Real Moments: From Gardening to Glasgow to Graduation!

I’m well aware that there has been a lull in posts for the last few weeks – but that’s not for lack of things to say, trust me! An explanation by means of a life update felt in order.

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The most perfect of white camellias – which I cannot take the credit for finding. Tony, the head gardener at Inish Beg, discovered this beautiful botanical gem buried back behind the hydrangeas.

Apparently the letter ‘G’ has been the flavor of the past few weeks for me. What felt like immediately after my return from a month and a half of gardening in Ireland, but in actuality was only a week or so later, I set off on a trip to the homeland with my grandmother. My maternal grandparents hail from Glasgow, Scotland so we went over to visit a few relatives for two weeks.

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The view of Princess Street and beyond from Edinburgh Castle.

As I’ve been to Scotland a fair few times throughout my life prior to this trip, the travel bug wasn’t that strong and we didn’t venture off too far… with the exception of a day trip to the capital city. I must admit that I’m very proud of my 72 year old grandmother for trekking all over Edinburgh with me and not complaining once! We had a bonnie wee time to ourselves, we did.

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Took some time to go see The Elephant House – otherwise known as the birthplace of Harry Potter – while in Edinburgh. My nana was abhorred by the “graffiti” on the wall of the bathrooms but it’s common practice to sign a message when visiting.

I kid you not, the very next morning after flying back to the States from Scotland I drove off for a weekend of glowraging with my favorite girlfriends down in Maryland. The five of us met back in Cambridge, England last summer and this was a reunion mixed with a last hurrah. I’m so thankful to have made such lasting friendships with these ladies. They’re some of the most impressive, inspirational young women I have ever met and I just… well, I’m really grateful to know them. It was incredible to be down on their turf for a little while. Our weekend was over much too soon.

 

Upon returning it was straight on to preparing for the final tassel on the cap – my graduation! Technically I finished school back in December… and received my diploma in January… but the formal ceremony was in May and I did it!

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Took my family to one of my favorite spots after the ceremony – Punter’s Pub. A blurry cheers to 5 years was certainly in order!

I’m officially officially really definitely done with my undergraduate experience now. Please excuse me while I take a few seconds to mime the word “WHAT????” to this empty room I’m sitting in. It truly went by too quickly, but I’m thankful for the people I got to experience it with… most notably getting to go through it all with my very best friend in the whole wide world. It’s thanks to our alma mater that we were even brought together in the first place so leaving for the last time was a little bittersweet.

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This photo is the most tear inducing thing I’ve ever been a part of! 5 years later and still my absolute soul sister, twin moon, best friend. Cannot wait to see what the heck we end up making of our lives.

Now, it should come as a shock to no one that I’m pretty big on reflection and introspection so I’ll wrap this up with a few things I have to say about this here life I’ve been living lately. Over the past 3 months I’ve been unsettled in the best of ways. Most of my time was spent outside of my comfort zone, pushing personal boundaries, and learning new things. From the correct way to plant a tree to why patience is the ultimate virtue, from how to enjoy those precious few moments crossing the stage (instead of panicking about tripping over yourself in front of your entire class) to the significance of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and way, way more. But most of all I’ve been questioning whether, at the ripe old age of 23, I’m on the life/existence/etc. path/journey/etc. that I want to be on. My answer?

For SURE, I am. In the past year alone I’ve spent 1/3 of my months abroad. I attempted to list out all of the different things I’ve studied (in some way, shape, or form) over the course of said year but let’s not double up our word count, shall we? Instead let’s just say that it has been quite the experience, the last 3 months I’ve recounted to you in this post especially.

As always, thank you kindly for following along on all of these adventures with me! We’ve got a many more ahead of us, so stay tuned for the tales.

Follies & Fixations: November 2015

Ceramic Hedgehog Pals

Technically it’s a salt and pepper shaker but I named mine Autumn and she sits as a little figurine on my bedside table. If I can’t have a real pet hedgehog, this is certainly the next best thing.

Jane Austen Literary Mug

Come ON, can you believe something so wonderful as a Jane Austen quote mug exists?? I bought this in my favorite place on earth – Salem, MA. Specifically, at a fantastic store there called Roost & Company. They sell all sorts of cool knick-knacky home ware and other bits and bobs (think stationary, books, jewelry, etc). The saleswoman ringing me up commented on how she watched me walk around the store for 15 minutes clutching it to my chest, so that should be an indication of my excitement at owning this. Not to mention, it makes an excellent companion to the famous first lines quote mug my best friend got me for my birthday.

Russian Lit

Speaking of literary things, this is my latest phase. When I read, I tend to spend a few months on a particular author or genre. Naturally, I also spend obscene amounts of money on as many books as I can carry and usually weeks later end up dropping away from the phase before I finish them all. Rinse and repeat for infinity. Nikolai Gogol had been on my list for quite some time and when I went to pick up a copy of “Dead Souls” I figured what the heck, let’s stock up on some ‘stoys, ‘kovs, and ‘evskys too.

