77. Go to a wedding.

(I swear I did not purposely make this #77!!)

Last month, I had the privilege of watching two of my friends from college get married to each other.

I don’t know exactly when I met either Steve or Steph. Steve was in Eight Beat Measure, an a cappella group at RIT. I know how I became friends with the group – Karl rescued me from a shopping cart in the tunnels – but I don’t have stories for how I became friends with each member individually (except for Mark and Brian). Steph was a photo major so I guess I just knew her from being around. She was also in Singers with me and we had some mutual friends.

Then, right at the end of our third year, Steve and Steph met each other. I remember the first party she was at. Steve and Steph began dating shortly after that and when we all returned for our fourth year, she was a regular in the Eight Beat apartment. I was really happy to have another girl around! Steve and Steph kept dating. After graduation, they both moved downstate and eventually got a place right outside the city. Best part? They frequently invite us to visit. [=

Time has flown by since graduation – something that feels like it just happened last year is actually three years behind us! So forgive me when I can’t remember the exact details anymore…first we were wondering when Steve was going to propose and then he did propose and the next thing we knew, we were counting down the DAYS until the wedding.

Steve and Steph’s wedding was just beautiful. I know, I know, all weddings are beautiful BUT THESE ARE MY FRIENDS AND THEY’RE AWESOME SO IT WAS MORE BEAUTIFUL. (My logic hasn’t changed much since graduation.) I could sit here and go on and on about the food and decorations but that’s what actual wedding blogs are for. So instead I will overwhelm all of you with pictures. Enjoy!

The happy couple!

The happy couple!

First Dance

First Dance

Hoskins saved me a dance.

Hoskins saved me a dance.

 

Dave and me

Dave and me

 

The closest thing I have to a group picture

The closest thing I have to a group picture

 

 

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31. Get the balance of my student loans under their original amount.

The day I’ve been waiting for since 2009 is finally here…I can actually start paying my loans DOWN now.

At 17 when I was signing off on my first student loans, I understood that I was going to have to pay them back at some point in my life. I even understood that there was something called interest which meant I’d actually owe more than what I had borrowed. I just never realized how MUCH more I would owe. 6% tax on a $50 sweater isn’t much. 6% interest on loans on loans on loans IS.

When I first got out of college, I was working three (very) part time jobs. I couldn’t afford the original monthly payments, so they were lowered based on my income. Even though I was putting a little bit of money towards my loans each month, the amount I owed was going up because my loans were accruing more in interest than I was able to pay each month. Ouch. Now that I have a “real” (full time) job, I pay MORE than my minimum payments so I can pay these loans off faster. I know that I won’t always be able to do that – someday I hope to have a house and a family and if I wait until my loans are paid off to do so, that “house” will be a nursing home!

It was incredibly frustrating to feel like I was getting nowhere with my loans…hitting this point is like just being able to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The next milestone should come in a month or two – I will have paid off one loan in full!

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4. Go On a Vacation With Friends

Here it is, the long-awaited Disney post!

Last year, my big (Kayla) and my little (Heather) planned a weekend together in Corning, NY, where my big lives. Our plans for the weekend included exploring town, visiting the Corning Glass Museum, and having a wine and cheese party.

Kayla, Heather, and I got to make our own glass pumpkins!

Kayla, Heather, and I got to make our own glass pumpkins last fall!

After that weekend, we decided to do something similar once a year. My parents were about to leave for a trip to Disney World, which was hosting their annual Food and Wine Festival. Maybe it was one too many glasses bottles of Red Cat, but we thought that was a GREAT IDEA. Of course, a trip to Disney World involves a little planning and a lot of money. We decided that we would try to plan the trip for the following year. We started doing our research and saving our money. In April (six months after we came up with this crazy idea) we set our plans in stone – a week in Disney World at the end of October – during the Food and Wine Festival!

Heather and Kayla with their Belgian snack!

Heather and Kayla with their Belgian snack!

I’ve been to Disney before. I’ve been on other big trips before. But honestly, I don’t think I’ve put this much planning into any other trip! First we had to plan the big things – dates, flights, tickets, hotel. Oh yeah, and saving a ton of money. Our planning didn’t stop once we booked the trip – the weeks leading up to the trip was filled with finalizing the smaller details – dinner reservations and daily itineraries…Disney is a big place and we had to do it all! I even bought a Disney guide book that surprisingly gave me a lot more advice than I thought it would.

