a hairy weekend (not really)

Over the weekend, Give Me My Crown Already celebrated its five year anniversary!

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We’ve had our ups and downs in the blogging world, but it’s been a wonderful experience to be able to reflect and see how things have changed. Also, I’m getting older as this year will soon mark five years since graduating from college.

This weekend was a good mix of relaxation and activity, my favorite kind. On Friday, I was consumed by listening to the podcast, Missing Richard Simmons, on the way home from work and kept on listening when I got home. For the record, I’m not sure how I feel about the podcast itself, its intentions seem questionable at best, but it has been interesting learning more about Richard Simmons. I’m sad that it’s over now.

Also on Friday night, I tried to find the latest copy of Entertainment Weekly ‘cus of BUFFY, but so far, I’ve had no luck. I tried two grocery stores, Rite Aid, CVS, Target, and Barnes and Noble (some of these stores were visited on Saturday). Some stores didn’t sell EW at all and others still had last week’s (or month’s) issue. I still don’t have a copy! I live in LOS ANGELES. Send help! (Okay, I ordered a copy with the specialty cover I wanted to my home back in Boston ‘cus it would arrive safest there but I want one now too!).

The rest of Friday was spent enjoying soup and watching Moana, which was beautiful!

I slept in a bit and relaxed on Saturday before heading out for a workout. Once I got my sweat on, I ate lunch, then headed back out to run some errands and get my hair trimmed.

I’m trying to grow my hair longer, which meant I only needed the dead ends cut, so I took a risk (and was cheap) and went to Supercuts. It’s not terrible…though this picture is not great.

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I also took the liberty of dyeing my hair, ‘cus those roots, man.

The rest of Saturday was spent hanging with friends, drinking wine, and eating pizza. Can’t beat that.

On Sunday, it was time for an adventure with my friend. We headed to the desert to check out the Super Bloom in Antelope Valley.

First impression: it’s windy.

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Second: it’s pretty!

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Third: California really does have beautiful weather.

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I’m loving exploring the area and absorbing all I can. I’m already looking forward to my next adventures!

After a stop for a quick dinner, I headed home to get ready for the week ahead and relax. I talked to my mom, folded laundry, read, and watched The Good Wife, before writing up this post and fitting in some quality writing time.

Hope your Monday is splendid!

Reflections

September has always felt like a fresh start thanks to countless years at school, but this one passed by in a blur thanks to my move. It strikes me how 2016 has been such a bizarre and impactful year in my life, both good and bad, from the very beginning. I lost my beloved cat and  aunt, both who I still can’t believe are gone. I became a personal trainer. Made new friends. Moved across the country. Started a new job. And I’m sure there are many other factors that have gone into this year. I’m not sure what’s to say about it other than a person’s ability to adapt is weird and empowering.

Tuesday’s most exciting part of the day was the fact that I mastered how to make a latte. My mom insists the foam makes a woman, but I was just focused on getting the milk to look like that. Yay me. Listen, it’s pertinent to my job.

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Breakfast was a yummy bowl of oats with almond milk, banana, raisins, walnuts, honey, and cinnamon. The picture makes me want to eat more right now.

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Lunch was another serving of quinoa and red beans with Brussels sprouts and spinach. No picture was snapped, but it looked just like it did yesterday.

Since it was National Taco Day, I decided to make more tacos for myself. This time, I grilled up some cod and served it over a medley of zucchini noodles and red pepper. Topped with soyaki and some hummus on the side.

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I’m doing pretty good for myself cooking. According to the scale at my new gym (that I don’t know if I trust or not), I’m down four pounds since I’ve moved. I’ve felt lighter and my clothes fit nicely, so I’ll roll with it.

I’ve remained solid in the exercise department even though it’s not my livelihood at the moment. Tuesday’s workout was a run/walk combination that ended with four minutes of HIIT that left me breathless. After a little yoga, I called it a night!

I already prefer working out in the evening to waking up before the sun, so long as I go to the gym before heading to my apartment. Routine, people. It’s a beautiful thing!

