Tag Archives: postaday2011

2011; A Brief Review

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I can’t believe it’s already the last day of 2011. Saying that this year has flown by would be an understatement for sure, but at the same time it feels like forever ago since I celebrated the end of 2010.

What could I possibly say about this year in just one single blog post? I feel like so much happened in the last twelve months, I wouldn’t even know where to start. I got to experience so many different things; so many highs and lows. I always get really nostalgic on the last day of the year, I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s a mixture of ending a time in my life I’ve grown comfortable in, but I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I’ll never be the person I am right now ever again. It’s so scary and so exciting at the same time.

The older I get, the more I’ve learned to appreciate all the little moments in life but even more so the bigger moments that don’t happen as often. In 2011 I had a few really GREAT times, and just like 2010 I want to take a few minutes to look back on them and reminisce a little.

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January: Spending three straight days with my two favorite road trip girls for the LAST time. We slept about 3 hours in total, went to a concert in Montreal and then in Ottawa, and partied a whole lot. I loved forgetting about my responsibilities for just a few days and having the time of my life with friends.

February: Celebrating Valentine’s day at my place with my best girls. They make the crappy-single holidays a LOT better, and honestly? I just love celebrating every single holiday with them. It’s become one of my favorite traditions!

April: Not only did I book the trip of a lifetime (Greece) but I spent many nights with my girls from April straight through to July planning it. A huge part of the vacation for me was all the extra time we got to spend together booking hotels and discovering more about a country that we’d later all fall in love with!

I also had the most EPIC girls’ night with a bunch of ladies from work in April just as exams ended. We pretended to be a group from a bachelorette party and we partied like crazy until the next morning. This is super out of character for me, but I had so much fun. We have plans to do it again ASAP! 

May: I didn’t got many concerts in 2011, but I did get to see one of my favorite bands in May for the first time in 3 years. I love Augustana and they put on an amazing show. Not to mention I had a lot of fun with the people I went with.

I also finally went on another road trip with my girls- 4 months might be a record for us? We went to see Wakey! Wakey! in Burlington and it was an unforgettable show for sure.

June: I got to see Rihanna live in concert after many years of saying I would. Yay!

 I also visited the Biodome, a big attraction that features four kinds of animal wildlife in one big building. I celebrated my friends’ birthday on a beautiful summer day, and I had one of my absolute favorite interviews to-date, with Owl City. LOVE him.

July: My birthday month! I had an absolutely amazing birthday this year. One of my ex-coworkers threw a celebration in my honor at her apartment, and decorated the entire place especially for me. The next day I had a brunch with my friends, and then I spent some time with family. I felt so loved 🙂

August: I spent three weeks in Greece with three of my best friends! This was definitely one of my top three highlights of the year 🙂

September: I attended my sister-in-law’s baby shower, I got to see The New Cities- a band I’ve been following ever since they first got together- release their second full length album on a major record label, and I took a vow to become a more honest blogger.

October: I welcomed my nephew into the world on October 18th and have fallen more in love with him each and every single day! I remember when he first got here how surreal it felt, and the first day before I met him I couldn’t actually BELIEVE he existed. Now? I can’t imagine my life without him there.

November: I got out of my weird mood that I’d been in ever since getting home from Greece. I finally started to see life clearly and happily again. I consider that really important, and I think it’s partially due to the fact that I was so happy to have my nephew around! I also went out for the first time in AGES, it was my great uncle’s 90th birthday and the ENTIRE family was there. I drank lots of wine with my cousins and just had the best time.

Oh, and lastly, I got to see Hedley again for the first time in over a year! I missed them terribly, and I loved seeing them perform some of the tracks of their newest album.

December: I got paid for my very first writing gig (it was a blog post, but still! I have to start somewhere right?) and I’ve had the chance to spend a ton of time with family because of the holidays. I couldn’t ask for a better way to end off the year.

And there you have it, another year gone by in the blink of an eye & I couldn’t be more excited to see what’s next.

