Thursday, December 31, 2015

In 2015...

It's hard to believe that this year is coming to an end, but alas it's the last week of the year. This year had a lot of ups and downs, and a lot of broken dreams. I've also been on a plane twice, and I've been to places I've only dreamed of going. I've also had dealt with anxiety and all of its' fun effects. I've also gotten a job at my town's newspaper. Wow, that's a lot of stuff! Let's slow down and recap! Shall we?
In 2015, I was diagnosed with anxiety. This happened when working two jobs and taking five classes finally caught up with me. It caused me to have to withdraw from a class so I would have less on my plate. The result of all of this is that I suddenly found myself on the 4.5 year plan, instead of the traditional four year plan. Yes, it's going to suck going back for an extra semester, but it's going to be okay. I've also been combating anxiety attacks, and trying to get through it all day by day. That is the only way to get through it. I'm getting therapy, and I'm getting better. I'd like to think that I'm going to thrive in 2016.
Santa Monica Beach; Take me back please!
In 2015, I did quite a bit of traveling. In Feb., I went to L.A. for a week with the newspaper for a conference, and did a lot of sight seeing. It was an amazing opportunity, and I definitely want to explore more of California as time goes on. I also connected really well with the people who I shared a hotel room with, and went on a thousand adventures. In May, I went to another conference in New York with those same girls. This time, we left after one session and spent the rest of the time exploring the city. It was an amazing time. In Sept., I went to Orlando for the SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists), and went to an amazing set of conferences. I also got to go to Disney World for the first time since I was a kid. It was fun.
In 2015, I switched around in jobs. In May, I began working for the Hamden Journal, which lead me to become the Copy Editor. Through my work at the Hamden Journal, I met some amazing people, such as the band Kansas. It's amazing how much you can learn in that job, and where it can take you. I also began working for College Fashionista, where I worked for two semesters, and quit in Dec. In Dec., I became the Editor in Chief of the SCSU chapter of the Odyssey, which is something that I am currently enjoying. It's a struggle trying to lead a bunch of people whom I've never met except online. But, it's enjoyable. In journalism, the more experience that you can get as an undergrad, the better you are. Looking back, I gained a lot of experience and knowledge that I otherwise never would have gotten through solely classes. In 2016, I hope to further my horizons, as I enter my last year as an undergrad.
L to R: Griffin, Gabriel, and I on the beach on my 21st birthday.
The last thing about 2015 that will always strike me is the people who I spent the year with. I went on wild and crazy adventures with Gabriel and Griffin, became really good friends with my co-worker at the library Vanessa and made some new friends through classes. I've also maintained friendships from past years, such as Elisia. Sometimes, I've leaned on Gabriel and Griffin too much, especially as I went through my battles with anxiety. However, I hope they know how much I appreciate them being there for me when I need a hug. You all are amazing friends, and I'm hoping the next year we do some wild and crazy things, which will lead to amazing memories such as turning 21 with my best pals.
I'd say 2015 was a great year. What do you all think? Tell me about your year. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

