Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

I've been making New Year's resolutions since my freshman year in high school.  I don't know how everyone else does it, but I make a list, put it away, and look at it next New Year's Eve.  I'm always surprised to see that I have accomplished most things on my list...even if I forgot about most of them.  This year I will continue that tradition, but I decided to post them on my blog as well.  Hopefully I'll have the strength to only look at this post a few times throughout 2011 :)

My New Year's Resolutions for 2011
1. Lose 10-15 pounds and do it in a healthy way
2. Make a final decision on graduate school
3. Donate blood more often
4. End every semester with at least a 3.5 GPA
5. Drink at least 6 cups of water a day (ideally 8)
6. Cut back on fast food to 2 times a month
7.Stick to a daily skin care regimen
8. Floss at least every other day
9. Exercise at least 3 times a week
10. Try new foods
11. Budget money every month
12. Cut down on how much I spend
13. Write every day (even if it's just a little)
14. Continue my Project 365 even after Day 365
15. Update my blogs more often
16. Drink responsibly (I had to add it in there)
17. Find (and start) an internship
18. Expand my music collection
19. Change the way I view my body & health
20. Throw away things I don't need anymore
21. Stop biting my nails

I usually only make 10-15 resolutions, but since some of them tie into each other this year's list is a little longer.

Readers, what resolutions did you make this year?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Losing weight does NOT guarantee happiness

Confession: I lost 15 pounds and I don't feel any better about myself.

In fact, I was happier and more secure with my body at 150 pounds than I am right now at 135 pounds.  I can't tell you the exact reason why because I don't even know.  But sometimes I think it's because when I was heavier, I felt as if nothing could be done.  I was so far away from my "goal weight," and all I could do was be happy with how I look.  And now I'm so self-conscious about how my body looks.  I keep thinking, "how much excess skin do I have?" and "does this shirt make me look fat when I sit down?"

It's absolutely terrible...and I know it.  But no matter what I do, I can't seem to shake the feeling.

This summer, when I made the decision to start losing weight I thought that if I just lost a little bit of weight, even if it was only 5 pounds, I'd be instantly happier.  But 15 pounds later I'm realizing that just isn't true.

I have subscriptions to SELF magazine and Women's Health, and this month I paid extra attention to the covers.  Women's Health's cover said (and I quote), "Look Good Naked! Toned sexy abs. High, tight tush. Long, lean legs."  No wonder girls feel the pressure to be thin.  I've been reading this magazines for MONTHS, and I always feel discouraged while reading them because I want to lose weight but I feel like I'll never meet those standards of beautiful.

For the past six or seven months, I've been losing weight so I can be "skinny" and "pretty."  But really, I should be doing it to get healthy.  It's okay to want to lose weight...but I think it's important to do it for the right reasons.  To be honest, I've been doing it for all the wrong ones.  Regardless of if I weigh 150 pounds or 135 pounds or 120 pounds, I need to learn to LOVE MY BODY exactly the way it is.

Losing weight won't make me happy, but loving myself will.  I just need to figure out how to get to that place of acceptance.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Oh how I love being 21!

After doing 11 shots at midnight on my 21st birthday, I didn't think there was anything good about being 21.  And I also never thought I'd be able to drink again.  I already despise Jagermeister, Goldschlager, and Bailey's (and now tequila). Just hearing those words makes me sick!

But after my 21st birthday cruise, I'm learning that being 21 is absolutely fabulous!!!  I'm quickly learning the liquors that I love and hate. I've also learned my limit, and I know how to stop myself. Oh, and I've learned that I'm going to be carded until I die :)

What I Love About Being 21
1. Two words: Duval Street
2. Trying new drinks
3. Being able to have a casual drink whenever, wherever
4. Being able to go to a liquor store
5. Being carded (it's a feeling that I actually enjoy)
6. Being able to go to the bars with my friends
7. If I want it, I can buy it
8. I don't need to depend on other people to get my alcohol for me
9. I don't feel guilty or scared about drinking
10. Being able to get a new (horizontal) license
11. Mixing different liquors and creating my own drinks (which are probably on the internet anyway)
12. Being able to drink on cruise ships
13. Being able to go on cruises WITHOUT my parents :)

I'll add more soon :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Well hello there winter break!

As a tribute to winter break, I though I'd make a list of all the things I love about winter break.

"So what makes winter break different than summer vacation" you ask?

Summer vacation is 4 months of hell in the blazing heat of Florida, while winter break is a nice 1 month break from the hell of classes.  And the weather is nicer.

One more thing: I'll be adding to this list as I think of more things.

All the Things I Love about Winter Break
1. My Birthday!!!! (My birthday never used to fall during winter break, but for the past two years it has.  So I figured I'd add it to the list).
2. Sleeping in
3. The beautiful weather
4.  No classes
5. I have time to do things that I actually want to do.
6. Did I mention that I get to sleep in?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What I'm Thankful For

I think we all get a bit sentimental on Thanksgiving.  I know I do.  Last year I sent out a mass text to all my friends and sisters telling them how much they meant to me.  This year I didn't...because this year I'm thankful for different things.

Lately, I've been questioning why I'm still part of my Greek organization.  I'd say the name, but (1) you all know it and (2) I could get in a lot of trouble for what I'm about to say.  The moral in my chapter has been low since before recruitment.  I think the yelling and arguing got to a lot of us.  It definitely got to me.  And the super strict rules, the trash talking of sisters, and the cliques have been making me question my decision to join Greek life.  To be honest, I was ready to sign my papers and walk away from it all.  That's how sick of it I was.

This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for all of my Panhellenic sisters who have reminded me why I love being part of a Greek organization.  When things in my organization are tough, I have amazing women to turn to.  Some are in my sorority, some aren't.  But they've all reminded me why I joined a sorority in the first place.  I'm lucky to have such inspiring and caring women in my life.  If you think this is about you, it probably is.

I'm thankful for other things too: my family, the amazing fraternity men who have supported me this year, my SG buddies, my professors who have helped me find my passions, the opportunity to attend SIWC 2010 and fall in love with writing again, and many other things.

Honestly, I'm thankful for just being alive.  Last year, three family members were taken from us too soon, and I'm thankful for each breath I have the opportunity to take.  It's sentimental, but that's what Thanksgiving is all about.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's that time of year again

Yes.  You've heard right.  It's that time of year again.  It's time for my birthday!!!

And this year I'm turning the big two-one (21)!!!

So for Christinapalooza 2010, I have to do it BIG!!  As you'd expect, I've already started the planning.

I'm still looking for ideas.  So to all my wonderful and dedicated readers, if you have any ideas on how I can celebrate my 21st birthday week, please comment and let me know.

Here's what I have planned so far:

Wednesay, Dec. 15: Dinner with friends then waiting until midnight to celebrate my 21st
Thursday, Dec. 16: My 21st Birthday!! Take my first legal drink at midnight. Go to the liquor store and buy my first bottle of alcohol. At night, go to dinner with my family at Parrot Key Caribbean Grill at FMB.
Friday, Dec. 17: Get my new license :)
Saturday, Dec. 18: Build your own 6-pack at Whole Foods
Sunday, Dec. 19: Stock up on alcohol for the cruise (we're using rum runner flasks)
Monday, Dec. 20: 21st birthday cruise!!
Tuesday, Dec. 21: 21st birthday cruise!! ((Nassau))
Wednesday, Dec. 22: 21st birthday cruise!! ((Coco Cay))
Thursday, Dec. 23: 21st birthday cruise!! ((Key West -- Duval Crawl!))
Friday, Dec. 24: 21st birthday cruise!!
Saturday, Dec. 25: 

Okay, so it's more like a birthday week and a half...but it's my 21st.  I have to do it big.

