Bucket Lists and Bombshells

There is never a convenient enough time for anything, so why ever let that be an excuse for not doing something special?

Whether it’s your deepest passion to travel to Spain despite a lack of financial stability, the willingness to go on a camping excursion though threatened by the time commitment, a craving for higher education while needing to support a family, or the desire for something as simple as wanting to dye your hair, sometimes you just convince yourself that “the time isn’t right” to follow up with your dreams.

But it is!

live unless bed

The time is always right for happiness and living and experiencing life. There is never a bad time to celebrate being alive and creating a memory to look back upon with the grandest of smiles and the happiest of recollections. Why delay what you were put on this earth to do? Live!

IMG_2849So before I could compile an even larger range of excuses as to why I can not complete one of my Pail List  items, before I graduate in the spring, before I begin a full time job, before my supposedly approaching wedding day, before my future catches up to me, I took care of item numero uno and dyed my hair blonde (“Medium Natural Blonde” which when combined with my already dark hair color translates into “Sun-Kissed Brown Cinnamon”).

I’m already so much happier for deciding to commit to this wish of mine. I feel more confident, I feel like I’ve just returned from a delightful tropical vacation, and I feel like I’m ready to seek out some more of life’s experiences despite any obstacles that I perceive. I also feel like a model and am struggling to stop taking pictures of myself…IMG_2868IMG_2859IMG_2871

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The Horror! The Horror!…The ROCKY Horror

I’ve been familiar with The Rocky Horror Picture Show since my early high school days. I’d puzzled over the movie, remained confusedly captivated over the Sweet Transvestite lyrics, and generally enjoyed the idea that such an absurd film could have such a devoted following. Yet, until recently, I’d never seen a cast performing the movie on stage while it simultaneously played on film (though I did attend a delightful shadow cast of The Princess Bride).

Despite my apparent interest, I had never attended a production partly due to my excessive time spent with my cat, partly for fear of how they would treat the inexperienced-in-all-that-is-Rocky virgins. No one seemed willing to discuss the hi-jinks that the cast would play on the newbies for fear that it would deter them from participating in the spectacle that is The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and after my first show and participation in the Virgin Games at the behest of my former friend Eric, I think I get why.

247135_10151678616010695_1545180286_nWhile it may be fun for the audience to laugh and point as Rocky Virgins are sent onstage to switch clothes with someone they’re standing next to, or scream out in the ecstasy of an imagined intimacy, or parade around with lipstick letter “V”s on their forehead, I can say from personal experience that it is nerve wracking as heck and my face has been permanently marked by a blush so deeply red that others are continually offering me sunscreen. But boy was it an experience! I may have just had my most embarrassing moment(s) of my life witnessed by a theater’s worth of people, but I can truly say that I’m glad that I went through with something that put me outside of my comfort zone while remaining within the point where my line is drawn.

Yes, I imagine a good many people in my life would judge my participation.

Yes, some of the subjects and themes broached were a tad risque.

Yes, there were scantily clad individuals parading around throughout the night.

No, there was not an empty seat in the house.

rocky image

Everyone who showed up to the show was so involved in their choice of costumes, props, verbal insults, strange and secretive greetings, and the actual movie itself. In a world where everyone needs constant entertainment and five iProducts constantly shoved in front of their face, it was just so sweet and rewarding to watch a room full of people staring unblinkingly at a film that they’d seen hundreds of times. The concentration on their faces as they would boogie to the Time Warp conveyed a sense of purpose and devotion that is rarely found in this generation. Though this angelic contemplation was occasionally interrupted by vulgar shouts towards the cast, characters, and general audience, I felt grateful to be a part of such a devoted group of people who were simply interested in having a good time according to their standards.

I truly have nothing particular to say about the movie itself, because there truly isn’t too much I could say to make sense of  what went down on that night of Horror. But really, when you’re in such a joyful setting with good friends, free candy, and that guy from your Shakespeare: The Later Works class that you didn’t expect to be wearing a midnight blue sequined dress, singing sexually ambitious aliens don’t really matter.

