Spring Break Trip Recap (Finally!)

I’ve been really lazy about writing this post, mostly because I took so many pictures and really didn’t want to sit down and upload them all. But! Here they are!

We flew down around noon on Sunday and didn’t land and get to the hotel until 6:30 pm. We changed and washed up and walked over to the water taxi that took us to the parks/CityWalk (which is pretty much Universal’s version of DT Disney). We scarfed down pizza (and I got a giant beer because, hey, I was on vacation) and wandered around a little bit, before crashing into bed.

Even though we could easily walk to the parks, there was a shuttle early in the morning that got us to the parks right as they opened, and picked us up about an hour before closing, so we made every effort to make it for that. Our primary goal was Harry Potter World at Islands of Adventure, so we did that first. We were some of the first people in the park and managed to grab Butterbeers without having to even wait in line.

We then booked it to the ride in Hogwarts Castle, since the wait was shockingly short. We chugged down the super sugary drinks and pretty much sprinted through the (extremely extensive) queue. The entire thing had so many signs warning against riding if you’re sensitive to motion sickness but we laughed at them and hopped on the benches.

Chugging Butterbeer before any ride is a bad idea. And apparently, those warning signs were NOT joking. I spent the second half of the ride (after I basically started crying when the dragon popped out) willing myself not to puke. Motion simulators are not our thing.

Regardless, as soon as we got off that ride we ended up wandering over to the Dragon Training ride, which, we found out at the end of the line, was a rollercoaster. Oops. After riding those, we had to take a breather and take a lap around the park to recuperate.

It was pretty cloudy and then rainy Monday, so after lunch (at the Three Broomsticks) we walked back to the hotel and took a nap and changed before we tried to find somewhere to have dinner. Bridget chose, of all places, Margaritaville, and we had some tacos and a watermelon margarita before we walked back to the hotel and dried off.

Tuesday was a complete 180 from Monday. The sun was out and even though the morning was a little chilly, you could just tell it was going to be a beautiful day. We spent the morning at Universal Studios. I was actually pleasantly surprised by how much I liked all the different city sections they had. There was a Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and a Springfield (as in, the Simpsons) and reminded me of MGM, my favorite park in the entire world. (Can you tell I’m a HUGE lover of Disney?)

Bridget, still a little shaken from Mondays nausea, sat out while I rode the Rip Ride Rockit. I’m a little bit of a thrill seeker at amusement parks. I dream of going to Cedar Point.

For the rest of the morning, we pretty much just wandered around the park, stopping to explore every little thing and take pictures. In Springfield, I managed to get my hands on a Duff Beer at Moe’s Tavern and we sat in the sun while I sipped. It was glorious.

We also found what might have been the best part of our trip, the Animal Actors show. YES. Dogs doing tricks. We were in heaven. After exhausting everything we wanted to there that day, we called a cab and went to Downtown Disney for dinner. We love Disney, and although we looked into it, we decided not to do a day at their parks. Who can choose just one? But the afternoon at DT Disney was exactly what we needed. We got a cab back to Universal and wandered back to Harry Potter World until closing time. There might have been a little tiff between Bridget and I at the end of the day involving us storming back to the hotel separately, but we’ll chalk it up to a long day. And sunburn.

So much sunburn. The cool morning and breeze tricked us into thinking sunscreen wasn’t a necessity. Bad idea. And if we thought we were fried after a 75-degree Tuesday, we were in for a shock on Wednesday when it was 81. Fried. My skin is currently peeling off. Gross, and painful.

Despite my pestering to sleep in and take a half day at the pool, Wednesday brought us back to Islands of Adventure. We hopped right on the Incredible Hulk coaster, and rode the rest of the rides we missed on Monday. We had lunch and then went back to the Studios, to make sure there was nothing we missed. By the time it was an hour before the shuttle arrived we were done. While we waited I got a giant mojito and we watched the sun set.

It was a glorious vacation. I’m so happy Bridget was around and we could have that trip together. On our way back, we ran into Andrew and our friend Peter at the Atlanta airport. Andrew wasn’t on our flight to Buffalo, but Peter was, and he drove us back (in the snow) to Rochester.