Got a suggestion?  Comment and let me know :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

FGCU's Pride Day: BE YOU!

The event we had on campus today was hands down my favorite event at FGCU.  The event was called "FGCU's Pride Day: Be You" and it was about celebrating being who you are.  It also promoted equality and shed light on many LGBTQA issues that young people face today.

Three incredible speakers were brought to campus: Davis Mallory from Real World: Denver, Rachel Robinson from Road Rules: Campus Crawl & the winner of the Duel 2, and Isis King who was the first transgendered contestant on America's Next Top Model (she was a contestant in cycle 11 but was a background model in cycle 10).

Last semester, Rachel Robinson came to campus and I left feel inspired.  I felt inspired to get more involved in the LGBTQA community.  But mainly, I felt inspired to come out and be myself.

I never got the chance to do that.

But today I got to hear and meet three inspiring individuals tell their stories.  Each of them had a different story, but they were all compelling and left me with the same message: don't be afraid to be who you are.

It's easy to hide behind a computer screen, and I know that.  But hopefully this is the first step in me coming back out.  I was "out" all throughout middle school and high school.  Everyone knew and it felt good.  It's not that I've been keeping it a secret, but rather that I haven't found the right time.  The right time is now.

I'm bisexual.  
Love is love.

My favorite cast member from Real World: Denver,
Davis Mallory :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's time for a Facebook facelift!

I'm revamping my facebook page and decided to change my bio section.  But before I do, I wanted to post it here because it pretty much sums up everything I've learned in the past year.

I'm beginning to realize that life is too short to be angry or hold grudges.  Enjoy the time you have here, and never allow yourself to get caught up in the petty things in life.  

I love you Grandma
Rest in Paradise 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What would YOU do for an "A"?

I realize that it's been nearly a month since I've posted.  For that, I am sorry.  I will try to post at least once a week from now on.

This semester I'm taking a class called Advanced Poetry Writing.  I'm a creative writing minor (it's official), and when I started writing, I wrote poetry.  So naturally I figured the class would be something I'd enjoy.

I was wrong.  Way wrong.

The class might as well be called "Advanced Nature Poetry" because that's all we read about.  That's what we're encouraged to write about.  I don't know about you, but I hate nature.

Before I go any further, let me clear something up.  The professor I have is supposed to be amazing.  And in a way, he is.  But the poetry he likes and the poetry I like are totally different.  The way we write is different.  When it comes to poetry, the only thing we have in common is that we both like Robert Frost.

My poems aren't great, and I'll be the first to admit that.  And I appreciate (and encourage) constructive criticism in order to make my poems better.  But in this class, I'm having a hard time making my poems better.  Why?  Because I'm not getting much feedback.  We turn in a poem, and he'll respond with a few lines of "this line is good, these lines suck, what can make it better?"  Well sir, if I knew what could make it better, I would have done it in the first place.

And then there comes the idea of revising.  In one of my poems I wrote about New York City, and my professor liked one line and disliked the rest.  Among the "rest" was my favorite line in the poem.  He suggests I take it out altogether.  So here's where it gets tricky.  Do I compromise my style of writing and take out the line completely or leave it in and risk having my grade lowered?  He always says, "it's your poem so it's really up to you."  But since he's the one giving me a grade, I feel like I'm obligated to please him.  Like I'm obligated to change my style of writing so he'll like it.

The idea of compromising who I am as a writer for a grade is tearing me up inside.  I only have two writing classes left to finish up the minor, and now I'm not so sure I can go through this again.  At the end of the day, I'm not willing to change who I am for any grade.  I'm willing to revise and make it better, but I don't want to give up all that I believe in just for a grade.

So to all my readers out there who are good writers, what do you suggest I do?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Song of the Week - "This Ain't Nothin" by Craig Morgan

I cry a little every time I hear this song on the radio, and I pretty much bawled the first time I saw this video.  The lyrics are incredible and Craig Morgan's voice is perfect.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I can't waste any more time

As I start my junior year of college, I'm full of so many different emotions.  I'm sad that I'm already halfway done with my undergraduate career, happy to start my upper division courses, and scared that I may not be on track.

I spent two years in majors that I hated - Secondary Math Education, Math, Elementary Education, and various combinations of the three.  I stayed within those three majors for so long because it was safe.  I knew I was capable of being an educator, I knew where to find a job, and I knew about the field.

Now I'm a Public Relations major (and Creative Writing minor), and I finally feel like this major is the right fit for me.  I'm taking two Communications courses which I am head over heels in love with, two writing classes which will challenge me in every way possible, and then there's my Public Relations course...and it absolutely terrifies me.

I know the Public Relations field is demanding and rewarding, but I'm still afraid that it may not be the perfect fit.  Even though I want to work in the non-profit field, I could still end up doing public relations work rather than event coordinating.  Even though I'm organized and always meet deadlines, I still have a fear that I may not be cut out for it.  And unlike education, I don't know much about the different jobs within public relations.

FGCU has a great communications/public relations program.  The professors are amazing and I know that they'll calm my doubts and answer my questions.  But I'm still nervous that I'll come out of this Principles of PR class realizing that PR isn't for me.  And then I'll be right back where I started...kind of. I know that I could always just major in Communication Studies, especially if I love my basic communication courses so much.  So maybe I won't be right back where I started after realizing that education wasn't for me.

All I know is that I'm a junior now and I can't waste any more time.  It's time to pick a major and stick with it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I LOVE frozen yogurt!

I recently fell in love with frozen yogurt.  Regular ice cream upsets my stomach sometimes, but frozen yogurt doesn't do that at all.

But like most things, all frozen yogurts aren't created equal.  

I've only been to three (3) different frozen yogurt stores so far, but I have a list of 10-15 that I would like to visit.  

As of now, here's my ranking of my favorite frozen yogurt stores.  (NOTE: The location in parenthesis is the one I went to.  All of these stores have other locations on the east coast of Florida).

1. YogurtMania (Miramar, FL)

2. Lutz Delight (Sunrise, FL)

3. Menchie's Frozen Yogurt (Pembroke Pines, FL)

Other frozen yogurt stores I want to visit:
Pinkberry, Red Mango, YogurtLand, Mochi, Freshberry, Twisted Bliss, iKiwi, Yogurtopia, Gurtzberry, Berrywise Cafe, and TCBY

Until next time...
Peace, Love, & Frozen Yogurt

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Favorite & Least Favorite Classes at FGCU

It's hard to imagine that I'm already a junior in college!!  After taking two incredible courses this summer, I decided to rank my top 10 favorite classes so far.  The first five were incredible hard to rank because they were all so memorable and amazing in their own ways.  But I'm satisfied with my rankings.  I also decided to rank my 5 least favorite classes...just for the heck of it.

