Hometown Adventures

Last weekend, I went back to Western New York, to Rochester and to my hometown of Batavia, a small town halfway between Buffalo and Rochester.

It’s been just about 6 months since my last visit, which was before Christmas. Visiting in the late spring, early fall, or anytime during the summer is best because everything is green and there’s no chance of a blizzard blowing through. Although, it didn’t snow at all during our last visit and was pretty mild for late December upstate.

However, it apparently hasn’t rained up there very much seeing as there was a lot more brown than green. It was quite disappointing. I remember in my freshman year at GCC (Genesee Community College) my English 101 teacher told us how she moved from California for her job at the college. She had visited and interviewed in May, fell in love with the greenery, and took the job; I wonder how she felt once it started to snow and never stopped haha

Anyways, this weekend was for celebrating our friends, Matt and Laura, at their wedding. They are both college friends from Geneseo: Matt was Tom’s roommate when I met Tom (in my senior year), and Laura and Matt started dating around the time that I was student teaching (fall semester after my senior year ended).

Tom was one of the groomsmen so he went up a day before I did to get his tux fitted and do all the male celebrating (I was told laser tag was involved and I got super jealous). I joined him the day before the wedding which was the same day that my friend Courtney came to Rochester and was in the same hotel as us (she was singing in the wedding)! Tom, Matt, and Courtney were all friends before I met Tom, but Courtney and I became insta-friends. Like, seriously, it happened so fast, we just got along so incredibly well.

Friday evening, we headed to the rehearsal dinner at a comedy club associated with Sticky Lips BBQ. It was so nice hanging out with old friends and meeting new ones – we sat with the rest of the groomsmen who turned out to be so cool!

Post-dinner, we headed to downtown Rochester to check out the Jazz Festival with the rest of the guys. None of us are jazz-enthusiasts, but it was something to do at 7 pm on a Friday night the day before a wedding. It turned out to be a really good time – we saw Fitz and the Tantrums whom I still don’t know but apparently they’ve been on the radio. I didn’t take any pictures at Jazz Fest as we did not have a great view, but I did take two on the way to the festival…and of course they’re terribly blurry! Just squint a lot and maybe they won’t look so bad…

Jazzfest

After the concert, we lucked out so hard at the parking garage. We got back to the garage at 10:20 but I guess it closes at 10, so all of the gates were locked. We were able to sneak under one of the main gates, since there was a car at the entrance, and ran to our cars. All of a sudden, a woman zips around the corner in her car and asks us how we plan to get out seeing as the gates are closed. She let us out [for free!] but we were to “not expect this again”. Don’t worry, we won’t!

On Saturday, while all the guys met up for breakfast at Denny’s, Courtney and I went back downtown to visit our other college friend, Vicky, at the coffee shop she manages. She also does Crossfit, so you probably don’t want to mess with her.

vicky

She made us both lattes – Courtney got the Lavender Cardamom Latte (left) and I got the Mocha Latte with cinnamon (right). They were so delicious. And that presentation – latte artiste in the house!

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I tried to get some artistic photos through the espresso machine, but it didn’t work the way I wanted…

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Before long, it was time to go back to the hotel to get our faces on/hair did/threads on for the wedding so we took a group photo and were on our way.

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I did Courtney’s makeup before she had to get to the venue to practice the song she was singing – Be Thou My Vision, love that song! I then did my hair and makeup, got dressed, and headed out to the wedding. The drive there was beautiful and the lack of rain wasn’t as noticeable in the fields along the back roads to Caledonia.

When I got to the venue (the Jerris Wadsworth Barn), I was internally freaking out that I had the wrong place because I didn’t recognize anyone. I called Courtney and [thank goodness!] found her inside the barn. We sat next to each other for the ceremony and reception.

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The ceremony was beautiful albeit hot as heck. It was almost 90 degrees and we were in direct sunlight, so I was sweating in all the places. Like, ALL the places. Courtney sang beautifully, the pastor’s message was great to hear, and the bride and groom were both obviously excited. Matt enthusiastically said, “I do” when the vows part came. He was clearly pumped haha

We got this picture of the four of us, a similar picture that we took at my wedding with the original amigos [minus Nate].

amigos

I’m ashamed to say I have no pictures of the bride and groom together. Then again, they’ll have plenty of much better quality pictures that no one will notice my lack thereof! I mean, I do have this one from when they were cutting the cake; I promise that Laura is behind Matt.