Happy New Year’s Eve! I’ll see you all in 2012 🙂

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Goodbye, 2011!

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Christmas 2010

I can’t believe that there is one day left in 2011. I feel like I just rang in the New Year, and yet here I am getting ready to do it again, surrounded by the ones I love most.

This year was a great year; it was filled with goals, changes, writing, school, traveling and celebrations. There were days filled with music, others filled with readings, many others involved lots of laughs with great friends. Finally there were the days that were planning for the future. 2011 was definitely good to me.

Two months ago I reviewed my New Year’s resolutions for 2011 and realized that I had basically accomplished them all in one way or another. I spent a lot of time learning how to work on goals in a way that benefits me the most this year, and I can’t wait to apply everything I’ve learned in 2012. I am so hopeful and excited for 2012, I’m bursting with anticipation to see what is to come. I feel like a different person who’s going into the new year with a clear idea of what I want to do and who I want to be, and I just want to make it all happen right away.

I’ll admit that I’ve slacked off in the last two months on my resolutions from 2011. They needed a *little* bit more work and I didn’t really put the effort that I needed in there. I think I was just too focused on school, work, and getting through the holidays to put any time into the things I really WANTED to do. Nonetheless, my goals deserve one last look-over so I can see exactly what I did and didn’t do.

1. Eat healthier. Half accomplished!
I’ve never been the healthiest eater, and even when I wrote this goal it was just one of those “well, it should be in my resolutions” kind of goal. I never imagined I’d actually make any changes, but I have! I will often pick the healthier snack over the less healthy one, but I still cheat way more than I’d like. Oh the plans I have for 2012, I’m so excited. But I definitely made good progress with this one.

2. Travel. Accomplished!
I think my very first trip to Europe (and Greece, of all places!) was a BIG moment for me. It really was a life changing experience, and opened my eyes to an entirely new world. I can’t wait to do more traveling, that’s for sure.

3. Achieve a 3.0 GPA in school or higher. Not accomplished.
I was so hopeful about this when I originally wrote it, but I have NO idea how I thought this was possible. I’ve been taking incredibly difficult and competitive courses for ME. I’ve tested myself in ways I could have never imagined, and it’s nowhere near over. My GPA isn’t a 3.0, but I’ve grown so much in University since writing this goal that I’m not upset in the least. I know I’ll get there one day.  

4. Stay more organized. Accomplished!
I remember when I wrote this goal, it was because I was the MOST forgetful person ever! I could hardly remember what my work schedule was. I’ve definitely made good use of the calendar in my iPhone and made sure to constantly keep up to date to-do lists. I think organization is always something that will be *in progress* for me, but I consider it accomplished because I am a significantly more organized person going into 2012!

5. Save money. Kind of accomplished?
This is a tough one because I know that I SAVED money, but I don’t actually have it anymore. I do have a lot of debt, but that’s because of all the traveling I’ve done in the last year, and the plans I’ve made to continue traveling in 2012. I hate having debt, and I know I’ve spent more than I should have, but I’ve been SO much better at not spending my money on useless things like I used to previously. Being able to spend three weeks in Europe is proof of that for sure… But yeah, I don’t have any *savings* so to speak right now.

6. Read 40 books or more. Accomplished!
My original goal for the year was 40, and I’m at about 55 for the year. This is HUGE for me because I’ve never read that much, ever. Even though I’ve always adored reading, I’ve never made THIS much time for it. I hope to even beat this goal in 2012, especially considering I had *technically* upped my number to 60. I’m not too upset about not reaching it though. Last year I read 31 books only, so the point behind this goal was accomplished: I made a ton more time for reading this year.

7. Cross off atleast 50 goals on my 101 goals in 1,001 days list. 2/3 Accomplished!
At the end of 2010, I was at 27 goals accomplished (I think?) and now I’m at 61 or so. That means I only crossed off about 35 goals, which isn’t awful but still NOT close to 50. I’m also not too upset about this because there are a lot of goals on my 101 list that I know I won’t do at all anymore, and I have my 23 Before 23 list to focus on this year. I’ve also got big plans for this next year, so yeah, not too sad about this!

