117. Visit My Sisters in Boston

When I first graduated, most of my friends still lived in the Rochester area. Now that it’s been a few years, my friends have scattered themselves all over the country. A few of my sorority sisters, including my best friend Ariel, are currently living in Boston. I love the city of Boston and I hadn’t seen Ariel in nearly two years, so I was really excited when Jackie, Ariel, and I started planning this trip in December!

Ariel and I five years ago.

Ariel and I five years ago.

The Good?

Fajitas and ‘Ritas! Fajitas and ‘Ritas is a Tex-Mex restaurant in Boston that specializes in fajitas and margaritas. Ariel, Jackie, and I met my friend Sam there and had a very filling lunch that started in typical us-fashion by spilling half a pitcher of margarita all over our table. Next time I go to Boston, I’m definitely parking my butt there for a few hours.

This is why we can't have nice things.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

Going Out I don’t really go out much in Reading. I like staying home and hanging out with my best friend aka my free-loader roommate aka my dog. Ariel and Jackie are on the same page as me, but we planned one staying in night and one going out night. We had so much fun on our going out night AND Ariel had an Uber coupon so we basically got home for free. I really liked the place we went (I unfortunately cannot remember the name), mostly because I was with my friends, it wasn’t too crowded, and they were playing good music.

Freezing our butts off at the bus stop!

Freezing our butts off at the bus stop!

Sunday Brunch On Sunday morning, we found ourselves sitting in the living room debating between going to a diner or driving a little further to this farm with a restaurant on it. We chose the farm-restaurant. The restaurant itself was tiny and there was a long wait, but it was SO worth it! I was going to get my usual (eggs benedict) but then saw that they had lobster eggs benedict. When in Rome Boston!

Breakfast of champions.

Breakfast of champions.

Reunited and it feels so goooodJust being in the same place at the same time was enough for me! I’ve noticed that whenever I’m on adventures with my sorority sisters, we manage to turn wherever we’re staying into a mini-version of our sorority house. Ariel’s apartment was no different. With our arrival, there was suddenly an abundance of monogrammed shirts, purple everything, Disney princess cups, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and clothes everywhere. Some of my favorite moments of the trip were just sitting around talking.

IMG_3813

The Not-So-Good?

Craft Show Ariel purchased tickets to this major craft show for us to go to over the weekend. It was actually a lot smaller than we expected it to be and everything that was there was SUPER expensive – furniture, glass sculptures, other stuff we could never dream of affording or creating ourselves. Probably the only reason we somewhat enjoyed it was that we went straight there from Fajitas and ‘Ritas.

We didn’t see our other sisters. Plans fell through with the two other sisters we were supposed to see that weekend. I actually haven’t seen Laurel and Kadley since I graduated, so that was kind of crummy. It didn’t help that our “plans” consisted of “let’s text each other later” which is literally my least favorite way to make plans. Luckily our sorority’s big twenty year celebration is next year, so I’m sure I’ll be seeing them (and everybody else) next spring.

Sebbie’s “special treat”. Ariel has a GIANT dog named Sebastian. He is unaware that he is giant and will try to sit in your lap. He is especially a fan of looking you in the eye, meaning he puts his paws on your shoulders and gives you a good stare down. The first night we were there, Ariel, Jackie, and I went to the store to get some things to make dinner. Jackie and I both are dog owners, so we took the normal precautions – zip everything or put it where the dog can’t get it. Apparently Sebbie knows how to use a zipper and we came home to find tampons EVERYWHERE. Hope those tasted good, Seb!

I can't imagine that they tasted very good.

I can’t imagine that they tasted very good.

 

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend and MUCH too short! Jackie is coming down for the Lilly Pulitzer warehouse sale in June and I think both Ariel and Jackie are going to come down once I’m in my new apartment. Here’s hoping my sisters and friends continue moving cool places so I can do some more traveling!

Looking at the List #11

137. Go on a New York Times “36 Hour” trip.

The New York times has been publishing 36 hour trip itineraries since 2002. Recently, they’ve compiled the columns into books by region. I bought the USA version as a graduation gift for someone and I bought myself the Northeast edition. I do want to travel more and I like that these trips can be done with limited vacation time. Maybe I’ll use my copy of the book to explore a city right here in Pennsylvania!