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We played yard games during the reception that Tom was SUPER into. I swear, he saves all of his energy to play frisbee in 90 degree heat in a suit. He then complained of how sore he was for the rest of the evening. That still didn’t stop him from continuing to throw the frisbee around. Haha notice Kyle and [non-groom] Matt behind him acting chill while Tom is fiercely trying to win.

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We ate food, danced a ton, and had s’mores at the campfire when it got dark. Tom and [groom] Matt had a little buddy cuddle, just like old times.

buddy cuddles

We ended the night lining up along a walkway holding sparklers for Matt and Laura to walk through. I can’t wait to see their pictures!

Sunday was the day of goodbyes. Courtney had to head back home to Buffalo really early, so our goodbyes were actually said before we went to sleep. We saw Matt and Laura at breakfast in our hotel so we got to say bon voyage to them as they are honeymooning in Italy and were leaving later that evening. Then I had to say goodbye to Tom at the airport since I was staying for a couple more days and he headed back to the city.

I’m so glad I stayed. I got to see my mom, my Godmother, Josie, who has been more like a grandmother my entire life, and a bunch of high school friends (not all pictured as we didn’t all get photos) over the next 48 hours. I brought my mom Chinese food for lunch one of the days and Josie was in the best shape she’s been in quite awhile – it honestly made me so happy.

visits

PLUS I worked out in the hotel’s “fitness room” [1 treadmill, 1 elliptical, 1 multi-purpose weight machine]. AND I went in the hotel pool. AND I had an ultra huge king-size bed to myself. It was magical.

pool

Funny story: right after posting this photo on Instagram, my friend Mary texted me laughing that you could see the book I was using to hide my phone in the reflection of my sunglasses. Sure enough it does look like that, but I honestly wasn’t trying to and didn’t notice. I was trying to make sure I didn’t lose my place in my book (could’ve just dog eared and set it down, I know) and that I didn’t drop my phone in or near the pool, so I held everything with both hands. Plus, I was all alone outside so there wasn’t anyone to catch me taking it haha

As is always the case, no matter how much fun it is to get away, coming home feels great. It felt good to see Tom once again, sleep in my own (albeit full-size) bed, and be able to walk everywhere without feeling cooped up.

I had a blast and I can’t wait to go back and see everyone again. Or maybe they’ll come down to the city to visit me!

2014-15 Reflections, 2016 Ambitions

I realized, with only a few days of 2015 left, that I did not make an “official” list of “resolutions” for this past year. I did, however, make one two years ago and I’m actually really happy with how much I’ve accomplished from that list (which are in red below)! Along with my achievements, I’ll follow the same format by including my regrets from the past two years and ambitions for the coming year.

2014-15 Achievements:

√  Survived 2 months of a 4-hour round-trip commute to and from work. It wasn’t easy by any means.

√  Moved into an apartment with Tom in Brooklyn, cutting commute time to less than an hour round-trip. We pay too much money for too little space, but for now it works.

√  Graduated from Teachers College, CU with my Masters in Mathematics Education.

Columbia grad

√  Made it through the remainder of my aide job and booked my first real teaching job at the school I was already working at.

√  Got married and it was the most perfect day. Everything was as we wanted, except for my mom not being there.

Wedding collage

√  Had an amazingly wonderful honeymoon in Montauk.

√  Had our second reception to include my mom and upstate family and friends in our celebration.

Reception #2 Family shot

√  Kept up with student loans and actually paid the higher interest one off! We also refinanced the rest so the payments and interest rate is lower.

√  Survived my first year of teaching and re-booked a job at the same school as a full-time Math teacher.

√  Started working out regularly after school and even got one of my coworkers to join me – we still work out 2-3 times per week together!

√  Endured foot surgery to finally remove my bunions.

√  Celebrated our one-year anniversary by going to Montauk; we stayed in the same B&B as our honeymoon. It was tough with my feet all wrapped and swollen, but we had a good time regardless.

√  Became close friends with my coworkers because I work with so many amazing people.

