12.31.2012

beginnings, endings, and the rest of that rubbish.






















Snow on New Years Eve. It almost seems like the world is sending a message. A very overt message. You know, something about fresh new chances and clean slates. But I doubt I need to spell it out for you. Life obviously is just a little cliched today.

What could I possibly say about 2012 that would do it justice? Studying abroad, backpacking across Europe, spending the summer in the Twin Cities, starting my senior year and above all meeting the most amazing people from all over the country hell, the world. Not to get too gushy, but my heart is definitely a lot fuller than it was this time last year. And now, on the brink of the next year of my life — and with it graduation and the ... that comes afterward — I can say that, no matter what happens to me in life, I will always look back on 2012 as the year I discovered that I didn't need to discover myself; I already love who I am.

So many of my wishes for this year came true. I did learn to pack light {although perhaps not light enough} and worry about my hair less {to my detriment, maybe?}. I saw the Mona Lisa and the Colosseum and the Eiffel Tower, and so, so much more: the topsy-turvy streets of Prague, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London, Tivoli and the Etruscan tombs, and of course Scotland, a country I would never have envisioned falling in love with and a country I now cannot envision not returning to someday. I climbed to the top of Notre Dame {a feat, I'm telling you, when I had an evil, dirty, creepy-crawly centipede-like bug take up residence in my lungs} and ate bread until I wanted to puke. I also grew to appreciate wine, as it was basically the only thing I could afford to drink in Italy. 

I met interesting and beautiful people during my travels, like the lovely Roman woman on a train to Venice who learned her "English" in Scotland {just saying, English and Scottish are two very different languages}. And don't forget the crazy people, like the tighty-whities man from Florence and the indefinitely hostel-living hippie who was thrown out of England because of an expired visa. And probably drugs. 

I fell in love with Minneapolis {and Minnesota summers}, Burrito Loco margaritas and two smart and powerful women whom I must speak to soon, even though we all suck at Skype dates.

I muddled through the first semester of senior year, writing my thesis and work-work-working, although I didn't have nearly enough ladies nights, something which must be remedied in the next few months.

And above all I did find happiness. With my family, with my friends, and certainly with myself. Last year I made a vow that I would finally start waiting to live and just live. And I'd like to think that I have. I'm certainly as happy with my life and myself as I've ever been. For the first time I can truly know that, while I may have done a handful of stupid things this year, I have no regrets. I wouldn't change a thing.

So for tonight, you guys, drink plenty of champagne, kiss the people you love, drive safe, and of course, have the happiest of New Year's Eves.

Until next year...

12.26.2012

off to a good start.


Just a year ago, I was on the verge of uprooting my life to travel to a country I had never been to live for four months. Of being on my own for the first time in my life. Of finally going off to have those adventures I'd always dreamed of. And I will admit it: 

21 was definitely the best year of my life.

Until this year, of course. 

My 22nd year will be daunting and terrifying but also thrilling in a way I have never experienced before. This is the year I will be forced out of the ease of college into the dark spiraling pit of adult life. This is the year when everything may change. This is the year when I may fail. Or the year when I find I am capable enough to stand on my own.

22 is the year.

And instead of fear, right now all I can feel is hope.

Of course, it doesn't hurt my 22nd-year outlook that a Chicago shopping trip is in the works for my mamma and me in the next few months...

22 is going to be a good year. I will make it a good year.

Hope you all had a great holiday! 
Now back to work...

12.25.2012

the most wonderful time.


And so Christmas has come again. It appears to have snuck up on me sometime between work and school and life, and I have a feeling this will only get worse as I get older. I didn't get to properly enjoy the season this year. I've barely watched any of ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas, I'm still behind on my shopping {luckily I won't be seeing some people for a week or so, and as Beth told me today, if I get people presents any time within the next four months, it will still be on time for me...}, and I did not have time to make a single batch of peppermint bark. And yet, even though I have no idea how we've made it to this point again, today is Christmas, and for one day the world seems to me to be merry and welcoming and good.

