#100happydays

On the first day of summer, I started doing #100happydays. It exploded on my Instagram feed weeks ago and I wanted to see what it was all about. I had initially thought about starting it when we were traveling but decided to wait until I knew I would have time (and the ability) to constantly post pictures.

It seemed like a no-brainer for me. I love Instagram, taking pictures and posting them. This would be a breeze. All I had to do was post my usual summer pictures with a new hashtag? Sounded awesome to me. After 9 days, it has been. It makes me live in the moment and appreciate my life to the fullest. So far, my pictures have been taken with my phone while I’m relaxed and happy. Once or twice I woke up in the morning and think about what my picture could be for the day, but most of the time they are spontaneous and I love that.

I’m glad I started it on the first day of summer. It felt appropriate and I am usually in a much better mood come summer. I am working out more, totally relaxed and embracing what life has to offer. The real reason I started then was so I could have a bench mark for myself. I like starting things when they I am meant to. That is probably why I didn’t sign up to for #100happydays during our trip. It didn’t feel right. When the first day of summer came around, it did.

I am a strong believer in the idea that everything happens at a set time for a specific reason. I also believe that things don’t happen unless they are meant to. On that first day of summer something inside of me clicked and I signed up. So far, #100happydays is a total success. I will be posting the ten most recent images on my blog every ten days, so look out for my first ten tomorrow!

The Crazy World of High School Relationships (3 of 3)

In two earlier posts I talked about struggling with relationships in high school. While this will be the final post in the series, I don’t think it will be the last I talk about this topic. Thinking about it raised more thoughts, questions and reflections I feel are important topics to write about. In the meantime,  I want to finish my shortened saga and share what I took away from it.

After my friends decided to move on school was rough for me. I only came to the following conclusion recently.  My friends didn’t want to hang out with me anymore because I was becoming friendly with other people. I was (eventually)  grateful they pushed out of the group because I realized their friendships were a clique in disguise.  I was never a girl who wanted to be in a clique. I wanted to be friendly or at the very least be comfortable with multiple groups of people.  I think this made them uncomfortable.

Throughout sophomore year, I became friendlier with new people, partially by my own doing and my school’s. Thanks to the flawed tracking system for classes, when I moved up a level in math I was with a whole new group of kids for geometry and chemistry. After a few weeks I became closer with one or two people and eventually became very close friends with one guy in my class.  After the whole debacle with my “friends” he was one of the few people I knew wouldn’t mind sitting with me at lunch. I sat with him and the people he hung out with in the following weeks. They ended up being the people I became good friends with by junior and senior year. They are also the only ones I am still in touch with.

He and I began dating which lasted about 18 months or so. For anyone who knows high school relationships, that is a very long time. Dating him taught me a lot of things: how to love unconditionally, how to ignore what other people say, how to know when I am not happy anymore and how to move on from what was a very painful time in my life. He was not by any means the most understood boy in my grade. Some people found him odd and a lot of people asked me why I was dating him. I learned it really didn’t matter what other people thought. All that mattered was my happiness.

In my first post I mentioned relationships in the general term. This relationship also eventually ended. Going through the relationship made me realize how important high school are. I don’t by any means think they are the only thing that matter in high school, but I do believe teenage girls can learn a lot from them. High school relationships teach girls how to learn their limits, how to deal with heartbreak, how to trust someone else and how to give a part of themselves to someone else.

I am grateful for our relationship for that. I am thankful he and I are still friendly today. The thing I learned by ending the relationship was sometimes two people are better off friends.  This is a very important lesson I still take with me. I won’t lie and say there haven’t been moments that I considered if myself and guys I am very friendly with at school  would be a good couple. The big question I ask myself when it comes into my head is if we are better as friends.  If the answer is yes, I drop it. At this point in my life, given everything I went through in high school, my friends mean so much to me and I would not want to risk losing them. It is also an important thing to be aware of because while everyone is looking for that one special person, good friends are very valuable and sometimes hard to find.

