Far-Away Friends

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 11.50.26 PM

This post came about mostly as a result of me realizing how many amazing “first meet” photos I’ve had friends/family take for me. That being said, I also think there’s something in the air that’s making me really nostalgic for the days I’ve spent with my friends who are far away from me. Maybe it’s because summer is wrapping up and fall is approaching. Maybe it’s because I haven’t seen most of them in months (if not, years). Maybe it’s because they’re all part of my very own amazing support system.

These people are friends I can count on to take me in, listen to me cry at 5 AM, and tell me I deserve the better when they know I’m not receiving it. They cheer me on when I land a date or an interview. They send me fun packages for my birthday and holidays.

There’s one very specific thing they all have in common, besides location (far, far away): I met them all online. I find it funny that over time, “online” friends have become a staple to my generation. It’s something I’ve been proud of for years. This isn’t to say I trust everyone online. A girl’s gotta have some common sense. But when I know, I know. And while there are still so many friends I’ve met but have yet to meet, they’re all awesome as well (and I’m thinking of you all too).

Say the internet is ruining communication all you want, but these friends wouldn’t be in my life if it weren’t for the internet. They’re phenomenal people and we know how to communicate from far away.

The Friends

Sophie was my first real online friend. We met in 2008, did the whole “vlog” thing back and forth for a while, then eventually managed to skype. I officially met her in 2011, when I studied abroad in Melbourne. Of course, I didn’t get to see her enough, but we reunited again in 2014 when I traveled back to Australia for a solo adventure. She took me in, gave me a bed to sleep in, took me on adventures, cooked for me, and even came into the city to hang out with me. She’s the friend who will stay up with you til 3 AM, not realizing how late it is, just to catch up on life things. She’s the friend who will watch Twilight with you and secretly love it while turning it into a drinking game. She’s the first person who let me in and she’s really the reason I fell in love with Australia to begin with.

Then there’s Mitch. I technically met him through Sophie, but through the magic of the internet, we met over skype in 2009. I fell for the Aussie charm pretty quickly and we became a couple before I met him (with Sophie) in 2011. First loves are an interesting thing. I could probably talk about first loves for days. Mitch was mine and although I accepted that it wasn’t meant to last, we did get a second chance when he came to visit me in Chicago over Christmas in 2012. Again, wasn’t meant to be. But I did see him again this past spring and I realized something about our relationship: I can’t call him my “ex” because before anything else, he is one of my best friends. He has my back all the way across the world. He drops what he’s doing to go on adventures with me. He pushes me to be better and stronger. He cooks me meals that remind me of home when I’m homesick. And in the future, when I manage to live in Australia for longer than a two months, he’ll watch out for me. That is a best friend.

Jessica. My first tumblr best friend and most likely my twin-separated-at-birth. I cannot fully understand how alike we are (looks, personality, humor, hopes, dreams, everything) and I don’t think I ever will. We are perfectly aligned. I met Jess in NYC fresh into 2013 and I think I owe a lot of my happy moments that year to her. It was almost as if starting my year off with her set the universe’s positive vibes into motion. She’s a bundle of enthusiasm, wanderlust, and dreams. She is passionate, funny, and thoughtful. Her friends are like family and like me, her family is number one. I tear up a little whenever I see our first-meet photo (thank you, Eric).

And then, there’s Blake. My mysterious (yet totally predictable), charming best friend from Sydney. Another tumblr best friend, but with Blake, the connection always comes back to music. It’s some deep-rooted thing for both of us. Music being the answer to everything, the invisible thing that links us to memories, the one thing we will both always have. We kept in touch via social media for a while, then turned to texting and the occasional phone call (I’m not going to lie, I nearly melted into a puddle when I heard his accent the first time). Neither of us can really remember when or how we became friends, but the most exciting moment of my 2014 trip to Australia– hands down– was meeting Blake for the first time. After years of waiting, I was finally able to hang out with him in person (and with drinks!) in Sydney. We’re the black sheep. And I love this kid.

I miss all of these friends (and their friends and their cities), but it’s pretty damn amazing to know that wherever I travel, I’ll have a piece of home with me. These friends are my homes away from home. And I wouldn’t have them if it weren’t for the crazy little internet.

