Monday, April 15, 2013

The One Where I Play Catch Up.

My life as of 2013 has been beautiful. Without saying too many words, these events have made a big impact on me so far this year (and I've gotten too lazy to dedicate an entire post to each).

The one when I turned 25. 
My birthday this year was filled with great food, dancing until it hurt, time with my favorite friends, a ridiculous amount of iPhone pictures that I did not remember taking the next day, a really awful hangover, and more cake and celebrations. All in all, I cannot complain one bit.
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Word to the wise - don't drink wine and then switch to beer.
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The one with the Rangers game.
When they won 5-3 against the Lightning. Aka my first hockey game ev-er (though down to my nails, I looked like a fan).
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The one where we went into the city at 3:30 a.m.
Because some nights at the bar require an impromptu trip to the city for chicken and rice from a street vendor past 3 a.m. after leaving the bar.
(I ate neither chicken or rice, but danced to house music in the car the whole ride there).
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Edwin decided to play a little music for the parking lot - to which someone yelled out of a window, "Shut the f*ck UP." So rude to diminish such talent.
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The one where Edwin and I were extremely overdressed for my aunt's 50th surprise party because we were double dipping on parties that night.

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And my dad got to play bartender for all of us - fact: he is as heavy handed as I am, which is why sticking to beer was a brilliant option for moi.
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The one with Steph's champagne birthday celebration.
Which featured everyone dressing up, too many drinks (mainly featuring champagne, including beer brewed with champagne!), and glow stick earrings/necklaces/etc. Aka the one where my phone died 3 pictures later, so I don't have any of the birthday girl.. whoops.

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The one where my Ed and I were mice.
...For a wine and cheese party that said costumes were highly suggested. We were the only ones who dressed up.
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The one with BYOB sushi night with the girls.
NO BOYFRIENDS OR HUSBANDS ALLOWED.
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The one when I had the greatest mac and cheese of my entire life. 
I was picked me up after my class in the city and surprised  by being taken out for ridiculously amazing mac and cheese on the Upper East Side, and then to McSorley's - a bar in the city that was frequented by Lincoln (!!) and has been around since 1854 (!!). You walk in to sawdust on the floor, uneven floorboards, and bartenders who carry at least 12 beers at a time. They have two kinds of beer - light or dark, and when you order one, they bring you two. This was my kind of afternoon - especially since we ended it at Trader Joe's to buy $4 wine.
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The one with all the beer, pizza, and Kan Jam.
An impromptu pizza making party at Edwin's, along with his entire family/extended family. We all made our own pizzas, then the boys and I played KanJam (a game involving hitting Frisbees with your bare hands - I have bruises all over my body today) that Team Edwin/Allison dominated.

Pre-pizza snacks in the backyard for deux.


The only pictures I have of the actual pizza were from Edward's Instagram account. Oops!


The greatest game on earth.

What are your favorite activities to take part in with your friends?
Any fun, cheap, creative date ideas?

Currently listening to: Sweet Pea - Amos Lee

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Two Years Later.

It still blows my mind that it's been two years since Poppy has been gone. After he passed away, I was in a really bad place - down under 100 pounds, couldn't/wouldn't eat or go out or really do anything enjoyable. The fact that it was so unexpected and that I lost my number one fan and supporter in life took such a massive toll on me that my emotional and physical well being was just falling into pieces. 

It was the lowest point in my life, and was a huge part of my absence from blogging during that point. There was nothing in my life that made me happy, and looking back now, it's scary to me to think of the low point where I was. I have no shame in admitting where I was and how far I fell - and that I needed therapy and a lot of support from family and friends in order to work my way up from that scary, dark point in my life. It's so cliche, but I firmly believe that all the things in life that we go through make us stronger - we may not see it right away, but down the line, we'll be able to place how we grew from point A to point B. 

Two years later, I'm in a MUCH better place, but my heart still hurts so often from the void that he left in my life. I've had so many huge things happen that I wish I could call him up about and just sit with him in his backyard or on his sofa after walking in his sliding glass door (that was NEVER unlocked) and discuss with him.