An Open Letter to My First Love

To My First Love,
 I remember the first time I saw you--it was in modern world back in ninth grade. I remember your thin wired glasses, your flaming red hair and that you always wore black. You knew everything, always carried around a book in one hand and had a briefcase in the other. We “dated”, using the term loosely, for a little over three months. One day, you broke up with me, leaving me starving for answers in a Facebook message.
 For the next three months, I remember my sole goal was to get you back. I did whatever I could to get you back, for I thought I was Bella Swan and you had to be my Edward. Without you, I was nothing. Looking back on it now, I remember the relationship as me clinging onto you for dear life. You were the only thing I lived for. You were the person who I wanted, and without you I would be nothing. Back when I was fifteen, I thought of nothing more than wanting to be loved by you and only you. It served a greater importance to me than perhaps anything, and that was unhealthy for both you and me.
I look back at it now, and am astounded and embarrassed by my immature behavior. How could I have thought someone was the answer to my problems? How could I have thought that someone was going to save me? I needed to save myself, and learn how to do that. I needed to get self confidence, which needed to come from me not from you telling me that you loved me. 
I thought I loved you. I thought I would marry you, and was prepared to change myself to become what you wanted me to be. Our "relationship" was me, slowly losing myself to you, and you just being unsure what to do. I expected too much from you, and I'm sorry for my expectations driving you mad. You were an obsession, the center of my world, and something that would quickly break due to the pressure.
At 21, I now know that's not the answer to a relationship. Love is not drowning myself to be what someone else wants me to be. Love is not clinging to someone to dear life for fear that they are going away. Love isn't begging for someone to come back after breaking up with them. My relationship with you wasn't healthy, and it was solely my fault. I apologize to you for that, because I know it caused you pain. 
I always wonder what would happen if I ever saw you on the street. I honestly hope that you're doing well in whatever it is that you're doing. From time to time, I think of you. But, for the most part, I don't think of you anymore, despite the effects of the relationship still come up from time to time.
But our relationship was my first dose of love. It was my first taste of how incredible it could be to have someone who loves you and wants to be with you. I thank you for that, even though things didn't work out and now we don't speak. If you happen to be reading this, which isn't very likely, I hope you know how sorry I am for the way that I was. It also damaged me, and made me unsure what to expect from someone. Could I fall in love with someone else? (Of course I can, and hopefully will one day.) I hope you fall in love with someone too, someone that had everything together, someone that wouldn't call your brother because she felt upset about you leaving, someone who was Mormon. 
You can never change the past, and I can never undo all that I've done. I grew from the experience of us, and I hope you have done the same. You will always be my first love, something that I can never undo no matter how much time passes. I look up to you in respect, because not only do you deserve it, but you are a person who I once loved. I hope you get everything out of life that you wanted, and I hope you reach the successes that you wanted. I, on the other hand, moved from writing you silly poems to writing articles in the town newspaper. I hope you see my name in the print. 
I guess there's nothing left to say now, other than goodbye. 
With Love, 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Recap

Christmas came and Christmas went, and now everything seasonal is suddenly on clearance. However, before you begin to get chocolate Santa Claus on discount, let me tell you how I spent my holiday.
Gabu and I.
Christmas began on Wednesday once I left work. I headed over to Gabu's (formerly Gabriel) to exchange gifts. They enjoyed their gift, and I was greeted by a cute dog named Cameron. Gabu loved the gifts I got them, which were a Mac and Cheese dish that you can microwave (they are addicted to Mac and Cheese), a pair of earrings and a notebook for them to journal in. We took a few fun pictures, (you all know how I feel about pictures after reading yesterday's entry) and hung out.
Christmas cookies
 Christmas Eve was the next day, and for Italians it's the bigger holiday. I spent it at my grandma's, along with my cousins. We exchanged gifts, and ate so much amazing food. (Including the cookies that are pictured above.) It was a fun evening, and I got a lot of fun things including a Snoopy watch, gift cards, and some money.
Cinnamon buns that we ate.
 On Christmas morning, the first thing I did was take a bath. Then, my mom and I made cinnamon buns to eat while we opened gifts. Maggie went fist, where she got a bone to chew on, and some bun treats. My mom enjoyed her gifts, and she gave me a lot of things including a gas gift card, clothing, books, fun jewelry, and more. After that, we headed to grandma's to eat dinner, which for me were leftovers from Christmas eve. On Christmas evening, my uncle, cousins, and I went to see Star Wars. the movie was amazing, and if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend you do (especially if you're a Star Wars fan like myself.) I saw it in 3-D, which made it even more cool.
Overall, it was a great holiday. Relaxing, which is what I needed, and I got to spend it eating and seeing a fun movie. How was your Christmas? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Why I Like To Take Pictures So Much

