Welcome back?!

HOOOOOLLY COW GUYS. The last two weeks have been filled with so many activities that I actually took the chance on this day off to sleep until 10am, and I feel like a completely new person.

Here’s a rundown of all that has occurred since the last time I posted on here [oops]..

  • Brother’s high school graduation
  • Brother’s senior class mass
  • Brother’s college orientation
  • Brother’s girlfriend’s graduation
  • Brother’s graduation party
  • Two weddings in Toronto

All of this was done in addition to the normal/usual work, gym, eat, sleep, repeat schedule.

My brother’s graduation party was officially the end of all senior year activities/craziness. The entire month of May was dedicated to a different activity every night – no joke, literally every single night I had something going on. Today, aka Memorial Day, is my first day off with absolutely nothing to do in Lord knows how long. I’m still trying to gather myself and organize my life in a way in which I can function normally and stress free and find a routine that I can get myself into until summer classes start up in a month. Tomorrow marks 15 school days left with my kids until I get a new set for the upcoming year, which will start up an entire new dynamic/schedule/routine, etc.

I’ll dive into specifics of this weekend’s wedding once I get myself unpacked and pictures uploaded – it was definitely a memorable weekend!

With that being said, I hope everyone is enjoying their day off [if you have one] and are remembering the true reason behind why Memorial Day is so significant to our history. xoxo.

 

To my brother, the high school graduate.


To my “baby” brother:

As I sit here writing this post, I wonder how this is even possible. Six years ago, it was me. I was graduating from high school and about to go to college. Three years later, I was graduating college and you were about to go to high school. Well, here we are, four years later, and you’ve walked across the stage as a high school graduate.

In three months, you will be packing your belongings into boxes and moving to a brand new city in a brand new state, in a entirely new environment. You will be surrounded by strangers who will soon become your closest friends. You will have freedom to learn and grow. You will face challenges. You will be homesick. But you will never be alone.

The amount of love I have for you cannot be described, but if I had to pick a word to describe it, I would pick unconditional. I couldn’t possibly think of a better person to have shared the entirety of my life with. Soon, you and I will not have the ease or convenience of being a hop, skip, and jump away. It will be tough, even though we both don’t want to admit it.

You are my best friend – a friend I have had both the honor and privilege of watching grow up from a crazy, curly-headed toddler to a well-rounded, respectable young man. You are the most intelligent, focused, driven, talented, kind person. You are a team player. You are perfect.

I am so unbelievably proud of you and everything you have accomplished. Countless championships, awards, honors, scholarships – more pieces of paper and plaques than I ever knew exited. I have great faith in you and what your future has in store. I hope you continue to be intelligent, focused, driven, talented, and kind, and that you stay true to yourself and who you are. I cannot wait to see how your life plays out from here. Take the world by storm, kid. It’s yours to have.

I love you, bro. xoxo.

Mom.

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To me, mothers are a special breed. Their love, support, and compassion are undying. They are strong. They are pure. They are yours forever.

There is something so special about a mom who believes in who you are and who has an unyielding love for her children. My mom is a mom of two children – two children who she has given both roots and wings. She pushes us to experience life and try new things, while always providing a place to lay our heads at night with open arms and an open heart.

My mom is, quite literally, one-of-a-kind. She extends her hand, her love, and her compassion to every single person that needs it. She never has a bad thing to say about anybody – she will find the good in every situation. She is kind, beautiful, and invested in the lives of her children. She has never missed a dance recital, a baton competition, a hockey game, a concert, or a banquet, just to name a few. There are not many moms out there like mine and I am so lucky that God chose me to have her. Although she is far more of a good person than I will probably ever be, the parts of myself that I got from my mom are basically intertwined in my DNA and are forever engrained in who I am.

I can only hope that it is in God’s plan for me to become a mom someday and experience this chapter of life that so many are blessed to be creating every single day. When my time will come, there is no doubt that I will have the best model to look back to for guidance and support.

I love you, mom. Happy Mother’s Day! xoxo.

 

 

Deja-vu?!

Six years ago, I was about to graduate high school and was dancing the night away at my senior prom. Last night, I had my daily dose of deja-vu when I was back at my alma mater’s senior prom – same place, same time. The only difference was that this time, I was on the other side of the camera.

Before we get into the body of this post, can we appreciate 1) how freaking beautiful this girl is, and 2) how adorable they are as a couple?! [Fun fact: They’ve been dating for 2.5 years, but they graduated pre-k together *cries*].