8. Buy a camera and take more pictures. Accomplished!
I finally bought a new camera at the beginning of the summer after breaking 3 in a row (bad luck, I know). Not only have I been taking more pictures, but I’ve been keeping up with my latest Project 365 on my Facebook, and I’m now further (and more motivated to complete it) than ever before!  I take pictures every day with either my camera or my iPhone, so this goal has been thoroughly completed. 🙂

4 completed, 2 half completed, and one completed 2/3 of the way. This might be my most successful set of New Year’s resolutions EVER. I deserve a pat on the back, ha!

Mostly though, I’m excited to publish this post and properly set up what I want 2012 to look like. I’m going to put my new organization skills to the test, and I’ll share my plans for the New Year next week!

How did you do with your goals in 2011?

The Best Music of 2011

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After reading a few of my favorite music bloggers Top 10 of the year, I realized I couldn’t let 2011 go by without compiling my very own list. This was an AMAZING year for music, no doubt- so many artists released new records… I’m actually pretty disappointed at the sheer number of records I FORGOT to listen to, there were just so many! I’m really not sure how I’ll be able to narrow it down to ten favorites. But I will definitely try.

    

    

#10 Death Cab For Cutie- Codes & Keys
Released: May 2011

Why: I got this one pretty late (as in a few weeks ago) but it’s an awesome album. I had a lot of trouble picking a 10th album to be honest, but I really liked this one best out of all the potential candidates.

#9 Adele- 21
Released:  February 2011

Why: Because who doesn’t love Adele? I could listen to ‘Someone Like You’ and ‘Set Fire to the Rain’ on repeat all day.

#8 Feist- Metals
Released: October 2011

Why: I wasn’t ever a huge Feist fan, but this album changed me. I loved listening to it when it was still warm outside in October. It was the perfect mix of cute, relaxing, indie, and sing-songy.

#7 Automatic Loveletter- The Kids Will Take Their Monsters On
Released: June 2011

Why: It’s no secret that I love Juliet Simms’ unique voice, and I love how it’s highlighted on this acoustic EP.

#6 The Decemberists- The King is Dead
Released: January 2011

Why: I got this album after interviewing one of the band members this year and I’ve been completely smitten about them since! They are so cute and fun live, and I just love the sound of this record.

#5  Foster the People- Torches
Released: May 2011

Why: The entire album is just as catchy as their single Pumped up Kicks

#4 Hedley- Storms
Released: November 2011

Why: Probably the best Hedley album so far, it has a depth to the songs and lyrics that I’ve never seen before from this band. I listen to this record over and over again. And over.

#3 Marianas Trench- Ever After
Released: November 2011

Why: If you haven’t heard Marianas Trench, they might be one of the easiest bands to love. Their newest record is no different; it’s everything I’ve always loved about them, and then some.

#2 Augustana- Augustana
Released: April 2011

Why: After the scare this band gave me RIGHT after releasing the best album of their career- you know, the whole “we broke up for a few months thing”- it definitely deserves to be in my very favorites. Glad they’re back together, and I am still totally in love with everything about this CD.

#1 Jack’s Mannequin- People and Things
Released: October 2011

Why: Well, besides the fact that they’re my favorite band and it was my most anticipated CD of the year, it’s awesome. Definitely not my favorite by them, but I still had it on repeat for a really long time. I love Andrew McMahon’s voice and everything he creates is amazing.

Notable: All Things Bright and Beautiful- Owl City (THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN in my Top 10, but I remembered it after this post was all done! Sad face.) Bon Iver- Self Titled, Blink-182- Neighborhoods, Foo Fighters- Wasting Light, The Arkells- Michigan Left, The New Cities- Kill the Lights, New Found Glory- Radiosurgery, Britney Spears – Femme Fatale (by far one of the best of her career!)