I think that’s most of the highlights from the trip. And I’ll try to get as many pictures in here as I possibly can. It was my first and only “Spring Break” trip, and even though it wasn’t like a lot of college trips, it was perfect for me, and I am so happy I got to go.

pizza and beer

pizza and beer

CityWalk at night

CityWalk at night

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the first of several pictures of me riding things...

the first of several pictures of me riding things…

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this thing.

this thing.

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lunch at the 3 Broomsticks. not an average theme park meal. but delicious

lunch at the 3 Broomsticks. not an average theme park meal. but delicious

hiding from the rain

hiding from the rain

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watermelon marg. heaven.

watermelon marg. heaven.

TACOS

TACOS

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lol. bridget.

lol. bridget.

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I like big rides.

I like big rides.

big girl ordering a beer

big girl ordering a beer

and then drinking it

and then drinking it

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DOG RECYCLING

DOG RECYCLING

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and then we went to DT Disney

and then we went to DT Disney

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this begins a long series of photos inside Hogwarts. I was obsessed

this begins a long series of photos inside Hogwarts. I was obsessed

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more big rides, bright and early

more big rides, bright and early

s/o to Andrew, Spidey's his fav

s/o to Andrew, Spidey’s his fav

heroes

heroes

oh. we also had ice cream for lunch

oh. we also had ice cream for lunch

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snow?! in the summer??

snow?! in the summer??

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the happiest happy hour

the happiest happy hour

in retrospect, this was a bad idea

in retrospect, this was a bad idea

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cheryl had requested "more selfies"

cheryl had requested “more selfies”

san fran

san fran

just like being back in new york

just like being back in new york

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how can this not make you happy?

how can this not make you happy?

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bad bad bad sunburn.

bad bad bad sunburn.

 

On Being a Good Friend

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In light of a lot of friendships coming and going the past few years, I’ve been trying really hard to actively be a good friend to people. It’s important for me to kind of work through any internal conflicts I might have (ex: social anxiety) and just act the way I would want a friend to treat me.

For one, I try to reach out and make plans more. That’s something I used to struggle with. I’d wait for people to call or text me and when they wouldn’t, I’d act all sad and depressed because no one wanted to hang out. Now, I try to make more plans with people. I also try not to come across as flaky. I hate when I’ve made plans with a friend and they cancel on me. If I absolutely have to cancel on someone, I try really hard to reschedule (even if it means waking up at 8 am for breakfast before a flight).

I also try to just be nicer. This sounds awful, but sometimes I just really don’t have patience for people. There are lots of times when I would rather not reply to a text or talk to people. But I’m trying hard to just ignore my personal sassiness and be nice. Turns out, being kind and social puts everyone in a good mood and almost always strengthens a friendship.

I’ve been trying to be there for people. Again, there are (lots) of times when other peoples’ problems feel trivial or like something I just can’t deal with at the moment, but I’ve been making an effort to set aside my preoccupations and let my friends know I’m there for them. Whether that means sitting at the kitchen table for hours just letting someone vent, or sending a text after seeing a sad tweet, it makes me feel good to be able to let my friends know I’m there for them, since that’s same kind of support I would want.

I live in my own little world sometimes, expecting people to reach out to me and playing the victim when they don’t, but by trying to be a better friend to others, I’ve found myself happier and surrounded by people I genuinely love and care for way more than my first three years of school. All relationships are a little bit of give and take, even friendships. I’ve come to learn that if I want good friends, I need to be a good friend, too.

Vacation Makeup

Sunday afternoon, Bridget and I are heading to Florida for a few days. As of now, rain/thunder are forecasted but I’m staying optimistic. Regardless, vacation never makes me want to wear makeup, but when I do end up going out to dinner or getting drinks I have a few products I’ll use.

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After a day in the sun, I’ll start off with a primer, just to even everything out and make sure my makeup stays on even in the heat. This one isn’t my favorite, but I’m not really in the mood to invest in a new one just yet.

Then I’ll quickly conceal any blemishes (read: zits) and my under eye circles with boi-ing by Benefit. Again, not my favorite. I’ve hit pan on this one and it’s pretty good, it just creases on me, like almost every other one. A little powder usually fixes it, though.