Advertisements

“23”: THE FINAL POST

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 11.44.03 PM

That’s it! I’m officially 24 as of today *insert belated July 4th fireworks here* (well, technically I have until this evening, but let’s not get that technical for the sake of simplicity, which I’m becoming a fan of more and more these days). Here’s where my “23” bucket list stands on it’s last day:

1. Leave my job at IB

2. Get a new job (and love it) — I got a new job and I wouldn’t go so far as to say I love it. It’s not what I had in mind when I wrote this list, but it’s a new job nonetheless. And I’m using it as motivation to continue looking for the job that I’ll be proud to say I love.

3. Go back to Australia (to study, work, or take a vacation)I DID IT. I MADE IT BACK TO AUSTRALIA, TOOK A MONTH-LONG DREAM VACATION AND MANAGED TO CROSS OFF A LOT OF THIS LIST. I’M STILL IN DISBELIEF, BUT IT HAPPENED AND IT WAS AMAZING!

4. Meet and hang out with BlakeThis might be the one thing on my list I’m more excited about than the fact that I actually was in Australia. I’ve known Blake for a couple of years now and in that time, he’s become one of my best friends. We met on tumblr, so it’s been a dream of mine to meet my best-friend-across-the-world. We met and then eventually, we hung out— it was the best. Highlight of my week in Sydney, hands down.

5. Get my first tattoo — I’ve at least picked what I’d like my first one to be (officially)

6. Hang out with Jessica (in NYC, NJ, or Chicago) again, without the anxiety this time

7. Visit California (esp. San Clemente & Kristen Stewart’s handprints @ TCL)Ok, this one’s a stretch, but I did make it to Cali. Granted, it was just a layover at LAX. But I paid for the flights and I was there, so…. the “esp.” will just have to make it onto my next bucket list.

8. Get paid to write

9. Go on vacation with Amanda — Our New Years Eve trip turned into a bit of a vacation… it’s a stretch, but we did spend 5 days together + 7 hours driving!

10. Run a 5K (with a few stops at most)I did the Color Run in Chicago on June 8th and even though we technically walked the entire thing (with a few bursts of running at most), it was the most fun I’ve had at a 5K and that’s an accomplishment itself.

11. Do/try something new/spontaneous. Anything.I went scuba diving on a total whim and it was the most unreal, thrilling 45 minutes of my life.

12. Learn something newSo far: calligraphy and how to make guacamole. And guess what? I’ve had so much fun with both of these things that I was reminded of how great it feels to learn something new.

13. Meet someone famous (actor/musician/writer/athlete)I met Sophia Bush on November 6th!

14. Meet someone that impacts my life in a positive wayI’ve been waiting to cross this one off, because it’s a big one. But between the people I met in Australia, my dear friend Blake, and the guy I dated for a few months, my life has been impacted in a positive way.

15. Impact someone’s life in a positive wayI talked to Amanda about this one back in March(ish) when she asked what I had left on my list. This was one of them. It took her maybe half a second to say, “Are you crazy? Of course you’ve impacted someone’s life in a positive way!” And because of that, I’m crossing this one off.

16. Fall in love (with a person, place, or hobby)Get this: triple whammy. I fell in love with my dive instructor in the Great Barrier Reef while scuba diving with him. Ok, mostly joking about that. But I did manage to fall in love with a place on my trip: Sydney. This city is beautiful and it was ridiculously hard to say goodbye.

17. Finally finish my Invisalign treatment

18. Man up and get my wisdom teeth pulled

19. Go on a date (and maybe a second?!)

20. See the Blackhawks play in Nashville OR see the Western Sydney Wanderers play in MelbourneThis item is no longer possible, BUT I’m giving myself another exception here: I saw Hamish Blake IN REAL LIFE perform in a comedy show as part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival, which, let’s be honest, was way more exciting for me than a soccer game would have been.

21. Do something for myselfI put all of my money into my trip to Australia and while it was a crazy thing to do financially, it was a gift to myself. I’ve been struggling to focus on where I want to head on my career path, so I took a month off to see what else is out there. My month abroad was SO different from the first time I traveled abroad alone. It was a new experience to explore on my own, create my own schedule, take a trip with strangers who became friends, and re-connect with old friends. It’s not about the money at all. It’s about the fact that I went on an actual adventure that has made me appreciate everything I have and everyone I know so much more than I did before. And now I feel more energized to figure out where I need to go from here.