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Writing 101: Writing off Prompts to Create Blogs

writing-101-june-2014-class-badge-2While I was traveling, I read about a course called Writing 101 from the Daily Post. Since I was new to blogging and the course was advertised as a way to create a writing habit and generate  more content, I signed up. Once it began and the prompts and twists were released, they looked a lot like the prompts I was given in my fiction classes. I love writing, especially creative writing, but it took time for me to link creative and non-fiction writing to make a blog post.

The fact that you don’t need to publicize them all, can mix and match the prompts and twists and you can make the prompts whatever you want keeps me entertained. Since it’s a lot of free writing I can stretch my creative writing muscles. A lot of the posts don’t make it past my Scrivener document but some of the very good ones or posts I feel relate to what I write about get published. Throughout the course I’ve found ways to twist a lot of them into blog posts that work for my page. There are even some free write ones I published because I liked how they came out.

I don’t know if the Writing 101 program really helped me develop a blogging habit. It has done one thing though: given me a lot of content. I’m generating a lot of writing in one week. In contrast to when I started blogging and I only had one or two posts a week, now I never have a shortage. I have multiple drafts waiting to be published and a lot of ideas in the works. Writing 101 also showed me I don’t necessarily like working off set prompts. A lot of my stronger posts come from inspirations I pull from conversations or things I read.

However, there is something really nice about having a common community. All the writers who are doing it occasionally post their responses and will inspire me or move me to write in a new style. While I think the advertising for Writing 101 was slightly off in what it actually achieves, I am grateful for doing it and love all the new and interesting content I am developing. I also am thankful to see I haven’t totally lost my ability to write fiction.

Here’s To Summer! #SummerBloggerChallenge

This summer, along with my usual blog posts, I will post some summer themed ones! I am joining a bunch of other amazing bloggers in the #SummerBloggerChallenge hosted by Charlotte, blogger for Velvet and Vinyls. I am very excited to share these amazing topics with you and I would definitely suggest checking out some of the other bloggers who are taking part in it!

Since today is the first official day of summer, I’ve been thinking about what I want to accomplish.  Aside from playing tennis, working out and really enjoying my summer, which I have already talked about a few times on here, there are other goals. Tennis and fitness are the big ones for me but by now they have become part of my routine. I started thinking about things I can do that are outside of my routine, unique or would push my comfortable limits.

  • Do some cool DIY projects. I have a whole list on Pinterest I haven’t had the time to do but this summer I really want to find the time. I think I still have two un-opened Darby Smart boxes and if my memory serves me right, they were both really awesome.
  • Finally sort through pictures. I have thousands of pictures from this past semester alone. Between my photography independent study and the trip we took at the end of May, there are so many pictures I need to sort through more carefully. I want to get some printed and put them on my walls. What better time than the summer?
  • Write more fiction. I feel like I beat a dead horse when I say this every summer. I love writing fiction but I can never bring myself to actually sit down and just write. Now that I am in the habit of sitting down to write for my blog, it might actually happen but I think I’ll still need to give myself that extra little push to generate fiction.
  • Make a travel scrapbook. Since we went to Japan, I have been collecting memorabilia from places we have travelled in the hopes of making this grand and awesome scrapbook of our trips. It’s not unreasonable. I discovered it is actually a lot of fun to scrapbook and I become very calm when doing it.  I am a little more motivated to do it this summer than I was in the past. Now I just need to research if there is an AC Moore or Michaels near me.
  • Detach from my devices.  This is always a major struggle for me, and a subject of a blog post in the near future. I really want to push myself to keep my devices away from me for a whole day and enjoy doing things that doesn’t involve my phone or computer. The scenery and life on the Cape is so calming and slow paced, but when I am on my phone I am the opposite. I want to challenge myself to see if I can get into the slow paced lifestyle, at least for one day.
  • Learn to love the beach (maybe). I have never been a fan of the beach. I don’t remember liking it as a child, and I really dislike it now. However, the beaches in Cape Cod are really beautiful. The sand is a perfect texture and it is usually slightly cooler with the breeze. I don’t know if it’s the sand on my wet feet or when it gets everywhere that bothers me most. I have never enjoyed going into the water, getting wet then relaxing on the sand, but I love walking at the beach and taking pictures.  I would like to learn to love it. Maybe this summer will be the year.
  • Read more. I always forget how much I love reading during the school year. As soon as I pick up the first book that is not required, I fall back in love with reading. I want to discover new books and spend time with them this summer. I want to read blogs and get into the habit of picking up a book for a little bit (even when I am totally swamped with work come the fall).
  • Start #100HappyDays. I have seen so many friends do it and I’ve been seriously meaning to for a while now. I feel like this is quickly becoming my go-to excuse but I couldn’t find the time to start it while I was traveling.  Starting on the first day of summer feels exceptionally appropriate and I can’t wait to see the impact it has on me as a person. It will probably also be the subject of many blog posts.
  • Start graduate school applications. I am always a fan of getting ahead on work. This next year is going to be a massive whirlwind of job applications, graduate school applications, interviews and more! Whatever I can start now will only help me come November when first deadlines are approaching.