A goal of mine, albeit an ambitious one, is to read “War and Peace” in a week once I’m officially through with my last semester of college. I had a professor in Cambridge who told us that he read “Bleak House” in a week and because I’m the most competitive person to ever exist, I got it in my head to do something equally as impressive. Given that I am continually inspired by Professor G.M. much in the same way that Tolstoy was inspired by Dickens, I thought W&P was an appropriate choice for the challenge. Not to mention it’s almost 200 pages longer…

Apple Cider Everything

No specific brand, no specific way, just all of it all the time.

Society of Grownups

I can’t even think of a way to describe what this place is other than an amazing incredible resource. A friend and I attended a few classes in the beginning of November and color me so impressed. Society of Grownups hosts classes, chats, guest speakers, events, and more all around the important aspects of Grownuphood. I personally went to the “Basics of Investing” and “You’re a Grownup Now (Don’t Panic)” sessions and am planning to return in December. Even though I’m a finance major and I work at a Center for Financial Independence, personal finance is still a really scary thing for me to confront! SoG makes it relaxed and fun, not to mention their Brookline location has an indescribably comfortable vibe. I couldn’t sing higher praises. Worth stopping by, even just to see the space and peruse their really great bookshelves (they make a kick-ass cup of coffee too).

Halloween @ Home

I know, technically an October folly but November 1st is my December 26th so deal with me for a moment. Ever since I can remember, my family has gone all out with turning our front porch orange for the month of October. I love dressing up, I love eating candy, I love every possible activity that has to do with Halloween (I’m even coming around to haunted houses and scary movies, thanks to my best friends who really love forcing me through them… and by coming around I mean I mull it over for .7 seconds longer than I used to before begging “NOOOO!”) I’m the most basic of New Englanders in saying that Autumn is my favorite time of the year, but know that being home for Halloween makes up a solid 90% of that favoritism.

Tuneage

The Men of Pop have been coming out with all sorts of jams to kill the game lately. Obviously I’m in love with the new One Direction album, but here’s some other stuff I’ve been listening to on repeat. Enjoy! (Also, do yourself a favor and watch this video – WOW, you’re so welcome)

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My Senior Semester Beantown Bucket List [@BostonMA]

The Ell Hall Husky

I’ve spent the last 4+ years of my life working towards one of those diploma things and now I’m left with mere months until this undergraduate life is all over and done with. Technically my graduation date is in 2016, but technically I’m actually finished with school at the end of 2015. So I’m gonna do like any true senior would and choose the gimmicky one with the smallest amount of effort – here’s a list of 15 things I want to do in Boston before I leave Northeastern!

  1. Finally try something from Chicken Lou’s: Famous eatery on campus that I’ve never actually eaten at before, though I could pick out the smell of their fresh fried chicken from 10 miles away. Or at least from Richards Hall.
  2. Go to an ImprovBoston show: Improv is one of those things that is either so fun to go to because it’s so good or so fun to go to because it’s so bad. I’m leaning towards checking out a student showcase, but I wouldn’t mind The People’s Show either.
  3. Share a meal with Shillman Cat: Did it! First meal back at school consisted of a burrito and a one-sided conversation with NU’s favorite cat statue. Not sure why I wanted to do this, but at least I’ve accomplished something here.
  4. Crawl to bars with El Tour: These seem to be a popular activity amongst the young’uns. I guess that makes sense since they started as Northeastern house party crawls. I’d like to go Drink to Fall but I’ll be off adventuring elsewhere so Christmastime Crawl, anyone?
  5. A finals week Nose Rub: Everyone is told about the mystical tradition of rubbing the Ell Hall Husky’s nose for luck before finals week but I’ve never actually done it. I’m asking you all to skip this year cause I’m gonna need to take all the luck I can get on my way out of here.
  6. Last Supper in Stetson East: I was able to survive my entire first year of college on little more than chocolate fro-yo with marshmallows and french fries with mashed potatoes. I definitely won’t sob real almost-adult tears upon that revisit.
  7. Have a cup of coffee at the end of every Green Line: A lot of students become acquainted with the MBTA and the Green Line is where I’ve spent most of my time over the past few years. I felt I should give it a proper send-off a la riding it all the way to the last stop on each branch for some yummy hot beverages.
  8. Sit in on that cool music class: MUSC 1111 is apparently the technical term for it. BUT unfortunately for me, ‘Rock Music’ is not being offered this semester so I’ve gotta go for the next best thing: MUSC 1112 aka ‘Jazz.’ So many people have taken one or the other of these 500-person classes throughout the years and I’ve never had space to be one of the cool kids. So, I decided screw it – I’m gonna crash a lecture anyways.
  9. Go to The Sinclair again: My favorite concert venue in Boston (technically Cambridge). I’d love to go boot-stomping and beer-drinking just one more time, especially when they’ve got Wormtown ‘Be Hoppy’ on draught. Point me in the direction of the bluegrass!
  10. See a Harvard Football game: I absolutely adore college football, but silly me picked a school without a team. Given that watching a game in person will also be a first for me, I figured what better place to do that than in the oldest collegiate stadium in the country?
  11. Tour Jack’s Abbey Brewery: Massachusetts is home to a lot of breweries and I’d like to take advantage of that. Did you know I like beer? Is that evident? Have I mentioned it only 1500 times in the past few posts? Because, I like beer.
  12. FINALLY visit the MFA: Now this one is downright unacceptable. Not only have I lived literally right across the street from this place for years, but my school ID gets me in for free! And I’ve never gone! There is a pretty cool looking Herb Ritts exhibit calling my name.
  13. Have a people-watching brunch on Newbury: I better hurry up and do this one soon while the weather holds up. Every time I stroll down this famous Boston street, I’m supremely jealous of the friends having brunch and gossiping on outdoor patios. Which of you wants to share a pitcher of bellinis with me one of these Sundays?
  14. Attend the Boston Common Tree Lighting: Okay, okay, so I’ve been to this before too… But that was freshman year and its one of my favorite memories! I adored it! Christmas in Boston is one of the most magical things you can experience and I just want to drink some hot cocoa, listen to carols, ring a few bells, and jig my way home down Comm Ave.
  15. ACTUALLY GRADUATE!