22. Read a total of 23 books (I read 13.5, which is a big deal for me tbh)

23. Find a new favorite spot in ChicagoI waited til the end of my bucket list time frame to give myself a chance to explore. I thought back to the months I spent interning for The Everygirl and thought of how much I loved Lincoln Park (especially seeing the building where my Grandpa grew up, because the universe does crazy things like that), but my favorite spot was standing on a Brown Line el headed toward the city. It’s not a skyline view you can get unless you’re elevated and I think it’s safe to say that’s my new favorite spot in Chicago.

Total: 18 out of 23

Now before you go, let’s chat.

Looking back at 23, I realize what a great year it was for me: I landed a dream internship, where I got the opportunity to write about music for a huge audience. I pushed my writing boundaries and learned how to write interview questions. I met some really awesome interns who became friends. I saved up enough money to fly myself back to my favorite place in the entire world. I got to visit friends I hadn’t seen in three years and show my sister around where I lived in Melbourne. I got to meet one of my best friends across the world. I met a ton of amazing, inspiring people. I did something that actually still scares the crap out of me and loved every terrifying second of it. I became closer with certain friends. I kept up traditions and made new ones. I went on a date with a guy and ended up dating him for six months. I tried new things, learned new things, ate new things. Generally speaking, I genuinely believe I have grown up a lot over the last 365 days.

Writing this list of things to accomplish in a year not only motivated me to try harder, but also to try new. I like familiar. I tend to stick to things I know, people I know, and places I know. As I go about navigating 24, I plan to do 25 things that will push me to grow even more. Of course, I’ll stick to some familiar things, but I can’t wait to meet more people, date new people, discover new writers and musicians, find a job that makes me feel fulfilled at the end of the day, and hopefully get to know myself better. I always roll my eyes when people say “you need to love yourself before you let someone love you.” And I was always impatient about finding someone to fall in love with. But I’m starting to accept that the universe has a way of doing things that bump you into place, despite the bruises and confusion along the way. I’m learning to love who I am and not roll my eyes when someone compliments me, because guess what? I am pretty awesome.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve already begun writing my “25 by 25” list. It’s in the works, as it likely will continue to be for a couple of months. Even if I don’t finish everything on that list either, I’m excited to see where 24 will take me– or more likely, where I decide to take 24. Despite all of the positivity up there, I had a lot of doubtful, lost moments as a 23-year-old, but I’m actually ready for 24. I’m prepared to have moments of doubt and fear. What I’m finding to be the most important is that I didn’t rush it. Which is why I don’t plan to rush 25 either. After all, I have 25 things I need to accomplish before then!

“23”: Updated (15/23 complete) with only 18 days to go

1. Leave my job at IB

2. Get a new job (and love it)

3. Go back to Australia (to study, work, or take a vacation)I DID IT. I MADE IT BACK TO AUSTRALIA, TOOK A MONTH-LONG DREAM VACATION AND MANAGED TO CROSS OFF A LOT OF THIS LIST. I’M STILL IN DISBELIEF, BUT IT HAPPENED AND IT WAS AMAZING!

4. Meet and hang out with BlakeThis might be the one thing on my list I’m more excited about than the fact that I actually was in Australia. I’ve known Blake for a couple of years now and in that time, he’s become one of my best friends. We met on tumblr, so it’s been a dream of mine to meet my best-friend-across-the-world. We met and then eventually, we hung out— it was the best. Highlight of my week in Sydney, hands down.

5. Get my first tattoo — I’ve at least picked what I’d like my first one to be (officially)

6. Hang out with Jessica (in NYC, NJ, or Chicago) again, without the anxiety this time

7. Visit California (esp. San Clemente & Kristen Stewart’s handprints @ TCL)Ok, this one’s a stretch, but I did make it to Cali. Granted, it was just a layover at LAX. But I paid for the flights and I was there, so…. the “esp.” will just have to make it onto my next bucket list.

8. Get paid to write

9. Go on vacation with Amanda — Our New Years Eve trip turned into a bit of a vacation… it’s a stretch, but we did spend 5 days together + 7 hours driving!

10. Run a 5K (with a few stops at most)I did the Color Run in Chicago on June 8th and even though we technically walked the entire thing (with a few bursts of running at most), it was the most fun I’ve had at a 5K and that’s an accomplishment itself.

11. Do/try something new/spontaneous. Anything.I went scuba diving on a total whim and it was the most unreal, thrilling 45 minutes of my life.

12. Learn something new — So far: calligraphy and how to make guacamole. And guess what? I’ve had so much fun with both of these things that I was reminded of how great it feels to learn something new. Let’s see what else I can add here before next month.