I've listed the class, professor, and the semester I took the class.

Here are my Top 10 Favorite Classes at FGCU (so far):
1. University Colloquium (Laser - Summer B 2010)
2. Foundations of Civic Engagement (DeWees - Summer B 2010)
3. Intro to Creative Writing (Cornelius - Fall 2009)
4. Fundamentals of Communication ( Mancini - Spring 2010)
5. Social Problems (DeWees - Fall 2009)
6. American National Government (H. Smith - Fall 2009)
7. Composition II (Cornelius - Spring 2009)
8. Public Speaking (S. Walch - Spring 2010)
9. American Lit II (Cornelius - Fall 2009)
10. Intro to Law (Asfour - Fall 2009)

And here are my Top 5 Least Favorite Classes at FGCU:
1. General Biology I w/ Lab (Allman & Demers - Fall 2008)
2. Calculus III (Lindsey - Spring 2009)
3. General Psychology (O'Neil - Fall 2008)
4. Composition I (K. Allen - Fall 2008)
5. Intro to Sociology (DeWelde - Spring 2010)**

**I ended up dropping Intro to Sociology halfway through because no matter what I did, I could not pass an exam.  Social problems was so much better!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Colloquium: How bad is it?

If you're a student at FGCU, you know that in order to graduate you have to take a class called University Colloquium.  And there's a good chance you're probably dreading having to take it.  You've heard the complaints, but you've rarely heard any positives about the course.  If you're like me, you take it over the summer to simply get it over with.  But after taking this class, and enjoying every second of it, I really don't understand why everyone is complaining.  In fact, I can't imagine a student (especially a student at FGCU), not taking Colloquium.

Sure, there's a lot of work involved...especially if you take it over a six-week summer session.  But the work wasn't extremely hard.  And unlike many other classes, there wasn't any busy work.  Everything we learned had a purpose, and every assignment reenforced something that we learned.  We were taught about so many different aspects of the environment and sustainability, and I never felt like I was being forced t believe something that went against my values.  Sure, the videos encouraged people to make small changes in their lifestyle that would better the environment, but I never left class thinking, "if I don't give up my car and my electronics then I'm a bad person."  Each video and field trip left me wanting to know more, and they all left me thinking about how I can make more sustainable choices every day.

At the beginning I thought that less projects, less papers, and less journal entries would make this class better.  But after taking the class, I wouldn’t change a thing.  Each journal entry, project, and paper opened my eyes to a different aspect of environmental sustainability, and because of all these things I got to explore so many new ideas.  I hope that future students can come into this class with an open mind because you really can get a lot out of it.

I would love to see Colloquium courses spread beyond FGCU because I think all students should have the opportunity to take this amazing course and learn more about the environment.

Here's my advice: If you haven't taken Colloquium yet, try not to listen to what everyone else is saying and keep an open mind.  And don't go around talking about what you don't know.  And if you have taken it, say what you want...but if you're going to be negative, watch how you say it and who you say it to.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weight Loss Takes Time

I started my weight loss journey in January...and again in June, and sadly, I haven't lost the weight I had hoped to by now.  It gets discouraging at times, but I just remind myself that weight loss takes time.  I'm starting to find things that work, and things that don't.

Things that don't work: NutriSystem, walking around the block (too hot), going to the FGCU fitness center (I live 20 minutes away now), avoiding fast food altogether

Things that work: Workout DVDs, portioning food using frozen dinners, drinking lots of water, making better choices when at a fast food restaurant

A lot of people do those progress shots where they're in workout shorts & a sports bra or in a bathing suit.  Now that I'm starting Power 90, I'll be doing those too.  But I'm not brave enough to post them on here.  What I will post are regular pictures of me...ones where you can see the weight loss.  I won't post my weight right now, but I will post it eventually.

Here are some "progress pictures":

March 27, 2010 (heaviest weight)

June 1, 2010

July 6, 2010

July 28, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Power 90

My Power 90 DVD set finally came today!!  I'm not officially starting my 90-day program until August 2nd, but I figured I'd do a run-through of all the workouts so I can find alternative moves if need be.

Today I did Phase I-II Cardio and Ab Ripper 100, and it was the most intense workout I've ever done in my life.  It also reminded me how out of shape I am!  I had to pause it a million times so I could take a 30-second mini break and focus on my breathing.  My lungs couldn't handle it, and even though I have asthma, being out of shape isn't helping.  During the Power Yoga, I busted me ass on a few of those moves.  I'm just not that flexible yet.  So I'll look to find some alternative moves.

The biggest thing is that I finished, and I'm so proud of myself for that.  I need to invest in a yoga mat before I do the Ab Ripper again.  My lower back is killing me from that tile floor :/

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What's the word count?

At FGCU, we're required to take four Gordon Rule Writing classes.  Two of those classes are Comp I & Comp II, and another is Colloquium.  Basically, you have to take 1 non-required Gordon Rule class.  You're required to write 6,000 words in a Gordon Rule writing class, but I've noticed that many times you do more than that.

This summer I took Colloquium and Foundations of Civic Engagement.  Even though Civic Engagement isn't considered a Gordon Rule class, I seemed to do more writing in that class then in Colloquium.  I decided to add up the word counts from all of my papers, journals, and discussion forums from both classes.  I was amazed at the results.

Colloquium: 10,113 words
Civic Engagement: 13,729 words

Yes, you read that right.  I wrote nearly 24,000 words in six weeks during my two summer classes.  Honestly, they might as well consider Civic Engagement a writing intensive, Gordon Rule class.

If I can handle these two classes in six weeks, I can definitely handle two Gordon Rule classes in a 16-week semester.

Let's see if any more writing classes are open for the fall.

Song of the Week - "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry

As I was driving home from FGCU on Tuesday, I heard Katy Perry's new single "Teenage Dream."  I was instantly hooked, and I've been listening to it practically non-stop for 24 hours.  It's one of my favorite songs by Katy Perry, along with "Waking Up in Vegas" and "Thinking of You."

If you haven't heard it, here's a video on YouTube with the audio.

Monday, July 26, 2010

FGCU Campus Field Trip

Today was our last Colloquium field trip, and it was an on-campus one as well.  This was the trip I was most dreading, probably because I knew I'd have to get in the water.  And as we all know at FGCU: Wherever there's water, there's gators.

We started off walking on the boardwalk from Whitaker Hall to Parking Garage 2.  We learned all about the air conditioning system and the wood that is used to make the boardwalk.  Then we ventured over to the bridge near south Village where we started our journey through the nature trails.  What I didn't know is that there's a slough on campus named after a guy that lived there many, many years ago (I forget the name)!

I was so nervous walking through the nature trails.  We were advised to look up and see all of the trees and plants, but I spent most of my time looking down making sure I didn't step on any snakes or trip over any tree roots.  After a long stretch of dry land, I noticed a few puddles.  I walked through them thinking that this must be the wet part of the tour.  I was so wrong!!

