Five Friday Favorites: Memories of 2012

As today is the last Friday of the year, I think it is appropriate to reflect on the year and remember some of the best things that happened.  The list is varied and helps me to remember all of the amazing opportunities that I’ve had so far.

  1. Tennessee Vacation.  I’ve been thinking about the vacation that my family took in June for a few weeks now.  We started in Kentucky with a tour of Mammoth Caves, went to Nashville and saw a show at the Grand Ole Opry and a performance by Idina Menzel.  We went to Lynchburg to tour the Jack Daniel’s Distillery (my favorite whiskey!) and then headed to Pigeon Forge where we explored the Smoky Mountains and Dollywood.  It was an awesome vacation for my family and I have so many funny memories of our adventures in Sha-kon-o-hey (Land of Blue Smoke).  For Christmas I made my mother a little scrapbook of all of the memories and pictures from the ten day jaunt through the Smoky Mountains.  Here’s a few of my favorite pages!
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  2. Bunbury Music Festival.  Another one of my favorite memories was the music festival I took C, G, and his friend to in July.  It was the first inaugural Bunbury Music Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio.  It was so cool!  We saw so many awesome bands like Grouplove, Reverend Peyton and the Big Damn Band, Hotfox, Weezer, Manchester Orchestra, and I could go on and on.  It was a challenge to stay pumped for the full three days, but we toughed it out and had an awesome time with only a mild sunburn.
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  3. Starting a new chapter in Ypsilanti.  So far the biggest change in the year has been when C and I relocated to Ypsilanti to start our new chapter.  We moved into an adorable apartment, I started school, C found an exciting job that he loves, and we’ve settled in nicely.  I’m so happy with our little home and can’t wait to see where our next adventure takes us.
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  4. Semper tres sumus.  One memorable moment of this year was getting my tattoo done with G.  Though the circumstances were awful and I’d rather not have to have the tattoo, I’m still so glad to share something so meaningful with my little brother.  Someday I’ll share the full meaning of the tattoo with all of my readers, but not until I’m ready.
  5. Starting this blog.  It’s cheesy and lame, but one of my favorite things of this entire year has been developing the blog.  Sure, I know I’ve got a lot of work left to do, but I think it’s been a good run so far.  I’m really enjoying the routine of writing and planning and brainstorming for posts each week.  My process can only get better and my writing can only improve.

So thank you readers for putting up with my experimenting and offering your support!  Cheers to the new year and many more adventures ahead!

XOXO

A

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Five Friday Favorites: End of the World Confessions

Apparently the world was supposed to end today, and while I never put much stock in the rumors, with the alleged end approaching I stopped for a moment yesterday to take stock of my life…you know, in case the world did end.  Ultimately, I’m pretty happy with where I am and I don’t know that it would really scare me that the world was ending.  But here are five end of the world confessions from me, just in case the world ends later.

  1. I love reality television more than a normal person should.  Yes, I was once a strong supporter of shows like Tough Love, Rock of Love: Bus, Jersey Shore, The Real World, etc.  It’s surprising just how involved I get with goofy shows like that, but I get absolutely obsessed.  I’ve cut back a lot, simply due to a  lack of time, but every once in a while I’ll flip on an episode of Teen Mom 2 just to take stock of how wonderful and drama-free my life is.
  2. I play with my phone too much.  C sometimes gets on my case because I am constantly checking Twitter, checking my email, getting on Facebook, checking on Instagram, or playing BubbleXplode.  It’s one of my goals to cut back on this impulse in 2013.  I need to learn how to put the technology away and enjoy the moment that I’m in more.
  3. I love planning more than I love doing.  This is a major problem with me.  I love laying out deadlines, making schedules, and organizing everything way more than I enjoy actually doing tasks.  This is another issue that I really need to work on, especially for next semester because I’m going to be crazy busy.
  4. I am deathly afraid of people in mascot costumes.  I have no real rationale for why I have this debilitating  fear, but it is a problem that I live with on a daily basis.  It is especially hard because I am a huge sports fan, but I just can’t appreciate the people who dress up in the costumes.  There’s something strange about not being able to see someone’s face…
  5. I still believe in Santa Claus.  Like, for real.  I just think there’s a magic at Christmastime that can’t always be explained.  I remember the Christmas that my older brother, Chris, proved to me that Santa was real.  I must have been eleven or twelve and Chris was a few years older than me.  We slept in the dining room that year, hoping to catch a glimpse of the big guy.  We were laying on the pull-out, talking about what we were hoping to find under the tree the next morning when Chris stopped, sat up and looked out the window.  He pointed to a small red dot up in the sky and told me that it was Rudolph’s nose.  I looked at that dot and I believed, without question.  We quickly fell asleep and woke up to the greatest Christmas either of us could remember.  I know it’s foolish and that I’m 24 and should know better, but I’ll never forget that night.  Chris always kept the spirit of Christmas alive for me and I would truly hate to lose that.

What are your End of the World Confessions?