I know he would be so proud of all of our family - my brother and I are now ridiculously good friends, which happened after his funeral, when we gave up on the petty bullshit that had kept us from getting along for so many years; my cousin Thomas got recruited on a full scholarship for golf to an excellent school, and my cousin Tim just accepted a football position at Georgetown for the fall. My dad and his brother meet at least monthly for dinner or lunch to catch up, and they go out for drinks with their sister bi-monthly. We've all learned to deal with our hurt over him not being physically present (typically over a LOT of drinks), but we've gotten through it by learning to reach out and express how we're feeling to one another - something that we've never been able to do beforehand. 

When I found out that my offer on my condo was accepted, I burst into tears - part happy, and part sad because I knew how proud he would be of me and how he would probably be the first one to send a card and gift with congratulations and his name signed in a huge heart - his signature signage. My housewarming party is going to be empty because he isn't going to be here to see it all and be a part of this next step in my life, and that makes moving forward so difficult for me.

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I wish that I could get his unsolicited advice about work - since he was a principal for 20+ years, he was always giving ridiculously outdated advice (like how to write lesson plans by hand) - but right now I'd do anything for another lecture that isn't at all applicable to teaching in 2013.

Last year (my first year teaching), after one of my huge reviews that I did very well on, my aunt (who works in my building) told me that the principal told her I was a shining star in the field and someone that the district should watch out for, in a good way. She came to me and told me how proud Poppy would be of me, and I just broke down because all that I wanted was to call him up and thank him for being the person who believed in me and encouraged me the most when I was in high school and college. No matter what I did or how badly I messed up, he was always there to either kick me in the ass and tell me that I could do better, or reassure me that everything was going to be okay and that I could pull through and turn a negative into a positive. 

I think the reason that I hold on so tightly to his memory is because I wish I could be more of the person who he was.

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He was a traveler - going to Hawaii every spring for at least a month to play golf and get impossibly tan; he was an artist - taking time to master oils, acrylics, and watercolors and doing everything from memory; he was a reader - devouring books left and right, and underlining his favorite passages and portions (and now that I've inherited a ton of his books, I try to figure out why certain passages were meaningful to him). He sang songs to us that made absolutely no sense, but he sang them because they made us laugh or smile - even though we heard them hundreds of times.

His family always came first. Even when he was in Hawaii every year in his beach house, he made a point to go shopping for all of us - shipping pineapples back to us every week directly from Hawaii because he knew we loved them and buying us knick-knacks that we absolutely did not need, but now treasure. He bought a townhouse in Wildwood, for the sole purpose of us all spending time together as a family (and the memories that ensued from eleven of us being in a four-bedroom townhouse will be something that I will share with my nieces and nephews, or possibly children one day).

He was so proud of my brother on his graduation - and he was also at every single one of my brother's track and wrestling meets, to the point that he was awarded an "honorary coach" position at their annual sports banquet; him at his Wildwood condo, just being himself.
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He was stubborn as hell - but now looking back, I think he was just so sure of himself and his opinions, that he wouldn't let anything else rattle him or shape him.  There were so many arguments that we got into with him, and never got anywhere, because he did not care - he wasn't changing his mind. Nowadays with people who never make a stance on anything and blow whichever way the wind takes them, I think we need more stubborn jackasses who stand their ground and refuse to accept less than the standards they've set for themselves.

Dying Easter eggs at my parents' Cape Cod house (where we both dropped at least 4 eggs and my mom had to go out and buy more); with Cooper who he hated at first, but became best buddies with after the first year.
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God, he loved us all so much. He loved us no matter what and found something to compliment us on, no matter how badly we messed up. He never held a grudge with us - all of our mistakes were seemingly forgotten and we got to start over every time we saw him. He held us to high standards, but they weren't impossible or unattainable standards - if we were happy, we were succeeding; if we weren't happy, it was time to find a way to shape up.

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He was so happy - almost always. I can't picture a time when he wasn't smiling or laughing. If we weren't happy or laughing, he would try to get us there - tickling us or telling lame jokes just to crack a smile.

All candid pictures from the Wildwood condo.
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Everyone he met loved him because he was so filled with life up until the very end. Before his knee replacement surgery, which ended up causing an infection that took his life, my dad spent an entire day with him while he went about his errands. Poppy had his routine - the bagel shop, bank, grocery store to buy two things, coffee shop, local lunch place, country club, etc - and my dad told me that everywhere he went, he was greeted by name. When he introduced my dad to the people at every single place they frequented, everyone said that they had heard so much about my father, and asked how Patrick and I were doing (again, by name). Poppy was so proud of all of us, and established relationships with everyone he met, and he couldn't help but brag about his family and all of our accomplishments, as if my brother, cousins, and I were making millions of dollars doing our sports or with school work.