After the little puddle we began the wet part of our tour.  The water was as high as my ankles, and my feet kept getting stuck in the mud.  Our tour guide, Erica, told us how even though it looks dirty, the water is actually really clean (cleaner than most of our drinking water).  And before we all trudged through it, the water was pretty clear.  The water trail went on for another 1/2 a mile to a mile, and the water got deeper and deeper.  For a good portion of the wet trail the water went up to my knees.  It was during that time that the rubber bottoms to my shoes fell off.  I wore old shoes so I could throw them out incase they got muddy.  But I never thought they'd fall apart!!

There were roots and broken branches in the water, and with the mud all turned up, it was hard to see them.  There were so many times where I nearly fell because I tripped over a tree root or branch.  I wouldn't care so much, but stupid me left my cell phone in my pocket.  Luckily I never actually fell...just a few stumbles here and there.  Towards the end we were walking through knee deep water and there were plants towering above me.  It was kind of cool, but I was still so scared that I just wanted to get out of there.

I was scared about the snakes the most, but we learned that there wouldn't be any snakes in the water we were in.  I forget the exact reason, but it was reassuring...and made me slightly less nervous.  After what seemed like an eternity, the water began to get lower and lower, and we finally walked out onto dry land.  My heart was racing and I was still breathing pretty heavy.  It was a huge adrenaline rush, and I've never had that kind of feeling before.  The student naturalists (who served as our tour guides) told us how relaxing a deep-water nature trail walk can be and that we should do it often.  At first I laughed, but now I kind of like the idea.

This was the second most traumatizing experience in my entire life (the first being snorkeling in Labadee).  But in retrospect, I'd do it all again.  In fact, if anyone wants to go through the trail that has water that is waist-high, let me know.  I'd love to do it, but I won't go alone.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Evolution of a 2nd Degree Burn

I was baking for our Civic Engagement fundraiser on Friday.  When I was taking the baking sheet out of the oven, my cat came up behind me and freaked me out and the baking sheet hit my arm.  I have never been in pain like that before.  No amount of cold water or tylenol could make it go away.

So here's the evolution of my burn...starting from right after it happened.

Day 1 (right after it happened) - July 16:

Day 2 - July 17:

Day 4 - July 19:

Day 6 - July 21:

Day 7 (update w/out pics) - July 22:
All of the skin finally pealed off, and now it's in its final stages of healing.  There's a few sections that were burnt deeper than the others, but for the most part it's almost fully healed.  Most of the pain is gone, and I couldn't be much happier about that!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Harry Potter Weekend

This weekend was Harry Potter Weekend on ABC Family, and to my surprise they actually showed the 5th in the series (they've never done that before).  Watching the first five Harry Potter movies all weekend is what inspired this blog.  I decided to rank the movies from absolute favorite to "not my absolute favorite but I still love it." In parenthesis will be the number that movie is in the series.

Here's my ranking of the first six Harry Potter films:
1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (5)
2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1)
3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (4)
4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (6)
5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (3)
6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2)

And here's my ranking of all seven Harry Potter books:
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (7)
2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (6)
3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1)
4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (5)
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (4)
6. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (3)
7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2)

I'm not going to lie: ranking these books and movies was SO HARD!!  After my "absolute favorite" they're all pretty much so close that it was hard to rank them.  At the end of the day, I'll watch any of the movies or read all the books.  Doesn't matter if it's my "absolute favorite" or not! :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Bucket List: Travel to All 7 Continents

One of the things on my bucket list is to visit all seven continents.  So far I've only visited two: North America and Europe.  I thought my bucket list item wouldn't be possible since I didn't think you could even get remotely close to Antarctica.  I was wrong!

I found a tour company called Go Ahead Tours that does a tour that "visits" Antarctica.  Basically, you go on a cruise that passes through some of the islands of Antarctica.  Now I actually have an opportunity to make this dream come true!  Their tour catalogue came in the mail today, and I literally bookmarked 15+ tours that I'm interested in.  I seriously need to find a job so I can make this dream come true!!

Here's the places I'm interested in going to:
Africa: South Africa (Cape Town, Johannesburg, Kruger National Park), Kenya
Antarctica: I'll just be happy to be there!!
Asia: China, Thailand
Australia: Sydney, Melbourne, Cairnes (for the Great Barrier Reef), New Zealand
Europe: Iceland, England (again), Ireland, Scotland
North America: All 50 states (another one of my Bucket List items!)
South America: The Galapagos Islands, Brazil, Costa Rica, Peru

Here's my tour catalogue:

Aaaand here's one of the tours I want to go on:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Countdown to My 21st Birthday Cruise!

170 days until my 21st birthday cruise!!!  I can't wait!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Downtown Fort Myers!

Our second Colloquium field trip was to Downtown Fort Myers. We were originally supposed to go to Fort Myers Waste Management, but they cancelled on us last minute.  I was really happy because I was so disappointed when I found out we wouldn't be going to Downtown Fort Myers on one of our field trips.

To be completely honest, this was one of the BEST experiences I've ever had in a class at FGCU.  The field trip was so much fun, and while it wasn't directly related to the environment, it was very educational.

We split into groups of three and we each had a different task to complete.  Ours was to learn about the businesses in the area.  Other topics were to learn about the nature/wildlife, to learn about the economy and it's effect on the area, to learn how the businesses use media to advertise, and one group even learned about  architecture.  Our group walked around and talked to businesses about how the construction in the area has effected business.  Needless to say, it was eye opening, and I learned a lot about Downtown that I never knew.  

Now that the construction is pretty much done, the area looks absolutely beautiful!  It's really sad that the area is so empty because it's such a great area!

Caloosahatchee Bridge:

Downtown Fort Myers:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

World Cup 2010: USA vs. Ghana

Ghana beats USA in overtime 2-1!!!!

Knowing that USA is a 2nd half team, I truly expected them to win and knock out Ghana.

This is a repeat of the 2006 World Cup where Ghana beat USA 2-1.

Congratulations Ghana on winning another game and moving on.  You're making Africa proud!!!

USA put up an incredible fight and I'm really proud of their performance.  They've improved since the last time I watched them, and I'm sure that they'll be even better in 2014.

I can just see it now: USA wins 2014 World Cup!! :)

USA or Ghana?

I posted something on this blog and on Twitter about talking trash and handling criticism.  My exact quote was:

"Just because you think that something is stupid or worthless doesn't mean it's not important or awesome to someone else.  If you're going to talk trash about things you hate, you better be able to handle criticism about the things that are most important to you.  Because if you can't, then shut the hell up."

As most of you know, the World Cup is going on right now.  I played soccer my entire childhood, and I LOVE the World Cup.  I look forward to it more than I look forward to the Olympics.  But here's the thing that shocks mostly everyone I know: I'm not a huge USA fan.

I don't know why I'm not a fan.  I just never have been.  I loved the Women's US National team, but never the Men's.  I think it's because, compared to the rest of the world, they were never that great.  My favorite teams have always been Italy and England.  But next on the list is Germany and the United States.  They are in my Top 5, but they're not my favorite.

I've been receiving A LOT of criticisms over Twitter.  People have said that I don't care about the things important to them, that I'm being unpatriotic, or that I'm heartless for not wanting USA to win.  The thing is, I do want to see USA win.  But while they're playing one of my favorite teams, they're not the team that I'm cheering for.  Sure, Ghana isn't one of my favorite teams.  But they are from the host continent and the last of the African teams standing.  So yeah, I kind of wanted them to win.