Happy Wednesday! We’re halfway through the week!

2015 Blogging In Review

Here at Give Me My Crown Already, or maybe I should start using GMMCA, we like to celebrate occasions, all big and small. While I like to think we can start anew on all things good and fresh at any time, there’s something about the end of the year that makes you look back and reflect, as much as there’s something to looking towards a new year that makes you energized.

Having a blog really helps someone take a glance back at the past year!

A lot happened, as it seems to in life, most good, some sad, but they’ve all led me here.

The most popular post of the year was very clearly my open letter to Joy Behar after she blasted nurses for no reason.

http://givememycrownalready.com/2015/09/19/dear-joy-behar-a-thank-you-from-a-nurses-child/

Though my fame didn’t extend much farther than this post, it was still nice to have a brush of success. A preview of things to come, I hope. Though maybe I turned people off with my casual and totally innocent mocking of a faux-apocalypse scare.

For whatever reason, that I still do not understand, another popular post was the one that I entitled after a song.

http://givememycrownalready.com/2015/08/20/if-i-showed-you-my-flaws-if-i-couldnt-be-strong/

This is one of the most-searched and most-linked to posts and I don’t even remember what it’s about other than mentioning that song.

We had a lot of fun with recipes this year, something that I hope to do even more of in 2016. Stir fry for example.

http://givememycrownalready.com/2015/09/01/food-good-good-food-ive-got-it-all/

We also dedicated a lot of time to watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I can firmly tell you, there are no regrets.

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Though I will tell you, there was a lot of hesitancy to start a new show so soon.

In the top two exciting things to happen in 2015, my sister and now brother-in law made things official and tied the knot this past June! I, of course, made a spectacular Maid of Honor, lacking only in humility.

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What a perfect day it was with the weather, love, happiness, family, and friends!

Another of the top two most exciting things to happen to me, was when I decided to take a chance and make a change when it came to my professional life. Work is a huge part of how we live, love it, hate it, or grudgingly accept it, so we should make it count. I was miserable where I was and I was scared to move forward, but with a lot of support and a moment of blind courageousness, I took a chance. To get to work where I do now, with the people I’m working beside, and feeling as though I have a purpose, that is a blessing.

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This all led to a significant moment in my life that has been building for the past four years when I finally woke up and realized I needed to take responsibility for my life and choices. As an early Christmas present, I took and passed the test that marks me a certified Personal Trainer and I am so so excited to finally get started.

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2015 was a year with up’s and down’s and I’m very much choosing to reflect on all of the good in this post. I probably haven’t even gotten too deep into what this year offered me, but I’m so happy to have taken the time and opportunity to delve into it a bit so that I can truly leave 2015 feeling as though I lived through it with purpose, pleasure, and effort.

Take a minute of your day to do the same with your’s.

What Does A New Year Really Mean?

How convenient that the first day of the New Year would fall on Thoughtful Thursday! I have a lot to be thankful for in December as well as in 2014. The year, as they always seem to do, passed by in a frenzied blur of emotion and momentous events, big and small.

In December specifically, I spent a lot of time with my family, which is my favorite thing in the world. From shopping for the perfect presents, eating meals, decorating the Christmas tree and donning “beautiful” sweaters, to standing around singing, talking, eating, and wining on Christmas Eve, and playing silly, fun games on Christmas, while remembering just why we celebrate, I can claim many memories from just this month.

I’m pleased that I have been able to make early morning workouts as part of my routine without much fuss because finding time in busy days to exercise is increasingly difficult, the more responsibilities that lie on your shoulders. There’s also no better, more powerful, or energized way to start my day and get me going.

I’ve read some enjoyable books, watched and finished some fun shows, and been to a couple of films that have entertained me and made me think. The best videos I’ve watched were the old home videos that showed me people that I miss and moments I don’t remember from being so young.

