2018 Year in Review: Part Two

2018 Year in Review: Part Two

How do you a measure a year in the life?

I’m continuing yesterday’s year in review and looking through my experiences in 2018, month-by-month.  Here’s part two:

June: While May had been a month of many tearful goodbyes, June had many exciting reunions.  My childhood friend, Emma, came to visit from Ireland and we got our entire childhood friend group together for one day exploring Manhattan.  I saw my cousin, Sophia, again after many months apart and we enjoyed a wonderful summer night in Bryant Park. Soon, some of my Disney friends, Jenn and Ryan, even made appearances in Manhattan and I was overjoyed to be reunited with these people that I missed so dearly.  In June, I realized how blessed I was: I have so many amazing people in my life that bring so much joy into the world.

July: July is always my favorite month, as it is my birth month (I am a proud cancer), and this July was as wonderful as ones in the past.  I spent Fourth of July with my friend, Sam, who could rival Captain America with his patriotism. Soon, the event I had been waiting for for months approached: the Taylor Swift concert.  I boarded my bus to D.C., eager to see her perform and see some of my good friends. Her concert was one of the greatest nights of my life, even if we did almost end up stranded in suburban Maryland.  Scream-singing Taylor Swift songs with your friends is so much more fun when Taylor Swift is singing live. I also reunited with an old friend, Sunny, on this trip: Sunny and I had done a summer program years ago together and kept in touch.  She and I got lunch in D.C. and then had a fabulous night when she visited New York a few weeks later. I also reunited with a great friend from high school debate, Katie. Friendships like Sunny and Katie’s are so meaningful to me: no matter how long apart you are, when you reunite, it’s like no time has passed.  

August: August included returns to two of my favorite places: Disney and Georgetown.  Thanks to my sister who gifted me plane tickets to Florida for my birthday and my dear friends who housed me for a week, I was able to return to Orlando one last time before school started.  And, what a wonderful week it was! I went to Universal and went on drives with Kelsey, I spent days running around the Disney parks with my friend, Kelly, I spent hour meandering Disney Springs and the surrounding hotels with another friend, Abby, and I spent days by the pool with Julie.  I never wanted the trip to end, but it soon did and led to my return to Georgetown. Once I arrived, I realized I had forgotten how dearly I missed this place and was excited to be reunited with great friends and my activities, such as the school newspaper, The Hoya.

September: September brought the start of school and with that, the start of club recruitment season.  As social media editor for The Hoya, I found many of my days being consumed by working on my daily tasks, such as best promoting the content, and working to best publicize our application and lead recruitment.  I wouldn’t have it any other way though– the hours I spent with friends at the paper are hours I cherish. In particular, this paper brought me a new friendship this month with a girl named Kathryn. Kathryn is now one of my most treasured friendships and I am so grateful for this organization for bringing us together.  In addition to newspaper recruitment, I also had sorority recruitment this month. Sorority recruitment is stressful for all but I loved getting to spend time with all of my sisters (and all the free food) and welcome in an amazing new pledge class.

October: October went by in a blur.  I went home for the first time this semester and had an amazing time apple-picking with my mom and sister and exploring a local fair. October also brought one of my greatest joys and biggest excitements: the launching of this blog!  I am so happy to have started this journey with you all. This month though also proved my most challenging of the year, as I struggled to keep up with all of my commitments, while still maintaining my mental health and practicing self-care.  I had some failures in October, but these failures just helped make my direction even clearer.

November: November was a month of smiles.  It started with getting my two amazing littles who I adore and am so happy to have them join my little sorority family (shoutout to Emma for being the world’s best sorority twin).  It continued with a wonderful newspaper photoshoot with my social media team. Thanksgiving was a welcome trip home and I enjoyed spending time with my family (especially my puppy, Luna) and friends for the weekend.  Returning to school brought my favorite night of the semester: last night of production for the semester of the newspaper. This night was so much fun and when it was over, I found myself wanting to press pause on life and just live in the happiness that existed in these moments forever.  I truly love the people I got to work with this semester– they have become my support system, my motivation, and my great friends. I am so grateful to have them.