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I’m sure I missed about a dozen albums that I LOVED but I just couldn’t remember everything that came out this year! I still have a few that I just didn’t listen to enough, but overall these are the records from 2011 that really made an impact on me.

I have SUCH a varied taste in music, sometimes I feel like I don’t do all of it justice and that I don’t listen to enough new stuff. In 2012 I’m going to make a conscious effort to keep track of upcoming albums and really giving them a good listen, instead of just throwing them into the vast world of my iTunes.

What were your favorite albums of the year?

The Best Books of 2011

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As 2012 gets closer, I thought it would be fun to look back at some of my favorite things of the year. In the next few days I’m going to look at the best of 2011- I’m excited to see what kind of things you can all add to my lists! Oh and if you’re wondering, that is the current state of my ‘to-read’ bookshelf. I have an illness, you guys. A book-buying ILLNESS.

Today I’m going to look back at my top ten favorite reads of 2011. I tried as much as possible to keep these in 2011 because I read way too many good books this year, but I have to say that my absolute favorites of 2011 were not written this year. I’m also going to look at a few books that DID come out this year that I’m still excited to actually start reading but haven’t had the chance to yet.

So here we go.

The Top Ten

#10 Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares
Released: June 2011
Publisher: Random House

Why: I LOVED the entire Sisterhood series growing up, and after re-reading them in the early summer I fell right into the story of this one. I was back in love with the four girls, and I am back in love with Ann Brashares’ writing. She has matured so much as a writer, and although that book DEVASTATED me it was beautiful at the same time.

#9 The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Released: April 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group

Why: It took me a little while to get into this one, but as soon as I did I just couldn’t put it down. I was completely in love with the characters and the story. Immediate classic.

#8 Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Released: February 2011
Publisher: Harpercollins

Why: When I first heard about the story line behind this book (love as a disease) I was intrigued. The book did not let me down in the least and I can’t WAIT for book two!

#7 Divergent by Veronica Roth
Released: May 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins

Why: I was completely captivated by this book from start to finish. Love the dystopian aspect to this book, it reminds me of all my favorite parts of every other dystopian novel I love.

#6 Room by Emma Donoghue
Released: June 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins

Why: I don’t usually pursue a book that doesn’t immediately attract my attention, and this one took a good 25-30% of the story before I realized how good it actually was. It was one of those books that I read while I ate, while I got ready to go out, and basically any free moment I had until it was done.

#5 Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
Released: April 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins

Why: I read the first book in this series soon after coming home from Greece, and this book brought me right back to Europe and everything I loved about it. I immediately picked up the second book and was so happy with the way the story turned out! I was really glad to hear that there was a second book because I definitely didn’t have enough after ’13 Little Blue Envelopes’

#4 The Death Cure by James Dashner
Released: October 2011
Publisher: Random House

Why: If you haven’t read The Maze Runner (book one in the trilogy) then you SHOULD BE. One of my favorite YA series right now. This was an amazing ending to it. There were some points that I felt the book was a little bit too apocalyptic, but the ending? Wow. Just, wow.

#3 My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares
Released: June 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group

Why: I’m not a huge fan of romance novel, but this one? I am in LOVE with this love story. Once again, Ann Brashares writes a beautiful, believable and fantastical story that had me literally ignoring my friends during the last hundred or so pages. LOVE. Can’t wait for book two!

#2 Looking for Alaska by John Green
Released: September 2008
Publisher: Pengruin Group

Why: I went through a crazy John Green phase at the beginning of the year, but Looking for Alaska was the first book I read by him and has remained my favorite. I love the way he writes, and I love the quirky behaviors that each of his characters has.

#1 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Released: September 2007
Publisher: Random House

Why: This book was just amazing. One of the bigger novels I’ve ever read, but probably changed my life. I need to re-read this in the New Year. And if you haven’t read it? It is the most beautifully written story from World War II that I have ever read. Ever.

