Monday, January 31, 2011

A Year of Growth.

When I think of what people consider the "milestone" birthdays, there are only a few that come to mind - the Sweet 16, or turning 18 so you're legally an adult and can do all the crazy stuff your parents told you not to, like buy cigarettes and lottery tickets, and then of course, you wait and wait and wait, and turn 21 only to most likely have way too many free shots that your friends/people at the bar are pouring for you and wake up the next morning never wanting to drink again. (Obviously I don't say this from personal experience or anything).

I had a kickass Sweet 16 party where I was surrounded by my dearest friends and family and had an amazing time, went out to dinner with 15 of my closest high school friends for my 18th birthday along with my parents (and may I please tell you that in that 15 there were only 3 girls, including me - ah!), and for my 21st, I celebrated not once or twice, but three times, with three separate groups of friends.

However....

22 has been a crazy year for me - a year of tremendous ups and life-changing downs. I feel that 22 was a year when I really came into myself - I've learned, I've grown, I've changed for the better and I have a better idea of who I am as a person. There have been the big triumphs and the small ones, but they are all so meaningful to me, and I am confident that they are all steps that I need to take to continue to grow.

(My mom made this cake and brought it up to Pennsylvania last year for my birthday!).
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To me, 22 has been a year that I will look back on - it has become a milestone birthday to me, just because of all the experiences I've had - good and bad, because I'm a firm believer that all the things we go through shape us for the future.

As a twenty-two year old I...


Played in the blizzard (like a five year old).
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Ate cupcakes.
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Went through relationship ups and downs.
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Student taught - and was reaffirmed that teaching is what I'm supposed to be doing.
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Tried out a ton of new restaurants/foods.
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Learned how to tell people no.

Graduated (with honors).
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Traveled to China.
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Learned to appreciate and respect my parents.
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Did not wear makeup for almost the entire time I was in China.
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Laughed often.
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Threw a bridal shower.
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Celebrated birthdays.
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Spent lazy days at the beach.

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Said goodbye to my best friends, some that I've lived with for three/four years.
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Learned how much fun I can have with my family.
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Sucked it up when I hated my job and went in with a smile on my face every day.

Made birthday cakes for both my parents.
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Tried a ton of new drinks.
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Was a bridesmaid in one of my best friend's weddings.
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Stood up for what I believe in - and for myself when I needed to.


Had one of the best Thanksgivings I've ever experienced.
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Ended my (almost) two-year relationship - and am BETTER than okay with that decision :)


Learned how many people I have in my life who love and support me through it all (seriously, the emails, texts, Tweets, comments have meant the WORLD to me).

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I thank each and every one of you for helping to make my year so amazing. You are all truly wonderful people, and all of you - the ones who I've known since literally Day 1 of blogging, and those who I've just started talking to - I look forward to what this next year has in store! (Hopefully some blogger meet-ups somewhere?!).

As I blow out my twenty-three candles on Thursday (coincidentally the same day as Chinese New Year), I will be thinking of you all, and how special you are to me (really!).

P.S. Saw this picture, could there possibly be a better birthday cake for me out there?!

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Currently listening to: Kid Cudi - Soundtrack 2 My Life

Monday, January 24, 2011

[Blogger] Award Season.

One of my favorite things about blogging has been all the amazing people I've met through this - there is nothing better than a network of people with similar interests, especially when you get to know certain people over the years.

I feel like a broken record because I say this over and over, but I really consider my blogging friends, real friends. As in, if any of you are ever in NYC, let me know and I will totally buy you a Magnolia Bakery cupcake and people watch with you - I really adore you all.

One of my dear blogging friends Jenna (who is possibly the sweetest girl I've ever spoken to), passed on the "Stylish Blogger" award to me - something that is just so sweet and unexpected!

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For this, I am supposed to share seven facts about myself, and honestly, I kind of like talking about myself (in case you haven't noticed), but I'm trying to think of new things to share with you all so that I'm not being a broken record times two.

1. My parents named me after Elvis Costello's song "Alison."

They were having a really hard time naming moi - my mom was pushing for Kate (just Kate - not Kathryn), while my dad was pushing for a French name, to celebrate my mother's heritage. Anyway, both of them were huge Elvis Costello fans, and one day after they were listening to his music, and when "Alison" came on, and they both said, "I love this song." And then, a legend was made (just kidding!). But really, I actually love, love, love that song and Elvis Costello, so I think it's pretty sweet (even if it is such a sad song, and they changed the spelling of my name).



2. I have an addiction to denim.

Seriously - once I find a pair of jeans that actually fits me and looks good (which is a process in and of itself), I feel like I need to buy them. It's really kind of sad, especially because I have found that Seven and Joe's work best for me, which is very sad for my bank account.

