Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019

Happy new year! I know it’s been a little while; the end of 2018 seemed to fly by. I’m in disbelief that it’s actually 2019–this is the year I graduate from college!

To kick off this year, I wanted to follow the trend of compiling some of my favorite things from 2018. I love a good list, so I put together some of the books, movies, and music I read, watched, and listened to this year that I think are worth telling everyone about. I’ll include that below.

But while I was reflecting, I realized that even though I thought most of my experiences this year had been kinda tough and not worth revisiting, the opposite was true. My list of experiences that I’m grateful for this year is my longest (and I’m sure I’m missing a few things, too).

For starters, I began my year in Germany and then really kicked it off in Paris. Even though I was feeling lost in translation–in many ways–it was still Paris. And it gave me friends and memories I don’t think I’ll ever lose.

I spent another lovely spring break in San Diego and Palm Springs.

Fast forward to my 21st birthday (finally!) in June, and I celebrated it with my queen Taylor Swift and my person, a boy who I’ve been sharing my favorite music with since 2014.

In the midst of a messy summer, I took a trip with my mom that grounded both of us.

I went on a sunset boat cruise on Lake Michigan. Aside from being absolutely beautiful, it felt like the perfect symbol of things falling together. I started a new job, I was pursuing another, and I was making peace with the time it had taken to get to that point.

I finally brought my roommate and college bestie home to meet my childhood bestie and see my small town. It was a quick but restful weekend.

The job that I mentioned pursuing is going really well; I loved my first semester of working at a newspaper. It’s equal parts challenging and rewarding and watching the daily collaboration is kind of mind-blowing, in the best way.

I spent Christmas in Alabama with JT’s family. I was really nervous to do something different for Christmas (I’m used to MI christmases with my family), but it was a really great week. We watched the sunset on the beach in Gulf Shores on Christmas Eve, went for a boat ride on Christmas Day, and even saw dolphins.

Finally, I ended the year with JT and his friends dancing, a very fun NYE for the most part.

Now, it’s the first day of 2019 and JT and I are exploring the area that we plan to move to after graduation. It’s a scary and exciting glimpse into the future–this coming year in a nutshell.

So here’s to 2019; thank you, Universe, for the people and amazing experiences I got to have with them in 2018. I’m open to all the opportunities, connections, and memories you can bring me in this new year.

And I wish the same for you ✨

From 2018…

Book recs:

1 – The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, Hanif Abdurraqib

2 – Mean, Myriam Gurba

3 – Refuse, Julian Randall

4 – Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado

Movie recs:

1 – A Star is Born

2 – The Favourite


1 – Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves

2 – Dan + Shay (self-titled)

3 – Shawn Mendes (self-titled)

Summer Reflection

I begin my senior year of college tomorrow, and I’ve been reflecting a lot on how I want to answer friends, classmates, and professors who ask about my summer. I’ve had a hard time putting it into words because it feels like a long story, so I thought I’d tell it here.

I wrote a few posts already about figuring out what you can control and when you maybe need to step back from a situation. That’s because my summer was, well, kind of a mess.

It wasn’t bad; it feels messy simply because I can’t easily organize the events that unfolded or all the emotions I felt along the way. Looking back from this point, I am now able to see how things worked out for the best, even though the process felt like a roller coaster I didn’t choose to ride–though, technically, I did.

I decided to sublease an apartment because I really wanted to experience a Chicago summer. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to test out living in a new neighborhood and gaining professional experience without the obligation of school. I got a jumpstart applying to internships and jobs during Spring Break last semester and then went through a long process with a competitive internship. The process ended with my being asked to apply again next year. I was bummed, but I began applying again.

When I moved into my sublease in June without a job, I figured that it was only a matter of time before I heard good news from someone. I went to another internship interview and was actually offered the position, but it ended up being very, very different than what I thought I was signing on for. So I declined and applied for an open position at a place where one of my friends works.

It made all the difference to my summer that I was hired, however, I started working a lot later than I expected to. It’s frustrating when you’re completely available to dedicate your summer to work, and you’re trying your hardest to do so, and the circumstances are simply out of your control. What’s more, is that when things don’t go according to your plan, you start kicking yourself for not sticking to a safer plan. My plan was to enjoy a beautiful, city summer on nights and weekends while I worked hard during the day to save for the future. It wasn’t that simple.