XOXO

A

Five Friday Favorites: Favorite Christmas Movies

Five Friday Favorites: Favorite Christmas Movies
It’s that time of year and we’re getting down to the last week before Christmas.  I always like to prepare with some viewings of some of my favorite holiday films.  These movies all remind me of my childhood and the joy that the season brings.
  1. Muppet Christmas Carol is a staple in my family around the holidays.  My brothers and I have the soundtrack practically memorized along with most of the dialogue.  This classic Christmas story is told much better by Muppets, in my mind.  And who can beat a Ghost of Christmas Present that looks like an Irish Santa Claus?  No one.
  2. Scrooge, with Albert Finney, is one of my mother’s favorite Christmas movies.  This grumpy, hunchback Scrooge always gets me laughing, especially during the song “I Hate People.”  Check this version out if you’re looking for an older version of the classic story.
  3. Christmas Vacation.  What’s better than Christmas with the Griswolds?  Every family is a little bit Griswold-ish at times and I’m sure everyone has that crazy Uncle lurking around.  So flick on those holiday lights and enjoy this family disaster…I mean, celebration.
  4. Elf.  Will Ferrell is quite possibly my favorite comedian and to have him star in a Christmas movie is like a dream come true.  There are so many good parts of this movie – the mail-room dance scene, the goodbye letter, and especially the confrontation with Peter Dinklage, the South Pole elf.
  5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Sometimes I watch this movie to remember what Taylor Momsen was like before Gossip Girl, but other times I watch it to laugh until my sides ache.  Jim Carrey is magnificent and incredibly creepy as the Grinch.  Favorite part – when he stands on Mount Crumpit, hating the Whos….alphabetically.

Enjoy these holiday movies and hope for some snow!

XOXO
A

Five Friday Favorites: Lessons from a First Semester Grad Student

This is it, folks – the last Friday of my first semester as a graduate student. I’ve gotta say – I’m busier today than I have been pretty much all semester. This semester has been like an uneven shelf – everything just kind of slides down to the bottom. Right now I’m juggling end-of-the-semester madness with papers, projects, and exams, while organizing an amazing internship for next semester, a potential part-time job, and working on a strategy to land an awesome internship for the summer.

Stuff. is. crazy.

I’ve done a lot of thinking, however, about how nervous I was to start graduate school and I’ve come up with five things I wish I would have known earlier, maybe even in my undergraduate years at DePauw.

  1. First of all, ask for help. This is quite possibly the hardest lesson for me to learn. I hate asking for help, and I know that there are a lot of others out there who feel the same way. I think it’s got something to do with the intrepid American spirit and the desire to be self-sufficient. Or maybe it’s just because it’s embarrassing to admit that you don’t know something. There have been so many instances this semester when I’ve sat myself down for a good talking and made myself acknowledge that I needed help. And, I’ve got to say, that once I opened up and admitted that to myself, the opportunities and amazing connections just started pouring in. I pushed myself to meet with the Career Development Office, even though I was scared, and got some incredible advice on my resume and a new perspective on the job hunt. I signed up to meet with a faculty adviser and gained incredible insight on my how my academics can better relate to my career path. There’s so much more, but I think you get the point. Ask for help, and you will get it.
  2. Skim the readings, don’t read them all closely. Graduate school is not like my undergraduate. At all. Yes, it’s school, but it’s also life. There is literally not enough time in the day for me to read 200+ pages for every single class, every single week. Especially when I’m trying to keep my apartment clean and maintain my sanity. The solution – skimming. In high school, my Honors English class wanted to make shirts that said “Skim Team” because we were all so adept at skimming the readings, figuring out the key points, but not reading the entire article. This is an invaluable skill. Now, when I’m doing my readings, I’ll read until I hit the crux of the argument and then stop, because that’s all I need. That’s something they don’t necessarily tell you when you start.
  3. Get to know at least one professor. I’m still working on this one. I haven’t quite nailed down my target, because all of the professors I work with are so talented. I also haven’t made much of an effort yet to speak up in class. (I’m shy at first – weird, right?) This is a lesson I’m learning that I’m going to definitely put into practice next semester. Go to Office Hours. Email professors with questions. Speak up in class. The people teaching me are incredible – one of them basically invented the Internet, and another one did some incredible work at Yale and the NARA. You can do it!
  4. Be nice to TAs – they’re students too. It’s not that I necessarily had to learn this particular lesson, but it’s important none the less. Until coming to graduate school I had never had a TA for any of my classes, the curse of a small, private university. But for two of my classes this semester, I’ve been instructed by two PhD candidates and it’s been a pretty awesome experience. These students know what we’re going through and want to help us along the way. But – they’re students too, and sometimes when my TA cancels a discussion session at the last minute and I get frustrated, I have to remember that they’re dealing with crazy deadlines too.
  5. Don’t be afraid to fail. This is more of a life lesson, but sometimes I need reminded. This lesson is part of the reason I started this blog in the first place – I wanted to try it, and I wasn’t afraid of it not necessarily working out. We learn through mistakes, and if you never try and never fail, you’ll never learn how to be better.

So, think of me this weekend, as I try to finish up everything without going full-on crazy. And think of C, who has to deal with me.

Happy weekend!

XOXO

A