Things I want to accomplish this summer…

As a teacher, I have the privilege of having 2 months off from work (in theory) while still getting paid. While this is true, we are usually doing school-related work over the summer months to prepare for the school year and the lack of time we will have between September and the following June.

Although I want to relax as much as possible and don’t want to work anywhere near 8 hours per day for the next 2 months, there are a few things that I definitely need/want to accomplish over the next 60 days.

  • Create a really great Statistics course – it is not only a new course for me but is also new for our school and I couldn’t be more excited about it!
  • Learn ASL – my work friends agreed to teach me in return for some food and beverages.
  • Relearn Calculus – although I won’t be teaching it, I would like to re-explore and remind myself of the concepts.
  • Develop/explore projects for my classes – Students love projects and I love projects, so if I can find some really great and applicable projects, that would be a win-win!
  • Read a whole lot – I have a whole shelf’s worth of books in my apartment that I have yet to read and would like to do so this summer.
  • Exercise at least 4 days every week – since I spent the majority of last summer on the couch recovering from surgery, I want to up my fitness levels and spend very little time on any couches.
  • Spend a ton of time outside – walking, sitting, eating, running, etc.
  • See all the people I love – work friends, school friends, family, etc.
  • Explore NYC
  • Volunteer – Last summer I volunteered with BARC (Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition) and walked two of their shelter dogs and had a blast. Granted, this happened on the hottest day (it was well over 90°) but it not only helped a community in need, but I got the chance to hang out with cute animals and get some exercise!
  • Continue the Uncharted series – I got all four games a couple weekends ago and just finished the first game of the series. I really like it although there were times that stressed me out so much! That’s how most video games affect me, though; I get better as I get used to the game, but for awhile I am a giant stressball.
  • Take tons of pictures – I want this to be a memorable summer.
  • Travel – We’re going upstate for our friends’ wedding and I’ll be staying a bit longer to see friends and family back home. In August, a group of my high school girlfriends and I are heading to the Poconos for a girls’ weekend getaway. Tom and I are also trying for a trip to the Dominican Republic in August.

Are there any activities/experiences you would suggest or that you hope to accomplish this summer?

Invisalign Before & After Photos!

Before and after pictures – yay!!! Finally! These are always really cool to look at, but it’s even cooler when they’re yours!

Granted, I look like a criminal in all pictures, but it’s really awesome seeing how much better my teeth look!!!!!!! How many exclamation points can I use to show you how pumped I am?!!!?

initialafter

Holiday Travels? [Day 20]

This was actually Day 21’s question, but I had already written it all for today, so tomorrow’s post will be today’s original question. Got it? Cool because this is really important.

And by important, I mean not at all important, but worth sharing…or maybe not…? Anyways, moving on.

Day 20: Do you travel on the holidays?

Heck to the no. However, before and after the holidays: yes.

I’ve actually travelled around the holidays since my parents split, but that was always less than 2 hours worth of travel each way.

Since Christmas 2011, I have travelled around Christmastime every year. It all started because there was this tall, handsome redhead that lived 350 miles away.