December: The beginning of December brought wonderful nights of dancing and too many days of goodbyes.  With formals for both my sorority and the newspaper, I got to spend great nights, dressed to the nines, dancing and singing with great friends.  However, these nights soon turned to goodbyes, as many of my friends are going abroad next semester. I am going to miss them all so much, but I cannot wait to reunite in the fall.  Speaking of reunions, I was able to reunite with a few Disney friends this month and these moments make me smile so bright. I am so happy these friendships withstand distance and are still so strong.  The latter part of this month has been at home, where I’ve been going on many adventures with my family. It’s been a great time, getting to truly enjoy being with family.

I think back to where I was last December and I cannot believe the difference a year can make.  I come back to thinking of Seasons of Love and another lyric:

 

Measure your life in love.

 

This year, I was blessed with so much love and that love changed me.  Love has the power to change the world, if we open ourselves up to it.  Thank you to everyone who has made this year filled with so much joy– you are so special.  

 

2019, you have big shoes to fill but if you’re anything like 2018, it’ll be a year full of new dreams and adventures.  I can’t wait.

 

2018 Year in Review: Part One

2018 Year in Review: Part One

This is part one in my year in review content.

Five hundred twenty-five six hundred minutes

How do you measure a year in a life?

A friend recently reminded me of these lyrics and as 2018 comes to a close, I find this on my mind.  2018 was a great year, but how do I describe it in the context of my life? How do I measure all of the experiences from this year?

To preface, I ended 2017 feeling lost and confused.  I felt like I had lost my sense of self, like for the first time in my life, I had no idea where I was going.  All I knew was that I wanted to change directions: I wanted to find myself, to rebuild, to be better. Looking back month by month at 2018, I am sure that that lost and confused girl would smile at what a year did.

Here’s part one of my year in review:

January: The year started off in the place that would be the most influential spot of the year, Magic Kingdom.  On this last family trip before my College Program began, I knew that Disney World would give me an adventure, but I had no idea how much this program would change my life.  The month progressed with me having a bit of dead time that I spent enjoying home and New York. During this time, I volunteered with my high school’s speech and debate team and saw some wonderful old friends.  These days were some of the most important of the year. They reconnected me to my younger self, one that had passion and drive. They connected me to a version of myself that had no doubt I would change the world for the better.  The month concluded with the beginning of an adventure: I moved to Orlando, Florida and into my apartment at Vista Way on January 29. These last days of January are some of my favorites: they brought me three of my greatest friends, Kelsey, Beth Anne, and Destiny.  These girls, my roommates, have become my rocks and I treasure our friendships.

February: February began with some roommate bonding and exploring of our new neighborhood.  Beth Anne mapped out for us a day to go hotel hopping around the Disney resorts and the day ended with us eating dole whips by the pool at the Polynesian– in my opinion, that is how all good days should end.  Two days later, my Disney adventure truly began, as Destiny and I went through our Traditions (Disney orientation) together and got our park admission (aka the key to the kingdom, quite literally). I spent my first days off exploring the parks alone and my first days of work going through training, following by spontaneous roommate trips to the parks at night.  I look back so fondly at these first days: the magic was so alive and vivid. February also brought me one of my favorite people in the entire world, Julie. Julie and I worked together and after our last day of training, Julie asked me to go to Magic Kingdom with her that night. That one question formed a most wonderful friendship. For the rest of the month, Julie and I were practically inseparable and spent all of our days off exploring parks together.

March: March brought my first family visit and I was so happy to see them and show them around my new home.  The rest of the month can be summarized by the arrival of new friendships. I grew closer with my coworkers and I felt the magic in Disney changed.  No longer was the magic from the place, but rather the people I got to spend every day with. I could not get enough of these people: we worked together for forty hours a week and I still wanted to spend every moment off with them.  These park adventures we went on together were some of the most random, unplanned, yet magical days I had my entire program. I cannot say enough times how much I love my coworkers and friends I made at Disney: they are my Ohana.