(This might not seem so excessive, butttt it doesn't include the pairs that are currently in the laundry - which hasn't been done in a week and a half).
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3. I have more books than I know what to do with.

Seriously - it's almost a sickness. (I feel like my seven facts are almost making me seem like a hoarder, but I promise I'm not). I literally have boxes of books in my basement for my future classroom someday, and book books in my bedroom. I'm such a nerd, and such a reader, and I cannot get enough of books - even if there is literally no more room on my bookshelf for them anymore. (Again, this does not include the ones in my other wardrobe, or the ones in the basement...orrr scattered all over my floor - sorry, mom).

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4. I just started eating seafood a year ago - but have been eating sushi since age 5.

Apparently I am an enormous contradiction. I refused to eat seafood starting at about age 4, when I saw The Little Mermaid, and didn't want to eat flounder (no, seriously). HOWEVER - sushi has been my favorite food since about age 5, because my parents are very big on Pat and I not limiting ourselves to any type of food (and figured if they started young, they had a better shot - this backfired, since Patrick now eats only pizza and processed shit).

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5. I graduated with a class of 32.

You read that right - 30 freaking 2. I went to a private school that was ridiculously small, and totally drama filled. It's funny, because freshman year, we started out with a class of 41, and the school was in an uproar that the freshman class got so big. It turned out that by the end of the year, 12 people from our class either got kicked out, or were pulled out - crazyy!
However, high school really was some of the best times of my life - we did so many fun things together, and every single weekend was jam packed with things to do. I still keep in touch with a ton of them, and I think I'm lucky that I can look back at high school with only the best memories. (And my best friend from high school is still my best friend - crazy!).

Please remember that I graduated in 2006, and I'm from North Jersey - we knew about/were guidos and fist pumping since wayy before Jersey Shore.
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6. I am a Starbucks fiend.

I feel like this is probably not so new news about moi, but I really am on a first name basis with the Starbucks barristas in not just one, but three towns. I feel like this is a slightly impressive fact about moi - or it goes to show that I am a complete and total addict, and not something I should be bragging about. (And then there is the fact that while in Beijing, I befriended the barristas there, to the point that I walked in and they had my coffee ready).

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7. My mom has created these huge gardens in our yard, which are a constant source of inspiration for me to photograph in the summer.

Now, I've always sworn that I will never garden - it is probably one of the most time consuming things that someone can do (my mom is literally up at the crack of dawn in the summer working in her garden, and comes in at like, 4 p.m. absolutely exhausted). However, I am constantly inspired by the efforts of my mom's hard work. When I first got my dSLR, her garden was the first place I headed. (And who knows, maybe I'll have one of my own someday...).

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Okay, so I have to pass this award onto other blogs that I just adore - I could list a million, but these are just a few of my daily reads.

Kicking Couture

La Belle Vie
Then I Got to Thinking

Everyday Delights
La Petite Fashionista

New England Girl

Join the Gossip

Couture Carrie
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Okay and next, even though I wasn't invited to do the bag crawl, I'm doing it anyway, because I saw it on my dear friend Leann's blog (Join the Gossip, link is above!), and I am including myself in on it!

I am kind of a packrat - I put a LOT of crap into my bag, which is why I totally require a huge, huge bag (I cannot function with a clutch - I wouldn't even know what to do!).

Right now, I'm carrying a red Kooba bag - I actually forgot I had this bag, and recently dug it out and LOVE it.
(Sorry for the bad quality photos - Patrick borrowed my Nikon for a snowboard trip to Vermont).

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I seriously keep so much crap in my bag I'm almost embarrassed - though I did clean out all the receipts and gum wrappers that usually litter my bag, so there's usually a lot more crap in it to sift through.

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I don't carry anything out of the ordinary - car keys, pens (even though the glittery one with flowers on it leaves a trail of glitter all over the inside of my bag), wallet, sunglasses, my ID and keys/whistle (!) for work, a good book (I'm a whore for Steinbeck - NERD), gum, nail polish (that might be a little weird), BlackBerry, and makeup, but I swear, I can never find anything in my bag when I need to.

Show me what's in YOUR bags - I think this is such a fun thing to do!

Hope you're all doing well -enjoy your week! xox

Currently listening to: Iron & Wine - Freedom Hangs Like Heaven (and happily anticipating the return of Gossip Girl tonight!).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Love Lessons (from the 90's).