I'm not trying to be rude about how I feel towards the USA team.  I don't hate them, and I've never ran around saying they sucked.  The only truly negative thing I said about the US team was that I didn't think Landon Donovan was cute (and that he was old).  If you said that you thought my favorite Italian player was ugly, I could handle it.

All I said a month ago was that if you're going to dish out criticism, you better be able to handle it. And I can handle it.  I know that the USA team is important to A LOT of people, and I respect that.  That also means that people need to respect (not like) that I like other teams.

I'm sorry if I've offended ANYONE with my Twitter comments during the USA vs. Ghana game.  I wasn't intentionally trying to upset anyone.  But I did, and now I'm accepting the fault for it.  I hope people will forgive me.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Neutrogena Skin ID Review

I recently purchased my customized Neutrogena Skin ID regimen.  For those of you that haven't heard of it, Neutrogena Skin ID is a set of personalized acne products picked just for you after you fill out a skin care survey.  I had been contemplating getting it for awhile, and after I found a 50% off coupon (on the starter kit) I decided to try it.  After all, it was cheaper than going out and buying more of the AcneFree stuff I used now.

Let's start with the pros.  For the $18.95 I paid (including shipping), I did get a lot of stuff - my 3 piece starter kit, a travel sized bag, an acne spot treatment, body wash, and shine-control blotting sheets.  It was definitely a steal!  The body was alone was priced at $13!  And it was a full-sized bottle!  I thought I'd be getting a trial size.  And the face pads (part of my customized regimen) had 60 pads in the container which is comparable to the size of other face pads like Stridex or Oxy.

Okay, so that's all the good I have to say.

Upon opening it, I was disappointed to see how small all of the other products were.  The face wash was 4oz, the all-over acne treatment was 2oz, and the spot treatment was 0.5oz.  Also, I looked at all of the active ingredients and everything had either 2% salicylic acid or 2% benzoyl peroxide.  How's that any different than other acne treatments?  I could go to the drug store and by Oxy Pads or Clearasil for $5...and they'd be double the size!!

I opened up the body wash, and I was even more disappointed.  It had the same color, smell, and consistency of the Neutrogena Oil-Free Stress Control Body Wash I bought two weeks ago!  Basically, Neutrogena just slapped a "Skin ID" label on it and doubled the price of their Stress Control product.  Disappointing.

After putting it on my face, I was even more disappointed.  After putting on the cleanser and all-over acne treatment my face got really tight and dry.  My face was so tight that it was hard to move it!!  I've never felt anything like it before.

So far, I'm EXTREMELY disappointed with Skin ID.  I'll be calling next week to cancel my membership (as I planned to do anyway), and I may even return it.  I have never been so disappointed with an acne product before.  I use this kind of stuff when I have really bad break outs, but I wouldn't trust Skin ID even if my life depended on it.  I think I'll just stick to AcneFree.  That stuff works wonders and doesn't dry out my skin...or make it feel tight!!

No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's over now

The impeachment proceedings are pretty much over (minus the one that still needs to happen next week).  It's time to put this all behind us and move forward.  

We have all gone through a very tough time, and tension is at its peak right now.  But it's very important that people respect each other.  It's important that those accused hold no grudges against the accusers and other people who thought they were guilty.  It's important that students hold no grudges against Senators that may have felt differently than they did.  It's important for Senators not to hold grudges against the accusers for putting them through this.  All around, it's just important that we respect each other and the opinions that each of us has.  We're all people, and we all deserve love and respect.

Right now we should all be reflecting on what happened and how we can learn from it.  I know that's what I'm doing.  I hope that something like this never happens again.  The decisions I made tonight were the hardest I've ever had to make in Senate.  I felt like at any minute I could lose a friend, and it was hard for me.

Some people in Student Government, including myself, have been receiving threats from members of SG and from members of the public.  It's disheartening to me that people would take it to that level.  I was so scared tonight because I didn't know what was going to happen to me.  I know several others felt the same way.

I don't expect everyone to LIKE the decisions that I made tonight, but I do expect people to RESPECT them.  The only thing we can do now is move forward.  It's time to get back to business and do the job we were elected/appointed to do - represent the Student Body of Florida Gulf Coast University.

Monday, June 14, 2010

One decision can in fact change everything

As a Student Government representative, it's my job to listen to the opinions of the student body.  With the current situation in Student Government, EVERYONE has an opinion, and they make sure that I know their opinion.  I'm all for listening to the students, but to be honest, it's become extremely overwhelming.  This whole thing has stressed me out beyond belief, and I really can't handle it much longer.  Come tomorrow night, the decisions will be made.  There's no changing those decisions.  But that won't stop people from continuing to talk.  And either way, some people won't be happy.

When I joined Senate, I knew that the decisions I made would be questioned.  People would always ask "why did you vote against this?" or "why did you vote for that?"  I was prepared to defend my decisions and explain myself to students.  But I never thought that my values as a human being would questioned.  Over the past week, people have questioned what kind of person I am for the opinion that I have.  Friends have told me that they wouldn't want to be my friend if I voted to impeach one of their friends.

Right now I have to put aside my friendships with people and vote based on what I think is right.  That's hard for a lot of people to understand...including the people involved.  I am friends with every single person going through this impeachment process, and the decisions that I make won't be personal.  Despite what some of the people involved and students believe, I have absolutely nothing to gain by this.  In fact, I truly do have everything to do.  These are my friends and regardless of the decisions I make, I fear that I will lose some of them.  In fact, I think I already have.  It weighs heavily on my heart and is not something I am happy about, but we need to be held accountable for our actions.  It's something we talked about at Flight School, and the majority of us believed that as SG representatives we need to hold ourselves to higher standards and be held accountable for what we do.

No matter what happens tomorrow night, reputations have been shattered.  All of us in Student Government are going to be seen in a different light - whether we're the one's being accused, the accusers, the ones voting (Senators), members of the Executive Branch, or members of the Judicial Branch.  Things are going to be different from now on.  Tomorrow night will determine how different things will really be.

As for my decision - If I can look in the mirror tomorrow night and be happy with the person staring back at me, then I'll know that I've made the right choice.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Twilight Fever!

The most popular names of 2009 pay tribute to a growing phenomenon in America: The Twilight Saga.

Don't believe me?  I took a screenshot of the Social Security Administration's website as proof.

Too bad there's no Edward on here.  That would make the whole thing even better.  

You know what?  I hope some of these Jacob's and Isabella's meet (and even date) in the future.  And I hope that their parents not only explain who they were named after, but all of the other characters in the books as well.  That way when they do meet each other, it will be a real life Twilight Saga moment...minus the vampire and werewolf secrets.

I seriously cannot wait.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

When did I sign up for this?!

Student Government has always been full of drama.  It's full of situations where you have to put friendships aside.  But tonight, the drama was taken to a whole new level.

For those of you that don't know what happened, here's the basics:  Six Student Government representatives were allegedly smoking marijuana at our annual Student Government retreat (which we call "Flight School.")

Tonight at Senate, our Senate President resigned from office.  The other five will go through the impeachment process at our next Senate meeting.

I won't go into any more detail because as of now everything else is hearsay.  And whether or not I believe it and how I will vote is irrelevant.  And it's not even what I want to talk about.