 

April: March ended and April opened with festivities: Destiny turned 20!  We celebrated in appropriate Disney fashion: with a character breakfast.  The month continued with hang-outs with my amazing coworkers and one of my favorite days of my entire program: a day spent at Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival with Beth Anne and a good friend of mine from work, Sadia.  I mention this day specifically because it was so wonderful: the three of us spent hours together, laughing, joking, and eating at every country in the world showcase. It was the definition of pure bliss. This day was shortly followed by a very special family visit– they were here to celebrate my dad’s birthday and my sister even came along: we had so much fun celebrating together.  The latter parts of the month were spent trying to take advantage of the parks as much as possible and spend time with friends, as my departure date of May 17 started to creep closer. It was in this time that I found Disney and Orlando had become a home to me.

 

May: May was a month of many tears and goodbyes.  As my departure day approached and many friends departed before me, I found myself realizing how much this program had meant to me.  It gave me people who truly loved me and appreciated me. It gave me people who had magic within them and they gave some of that magic to me.  Together, we were able to make the world a little bit happier. I tearfully walked through Magic Kingdom in those last days, staying on Main Street with friends until we could stay no longer, passing by every cart I had worked at with a wistful look in my eye, and watching Happily Ever After, the fireworks show that had lit up my workdays.  I cried as I turned in my key and took one last look at Vista Way, the place that had been my home since January. I knew as I drove away that this place had changed me. I would miss it and the people dearly.

 

The Days with No Name: Living in the Moment and Adventures at Tiffany’s

The Days with No Name: Living in the Moment and Adventures at Tiffany’s

The days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve may be the strangest that the year has to offer.   It’s a no man’s land in a sense: there’s no sense of time or urgency in these days. Wednesdays slip into Thursdays and Thursdays slip into Saturdays without anyone realizing or even batting an eyelash over where Friday disappeared to.  I might be weird and it may shock some considering my love of Christmas, but these are my favorite days of the year. There’s something refreshing about losing the stress culture society’s gotten us to buy into over the years: anything is possible in these days.

This year, I’m spending these days doing things I love to do.  I’m writing blog posts, I’m taking photos, I’m spending time with loved ones.  And so far, these days have been wonderful. Wednesday, I spent the day watching Marvelous Mrs. Maisel with my mom before eating at an all you can eat sushi restaurant nearby for dinner.  There was nothing extravagant about the day, but that’s what made it so wonderful– there was no stress, no pressure, no worries.

Thursday, I went into New York City with my mom to go to Blue Box Cafe at Tiffany’s.

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My mom and I at Blue Box Cafe

 I have wanted to go here since they opened and so, a month ago, I frantically got on my computer exactly at 9 AM to make a reservation and I will admit, those minutes were some of the most stressful of my life as I watched reservations be booked out for the day in only five minutes.  But, it was all worth it. I don’t think there’s a better way to deserve my love for Tiffany’s than by providing my favorite monologue from all of Breakfast at Tiffany’s:

“The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling? …Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it. Nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then — then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!”

There is nothing like Tiffany’s and no better time to enjoy it than this strange little holiday season.  After Tiffany’s, my mom and I continued to enjoy the city, browsing through Bergdorf’s and Bendel’s, before making it to New York’s craziest spot: the Christmas tree.  Even with all the crowds and the pushing and shoving, I can’t help but marvel at it. It’s spectacular.

Looking forward from here, my plans aren’t so clear.  I’ll meet some friends here and there, work on my blog and internship applications, and just enjoy these moments.  The thing about these days is that they are very finite: I know the second the clock strikes midnight and rings in 2019 that it is all over.  The dates will become clear again, everyone will be back to work– I’ll have only a week left at home before I return to school again and a new semester will begin.  In these days, it’s like the whole world is Cinderella at the ball, but reality will strike again. For now, I plan to appreciate these days as much as I can and take joy in whatever life gives to me.

