Sunday, January 27, 2013

Trashy Jams: The Legacy Continues

Trashy Jams is an annual tradition that my sister and I began way back in 2009. It all started with the idea to compose a CD full of radio hits from the whole year- and as we compiled the first playlist the magical name "Trashy Jams" was born. Every year since then we have made another CD: complete with a subtitle, album artwork, and playlist chock full of trashy gems carefully arranged in an order for amazing listening. 

For a full history (and the complete playlists from each year) take a look at last year's post: Trashy Jams: A History. This year I have the privilege to announce this year's title and playlist. May I present- Trashy Jams 2012: Shotgun Wedding.

1. Starships- Nicki Minaj
2. Call Me Maybe- Carly Rae Jepsen
3. Brokenhearted - Karmin
4. What Makes You Beautiful- One Direction
5. Die young- Ke$ha
6. I Knew You Were Trouble- Taylor Swift
7. Wide Awake- Katy Perry
8. Pay Phone- Maroon 5
9. Give Your Heart A Break- Demi Lovato
10. As Long As You Love Me- Justin Bieber
11. Some Nights- Fun
12. Stronger- Kelly Clarkson
13. We Are Never Getting Back Together- Taylor Swift
14. Wild Ones- Flo Rida
15. Somebody That You Used to Know- Gotye & Kimbra
16. One More Night- Maroon 5
17. Sky Fall- Adele
18. Gangnam Style- PSY
19. We Are Young- Fun
20. Glad You Came- the wanted

Want to listen to this mix? Check out my spotify version of the list! 
Click here to see my Facebook Link to Trashy Jams 2012

P.S.- I graduated.

I forgot to ever post on my blog that I graduated- this past December! I got my Bachelors in Music Education- and Vocal Performance from Mansfield University. I LOVED graduating with a few of my closest friends- Derek, Beth, and Ryan (Not to mention a bunch of other amazing people!). I was even lucky enough to have some close friends and family come watch the ceremony! One of my favorite parts was after the ceremony when a huge group of us and some of our parents went out to eat. It was the perfect reminder of all of the close friendships I have made during my time at Mansfield.

I won't get into my time at Mansfield too much- I could write a whole book on the years I spent there- my classes, teachers, friends, and other experiences. All I will say for now is that I feel extremely blessed to have had such an amazing experience in college. I learned acquired amazing amounts of knowledge from interesting courses and inspiring professors. I built close relationships with many people around me and made  myself a little "Mansfield" family. I grew up so much, and learned a lot about myself, and realized I still have so much more to learn! I wouldn't change a single detail about college- every single moment of it has helped shaped me into the person I am today- which I like to think is someone good. ;) Thank you to everyone for all your help, support, and love! I could not have done it without all of you and the amazing love and support of my family!

It feels awesome to be done but a little surreal! (More on that later). If you'd like to see some pictures check out my Mom's post here. My official degree came in the mail right around Christmas! It was the perfect present!! For those wondering-- I AM using my degree currently! I have been substitute teaching in central PA. So far I really enjoy it, it's fun to teach all grades and subjects- and certainly keeps my life interesting!

Belated Holidays!

Better late than never! Sorry this is a bit over a month late- the holidays were crazy! Here are some pictures from my holiday season!

 Ken when he has code red! 

 Yahtzee and Popcorn with Mom!
 Christmas Eve Church Service- It was so beautiful!
 Mom & I- can you see the resemblance? 

 Christmas Eve goodness- while watching the Grinch and Polar Express!
 Christmas Morning! (Notice the freshly fallen snow)
 She's so pretty! 

 Christmas Morning- Fireplace and PJs! 

Christmas Dinner- was delicious! 
 And Dessert was sooo tasty!
 My sweet Kitty Maggie!
Some serious snow! 

Sorry I don't have more pictures from the holidays- My Christmas was so lovely! I spent it in Massachusetts with some of my family- Gabby, Heather, Andy, Justin, and Kate were missed! 
I am so thankful for my family- and this lovely time we got to spend together! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

54 Hours of Texas

Right between Christmas and New Years I took a trip down to Texas to see one of my best friends get married! I was lucky enough to be asked to be Danielle's Maid of Honor- and was thrilled to accept. The trip turned out to be a little crazy with all the winter weather and tons of flights were cancelled. I was fortunate enough to make it to Texas- but not everyone could. One of our good friends (who was also asked to be a bridesmaid) Alyssa wasn't able to come! It was very sad not having her there, and we missed her a lot through out the weekend.