On the ‘To-Read’ Shelf’ Published in 2011

#6 The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

#5 The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

#4 Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (paperback)

#3 The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

#2 Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

#1 Matched by Ally Condie

Most Anticipated Reads in 2012 (so far)

#5 Insurgent by Veronica Roth

#4 City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

#3 Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

#2 The Kill Order by James Dashner

#1 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I’ve come to an important conclusion. 2011 was the year that I realized how much I adore young adult literature. Seriously, I read SO much more of it now than I read adult books, and as I browsed the upcoming adult books, there are almost none that interested me. Ha! I mean, I have a few of my favorite adult authors, but otherwise I read the bestsellers and just teen books.

What were your favorites of the year? What about your most anticipated? Which books did I miss this year? 

Christmas Wrap-Up

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I can’t believe Christmas is already over! This time of the year always just flies by, but it amazes me every time I go to sleep on the 25th. Luckily I get to enjoy a little extra holiday time on January 1st, because that’s the day that my mom hosts a huge family brunch at my house. I also have quite a few holiday parties coming up in the next two weeks, so I can still enjoy the holidays a little longer- but the crazy work days are slowly coming to an end, and life is going to be getting back to normal before I know it.

I had a really lovely weekend with family. I always have the best time when I see them (which is pretty often), but there’s always some added awesomeness when Christmas trees, extra yummy food, and presents are involved! Also when we have excuses to make my nephew look cuter than normal:

On Christmas Eve, I worked until 4:30 (the longest shift of my life) and then hurried home to get ready for my first family dinner. I headed over to my brother and sister-in-law’s house who were hosting for the evening. It was my family as well as my SIL’s best friend (and her 10 year old son and mom), so overall not a huge event, but lots of fun anyway. We spent the night talking, relaxing, EATING, and we opened a few gifts.

My nephew’s first stocking! Also included: the blue Santa hat he’s wearing in the first photo.

So much delicious food! My SIL is a seriously good cook.

He doesn’t look super happy in this picture, but I needed a shot with him in his cute little suit!

We stayed at my brother’s house until around 2am. Earlier in the night I got to babysit my nephew and I put him to sleep- he slept for SEVEN HOURS- and then we just hung out as families do. All around really lovely evening that is lacking pictures because I basically forgot to take them. I was too busy relaxing 🙂

I got to bed pretty late that night and I was up before 9am on the 25th- I have NO idea why. We decided to only do our gift exchange after dinner on Christmas day, so I literally had all day to just relax. My mom and I ended up doing our gift exchange together in the morning, and my mom spoiled me with lots of awesome clothes. Now I just need a place to go!

 8:30am on Christmas day in one of my new outfits!

I spent the rest of the day relaxing, catching up on Top Chef, cleaning up a little bit, and all around enjoying my first day off in a LONG time. I had to finish wrapping my presents for that night as well, and actually had lots of fun doing it! Around 6:45pm, my brother and SIL came over and opened a gift that my mom got for them- a huge playpen for my nephew! She didn’t want to bring it all the way to my SIL’s parents house, so they got their big gift here. Afterwards we all headed out for more yummy food and lots of present-opening.

I wear my Santa hat each year because I give the gifts out during our exchange 🙂

This time it was just the close family- there was only 6 of us- so we enjoyed lots of quality time together, laughing, playing with my nephew, and obviously eating.

Gifts under the tree! Or basically gifts in the living room… We may have spoiled the baby this year.

Playing games with his daddy! (AKA trying to tire him out so he would go to sleep- it was 10pm!)

We un-wrapped presents until around midnight, and everyone (ESPECIALLY my nephew) got super spoiled. My family made sure I got some spending money for my trip to Orlando in February as well as some gift cards to go shopping before I leave. We also all got a gift card from my SIL’s mom to go eat out together at a super fancy restaurant, so I’m definitely looking forward to that! My brother gave out a bunch of souvenirs from his trip to Brazil- he bought a bunch of stuff from underprivileged children who create things with the few materials that they can find- so we all really loved those gifts a lot.

