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...


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...


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.


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.


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.


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