13. Meet someone famous (actor/musician/writer/athlete)I met Sophia Bush on November 6th!

14. Meet someone that impacts my life in a positive wayI’ve been waiting to cross this one off, because it’s a big one. But between the people I met in Australia, my dear friend Blake, and the guy I dated for a few months, my life has been impacted in a positive way.

15. Impact someone’s life in a positive way

16. Fall in love (with a person, place, or hobby)Get this: triple whammy. I fell in love with my dive instructor in the Great Barrier Reef while scuba diving with him. Ok, mostly joking about that. But I did manage to fall in love with a place on my trip: Sydney. This city is beautiful and it was ridiculously hard to say goodbye.

17. Finally finish my Invisalign treatment

18. Man up and get my wisdom teeth pulled

19. Go on a date (and maybe a second?!)

20. See the Blackhawks play in Nashville OR see the Western Sydney Wanderers play in MelbourneThis item is no longer possible, BUT I’m giving myself another exception here: I saw Hamish Blake IN REAL LIFE perform in a comedy show, which let’s be honest, was way more exciting for me than a soccer game would have been.

21. Do something for myselfI put all of my money into my trip to Australia and while it was a crazy thing to do financially, it was a gift to myself. I’ve been struggling to focus on where I want to head on my career path, so I took a month off to see what else is out there. My month abroad was SO different from the first time I traveled abroad alone. It was a new experience to explore on my own, create my own schedule, take a trip with strangers who became friends, and re-connect with old friends. It’s not about the money at all. It’s about the fact that I went on an actual adventure that has made me appreciate everything I have and everyone I know so much more than I did before. And now I feel more energized to figure out where I need to go from here.

22. Read a total of 23 books

23. Find a new favorite spot in Chicago

Updates:
#10: The Color Run was an absolute blast and I’ve already come up with a team name for next year. Even though I really wanted to dedicate myself to running, it’s just not my thing. No matter how hard I try to train myself. We walked, we got colored, we had an awesome time. And it gave me an excuse to hang out with my best friends downtown on a Sunday morning. Win win.

#12: I’ve only dabbled in calligraphy thus far, but I’m not going to quit anytime soon. It’s surprisingly soothing! I turn on music, scribble out some lyrics, and see where things go. I’ve even tried watercolor calligraphy (not so smooth). Also learned how to make homemade guacamole and it was a hit with the family, so I think it’s just a sign that I should keep on learning in the kitchen while I’m at it!
Itty Bitty Reflection
Things are winding down and I’m realizing it definitely won’t be possible to complete everything, but looking back at what I have accomplished is exciting. And I feel like I didn’t let this year slip by like I have with previous years. Often times, I found myself rushing to turn another year older. I’ve embraced 23 and took the reins for a change.

In the spirit of bucket listing, I’ve already begun writing my “25 by 25” list (which I’ll hold off on posting until July). It’s in the works and even if I don’t finish everything on that list either, I’m actually looking forward to seeing what I’ll push myself to do. What improvements I’ll make. How I’ll grow as a person within a year. I’ve had my fair share of doubtful moments whilst 23, but seeing my next list come together already is already proving to myself that I’m motivated to move, change, grow, learn, etc.

On that note, the final “23” post will go up in about 18 days, when I’m officially 24 years old. How many more things can I scratch off before then? Well, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

Solo in Sydney

Looking back on my five days in Sydney,  I can’t believe I actually considered skipping the end of my trip because of one little panic attack. I am so, so happy I stuck it out, because I don’t think I would have fallen in love with this city otherwise. I was glad I checked off the bridge climb on my one day here with Lauren earlier in April, because it opened up a day for wandering and let’s be honest, it was so much fun getting to share that memory with her (at night and in the rain, no less). After three straight weeks of chaos/travel, I was ready to slow down and savor Sydney.

On my first day, I settled into my tiny airbnb apartment (which I should note: I grew to love), then wandered into the city to see if I could navigate around without a. getting lost and b. relying on a map. Proud to say I pulled it off! This was my third time in Sydney, so I was really hoping I’d learn it better. I walked all the way from Surry Hills through the CBD to Circular Quay. Now as touristy as this place gets, I love it. It’s quiet, beautiful, and full of people-watching opportunities. AND HELLO, THE ROYAL FAMILY WAS INSIDE WHILE I WAS THERE. Also made a stop at Angel Place to get a nice photo of the bird cages (and there were actually some birds singing because the weather was so perfect). On the walk home, I got gelato because why not?