Everyone has their own traditions for Christmas. Ours has always been going over to my grandma's house on Christmas Eve to open presents with my mom's side of the family and then having breakfast and opening the rest of the presents with my dad's side of the family on Christmas morning. These traditions are sacred to me, as traditions always seem to be. And yet this year they seem even more meaningful, in a way. With my future so up in the air after graduation, I don't know what next Christmas will bring. I don't know where my life will be. So I savor these moments of normalcy, going through the motions I've done hundreds of times before {er, well, 21 times} while trying to capture and contain that comfortable magic of the season.

Next year my Christmas wish is to be right back here surrounded by family and my grandma's delicious Chex mix. 

It just wouldn't be Christmas otherwise.

Merry Christmas, you guys. May your day be filled with love and fudge and mimosas, and may you never forget how much of a blessing it is to be right where you belong.








12.20.2012

it's a marshmallow world.


Nothing in the world feels as wonderful as Christmas break.
I’ve been so out-of-it the last couple of months that I’ve barely had the time to enjoy any of the season, which is unfortunate seeing as this is my last college holiday everScary… The fall semester seemed so long at the time, but looking back on it now, I realize just how quickly it all went. Only one more semester left before… well, let’s not go there just yet.
It is so comforting to be DONE {er, hopefully done; still haven’t heard back from my thesis advisor on whether I need to rework my paper}. This semester stretched me to a breaking point, especially toward the end when I basically did not leave my room for three weeks.  But now I’m DONE DONE DONE and all I want to do is relax and sleep and read and drink peppermint hot cocoas with mountainous piles of marshmallows. Of course, the fact that I am working full-time over break and have come down with a nasty winter cold puts a damper on these plans…
But to look on the bright side, at least I have no homework. That’s a definite plus.
But for now I don’t want to think about work or being sick or the craziness of next semester or the giant question mark about what may {or may not} come afterward. Right now I just want to focus on apocalypse parties and Christmas goodies, last-minute shopping and my 22nd BIRTHDAY, and above all first snows and the chance of snow on Christmas.
Fingers crossed that I’m not jinxing it right now…
It was an insane fall, guys, but I’m back now, with nothing standing in the way of me writing blog post after blog post until you all are screaming at me to climb back into whatever hole I lived in this semester.
And apparently it’s Christmas time. Again. And despite not knowing where this entire year went, I’m happy to be home for my favorite time of year.

12.09.2012

so close, you guys.

Just bear with me.
One more week.
After which hopefully my eye will stop twitching
and I can stop dreaming about doing my homework.
One more week
And then I'm free.

But I must say, it's shaping up to be one LONG week.

11.26.2012

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. and i hate it.





































Okay. Stop. Just stop. When did this ^ happen? 
I'm starting to have tri-daily panic attacks like clockwork when I realize how much work I have yet to do in the next three weeks. And I honestly have no idea how this work is going to get done.

I hate that my blog has fallen by the wayside this semester. Although, really, everything I enjoy doing has started to fall by the wayside. I can't even read anymore, which is the cruelest punishment a university can devise. And between classes and writing my thesis and working three jobs and applying for graduation and grad school and summer programs, well... it's hard to see a book in sight.

But the next three weeks {at least} are devoted solely to finishing my thesis and then getting some semblance of my life back, so as much as I hate it, my blogging break is going to have to stretch on a little further. And it's not just blogging that I'm giving up. I'm still bitter about having to turn down a free trip to the ballet this weekend. I have to keep repeating to myself, 'Three more weeks, only three more weeks. Or four. But hopefully three...'

But enough about that. I know I've been singing the same song for the past few months, and I would probably hate me if I weren't me. I kind of hate me now anyway. Or maybe that's just the paper-writing haze. I promise there will come a day when I am not complaining about my 'To Do' list. It may be some day in the distant future, but there will come a day!

Thanksgiving was low-key, just the way I love it. Macy's Parade, pumpkin pie {and pumpkin pie and pumpkin pie and pumpkin pie}, family gathering, leftover turkey and a few glorious relaxing nights at home with my mother cooking real food for me. And of course, Christmas decorating. Can't forget that.

I can't believe Christmas is just around the corner. I swear last December was, like, a month ago. I still can't wrap my mind around everything I've done in the past year, and maybe I'm not supposed to. Maybe it should seem a little surreal. Maybe I appreciate it more because of that. 