Tonight was intense and emotional.  I honestly thought I was going to walk out of that room and I was going to get beaten or yelled at.  And while I was still in the chambers, I did get yelled at by a friend of one of the Senators in question.  It's one of the hardest situations I've had to deal with, but I held myself together and didn't let them get the best of me.

I wanted to resign tonight.  When I joined Student Government, I joined because I wanted to voice the opinions of my constituents.  I wanted to inform students on what goes on in SG, and I wanted to contribute to this University.  But lately, it feels like all we ever do is fight.  We bicker and fight about little things, and sometimes I don't even think we scratch the surface on some student issues.  I didn't join SG to get yelled at or to be threatened.  I never thought I'd have to put friendships on the line and make decisions that would literally change people's lives forever.  I didn't sign up for this part of Student Government, but I'm forced to deal with it.  And when I start something, I don't quit.  So for now I'm going to push through it.  I feel that if I can get through this, I can get through a lot of other things as well.

This whole situation has been eating me up inside.  And with it being on the news and students asking me about it, it's impossible to ignore.  I want to give them the facts, but there are not many facts right now.  There's opinions and hearsay flying around.

I know whatever decisions I make in two weeks will be the hardest decisions I'll ever have to make in Senate.  And whatever decision I choose, I want students to trust that I'm making the right decision.

To quote The Fray: "Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same..."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New Jersey

Here's 10 (of the many) things I miss and love about New Jersey:

10. Pine Creek Miniature Golf (no put-put here!)
9. Going to the shore (Cape May, Seaside Heights, Wildwood, etc.)
8. Enjoying food at the boardwalk (cheese fries pizza at Wildwood!!)
7. Cream King
6. Rec Soccer (including indoor!) & Travel Soccer
5. Day trips to New York City
4. Heavenly Ham
3. WaWa
2. Six Flags Great Adventure

NutriSystem Review

I've been on NutriSystem since Wednesday (May 26th), and I think I've formed a solid opinion on it.

Simply put: I'm far from impressed.

The longer version: I thought NutriSystem would be great.  It got great reviews online - both for the great tasting food and for the amount of weight people were losing.  I've been trying to lose 20-25 pounds for awhile now, and the same thing happens every time: I get off to a great start and then I get too confident and feel I can cheat and things go downhill.  So I thought that NutriSystem would be different because the food is already portioned out for you; all you need to do is add fruits and veggies.  Seems simple, right?  Well, it is.

The problem is the food itself.  I absolutely hate it.  Maybe it's because I'm young and I don't enjoy the same foods as people who are older.  Either way, I cannot stand a majority of the food.  I have loved every single breakfast and dessert I've had, and I've had some awesome dinners (mainly the chicken breast and hamburgers. soooo good!)  But a majority of the lunches & dinners are not that good to me.  I've gotten to the point where I don't even want to eat anymore because just thinking about the food makes me sick.  It's gotten that bad.  I hate vegetables, but I would rather eat a can of vegetables than eat those foods.  I am not even exaggerating.

As far as the weight goes: I haven't lost any more a week on NutriSystem than I was before (and I'm, exercising more now than I was before).  The only difference is that before I got to eat foods that I actually liked.  I'm really bummed out by this because I really, really hoped something would finally work and give me that jump start I needed.  It has taught me a lot, though.  I've learned that you can spice up meals by adding fruits & veggies.  And I learned what types of foods should compromise each meal.

I'm going to finish up these next three weeks on NutriSystem and then go from there.  My mom tells me to just deal with it and eat the food, but I'm not going to eat food that I don't like.  I'll eat what I can deal with, but I'm not going to eat the food "just to eat it."  That's a waste of calories.  If I can't manage to stomach one of the meals, I'll substitute it with a salad.  I just need to get through these next three weeks.

Basically: No, I would not recommend NutriSystem to a friend.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rest in Peace, Raymond Lutgert

Raymond Lutgert, a business leader and philanthropist, died yesterday (May 28, 2010) at the age of 90.  In 2005, Raymond and his wife Beverly donated $5 million to FGCU, money that was matched by the state. As a result, the Lutgert College of Business was born and a new academic building bearing the family name opened in 2008.

The FGCU flag in front of Lutgert is raised at half mast in his honor (see above).

Lutgert Hall:

Raymond Lutgert's Sculpture, "Human Race":

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sorry for not posting!!

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile.  Things have been ridiculously crazy for me lately.  But no worries - I will be updating very soon!  I started NutriSystem on Wednesday so I'll be posting my thoughts & feelings on that within the next few days.  I would do it now, but I'm so tired!!

Hope everyone's been having a good week!  :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pacman on Google?!?!

Every time I go to Google, I play Pacman and then forget what I was going to look up on Google. Best day ever.

(Google making their logo the Pacman game today was the best thing that has happened to me all summer. I can play Pacman...on Google!!!)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thought of the Day

My twitter feed has been blowing up lately with criticisms about tons of different things - musical artists, TV shows, roommates, friends, etc.  I understand that things get overwhelming at times and there are things that you just can't stand.  And hey, if you can't say what you're thinking then what's the point of Twitter?  Trust me, I get it.  But when all you do is criticize other people, there's a problem.  And if you can't handle the criticism when it's about you or something then you find important, then you have an even bigger problem.

The great thing about human beings is that no two people are exactly alike.  We all have different tastes in TV shows and music.  We value different things in people.  But at the same time, each of us has something in common with another person.  Yes, differences can drive people apart.  But common interests bring us together and help us form relationships with others.

Why do you think certain musical artists climb the charts?  Because hundreds of thousands of individuals are attracted to that artist.  At the same time, there are probably the same amount of people that hate that artist.  Take Justin Bieber.  He's sold hundreds of thousands (possibly even millions) of albums.  He's one of the biggest artists on the music scene today.  Yet, there are so many people who can't stand him.  But guess what?  It doesn't change the fact that he's successful or that people love him.

I understand that there are things that just get under your skin.  It happens to me too.  There are things that people RAVE about that I simply cannot stand.  But I know that if I'm going to dish it out, I better be ready to take it.  So if I'm going to sit here and say that the Red Sox are the worst baseball team in history, then I better be able to handle it when people say that the Yankees have paid there way to 27 World Series wins (a real conversation, by the way).

Just because you think that something is stupid or worthless doesn't mean it's not important or awesome to someone else.  If you're going to talk trash about things you hate, you better be able to handle criticism about the things that are most important to you.  Because if you can't, then shut the hell up.  I'm sick of people criticizing others when they can't handle the criticism themselves.  Grow up.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

NutriSystem // One Month

I've pretty much made the decision to go on NutriSystem for a month.  I'm going to use it as a way to kick start my lifestyle change and give me the confidence that I need to move forward.  I keep hitting blocks, and most of what I do doesn't work.  It will work for a week (maybe two) and then I get off track.  I need something that will get me back on track and give me confidence that I can lose the weight I want to lose (25-30 pounds).

Twenty-five to thirty pounds may seem like a lot, but I promise you it's not.  It's brining me back to the same weight range I was before college (okay, so it's a 5 pounds less than what I was pre-college).  It's a weight that I wasn't comfortable with at the time, but now that I look back I see that I was healthy.  I wasn't stick thin, but I was healthy and I looked good.  I just want to get back to that.