Thursday was just a beautiful, simple, and fun (check me out, loving the solo travel life) as the day before. I took my time walking into the city (this time with my DSLR to get some quality photos), looking at the Opera House from across the harbour (bridge side), sitting at Circular Quay looking at the bridge, watching the sunset behind the bridge, and then getting a phone call from my best friend in Sydney– which was beyond cool, because I’m used to phone calls from across the world. The subject of our phone call? Hanging out together (OMG). Real life can be pretty freaking awesome sometimes. Got dolled up- even dared to wear some bright pink lipstick, then met up with Blake and his friends. We had dinner at The Clock Hotel, drinks at Tios and Low 302, and then wound up at the casino. By the end of the night, I was so. in. love. with. Sydney. (And Blake and his friends of course). There’s nothing quite like staying out until dawn and walking through Darling Harbour in absolute silence as the city wakes up.

Took a much-needed day off on Friday. Who knew walking around endlessly for three weeks could actually make your feet too painful to walk on? Saturday was low-key, but I couldn’t say goodbye to Sydney without one last night out with Blake + co and seeing the bridge lit up from the Opera Bar/the Opera House from my favorite rooftop bar in the city, The Glenmore. SWEET HOME THE GLENMORE. I have some fond memories from this place and after a year of Blake sending me photos every time he was there, it was about time we hung out there together. On our walk back to Surry Hills, I dragged Blake to Angel Place (by accident) and was blown away by how hauntingly gorgeous the bird cages looked lit up at 2am. Thanks for sharing your friends with me, Blake. Now get yourself over to Chicago so you can stop calling me “America” and I can start calling you “Straya.”

Bittersweet. My last day in Sydney was Easter Sunday and I didn’t have my family there to spend it with me, so I spend my day at Bondi Beach. Yes, it’s another touristy spot. But I don’t have beaches like this at home. I don’t get to sit in the sand watching the waves roll in from the Pacific Ocean. With a free day to explore a new spot by myself, I had lunch at Gabby’s Cafe (I picked it because I was seriously missing my Gabby back home), walked along the shore, read some John Green, had some fruity sorbet, watched the sunset paint the sky along the horizon, and headed back to Surry Hills to pack up. I’m going to miss my little apartment in Surry Hills and all the great food spots in the area (I’ve got a new soft spot for Mr. Crackles and Mad Mex). And you can bet I’ll be back.

“23”: Updated (13/23 complete–including a trip to Australia)

1. Leave my job at IB

2. Get a new job (and love it)

3. Go back to Australia (to study, work, or take a vacation)I DID IT. I MADE IT BACK TO AUSTRALIA, TOOK A MONTH-LONG DREAM VACATION AND MANAGED TO CROSS OFF A LOT OF THIS LIST. I’M STILL IN DISBELIEF, BUT IT HAPPENED AND IT WAS AMAZING!

4. Meet and hang out with BlakeThis might be the one thing on my list I’m more excited about than the fact that I actually was in Australia. I’ve known Blake for a couple of years now and in that time, he’s become one of my best friends. We met on tumblr, so it’s been a dream of mine to meet my best-friend-across-the-world. We met and then eventually, we hung out— it was the best. Highlight of my week in Sydney, hands down.

5. Get my first tattoo (if I’m feeling brave- second and third as well)

6. Hang out with Jessica (in NYC, NJ, or Chicago) again- without the anxiety this time

7. Visit California (esp. San Clemente & Kristen Stewart’s handprints @ TCL)Ok, this one’s a stretch, but I did make it to Cali. Granted, it was just a layover at LAX. But I paid for the flights and I was there, so…. the “esp.” will just have to make it onto my next bucket list.

8. Get paid to write

9. Go on vacation with Amanda — Our New Years Eve trip turned into a bit of a vacation… it’s a stretch, but we did spend 5 days together + 7 hours driving!

10. Run a 5K (with a few stops at most)

11. Do/try something new/spontaneous. Anything.I went scuba diving on a total whim and it was the most unreal, thrilling 45 minutes of my life.

12. Learn something new

13. Meet someone famous (actor/musician/writer/athlete)I met Sophia Bush on November 6th!

14. Meet someone that impacts my life in a positive wayI’ve been waiting to cross this one off, because it’s a big one. But between the people I met in Australia, my dear friend Blake, and the guy I dated for a few months, my life has been impacted in a positive way.