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Yesterday was prom 2 of 2 for my brother and his girlfriend. She attends the high school I went to, so it was somewhat strange being back, seeing a handful of my old teachers, all of whom asked me if I missed all this senior-year-hoopla. My answer? To be quite honest, I don’t really miss it that much at all.

Soon, my brother and his girlfriend will graduate. They will be off to college. Their lives will never be the same. Yes it’s scary, but it’s also so many other things. It is new. It is fresh. It is exciting. Yes, these final moments of high school are the last you will ever have. Yes, you will miss it. But years later, you will grow up and look back and see  how far you’ve come.

Maybe it will be six years later at your siblings senior prom. Maybe it will be twenty years later at your child’s senior prom. You will stand there on the other side of the camera and you will appreciate how far you’ve made it, and be excited for those on the other side about to start this new journey. xoxo.

Things I’m currently obsessed with, 5.0

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It’s been a hot minute since I did a post like this since I really didn’t have anything I was really, truly obsessed with. But I am starting to get back to the swing of things, so here’s your chance to dive into things I currently can’t live without.

  1. Sign of the Times by Harry Styles. So, I will admit, I was so anti-1D the past few years that I was practically waiting to get stoned to death by herds of teenage girls shunning me for this unheard of behavior. When Harry Styles came out with his first solo-single, my brother’s girlfriend and my little cousin talked about it nonstop and I found myself wanting to give it a listen solely for the fact I wanted to jump in on the conversation. Listening to this song turned into obsessing over his SNL performance turned into playing this song on repeat over and over and over again. It’s catchy. It’s beautiful. It’s everything. You can watch/listen to it, here.
  2. milk and honey by Rupi Kaur. This, hands down, is the most beautiful book of poetry I have ever read. I had seen this book for, what felt like years, all over social media. I decided to give in and be “trendy” and see what the hype is all about. I have read it, easily, five times already since the day I purchased it. Highly recommend.
  3. NHL Playoffs. There is nothing better than playoff hockey. Nothing. Yes, I love all sports – baseball, football, basketball, and so on. But hockey is my one true love. My team has been absent from the playoffs for many years, no surprise, but that does not mean I cannot appreciate a good game of hockey when I see one. I always dread the end of the Stanley Cup finals because then I am left wondering what the heck I am possibly going to watch after it is over.
  4. NYX Professional Total Control Drop Foundation. So, most recently [aka within the last year or so], I have become obsessed with laying in bed at night watching YouTube beauty bloggers. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I don’t understand how they get their makeup to get so flawless, or the info they provide on so many different products, but I am obsessed. This foundation is one that I’ve seen many times, so I decided to give it a try. I grabbed it at Ulta for about $12 or so. It’s so lightweight but has extremely full coverage, I love it and I will never go back to anything else.

What are some things you’ve been obsessing over? xoxo.

How to make it through finals week.

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I am currently 6 hours away from submitting my final, final paper and putting this spring semester to an end. [My paper is done, just not sent yet, hence finding time to write this]. The last 15 weeks have definitely pushed me to my limits, that’s for sure. Prior to this semester even starting, my advisor sent me some major SOS vibes, saying this would be the hardest semester of grad school I would have to endure. No shock to anyone, he was not wrong.

This last week alone between final exams, final papers, cumulative assignments, reflections on top of my friend dying and me being sick… I mean, if you ask me how I made it out in one piece, I don’t have the answer for you, because I do not know myself how I made it through. To those of you who have seen me in person *shudders*,  yes I look like I have been dragged 87,000 feet by a semi truck and then run over a few times. To those of you who have  not seen me in person, count your blessings.

To all the college kiddos out there, going for a Bachelor’s, Masters, Ph.D., whatever it may be, you know the struggle. You aren’t alone in this, and neither am I. With that being said, here are some finals week survival tips, from a girl who has gone through more finals weeks than she can count on her two hands.