Since New Years Resolutions tend to be so temporary, I try not to instate my personal goals with such labels, but I also want to join in on the fun, so I came up with some. I would like to refer to 2015 as the Year of Good Vibrations. 2014 was a big learning year for me, which of course, should always be the case because we should never stop learning, I was busy finishing up my Master’s degree, finding a job, and fitting everything else in however I could. In 2015, I want to try and develop more routines, try new things, and go on different adventures. Here’s what I’ve thought of so far.

Year of Good Vibrations-
1. Meditate
2. Stretch
3. Yoga
4. Reflect
5. Forgive
6. Listen
7. Be Patient
8. Show Kindness
9. Try New Things
10. Have Confidence

The first three have to do with the body, mind, and soul connection. Truth be told, I am lacking on the patience. It’s the whole instant gratification thing. Even when I workout, I prefer to do something fast-paced and heart-racing to the slow-pace of something like Yoga because my attention span prefers it. When I’m eating by myself, it’s hard to just enjoy the food and the experience because it’s more interesting to sidle up to the table with a book or sit in front of the television. Even when I’m watching a show or a movie, I find myself grabbing my phone or the computer and browsing, not even really watching. The only entertainment I can focus entirely on is a book, a movie if I’m in the theater, or a musical or play. I have to be better at the whole relaxing thing. I think meditation will calm my mind, stretching will help soothe my body, and Yoga will do both.

When I say reflect, I mostly mean to journal more, but reflect sounded better with the theme. When I do fit in journaling, I love it and I find it to be healing and relaxing, but there are only so many hours in the day and sitting down to consume, rather than create, seems far easier. It’s all about motivation and self-disciple for so many of these goals.

I find that I’m often at my worst when driving because I become overly aggressive, but from my perspective, I’m not really someone who holds grudges. Forgiveness is more of for myself to realize faults, accept them and the fact that I’m human, and to learn from them in a positive way. Maintaining a positive attitude is a far greater perspective to hold, but I know for a fact it’s not easy. It’s also difficult to forgive people for their humanness because we can’t see into their minds and understand their actions. I think a little forgiveness from and for everybody would do a great deal of good. Forgiveness and acceptance if not understanding and compassion.

Again, there’s just so much to see and do in this world, that I find myself constantly distracted. People have so many things to share and say and I don’t sit down and listen well enough. Many times people, myself included, have so much on their minds that they just blurt it out and leave no time to listen to what people have to say. Perhaps that forgiveness, acceptance, understanding, and compassion could start to stem from simply listening.

Patience is quite a theme. In some ways, I have a lot of patience, which I’ve learned from my teaching experience and good breeding. It’s also something I lack when I’m waiting for something exciting or anxiety-ridden. Often times the things I stress over are just because I’m not in the moment doing it. Once I get working on it, I realize everything is fine. This goal also could be referred to as, stop being do anxious and just breathe and take everything in. But that was a mouthful.

Kindness, again, seems such a simple concept that everyone should show and yet, we can’t quite perfect it. As humans, we get caught up in our own heads, emotions, and actions, and we worry so much about what other people do being against our own that we blame them for it. Shared experiences are wonderful, but so are ones that we play no part in, but can learn from and understand if only we have patience, listen, and forgive ourselves and everyone for our humanness. As we have learned from all my thoughts and from life, I can’t control how everyone acts, but I can be kinder.

Trying new things can be difficult for me because I am so shy when I first meet someone. It takes awhile for me to build up comfort with a person or a new thing and then I sort of just explode all over it and people probably wish I was quieter and less intrusive. When I like something, I tend to throw my entire self into, which can be good and overwhelming. I just get very excited, which should be an attribute that lends to trying new things, and yet that anxiety that bubbles and creeps kicks in and I’m left indecisive and afraid. As I grow older, I’ve grown better at not allowing anxiety to hold me back, knowing that sometimes I need to take a deep breath and be brave, but it can still be stifling every so often. I don’t think it’s something that will ever go away, but it can be controlled.