Whenever I'm with friends or just doing something fun (or sometimes, eating something that looks or is really good), I'll often whip my cellphone out to take a picture of it. Yes, it's obnoxious, especially since within the next hour that same photo will be edited with some sort of filter and put on my Instagram. After all, you gotta do it for the gram.
However, there's a reason behind the madness, I swear.
I take photos to lock the moment forever. I take pictures of my friends, especially the ones that are far away a lot, because when I miss them I know they truly not that far away. I take pictures to create a memory, of what I'm doing, and who I'm doing it with. If I'm having a good time, my iPhone is most likely snapping a photo of the moment. I take pictures of the beach in the summer, because in the winter when it's dark and dismal, I want to be reminded of a time when the sun would always peak through. I take pictures of my food, because I think it looks delicious and want to share it with you all. I take pictures to create some crazy form of art, even though it probably doesn't seem to be artsy. I take pictures of my dog, just because she's cute and adorable.
I apologize to my friends, I apologize to my dog for the countless moments spent trying to capture the perfect shot of us. However, I can assure that there's a reason, and it's not to get the most likes on an Instagram post. It's to have something to remember, something that lives in the pocket of my blue skinny jeans. It's silly but it's something that captures the moment forever, even though the camera may be long gone. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! As you open your presents with your family and friends, I have decided to share one of my favorite Christmas songs ever, which is a song by none other than Sir Elton John.
Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2 Parties, Ugly Sweaters, and Holiday Fun

The ugly sweater has quickly become a pop culture phenomenon, and this year I finally got a chance to rock an ugly sweater of my own. Gabriel invited me to an ugly sweater party hosted by their mom's friend. So after going shopping in my grandma's wardrobe, Gabriel and I were headed to two different parties. The first was at Gabriel's (and mine occasionally, as I go there whenever I can) church, which was a choir party.  That party was pretty fun, and I got to talk to some cool people. The second was the ugly sweater party, which had amazing food, and some good people to talk to.
Going from party to party was tiring, however, it was great fun! I've never really had the chance to go to a holiday party, so it was pretty fun.
Overall, it was a fun little way to spend the Saturday evening. It was fun to spend some time with Gabriel, and although the sweater was a bit itchy, it was fun to wear.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Christmas will be here in three days, however, that doesn't mean that everyone's shopping is complete. With finals, and all else going on, college students such as myself often put Christmas shopping to the bottom of the to-do list. But now that it's almost here, one can begin to panic about the amount of gifts that you have to get. However, with these simple ideas, I can assure the procrastinators out there that you too can find the perfect gift.

  1. Gift Cards: Everyone can use a gift card. Luckily, nowadays grocery stores often have them, so it's a one stop shop. And there's some pretty good ones--you can choose anywhere from Starbucks to iTunes. It's the easiest gift that you can get anybody. 
  2. Candy: There's so many holiday themed chocolate gift baskets, and since mostly everyone you know likes chocolate, you can never go wrong. 
  3. Jewelry: For your mom or best friend, picking up a simple little bauble will be sure to add some sparkle in her life. Plus, you can get some great jewelry at TJ Maxx, with some low prices. 
  4. Power banks: Nearly everyone has run out of battery at one point or another. It's the perfect gift for pretty much everyone with a smartphone. Or a tablet.
  5. Gift Books/CDs: Barnes and Noble has a great selection of gift books for the readers on your list, and a huge variety. If they love music, why not treat them a gift to their favorite band? Either or, and you'll be golden. 
Hopefully these will be perfect for anyone whose entering Santa's Toyshop a bit late this year. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Cookie and Pizza Making Event At Luther House