I have amazing coworkers

√  Became more confident in myself and my abilities AND feel a little more confident when it comes to debating. I’m by no means perfect or a know-it-all so I’m still working on this; it’s a daily struggle.

√  Finished my Invisalign!

2014-15 Regrets:

  • Not getting any pets. This is a regret that couldn’t be helped since our landlady is anti-anything-that-might-cause-bugs-of-any-kind-to-invade. I have a small Christmas-tree-esque plant…shhh, don’t tell her!
  • Not becoming friends with people sooner; this has been happening with me for years, and I hate that I miss out on so much potential time with awesome people because I doubt myself or feel too overwhelmed with life/work/what they think of me/etc. to make the effort.
  • Not reading enough due to lack of time and energy.
  • Not actively finding a church to attend regularly.
  • Not visiting friends and family more.
  • Not traveling more, in general. This includes exploring NYC.
  • Not working out more and having more self-control when it comes to delicious treats and all other foods that I like.

2016 Goals:

  • Continue to grow my self-confidence, especially when it comes to how well I do my job.
  • Read more of everything, especially current events and other important historical stuff.
  • Write more – on this blog, in my journal, letters to people, etc.
  • Find a church to attend consistently and become an active member in; this has been a work in progress for quite awhile now and has become one of my biggest struggles.
  • Get a frame for my Masters degree; it’s the most expensive piece of paper I will ever own, so why not  try to keep it safe?
  • Travel more – we already have one trip set for spring break, but I’d love to go anywhere and everywhere.
  • Become more disciplined when working out and choosing to eat healthier. I’m starting by trying to replace one meal with a homemade juice/smoothie/protein drink 3 days per week. If this works, I’ll do my best to increase the frequency.

I’d be interested to hear your greatest (or smallest) achievements in the past year as well as what you hope to accomplish in 2016 and beyond. I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year’s Eve as well as an amazing 2016!

One Year Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to us!!! It feels like forever ago that I was dealing with the stresses of planning a wedding and all that it entails (showers, rehearsal dinner, dress, etc). And man oh man I do not miss that stress! But marriage comes with it’s own stresses, obviously. I know this is still considered the honeymoon stage and it only gets harder (and, therefore, more wonderful?) from here, but I accepted that challenge August 16 of last year. Heck, I accepted that when he proposed!

I’ve learned a lot about Tom over the last year, and I’m sure he’s learned a lot about me too. Heck, I’ve learned a lot about me! I guess that happens when you share your life with someone else. I mean, I lived with my friend Becky in college, but we were so much alike that there were rarely issues about cleanliness, organization, sleep schedules, etc. I did learn that we are very weird people and sometimes the dumbest things entertain us. I miss you Becky!

I won’t get into gory details of what I’ve learned, because I’m sure they’re typical things that two people who come from different backgrounds encounter. And also this would quickly become the longest blog post ever. No thank you!

Anyways, as mentioned in previous blogs, we’re going to celebrate by going out to Montauk next weekend. We’re staying in the same B&B we had for our honeymoon because we really enjoyed our stay there. I can’t wait to enjoy the peace and tranquility of being so far away from the city before school starts and all the hecticness it brings. As it is, I’m coaching volleyball this fall and I have to be there the day after we come back. I also have a doctor’s appointment that morning. Okay, stress is returning.

Also as previously mentioned, I’m hoping my feet can handle some walking and some sand. Good news: I changed my own dressings! My mother-in-law offered to do it again after I showered and got them all wet on Saturday, but I decided to do it myself with her nearby in case I needed back-up. It wasn’t bad at all! I hit my right big toe (of course!) and it was weird but I was fine. See? It’s all in my head, and I know that! But I’m glad I was able to do it by myself because I know I’ll need to a lot more in the future until I no longer need bandages. I have an appointment tomorrow and I’m hoping the doctor takes x-rays to see if any bones have started to fuse together.

But for today, Tom is traveling out to Long Island from Brooklyn to spend our actual anniversary together, which is sweet of him. It’s a long train ride and I know he’s had a lot on his plate at work, so it’s nice to be put above that for the day. I’m not 100% sure what the plan is, but I’m thinking Schafer’s in Port Jefferson (where we ate dinner before he proposed) and then maybe watch the sunset at West Meadow Beach (where he proposed…after watching the sunset). Maybe we’ll reenact the proposal, just for fun!