15. Impact someone’s life in a positive way

16. Fall in love (with a person, place, or hobby)Get this: triple whammy. I fell in love with my dive instructor in the Great Barrier Reef while scuba diving with him. Ok, mostly joking about that. But I did manage to fall in love with a place on my trip: Sydney. This city is beautiful and it was ridiculously hard to say goodbye.

17. Finally finish my Invisalign treatment — SLOWLY WORKING ON IT!

18. Man up and get my wisdom teeth pulled

19. Go on a date (and maybe a second?!)

20. See the Blackhawks play in Nashville OR see the Western Sydney Wanderers play in MelbourneThis item is no longer possible, BUT I’m giving myself another exception here: I saw Hamish Blake IN REAL LIFE perform in a comedy show, which let’s be honest, was way more exciting for me than a soccer game would have been.

21. Do something for myselfI put all of my money into my trip to Australia and while it was a crazy thing to do financially, it was a gift to myself. I’ve been struggling to focus on where I want to head on my career path, so I took a month off to see what else is out there. My month abroad was SO different from the first time I traveled abroad alone. It was a new experience to explore on my own, create my own schedule, take a trip with strangers who became friends, and re-connect with old friends. It’s not about the money at all. It’s about the fact that I went on an actual adventure that has made me appreciate everything I have and everyone I know so much more than I did before. And now I feel more energized to figure out where I need to go from here.

22. Read a total of 23 books — WORKING ON IT!

23. Find a new favorite spot in Chicago

Updates
So many things on my list are pending right now (and I’m not going to say which ones exactly, but there are approx. 11). Here’s a little breakdown:

  • #3: I can’t believe I made it back to Australia. Unreal.
  • #5: I didn’t have time to fit in a tattoo on my trip, but I don’t see why I can’t man-up and get it done here before I turn 24!
  • #11: I had a fear of scuba diving, so I only signed up to snorkel on my trip. I’d be lying if I said the dive instructor who talked to me about the “Discovery Dive” didn’t play a part in my decision, but I’m SO glad I did it. My dive was 45 minutes long and we went ~10 metres deep. And I pet a turtle, so.
  • #14: I met SO many people on my trip that I lost track of where they all are from. Hearing how so many of them are still in their teens and are exploring Australia by working/traveling was so inspiring. I wish I’d had the guts to do that at 18!
  • #16: The Great Barrier Reef. Seriously. Amazing.
  • #22: I’m really working hard on this one and it’s coming along slowly, but I’m determined to read 23 books

I have so much adrenaline, simply from writing this post. If you’ve never written a bucket list, do it. Even if you give yourself a time limit like I did– it really pushes you to make changes, take chances, and find adventures as you go. Now it’s time to focus on what I need to accomplish in the next two months.

 

Sweet Home Melbourne

I’ve considered Melbourne my second home since 2011, when I spent six weeks studying abroad and loving every second of it. As a homebody, that was a huge deal– to feel like I was home. This is how I spent the rest of my week in Melbourne:

After my first day re-exploring Melbourne on my own (and catching up with Mitch), I was feeling SO ready to continue my adventure. I spent the next day hanging out with Sophie– seeing Divergent (yes, loved it the second time) and then driving to Flemington to stay in a hotel with her and some of her friends. It was a very chill evening, which got me pumped up for my next day of CBD exploring. The next night, I met up with Mitch in the city for dinner and a comedy show. Melbourne’s Comedy Festival is a pretty big deal, so of course I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to see a show especially since one of my absolute favorite Aussie comedians would be in it. Hamish Blake himself. The next day, I packed up my things and headed to an apartment near Carlton/Fitzroy that I rented through Airbnb, then met up with Lauren in the city. We got to explore and wander around together– this time on my turf. Bonus? Lunch at Elephant And Wheelbarrow with Mitch. It was a blast to have these two goofs together with me in my favorite city.

After lunching, Lauren and I wandered to Fitzroy (my old stomping ground and hipster heaven), where we walked and shopped and I shared some of my favorite memories from a few years ago. Of course, our day wasn’t over yet. We headed back to our apartment to freshen up for a night on the town. First up: Cookie for Toblerones (God bless the bartender who knew what it was when I ordered it– think chocolate milkshake for adults). From there, it was on to Rooftop bar for some cider and a view of the city at night (my all-time favorite bar in Melbourne, I might add). The next day was a jam-packed one with a lot of things to cross off our list. After breakfast at the Pancake Parlour (or as Lauren referred to it, “heaven”), we accidentally ended up in Cotton On and did a little shopping. We roamed the city looking for graffiti, then met up with Sophie for lunch.