  1. Coffee will be your best friend. My brother says to me every single day, “Next year when I go to college, there’s no way I’m drinking coffee.” Newsflash buddy, you’re wrong. It will happen. You will become a walking zombie just like the rest of us, coffee IV in tow.
  2. Sleep is necessary, even if it’s for 45 minutes. All-nighters: a college student’s best friend and worst enemy. I, myself, find I power through the hardest and get the most work done late at night, mostly running on adrenaline of course, but it’s true. No matter how long I want to keep going though, it’s essential that I sleep. Nobody likes dealing with a cranky person first thing in the morning.
  3. You will think all of your final exams or assignments are the stupidest assignments ever. Just today, I have said this probably 18 times. I don’t know whether it’s because I get so anxious to be done, or if it’s because the assignments and study guides are actually stupid, but it gets said. Newsflash: nobody wants to write a 10 page reflection on how you thought the last fifteen weeks in one class went.
  4. It is okay to leave the house looking like a wreck. Whether it is going to the library to study, running to Starbucks to grab a coffee, or going to the last few classes of the semester, nobody really gives a crap about what you look like. There is, for sure, 8,000 other things on people’s minds other than thinking ‘oh gosh did you see her without any makeup on/wearing sweatpants/with her clearly unbrushed hair today?’ You do you, girlfriend. We’re all in the same boat.
  5. Think of the light at the end of the tunnel. There is no better motivator than the thought of days and/or nights free of homework. The thought of coming home after work and being able to relax on the sofa and watch TV or read a book makes me so excited, I may as well be jumping up and down right now.

What are some ways you get through the dreaded finals week?

P.S. Good luck everyone! xoxo.

How to find hope in times of despair.

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It’s no secret that the gift of life is a crazy lil’ thing. You experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It’s filled with memorable moments, both good and bad. It’s filled with moments that make you feel as if you are the king [or queen] of the world, but also moments that make you feel as if you may never survive to see another day.

Getting through the hard times is not always an easy task for everyone. There may be some extenuating circumstances that make getting through the hard times, hard. I’m no stranger to the hard times – I am thankful that the things I have gone through weren’t too earth-shattering – that’s for certain. But, I’ve definitely been tested, especially lately.

I’ve taken the time to read scripture, to find my faith in times that I began to doubt it. I’ve gone outside and admired the world around me. I’ve listened to music. I’ve gone on walks. I’ve taken stress out at the gym. I’ve read inspirational quotes and stories. I’ve tried to distract myself from all that was going on around me.

All this is fine and dandy, but the best thing I’ve done is the one thing that just about anyone will tell people never to do – relive the past.

I’ve found that looking back on the good times that I’ve had has helped me the most. That reliving these memories of happier times made me thankful for the happier times I’ve had. That conversing with friends about “Do you remember that one time when…” has brought us all together. Memories never fade – you just have to take the time to cherish them.

The downs are aspects of your life that will never go away – distracting yourself will not help you. Without the hard times, we wouldn’t learn how to push forward, how to get stronger, how to persevere. After being down, the only way to go is up!

How everyone gets through these times is different – no two people will cope the same way. But it is important to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Happier times are ahead. You should be thankful for your life and stop taking the little things for granted. One day, you may be left wishing you had the little things back.

What helps you get through the hard times? xoxo.

4 out of 12, done! [Three days later].

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April came and went in the blink of an eye. All of a sudden I flipped the page in my planner and it was May 1st, and I was a week out from the end of the semester. April was a month filled with an overabundance of ups and downs, and I could not be happier that it is over and I am now onto this clean slate that is the month of May.

In regards to my personal life, a glimpse of some the things that happened in April are:

  • A celebration of World Autism Day alongside my ever-so-perfect students.
  • Saying goodbye to my very first car and treating myself to a brand new one.
  • Participating in a 4 mile walk/fundraiser at my job to raise awareness for Autism, as well as help support the school I am blessed to work at each morning.
  • A relaxing spring break from both school and work.
  • Celebrating my grandmother’s birthday.
  • Attending my brother’s final Varsity Singers concert.
  • Watching my brother commit to the University of Akron.
  • Endless amounts of studying, projects, and assignments pushing me toward finals week.
  • A 20-day search for a lost friend that ended in a way in which I cannot explain.

May so far has started off on a low note, other than celebrating my brother’s 18th birthday, as we are still continuing to live through the tragic loss of a lifelong friend with many unanswered questions. My personal life caught up to me, so the blog this month severely suffered, especially the last few days with all that has been going on. But, there are plenty of exciting things on the calendar during this month ahead of me. Here’s to a new chapter. xoxo.

Love in the face of loss.

This is a post I’ve been trying to avoid writing for the past two days. I’ve had time to ponder words to even write and things to even say, and I am still struggling. But there is nothing more you can do other than try.