Having confidence goes along with this. As I’ve mentioned before while discussing my weight loss journey, once I realized that I can’t spend my life hiding and worrying about what others think, I was able to lose the weight. Confidence is something I’ve gained more of, and increases as I feel comfortable with something, as it always does, but it’s still a matter I struggle with. It helps when I remind myself that I’m 25 now, an adult, and that most times, the anticipation of something is worse than it actually is, so again, I just take a deep breath, be brave, and do it.

Resolutions are made to be broken because I think we over-examine ourselves and only see the flaws or where we want to be in life, not what we have. From what I’ve written above as my goals, I don’t expect to fix in 2015 or ever. I laid these out because they are parts of myself that I want to work on, learn from, and grow. By facing our weaknesses or matters upon which we wish to improve, we gain a better understanding of ourselves.

Throughout 2014, I learned a lot about myself. Now that we are in 2015, I am looking back on all of that and trying to figure out how to learn even more. Let’s start with remembering our humanness, our imperfections, and our tendency to rely on temporary fixes on things that do not always result in physical products.

I’ve got a lot to look forward to that I know of and a lot that I don’t this year. Happy 2015!

Memory, Well, It’s A Fascinating Concept

I was excited when I came off the wait list for Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot because I’ve heard excellent things about the film version. I didn’t know much about the plot going in and my initial thought was it was about a person who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

The book starts out with a woman who has fallen at her gym and regained consciousness, thinking it was ten years ago and that’s she’s pregnant with her first child. Past this, I won’t go further to spoil the plot, but I find it an intriguing and terrifying concept to discuss.

From the movies (and books) the concept of hitting your head and suffering amnesia is a romantic concept, of which I have fallen prey. Not that I’ve ever lost my memory, but the idea of it hooks me in and gets me thinking, which is a mark of an effective plot device.

I often joke that if I ever lose my memory, the first thing I want my family to do for me is read Harry Potter because I’ll never have a chance to relive them as something new. If you really think about it, it’s not a light concept at all because there are so many terrible ways one can lose their memory, and never gain it back, and there are many unanticipated repercussions of realizing you’ve lost a few years of your life.

As someone who believes I have been suffering a quarter-life crisis of sorts, I sometimes think longingly of ten years from now, when I’m 35 and may seemingly have my life sorted out. It’s scary and difficult to start out on a career path that will consume and define so much of who you are. It’s also hard to try new things and go on exciting adventures because of time, money, and expectations.

One thing I have learned from hearing stories on the news, in my town, or personally, is that life really is so short. Anything can happen at any time that makes the small, daily trials and tribulations seem so small. It’s far too easy to get caught up in obstacles that life throws at you and to believe that the world is against you. Sometimes, it probably is, but I can’t claim that belief. As many tragic, terrible things there are in this world, there are also magnificent ones. In my tiny shell, I’ve been blessed with good fortune and seemingly smallish problems, and I try to focus on the good, while recognizing there is bad in the world.

It would be, seemingly, very easy for me to fall asleep right now and wake up ten years later to find what has happened to me. There a multitude of directions my life may take me, depending on so many different circumstances, happenstances, and choices I, or someone else may make, to get me there, or not. It would be easy and somewhat nice to wake up and find that I’ve met my soulmate (Chris Evans, waiting on you), bought a house, am succeeding in a career, pursue hobbies, travel, am fit and strong, etc, etc. I won’t even go into the bad things that may lie at my feet or the people and moments I may have missed losing.

Despite if I’ll be thrilled, mournful, exhausted, or a variety of a million different emotions in ten years on, I don’t want to wake up one day and find that I’ve reached that point, at least with no memory of how it happened. I want those ten years of memories. I want the hard moments where I feel as though I want to pull out my hair, cry myself to sleep, or feel such pressure of anxiety building in my chest, that I might explode. I also want those pure moments of happiness with loved ones, laughter, and love coursing through me. I want all the firsts, the lasts, and the in-betweens; the stress, relief, and rush of the unknown; I want to have gotten to a place of success, or failure, from the blood, sweat, and tears, that I remember with such poignance and purpose.

It’s not necessarily just what happens to us that makes us who we are, puts us where we are, defines what we are, how we do things, or why, but the processes, the actions and the evidence we put forward, that provide us with the wrinkles, scars, and memories.

