What Happens in Vegas

The first big snow storm of 2014 hit the east coast while I was on a signature blue and red plane heading to Las Vegas. I still had eye gunk fluttering around my lashes from waking up at 4 in the morning, though I wasn’t awake enough to remember some breakfast to calm my nervous stomach. I was nervous as we drove over the snowy roads whose lane markers were no more than a distant memory under the distractingly slippery ice. I was distracted from making my flight in a timely manner when the gnarly and cold airport quiche breakfast tumbled about in my stomach. And of course I was cold because all I had packed was my light  sweatshirt in anticipation of the warm weather waiting just beyond the state line.

After a takeoff that went relatively smooth considering we launched such a hefty object into the air, my boyfriend and I flew further west than we had ever been, though not quite as far west as would have satisfied our travelers’ curiosity. The clouds disappeared once we left Maryland far behind, and the sun warmed us up through the half closed window blind. My middle seat fit snuggly between a familiar arm on my right and an arm intelligent enough that it knew to mind its own place on my left while I relaxed enough to sneak in some zzz’s between bouts of sugar laced Nabisco products and puckered sips of CranApple juice. After enjoying the colorful and intricate splendor of the Grand Canyon and some canyons that, while not quite grand, seemed equally exciting, I dug out my phone and prepped myself for the blackjack tables by advancing to the purple and black clad table of the “High Rollers” room, even going as far as betting all of my virtual chips on a hand that would turn out to give me a comfortable 19 while the dealer showed a 5 and I hadn’t seem a face card in quite some time.

After a landing that went relatively smooth considering we landed such a hefty object from the air, I fiddled with my seat belt until the line of the slowest moving people on this or any other planet finally exited the plane and I could awaken my sleeping leg while rushing out of the cramped isle with a wisp of stale plane air trailing just behind me. I stepped my snowy dampened foot onto Nevada grounds, and-

And yeah, you know…I mean…and it was fine…just nice, had a good time. Yeah, yeah it was cool. Fun place…yup yup…….….…yup.

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Vamos Maryland

Despite the often dirty laundry, the meals that are of less than home-cooked quality, and the crippling loneliness at the realization that your only friends are textbooks, college also provides you with that one activity that defines your collegic life and shapes you personally.

crew tefoFor me, that refers to my time with The Crew.

IMG_2606At the University of Maryland we have a soccer team, and with that soccer team we have a Crew. A crew of loyal fans dedicated to bombarding the opposing team’s keeper with family-friendly insults, cheers regarding our eagerness to score a goal, our displeasure with the other team, and our incredulousness over the shoe color of the keeper. And then we sing and then we chant and then we hold our scarves up high, and then we practice our Spanish with a rousing round of “Vamos Maryland” and occasionally there will even be a 90’s theme featuring the song stylings of the Backstreet Boys and Train.

When you join The Crew there is always so much going on, and though you leave exhausted and partly wishing you had spent your time finishing up that Rhetorical Discourse homework, you often get so much more than you put in.

Thanks to my time spent with the crew I have:

  • Discovered that soccer is not just an introductory sport for second graders
  • Made friends that I honest-to-goodness plan on staying in contact with
  • Watched us win 2 ACC Championships
  • Overcame my fear of singing with gusto
  • Avoided drinking at Crew tailgates
  • Befriended the drunkards at Crew tailgates
  • Learned that loyalty still exists in the form of enthusiastic clapping
  • Found that I have a flair for scarves
  • Made friends that I could attend other sporting events with
  • Gotten more than enough exercise by running to switch bleachers at half
  • Attended every UMD home soccer game
  • Broken school bleachers and watched a rivalry game from the field

I may be getting a bachelor’s degree in English and Communications upon my graduation from the University of Maryland, but the scrappy and blurred photos of my soccer game attendance will always be much more valuable.

Vamos. Vamos Maryland.

Esta noche, tenemos que ganar.

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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!

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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

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.

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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.

Busy as a Bee

With two jobs, four clubs and organizations, a mound of homework, a fitness regimen to keep, sports to cheer for, and friends to stay in touch with, you’d think I was done saying yes to life. And you’d be as wrong as my brother trying to talk with a British accent (just plain wrong).

winnie the pooh beeIn fact, just the other day I received an email asking me if I’d like to sign up for a tour of the apiary on campus. Once I confirmed with Wikipedia that apes were not actually involved and I would get the chance to visit my bumble bee buddies, I immediately signed right up! Though I’m no where near comfortable with creepy crawly buggy critters, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for bees (possibly stemming from my love of Winnie the Pooh). In my messed up and illogical mind, bees seem to be the one type of bug that I’m actually alright to be around.