We have some engagement “photo shoot” pictures; if you’re looking for a good laugh, you can look through the outtakes – there were more of these than “good” pictures that day. Although we took these almost 2 years ago, they still make me crack up. Here’s a preview:

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That’s true love right there! We also have our wedding photos if you’re interested to see those.

So yeah, we’ll see what the day brings and hopefully my feet can withstand a little fun!

“Permanent” False Lashes: Story + Pros & Cons

I’ve noticed the false lash craze has really picked up over the past couple of years; lash companies have been creating more and different types of false lashes, so “normal” girls have started to wear them on a more regular basis. YouTube beauty gurus have integrated them into all of their tutorials and everyday makeup routines.

The only times I’ve ever worn falsies were 2 consecutive days – the night of my rehearsal dinner and on my wedding day. And even then they weren’t full sets of lashes; I figured I would start small and bought a pair of Ardell Lash Accents #315 which are only half-strips to create a fuller look of the outer lashes. These paired with the Duo Clear Lash Adhesive (it dries clear instead of brown, black, or white which works great for thinner lash strips or makeup looks that don’t include thick lines of eyeliner) worked really well for the look I was going for. Even my hair & makeup stylist preferred to use the accent lashes instead of a full set on my wedding day. He said that the full sets looked much too perfect and wouldn’t look as natural as I wanted.

lashes

Even with these half-lashes, I felt like I had huge flaps on my eyes. I honestly pictured myself as the huge elephant thing from Sesame Street (Google it if you don’t know what I mean). I couldn’t wait to take them off so I couldn’t understand how women could wear full sets every single day without being driven nuts?

I knew that salons had started offering a more permanent (three to six weeks) set of false lashes because of the higher demand, but I also knew it was a pricey procedure. One of my co-workers has gotten them a couple times and they look AMAZING! She said she didn’t wear mascara when she got them, so it made mornings easy. At Christmas, one of my cousins-in-law had a set and, again, they looked FANTASTIC!

That was it; I was determined to try it out. Fast-forward a couple months and my mother-in-law found out that a local salon near her house in Long Island offered the service. So of course we made two appointments and were both super excited. She went first, so I got my nails done while she was in there. We were told that it takes about an hour because individual lashes are being glued onto the lash line. My MIL came out about 45 minutes later and they looked great! Her eyes were watering and looked a little red and irritated, but she was smiling and looked okay so I proceeded to the room to start the process.

My technician, Christine, first asked what size I wanted. I didn’t know what that meant, so I just told her I wanted a bit more fullness while still looking natural. I laid on the table and she started by applying gel patches under my eyes, putting them over my lower lashes. This ensured that my lower lashes wouldn’t get glued to the top lashes, plus the coolness also soothed my undereye area. She then brushed my lashes and told me that my natural lashes were really nice and were about a size 12, so she was going to use 11s on the inner lash line and 12s everywhere else.

I felt her stick something to my forehead and I quickly realized that they were small tracks of the individual lashes – I’m sure that was super attractive. I forgot my phone at home so I couldn’t even try to get a picture of it. I kept my eyes closed the entire time and I’m pretty sure I started to doze off a few times. They had a great music playlist and the process wasn’t painful, so I just zoned out and tried not to move my eyes too much. The gel patches were keeping my eyes from 100% closing, so they were feeling a bit irritated, especially if I were to move my eyeballs around or try to open my eyes.

I tried counting how many lashes she used on each eye, but because I kept dozing off, I lost track a few times. I asked her afterwards and she said she didn’t even know – she just puts them on for aesthetic purposes, so she doesn’t count them. I want to say she used around 80 individual lashes on each eye.

Finally, the process was done, so she brushed my lashes again and told me to open my eyes. This was uncomfortable but then she peeled off the gel patch and I was fine! I looked in the mirror and was so happy with the result – it looked like I had long lashes without looking so incredibly fake. My eyes were a bit irritated and watery, so I now understood why my MIL’s looked that way before.

Here’s a before-and-after collage; no makeup in any of the pictures!