I don’t think we can appreciate anything of substance without realizing how it came to be. Some things are serendipitous, though that is a definite opinion. I believe that everything happens for a reason, but with the condition that we have led ourselves to that point with choices, actions, mistakes, and purpose. Some things happen to us and for us that we have no control over, depending on where we are born, when, and to whom. We are so dependent on how other people act, believe, and live their lives, that it’s no wonder the world can be such a scary place to live.

Christmastime in particular motivates me to watch the old tapes my parents filmed of me and my siblings when we were older. Time is such an odd concept to me because in any particular moment, people are living and breathing and doing so vividly and then all but the memory, if that, exists. People disappear, no matter how real and alive they seemed. Time passes and surroundings are altered and we stop for a second and we look around or we think back and we say, how did it get to this place? Time is both terrifying and thrilling, burdensome and healing, temporary and everlasting.

It’s funny how time can change perspectives in a second, minute, hour, day, week, year, ten, twenty, fifty, hundred, a lifetime. No matter what lays ahead, no matter how scary, we are going to eventually reach that point, or we won’t. Sometimes it takes a moment of courage and a deep breath, but we try to live in the present, to appreciate and remember even then, with the anticipation of what might be coming next.

All of these thoughts, this is what a good book with an interesting storyline does. It inspires thinking and reflection. This very blog post is the product of quality entertainment because it places you within something bigger and more meaningful.

Family Dynamics As Shown In Books

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the book I will be reviewing today because I did, I promise. It’s just that, the excitement coursing through me as I force myself away from Amy Poehler’s new book Yes Please to be a productive, functioning human rather than a cackling fiend on the couch is impalpable. Next week, you’re going to get a really long, loving review of how much I love that book and I can say that with confidence even now because though I’ve had it for just a few hours, I’m tearing my way through it. And it is phenomenal.

But, I can’t get ahead of myself and allow this other excellent book from falling into a black hole of never being appreciated by me. The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout has been on my reading list for awhile now, but got tossed aside a few times when all of my on-hold books kept surging in and I had to finish those on a deadline.

Burgess Boys

The story begins with from an outsider’s perspective, showcasing how humans have the tendency to observe and react to another’s life, particularly those who live around us, are close to us, or are celebrities that we feel belong to us (Amy Poehler and I are basically best friends for reals though, I promise). In this case, a mother and daughter focus on a small family who lived in their neighborhood, two boys and a girl, whose family mysteries seem alluring and intriguing and unknown. In this method, Strout also establishes the characters’ personalities through an outsider’s view, so when we finally meet the Burgess’ we feel as though we already know them. This is interesting because oftentimes when I’m reading, I feel as though I am next to the main characters, undergoing every event with them. In this case, I felt as though I was watching them, much like a neighbor might, and I wonder if that was the author’s intent.

From the preface, I thought the story was going to be focused on a mystery that was highlighted, but ended up being a sort of “MacGuffin” or otherwise an afterthought to the actual plot of the story. In the end, that mysteries so-called resolution doesn’t really matter to the characters and after reflecting on it, I found it doesn’t matter so much to me either. As in life, with books, you travel on a journey with complicated people whose ordinary lives are turned extraordinary through quality writing, interesting plot twists, and obstacles that arise quickly because it usually needs to be resolved by the end of the story. How things turn extraordinary often depend on the genre because an extraordinary fantastical tale about a young wizard facing the world’s evilest noseless man is different than an extraordinary memoir about a young woman embarking on a months’ long hike by herself. Yes, sometimes plot lines in stories are juiced up in order to make them interesting and oftentimes what happens to the characters wouldn’t happen to your real-life next door neighbor, but a piece of the story and those characters feel alive and recognizable.

This is the case in The Burgess Boys. There’s nothing aggressively extraordinary about these characters when you observe them at a glance, but the fact the Strout brings them to life, gives them a voice, and makes them breathe, allows a reader to see that mundane life is fraught with complications and hardships that are born from both how a person feels and acts as well as anything that might happen to them.