  • Christmas 2011
    • I finished my semester of student teaching on December 16; I was then on a train to NYC on December 17 to spend a few days downstate with Tom and his family before Christmas. Tom met me at Penn Station and I finally met his roommate and business partner Jim! We sat at the Starbucks while waiting for the next LIRR train to Stony Brook. Tom’s parents gifted us tickets to Godspell on Broadway, so we went back to the city for a day to ice skate in Rockefeller Center and see the show.
      Christmas 2011
    • On Christmas Day, I made a trip up to Buffalo to spend the day with Courtney and her family. It was such a lovely day and we started our tradition of taking pictures in front of her tree, as if we were posing for a Christmas card…on Christmas Day. Her dog Jack looks like he’s about to poop.
      Christmas card 2011
    • I made a trip back to NYC with three of our friends (Courtney, Matt, and Laura) to stay at Tom’s apartment in Brooklyn over New Year’s. Three of us drove from western NY to Albany to pick up our other friend, and from there took a really inexpensive bus ride (I think it was $7) from Albany to NYC. Tom met us at the bus stop in midtown and we all took the subway from there. A bunch of college friends that lived downstate met up with us in Times Square and we made a day of hanging out, playing hide-and-go-seek in ToysRUs (now I think this is obnoxious haha…tourists…), playing the giant piano in FAO Schwartz, chilling in Bryant Park, and just enjoying time together. On New Year’s Eve, Courtney, Matt, and Laura went to Times Square to see the ball drop in person. I knew that my bladder could not handle this, plus Tom and Jim had bought tickets to a party in Union Square. So I went to the party with them and Jim’s girlfriend, Tara, to ring in the new year. It was a blast and I’m really glad I had all that extra time with friends, new and old, and of course Tom.
      friends in nyc 2012
  • Christmas 2012
    • This was my last Christmas living upstate. I was moving downstate to attend Teachers College, Columbia University for grad school in less than a month, so I didn’t plan a trip to see Tom as I would see him in less than a month. Before Christmas, all of my high school friends got together and we named it Ggg-mas as we call ourselves the Gs/Gggs.
      Gmas 2012
    • After seeing Mom and opening presents with her on Christmas morning, I went up to Buffalo to spend the day with Courtney and her family again. Of course we continued our tradition of Christmas card-esque photos.
      Christmas card 2012
  • Christmas 2013
    • This was my first Christmas downstate with Tom and his family. I had just finished grad school the week before and we had gotten engaged over the summer, so everything was super exciting. It was great getting to spend time with his extended family as well since Tom’s parents usually host holiday parties at their house. December 27, we made the trek upstate and spent time celebrating friends and my mom. We had G-mas again, minus one; but we Skyped her in and got a picture of that.
      Gmas 2013
    • We unfortunately didn’t get to go to Buffalo to see Courtney, but she and Matt came to us so we grabbed lunch together for some much needed friend time!
      Main St Pizza with friends
  • Christmas 2014
    • We went upstate before Christmas since we had plans to go to Orlando over New Year’s. We got to see friends and family as usual AND made it to Court’s house for some quality time and Christmas card pictures!
      Christmas card 2014
    • We also had G-mas, minus two; but don’t worry, we made plates with their most flattering pictures on them. At one point, we all took a drive to the most lit up house near our hometown. This house has always been a spectacle every year, so Tom got to experience it.
      Christmas 2014
    • The trip back home was ridiculous as our train arrived an hour late and within 30 minutes after departure, one of the axles locked up, so we had to wait for over an hour while another train came to tow us back to the Rochester station. We then had to wait another hour or two until buses came to pick us up; that was mad chaos. We finally arrived home 14 hours after our trip started (train ride usually takes 7) and every time we travel upstate by train, I hate it. Tom isn’t a fan of flying, but sometimes I make him suck it up because the train can be a real pain.
      train disaster
  • Christmas 2015
    • We are currently upstate visiting friends and family, so yee-haw! We took a plane this time and our flight was delayed 4 hours and my mom’s presents got thrown out because lotion is considered a liquid (okay okay it’s understandable…but they were still fully wrapped AND wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper!) and I didn’t feel like going through security again after checking my bags. Stupid.. The plan is to go to church and later have our annual G-mas (high school friends) on Sunday, see my mom and Godmother Josie on a daily basis, and go to Buffalo to see Court and her family on Tuesday. Other plans are still in the works.

Creating a Smashbook (a scrapbook for wimps with commitment issues!)

August 16 marks my paper anniversary with Tom, so I thought what better way to celebrate than to create a scrapbook? I mean, that’s, like, ALL paper!

Unlike a traditional scrapbook, however, I want to make something a little less perfect. I have a fear of commitment when it comes to such artistic feats, so I tend to get discouraged in the planning process and never follow through. Or even start it…

Which is why I have not actually attached anything to our wedding scrapbook.

Oh, I figured out what I wanted on each page.

I even gathered special details like an extra save-the-date, invitation, a balloon from one of my bridal showers, etc.

And believe me, I got pictures developed.

But I got spooked because I didn’t have any other decorative scrapbook doodads and didn’t want to screw it up forever. Pinterest sets the bar way high.

I have a fear of commitment to attach things to paper, but I vowed my life to another human being. Go figure.

I also don’t want to spend a fortune on this. Scrapbooking gets freaking expensive with all the excess crap you buy into. You want the extra pizzazz of colored paper. And, oh, won’t that lace detailed paper make the pictures pop and give the page texture? And you just need those gold letters in every font. But you might as well buy the silver ones too because what if you get sick of gold? And all the stickers!!!!!

The memories are priceless but putting them in a book is nightmarishly pricey.

Anyways, my first inspiration for this came from (surprise, surprise) a YouTube video. A couple that I watch (Colleen Ballinger AKA Miranda Sings and Joshua Evans) recently got married and, throughout their honeymoon, worked on a scrapbook. So instead of waiting until after they came home, they brought the journal, pens/markers, and a polaroid camera to fill the scrapbook as they went.

Here’s a video about it, if you’re interested to see little bits of their scrapbook. I’ve set the video to start from where she’s talking about the scrapbook. You’re welcome.

Brilliant and adorable!!! Except, we’re almost a year out from our honeymoon and documenting it as we go is out of the question.

But why not start now, catch up to the present, and then we can document as we go through the rest of our marriage?! In a perfect world, I will stick to this and fill up multiple journals/scrapbooks. I’m getting ahead of myself. I need to just focus on getting this one started!

Okay, so I bought a journal from Walgreens for about $10; nothing super fancy, but I like the gold accent. Unlike a full-size scrapbook, this journal causes me less anxiety when I think about filling it and possibly messing up. Cool!