Believe me, I'm completely against diet plans because I don't think they work.  But I truly don't believe that NutriSystem is a diet plan.  It provides you with pre-portioned foods that you pair with common grocery items (such as salads, eggs, peanut butter, milk, cheese, etc.)  As an added bonus, you get a free membership to their program so you can access all of the health articles.  You also have access to the exercise program which gives you exercise tips and allows you to track your exercise online (I already use for this, but it's still a good feature).

On a completely different note, it's been exactly one month since my grandmother passed away.  I cannot believe it's been a month already; it feels like just yesterday that my sister and I were eating Chinese food with her and she was telling us what she wanted to drink (first ginger ale then orangeade.  never cold and just a little).  I miss her more than I ever thought I would, and it gets harder and harder each day.  They say it gets better in time, but right now quite the opposite is true.  Eventually I'll come to terms with it all, but right now it's just hard.  

I love you, Grandma.  You're in my heart, forever and always.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Six Word Memoirs

I was on the To Write Love on Her Arms street team website, and I stumbled across something amazing.  It's called the "Six Word Memoir."  You can learn more about them at

I decided to challenge myself to write a few (partly for my own benefit and partly to complete one of the orders on the street team website).  But honestly, it was mostly for myself.  I've only written three so far, and they're all about hope and pain (since that was the topic for TWHOHA).  They're not that great, but I'm happy with them, and I truly do feel that they are a memoir (in six words, of course).

Here they are:

1) My pain has made me stronger.

2) My suffering won't determine my future.

3) I have hope I will survive.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Always and Forever.

Today my mom, Alyssa, and I went to the cemetery to visit my grandma.  The place was full of people all visiting their loved ones.  It was the first time I went to visit her grave since the funeral, and to be honest, it felt unreal.  When I stared at the mausoleum where she was laid to rest, I had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that she's really gone.  It's a struggle I face every day.  I know things like this take time, but I wonder when it will get any easier.  Lucky for me, I have so many incredible memories with my grandma. Those memories keep me going through the hard times.  I know my grandma loved me, and I hope she knew how much she means to me.  When she passed away, I felt like a piece of me was ripped away.  What's funny is that the night she passed away, I had an uneasy feeling in my stomach.  A feeling that made me wonder if she was going to make it through the night.  My grandma was such an incredible person, and we all miss her so much.  I love you, Grandma.  Always and Forever.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Lenses and Flashes and Nikons...oh my!

You're probably wondering why I'm up at 2:48am when I have to be up at 8am for a doctor's appointment. I have a perfectly good explanation for this: I am geeking out over new lenses and flashes for my Nikon.  

My grandparents (on my dad's side) bought me a Nikon D40 as my high school graduation present in 2008.  Photography is one of my biggest passions.  I take pictures of everything: food, people standing in line, random signs, streets, scenery, events...literally everything.  Getting a digital SLR was a dream come true for me.  After two years of enjoying the basics that come with the camera, I feel that I'm ready to move on to more advanced things.  I'm ready for a more advanced lens and flash.  I've been researching lenses and flashes for awhile now just trying to find the perfect fit.  It has been hard since I wasn't really sure where I wanted to go with my photography.  But now that I have more of a clear vision with how I'd like to evolve as a photographer, I've been looking up different types of lenses and flashes and comparing them to my goals as a photographer.  I have pages and pages of handwritten and typed up notes on what different lenses are used for and which flashes will enhance what parts of a picture. 

I can't say I've found the "perfect" lens or flash, but I've found a few that are what I'm looking for and are in my price range (for what I'm willing to pay in the future).  Lenses and flashes aren't cheap, but I knew that when I started looking.  I told myself that I was willing to pay between $200-400 per item as long as I was getting what I wanted.  I don't need anything professional; I'm not trying to go pro here.  I just want something that will take my photography to the next level and allow me to explore more creative outlets with photography.

I found an awesome Nikon Nikkor Telephoto 50-200mm lens for around $250.  It comes with vibration reduction and has a pretty great zoom range.  Another one I liked is the Nikon Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D telephoto lens.  This one costs about $500.  It's about twice the price and while it's a little better than the cheaper one, the $250 has everything I really need.  There are also two flashes that I have my eye on.  One is a pretty standard flash and is perfect for beginners.  It's a Nikon SB-400 Speedlight Unit and costs about $120.  The one I really liked is a Nikon SB-600 AF Speedlight Unit for about $220.  It has tons of advanced features and settings.  It's seriously amazing.

Sorry for all of the confusing photography jargon.  I'm just completely and utterly in love with all of this stuff.  I'm a photography geek; I know.

Here's a few pictures:

Nikon Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D Telephoto Lens

Nikon Nikkor 50-200mm Telephoto Lens

Nikon SB-400 Speedlight Unit

Nikon SB-600 AF Speedlight Unit

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rest in Peace Waterproof Camera

My waterproof digital camera has met its match.  My waterproof camera got water damaged.  I got one of the first models of waterproof cameras Olympus made.  When I bought it, many of the reviews said they weren't made that well.  The battery didn't last long, the card door didn't remain closed, and it took semi-decent pictures.  Up until yesterday, the reviews were right about everything except for the card door not staying closed.  Every time I used the camera in water, I opened the card door then closed it again to make sure it was sealed.  Once I heard the click, I knew it was okay to take it in water.  I did this yesterday and heard the click, so I thought I was good to go.  Apparently not.

I am now without a digital camera, and I feel so lost.  Sure, I still have my Nikon D40 (which I love to death), but it's not portable and compact.  I take pictures of EVERYTHING (my friends make fun of me for this), and I won't be able to do this unless I lug around my Nikon.

Now Olympus has made even better waterproof digital cameras for the same price that I bought mine.  Unfortunately, I don't have the money to buy one.  I've been looking and applying for jobs non-stop since I got out of school, but I haven't had a single interview yet.  I want a job mostly because it will give me something to do, but also because it will give me some extra cash that I desperately need.  My grandparents always say I can come to them for money, but $250 is way too much money to ask for.

I know this is really lame, but my camera breaking has seriously ruined my week.  I love photography and not having one of my cameras makes me feel like I've lost part of myself.  It makes me sound so materialistic, but my cameras are so important to me.  This really, really sucks.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Favorite Saturdays

I've really been missing New Jersey lately.  So as a tribute to the best state in the US, I decided to do a "favorites" on Six Flags Great Adventure in the wonderful New Jersey.  **NOTE: This list is based on the rides they had while I lived there.  They've added more rides since I left, but since I haven't had the opportunity to experience the amazingness, they will not be on my list**

Top 5 Favorite Rides at Great Adventure:
5. Houdini's Great Escape
4. Skull Mountain
3. Batman the Ride
2. Medusa
1. Nitro

Friday, April 30, 2010

Can't take credit for this idea

I'm starting to realize that I don't update this as much as I'd like to.  Sometimes, I just have nothing interesting to say.  I decided to steal an idea from Chrissy Martin.  It's such a great idea and it makes me so mad that I didn't think of it first.  If you haven't checked out her blog (The Chronicles of Chrissy), you should.

