Fall Bucket List

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Go apple picking

Toast marshmallows in the fire pit

Jump into a pile of leaves

Attempt baked pumpkin French toast

Visit a pumpkin patch

Go trick-or-treating

Make caramel apples

Gallop through the foliage

Take a scenic road trip with the Puppy

Make an apple pie

Visit a covered bridge

Carve a pumpkin

Happy Father’s Day

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Growing up, everyone always said I looked exactly like my Dad but I never saw it until today. It’s insane how similar we look in every single one of these Father Daughter Dance photos. I’m fortunate to have inherited more than good looks from my Dad. Without him, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Through his example, I know the value of hard work, and more importantly, honest work as it is never worth it to cheat or lie to get ahead. Without my Gary, I would not love big cars, black Dobermans or the middle of nowhere as much as I do today.

We had so much fun at every single one of these father daughter dances. Although the themes in third and fifth grade were unclear, we always had fun dressing to the themes of the other dances, such as Hollywood in first grade, Hawaii in second, and The Wild West in fourth. Because I went to a Catholic middle school, our annual tradition of attending the Ladies Choice event didn’t have to end until eighth grade. I would share those photos as well, however, middle school was such an awkward stage, I couldn’t bring myself to publish the evidence on the internet… too cringe worthy.

I’m so glad my Dad and I got to have fun nights out every year for eight consecutive years. I’m so lucky to have the supportive father that I do, one that willingly moves me in and out of college and shows up to trailer my friends and I out of a show; one that supports me in my education and in my hobbies. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I got you a hammock for me to lay in, it’s on the way!!!

De-stressed

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I don’t remember ever not being stressed around this time of year. Last year I was worried about passing AP exams, finding a prom dress and date, picking a college, preparing for graduation, etc. Compared to that, this year is much more manageable. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not still stressed. I have no idea what I will receive as a grade in one of my classes as its entirety is based on my essay style final exam and a paper I handed in last week. I’m also stressed over physics; my performance on the upcoming final exam will make or break both my grade and GPA. It is for this reason that I’ve been focusing on de-stressing and clearing my mind so I can study and carry out tasks to the best of my ability.

Although going to the gym helps, riding is the only real way that I can clear my head, re-energize, and make my stress melt away. It is the one thing in life (other than chocolate) that will never fail to make me happy. This past week, I’ve ridden multiple horses every day and it has felt great. It’s giving me a peek into what my summer will (hopefully) look like, filled with horses and days spent at the barn.

Everyone needs a de-stressor, a hobby, a passion, something. We cannot expect ourselves to constantly work and tax our minds and bodies. There is a major difference between being distressed and de-stressed. It is necessary to have fun and to have a release. Escaping to the barn keeps me away from school and my negative thoughts about physics. Focusing all my attention on it would not insure me a great grade; it would only stress me out, make my under-eye circles worse, and make me feel drained and exhausted. I’ll do all that I can to get through my stressors successfully but they don’t have to consume me. Getting on a horse and riding is something that always has and always will make me happy and feel ready to tackle any task placed in front of me.

 

Lenten Sacrifice

I can’t believe tomorrow is Ash Wednesday! For the past week or so, I’ve been thinking about what to give up this year. Every year, thinking of something seems to get more and more difficult. I’m beyond the point of giving up something frivolous such as chocolate or sugar, especially since giving up one of those things would make me unhappy and less likely to spread love to those that I encounter. I’ve noticed many of my friends also struggling to think of something to give up for Lent this year, so I complied a list of ideas including some I’ve done in past years and some that I’m considering doing this year. Many of these ideas include giving up nothing at all. You don’t necessarily have to give something up for Lent. The idea behind a Lenten Sacrifice is to prepare for the coming of our Savior. We want to be as pure as possible by the time Easter Sunday rolls around. For this reason, it is important not to be selfish in our sacrifices and to make sure we aren’t taking on too much. It’s better to abstain from one thing well than to fail at several and get nowhere spiritually.  Remember, the whole reason for Lenten Sacrifice is to get closer to Christ.

  1. Go to Adoration weekly: You can also decide to attend stations of the Cross and other Lenten services offered by your parish. Just make sure that before you pledge to do this, you’ll be able to follow through and attend everything you plan to.
  2. Community Service: Why not give back more this Lenten season? Set aside time every week to give back to your community and grow closer to Christ.
  3. Be More Friendly: This is what I “gave up” for Lent last year. By the time Easter rolled around, it had become a routine. I’m still far from perfect, but I’m more likely to be friendly to others now than I was a year ago.
  4. Going to mass weekly: Okay, this one will only work if you aren’t attending mass every weekend already. Doing this for the season of Lent will put you in the routine of going every weekend and hopefully make you keep going after Easter.
  5. Going to daily mass: I love going to daily mass, and hopefully, one of these years, I’ll be able to do this everyday for Lent. Unfortunately, my school schedule has been too busy and unpredictable both in years past and now to fully commit to doing this.
  6. Stress: Giving stress up for Lent can definitely backfire and cause you to stress about not stressing. But, it is also a really beneficial and healthy thing to give up for Lent. It allows you to focus on whats more important and prepare for the Resurrection of Christ. My friends and I tried this one out junior year of high school and it worked. I definitely stress less to this day.
  7. Pray a decade of the rosary every day: This one is definitely easier said than done. Although it sounds quick and easy, pulling out your beads every day for the next 40 days is going to take dedication. If you do decide to commit, listening to rosary on tape in the car is a way to make this one easier.
  8. Swearing: I don’t think swearing is necessarily anti-Catholic but its not very classy and in the  wrong context can be disrespectful. Giving up negative and hateful speech, wether it be curse words, gossip or bullying for Lent would be a great idea if that’s something you’re struggling with.
  9. Go to Confession weekly: Again, if you’re doing this already it probably won’t count as a Lenten Sacrifice, and just like going to weekly mass, this is an idea that could easily paired with something else.
  10. Daily Prayer: Setting time aside every day to pray and be with Christ is very important, especially in the 40 days leading up to Easter. There’s no time like the present to get closer to God. You could even mix it up and pray to a different Patron Saint every day for intervention for different intentions.
  11. Acknowledge others: Instead of looking down at your phone or failing to smile at others when you walk by them on the street or in the hallway, say hello or smile at them instead. It’s a good way to be friendly and spread positivity and the spirit of Christ to those you encounter.
  12. Complaining: I’m definitely guilty of complaining a lot, and it’s a bad habit I need to kick. Complaining frequently makes you look like a negative person who isn’t grateful for what you have.
  13. Your Phone: Not completely; don’t panic! So many people are glued to their phones to the point that they’d rather be on it than have a legitimate conversation with the person sitting across from them. Others are so addicted that they’ll go on it instead of doing work, homework, or real world activities. It this is you, be conscious of your phone consumption for Lent or limit yourself to one phone battery every day. If that still seems like too much, try turning it off every time you’re planning on working or spending time with someone instead.