Last week, Gabriel's mom's college congregation, Luther House, held a finals break event which consisted of pizza making and cookie making. Sounds fun, right? Well, what really sold me was that it would be the first time I would see Gabriel since they came back from Spain. (No offense, Kari--that was the cherry on top!)
(L to R) Gabriel, Me, Kari
Since Kari (Gabriel's mom) was my ride, I got there a bit early. I used this time to catch up with Gabriel, and Skype with their boyfriend Manuel. (Which in turn we became Snapchat best friends) The event began where we made our own pizzas on Pillsbury dough that normally one would use to make biscuits. Since I'm lactose intolerant, I had lots of veggies and sauce on my pizza. Gabriel had lots of cheese on theirs. While the pizza was baking, we decided to decorate cookies, which were delicious. Once the pizza was eaten, we began singing Christmas carols. After a while, I noticed that Gabriel was getting a bit sleepy (they were jet lagged), so I treated them to a cup of coffee.
Gabriel and I
Overall, it was a fun way to spend a Sunday night. The Luther House community is a great way to meet some new pals, and of course bond with the current ones. And of course, pizza and cookies are always fun and tasty additions to your day.
(L to R) Gabriel, Me, Kari

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

16 Great Books That I Read This Year

This year, I surpassed my Goodreads reading challenge goals by almost 45 percent. I blame the reason due to my two literature classes, which helped me reach this goal. However, I still had time to read some amazing books through out the year, especially through out the summer. Here's some of the books that I enjoyed--some were published this year, while others weren't.

  1. "Throne of Glass" by Sarah Maas
  2. "The Sun Also Rises" by Ernest Hemingway 
  3. "The Cuckoo's Calling" by Robert Gailbreth
  4. "The One and Only" by Emily Giffin 
  5. "Love Rosie" by Cecelia Ahorn 
  6. "Saint Anything" by Sarah Dessen
  7. "All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes" by Betsy St. Amant 
  8. "Boy Meets Boy" by David Levithan
  9. "The Truth About Alice" by Jennifer Mathieu 
  10. "Me Before You" by JoJo Meyes 
  11. "Landline" by Rainbow Rowell
  12. "I Am Ozzy" by Ozzy Osbourne
  13. "P.S. I Still Love You" by Jenny Han 
  14. "Finding Audrey" by Sophie Kinsella
  15. The Fame Game series by Lauren Conrad 
  16. "To All of the Boys I've Loved Before" by Jenny Han

Monday, December 14, 2015

Friday Night...At the Bookstore

Cupcakes, Star Wars, and impulse buys added up to be an awesome Friday night last week. After not hanging out for several months, we decided to finally get together and explore the shopping that was offered in North Haven, such as Barnes and Noble, Ulta and Target.
Elisia and I.
The first stop was Ulta, where I bought lipsticks and some BB cream, and she bought some eye makeup. After that, we went to Target, where I found a Snoopy watch and some other little presents for friends. Elisia found a Star Wars T-Shirt that she fell in love with and purchased.
After Target, we headed to Barnes and Noble, where we wandered around aimlessly at Barnes and Noble, since we're both bookworms and love to read. I got the book "Wicked," with an awesome coupon that I got online. After that, we decided to head to the cafe where they had the most amazing desserts. Elisia and I both got cupcakes, and a drink. We hung out there for a while and headed home.

Overall, it was a great Friday night, because it's not everyday that you get to go out and treat yourself. It's also not everyday you get to enjoy the company of good friends, especially when you're a busy college student, so you enjoy it while you can.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Things I Love Thursday: iPod Shuffle