Part of what attracted me to the novel is not what happened because I didn’t feel as though a lot did happen. What’s interesting is seeing these different personalities that make up a dynamic of a family. My own family is close and loving and we definitely have our similarities, but there are tons of differences between us. From our family, we find the voice of reason, the comedian, the drama queen (YUP, that’s me), etc, as all families do. Sometimes our family members do things that don’t make sense to us or are wrong or are exceedingly kind, but the best types of families, the closest ones, stick through it to support, even if it looks messy and is full of mistakes.

To me, that is the essence of The Burgess Boys whose main characters are a family who are different from each other, both on an emotional level based off of life experiences and on a personality level that stems from an inherent narrative (and probably other scientific things I won’t pretend to understand), but they share a similarity that, if nothing else, is due to the fact that they are family.

Life and family are complicated and sometimes we get frustrated by that and it takes reading a book to make us understand how fragile everyone else is too. To our families and those closest friends, we are at our most vulnerable because they see us through our best and worst times. Other than just family members, sometimes we put certain people on pedestals or judge others as somehow lesser than us, or we even put people in boxes and expect that we know who they are and what they do. But people have the remarkable ability of surprising us, even those we know and love best, and regardless of if that surprise is good or bad or in-between, we have to accept it or we don’t.

I can’t honestly claim any hard feelings or angst with my family or other people (unless I’m oblivious), but it is interesting to read about. I would definitely recommend this book because it is not only a good read, but it makes you reflect on your own family and the part you play in it. Enjoy!

Reflections

I’m surprised as you are, but somehow, October is coming to a close. It all happened so fast, from June to now, though if I’m being honest, even last year passed by quickly. Time needs to slow down except for situations where you are dreading something because then it can speed up, thanks very much.

Thinking about this while swimming laps today (I probably could have just swam outside in the pouring rain…), I wondered how I could incorporate this into a post. The idea of gratitude is one that reinforces a mindful life to be lived. We think a lot about what we are thankful for coming Thanksgiving and through the holidays, but I’ve found that it is a matter we all struggle to convey otherwise.

For every new month, I want to talk about a few of the things I am excited about, feel are important, and worthy of admiration. At the end of every month, I want to offer a word of reflection for all of the wonderful, important, and surprising events that have happened in my life for which I am grateful.

Yes, we still have a week left of October- yay Halloween!- but since I thought of the idea today, I want to introduce the post today too!

October Happenings:
– Wedding dress shopping with my sister, mom, and my sister’s future mother in-law
– Family party with good food, good wine, and great celebrations
– My dad’s birthday
– My sister’s birthday (Halloween)
– Playing kickball
– College reunion apple-picking trip
– My cousin’s ring and tassel ceremony
– Experimenting more in the kitchen
– Meals with friends
– Fall weather
– Writing
– Reading more

Okay, this was harder than I thought. When I asked my mom to remind me of any such events she said, “I don’t think you have any. Any of us.” Um, thanks mom.

But I have a feeling this is because I wasn’t keeping this idea in mind while living my life. As I am constantly on a quest of self-improvement, one facet I am actively working on is mindfulness. This relates in terms to eating and living in general, having the ability to relax and understand just what is happening to me in that particular moment. Important life lessons are there for the taking, but you won’t learn or grow in anything if you haven’t noticed it happening!

Wedding dress shopping was such a fun and exciting event because as MOH and as a sister to someone who is very happy, that makes me very happy. I may tend to be more of the princess in the family, but she’ll find the dress she adores.

Yeah, I’m not sharing that picture! NO SPOILERS!

The family party I talked about earlier this week, but if nothing else, it is just remarkable that my huge extended family can get along as well as we do. Our time together is always filled with laughter and good old bonding and I am so grateful for that.

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With my cousins Erin and Mikey.

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With my sister Lauren and cousins Erin and Carolyn.

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With my Godmother and cousin Maura.

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With Uncle Mike possibly vogueing and Mikey photobombing.

