (in addition to it being Tyler's birthday) I start grad school at DePaul! I'm super excited for this for a lot of reasons. I first learned about the Master's in Writing & Publishing program at DePaul back in March 2016, when I visited DePaul's table at a Chicago Women in Publishing event. I looked into the program, which was the only graduate program I could find that included everything I wanted to study: fiction writing, journalism, screenwriting, literary editing, and publishing! Plus, the program coincides with a teaching certificate program. Since I've been teaching creative writing for a while now, I'd really like to get my English teaching certificate. That can open up even more job opportunities for me!

Cice says I am a "demon kitty"
because I went to Northwestern &
am now going to DePaul.
Of course, as many of you know, writers make very little money. I definitely couldn't afford to pay tuition to go back to school, and it would be really risky to take on loans right now--especially considering that all of my money has been going toward startup costs for The Furever Home Friends. So, I knew that the only way I could attend this program was if I became a graduate assistant or earned some kind of scholarship.

I spent most of 2016 working super hard to earn the graduate assistantship, which would cover full tuition and guarantee a (paid) job at the school writing center. I knew it was going to be nearly impossible to get, since you can count the number of assistantships they give out in a year on one hand. I studied for the GRE, wrote and re-wrote my essays, worked on my essays with one of my critique groups, and, in January 2017, finally submitted my application!

I was super excited to learn I got accepted into the Master's program--however, I soon learned that all graduate assistant positions had already been filled, but that I was an "alternate," in case somebody decided not to accept their position. I was pretty sad when this happened; while I was happy to be an alternate, I doubted anyone would give up a position that guaranteed them free college tuition and a job. I wasn't sure what to do--so, knowing I didn't have the money to go to school, I planned out the rest of my year assuming I wouldn't be attending grad school. I thought about maybe deferring my enrollment and trying again next year.

A meme about Friday, August 11.
Then, on Friday, August 11, I got an unexpected email letting me know that one of the positions had opened up, and they were offering me the assistantship! If you remember, Friday, August 11 was the release date for The Furever Home Friends! I was already planning lots of fun social media blasts and celebrations for the book release. The fact that I also got a surprise email letting me know I could go to college for free...well, that just made it the best day ever!

What's funny was, I'd put out a video on Twitter at midnight, right when it changed from August 10 to 11, to let everyone know that the books were now on sale. In that video, I was wearing my DePaul sweatshirt. Little did I know that, just 12 hours later--at noon on that same day--I'd get the news that I'd actually be able to go to DePaul! It was fate!

Anyway, I'm so excited to get started on grad school, and to attend a program that will help me become a better author, journalist, editor, and teacher!

Back to September stuff!

Saturday the 16th is Chewie's birthday! Well, that's when we decided Chewie's birthday is, anyway. Because Chewie is a rescue dog, and had a few homes before us, his exact birthday is unknown. So instead, we celebrate Chewie's birthday on the anniversary of the day we adopted him: September 16! Chewie will be three years old!

Does anyone have recommendations for pet stores where I can get him a cake? Chewie loves to eat, so I want to make sure he gets to really indulge on his birthday!

Then, on Friday, September 29, Tyler & I are getting married! (To each other!) I proposed to Tyler almost two years ago now--On October 21, 2015. (If you know why that day is significant, put your answer in the comments. I'll give you 10 points.) I've been meaning to do a post on my proposal story for a while, because it's a really funny story--so I'll be sure to write about that in the upcoming weeks!

I'm super excited for our wedding for a lot of reasons! First, Tyler and I are the kind of people who like creative, DIY-type things. We're not super fancy. Our wedding is really going to reflect that. We're not hiring outside people for anything except food. Tyler's dad and brother both do photography as a hobby, so they'll be taking our photos. Tyler and I are going to make a playlist of the music ourselves--no band or DJ or anything. Aimee is going to be officiating the wedding, because she got certified on one of those websites where you can do that. My mom, who spent the majority of her career as an event planner, will be doing all of the decorations. These are all great ways to save money on your wedding, plus keep everything between you and the people you care about!

We got our wedding rings in the mail the other day. I'm going to do a later post on saving money for your wedding--because our rings cost about $12 each, fit perfectly, and are beautiful. (Hint: the secret is getting titanium rather than platinum, and buying from independent artists rather than big jewelry stores.)

I also got the coolest shoes for this wedding! I'll post a picture for you all in a few weeks, when I do my post all about my wedding stuff--including the dress & shoes I bought online, and how adorable I'm going to look.

As some of you may know, I'm a gross dirty hippie, so I'm planning to leave my hair long, down, and naturally curly for the wedding. No one's touching it. I'll also, as usual, not be wearing make-up. I'm going to consider shaving my legs for the first time in three years, though. (More on that later.)

For my shoes, I got some cool fake-leather platform shoes from Modcloth. I can't wear heels because of my back problems, and I'm not buying Doc Martens because I don't want to pay for real leather (both because of the cost, and because I'm not okay with food and clothing products made at the expense of animals).

Then, Tyler and I will take a stay-cation for the following week as our cheap honeymoon (though I'll still be going to class, probably...but we're both taking off of work). We'll spend that time going out to dinner, playing video games, marathoning the new season of Bojack Horseman, and taking Chewie for beautiful fall days at the park.

What are you guys going to be up to this September?

Let me know in the comments!



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