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The ladies told us that they should last anywhere from 3 weeks to over a month, but they recommend a “refill” appointment after three weeks if we plan on keeping up with them regularly. Now that we’ve had a couple days with them, I wanted to give some pros and cons:

Pro: Unlike the strips of lashes, you forget you have them on until you touch them.

Con: It’s hard to wash your face, rub your eyes, and remove makeup without being a bit rough with them.

Pro: They could potentially last for up to 6 weeks.

Con: They are a bit expensive (mine were $90), especially depending on where you go, how many and what size lashes you get, etc.

Pro: They save time in the morning – no curling or mascara necessary!

Con: Sleeping on your side or stomach is uncomfortable when they poke and/or pull on your eyelid.

I’ve already had a few casualties at the edges of my eyes, but they still look great! I’ll update as the weeks go on and show the progress. What do you think? Have you tried these before? If so, what was your experience and do you have any tips? If not, would you consider it?

1 week update: It’s been a week now and I will be honest and say it’s been quite frustrating when washing my face this week. I am not one to take time and be super careful when washing my face. I usually just slather the face wash in my hands and massage it all over, including my eye area. Can’t do that, can’t rub water out of my eyes, and can’t dry off my eyes as easily.

There’s been a lot of fall-out and I feel like they’ve started clumping together. It’s just a pain but it kind of makes them look less “perfect” and more real. I’ve continued to get compliments from co-workers and students, so that’s a plus, but as of right now I don’t think I want to splurge on them again. At least not anytime soon. Here are a couple pictures after eight days of wear:

False lashes one week

2 week update: The majority of the false lashes have either fallen or been tugged out by yours truly. Honestly, they were so annoying by the end of the first week that I started purposefully (and gently!) pulling on them to promote their removal. The only bad thing with this is that when they come out, they usually bring one or two of your natural lashes with them. Not so good when they’re all out and your natural lashes are looking a bit wonky and sparse. They grew back within the first week, so I didn’t look lashless, but for those first 7 days without the fake lashes, the natural ones weren’t as long and thick as they were before the false lashes were applied. Here’s a picture after almost 2 weeks; you can see how sparse the middle of my eye is with the false lashes mostly on the inner and outer corners.

2 week lashes

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.

Wedding DIY: Skeleton Key Escort/Place Card Display

So I’ve been meaning to make this post since…well, since we got married over a month ago.

But life has been crazy, I’ve been busy, yada yada, same excuses. So now that I have a spare second (and remembered that I had intentions to post these!), let’s get into my first DIY Wedding blog post!

>>Be warned that with the exception of this first photo (taken by my photographer at the wedding), all of the pictures were taken with my iPhone, so the quality is not the best.<<

My favorite DIY project for our wedding was by far the escort/place card display.

Skeleton key escort card display

I knew from the beginning I wanted to incorporate skeleton keys; I had seen something similar on Pinterest and instantly fell in love. I really didn’t want to just opt for the small, white,  folded cards with names and table numbers on them; I wanted to make them memorable by putting time and thought into them.

When I shared the idea with my (at the time, future-) mother- and sister-in-law, my MIL showed me that she had a whole box of old skeleton keys that her father had collected over decades of antique shows. So we would soak those in warm water and rinse the rust and dust off, easy-peasy.

Clean keys

I originally thought we would have the keys hanging on an old wooden door, but I decided to wait on getting the actually display piece until after we had an idea of how many cards we would need to fit on it. So once we figured out how many people we expected, I figured that a door would be too large (around 30% of total guests would be joining us at the upstate reception only) and that a large picture frame would better suit the amount of people.

My MIL knew my plan and, whilst at a local garage sale, she found a framed picture that she snagged for $3. Turns out, said picture with frame was originally from Home Goods or Marshalls or somewhere like that and was originally about $70. No joke! The price tag was still on the back!

Like, what?! The frame wasn’t anything fancy or heavy duty, and the picture was horrendous, as you can see below. But we didn’t need the picture, so whatever, and the frame was exactly what I wanted/needed, so I was happy.

Awful artwork

The next step was to remove the ugly picture and replace it with some wood for a more sturdy backing for the keys to hang on. We picked up a piece of plywood from Home Depot and had them cut it to the correct dimensions for the frame. I also picked up some nails for attaching the keys to the board.

