My Sweet Summer is (Almost) Gone

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It’s been waaaaaay too long since I’ve last written. I see the complete irony in that, considering my last post was about my undying love for writing, and how I won’t ever stop and blah, blah, blah. But I’ve been supa-dupa busy and I haven’t found the time to write until right… now!

I’ll give you a little (or a lottle) update. I packed up my dorm, shipped most of my belongings to a storage unit and came home to Colorado for summer. It’s been a pretty uneventful summer, but it’s already mid-July and I’ll be back in Chicago in 2 weeks! Most of June consisted of looking for a job/ trying to keep myself entertained/ seeing old friends/ apartment hunting. My two closest friends from school and I are rooming together and have been looking for an affordable Chicago apartment since, like, March. We finally found a beautiful, newly renovated, 3-bedroom apartment in West Town that we could all afford.

I had an interview at Ulta Beauty for a temp position to help open up a new store in Colorado Springs. I was thankfully hired, and they liked me so much that they decided to keep me on for the rest of my summer. Go me! It’s been a fantastic opportunity and I’ve met some really amazing people. You cannot believe the manual labor it takes to open a store that carries literally hundreds of brands of makeup and hair products. It took a full week to finalize the store before the soft opening. I worked approximately 54 hours that week unloading shipments, moving boxes, assembling stands, labeling products and making everything look uniform as it should…and it completely kicked my ass.

In June I went to Portland for my older sister’s wedding. Portland reminds me of a more humid Manitou Springs. It’s absolutely beautiful. The wedding wasn’t short of beauty either. It was on this gorgeous farm about an hour outside of Portland. The ceremony took place under a willow tree. Most importantly, I finally got to meet her 6 month old daughter, Cora Celeste. My last day there, we all went to the coast in Manzaneda.

My 19th birthday was a few days ago. I enjoyed the company of friends and family and I can’t wait to celebrate with my friends back in Chicago.

In early June, I was given an amazing opportunity. My mom’s dear friend from high school lives in Meudon, Paris with her husband and two children. Her husband will be in Shanghai from January until May for a work trip. For the duration that he’s away (Spring 2015 semester) she wants me to work for her as an au pair while also taking a highly intensive French course at the Sorbonne. It didn’t seem like something I would be able to do, but the more research I did, the more likely it seemed. So I’m officially taking my sophomore spring semester of school off to live, work and study in Paris. It’s truly a dream come true. Truly true.

I leave for Chicago in just 2 weeks. My room is reminisent of last year before I left for college: full of boxes. Except this time I won’t be moving into a dorm, but my own apartment with my best-est friends.

It’s an understatement to say that things are pretty exciting at the moment.

I guess this summer hasn’t been that uneventful now that it’s all in writing.

For the Love of Writing

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Last semester I rediscovered my love of writing. I’ve always had a knack for it and I’ve always enjoyed it, but along the way I lost the passion to share my stories. Last semester, for some unknown reason, the passion reappeared. I started writing again and it felt good. Really good. With this new burst of passion, I decided to direct my studies toward fashion journalism. I love fashion. I love writing. Why shouldn’t I write about fashion? That thought process seemed logical at the time. But when I began my Intro to Journalism course, I wasn’t feeling that passion. I wasn’t feeling much, because, well, I wasn’t even writing. I probably should have done my research, because I was expecting a class full of amazing writing assignments on amazing topics that would fuel my passion even further. But instead, I was reading about writing…and reporting about weather…and interviewing people on the streets. Bleh. I don’t exactly know what I was expecting with an intro class, but my passion for writing wasn’t being fulfilled. I consider my voice to be pretty strong in my writing, but of course, you can’t show your voice in journalism. What was I thinking?

Two months into the semester I dropped journalism as my minor. I was done talking about politics and sports and the gun violence in Chicago. I don’t care if Bubba Watson won the Masters because golf is dumb and boring. I’m tired talking about the polar vortex and the ever-changing temperatures in Chicago. Weather is pretty fickle, get used to it.

I’m not writing nearly as much as I had hoped and I’m not writing about things I care about. My weekly posts on the blog are about the only writings I can muster that still have my own voice and my own stories.

So that leaves me here: minor-less and confused as hell as to what I want to do with my life and my career. Or, you know, a normal Tuesday.