Fast Cars and Family

We make it a point in our lives to hang out with friends. We always try to fit in that newest episode of The Big Bang Theory. And there is rarely a time in our lives when we opt out of the opportunity to take a vacation or road trip down to Kings Dominion.

We place such high priorities on so many silly things in our lives, and yet, family isn’t always very high on that list of things we simply must make time for.

I personally try to make a specific and conscious effort to say yes to life, and yet, I have no problem saying no to my family. Somehow, they have been excluded from my life’s aims. They are just the people whose home I share. The people whom I summarize all of my other adventures to. The people whom I just assume will be patiently awaiting my phone call or visit.

I take them for granted.

And I shouldn’t.

My family means so much to me. Having them around brightens up my day, maps my future, and enlivens my past. I am so grateful for (almost) every interaction that I have with them. And I need to start actively engaging them in my life instead of passively relating to them.

That’s why when my Dad asked me if I’d like to stop by a car show with him and my brother, I gave him a definite and resounding yes.

Yes, I would like to spend time with my father and brother and make memories that involve more than just arguments about the cleanliness of the house. Even if the only thing that I get out of this adventure is looking at some handsome cars with my family, count me in.

So when you look through these pictures, know that yes, they are simply pictures of cars; but the photographer is not simply a photographer, she is more of a daughter and more of a sister than she has been in a long while.

Sorry, I Can’t Afford to Say Yes…

I’m a yes kind of gal. I enjoy experiencing new opportunities and always being up for anything (within the confines of the law and my morals). When a friend asks about going out to dinner, when someone texts me looking for someone to pal around with at the Orioles game, when my Mom casually suggests we see a show: yes, Yes, YES!

DSCN0474Thanks to this bold mentality I’ve been to see a deaf production of Alice in Wonderland, run a 5K, made strong friendships, helped education people on domestic violence, gone to many Orioles games, splashed around in color at Holi, attended a concert, seen Beauty and the Beast performed live, listened to a lecture by the Dalai Lama, and much much much more (most adventures chronicled here on my blog). I’ve done so much that it’s hard to imagine I’m only 20 years old. I’ve done so much that it’s absolutely inconceivable to me how some people could be limited to experience such exciting events.

Tomorrow I’m going to laser tag, over the weekend I’m going to see Despicable Me 2, and I may even stop by bingo on Saturday. No, I don’t have that much money (especially since I’ve been working two unpaid internships), but I’ve come to realize that money is just money, and if I don’t spend it to give myself enjoyable life experiences with the people that I care about, what good is it. But, sadly, not all college-aged kids can say the same thing, because cost really is a determining factor.

college moneyAs a college student, I see this a lot. Kids are just too tied down paying for food, housing, tuition, books, to say yes to life. One day (hopefully) they will be settled in a career and able to make the kind of money that will let them live out their dreams. As for right now, it’s just sad to watch my friends limit all they could be experiencing due to cost.

If you don’t have money, try living within your means, but don’t forget to have fun. If you do have money, it’s nice to save some, but never forget to use it for what it’s meant for, LIVING!

money marshmellows

Ocean City Dreams

Every year my family takes a trip Ocean City, Maryland to visit my grandparents and have some fun in the sun.

I’m sure you all can guess exactly what comes with the promise of a family vacation:

  • Yelling and screaming over the TV channel
  • My grandparents’ refusal to turn on the air conditioningIMG_2194
  • Losing to my Mom in cards
  • Taking far too many pictures of my cat
  • Wishing my Poppy didn’t wake up the house at 5 in the morning by stirring his coffee
  • Trekking sand around the house all week despite making 1 trip to the ocean
  • Not having enough time to visit the boardwalk because your family is still playing with the cat
  • Sitting in traffic in the church parking lot after a slightly pathetic 4th of July fireworks display

This is the only real vacation I get for the summer. To some people, it may have seem like a wasted trip, more like a test of my patience than an enjoyable time. But, after vacationing with these people for all of my life, I’ve learned to look at things a different way.