My mother-in-law had a few rolls of burlap that she had picked up at Walmart during a Christmas sale or something, so we covered the plywood with the burlap and attached it with staples.

Burlapping

Burlap complete

We then attached the plywood to the frame with screws. And when I say “we”, I mostly mean my FIL because he’s handy with tools.

Frame done

So, things were coming together!

I purchased a tag template on Etsy (check it out here!) that provided me with a PDF file of the tag template that I was able to edit for only $7! The process of typing names took a little time because I wanted to perfect them (I ended up downloading about 5 extra cursive fonts and decided I liked Rochester the best…ironic?) and make sure that they would still be legible without looking really crowded and confusing.

Plus, I had to wait until I had all RSVPs (which I didn’t end up getting until about a week before the wedding…) so that I could make the seating chart so that I knew what table each person was going to sit at and include it on the tags. It’s all a process.

During one of my many Michaels runs (this was not the only DIY project I was taking on for the wedding) I bought textured, off-white cardstock to print the tags on. A couple of weeks before the wedding, I went to Staples and had them print off a test copy on their own off-white card stock to ensure that the writing was legible, see the size of the tags, test them out with the keys, etc. I decided that I liked the cardstock from Michaels better – it was sturdier and much better quality. I used those test-run tags and tried out a few different ways of tying them to the keys with different colored ribbons.

Skeleton key decisions

I decided that I wanted to use the white ribbon with looped edging because it went better with the theme of the display (bottom two keys in the picture). Instead of the keys hanging from a loop of ribbon on the nails (like the one on the right), I thought it looked better with the card and key flush together and then I would hang them by slipping the nail through the hole.

Three days before the wedding, the cards were finalized and saved on a USB drive. I took my Michaels cardstock and my USB drive to Staples so that they could print them off. I could have totally used a home printer but my in-laws’ printer tends to leave ink spots wherever it wants to, so I figured Staples would be a safer bet.

As you can see, they turned out awesome.

My SIL, Casey, helped me assemble the tags to the cleaned skeleton keys: I cut out the tags and punched holes where holes needed punching, then she chose a key and attached the two together with ribbon.Escort cards

The next step was to map out where the nails would go so that they were evenly spaced and so that all the cards would fit on the board in a neat fashion. This is where math came in handy! I figured out the configuration of nails/cards and then put the cards/keys in alphabetical order within that layout to make transferring them to the frame easier.

Alphabetical escort cards

While trying to hammer the nails in the designated spots, I realized that they were too long and would stick out way too much, so I went back to Home Depot and bought a pack of black carpet tacks. They worked phenomenally and looked much better than the nails, so that was a relief.

Nail battle

I had found two really cute heart-shaped keys in the collection and knew I wanted to do something with them. I made a couple special escort cards to use with those keys and to add as more of a decoration on the display. So I arranged those keys at the top of the frame with the special cards that read “Mrs. & Mrs. Thomas Harrigan” and “The key to love is inside us all” for a little something more. Awww, I know. Stop the mushy stuff already Holliday, jeez!

Heart keys

The only thing left was to hang all the other keys/cards on the frame. When I finished, I wanted to cry because it looked so good after all of the planning and hard work.

Finished display

It was so wonderful seeing such a beautiful display that I made (with much appreciated help from my future family!) and that the vision I had from the beginning came to life even more perfect than I imagined it would.

Rambly post: Update on life (in a neat list)

Wow it’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted anything on here.

But I have some pretty stellar excuses:

  1. I got married (Aug. 16)
  2. I then honeymooned in Montauk for 4 days (Aug. 18 – Aug. 21)
  3. I turned 25 on our ‘leave Montauk, travel back to Brooklyn, and pack for upstate reception’ day (Aug. 21)
  4. We flew upstate for my second wedding reception (Aug. 22 – Aug. 24)
  5. I started my new teaching job (still in ‘meetings all day’ phase) the following week (Aug. 25 – Aug. 29)
  6. My friend flew down and stayed with us this past weekend (Aug. 29 – Sept. 1)
  7. We all went to our other friend’s wedding that Sunday (Aug. 31)

If you’re interested and not tired just from reading all of that, I’m going to address each point in a little more detail now! So come on, let the updating begin!