But like I said, I got that job. I love it, I still have it, and now, I have another that I’m even more excited about. Being in Chicago actually allowed me to interview for it, and my summer of adjusting to going with the flow prepared me to figure out last-minute logistics. I somehow navigated moving out of my sublease, then into my dorm early, and going on a brief trip with my family to drop my brother off at college in between. Plus, during the weeks I spent earlier in the summer trying to figure things out, waiting for responses, I did make good memories with my friends, here in Chicago and at home. I actually spent a lot more time in my hometown than I had planned, which worked out well so that I saw JT  and my family a lot more than I thought I would.

I don’t have one big lesson I can chalk this summer up to, only a lot of little ones, mostly about myself. I think I’ll be unpacking my somewhat-erratic, but altogether positive experiences for months to come. Right now, what feels important is that I had the experiences at all and that they left me feeling open to whatever opportunities this school year is going to bring, whether or not they present themselves as neatly as I would like.

So, I think I’ll just say that my summer had a rocky start, but left me in a really, really good place.

Sometimes You Gotta “Gilmore Girls” It

Last week, I posted about being a funk and the 3 key things to focus on to try to get out of it. At the end of the post, I said that even after focusing on what you can control, sometimes you still have to just leave things to good, old-fashioned patience. You have to realize that if you’ve already done all you can do, you are still making things happen; you’ve set things in motion and now you gotta wait for the universe to put everything into place as it should be. I learned that for me anyway, to really step back and take that time, I have to be completely distracted. Like spontaneous mother-daughter road trip, completely “Gilmore Girls”-style-avoiding-responsibilities distracted.

So that’s what my mom and I did. Well, first, I spent a week at home helping with preparation for my little brother’s grad party, seeing family and friends, and just grounding myself. But then I made a forgetful mistake and missed the bus that was supposed to take me back to reality. My mom and I brainstormed solutions to get me back on track, except instead of simply getting me where I had planned to be, we spit-balled about making a quick weekend trip to see family we hadn’t seen in almost two years. It was something we’d been talking about doing, and luckily enough, my mistake gave us the perfect opportunity to move on this impulse. So we regrouped, packed, made arrangments for things to be okay in our absence, and we hit the road.

The hours spent in the car with my mom (and absolute best friend) and the hours spent sitting in living rooms, happily catching up with relatives while relaxing or eating (delicious) family meals have me reflecting on several things.

The first thing shouldn’t come as a surprise; sometimes you need to escape to for a clear head, but make it something you’ve been meaning to do. I’m so glad we took the time to see loved ones because there are few things that make your heart fuller than talking and laughing with people that want the best for you.

The second is closely related; it’s okay to let your family take care of you when you’re struggling to take the best care of yourself. Revel in the support you’re lucky to receive and remember to return the support when you can!

The third is how important it is to stay. To relax, to find peace, to nest. It’s ironic that I learned this on our Lorelai-esque trip, but while allowing myself to sit still instead of fretting over what I could be doing or what I was afraid of, I felt so much better. I remembered how to just be (and that’s important when you’re at the point in your process where that’s all you can do).

Fourth–arguably most important–is a reminder that there are very few things in life that can’t be solved by hours of heart-to-heart talking with your momma.

Fifth and final reflection today: once you’re rested, good things will come, and you’ll be ready to meet them. On the last night of our trip, I found out that I got the job I’ve been waiting to hear about. Now, I am back to reality, and feeling much better than when I was trying to force myself to face things I wasn’t quite ready to (and that weren’t quite ready for me yet).

Heading Home, Finding Direction

Last departure thoughts, 1-19-18:

Leaving Paris before sunrise feels disrespectful, like a lover stealing away in the night. I tried to take in my last glimpses of the city through our shuttle windows, but everything was still horribly out of context. Paris is far too large and old to have figured out in two and a half weeks. She’s too complicated, and claiming less is an insult.

I am happy to be headed home, to my own bed for the first time in almost a month, to my best friend, to my boyfriend, and to my family. I am excited to hear American English, to not feel my harsh Midwestern voice so out of place. To be back in control; yes, I have been able to wander this beautiful, foreign city alone, but I haven’t felt confident or knowledgeable. I am out of my familiar, and I’m feeling exhausted because of it. I want to rest, I want to organize, I want to take charge of my life again.

Rediscovering this journal now, a month later, is so fitting. I’ve been swept up by the spring semester, and I am still striving to feel that sense of control, even back in my familiar at home. My trip happened so quickly, it was hard to put into words at first, or to know if I had written any that I felt were worth sharing. This past month has given me enough time to try to put this into perspective, and I think evaluating what I gained, what I learned, during my travels just may be the key to unlocking a new sense balance and a positive attitude for the future.

Stay tuned for the reflection(s) to come!