On our last night there, Heather and I climbed a bunch of the Lion King and Little Mermaid statues!!

On our last night there, Heather and I climbed a bunch of the Lion King and Little Mermaid statues!!

So what were some of the highlights of our trip? I really liked the hotel we were at! We stayed at the Art of Animation resort and while all Disney resorts are “themed” this is the only one that is Disney-themed! Every day I got to walk past giant statues of Little Mermaid and Lion King characters. Also, we specifically planned our trip to be during the Food and Wine Festival and we made sure to go to Epcot eat around the “world” each day! Let me tell you, after that, going back to the dining hall was ROUGH. My favorite meal was actually in Magic Kingdom – we went ate at Cinderella’s Royal Table! If you are ever interested in doing this, you need to make reservations six months in advance.

CIN. DER. EL. LA.

CIN. DER. EL. LA.

Probably my favorite memory of the trip was our “Disney Marathon” as we like to call it. One of the things that Disney does best is their night shows. Imagine the best fireworks display you have ever seen, multiply that by ten, and then have it happen EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. We decided that we were going to go Fantasmic in Disney Hollywood studios and then RUSH to Magic Kingdom to catch their fireworks show and second parade. We planned this very carefully and it made a ton of sense in our mind, but wound up looking more like the airport scene from Home Alone 2 than we thought it would. For Fantasmic, we sat in the very back row…there’s really not a bad seat in the house. When the show ended, we jumped up and RAN to a bus to the Contemporary Resort. From there, we took the monorail to Magic Kingdom and ran inside just in time for the start of the fireworks show. I know that doesn’t sound very complicated, but trust me. Unless you have attempted this, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND.

Probably my favorite picture from the trip!

Probably my favorite picture from the trip!

Next year’s “Wine and Cheese” event will probably be MUCH smaller in scale (and much cheaper…my savings account has never been so empty!). I’m really glad I got to go on this trip with two of my closest friends. If anybody out there thinks that they are too old for Disney, you are NEVER too old for Disney.

Biggle's First Trip to Disney

Biggle’s First Trip to Disney

Oh and if anybody out there thinks that it is socially acceptable to bring your iPad to a theme park and use it to take pictures and hold it high above your head so you can film an entire fireworks show…it’s not. [=

Don't be this guy.

Don’t be this guy.

Looking at the List #4

31. Get the balance of my student loans under their original amount.

Like most twenty-somethings out there, I had to take out student loans in order to fund my four five seven years of higher education. I pay a lot towards them each much so I can pay them off as soon as possible, but I swear it seems like I haven’t made a dent. I currently owe more than I took out in the first place thanks to interest. It’s hard because at this point, my payment isn’t much more than the loans accrue in interest each month. Every month I look to see if my loans have gotten below that magic number and I plan on celebrating once this happens…maybe a $12 bottle of wine instead of a $6 bottle!!

37. Buy the rest of my bedroom furniture.

Many entry-level student affairs positions require that you live on campus. Mine is one of them. Most schools provide furniture for your apartment. Mine is only sort of one of them…when I moved in, the only furniture was the same type of furniture that you find in a dorm room – desk, dresser, and a twin XL. My boss told me that I could have this furniture removed and bring in my own, which I promptly did. I spent a wonderful day at Ikea picking out everything I wanted for my apartment, but only left with a few things. Currently, I have the bed and the vanity from my bedroom set. I still have the school-provided dresser in my apartment and probably will until I leave (which will hopefully be sometime before I’m 30!). I can’t wait to have the matching dresser and nightstand!

I already have the vanity on the left…can’t wait to have a matching set!

42. Be a bridesmaid. (October 2014!)

While I’ve had plenty of friends get married, I’ve never been a bridesmaid. The closest I’ve come is being a flower girl when I was seven (no I don’t have pictures). Next year, I will get the chance to be a bridesmaid! Ashley, my friend that I met the first day of kindergarten, asked me to be in her wedding! I’m super excited for her and super excited for the wedding!! We’ve already picked out our dresses and shoes – now comes the fun part…planning the shower and bachelorette party. The other bridesmaids are Ashley’s sisters and some of our other friends, so there won’t be any crazy Bridesmaids-style drama.