 

19th Birthday Bucket List

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Today is my nineteenth birthday and I decided to make a bucket list for this year; nineteen things I want to do before my teenage years kick the bucket!

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  1. Ride on the beach
  2. Climb more mountains
  3. Leave the country at some point
  4. Do some serious showing
  5. Continue to narrow down what I might want to do with my life
  6. Jump off a cliff
  7. Go to Santa’s Village
  8. See a free show at the Kennedy Center
  9. Visit at least 3 different covered bridges
  10. Paddle board
  11. Perfect some pieces on the violin
  12. Get a card to the Library of Congress
  13. Explore a new state in the US
  14. Road-trip to New Hampshire’s Flume Gorge
  15. Get a job
  16. Go to Nantucket
  17. Try a different type of food
  18. Attend a great concert
  19. Make new friends

Can’t wait to see what 19 has in store!

 

New Beginnings

dsc05880Starting a new semester and schedule is never easy; in fact, it’s quite a challenge. Nobody likes change, especially change that comes with so much pressure. Coming back to school after winter break was a challenge. Knowing I’d be going back to a brand new routine, topped with cooking for myself, doing dishes and being on my own  once again was tough, especially after spending a great month with my family. Being at the tail end of a bad stomach flu certainly didn’t help either.

When I got back to school, my inner ambitious perfectionist kicked in and I decided that my schedule wasn’t good enough. During registration, I had been determined to take the most challenging classes and pursue a pre-med track, even though I currently have no idea what I want to do with my life. I started dropping classes and trying to add new ones, which, to my horror wasn’t possible because every interesting class was closed! The classes that weren’t closed had waitlists that I joined, despite being place 7-38 in line.  My entire first week was spent in a panic. I had early morning classes and barely slept. I was swamped with biology homework and had no time for the gym or the barn. I was absolutely miserable.

After a great inauguration weekend, a miracle happened. I found an open class that I was interested in and I got off the waitlist into another. I finally gave myself a break and dropped biology. Since doing so, a great weight feels as it has been listed off my shoulders. I am sleeping well, Facetiming friends again, and back in the gym. After a stressful week wondering if I’m doing enough to explore my options and wondering if I’m being too ambitious or too lazy, I finally have closure. This semester I am going to focus on myself. I’m going to make sure I get enough sleep and take time to do my work for each class well. I’m going to explore my options and go home as much as I can. I am going to focus on making good friends and thoroughly adjusting to life away from home so my future transitions will be much smoother.

No matter how many times I go through it, change is still scary. Starting a new semester and therefore a new routine is challenging and uncomfortable but it’s something we all have to do sometimes. Practice makes perfect. In a way, I have conquered another first, perhaps the most daunting type of change. Although I’ve already experienced my first time moving away from home and my first semester of college, I’d never experienced moving back to college after being home for a long period of time before now.

New beginnings are hard and stressful. You don’t know if you’re doing enough or sometimes even what to do. They’re the worst,  but there isn’t anything that any of us can do about it. All we can do is plow forward and do our best, be our best selves and most importantly be kind to ourselves and relax. There’s no point in getting worked up over nothing, no matter how significant that thing may seem at the time. It’s just waisted energy and a waisted appreciation of the great potential of a new beginning.

Snow Day Shenanigans

Sometimes I hit a figurative wall and need to release excess energy while getting some fresh air. It feels good to relax, climb a tree and play outside in the snow. Although it’s freezing, it’s exhilarating and fun. The older I get, the more frequently I forget to have fun. As ridiculous as this may sound, having fun sometimes seems like an imposition on my daily routine. When I forget to have fun, I forget what it feels like to be excited for the next day and  look forward to the adventure that lies ahead. Without fun I get too caught up in the mundane, ordinary routine that stresses and pulls away my sanity until my want to play is reduced to nothing. Playing outside like the child I am is something that I can and will never grow out of. It is what shaped me into who I am today and is what helps me to regroup after a rough day. Running around and reconnecting with nature is one of the healthiest things I can do, not to mention one of the most fun.

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Vest: Abercrombie, Leggings: Under Armor, Boots: L.L. Bean, Socks: Abercrombie, Earrings: Lilly Pulitzer