 

140. Donate to RIT.

This picture is from 007. It was on RIT’s website until very, very recently.

About once a week, I get a phone call from RIT’s Telefund Office asking me to donate money. Well, at least that’s what I assume they are asking, I’ve personally never picked up. I know, I know, it makes me kind of sound like a jerk, but I really hate talking on the phone. I really did enjoy my time at RIT and at some point I do want to give back. I’ve helped in the past with different volunteer events, but hopefully in the next few years I’ll be at the place where I can support the school financially. My plan is to donate to a specific department or organization…maybe I can get together with some of my sisters to do something really great for the house!

142. Do the whole tropical vacation thing.

There was a period of two or three weeks this winter where EVERYBODY I knew was on some awesome tropical vacation. The only thing that kept me sane during that time was that I got to go on vacation as well…to Missouri. I’m not the biggest fan of tropical vacations, but in the middle of this crazy, snowy winter, the idea of laying on a beach doing nothing for a week sounded FABULOUS. I added this to the list during that time and since then I found out that one of my cousins might be planning a destination wedding…so this goal might be a bit easier to accomplish than I imagined!

It’s Not Going to Happen

(Slightly over) Six months ago, I came up with this crazy idea to try 300 new-ish things before I turned thirty. The list itself is still under construction, but I find myself constantly coming up with new ideas. Some of these make it to the list, some of them don’t. I’m trying to keep everything on the list somewhat realistic and possible.

Even though I’m only six months in, I already know that there are some things that are just not going to happen. In fact, I knew it somewhat at the beginning and included #29, donating $5 for every task NOT completed to charity. I’ve already had to amend the amount I’m saving – $30 per task was a little too much on my meager income.

Going through my list recently, I saw another one that I just don’t think is going to happen – #78, use all my tanning credits. No, no, it’s not because tanning is bad for you. I KNOW that it is, but I’m also super pale. I have trouble buying foundation because no company manufactures a shade called “Casper” which is probably the only thing that would match my white face. I usually go once every week or two so when I moved to Reading, I looked for a place that would let me buy a package of sessions rather than paying a monthly rate. As usual, things kept coming up and I didn’t use up my sessions before they expired.

I’m sure there will be other things on this list that I won’t be able to cross off and perfectionist-me needs to be okay with that!

Volunteering

This was originally going to be part of my “Manic Monday” post, but as I started writing, I realized it was easily turning into it’s own post! Volunteering is something that helps me get involved in my new communities as I move, so I’m more than happy to write an entire post on it!

The first time I can remember volunteering was when I was maybe nine or ten. I was with my Girl Scout troop and we were helping to pack boxes at the local food bank. I knew the boxes were going to “poor people” but I didn’t think they were in my own town. One of the girls from the troop wound up sneaking a peak at the list of families getting these packages and all of the sudden she blurted out, “C—, why is your family on this list?!” We were all so stunned! I remember being appalled by the one girl’s behavior – she was going out of her way to look at a confidential list, which was bad enough, but then to call a “friend” out in front of everybody?? I couldn’t believe it. I was also shocked that a family from our town, let alone a family I knew, needed help. It made me realize that you can’t always “see” when somebody is in need of help.

Through Girl Scouts and various other programs, I frequently volunteered in my community until I graduated high school. My favorite opportunity from Connecticut was to help out at a summer school/day camp for students with special needs. These students ranged anywhere from having really hard to control ADHD all the way to having severe mental disabilities. Several students didn’t speak at all. When I went to college, it was harder to find ways to volunteer. I was living in a brand new community, so I didn’t know WHERE to look for these opportunities. My contributions at that time were limited to helping out with food drives.

My sorority highly values both service and philanthropy. By this point, service was an old hat, but philanthropy was something completely new to me. I was a broke college kid – I had never donated my (non-existent) money to any cause and I had never run any sort of fundraiser. My pledge class and I collected cans to raise money for a local animal shelter and my senior year, I was Mr. RIT chair! I was still able to help out my hometown as well – one of my pledge sisters was from my hometown and shortly before Christmas one year, we held an event at the house to make Christmas cards which we then distributed to nursing home residents at my grandma’s nursing home.