 

It’s the Most Wonderful {and Busiest} Time of the Year

It’s the Most Wonderful {and Busiest} Time of the Year

The holiday season is most certainly one of the busiest.  There is so much to get swept up in: there’s finals, shopping, holiday parties, and the list goes on and on.  I often find myself wishing for more hours in the day, but during the Christmas season, I find this feeling is even more prevalent in my life– I want to go see all the Christmas decorations, spend time with my family making cookies, go to every holiday party I can, spend nights in with hot chocolate and Christmas movies, and still manage my regular day-to-day life.  It seems there is never enough time to do everything at the holidays. So, this season, I’m trying to make the most of the time that I have and be thankful for it. Today, I’m sharing what I’m most looking forward to in the rest of the holiday season.

What I’m looking forward to:

  1. Cookie making.  I am so excited to be home and able to participate in my yearly tradition of baking Christmas cookies with my mom.  I’ve written about how much this tradition means to me in the past, but I can’t reiterate enough how important this tradition is to me.  It’s a time for my mom and I to be together, but also connects us to our loved ones who have passed on. It keeps them in the season with us.
  2. Seeing all the New York Christmas decorations.  While I spend the majority of my time in Washington, D.C., I always say that my heart is in New York and that is especially true during Christmas.  There is nowhere in the world where Christmas magic can be felt more than New York. I have wanted to go see the window decorations and the Rockefeller Center tree again for a couple years now, but have never made it into the city on time, but I’m definitely making that a priority this year.
  3. Christmas Eve dinner.  If you’re an Italian-American, you will understand this one.  There is no holiday that has as good of food as Christmas Eve, in my personal opinion.  Every year, we go out to our favorite restaurant for their buffet that includes the Italian fishes, pastas, and zeppole for dessert.  I also love Christmas Eve dinner because it is a really relaxed time for my family, where we just are able to enjoy being together without any stress.
  4. Spending time with friends and family.  Going to school in a different city than I grew up in is absolutely amazing– I love the independence I have gotten from this experience.  However, I definitely miss home, my friends, and my family when I’m away. I love Christmas because everyone is home, at least for a little while, and it is a great time to catch up with everyone.

 

 

Ranking My Favorite Christmas Songs

Ranking My Favorite Christmas Songs

When I lived at home, every November 1st, I would quietly change the radio station in my mom’s car from her adult pop hits station to Sirius XM’s Holly, the Christmas music station.  It would take about a few days before my mom would realize what I had done and would rant to me about how Christmas did not start until after Santa came down the road during the Thanksgiving Day Parade, to which I would always protest that Christmas music is too good to listen to only for a month.  So today, in honor of this love I hold for Christmas music, I’m ranking my favorite songs for the season:

5. What Christmas Means to Me.  This song is an underrated bop and I don’t just say that because I had all the lyrics committed to memory when my high school choir sang this for our Christmas show sophomore year.  It is such a fun and exciting song– it makes you want to dance!

 

4. Last Christmas. This song has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember.  I am a huge fan of 1980s pop, and this song has that fun vibe to it that causes me to start singing it without even meaning to.  Also, this song has the perfect amount of Christmas cheer mixed with angst that makes it IDEAL to sing along to.

 

3. Dominick the Donkey.  In my second grade music class, we had to vote for our favorite Christmas song and I still remember my teacher’s shocked expression when we all voted for this song.  It’s one of those songs you don’t want to love– you want to find it annoying and hate it, but then you find yourself going ‘la la la’ along with the song.

 

2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.  This song is another one of my favorites for as long as I can remember but as I’ve gotten older, I have grown in my love and appreciation for it.  The original version of the song is beautiful in its anticipation for the future and honesty: life is not perfect now, but next Christmas, it will be.  Newer versions of the song have tried to make it happier, but there is something so authentic and wonderful about a song that does not sugarcoat.
1. All I want for Christmas is You.  No surprise here.  It’s a classic and is one even the biggest grinch can’t help but sing along and dance to.