Trying on bridesmaids dresses for next year!

Trying on bridesmaids dresses for next year!

44. Visit a farmer’s market.

When I lived in Rochester, I was lucky enough to have the Public Market a short drive away. On Saturday mornings, I could head out and pick up food for the week for a fraction of what it would cost me in the grocery store. There would be farmers selling fresh fruits and veggies, Mennonite families selling baked goods, and plenty of stands on the side where you could get crepes or empanadas so you didn’t hungry-shop. Apparently there’s something similar in Reading, but I have yet to check it out. Maybe this weekend…

Looking at the List #3

It’s been a busy week with Homecoming and all, but my ultimate goal is to get on some sort of regular posting schedule…of course I say that with ONE WEEK TO GO until I’m in Florida…so we’ll see how this goes…

24. Find out my blood type

I’m adopted which means there’s a whole slew of stuff  about myself that I don’t know. Medical history? No idea. Where my curly red hair came from? A friend’s mother joked that it came from the JCPenny’s catalog. I probably won’t know a lot of that stuff…but there is a test to find out my blood type. It’s just that that test requires a needle. To draw blood. Clearly you can see why I’ve put it off.

My REAL hope is that sometime in the next three-ish years, technology creates some cheap, easy, and pain-free way for me to know my blood type. If not, hopefully I can suck it up and go get the test done!

25. Watch the post-Elliott Stabler seasons of SVU

I first watched Law and Order SVU when I was in middle school. No, I didn’t have irresponsible parents…my religion teacher’s daughter played one of Detective Stabler’s daughters, so of course I wanted to see her on TV. Other than that, I really had no interest in the show. Later in life, I fell captive to one of USA’s SVU marathons. And by one I mean MANY. Seriously, if you find that USA is running a marathon of SVU and there is something that needs doing, do NOT turn on the TV.

One winter session, I decided to watch all of SVU on Netflix. By some miracle, it did NOT negatively affect the grade I got on my comprehensive exam. At the time, Netflix ONLY had the Stabler episodes – he had just left the show. I could have easily started watching the current episodes on whatever channel they air, but I liked Stabler, I didn’t want to see the show without him. I was afraid it would suck. However, it’s still on the air and I’m sure they’ve updated Netflix so I should probably check it out.

27. Have a conversation in ASL

RIT has NTID, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, on its campus. About 10% of the student body was deaf or hard-of-hearing. I was used to classes with interpreters and c-print, captioning on all of the TVs, and seeing groups of students speaking with their hands. It wasn’t hard to learn ASL (American Sign Language) at RIT. They offered classes – both for credit and not-for-credit and had weekly “No Voice Zone” sessions. Additionally, everybody learned the “dirty” words quickly. I took the not-for-credit courses offered through NTID. They were $15 each quarter and were taught by NTID students. Fun fact – my ASL instructor later went on to become the first deaf contestant on Amazing Race!

While I was at RIT, my sign was okay…I’m not going to say I was good by any means…I have several friends that are interpreting majors, they’re good. I was able to practice signing frequently by talking with co-workers, sorority sisters, and classmates. Since leaving RIT, I really haven’t had the chance to use ASL. The local community class has ASL courses that I’ve thought of taking, but they’re a bit pricy.

Really, RIT is the only place that I know I can sign. The last time I visited, I wound up running into a sorority sister outside of the house and even though I had never met her before, we had an entire conversation in ASL. Granted, there was a lot of finger spelling on my end. Getting back to RIT is already on the list so hopefully while I’m there I can kill two birds with one stone!

29. $5 for every task NOT completed to charity

This one was definitely spotted on other lists! This is one that can’t be crossed off until the end and I have no clue what the amount is going to be. I’m also not sure of what charity I’m going to donate it to. Through Junior League, I’ve gotten to learn about local organizations that help the Reading area, so if I’m still in the area, maybe that’s where it will go to. Or maybe I’ll FINALLY answer RIT’s request for donations…HA!

Looking at the List #2

12. Find my bucket list from 2001.

In eight grade, I randomly decided to make a bucket list/scrapbook in one of my old Trapper Keepers. I really don’t know what prompted me to do it. If I recall correctly, there were two occasions that year where we had three snow days in a row. I think it’s safe to say that I might have done this out of boredom.