Honorary Suggmentions

Let me tell you, I put very minimal effort into thinking about this list. So if there is something you think I absolutely have to do as a college senior or as a Bostonian then please PLEASE suggest / mention it! Note: stay away from the typical big tourist things. Yes, we’ve all Freedom Trailed our way to the North End after one too many Sam Adams down in Southie on St. Patrick’s Day. I hate cannolis.

Follies & Fixations: September 2015

Basically: my favorites! I want to share these with you all on a monthly basis and hopefully you find something you want to try out too. Be it experiences, products, songs, movies, books, thoughts, whatever! Yes, the entire point of these posts will be personal opinions. Feel free to completely ignore them, I won’t be offended. And if you disagree, all the better – tell me.

Harney & Sons Vanilla Comoro Tea

These little sachets are cute as hell. This has been a longggg time favorite and the smell of this tea alone is absolutely enamoring. A little on the expensive side, although now that I come to think of it I’m really not sure about the context of tea prices so hey – maybe this is actually pretty cheap. But compared to my usual box of Lipton, this is a splurge item. It’s so relaxing and I save this for when I want to have a nice little night on the couch watching movies or reading books. Or when my life is feeling particularly overwhelming.

Moleskine 18-month Softcover Planner

I thought it would be absolutely ridiculous to include a planner as a favorite item because like come ON, it’s not like this is new to the world I’m sure you’ve all seen them. But in one of my classes over the summer a girl spied me writing notes in this trusted buddy and she asked to look through it. Yes, I felt anxiety at what her eyeballs might happen across because I make a lot of weird notes to myself in my planner but that’s not the point. Apparently my assumption is wrong and not everyone knows about these so if I can help someone out all the better! I actually found this particular Moleskine one because my best friend used them and I thought it looked great so I got one too and now I’ll never use anything else. I can personally swear by the quality, my last planner not only made it through 18 full months but also adventures on 3 different continents.

Mighty Squirrel Original Beer

I am the last person on this planet that will try craft beers. I like my Guinness and I very rarely make a move away from it. But a friend and I went to a favorite pizza place nearby his new real life adult time neighborhood and this was recommended by the waiter. I took a sip, just to try it, and literally stared back at my friend for a solid minute in silent surprise over the fact that I absolutely loved the taste. “Bundled in each serving of Mighty Squirrel, you will find a few of our favorite things: friendship, sports, entrepreneurship, innovation, and fun.” Those are my favorite things too! How the heck could I love it more? It wasn’t until I went back and googled the brand that I discovered this beer is Boston local and they have an intern affiliation with Northeastern. That’s how.

Visits from my best friend!

My favorite person on this whole planet is currently an entire United States away from me. In the past year my best friend and I have found ourselves living apart for the first time since we met in freshman year of college. The most incredible thing about our friendship is that it doesn’t seem to matter how far away we are, or how long we’re separated – when we get together it’s like we’ve never parted. I miss having her around but I’m also living vicariously through her west coast adventures. It was so wonderful to spend a few days with her this past weekend. Not to mention we went to see the last North America concert stop for One Direction on Saturday so… talk about follies!

Tuneage

I went ahead and made you a September 2k15 mixtape, a la Spotify playlist, to show you how “millennial” I am (shut up, old people – we get it already). And also just, here, look at what I’ve been listening to lately, maybe you might like something. Or maybe you might not. Whatever.

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