After lunching and chatting, we walked the Royal Botanic Gardens and saw the perfect view of downtown Melbourne from the Shrine of Remembrance (which is where Sophie and I had to say our goodbyes for this trip). Our list was looking pretty complete, so we headed back for dinner and ended up finding a really great gem called Trunk. Hello, best gnocchi in Australia. In an effort to say goodnight to our sister adventures in Melbourne, we headed to Rooftop one more time for a final cider and view of the city. The next day, Lauren was on her way back to Gold Coast and I had a rough day on my own in the city. I was really hoping I’d make it through my entire trip free of panic attacks, but that wasn’t what the universe had in mind. Looking back on the day is kind of a blur, but things settled when I met up with Mitch for a home-cooked meal and movie night. I’m really lucky to have this kid in my life. Even after crying about my panic attack, Mitch was on his A-game to get me pumped for my week ahead in Sydney (which, at that point, I was considering skipping). After lots of red wine, risotto, and comedy, I was ready.

Stay tuned to read up on my week in Sydney!

“23”: Updated (5/23 complete + another update)

1. Leave my job at IB

2. Get a new job (and love it)

!!! 3. Go back to Australia (to study, work, or take a vacation)

4. Meet and hang out with Blake

5. Get my first tattoo (if I’m feeling brave- second and third as well)

6. Hang out with Jessica (in NYC, NJ, or Chicago) again- without the anxiety this time

7. Visit California (esp. San Clemente & Kristen Stewart’s handprints @ TCL)

8. Get paid to write

9. Go on vacation with Amanda Our New Years Eve trip turned into a bit of a vacation… it’s a stretch, but we did spend 5 days together + 7 hours driving!

10. Run a 5K (with a few stops at most)

11. Do/try something new/spontaneous. Anything.

12. Learn something new

13. Meet someone famous (actor/musician/writer/athlete) I met Sophia Bush on November 6th!

14. Meet someone that impacts my life in a positive way

15. Impact someone’s life in a positive way

16. Fall in love (with a person, place, or hobby)

17. Finally finish my Invisalign treatment

18. Man up and get my wisdom teeth pulled

19. Go on a date (and maybe a second?!)

20. See the Blackhawks play in Nashville OR see the Western Sydney Wanderers play in Melbourne

21. Do something for myself

22. Read a total of 23 books

23. Find a new favorite spot in Chicago

Updates
So many things on my list are pending right now (and I’m not going to say which ones exactly, but there are approx. 11). Here’s a little breakdown:

  • #3: It’s happening. Booked and not nearly ready to go, but it’s happening!
  • #4: See you in April, Blake!
  • #10: Signed up and ready to rock the Color Run with Team TS in June
  • #12 is finally filled in– I want to learn something new! I realized I really haven’t learned or studied anything since graduating, so I want to keep this nice and broad. Whether I learn how to watercolor properly or work in HTML or how to understand the stock market or how to fix something around the house, I want to gain a little knowledge.
  • #20 now has a giant “OR” next to it: “OR see the Western Sydney Wanderers play in Melbourne.” With my Australia trip officially planned (start date, end date, and crunched budget to boot), a trip to Nashville is simply impossible. The only game left in Nashville is on 4/12 and I’ll be in Melbourne… which hopefully means seeing the WSW with Blake. YEP. I’M SNEAKY LIKE THAT.

Even though it looks like I haven’t accomplished much in the last couple of months, this is probably the most exciting update to my bucket list to date (which is great, considering I’ve only got about 4 months left to go). I can’t wait to write my next update when I can officially cross a few things off!

 

“23”: Updated (5/23 complete + an update)

1. Leave my job at IB

2. Get a new job (and love it)

3. Go back to Australia (to study, work, or take a vacation)

4. Meet and hang out with Blake

5. Get my first tattoo (if I’m feeling brave- second and third as well)

6. Hang out with Jessica (in NYC, NJ, or Chicago) again- without the anxiety this time

7. Visit California (esp. San Clemente & Kristen Stewart’s handprints @ TCL)

8. Get paid to write

9. Go on vacation with Amanda Our New Years Eve trip turned into a bit of a vacation… it’s a stretch, but we did spend 5 days together + 7 hours driving!