This afternoon I was browsing on the Columbia website looking at the minor options available and I saw something that struck my interest. It’s a minor called “Professional Writing”. This program will build students’ capabilities as writers through complex, specialized writing projects. Professional Writing students gain practical skills in writing for the workplace, experience in writing effectively for and about the arts and new media, and advanced abilities in research, editing, and document design. The Professional Writing curriculum is designed to help students learn to effect change through writing.” 

Well damn. That sounds perfect. And learning to “effect change through writing” would just be a cherry on top. I have no idea how I can incorporate this into my Fashion Business major, but knowing how to write in the working world is pretty important.

Whatever I decide to do, I will never stop writing. I don’t think I can.

So, here’s to being confused about everything, ever. And here’s to never having to talk about stupid golf again. (Except if it’s about my sister, because she’s really good at it and I support her and love her.)

Cheers!

 

 

Something Better

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Back in October I wrote a short piece on my personal inspiration. I never posted it, but I talked about how I always get bursts of inspiration at the most inconvenient times. Last semester, it was during my management class. Now, apparently, it comes when I’m lying in bed super late at night. I can’t control when it comes, so I’ve learned to just roll with it. If I feel it coming, it’s almost impossible to pass up. So, here I am.

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been toying around with the idea of “happiness” the past few months. Back in February, I made a resolution to “create my own happiness”… So far, so good. This semester has been monumentally better than last and I think it’s because I’ve taken control of my own happiness. I’ve learned to do things that make me feel good and to drop things that added unnecessary stress. (I encourage everyone to try this–it’s makes quite a difference)

All of the changes and decisions I’ve made to live a happier life have all been internal, for the most part. I’ve learned how to be happy with myself, by myself, and for myself. I’m extremely independent, so this only comes naturally.

I’ve been pretty set on living an independent life full of adventure. I never truly want to settle somewhere permanently, but rather take myself wherever life calls. When it came to college, a lot of people I knew chose a school closest to home. Some people did this because they didn’t want to venture off–they felt happy where they were–but some stayed because they were too scared living far from home. For me, going to college in Colorado wasn’t even an option. I knew I needed to get out and see what else the world had to offer. I was scared, yes, but I was even more scared that I’d be stuck in that little town forever. If I want to go somewhere, I go. If I want to try something different, I do it. There’s never been another way for me.

The idea of settling terrifies me. If I know that there’s something else better out there for me, and I’m not doing anything to change my situation, that’s when I lose my sense of happiness. I lose it when I lose myself in things that are beneath me (or to put that in a less pretentious way, I’m unhappy when I know I could be doing something better for myself than what I’m currently doing).

When I made that resolution two months ago, even then I wasn’t sure where to start. But the picture is becoming a little bit more clear. The life I set out to have will never feel finished or complete, but I don’t want to feel that way. I constantly want to improve and strive. Settling won’t even be in my vocabulary.

Cheers!

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Photo Credit: Dolly Nguyen

 

The Sweet Aroma

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Spring and I have always had a love-hate relationship. Spring in Colorado is usually just an extension of winter, followed by a few weeks of ugly,dirty slush covering the ground. It’s pretty much the same here in Chicago. But I’ve been in deep winter hibernation for months now and this warm weather is a breath of fresh air–literally. I’m actually looking forward to stepping outside and feeling the sun on the skin. I’m anxious to show off my legs that have been covered since October (it might not be a pretty sight for a few weeks) and to NOT wear wool socks. For the first time, I’m looking at the spring season as the symbol it should be: a fresh start.

It’s probably the greatest feeling walking out of your house and smelling the rain from the night before. The ground is still damp and the air is a little clammy. It’s a little brisk, but the wind feels good against the skin. When I was little I would walk through the grass barefoot because the dew was nice and cold compared to the warming sun. I remember seeing tulip bulbs popping out of the soil, ready to show themselves off. The cherry blossoms on the tree at the next door playground would start to bud. I remember picking off the crab apples with my sister and trying to eat them, even though each time we did, we’d spit them out immediately.

Spring is a time to try new things, reconsider old things, and to get rid of unnecessary things. It’s like a second New Years.

This post is short and sweet, just like the springs in Chicago, because soon enough summer will be here and I will be miserably hot for 3 months. I will enjoy these sweet days of fresh air and cool mornings. I will enjoy the aroma of wet dirt and budding flowers.