St. Patrick's Day (with his beloved Guinness shirt, his favorite beer) and Easter 2009 at the Cape house.
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Looking back, two years down the road, I don't think I'll ever be over it. I remember people saying that it would get easier and would hurt less, but that's not the fact at all. I think we kind of learn how to cope and deal with things, but you can never expect to get over losing someone who you love so very much.

With a Magnolia Bakery cupcake and at Pat's graduation in 2008.
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I wish he could still be a part of my life in a tangible way, but all that I can do is hope that I can make him proud and be even half of the person that he thought I could be become. I wish he could visit my new place, come visit work with me, meet my boyfriend, celebrate birthdays and holidays with me - but as much as it still stings not having him here, I know he will always be such an integral part of my life forever.

I'd like to pass on some of his key advice to all of you - advice that I'll always remember:

1. Don't take life too seriously - do the things that you love and make time for all of your hobbies.

2. Remember that there are more horses asses in this world than horses - learn how to handle that [this was his favorite saying ever]/.

3. Never, ever let ANYONE tell you that you're not good enough.

4. Fight like hell for what's important to you and don't worry about what anyone else thinks.

5. If you're not happy with the direction of your life, do something about it - don't rely on other people to dictate your happiness.

6. If all else fails, have a pint of Guinness.

What's the best advice you've ever received from a family member?

P.S. Unrelated, but don't forget to follow on Bloglovin! I don't want to miss out on any of you and will follow you all back <3 i="" nbsp="">
Currently listening to: What Sarah Said - Death Cab for Cutie 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Other Sister.

I am a child of the 90's, and some of those things have carried over the 10+ years since TGIF meant staying in to watch Boy Meets World on Fridays, I had one of those see-through phones in my room that I thought was so badass, and my friends and I played manhunt in my neighborhood for HOURS upon end. 

Growing up, like every other girl, I was in love with Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen - all my friends and I memorized every word to their videos (and when It Takes Two came out?! Forget about it - we celebrated like it was the Royal Wedding), subscribed to their fan club, and followed their careers.

Even now, as a 25-year-old, I still do love the Olsen's for their incredible sense of fashion, and the clothing lines they've created, which are beautifully crafted (plus Mary Kate was on Weeds, which made my seven year old self scream a little inside with joy.. or maybe horror, because seven year old moi did not know about drug dealing). 

Now, the Olsen family is branching out and getting back into acting, this time with Elizabeth Olsen, the younger sister of MK & A, who has already staked her claim as a serious actress. I feel like nepotism in the entertainment industry is pretty common (hello, Willow Smith), so I know people were pretty skeptical about Olsen's acting talents - and if there actually was any, or she was just piggy-backing off the fame of her two sisters, especially after she enrolled in NYU just like her sisters had previously. 

After seeing Martha Marcy May Marlene, critics everywhere shut up, because Olsen is flawless in it, playing a young woman who escapes from a cult and tries to adapt to normal life with her estranged family (seriously, if you haven't seen it, it's a good one - not funny or uplifting, but a very well-made film that's very easy to watch). 

When you first look at Olsen, you can tell exactly who she is related to - she's a cross between both sisters, though she has been very outspoken about the fact that she's not stick thin like her sisters and doesn't intend on getting to that level (reports show she almost quit pursuing an acting career because of Mary Kate's eating disorder years ago). 

Her personal style is evident - floppy hat, boho chic, well put together while not looking like she spent hours figuring out what to wear. The Lizzie Olsen style guide includes oversized, mix-matched proportions (high-low), vintage sunglasses, and a gorgeous smile.

Street style (mainly on the streets of Chelsea/NYC) - with the signature floppy hat.
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More boho chic street style.
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Awards shows and red carpet glam.
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I am obsessed with this picture.
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With Karl Lagerfeld, in case you needed a reason to hate her.
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You can mimic Olsen's style - just play around with proportions, favor oversized sweaters and sunglasses, and don't forget your hat.
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Thoughts? Are you an Olsen fan?

Have you made the switch to Bloglovin yet? Let's connect so we don't lose each other when Google Reader is no more. My profile is here.

Currently: Enjoying spring break (I think teachers love it more than students!), listening to copious amounts of City & Colour, and drinking way too much wine.