I can’t remember everything on that list…a few stand out. I wanted to learn a language. I’m not sure if I meant to master a language or just to learn how to say a few key phrases. But twelve years later (!) I know some Spanish and some ASL. That counts, right? I wanted to be a cheerleader. Done. I wanted to be in the newspaper. Julie and I were photographed walking to our busses the next winter. We were on the cover of the News Times. I wanted to visit all 50 states. I don’t think I’ve added too many states to that list since 2001.

I would love to find that list now and see what I wanted to do back then and if I’ve done any of it since. This is a task for the next time I head back to Connecticut!

13. Attend a national Delta Phi Epsilon event

Before I went to college, I never gave much thought to sororities. When I got to college, I swore up and down that I would never join one. And then I did. What happened? I tell people that I was lured into it…these girls I knew from work asked me to come over and make tote bags. Did I want to make a tote bag? Hell yeah, I wanted to make a tote bag! That was on Monday. The next thing I knew, it was Friday and I was nervously waiting in my room for some sorority girls to come knock on my door and change my world.

Early on in life, we’re taught not to stereotype people based on the color of their skin or the language they speak. Stereotypes are false, we are told. So then why is it we still believe in stereotyping people based on other reasons? It’s crazy to think that I crossed off ALL sororities just based off of what I had seen in the media and my interaction with a handful of sorority members from one particular sorority.

I truly enjoyed my sorority experience when I was in college and I managed to turn it into a career! When I was still in grad school, I was looking for ways to volunteer with my sorority as a national organization. Just recently, I became a chapter advisor for a chapter in Philadelphia. It’s been amazing meeting women that are from other chapters and already having something in common with them!

While I have been able to visit our IHQ in Philly, I have yet to go to an event sponsored by them! This past year, they held a Founders’ Day celebration, but it was while I was volunteering in Missouri. Next summer, they are hosting convention in DISNEY WORLD. Unfortunately, I do not think I am going to have the funds to make that trip. In 2017, our sorority is turning 100 and I’m sure they will do something big for that and I hope to be there!

Fall Down

Some of my lovely family members including my big, my little, and her little!!

20. Attend Brick City

My undergrad didn’t have football and when I was a student, they didn’t make any big deal about any sort of homecoming celebration. Granted, when I started at RIT, there was barely any school spirit on campus. Things definitely changed (for the better) while I was there and now Brick City has turned into more of a homecoming celebration. Instead of football, our homecoming revolves around hockey.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to attend since graduating from RIT. When I first graduated, there were other events that I’d much rather go to. I still knew a lot of students so I would rather see them at sorority or music events. Now that I don’t know too many students, events that draw alum back are better so I can see more of my friends. Last year, Brick City was the same weekend as Albright’s homecoming, which I had to work for. This year, Brick City was the weekend BEFORE Albright’s homecoming, but I was on call since I have my big trip at the end of the month. Hopefully sometime before I’m 30 I can go enjoy a Brick City weekend!!

23. Put $30 in savings for each goal I accomplish

I’ve looked at other peoples’ lists for inspiration and a lot of people have a similar goal. Most that I’ve seen have been $5 or $10…but $30 just seemed better for me…not because I have tons of money rolling in or anything, but if I manage to do all 300, that’s $9000 saved. That seems like a great amount to roll into the next decade with. I don’t know what I’m going to use the money for…maybe a big trip as a celebration? Or maybe I’ll buy a home in my thirties or my first new car and I can use that money to go towards a down payment.

19. Go To A Bonfire

Since both UD and RIT’s Homecoming Celebrations are this weekend, it looks like I’m not crossing #20 off my list anytime soon. However, in the spirit of Homecoming, I did attend a bonfire! Woo! HOMECOMING!!

I accidentally went to a bonfire. It’s not like I took a wrong turn somewhere and wound up at a bonfire..it’s more like I wasn’t planning on attending one. It was more of a family event, so it wasn’t anything like the ones I used to go to in college, but I still had a ton of fun!

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Lilly surveys the beginnings of the fire.

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My last UD bonfire. (Photo credit to Julian!)