Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New York, New York

Les Miserables; Dom and I brave the cold at Rockefeller Center
My friend Dominick has inadvertently become my unofficial Broadway buddy. In November, he and I went into the city and rushed tickets for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, which was hilarious and had an amazing soundtrack, not to mention an exceptionally talented cast. We had such luck getting tickets then (plus getting autographs and a picture with one of the lead actors after the show) that this Saturday, we decided to try our luck again.
Dom strikes his best 24601 pose; I pose with the exquisitely talented Ramin Karimloo
We had our sights set on Cabaret, because Alan Cumming and Emma Stone make a duo you just can't refuse. Unfortunately, they weren't selling rush tickets that day, so after hustling from Penn Station to Studio 54, we had to turn and run back nine blocks to the theater where Les Miserables plays. We luckily got tickets, even though we had to sit on literal opposite sides of the theater from each other. 

I think I have to move Les Miz up the ranks of my top favorite musicals. Seeing it performed live was beautiful. Ramin Karimloo, as Jean Valjean, was everything I had heard he would be and more. Dom claimed that the rendition of "Bring Him Home" that we heard was the best version he had ever heard, and I agree - the applause for that song went on for ages. And I cried during the final scene. I couldn't help it. The beautiful final message of Les Mis - "To love another person is to see the face of God" - always chokes me up, and the actors had me so invested in the characters they played that I couldn't stop the tears from coming. One of my friends insisted that your perception of Les Miz depends entirely on the cast you see, and I have to say the entire cast I saw was truly exceptional. 
Dom has only been to the city a few times, where I've spent more days there than I can count, but I always have a blast when we go. We get cookies at Schmackary's bakery (delicious!) and hit the touristy sites like Times Square and Rockefeller Center. (Dom has a particular soft spot for the arbitrary Matt Lauer cardboard cutout in the NBC Studio store.)  

Visiting the city always gets me in a New York state of mind. When I go with my friends, we stick to familiar areas, but when I visit my brother, we venture into areas of the city I don't frequent. I'll be so sad when my brother and his girlfriend move out of the city this summer so my brother can attend med school, because I'll be losing my city tour guide! Still, I know I'll live in the city at some point in my life - it's been a dream of mine for years. So, until then, here's to my first city trip of 2015 and here's to many more! 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015 - The Year of Words

I decided long before New Year's Eve that 2015 was going to be an important year for me - the year of words. Now, this isn't much of a shock to people who know me - I had my first article published in my town's newspaper when I was in third grade, I won the English department award when graduating high school, I'm an English major, and I own no less than four literary-themed shirts. Of course 2015 is going to be a year of words - every year in my life is a year of words.

But 2015 is going to be the year I focus on words, and making words count:

  • I made it a goal to write every day
  • While interning at CollegeFashion.net, I'll be writing a lot anyway!
  • I've determined to settle for nothing less than high A's on all my papers this semester (not that I've ever slacked off in class, but I want a 4.0 GPA, not the 3.9 I got this semester)
  • I've decided to minor in marketing, which will hopefully help me learn how to market my words...or something.
But even more importantly than writing words, 2015 is going to be the year of me reading words. Last year, I was horrified when Alyssa asked me if I had read any good books lately, and my answer was a shocking no! I had gotten so caught up in reading books for my classes, I hadn't read for fun all year! Alyssa's most recent post on her 2015 Reading Goals, not to mention the following picture I've found on Pinterest, has inspired me to read much more this year and remember to read more than just the assigned reading for my English classes. 

This list is pretty ambitious, but if you're up for the challenge, head over to PopSugar and download a copy of the 2015 Reading Challenge! Whether you have a set number of books you'd like to read this year or you're just hoping to pick up one new book, good luck and happy reading! 

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

I had the most wonderful Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year's celebrations this year! Nothing but wonderful relaxing time spent with my closest family and friends. I wanted to share some of my favorite pictures from the amazing holiday season!

On Christmas Eve, my parents, my brother Chris, and I attempted to take a selfie on my mom's iPad, then headed over to my grandparents' house for our Christmas Eve tradition: Polish 7-fish Christmas Eve dinner (complete with lots of pierogis), then Christmas cookies and present opening, followed by my brother and I seeing who can count the most Christmas lights on the drive home. (We've been playing this game probably since I was old enough to count, and we used to use this opportunity to search the skies for Santa! Even though we're in our twenties now, we still get competitive.)

On Christmas Day, my brother and I woke up extremely early to open presents with our parents and enjoy a Christmas breakfast before cooking and getting ready to go to my aunt and uncle's house. Another tradition, Christmas day is always filled with aunts, uncles, my other grandparents, and as many cousins as we can wrangle from our various spots in the country. Above, I have a great picture of my mom and all her siblings (sans one sister of hers who lives in Florida) and my grandparents! I don't have a copy of the annual cousin picture (which we all gripe about every year), but I have a picture of me and all my girl cousins (except the oldest, who lives in Missouri). I'm the baby of the family and I'm already 20 years old, so it's really cool to get together every year and see what everyone is up to. Plus, there's tons of food and dessert, which makes this annual gathering even better. (My uncle is a fantastic cook.)
Finally, there's New Year's Eve! My friend Catherine (on the left) threw a huge fancy dress party at her house with all her closest friends from college and our hometown. I got to see all my friends from high school I hadn't seen in years, and it was amazing to spend the night with my best friends: Catherine, Tara, who goes to school in North Carolina, and Joanna (on the right in the bow) who goes to school in Alabama. I couldn't have asked for a more fun night or to spend it with better people. These girls are truly my best friends and I was thrilled to ring in the new year with all of them.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season, no matter what holidays you celebrated!