Finally, on December 26th, I got to sleep in! It’s been too long. I woke up just past 11 and got ready to spend the afternoon with two of my best girls. We went over to my friend Kate’s apartment and she made us a super delicious brunch, and then we just talked for like 3 hours. We were GOING to watch a movie, but of course, we got carried away in our chit-chatting. We clearly need to hang out more often!

How were your holidays? Did you get spoiled? Spent lots of quality time with family?

GlassesUSA

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I’ve been wearing glasses ever since I’m 7 years old. I don’t exactly remember the day I got my first pair, or how my parents realized I needed them, but I do distinctly remember being ecstatic about FINALLY getting to be one of the kids who wore glasses.

Ever since, my vision has significantly decreased and I’m now at the point where I think I could be considered legally blind. The worst part about that? I’ve never been one of those lucky girls who owns multiple pairs of prescription glasses because ONE single pair for me usually costs upwards of 500$- even with cheap frames! Every time I go to the optometrist, it’s a huge hassle to re-fill my incredibly expensive prescription and I constantly feel ripped off- not to mention I often feel like my frames aren’t quite what I paid for.

When you have really terrible vision like I do, it’s important to at least somewhat understand your prescription so that you can shop prices. I often feel like companies are overcharging me and I can’t stand the idea of it. I do love to shop, but I’m  when I’m making a big purchase like this, I like to be make sure that my money isn’t being wasted and that I can trust the people taking care of my vision.

I recently discovered the website GlassesUSA.com and was incredibly curious to see what their prices were like. I picked a cute pair of black frames very similar to the ones I currently own, entered my prescription, and my jaw practically fell to the floor. My order did not even come to HALF what I usually pay. 

I’ve currently had my pair of eyeglasses for a year now, and I am getting tired of them. I’m so excited about GlassesUSA.com, and I fully plan on taking advantage of their amazing prices in the near future.

If you’re interested, you can also buy glasses for an affordable price and take advantage of some of the promotions they currently have going on. If you use the code BEST2011 to get 55% off their current line of frames, and if you live in the US, you can use the code freeship10 to get free shipping. You can also use the code Blog10 to get 10% off your order just for reading this post! 

Coming from someone who is used to paying way too much for prescription glasses, their 100% satisfaction guarantee and full refund policy make GlassesUSA.com an ideal place to shop!

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GlassesUSA.com sponsored this blog post, but all opinions are my very own! I really do plan on buying a pair once I get my prescription re-done, I am currently in love with their prices, for real. 

And Breathe.

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Even though I finished school a week ago, I’ve still been a busy bee. Between working full time at complete random hours, trying to do my Christmas shopping, blogging, reading blogs, watching some TV, sleeping and basically just every day nonsense, I feel like I have no time to just breathe.

Even though I’m more or less blogging every day, I don’t feel *present* around my blog. I love writing, and I spent a lot of time preparing posts before the New Year comes, but this weekend I’m going to take a well-deserved break from writing and posting… And just breathe.

I’m looking forward to completing the craziest work week of the year and spending enormous amounts of time with my family in the next few days. I just want to be able to have a few days where I don’t worry about ANYTHING before I get back to school on January 2nd because right now, even though I’m done with school, I’m still feeling overwhelmed and anxious. I haven’t completely settled down after a super hectic semester.

So, with that, Merry Christmas to you and I hope you also enjoy some relaxing time with family this weekend! I know that I’ll be stepping away from my computer for a little while and I’m very much looking forward to it. Next week I want to get back into the swing of things… I have lots to share already and I know I’ll have even MORE once Christmas is done!

For now, I’m off to bed to read a little bit (something I haven’t been doing much of in at least a month!) in anticipation of tomorrow- the last day of work, and the beginning of the holidays for me. I have a little bit of Christmas wrapping left to do but other than that I am free as a bird! It feels fantastic. 🙂

Happy holidays!