1.   Our wedding: Our rehearsal dinner and wedding days were both absolutely perfect; honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing…except for my mom’s ability to be there in person. Luckily, we got both the livestream to work as well as our GoPros, so she got to watch the livestream that day and I showed her the GoPro footage the following weekend! You can watch our vows here if you’re interested!

Everything was just fantastic – the weather was perfect, the girls looked beautiful, the guys looked dapper, our vows were wonderful (people clapped!?), the decorations were phenomenal, the food was delicious, seeing our friends and family was the highlight, as was dancing…I could go on and on.

I’ve already posted a bunch of pictures on Facebook that my father-in-law took that day and they’re great so I can’t wait to see our photographer’s pictures! (Update: Click here to see our photographer’s pictures!)

2.   Honeymoon: Between our ocean-view B&B suite (and hence the beach right across the street), the gorgeous weather, the amazing food (my first lobster roll!), our amazing sunset sail, seeing the Montauk lighthouse, and being able to call Tom my husband (eeeek!), I was sad when we had to leave. I think we should make this a yearly thing, maybe call it “Anniversaries at Montauk”?

Montauk collage

3.   Turning 25: It happened. I can now rent a car without any extra stupid fees. I also belong to a new category whenever I take surveys and have to state which age range I fall into. Cool?

4.   Upstate reception: The second reception was a much more low-key shindig, so it was great sitting and visiting with friends and family. Plus, my mom had such a great time visiting with everyone. I’m so glad she got to come and see her friends and family (and me, duh), but as much as I enjoyed it, I’m honestly much happier that she came and enjoyed it. It was good for her to get out of the nursing home, be in a pretty dress, have a glass of wine, eat great food, and talk to old friends. She was tired and her ankles were swollen the next day when we visited to say goodbye, but she seriously seemed brighter and happier.

Reception #2 Family shot

5.   Work: Since returning from wedding-palooza, I’ve been spending all my days at work, learning about technology, students, and emergency procedures, all while also trying to plan lessons, put in supply orders, get a bite to eat, meet with colleagues, and decorate and organize my room (and, let’s be honest, my life).

Phew. And that is why I am currently sitting on my couch with a glass of wine, just relaxing after a long day. And school hasn’t even begun yet.

Okay, it’s not that bad – I’m so glad I got this job because I already knew all of the teachers (except this year’s new-hires) and administration from last year, know most of the students (again, except for the new ones), and am genuinely happy to be a part of such a great team of human beings.

I definitely want to try to chronicle my first year as a full-time teacher, maybe writing once a week as a reflection of my teaching, things that happened, lessons that worked/didn’t work, classroom set-up/decor, etc. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I’m working with pretty much an empty slate at the moment! The room was mostly unused last year, only housing one English class and me while I sat on my computer doing grad school homework or watching YouTube.

All of the posters in these pictures have been taken down, I’ve ordered a few math posters, a number line, and also acquired a small bookshelf. Hopefully it’ll start looking nicer when the posters and student work get put up.

classroom

At this school there are no Mr. So-and-so’s or Ms. What’s-her-name’s; we all go by our first names. So it’s cool because changing my last name to Harrigan won’t be throwing anyone off (except me because I’m still getting used to signing documents and saying it out loud); I’ll still be Holliday and no one will have trouble finding me on the email list or phone directory.

I’ll admit this was a strange concept to me when I first encountered it last year as a student’s private aide. My main thought was ‘Doesn’t this create a lack of respect towards the teachers and staff?’ But now that I’ve been involved with the school for a year and have seen how much respect these students have, I honestly don’t mind that they’ll call me Holliday instead of Mrs. Harrigan.

6.   Friend visited: Our friend Courtney came down this weekend and stayed with us because we were all attending our other friend Erika’s wedding in Long Island. Courtney and I went to see Aladdin on Broadway and it was fantastic! We stayed after the show to meet and take pictures with some of the cast members! She also brought with her The Lego Movie, so Tom and Courtney and I watched it. I will forever have The Lego Movie theme song stuck in my head.

7.   Friend’s Wedding: Erika’s wedding was great – she was beautiful (obviously) and I had so much fun dining and dancing with so many college friends, some of whom we haven’t seen in quite awhile. It was also Tom and my first wedding together as a married couple!

Okay, I’m done talking now. Until next time, cheers!