But that didn’t stop me from being nervous as heck when the time came to actually visit the bees on the roof of UMD’s dining hall. In a group, we approached four white boxes housing hundreds of hundreds of bees. After spraying them with a gas (which is not as toxic as the film Bee Movie describes, but is a simple burning pine needle mix that makes the bees calmer and less likely to sting), the box was taken a part and columns and columns of bees and bees were removed to show exactly how the world of bees worked.

Hive Tour 5Honestly, I remember very little about the intricate workings of the bee hive. I learned that the queen bee can mate with around 10 males in order to populate the entire bee hive, I learned that bees called “drones” do not have the ability to sting, and I learned that I look pretty rockin’ in a beekeeper hat. Mostly, I was too busy standing around in awe of the bees buzzing happily by me, around me, and often, even on me. I think that’s why I like bees more than other bugs (ladybugs make me happy, but I’m just learning how to tolerate butterflies); bees just seem perfectly content to work, fly, and be cheerfully yellow. And how on earth could you hate something so kind as to make honey?!

If you ever get the opportunity to visit an apiary, do it! Though I was terrified for the first 20 minutes as I watched the bees circle around our group, it was actually quite beautiful and I never felt in danger despite wearing a t-shirt and short sleeves. And even if this opportunity doesn’t present itself to you, if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation that could lead to a grand adventure and some lovely memories, think of me and say, “well, if that scaredy cat of a girl can pal around with some bees for an hour, surely I can go hang gliding over an active volcano while learning French and writing the greatest book series since Harry Potter”, or whatever it is you’d like your adventure to entail…

A Nail Night to Remember

One special night each week, in my never ending effort to spend time with friends, keep my fingers feeling pretty, and avoid homework at all costs, I host Manicure Monday in my dorm room.

Girls from all around the hall flock to the 70’s patterned furniture in the lounge to cozy up with some friendly talk and brightly colored nail polish. On occasion, we’ll thrown in a movie to make the boys wandering by feel welcome, though none can bear the smell of nail beautification polish long enough to stop in for a hello; though the fear of a feminine ambush may be what’s keeping them at bay…

Somehow, despite the noticeable lack of testosterone and funky smelling furniture that an open window just can’t sort out, I still manage to have a rockin’ time. I’ve boosted my self esteem, I’ve visually and creatively expressed my mood, and I’ve found a way to bond with the girls around me despite having no opinion to offer on whatever popular shows are playing on MTV.

I truly hope that when I get older/get money/get a place to live I host people at my home in a fashion similar to Manicure Monday, hopefully extenuating the bonding aspect of get-togethers and minimizing the smell of chemicals that we’ve grown accustomed to from nail polish.

While away at college it seems almost too easy to make and retain friends. Aside from bouts of essays and finals, all of the people I care to spend time with are easily and readily accessible to me. And I know that won’t always be the case. I really hope that I make a sincere effort in the future to host murder mystery parties, football extravaganzas, and random board game nights, to keep the spirit of life and friendship alive and kickin’.

With our 70’s furniture, I seem to live in the past. With my longing for murder mystery parties, I seem to dwell in the future. I need to stop wishing the present away and simply commit to enjoying the time at hand, mostly, at my freshly manicured hand.

Hypnosis: Where the Sun and Surf are Just a Countdown Away

Do you remember the last time that you laughed so hard that tears were streaming down your eyes and you couldn’t take a breath due to the hilarity of the situation occupying every cell in your being? For me, that time was tonight, and the cause was a hypnotist by the name of Jason Linett.

The first thing that Jason did was hypnotize the whole audience. We were bade to hold our arms out in front of us and close our eyes. With a slight suggestion, he placed a book in our left hand. It got heavy. Our hand went down. Some people giggled. Then, out of no where, a balloon became tied to our right hands at his command, it was floating up and up and up and our hand followed and followed and followed. Upon opening our eyes and seeing our once near hands placed a part, we knew we were in for a treat.

jason linettJason randomly chose 10 people from the audience (comprised of eager UMD undergrads braver than me). One of whom is a good friend of mine, and another of whom I’ve seen around school. This guy was legit. There were no plants. For some reason, I began feeling nervous and excited and anxious and pumped. And I was safely sitting in the second row.