So in addition to all of those riveting events, also came:

  • Sleeping in and bumming around watching American Pickers
  • A warmth that thawed me out from the constant stream of air conditioning I’ve grown accustomed to and will forever keep me heated
  • Trying to sabotage my Mom in cards and finding innovative ways to at least beat my DadDSCN0905
  • Taking far too many adorable pictures of my cat
  • Spending quality time with my silly and even more adorable grandparents
  • Relaxing on the beach and gaining a slight tan
  • Always finding room in my stomach to gorge myself with buttery scallo9ps
  • Watching fireworks with my one-of-a-kind family

One of my absolute favorite parts of this trip was getting to take pictures of our adventures. Even though we go every year, I’m always too busy living in the moment to take pictures. Don’t get me wrong, I feel like that’s a great mentality to have, but when you want to share meaningful moments on a blog, pictures are nice too.

I hope you enjoy this!

I hope you enjoy this!

And even though the fireworks weren’t as good as they’ve been in the past, it’s still balls of light, color, and sound exploding into the night sky and occasionally making a smiley face. And that’ll always be worth seeing. When fireworks are involved, how could anyone not look on the bright side? (Pun intended…)

Pals of the Pen

I’ve always wanted a pen pal.

Ever since I was young, I’ve held an affinity for writing and a passion for connecting with other people.

The fact that we sit in traffic almost each and every day next to hundreds of people whose lives we will never know, whose circumstances we can only begin to imagine, whose hopes, dreams, and aspirations are a complete mystery to us but are also familiarly reflected in our own lives, is a truly unbelievable occurrence.

world with peopleThere are so many people in this world, and I’ve long harbored the dream to connect with those that I wouldn’t ordinarily have the chance to meet. I always knew that it would be difficult to travel, and I thought that just by communicating with someone via letter, I could experience their world and live their reality. I wouldn’t have to wonder any longer what the 60 year old woman in the green Honda liked to sing to on the radio, or who the 18 year old boy was talking to with a smile on his face.

I’ve never actually had a pen pal, but this blog is getting pretty darn close to fulfilling that dream of mine. Through this post, these pieces, this site, I’ve shared my world and connected with others from all different walks of life.

I know that when I publish this post, it’ll be just like mailing a letter to my long-standing pen pal, humanity.blank letter

Shucking Corn and Loving Life

I never expected shucking corn to be one of life’s simple pleasures. But when you’re sitting on your back porch enjoying the light rays of sunshine, watching bunnies and chipmunks dart around in front of you, smiling at the memories of running outside to catch the falling hale so you could water the house plants with the tiny cubes of ice, remembering how you would catch fireflies for your mom and gently carry them back to the same steps you’re sitting on, and smelling the freshly cut grass from your neighbor’s lawn, it’s hard not to fall into happiness.

I never wanted to be out there dealing with errant silk strings and messy corn leaves, but I’m oh so grateful that I did, because I found more life on those steps than I had ever expected.

My Lil’ Baby Jo

IMG_2261There’s just something about a family pet that warms your heart and soothes your soul.

When I’m away at college, I miss my darling little kitten-cat Jo Jo baby so much. Though she didn’t immediately remember me when I moved back home, she has just started to get comfortable with my lingering presence in her house.IMG_2301

I get to give her sweet kitten kisses, rub her little white belly, play with her adorable white paws, and scoop her up for cuddles that she wishes were shorter. I’ll flick around tiny paper balls for her to chase, and strategically leave her lion toy around the house in places that encourage silliness. I never have so much fun interacting with my younger brother as I do playing with our cat (and I’m sure he feels the same).

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I know that my love for this little girl is ridiculous.

I expect others to make cat-lady jokes at my expense.