Mr. RIT 2009

When I started at the University of Delaware, I quickly found ways to volunteer. I hosted a “Day of Service” project my first year which gave me one of my favorite UD memories – we ran out of bread for the “PB&J Jam”, so I ran out to buy more. When I returned, it was POURING so I asked some RAs to meet me at the door. The RAs and residents participating in the program actually made a line stretching from my car into the building and passed everything down fireman brigade style. I WISH I had a picture of it. Back then, “Day of Service” was only complex-wide, but it soon became a campus event and now various alumni groups hold their own service events the same day that UD is hosting Day of Service. This year I met up with some alum from Reading to volunteer at an animal shelter.

My favorite organization that I got involved with at UD was the Andrew McDonough B+ (Be Positive) Foundation. I had heard Andrew’s story years and years prior when I was still going to RIT. My then-boyfriend was from Wilmington and had siblings that had attended school with Andrew. The B+ Foundation’s goal is to raise money for children’s cancer research and to assist families with expenses they are unable to cover. I got to personally meet Joe McDonough twice during my time at UD – the first time he came to speak to my staff as we were racing money for UDance and the second time I invited him to come to speak at Widener University during my internship. My favorite part about working with B+ is that they emphasize that every little bit helps. At Widener, Joe McDonough told the story of how just $400 was able to get a little girl a portable oxygen container so she could fly home and spend her final days at her own house with her family members and dog.  I really hope I get to work with B+ again.

Since moving to Reading, I’ve continued to volunteer in my community and in other parts of the country. I joined Junior League a few months after moving here and have been able to help with several organizations that serve the children of Reading. I’m planning on doing a separate post on Junior League later this week! I was also asked by my students to be a trip advisor for Alternative Spring Break. I said yes without even knowing where I was going to be going or what I was going to be doing. I wound up going to Joplin, Missouri to help with two organizations and in just a few days, I’ll be heading back!! I’m super excited and Joplin is DEFINITELY getting its own post! 

If you have any favorite volunteer stories, be sure to leave them in the comments!

It’s Just Another Manic Monday…

I don’t think I’ve done anything off my list since Christmas…and I haven’t written those posts yet! At the rate I’m going, I should just save them for next Christmas…

I clearly haven’t been writing so what have I been up to? Well, first off work has been CRAZY!! Recruitment was a few weeks ago and since then I’ve been really busy with housing selection stuff. There’s also a LOT of changes going on in the office. I’ve been coming home and doing work (after work) and honestly by the end of the night all I want to do is watch TV and lay around with the dog. Here are some other things that have been on my mind or keeping me busy…

Tropical Vacations

It seems like EVERYBODY has been off on some tropical vacation recently! Carly (aka The College Prepster) was just in the Dominican Republic, my friends are off in the Caribbean (jealous), and from what I’ve seen on Instagram lately, Sarah Vickers from “Classy Girls Wear Pearls” and her handsome fiance KJP are on some beach somewhere. Meanwhile…I’m heading to Missouri.

I had so much fun on my vacation with my big and my little last fall that we’ve been talking about planning another trip. We definitely can’t afford Disney again any time soon, but some ideas that we’ve thrown around include a cruise, California, and some sort of beach vacation. By this time last year, we had a lot of details worked out for our October vacation, so we should probably start looking into that soon…

Thirty-One Bags

Recently I’ve been seeing EVERYBODY carrying Thirty-One bags. They’re perfect for if you have to drag a ton of crap around (which I do) and they’re really cute – you can pick different prints and even have the bags monogrammed! I’m a big fan of the “Zip Top Utility Tote“. I’d love to have one to carry all my work stuff around. It’s one of those companies that you have a “party” to order things, so maybe I’ll have one…eventually…when I have time…so after graduation!