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With my Aunt Stacy.

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With my Uncle Peter.

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With two of the greatest women I know: my Auntie Bea and Grandma.

Birthdays are the obvious ones because it means another great year of happiness and health, which we are all fortunate to have. No one else in my immediate family cares about their birthdays as much as me, which I don’t understand, but just the idea of a birthday is a really cool concept. If you hate your birthday, I just want to throw this out there: It could be worse, think of where else you’d be….?!

Kickball has just been a really fun thing to do to meet some cool new people and I’ve enjoyed playing. The ball is not as small as I remember and much harder to kick, but I’ve had some memorable- good and bad- moments on the field.

Anytime I get to see my college friends, I get super happy. It’s funny how we can spend so much time apart, but when we finally get together again, it seems like no time has passed at all. And this time was particularly special because my friend Erin is getting married and asked me to be one of her bridesmaids in the form of Hogwarts acceptance letter. Yay!

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Not only was it surreal to be back at my alma mater for the first time since graduation, but it was for a super cool deal. I was extremely honored when my cousin Erin asked me to be her sponsor for her ring and tassel ceremony because, as I’ve said 1000 times before, family is important to me. I’m really glad and fortunate to not only be close with my siblings, but to have formed some great, lasting relationships with my cousins. This has shown itself in some more serious ways- being the sponsor- and silly ways- finding this shirt in a store and immediately having to share it with them.

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I’ve taken more liberty and risks when it comes to cooking and baking lately and I’m having a lot of fun! Let me tell you, it’s not always been perfect. I still have a waffle recipe I need to work on, but just the process of learning and exploring the science of cooking has been fascinating. While I’ve tried developing some recipes of my own, I also think it’s important to try different recipes because you get to learn how to use different techniques and strategies you may never have thought of before. That’s the essence of learning!

This month, I’ve shared some great meals with friends. From the mini college reunion I mentioned before, to brunch with my friends Lauren and Andrea and dinner with my friends Bobby, Laura, Lauren, Emily, and Mary, I’ve been fortunate to spend some quality time over quality food to catch up. Maintaining friendships are such an important part of life, but I find that I often take them for granted and expect them to just be there. Looking back on my life, I realize that I’ve had a lot of friends come and go for all sorts of reasons, so it is remarkable how some friendships last.

I mentioned my affinity for apples before, and also how I can’t eat them year round due to some pretty sucky spring allergies (that last too long!), but fall is the time I can enjoy them without my throat growing itchy and threatening to close- it hasn’t yet, no worries. Thank you, fall, for this gift to eat apples during its best season, but also thank you for your beauty. Most afternoons, I’ll walk the dog with my mom, or when I’m off running on my own, I get to look out into the beautiful landscape that surrounds me. From the colorful foliage to the crisp chill in the air, fall makes me so blissful and content, albeit a tad nostalgic- though that isn’t necessarily bad!

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For whatever reason- probably because I’ve put in more thought and effort- my writing has been taking off. Though I haven’t dedicated as much time to the editing process as I should, right now, I’m focused on just getting my words down. Whether for my blog, which I feel I have been so much more consistent, or for short stories and a novel I am working on- not about the mermaids, yet!- I’ve been so happy to connect my thoughts and words to something more concrete. Writing is not only an outlet, but a passion. Passions, I have learned, do not always come easy, but have to be fostered, and I have begun to put that into practice more.

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The reflection I will end on is actually something that has occurred more frequently these past couple of months, though I suppose that could be said about a lot of my points. Last year, I didn’t have as much time to read for fun, or at least what I wanted to read, between work, classes, and homework. When I got into bed, I fell asleep immediately. Having the time and liberty to read to my heart’s content has made me smarter, happier, and more thoughtful. Reading is such an unbelievable privilege of humanity.

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These reflections were not in any particular order, but were typed as I thought of them. October, as the months and years before it, have passed by so quickly, but they were not without their lasting memories and important moments.

Look for a post, come early November (the best month!) where I discuss some of the things in which I’m looking forward!