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”

-Rainer Maria Rilke

 

My How I Met Your Mother Goodbye

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I grew up watching How I Met Your Mother.

I’ve seen every episode 10-15 times and I can quote almost every line. I grew up with Ted, Robin, Barney, Marshall and Lily. I reside with the characters at a probably unhealthy level.

There’s been a lot of controversy over the finale that aired Monday night. Barney and Robin divorce after only 3 years, Barney ends up with a daughter, The Mother dies of a mysterious illness and Ted and Robin-inevitably-end up together. It was a heart wrenching, messy, packed-to-the-steams one-hour episode that a lot of people are upset about. They feel betrayed.

After 9 years of Ted searching for “the one”, she’s only a part of his life for a few years. Barney, disappointingly, retreats to his slutty ways. Robin is never around anymore.

How can faithful viewers be happy with this mess?

But guess what. Life is messy. People die. Marriages fail. If I can take anything from this finale is that life never turns out the way you expect.

Barney meets the love of his life when he holds his baby girl for the first time (I’m sobbing by this point). Ted’s kids give him permission to go after Robin 6 years after the death of his wife.  And the episode ends the same way the show started 9 years ago: Ted is on the street outside of Robin’s apartment holding the blue French horn he stole for her.

I’ve realized why I’m so attached to this show. I want what they gang has. I want a life with friendships that can bear anything. I want to be surrounded by people who accept my flaws and love me anyway. I want a life full of legendary stories that I can tell to others in the future.

The last episode of How I Met Your Mother was heartbreaking and it was real. That’s why I’m not upset. It didn’t end how I wanted it to, but it ended in a way that I can accept.

How I Met Your Mother has been a weirdly large part of my life, so writing my personal goodbye to the show seems like the only way to go.

Farewell to MacLaren’s Pub, the apartment, and the legendary stories. Farewell to the yellow umbrella, the booth, the pineapple (which I still want an explanation for), and the ducky tie. Farewell to Teddy West Side, Sparkles, Barnacle, Marshmallow and Lily pad. Farewell to How I Met Your Mother.

 

Gems

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I’ve been on a recent hunt for little gems hidden in Chicago.

I have a two-page list of book shops, coffee shops, boutiques and café lounges spread throughout the city that I’m set out to find.

My friends and I are looking for an apartment for next fall and the more we look outside of the South Loop, the more we don’t like the South Loop. We found a neighborhood called Old Town. It’s a very old part of the city with an incredibly charming (my word of the week) European vibe. It has character and color, two things that the South Loop lacks. The sun shines a little bit longer because it’s not hiding behind skyscrapers. There’s not a Starbucks on every block and the people are warmer. I immediately fell in love.

It has the same feeling as… home. Home. Exactly where I didn’t want to be, but I find myself attracted to this place with an unmistakable similarity. Interesting how that works.

I didn’t really starting drinking Starbucks (heavily) until I moved here. I basically lived in small coffee shops where local music spilled out onto the street, where people are slack lining from tree-to-tree in the park across the street, where there are just as many dogs as there are people. It’s my own little gem.

I lose that feeling here. Character turns into corporate. It’s a little bit colder.

I didn’t even realize this until I ventured outside of downtown. I saw those little coffee shops that I spent so much of my time in and it brought be right back.

I guess the point of my list of hidden gems is to find that charm and character I so desperately crave. I need more sun and more color.

I need those little gems.

Old Town

Old Town

Manitou Springs

Manitou Springs

Charming Doors

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I have a somewhat obsession with doors. Charming doors, to be more specific. My home back in Colorado has a bright red door–my favorite color for a door–and I’ve always loved coming across brightly colored, intricately carved, or metal detailed doors.

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When I went to France a few years ago, I literally took a photo of every charm Parisian door I saw. I’m almost 100% sure I pissed off the rest of the group because I would stop every few feet to snap a photo.

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IMG_4042A door can give the first impression. It can be inviting, it can make people want to turn away. Sometimes the doorway is just an allusion! A façade! Have you even noticed a doorway that no one ever opens?  It’s probably a fake door just to cover up the emptiness behind it, or to disguise something that would otherwise be an eyesore.

I love all things charming, inviting and brightly colored.

Next time you see a door that fancies your senses, open it. You never know.

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