The Gym

Back in January, I did join a gym. I’m trying to go three times a week and get in some sort of groove, but my work schedule (not to mention the weather) has been all over the place, so I really don’t have any sort of routine. Coming up with a workout routine that works for me is on my list (#84!) so this is an area that I’m definitely going to work on in the coming months!

102. Print out pictures that I’ve taken and display them.

I might be dating myself here, but some of my favorite days in middle school were the days after a field trip. Why the day after? Because everybody would have taken their rolls of film to get developed and a good portion of the day would be spent passing around those little envelopes filled with pictures. I remember spending HOURS organizing my photo album so my favorite pictures were all in there.

Unfortunately with the invention of Facebook, my favorite one hour photo place took a major hit. Instead of passing around a pile of pictures, now you could click through them while not paying attention during an Art History lecture. Now there are even MORE ways to share pictures. I swear, I have like eight different accounts just to see people’s pictures.

And then came Shutterfly. For those of you not familiar with Shutterfly, it’s a company that lets you upload and print pictures and photo gifts like mugs and calendars and cell phone cases. I’ve used them to print photos for YEARS, but I’ve also made photo books and Christmas cards. My two favorite things about the company is the frequency that they send me coupons and the ability to print to Target. I’ve gotten some AWESOME coupons since I’ve signed up as a Shutterfly member. I printed a photo book for last year’s Joplin trip and shortly after Christmas, they sent me a coupon for 101 free prints…hence this entry.

So with that coupon, I was able to print some pictures from the past few years. The next step was figuring out how to display them. I have quite a few pictures in frames in my living room, but with all the effort I spent hanging them, they’re not coming down until I move out. I wanted something cute, but also easy so I could change the pictures frequently…maybe that will encourage me to print more!

I wound up creating a display above my bed, as my bedroom didn’t have very much decoration. I’ve got some colored twine taped up with hair bows clipped at the end to disguise the tape. The pictures are clipped to the twine with clothes pins. Very Pinterest!

My newest picture display!!

My newest picture display!!

In other decorating news, I did attempt to fix the gallery wall in my living room, and the frame that holds my concert tickets promptly fell down. Again. I also thing I can do more with my bedroom. With as much as I’ve moved around, I always feel like once I have “finished” decorating, it’s time to packet it all up and move again!

Looking at the List #10

It’s been nearly a month since I wrote a “Looking at the List” post. I should probably get these posted…you know, before I actually accomplish these things! I’m cutting it close with one of these…

124. Create a display for my nail polish.

I love nail polish. It might be fair to say I have an obsession. I used to hate painting my nails because it would look terrible from the start and then chip and look even worse. As I got older, I started buying nicer polish and became more patient when actually painting my nails. Now, my nails are painted almost 99% of the time! Of course this means that I have a rather extensive nail polish collection…currently they live in a box in my bathroom, but I would love to be able to showcase them in a creative (but functional) way.

131. Test drive a car.

I’ve never owned a new car. I’ve never even had the chance to look at cars…all have mine have come from family members, co-workers, and family friends. The only time I have ever “test driven” a car was when I was sixteen. My parents were about to purchase a third car and were going to buy one off from one of their friends. It was his mother’s car and she was no longer able to drive. The car was in decent shape and we met up with them at a local catering hall (the Amber Room for you Connecticut folks) and because the original idea was for me to drive the used car, they let me test drive it around the neighborhood. Clearly I was a cool sixteen year old. Right now, I’m hoping I WON’T need to buy a new car before I’m thirty. I drive a Corolla right now and those things seem to run forever. I do think it would be fun to visit a car lot and take something fancy out for a test drive…but I don’t even know how that process works! 

133. Volunteer with Art Feeds again.

Last year I traveled to Joplin, Missouri with an Alternative Spring Break group. We volunteered with two organizations – Art Feeds and Rebuild Joplin. I absolutely loved my trip there and I especially loved working with Art Feeds. I would love to someday start a chapter wherever I am living. When I was coming up with my list, I knew that I wanted to go back and help out again some day – I just didn’t think that day was going to come so soon! Shortly after I added #133 to my list, I was approached by students asking me to be a trip advisor for Spring Break 2014. I’m so excited to head back and I can’t wait to see what we will work on this year!!