I've decided to add a fun schedule to my blogging.  I'll use this if I have nothing good to say, or in addition to whatever else I decide to post.  Hopefully it will help me to post every day.

Here's what I have so far (schedule subject to change):
Monday: Inspirational/Non-Profit
Tuesday: Texts from Last Night
Wednesday: Spotlight on Music
Thursday: FML or MLIA
Friday: Quotes
Saturday: Favorites
Sunday: Random Fact

Let's start this out right with some Friday Quotes!!

** "Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right." -Henry Ford

** "Never look down on somebody unless you're helping him up." -Jesse Jackson

** "To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, April 26, 2010

I miss you, miss you so bad

This school year I've lost three family members to cancer, and its taken a huge toll on me.  Cancer is such a horrible disease, and I wish that families never had to deal with it.  It's times like these where I remind myself why I do what I do with the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life.  It got so stressful at times, but in the end it was worth it.  And to know that my family was proud of me made it even better.  Even though my grandma never got to go because she was so sick, I know how proud she was of me.  She really wished she could have been there, and she was so happy when we gave her all of her Survivor gear. I knew she didn't have much time left, but seeing the word "survivor" on all of that stuff gave her hope and made her so happy.  All we ever wanted was for her to be happy, and I'm glad I could give her a reason to be happy even towards the end.

I thought about my grandma a lot today.  I've really been missing her lately.  I think its all starting to hit me.  I'm beginning to realize that I can't just go to Punta Gorda to visit her.  The quiet house and empty room make it all even more real.  I miss the laughs and the memories we created.  I miss all of the pictures she made my sister and me take.  I miss the vacations her and my grandfather would take us on.  I miss everything about her.  Sometimes I think I took the time I had with her for granted.  In August, when she was first hospitalized, I had some hope that she still had more time.  But in December, when she was hospitalized again, I knew that she wouldn't make it to the end of 2010.  And that was a really hard reality for me to swallow.  It kills me to know that I took these last few months for granted, and there's so many things I wish I would have done with her while I still had the chance.  I don't like to regret things, but there are so many things I regret.  I'm grateful to have had so many amazing memories with her, and I will cherish those memories for the rest of my life.  I know she'd want me to smile rather than cry right now, but I can't help all of the tears.  I miss her and love her so much, and I just wish I could go to her house one more time and listen to her ramble on and on about absolutely nothing. 

My mom has been so strong though all of this, but I know that she is hurting.  Seeing all of her facebook statuses about how she misses her mom make me so sad.  It hurts me to know that she's hurting like this. I know my grandma wasn't around much when my mom was younger, but I know she loved my mom (and I didn't have to read my grandma's letter to my mom to know that).  I think about what my mom is going through now and I know that one day, I'll be going through the same thing.  And that really, really scares me.  I've never been a family person but all of this has made me really value my family and make me appreciate them more.  

Cancer may have taken you away from me, but it cannot steal the love I have for you 

In Loving Memory
Aunt Mary [[10.30.2009]]
Aunt Mazal [[02.28.2010]]
Grandma Kiki [[04.15.2010]]

"I didn't get around to kiss you goodbye on the hand.  I wish that I could see you again.  I know that I can't.  I hope you can hear me 'cause I remember it clearly.  The day you slipped away was the day I found it won't be the same.  I had my wake up, won't you wake up.  I keep asking why.  And I can't take it.  It wasn't fake.  It happened you passed by.  Now you're gone..." -- Slipped Away by Avril Lavigne

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Can money buy a good time?

Most people know this but for those that don't, my family is in a real financial situation right now.  My dad lost his job back in January, and we have just enough money for necessities.  My parents never spoiled me with money, but they were able to help me out when I needed it.  For awhile, my parents didn't want me to have a job so I could focus on school.  They don't really feel that way now, but I've been so stressed out with school and my sorority that I didn't think I'd have enough time for a job.  Now that my dad is out of a job and I can't get financial support from my parents, I'm forced to look for a job.

My bank account is about to be wiped clean thanks to the mandatory checks I had to write for sorority recruitment.  When I tell friends and sisters that I don't have any money in my account, they just assume that I don't want to spend my money.  But what they don't realize is that I really don't have any money there.

Today my Big asked me to go to dinner.  Then it was ice skating and McDonald's.  When I let her know that I didn't have any money so I wouldn't be able to go, she said to come to her place at 7pm and bring $4 for pizza.  What about "I don't have any money" didn't make sense?!

This is only a recent example.  I can't leave out all of the times my friends want me to go to Ale House or Applebee's with them after Senate.  I used to go and just get water, but then I constantly got questioned and bugged about it.  At first I'd lie and say I wasn't hungry, but when my stomach began to growl the truth came out.  I told my friends I didn't have any money and even though they offered to pay, I had to decline.  I know they offered, but I always felt bad.  So then I just stopped going with them.  I feel like I'm missing out on a lot, and it really sucks.  But what can I do?

Everyone I know always wants to hang out and go somewhere that requires me to spend money.  I just want to hang out and do something that doesn't require money - watching a movie at home, going to the park, going to the FGCU gym or waterfront.  I know these things sound so simple, but for me it's the little, simple things in life that matter the most.  I don't think you need to have money to have a good time.  All you need is good company.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rest in Paradise Grandma

These past few days have been tough.  Waking up in the morning has been difficult, and putting a smile on my face has been impossible.  But with the help of my amazing family, sisters, and friends, I've been getting through it.  The text messages, facebook posts and messages, and the replies on twitter have meant the world to me.

Today was my grandma's funeral, and today was the day that I realized she's gone.  It's still so hard to believe, but seeing her in the casket made it so real.  My grandma looked amazing today; she looked the way she did months ago.  They did an amazing job filling out her face and making her look like she did before her sickness went downhill.  Looking at her was hard because it made me realize that she physically won't be around anymore, but I know that her spirit lives on.  Cancer may have taken her life, but it cannot take away all of the amazing memories and the love I have for her.  My grandma fought until the end, and I admire her strength through it all.

Grandma would have been so happy with the service.  It was perfect.  She would have been even happier that all of the ladies in her Red Hats group showed up in their red and purple outfits to say goodbye to their Queen Mother.  She loved being part of the Red Hats and she loved being the Queen.  I was there the day she resigned due to her declining health, and it hurt her so much to have to do that.  That group was the one thing keeping her occupied here in Florida and keeping her happy when her family wasn't around.  She must love knowing that the Red Hats and her family all came together to celebrate and remember her life.

I've been working on a letter since she passed away, and I was hoping that it would have been done by the funeral so it could have gone in her casket.  But it wasn't perfect, and I didn't want to rush it.  When its done, I'll make a trip up to Englewood to read it to her...and then I'll post it on here.  There's so much I wish I had said when I had the chance.  And I regret not being able to see her more before she passed away.  But I know she loved having us there, and I know how happy she was when Alyssa & I surprised her by visiting.  Even though I never said it much, I love my grandma so much, and it kills me to know that she's no longer (physically) here.

I know she's not suffering and hurting anymore, and that's all I could ever want.  She's resting in paradise, and I know she's smiling right now 

[[ If the people we love are stolen from us, the way we have to live on is to never stop loving them.  Buildings burn, people die, but real love is forever. ]]