I don’t think any of these goals are totally unattainable. I also have a feeling if I succeed in doing some of these I will ultimately avoid being on my device all the time. A lot of these are creatively geared and I love projects. One larger goal for this summer is to get my right brain working more than my left. Here’s to hoping and to a productive and creative summer!

embrace once in a lifetime sunsets like this...

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Weekly Pinterest Loves

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Earlier this week, I joined the Her Campus Blogger Network Pinterest board. It has been so much fun. It’s like my Pinterest experience has gotten much more creative and the scope has widened. Seeing all the different articles the fantastic bloggers post is nearly impossible with just our Facebook page. With the Pinterest board I can see them much easier and can sort through what they are writing about.

I have seen some bloggers in the network do weekly posts talking about posts they loved that week and things along those lines. I have been interested in starting a similar thing myself but the combination of my trip through Europe and settling back into a summer routine, I am just getting around to it now. When I joined the Pinterest board, I got a good idea. I would post pins I love and try and get one from each “category” so to speak: fitness and health, technology, fashion, beauty, lifestyle and a random one I really liked. Here are the five I found today for my first of what will hopefully be many weekly posts with great articles!

Technology: This week’s pick comes from Briana Luca, blogger for Royally Pink! This list is a huge help and I am definitely going to check these apps out!

http://royallypink.blogspot.com/2014/06/best-apps-for-bloggers.html

Lifestyle: This week’s post comes from Flashnotes.com and was pinned by Fashion Trends 101! These hacks for Starbucks drinks are awesome!

http://blog.flashnotes.com/lifestyle/20-secret-starbucks-drinks-didnt-know-order/

Fitness and Health: This week’s pick comes from Strength and Sunshine. I can totally relate to these sentiments!

http://strengthandsunshine.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/my-health-story-part-2-good-riddance-gluten/

Beauty: This pick is from Slashed Beauty. I am always in the market for new makeup!

http://www.slashedbeauty.com/review-nyc-city-samba-collection-summer-2014/

Random: Another post from Flashnotes.com! These types of articles is what I am all for! College is tough but this article gives great tips on how to manage your freshman year! Thanks Fashion Trends 101 for this pin!

http://blog.flashnotes.com/student-resources/meet-new-people-freshmen-year/

Social Media Ranking of One Through Six

In today’s modern society, everything is very focused on social media. When I started my blog, I quickly discovered that a Facebook Page, using my Pinterest page and Twitter account would only help me get more views. There are positions for social media in many jobs and even on campus organizations. I am no stranger to social media. I love my Facebook page, I love having a Twitter account and my Instagram account is one I absolutely cannot live without.

I love having a constant connection to my friends in multiple forms and as soon as I discovered Instagram a few summers ago I thought I was in love. When my Instagram account got shut down, I still don’t know why, when we were in London I made a new one. I am now in the process of recreating my Instagram account I had and my onslaught of pictures from our trip helped that happen. I also discovered that there are some other very cool photo apps. I have been making a mental ranking of social media sites in my head with the pros and cons of them for a while now. I don’t think the rankings I made will in any way effect how I use them but it might help me validate why.