In 2011, I graduated from a very small Catholic school with an even smaller graduating class of 36 students. Coming from a school of 125ish students and a graduating class of 36, you are friends with everyone. You are all close. You are all a family.

About a year after graduation, our graduating class of 36 shrunk to 35 following the loss of one of our peers after her courageous fight with brain cancer. That loss was one that I couldn’t even understand. Truthfully, I still don’t. I couldn’t understand why God gave her the suffering she went through, why she had to deal with all she had to deal with. I sat in my college dorm room freshman year when I got the news, alone, wondering what to do or say from there. Who did I turn to first? My boyfriend of the time was on a cruise outside of the country. I was not home. I found it hard to explain the ‘family’ aspect of our school to people whose graduating class was one of 700+ students. 5ish years later, the numbing pain has somewhat gone away, but not completely.

I asked you guys a couple weeks ago to look out for one of my friends, one of the core 36, that had quite literally completely dropped off the face of the Earth. There were no answers to his whereabouts. No clues. No leads. Nothing. The case went on for 20 days, everyone’s minds reeling over where he could be and how or why this was even happening in the first place. Two days ago, on Friday, April 28th, exactly 20 days since the missing persons report was filed, the case came to a close.

This time, I was at work. On my lunch break to be exact. With three minutes to spare before having to clock back in. Again, what was I supposed to do? Who was I to turn to? How was I supposed to hold my composure and go back and teach my class in a mere three minutes. Being strong is an option. And sometimes, its the only option you have.

The class of 36 is now down to 34. At only 24 years old, this is not something you can mentally prepare yourself for. You expect to see all your peers, your friends, 5, 10, 15, 40 years down the line at class reunions. You expect to see their accomplishments in life. Who is married. Who has kids. Who is a CEO of their own company. Now, there are two I will never see again.

The good part about graduating with a class of 36 from a school of 125ish is the endless outpouring of love and support during times of need. We all stand together as one. While it might not be at the same level, we all experience the hurt. We all experience the pain. This is something I will be grateful for throughout my years here on this little planet. I know that while sometimes I may feel as if I am alone, I am never alone. There will always be someone there supporting me.

I want to extend a sincere thank you to every single person who has reached out to any person involved in this case. I want to thank every person who tried hard to bring Kurt home. Who looked for his whereabouts. Who tried to put two ends together. Who prayed every single day for him and his family. Who hoped and wished for good news to follow. Who continues to extend love and prayers during this time of tragedy.

Today, I ask one thing of you. I ask that you hug those you love a little tighter. Remind everyone how much they mean to you. Remind everyone how their existence is great and sacred. Remind those you love that they are not alone, that you will always be by their side.

And to Kurt, thank you for the memories, brother. You were one of a kind. I am already counting down the days until I can see you again. xoxo.

kurttttttt

 

Changes.

After being MIA for the last few days, I will get you caught up on the never ending shenanigans that is my life. My absence mostly came from an over-abundance of final projects and assignments as we close out this semester. My life has been so hectic lately that I truthfully forgot that the semester was even coming to a close next week. Honestly, I really thought I had another two or so weeks left, I won’t even lie. More times than not, I’ve come home from work completely drained and exhausted that doing homework seems like more of a chore than anything else. So, by the time my homework was done, I’ve been passed out in bed within 5 minutes after completion.

Another reason for my absence is family/brother-related. I spent the last few days making his invitations for his grad party, attending final concerts, figuring out what to buy him for his 18th birthday on Monday [still unsuccessful on this front], etc.

With the list of changes in my life including [but not limited to] everything going on above, plus a new job and a new phone, we have now added new car to the list!

Today, I said goodbye to my very first car *sheds tear* and upgraded to this beauty!

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One of my dad’s good friends is my car dealer, and he had texted me a week or so ago saying there was a 2016 Accord Coupe on the lot that they were looking to get rid of. He told me the deal, sent me some pics via text, and I committed to the purchase before even seeing this car in person [or driving it]. Somewhat terrifying, I know. But exciting is definitely a more appropriate word to choose!

I have so far only done so much as drive it home from the dealership, to dinner, and to the store down the street and I am already so in love and ready to show it off to everyone I know. If you need me, I’ll be living in my car for the next 60 years of my life!

As far as my absence goes, I am sorry. Just trying to get a hold of my life over here! I hope you can forgive me. xoxo.