Travel, My Favorite Balancing Act

I love to travel. I love to plan out all the logistical details; the departure and arrival times, the seasonally appropriate clothes. I love to have something to look forward to for weeks or months; I have a countdown app on my phone that is easily one of my most-used apps. I love the combination of exhaustion and exhilaration from waking up earlier than I ever would by choice; quietly arranging my things so that I don’t wake my roommates and am prepared to move easily from Lyft to train station or airport. I love the pure pleasure of knowing I am about to see people and places that I haven’t seen in awhile – or ever.

My freshman year of college, this excitement to move between physical places played easily into my homesickness, the urge I felt to flee what was new and find refuge in what was familiar as often as possible. It’s kind of a mundane trip from the city that my college is in to the city near my hometown, but I still build each of my weekends at home up in the same way that I would build up a trip more exciting. I check train schedules and arrange other transportation (shoutout to my family and boyfriend) and put together suitcases. The first year it was almost every other weekend. I realized then that I was planning my entire life around these weekends, adjusting my homework schedule, adding more pressure to myself, and not appreciating the days I felt “stuck” in my new, foreign place. The urge to leave outweighed all of that, but that urge has subsided as I’ve made a home here.

It occurred to me last week how much has changed in the past two years. Last Thursday, a week after my first trip home this semester, I woke up in my apartment, relieved I was simply headed to work and not trying to make it to the train station.  The following evening, Friday night, I sat on my couch, homework spread out and tv on, so content that I could relax and focus on what I needed to get done instead of being anxious about the homework that I was putting off on my trip.

To be clear, I still love travel – long weekends at home, visiting other states, soon other countries. I am still completely extra about planning around and planning the trip itself. But I see it in a more honest light now – what I mean is, sometimes, it is nice to stay.


Of course, it is possible to travel and still be in one place long enough that your body adjusts and you feel like you’re stationary. You are able to live in the moment, to occupy the out-of-the-ordinary space, to be.

While I may be realizing the practicality of having a few less of my short, forty-eight hour blurs of trying to squeeze in time with my significant other and my family and catch up on sleep in my full-size bed, I am still happy to have them, and also happy to be planning extended trips. I am looking forward to starting the New Year in Germany and spending the following month in France (more to come on this!).

I am hoping to be, to stay, long enough to breathe in cultures and experiences that I have been admiring and learning about and longing for.


Here’s to finding your own balance of traveling and staying just long enough.

Time & Turning 20

Time is a weird concept.

I come from a family of procrastinators, so I believe my inability to measure or efficiently use time was genetically inherited. I am now twenty, two whole decades old, and the idea of time is still too much to comprehend, much less manage. I told myself when I was younger that I wouldn’t be late to things once I was in charge of myself – of my time and my ability to travel. But here I am, still rushing to apply makeup and scrambling to grab my belongings five minutes after I should’ve left, the same way I have grappled with a deficit of moments to spare since I was sixteen. Or, maybe, that’s just when I became more aware of time, in a larger sense, passing too quickly, out of my control.

Everyone who’s ever spoken to this phenomenon was right; I know I lived every minute until now, but it still feels like time has rushed despite the exquisitely long, horrible and beautiful seconds, minutes, hours, and days. It is easy to quantify, but hard to express and appreciate the depth of what those units of time represented.

So, still, this is how I would quantify and qualify 20 so far:

Taking down posters I put on my ceiling to remind me to keep reaching for my dreams because reaching (writing) is finally changing from raw and formless to meaningful crafting. I am proud of my improved expressions of self and am working to share some of them. 

Learning to recognize myself in different places and with different hairstyles –

Donating my hair three times thus far in my life. 

Working two summers in a library I love, constantly in love and endlessly perplexed at how many books I still need to read.

Learning both sides of the lit mag world: sending the rejections and receiving them.

Disregarding/moving past the rejection because of a confidence I’ve found in myself and my abilities in the last two years of college.

Living with and making good friends.

Keeping important friendships from childhood over distance and allowing others to fade as adulthood takes us in separate directions.

Still appreciating when the first person to wish me happy birthday is a friend from high school that I haven’t really spoken to in those two years.

Being halfway done with college.

Maintaining a 3-year relationship, growing from 16 to 20 with the same person.

I think that’s the key to this next chapter of time in my life; 20 is growing. I’m no longer a teenager, and so I’ve never felt like more of an adult. At the same time, I’ve grown enough to better understand how much more growing I have to do.

I know other birthdays – 18th and 21st – are supposed to be bigger deals, larger markers in time that stand for freedoms and legal rights, buuut, I’m excited, in this moment, to be 20. The number feels round on my tongue, full in a way that to me signifies a time full of both finding (working for) stability and opportunity.