1. Instagram – even given my current love-hate relationship with Instagram ever since my original account is not accessible, I still love it. I really like the fact that it is a photo sharing app, I can play with filters and posts can be whatever you want them to be. The photographer in me lives for it.

2. UltraVisual – this is a new app I discovered when my Instagram account crashed in London. You can share pictures, put captions, write on them, play with filters, edit them to your hearts content and you can collaborate on different boards. The boards are all different themes, customized and unique. It is super fun and there are some pretty fantastic photographers on there. It is definitely a new favorite and I plan to explore it a lot more over the summer.

3. Twitter – it keeps me up to date with what is going on in the world and lets me follow different celebrities. It is fun exploring it and while I don’t tweet all the time, it’s a great way for me to get headlines from newspapers and constant updates about happenings in the world.

4. Pinterest – this site has basically everything I would ever need in my life. I love that thumbnails are images and the basis behind it is that anyone can use it for something. I love having different boards and can spend hours pinning teaching tips, photographs and DIY projects. I love it and I will voluntarily spend hours on the site.

5. Facebook – I honestly find it very creepy and I can be a major stalker on there, I will be the first to admit it. While I think it’s fun and a good way to stay updated on what is going on in people’s lives. It is a weird blend of information on people I see daily and people I haven’t seen in years. I used to think it was more fun in high school. Now I get bored by it after a few minutes of browsing.

6. Snapchat – I’ll be honest, I don’t get it. I don’t get the appeal of it. I have one, and I use it maybe every month, but I don’t understand it. I get confused by who is sending mass messages and who isn’t. I might just be clueless about it, but it’s not so easy to understand. I also don’t see the difference between Snapchat and Instagram direct messages.

These six social media apps are the ones I really use. Of course there are others given how modern our society is now  but I really struggle to understand them. I don’t get why Google+ is so big. LinkdIn makes sense but it is very business geared. I guess Tinder counts as social media but I also think it’s a weird way to date and the appeal is clearly lost on me. As a blogger and a college student in today’s age, social media is huge. These sites have become our second way of life and connections to the people in our lives. I have learned to live with them, but I don’t think I will ever come to love every single one of them.

social_media

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The Crazy World of High School Relationships (2 of 3)

In an earlier post, I started talking about a painful memory with classmates I had been friends with in high school. Now, I am going to actually delve into the story and tell you how I went through some serious loss, but through that experience of loss, I found things.

Like I had talked about in my earlier post, I was very close with six classmates and we did almost everything together. I was excited to have such a tight knit group and was feeling pretty optimistic about my high school experience. Every high school freshman walks into their first day half wondering if it is going to be at all like the movies. You know those movies, where you make your best friends for life and find your future husband, the man you marry and then tell your kids how you were high school sweethearts. I blame Hollywood for skewing all sense of reality about high school. Those movies are not true.

I found out this harsh fact the hard way. My sophomore year started off well. My six friends at the time and I would celebrate birthdays together, hang out at lunch, and go into New York City for shopping trips. It was wonderful. Somehow, everything took a turn for the worst in February. I don’t know which hurt more, the fact that they felt done with me or that they decided this just before my 16th birthday. Needless to say, being friendless and lonely on what is considered a milestone birthday feels pretty rotten. This was when I found out the harsh reality that people who you expect to be your close friends might not be.

A disclaimer as I talk about this: I don’t want to scare kids starting high school.  Not every experience is equally horrible. For a large majority of my grade I graduated with, they are still very close. When I look back on the experience as a whole, I am thankful to the six “friends” for helping me open my eyes and move out of my comfort zone. When you end up without a solid group of people to hang out with, you need to become more social. Thanks to the incident, I became more comfortable in my own skin, was more outgoing to people in the grade and by my senior year I had one or two very good friends but was friendly with everyone.

My sophomore year helped me find out a little bit of myself and I started to become the person I am today that I really like. As I break the story here, the rest will be in a third post, my hope and message I want to get across to anyone who had or is experiencing a similar situation is to keep your head up and learn from it. I am a strong believer in taking every life experience, finding the silver lining or the teaching moment and go with it. I don’t view these instances as things that hold me back anymore, I view them as ways for me to grow as a person.

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