I had a short stint with the Cover Girl foundation that everyone and their mother on the Internet loves, but after a few moths, I came to realize I’m not really a foundation girl, especially when it’s so warm and humid out. This Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer is a little pricy, but I’ve had it for a really long time already and it still lasts and it just covers so perfectly without looking or feeling like too much. It also has SPF in it, a huge plus for the when in the Sunshine State.

Last weekend I also snagged this bronzer after going back and forth on it for months. It’s apparently a decent dupe for Benefit’s Hoola, which I really like. It’s also matte and not shiny or shimmery. It helps to blend out any sunburn or awkward discoloration I might get while out in the sun.

On top of that I’d just spritz a little De-Slick from Urban Decay. I am OBSESSED with this. I use it every single day because it keeps my makeup in place and keeps me from being shiny and gross. Essential for when I’m somewhere warm and humid.

On my eyes I’d just do a few swipes of They’re Real mascara and call it a day. Vacation isn’t the time for extreme eyeshadow or eyeliner looks. I just like to keep it simple and easy.

And finally, this lip gloss is my all time favorite. On New Year’s Eve (a delightful mess of a night…) I thought I lost it at Erin‘s house, and when she returned it I couldn’t have been happier. It’s sheer but with just enough color to pull a look together without making me look like I’m trying too hard.

These are basically for any nighttime activities. During the day I prefer just some sunscreen and chapstick and that’s it. Vacation is for just hangin’.

Products I HATED

I write a lot about products I really like, but I’ve also encountered products I don’t really love at all. Things that don’t work how they promised or that aren’t worth the money really get to me.

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The first product I really hated was the Camomile Gentle Eye Makeup Remover from the Body Shop. I ordered a travel size on a whim to get my order total enough for free shipping, but this product sucked, frankly. Yes, it removed my eye makeup but it stung my eyes so bad. Every time I used it, it would somehow get in there and basically make me cry. No bueno. I just got a Boots Botanics eye makeup remover which has already proven to be much gentler.

Second, after I ran out of my Clinique Superprimer and a sample of Lorac POREfection, I went to the e.l.f. Studio downtown and grabbed a primer from them, mostly because it was cheap. And cheap it proved to be. I don’t know what it’s even doing under my makeup, but mostly, it just has the worst scent. I dread using it but I keep doing it only because I don’t want to waste my money. But I would NOT repurchase.

I had included Benefit Erase Paste in a favorites a while ago, but I’m afraid I might have spoken too soon. The salmon coloring of the product is perfect for undereye circles, and I love the idea of the thick consistency, but ultimately it just creases super fast and no matter what I try, I can’t stop it. I wanted to love it but I just can’t make it work. As soon as I can, I’ll be returning to my Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer, the best under eye cover up I’ve ever used.

My mom has been buying me the Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer for years now. It’s always done the job, but after I used the Boots Expert Sensitive Hydrating Moisturizer I can’t go back. I need to apply two or three layers of the Olay moisturizer and it hardly lasts. As soon and I’m done with this bottle I’m getting a jar of the Boots one and never looking back.

Going Long Distance

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I’ve been dating Andrew for all four years of college. I love him more than anything but long distance relationships are not a cakewalk. You don’t just go about your business in two different parts of the country without ups and downs, and most importantly, commitment.

The summer before I went to college I was terrified of a long distance relationship. The effort needed didn’t scare me, but the stories of other relationships falling apart messily did. I didn’t want a mess, just to be with my best friend.

Andrew was my first boyfriend, so I went into the whole thing completely blind. All summer before freshman year I avoided bringing up college or defining what we were, because I was afraid the answer would be “nothing.”  Until about a week before I left, we had a short talk where we both said we were exclusive and that was it. We weren’t even “official” yet. But off we went, him in Buffalo, me in New York. About a week into school we said our first “I love yous” and we both knew without certainty how committed to each other we really were. That was the key, I think, to the success of our relationship. We knew that we were exclusive and in it for the long haul and that we both cared about each other more than anything else. The understanding and commitment were, and still are, key.