And of course, I’ve never stopped referring to her as “My Lil’ Baby Jo” when I bring up her presence.

It just so happens that the happiness that I feel when expressing my love and enjoying the company of such a sweet little critter is worth the odd stares and questioning looks every time.

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A Balancing Act I Don’t Intend to Lose

Come fall, I’m going to be a senior in college.

That means only one more year until I am thrust out into the real world and must find a job in order to keep my head above water. I’ve got to study harder, work longer, and put a serious and immediate effort into my career search.

Come fall, I’m going to be a senior in college.

That means only one more year that I get to spend at the place where I’ve had the best experiences of my life. I’ve got to goof around with my friends while they’re a constant presence in my life, attend UMD activities and sporting events that I’ve grown to love, and take the time to enjoy my classes.

This summer I have two unpaid part-time internships. I love both of them and they are a brilliant and consuming feature of my day. With these internships I am securing a future for myself and fostering a self-sustainable lifestyle outside of school.

This summer I have friends that I’ve made plans with. All of these plans fall on the weekend where I can horseback ride, visit Hershey Park, act out in a murder mystery dinner, and reconnect and baseball games. With these activities I am placing an unmistakable value on friendship and my personal commitment to those close to me.

I feel like this summer is going to determine the course of my life, how things play out for my senior year and beyond. If I can find a way to balance personal relationships and work (a feat that not many can successfully accomplish) I know that nothing can stand in the way of my happiness. But if I let one side overtake the other (as has happened to me in the past), I won’t be happy with how things turn out.

I’m nervous to see how things will progress, but I’m hopeful that it will be in my favor.

beautiful quote about the future

P.S.   Where my healthy lifestyle fits into this is anyone’s guess. Feel free to listen to me gripe about it HERE.

Junior Year, A Life in Summation

Wow. Life moves quickly. Not only am I unsure how I’ve already reached the end of my junior year of college, I’m also confused as to where my sophomore and freshman year went.

At the beginning of this year (one roommate, a new major, and countless hikes across campus ago) I was coming off a pretty rough time. I hadn’t really found a niche for myself in college (which was all too familiar to my high school experience) and I spent more time traveling home than livin’ it up college style.

My goal for this year was simple; say yes to life. And looking back on my time now, I can truthfully say that I said yes and experienced much of what college life had to offer (while still focusing on my studies)

Some of my experiences include:

  • Participating in Terp Thon and raising money for Children’s National Medical Center374409_4651322164662_876425834_n
  • Hosting Manicure Movie Monday in our lounge
  • Starting a job at UMD Dining Services and meeting some of my best friends
  • Taking more pictures than I will ever need
  • Throwing paint around with friends and strangers at HoliDSCN0474
  • Becoming a part of Sign Language Club and visiting Gallaudet University
  • Going on a dinner cruise at the Inner Harbor
  • Partaking in a murder mystery dinner and successfully avoiding accusations
  • Attending all of the movie nights and randomly themed UMD events
  • Listened to the Dalai Lama give a lecture on peace
  • Gaining an insane amount of weight from not watching my health and then working it all off522422_10200226503339411_1759804122_n
  • Participating in an Alternative Spring Break and becoming an advocate for domestic violence victims
  • Making an effort to hang out with friends and get in touch with people
  • Running my first 5K to benefit Yeardly LoveIMG_1931
  • Attending all of the UMD men’s soccer games and becoming part of the Crew
  • Crossing two items off of my bucket list (dying my hair red and attending a concert)
  • Receiving 12 free UMD t-shirts
  • Cheering my football team onto a Super Bowl victory
  • STARTED A BLOG!

Holy cow I’ve done a lot. I know I’ve missed listing a ton more activities, but I’m just grateful that I’ll have this blog to look back so that I can relive all of these wonderful experiences.

Also, don’t expect much from me this summer, because I’m pretty sure it’ll take me up until September to recover from my junior year.