I've always enjoyed having an iPod by my side, whether it's to sing along to in the car, to walk to class with a good beat or just to have some good tunes on hand. Sure, I have a phone that has endless amount of room for music. But, there's something about having an iPod separate from your phone so that way you don't have to drain your battery to listen to some music.
My iPod classic that I got back in May, however, had a major accident. It drowned in water after I left the cap of my water bottle loose. Even though rice had saved it for the moment, it began dying a slow death. So, I knew that I wanted to treat myself to a new iPod.
Since I have an iPhone that has more than enough room for music, I knew I was going to opt for a Nano or Shuffle. I was set on getting the nano, because I've had them in the past and I enjoyed having a pedometer to work out with. However, the iPod shuffle seemed cute so I decided to buy that. That, and the fact it had a clip on it made it even more sellable. So, I settled on the gold one.
I got a great deal on it through QVC, when it included some new headphones and a car charger, and four easy payments.
What was in the box. 
 I've had it for a few weeks now, and so far I am enjoying it. I like it that it clips on to me so I don't have to carry an iPod with me. I also like it that I have over 400 songs on me and can listen to them whenever. However, to fit 400 songs onto it, I had to put songs onto a playlist onto it, rather than do it the other way, which is how the iPod is set up to do. I also have Voiceover set up on it, because then if I don't know what song is playing, then it helps me out. However, it also helps out in telling me what playlists I have onto it, since I have a lot of playlists loaded onto it.
The battery life on the iPod is amazing; I only charge it basically whenever I put music on it. Even though, it's worth noting that it still is basically fully charged. The iPod website says it lasts for about 15 hours, and I believe it.
Overall, I'd say that it's a great purchase, and is something that I will be enjoying for years to come. The funny thing about iPods is that they truly last forever.
For those of you who are looking for a great little gift (and I do mean little) check out this little iPod shuffle. I guarantee that you won't be sorry. I am in love with the gold color, however, blue is also a good choice. If you do end up purchasing it, be sure to add on the VoiceOver. It definitely helps, as it doesn't have a screen.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Purchases


This past weekend, I shopped until I dropped! From online to in person, I was able to cross many gifts off of my list, as well as being able to treat myself to a few things. It is the season for giving, right?
I started my shopping on Thursday, where I purchased "Finding Audrey" from Barnes and Noble, as well as a new bookmark. While the book itself wasn't on sale, I was able to save 30% off, making the book only $9. Not bad. I also purchased a few things on my mom's end with her Kohl's charge (she doesn't know much about how to use
On Black Friday, I went to Jo Ann fabrics to purchase some beads. I also had a lot of coupons, in addition to all of the beads were 60 percent off. I was able to get strings of beads, normally over $4 for about $1.97. What a deal! The next day I went back and purchased more beads to make more projects. The end result of those beads were to make two bracelets as a Christmas present for my mom, as well as two for myself. In total, I spent about $20 and got four bracelets.
The biggest deals however were for Cyber Monday. I bought my mom Bath and Body Works lotion, body spray, and soap for about $30. Barnes and Noble had a great deal as well--I got 25 percent off of one item AND Y/A books were two for $15. I bought four.
Overall, I saved a lot of money getting things for myself and my mom. However, I didn't get all of my gifts on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. I got a majority of them at TJ Maxx and through Amazon earlier on because I had a gift card from trading in old electronics.
Did you get any Black Friday deals? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Best Albums of 2015

As the end of the year approaches, it's now time to reflect on some of the albums that topped this year's charts. This year had so many new releases, from Madonna's "Rebel Heart," to Adele's mega-hit "25." Here's some of my favorites through out the year, all of which I think are worth the listen.

Demi Lovato - Confident (Official Album Cover).png
Source: Demi Lovato's "Confident" rocked the charts this year.
  1. "Confident" by Demi Lovato
  2. "Honeymoon" by Lana Del Rey
  3. "Rebel Heart" by Madonna
  4. "25" by Adele
  5. "III" by JoJo
  6. "Beauty Behind the Madness" by the Weeknd 
  7. "Grand Romantic" by Nate Ruess
  8. "If You're Reading This It's Too Late" by Drake
While these were some of my favorite releases this year, I would also like to point out some releases last year still managed to be a favorite of mine. "1989" by Taylor Swift was always on repeat, as was "Strange Desire" by Bleachers, just to name a few.
However, next year looks to be an equally promising year for new releases. I'm particularly excited about JoJo's new album, as well as Elton John's. But, for now, I'll have plenty from this year to hold me over until they come out.