Since we were decently far apart for the past three years, and extremely far apart this year, we don’t see each other often. But we do make every effort within our means to see each other as often as possible. When we were both in the same state that was about once a month, and now, it’s once every few. So when we do spend time with each other, we spend a lot of time doing our favorite things.

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That part sucks. It really really sucks, and it’s hard. Sometimes it’s easy just to get really busy and focus on my work and school and everything but there are quiet moments where I miss Andrew and I just get sad. It sucks not being able to see your best friend every day, every week or even every month.

We also make an effort to talk on the phone or face time as much as we can. Between Andrew’s work and mine it’s tough, but we manage to get as many in as possible, just to catch up and so we can hear each others’ voices every once in a while. We do text all day, every day, but even then we go long hours without hearing from each other.

But that’s easy. What’s hard is knowing how to balance our time when we are together. Summers, especially, make it hard to balance working with spending time together with spending time with our friends, most of whom are all in the same friend group. Sometimes we want to hang out together, but it’s also important to not really smother each other and spend time with our friends and families, too. This is something that took a little while to work out, but now it comes more naturally.

But I am glad that going to separate schools allowed us to have our own separate lives and our own separate times to grow. I would have loved to be able to go to school in a place where I could see Andrew more often, but I am extremely thankful that my friends aren’t just Andrew’s friends, and that my college experience was my own, and that my own challenges and growth were my own. Though, it was absolutely wonderful to have Andrew to share the ups and the downs with. And I am incredibly lucky that both of us have grown together through all this time, rather than apart.

this pic is four years old. enjoy.

this pic is four years old. enjoy.

There’s (hopefully) only a few more months left until Andrew and I are in the same city, preferably less than five minutes from each other. This whole thing has been extremely hard but this is what I’ve been waiting for. It’s incredibly important for me to get to be with Andrew after I graduate, which is why I’m more than willing to move down to Atlanta and get a job there, so we can figure everything out after. He means the world to me, and (hopefully!) me to him.

I’ve been missing Andrew a ton lately, but I’ll see him next week when I get back from Florida, and hopefully soon everything with a job and such will start lining up. Long distance is extremely difficult, but I know in the end everything will be okay and as it should be.

Spring Break Shopping

Ever since Bridget and I booked our trip to Florida, I was online shopping for spring break attire. As soon as I returned from Winter Break, I started ordering things, and they’ve finally all arrived!

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The first thing I ordered were my H&M aviators. I am obsessed with the colored lenses, and I don’t want to bring something to Florida I might lose or break. These were inexpensive enough not to scare me.

Then, I snagged a  Lilly Pulitzer sunglass strap from Pea Pod Paper and Gifts, where I’ve ordered a Lilly accessories from in the past. It was relatively cheap and I just like the idea of my sunglasses hanging on my neck when I’m not wearing them, mostly because it will keep me from losing/breaking them.

A few weeks later I ordered a tank top and this skirt from Forever 21, because I really couldn’t say no. First, the skirt looks just like the J.Crew City Mini (which I’ve been dying to have for MONTHS now) but was only $15. WHAT A STEAL. And then the tank is in a pretty blue color that’s not pink or navy (but goes with both) and was under $10. I couldn’t resist. I cannot wait for Florida so I can wear them, probably together.

I also placed an Etsy order for a red flower necklace like the J. Crew one, because I liked the pop of color it gives to otherwise plain outfits. The shop owner ended up sending me the flower one, and the pearl/chain one, which I love equally, and can’t wait to bring with me.

Finally, after browsing what felt like a hundred sites for swimsuits, giving up, and then finding the Outlet section of Asos, I ordered a bikini. I fell in love with this oxblood one last fall while I was just window shopping online, so when I found it on sale online for 15 dollars for the top and bottom with free shipping, I pounced. The top is so unlike anything I have and the color is a nice departure from my usual navy. I like how adult it looks, and I’m pretty sure it will look fab with a tan, too.

And now, we wait for break. I’m basically counting down the hours.

February Loves

For such a short month, February felt long. I feel like so much happened (100 Nights until graduation, Atlanta, the Olympics…) that even though it was a quick 4 weeks, it was full and exhausting. Regardless, these are the things I loved this month.