Confidently, the hypnotist lead the volunteers up to relax their bodies and delve deep into their minds; slowly, he positioned them to lean against one another; and carefully he suggested the most silly yet wholesome activities for the participants to do. I watched as they enjoyed the sun in a beach, I smiled when they got comfortable in the sand, I giggled when the temperature began to rise, and I laughed so hard that I fell into the person next to me when it became 100 degrees on stage and they had to beg a waiter for a glass of water to quench their imagined thirst.

I sat on the edge of my seat amazed at the fact that a girl completely forgot about the number 6; I rose from my seat to watch as half the participants roamed the audience acting as secret agents and interacting with those seated, telling them to keep quiet and watch out for danger; I jumped up and down in my chair with glee as one boy was unable to leave his seat on stage, believing himself to be stuck to the chair. And when that same boy believed that his hands were internationally known lip syncing puppets who performed to Bohemian Rhapsody, I struggled for breath with the students around me.

A lot of the events that the University of Maryland provides for their students are casual and friendly and completely worth checking out. However, karaoke, comedians, and casino night have nothing on watching 10 people pretend to be in a bodybuilding contest and strut around the stage showing off their muscles.

Mood Swings

Music, dancing, laughter, reminiscing, nature, wining, dining, friends, happiness, summertime, Mood Swings.

In my never ending quest to say yes to life and experience the beautiful and intriguing world around me, I agreed to attend a wine tasting accompanied by the swinging stylings of the band, Mood Swings. Because, why not?

IMG_2390This event was hosted at the beautiful Boordy Vineyards, a historic Maryland winery that hosts tours in addition to their Saturday music nights. Even for a 20 year old who couldn’t sample the wine selections, I still had an amazing time on the back patio, with friendly people, during a magical summer night, donning a smile that just wouldn’t quit.

IMG_2396It began with a long lost neighbor and friend, and an extra ticket that their family possessed.

It went along to include winding roads, a country atmosphere, grapes fresh off the vine, and a sunset that my camera couldn’t do justice to.

It included a good ol’ fashioned gab fest with some old friends, new friends, and friendly acquaintances.IMG_2397

It got me dancing to oldies, classics, and contemporary tunes that had a splash of modern flare with a dash of old fashioned charm.

It rounded out the evening with a lack of mosquito bites, an upbeat vibe, and the promises of more memorable and happening times to come.

With a college semester fast approaching, this night was exactly what I needed to unwind, relax, and appreciate everything that this summer has given me. I am so glad that I approached this new experience with a “can-do” attitude, because if I hadn’t, I would have missed out on the simple pleasures that make life worth living, like friends, food, and swingin’ music.

Bingo with the Ravens

I love football. I love bingo. But only once a year do those two loves coincide in one glorious event. Raven’s Bingo!

DSCN0922Growing up just outside of Baltimore, I have long been a supporter of the purple and gold, the strong and bold, the Baltimore Ravens. Come game day/purple Friday you’ll see me parading around in my jersey, donning my sparkly raven earrings, and professing my hatred for the Steelers.

Growing up with such avid bingo goers as my mother and grandmother, I’ve been going to bingo almost every Saturday night since I was 10 years old and my mom believed that I could stay up until 10:30 without passing out. Come bingo time you’ll see me parading around the house with my bingo marker, wearing a light jacket to keep out the chill from the firehouse, and professing my desire to take home big money.

About once a year in the summer time my Mom and I faithfully flock to this event. Purple, a women’s-Ravens-support-club-awesome-thing-group hosts the Ravens bingo at M&T Bank stadium (club level, baby!). They provide the purple, the fans provide the passion.

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It is magic. (Though not quite O’s magic)

Despite sweating ourselves silly in the line outside (one girl almost fainted so I gave her my water bottle to stay standing), once we entered the magnificently air conditioned makeshift bingo hall, any emotions other than pure joy left our minds.

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Not only did we get to enjoy LaQuan Williams (WR) and his bingo calling prowess, but we were also treated to delicious food, free bingo souvenirs, a beautiful view of the city, and the potential to win fabulous prizes such as signed footballs from the team, gorgeous canvas prints of the players, and a picture with LaQuan.

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No, my Mom and I didn’t win (though our hearts leapt when we waited occasionally). Yes, I had a fantastical night of starring at a Ravens player and marking my bingo card.

So look for me standing in line next year, I’ll be the girl decked out in purple, grinning from ear-to-ear, and sweating profusely.

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…)