So, I am a child of the 90's. While I was born in the late 80's (this fact makes the jaws of my students drop - they cannot believe that I am that old), my childhood was spent curled up on the couch watching Legends of the Hidden Temple (so wishing that I could be a contestant - I still kind of do), watching Mary-Kate and Ashley movies (who knew I'd still love them when I grew up), and eating fruit roll-ups.

Now, believe it or not, my mother - the same French, Golden Girls watching woman who would swear in French and assume we were oblivious to it, was very particular about the movies I watched when I was growing up.

This horrible woman would not let me go see Titanic when it came out in fourth grade, even though ALL my other friends were seeing it and she basically ruined my social life by not allowing me to see it.

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I am now 22 (almost 23 in TWO WEEKS), and I have a serious soft spot in my heart for 90's teen romance movies - I love Blair and Chuck, but there's something about Kat Stratford and Patrick Verona that has stolen my heart in the fullest extent possible.

There are some serious love (and life) lessons that we can be learning from our favorite movies of the 90's.

Pretty Woman.

Now, I'm not saying we should all become high-class hookers to find our very own Richard Gere, but I think that when it comes down to it, this movie has taught me that self-respect is the key to a successful relationship - Vivian was who she was, no matter what life threw her way.

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Clueless.

This is my go-to movie when I'm feeling sad. Cher Horowitz can cheer me up like none other. The romance lessons from this movie are simple:

1. If a guy is very into fashion, checks out other guys, and doesn't make a move on you when you're laying in bed together watching a movie (or if his hands are at his sides when you're grinding up on him), he is most likely gay.

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2. Sometimes, the person that you're meant to be with is right under your nose. (And usually this person knows you better than you ever realized).

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You've Got Mail.

Judge me for loving this movie - I do not even care. Now, as a 21st century person who just recently watched The Craigslist Killer movie on Lifetime, I find the whole finding someone on a chatroom angle pretty creepy.

However - this movie taught me that no matter what, the circumstances that life throws - good and bad, that if two people are meant to be, they'll find a way. Also, it taught me that you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover (corny cliche, I KNOW - because both main characters own bookstores) because you never know what someone is like under the surface.

P.S., If nothing else, this movie made me relieved that we are past the days of dial-up internet.

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Ten Things I Hate About You.

This movie had it all - feminism at it's finest, covers of Cheap Trick, and a modern retelling of Shakespeare - plus, Heath Ledger and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a nerd. COME ON.

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I like this movie, because I feel like in so many 90's teen movies (like She's All That), the girl has to go through this dramatic transformation in order to get the guy, but Kat Stratford is who she is (and SHE ends up changing the bad boy - girl power at it's finest!).



Also, I am a fan of any movie where the nerd (whether it's a male or female nerd) gets the girl. Again, in this movie, the nice, nerdy boy who genuinely loves the pretty popular girl, makes her change. (But seriously - Andrew Keegan, where you been hiding out since 1999?).

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While I'm opposed to someone changing to try and impress or please the unrealistic expectations of others, I am ALL about change for betterment.

"Should you be drinking alcohol if you don't have a liver?"
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Notting Hill.

Underneath the fame and fortune that movie star Anna experiences on a daily basis, she is, "Just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her."

No matter what you have in life - money, no money, fame, friends, loneliness - whatever - love will always take precedence and be the thing that matters most.

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Cruel Intentions.

This is one of my all-time favorite movies - it makes me laugh out loud and cry and wish Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Philippe were still together.

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To me, this is one of the realest and most beautiful love stories ever - another story (with an edge) about how love can change even the most horrible of people (Sebastian is the literal definition of a womanizing douchebag).

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If you've never seen this movie, you must - you will laugh, cry, and feel absolutely sick to your stomach at some points.

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Beauty & the Beast.

Judge me if you must for including this movie, but I think it has some of the greatest lessons on love of any movie, ever. Plus, it's absolutely beautiful.

Basically, this movie shows that love really does conquer all, and that when it comes to love, don't rule anyone out, no matter what they look like, what image they project, and what their status is. (Though I wouldn't advise being enslaved by anyone to find your own Prince Charming).

Who would have thought this would be a picture that makes me think of true love? (I'm still 5 at heart, I swear).
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Titanic.

The movie that almost ruined my social life (I didn't end up seeing it until FIFTH grade - Quelle horreur!).

The love lesson I take from this movie is basically that when it comes to love, you don't necessarily find true, deep love from the person you're supposed to be with. Sometimes love can you by surprise, and come from the person you would least expect it with.

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What were some of your favorite movies from the 90's? (And did you learn any loveee lessons from them?).


Currently: On the verge of an existential breakthrough (or crisis) - big, BIG changes are coming my way, and I'm terrified (even though I know it's for the best).