But I have to say, even in the craze of the last few months, this year still has been the best year of my life. 

No competition.

I'll be back in action as soon as I can. But until then, stay warm, drink plenty of white peppermint mochas and survive the Mayan apocalypse.

Ciao bellas!


11.05.2012

jinkies!





































I can't believe it's November, you guys. Where has the time gone? 
Oh yeah, to my homework, that's where. 

Senior year...

I need this semester to be over, now, please.

10.22.2012

misery, thy name is benjamin franklin. well, sort of.

This is what I get for procrastinating.




























This is what I get for putting off an 8-page paper until the day before it's due. Or actually, this is what I get for putting off an 8-page paper until the day before it's due when I know I am the slowest writer in the world. Seriously, Guinness will corroborate this claim. It's a sad reality for an English major, but right now I have no words to write about what I am actually supposed to be writing about

These caged books are a blatant metaphor for my life right now. And I, like them, will be caged indefinitely, trapped in my corner until the end of time. Or until my test at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow, whichever should come first.

Today was miserable, but at least I was told that I only have to take 15 hours next semester and not 18, as I originally thought. So there's that...

But my happiness was short-lived. Benjamin Franklin is not-so-humbly forcing me to write more about how awesome and inspirational and American dream-like his life was. 
This AmLit paper is calling me back, so wish me luck.

That, or a swift and painless end.

Either or.

10.15.2012

my life as of late.

The Color Run.


























It really is the happiest 5k in the world. Or, translated, the only 5k in which I wanted to kick kittens and punch babies throughout only 65 percent of it.

I really need to get back on that treadmill. School and work and work and work is kind of getting in the way of that, though.
That, and my NEWLY DIAGNOSED ASTHMA. 
Yeah, you read that correctly. 

Apparently that foreign bronchitis bug from hell not only allowed me the pleasure of missing half of my family's French vacation but also aided me in development of a case of LIFE-LONG ASTHMA. Complete with inhaler. So if running didn't make me want to kick kittens and punch babies, that would have.

You guys, I have so much to do in the upcoming months. I know my posts have been seriously lacking in the proliferation department. Mentally right now, I am crouching in a corner in a dark room, rocking back and forth with my head in my hands, muttering a string of expletives about thesis writing and design projects and grad school applications and that too-quickly-yet-not-quickly-enough approaching graduation date. Maybe I'll come back into my sanity once winter break arrives. Maybe. Probably not. Although I'll hopefully have my thesis done, so at least there's that.
{Who am I kidding, there is no way it will be done by then, but thinkhappythoughtsthinkhappythoughts}

I do have one evanescent ray of sunlight in this seemingly endless stretch of senior-year darkness:

I have finally found knee-high orange socks.

Er, well, I suppose they are actually more shin high, but pshaw. 
Details.

So you know what this means, don't you?

VELMA IS ON.

On as much as she can be, seeing as how I have to work on Halloween this year. But I don't care. I will be wearing my ugly orange sweater, red skirt and chunky glasses to edit the ceaseless stream of {identical?} sports stories that is a game-day college newspaper.

OK. Now that I have efficiently procrastinated from thesis research for a good 45 minutes, I'd better get back to it.

I keep longingly thinking back to the days when I was a biology major. 
That was a piece of apple pie compared to this.
Sigh.


I'm just saying, my nose is a little raw from rubbing on that grindstone this semester.

Only 56 more days until winter break. In other words, only 56 more days until I can actually read for fun again. 

And even when I was some 4,000 miles away in England, my bookshelf has never seemed as far away as it does right now.


10.01.2012

ye olde jolly weekend.

So you know those bands you love but who, in spite of your enduring devotion, still manage to suck live?

Yeah, the Lumineers is NOT one of those bands.


It blew my mind to discover that the Lumineers may turn out to be the best live band I've ever seen {shhhh, don't tell Benjamin! Benjy, I still love you best!}. They really knew how to interact with a crowd, and I'm fairly certain each band member knew how to play at least three different instruments: Piano, cello, guitar, drums, and a freaking mandolin? Who even knows how to play a mandolin? Apparently the Lumineers...