10. Run a 5K (with a few stops at most)

11. Do/try something new/spontaneous. Anything.

12. TBD

13. Meet someone famous (actor/musician/writer/athlete) I met Sophia Bush on November 6th!

14. Meet someone that impacts my life in a positive way

15. Impact someone’s life in a positive way

16. Fall in love (with a person, place, or hobby)

17. Finally finish my Invisalign treatment

18. Man up and get my wisdom teeth pulled

19. Go on a date (and maybe a second?!)

20. See the Blackhawks play in Nashville

21. Do something for myself

22. Read a total of 23 books

23. Find a new favorite spot in Chicago

Updates:

  • A trip to NYC/NJ without the anxiety was really about seeing my friend Jessica again, so I’ve stretched it a bit by adding Chicago as an option, in case she makes her way to me over spring break!
  • Calling our NYE trip a vacation is a stretch, but Amanda ok’d it.
  • I am reserving the right to alter #12, as I’ve decided I do not want my writing published on Thought Catalog for personal reasons.
  • There is a trip to Australia in the works. It’s going to cost me a lot, but I have a lot of reasons why I’m going to splurge on it: 1. it would be awesome to visit my sister while she’s abroad, 2. Blake and I made an agreement to see each other within a year, beginning when we started talking on a daily basis in March 2013, 3. I miss my friends there and it’s been almost three years since I’ve seen them, 4. Wanderlust is worth every penny, 5. if I can make said trip happen, I’ll have the opportunity to scratch between 7 and 9 total things off this list.
  • I’ve come up with the theory that in the process of writing the “23” bucket list, my subconscious mind tricked me into picking things that revolved around a trip to Oz.

Stay tuned!

The “Good Things” Jar: 2013 Edition

Image

Image

Image

When life gets rocky, it’s not uncommon for our vision to become skewed. Personally, I get frustrated and struggle to realize that worse things have happened. In an effort to put my life into perspective, while also appreciating the little things along the way, I began a jar of “good things” on January 1st, 2013.

While 2013 started out rough, better things happened along the way: I met a lot of cool people, traveled around the States (midwest & east coast), had quite a few friendships blossom, went on some dates, saw a lot of fantastic concerts, discovered new favorite musicians (stay tuned- will be posting more about this!), and landed an incredible internship. I’m hopeful that 2014 will bring new opportunities and bigger, better things. Not to mention, I have a hefty amount of my “23” bucket list to accomplish before July. I’ve picked some favorite things from each month to highlight. Happy new year and bring on 2014!

January: Went to NYC for the first time and met my best friend from tumblr, JessFebruary: Started dealing with my anxiety and met Pete Wentz
March: Saw and met Marcus Foster & Bobby Long
April: New FOB album, landed a full-time job, and repainted my bedroom on a whim
May: Landed a column of my own at Noisetrend.com
June: Discovered Chelsea Fagan and the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup
July: Celebrated my 23rd bday and got laid off from my full-time job
August: Landed an interview and intern position with The Everygirl
September: Saw The Unlikely Candidates at JBTV and started 5k training (until my wisdom teeth surgery)
October: Grace Helbig acknowledged my existence and I went on a few dates with a new boy
November: Kept busy at The Everygirl, met Sophia Bush, and saw the boy more
December: The Everygirl Holiday party and Christmas with the family

“23”: Updated (4/23 complete!)

1. Leave my job at IB

2. Get a new job (and love it)

3. Go back to Australia (to study, work, or take a vacation)

4. Meet and hang out with Blake

5. Get my first tattoo (if I’m feeling brave- second and third as well)

6. Visit NYC/NJ again- without the anxiety this time

7. Visit California (esp. San Clemente & Kristen Stewart’s handprints @ TCL)

8. Get paid to write

9. Go on vacation with Amanda

10. Run a 5K (with a few stops at most)

11. Do/try something new/spontaneous. Anything.

12. Have a piece published on ThoughtCatalog

13. Meet someone famous (actor/musician/writer/athlete) I met Sophia Bush on November 6th!

14. Meet someone that impacts my life in a positive way

15. Impact someone’s life in a positive way

16. Fall in love (with a person, place, or hobby)

17. Finally finish my Invisalign treatment

18. Man up and get my wisdom teeth pulled

19. Go on a date (and maybe a second?!)

20. See the Blackhawks play in Nashville

21. Do something for myself

22. Read a total of 23 books

23. Find a new favorite spot in Chicago