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Dexter: After I (probably unhealthily) watched ALL of Breaking Bad over Christmas break, I needed to take the entire month of January off from bingeing on Netflix shows. A friend recommended Dexter to me and after a few weeks avoiding it, I dove in. In about a month, I watched FIVE SEASONS. I’m obsessed and attached. After the Season Four finale I just laid in bed and cried for a while. So sad. But I’m definitely obsessed.

Eleanor & Park: I love reading but at school I sometimes find it hard to make time, because I always feel like I should be reading for class and doing actual work. But! When I went to Atlanta I seized the two hour plane ride both ways as an opportunity to get some reading done. My friend, Erin, recommended Eleanor and Park  to me, prefacing it with it being sad. It was so good. The story is just so beautiful and filled me with so much love and even though it did make me cry (on the plane, nonetheless) but it was because it made me feel so well. Definitely a favorite, and definitely recommend.

Body Shop Gloss Serum: In my empties post, I mentioned that I was out of my Eufora Beautifying Serum, which was deeply upsetting to me, especially because it was super expensive. However, when I read somewhere that The Body Shop shares the same parent company (L’Oreal) with a ton of other high-end brands, I started looking into their products more seriously, which culminated in ordering their Gloss Serum. I made sure it had safe ingredients, specifically, no sulfates, and did have an ingredient that heat protects. It was extremely inexpensive, especially because I bought it at 40% off, and it smells so good. Like grapefruit. It makes my hair just as smooth and manageable as the last serum, which is awesome, since I could buy, like, ten of these for the cost of one Eufora.

L’Oreal Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Golden Balm Eye Cream: As I just noted, I’ve recently become fascinated with L’Oreal owning a ton of high end and drugstore brands, basically meaning a lot of the products are the same. I snagged this eye cream from T.J. Maxx in order to combat dry undereye circles, and it has quickly become one of my favorite parts of my skincare routine. It’s extremely thick and moisturizing, and I just love the way it feels on my skin and makes my under-eyes feel.

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Ralph Lauren Riding Boots: Starting last semester, my riding boots started deteriorating. They weren’t especially well made, but I stuck it out, mostly because I wear brown riding boots almost every day, and the colder temps pretty much necessitate them. Regardless, I wore them until the heels separated from the actual boot about a week into second semester. I frantically texted my mom, telling her to keep an eye out for some made of good, thick leather. Of course, about a week later, this pair of Ralph boots arrived at my apartment. She snagged them on sale from Marshalls and they are literally perfect. The heel is essentially flat, the leather is gorgeous and they’re small enough to fit my baby feet. They took a little while to break in, but after a week or so, the leather was soft. I wear them almost every single day.

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Atlanta: I booked my ATL trip in the middle of last semester and had been looking forward to it forever and after some frightening weather issues, I made it. And loved it. I was so happy to see Andrew and experience the city and it just made me so excited to get down there and live there. And it was AMAZING to see sunlight.

Its Easier Being Nice

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I’ve typically been one to hold a grudge. If someone hurt me—really hurt me—I usually have an extremely difficult time letting them back in or even letting it go. I’m a pro at the cold shoulder and avoidance, but lately, I’ve been learning how much easier kindness is.

When someone spends their time actively being rude to someone else (not returning hellos, avoiding places so they don’t have to see you…) they’re hurting no one but themselves. Yes, it stings a little to be snubbed, but to consciously consider moves in a social setting to make sure you don’t encounter a certain person or group of people is exhausting. To actually try to be rude and hurt another person’s feelings takes time and energy. I know. I’ve spent 21 years doing it, trying to make people who’ve hurt me feel as terrible as I felt. But I’ve recently found how much easier it is to just be nice.

Saying hello, smiling, acting like nothing happened is so much easier. I’ve come to realize that I’m not karma. I don’t have to go around doling out consequences to make people know they messed up. They’ll find that out on their own. It’s just so much better to just be nice. Not to mention, it makes you look better in any given situation. When you’re nothing but nice and people are still extremely rude to you, it makes it their problem, not yours.

I’m so much happier now that I’ve let go of a ton of grudges, like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. The universe can handle mean people, I shouldn’t have to. We’ll all end up with what we deserve.

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