Smashbook

While doing research on how to go about starting something like this, I found some Pinterest pins about smashbooks. According to The Realistic Mama, a smashbook is “a delightfully simplified way to chronicle life’s special moments without the time commitment usually required by scrapbooking.” Here’s her step-by-step guide on creating a smashbook. She made a travel smashbook in the post and I like how she used maps for backgrounds!

Perfect! I don’t like all the pressure that comes with planning out, arranging, rearranging, and finally settling on what could potentially be a horrible looking scrapbook spread. I’ll do all that for this journal-thing, but the pages are smaller and I just feel like it’s less of a commitment. There’s that word again.

This book is going to chronicle Tom’s and my relationship, from when we first met until more recent events. I have been journaling since middle school, so luckily I had the last 3 journals I’ve filled to help me map out important dates and events. Facebook was super helpful in keeping track of certain events too, giving me ideas on what pictures I could use if I wanted to include a certain day. So I started the process of mapping out the chronology of the smashbook in my current journal.

list 2

Some events don’t have pictures attached to them (the day we first met, our first kiss, first official “I Love You”, etc), but those will just be written out with blurbs about how, when, and where it happened. I hope Tom will also take part in filling in blurbs. I know he’s self-conscious about his handwriting, but he is just a much a part of this relationship as I am. Although his memory quite frankly sucks, so I’m not so sure how that will work out.

First date

Once I mapped out the timeline portion, I then went to Social Print Studio (formerly Prinstagram) to order mini prints. I have a bunch of full-size photos of special events, but I don’t want to fill up every single page with only one photo each. So I ordered 48 squares by selecting straight from my Instagram feed. Not all 48 are going into this book; some are for friends or just to remember other moments in time. Then I uploaded 116 from my computer to order mini-prints; this doesn’t limit you to stick with a certain set of dimensions, so it just takes your picture and shrinks it. Nothing is cut off haphazardly. Sounds great!

As of right now, that’s where I’m at. I just ordered the prints today, so they probably won’t arrive until next week. I also want to pop into Michaels while I’m in Long Island this coming week to check out stickers and maybe some pretty paper to give the pages some extra oomph. I don’t plan on going all out and spending a ton of money – that’s half of what I wanted to avoid in pursuing this less-fancy option!

Okay, so that’s it! Let me know if you’re a scrap/smashbooker and if you have any tips! And fingers crossed I get this project off the ground before I get cold feet!

Wedding pictures!

All photo and editing credit goes to the amazing Jonathan Baek! As you can see, he did a fantastic job, so go check out his other work at jonathanbaek.com! At the moment he’s based in Queens, so if you’re in need of great photos, give him a call.

Tom, Jon, and I became friends back in college at SUNY Geneseo where we all met in InterVarsity. Since then, I have always admired his wonderful photography skills, from our IV powderpuff games to the amazing sunrise on Conesus Lake. Jon was my absolute first choice when Tom and I got engaged, especially since he has photographed a number of weddings of couples also from Geneseo.

So here’s a HUGE thank you to you, Jon – I’m so glad you were with us on our big day, not only as our photographer, but also as our friend.

My Invisalign Journey (8): Six Month Update (with pictures!)

Alrighty so I’ve had my Invisalign aligners for over 6 months now, so I figured it would be a good time to show how my teeth have changed since the beginning. If you haven’t already done so, check out all of the posts documenting my Invisalign journey!

My initial pictures show the crookedness and overlapping of my teeth as well as my severe overbite. All of my teeth seemed to point forward and inward, except my front teeth which pointed to the back of my mouth.

Holliday Initial pictures

Now you can see how my teeth have spaced out; I actually have small yet noticeable spaces between my front top teeth and huge spaces between my back teeth. The most visible change has to be the upper central and lateral incisors (top front four teeth) and how much straighter they have become. The picture below is a close-up of my smile – you can see my glass attachments as well as how much straighter my teeth are!

Close up smile

The pictures below show a big difference in my teeth; my teeth are much straighter and have been pulled forward significantly. The picture on the left is from March 2011 and the one on the right was taken just a month ago (April 2014). [I will point out that we both still look like teenagers although neither of us were teenagers in either of these pictures. Story of our lives…]

T&H

I have to say that my teeth look kind of big for my face at the moment. My top teeth seem to be the only teeth I have because my lower jaw is still not fully aligned yet, and therefore I still have an overbite. Sometimes, I look downright chipmunk-esque; you can judge for yourself in the pictures below. I noticed that this happens when I have my aligners in my mouth versus when they are out. All three of these pictures were taken while my aligners were in and rubber bands were on…bet you couldn’t tell!

chipmunk pictures!

I don’t return to Dr. Jacquie again until the first week of August, so there should be a lot of change between now and then! I will also be getting my attachments off and my teeth whitened at that appointment for my wedding, so that’s super exciting!