Seriously, I cannot tout them enough. It was a magical evening, and if they are coming anywhere near you anytime soon, SEE THEM. That is an order.

After the concert, this last week was only one of the most miserable weeks of my existence. Too many projects, too much reading, too many long nights of work, blah blah tear tear I know. But thankfully that's over. As I'm just coming off of one of the best weekends I've had in a long time, I hope that will tide me over until my brother and I can go see "Perks of Being a Wallflower" on Thursday {SO EXCITED}.

On Saturday my roommate Stephanie and I got to see one of our favorite shows, Spring Awakening. I've seen it two other times, and even though this was a smaller production than I was used to, they did a brilliant job with it. If you guys have never seen it, get on that. It's definitely a controversial show, but it is also so beautiful and showcases so much talent. Here's one of my favorite songs from the Broadway version:



Also, I'm kind of in love with Jonathan Groff, I won't lie. I mean, really, who wouldn't be?



And then yesterday...


BAM. The Renaissance Festival. Otherwise known as RenFest. Otherwise known as the only place where I could carry around a gigantic leg of turkey without disgusting the general population...








So many creepy and wonderful people. And look at that wittle owl face! I must say, when your meals for the day consist of a turkey leg, cherry shaved ice and sour gummy worms, you know you're doing okay

Plus, I saw a mermaid. A REAL LIVE MERMAID. I know because the shabbily garbed man guarding her tank told me so.

But today I have to slowly come to terms with the fact that the weekend is over. Tomorrow another long week starts off with a bang. But until then, can you guess what I'll be doing? That's right. It's October.

Halloween movie marathon month.

Bring it on.

9.24.2012

puppies and cupcakes and everything nice.

My weekend.*

*Not pictured: 
1. The cold and/or whooping cough that I've added to the deep dark pit of bronchitis-despair I've been stuck at the bottom of for the past five months.
2. My mama.
3. The shiny red heels I bought for "work and interviews" ... among other things.
4. Cheesecake. Chocolates. Ice cream. Bread pudding. Pumpkin muffin. Pumpkin bagel. Pumpkin spice latte... lattes...





Cuddling with floppy puppies {Want. No, NEED}. Shopping day cocktail hour with my mama. Downtown St. Louis {I must free the carriage-shackled horses!!}. Cupcake Wars cupcake made of pure gold {and carrots and spice and everything nice... but also REAL GOLD}. And of course, my favorite place in all of St. Louis. My aunt's house always used to make me feel like a princess. Or at least really really cultured. It must have something to do with the sweeping banister. 

Tonight I'm going to see The Lumineers!


I'll post later and let you know how it was.
But now I have to attend to the massive pile of homework I did not touch while off galavanting this weekend.

Ciao, loves.

9.17.2012

study songs #1



For the record, this man is one of the greatest lyricists of all time

I'll fight you on this.

now i have no more excuses.

Sorry I've been away so long, guys. For the past week and a half, I've been holed up in my room ignoring my real homework and studying for the GRE.


{Disclaimer: This is not my desk. You cannot actually see my desk right now.}

BUT NOW I'M DONE.

And honestly, that fact is more daunting than exciting

I've been putting off even thinking about the crazy amount of work I have to do this semester, but now the I've taken the GRE, I really have nothing left to prevent me from diving right in. I know I have been pretty much MIA for months, and I hate that because I am finally starting to get back that drive to write. Unfortunately, there are some other things that will have to come first. This semester {on top of my three jobs} I need to write my thesis, create my new literary magazine, apply to grad school, apply for scholarships and look into getting a student loan.

But don't worry, I'm still going to make a little bit of time to do the fun things:

Like seeing the Lumineers play next week. {!!!!!}

And going to the Rennaissance Festival in a couple of weeks.

And watching massive amounts of Halloween movies next month {the list just keeps growing}.

And drinking way more pumpkin spice lattes than I should.

And of course, writing here. Definitely more often than I have been lately.

I missed the blogosphere. 
I missed you all.
 I need to catch up on everyone's blogs as soon as I can.

Today is going to be another busy day. But tonight, I'm watching The Neverending Story. And no one can stop me.

I'll be back soon, you guys. 
Don't give up on me just yet.

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