Those of us who could, showed up around Thursday or Friday for the wedding which was on Saturday December 29th. My flights had to be re-booked and I thought I would have to spend the night in the Dallas airport! Luckily once I got to Dallas I put myself on a standby flight to Austin and (even though I was #13 on the list) I made it! I got into Austin close to midnight on Thursday. I was thanking God I made it there safely and in one day!

We spent the weekend at a lovely hotel right in downtown Austin. Everything was perfect about the hotel except the ikkicon convention that was being held there. Ikkicon is an anime convention for those of you who are unsure- and yes this meant tons of people in crazy looking costumes all over our hotel the entire weekend. It was kind of neat to have something so interesting to look at, but a little overwhelming, and WAY too crowded for my liking!

On Friday Meagan and I lucked out with some free time so we explored downtown a little bit. We had lunch on a rooftop patio of this excellent Mexican restaurant called Iron Cactus- I can't remember what I had but it was so delicious!

Friday evening was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. We took a limo out to the church way out in hill country (about 40 minutes out of the city). The venue was absolutely beautiful and we had such a nice time doing the rehearsal and then at the dinner afterwards. I did notice however once the sun went down it got really chilly!

Saturday finally hit, and it was a little bit of a blur- like all weddings are. We woke up, walked to CVS for a few supplies we forgot to pack (razors) and then Meagan and I had some breakfast while the bride and groom met up for some one-on-one time. After breakfast we got all ready at the hotel and then took a ride over to the venue on a tour bus.
When we arrived at the location we got to see the bridal cottage (where we would be finishing up getting ready) When I opened the door I was blown away by cuteness- my pictures don't do it justice!
We put our dresses on- and helped Danielle into hers and then the pictures began. Their photographer took so many pictures of everything- it was really nice, but my cheeks hurt after all the smiling! Here are a few I snapped on the sidelines before the wedding of Meagan and I. 

The ceremony was beautiful and so was the reception- I don't have many pictures from that since I was a little preoccupied ;) Here are a few of the grounds and a couple of the bride and groom after the ceremony!

They looked so happy together- and you could just feel their love emanating from them the entire weekend. I feel so blessed to have been able to be apart of their wedding. More importantly I am excited for one of my best friends to have married such a wonderful guy and her true soulmate. I am thrilled for their long future together!

After the wedding and reception we headed back to the hotel- and I made arrangements for my 4:00 AM cab pick up! I went upstairs, cleaned, showered and packed, and took a 2 hour nap before waking up to head to the airport. My flights home were pretty forgettable- considering I slept almost the entire way. While I was awake for a few minutes I snapped this shot from the window. (I think it is NY)

It was certainly a whirlwind trip to Texas and back. I wish I could have spent more time down there exploring the city, visiting with the newly weds, and seeing their new apartment- but alas the holidays are a crazy time! I am hoping to make it down to visit them sometime "soon" and by soon I mean hopefully this year. 

Congrats again to Danielle and Sean Arnold! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Ornament Exchange

So I might be a few weeks late in posting this, but I wanted to share with you the new tradition that began with a few of my girlfriends this winter: the ornament exchange. It was my friend Danielle's idea that we each buy or create an ornament (4 of them) and send one to each girl, and keep one for yourself. This way each year we are getting 4 new ornaments for our trees. I love this idea because as a young adult I am expecting that sometime in the near future I am going to have to decorate a whole tree and I have so few decorations that are mine. In this post I am going to share with you the beautiful ornaments I received and also give you a quick DIY for how I created my ornaments. 

Above are the lovely ornaments I received from the girls!
Left to Right: Danielle, Meagan, Alyssa

Danielle's and Alyssa's came while I was still here in PA so they went on my tiny baby Christmas tree- but Meagan's went to MA- so that made it to the family tree. I was so happy each time I received a package with a fun little Christmas Ornament inside! 

When i was thinking about how I wanted to create one i looked around online for awhile. I found some inspiration on Pinterest- where else? I liked this look (below) of a white ceramic globe with paint pen detailing. So off to Micheal's I went. I returned home with 4 white globe ornaments and black and gold paint pens. 

Before I actually did the designs right on the ornament I grabbed a sheet of white construction paper and tried a bunch of things out there. I liked the design in the inspiration picture, but I didn't want to totally rip it off. Finally I settled on a simple black silhouette of a Christmas tree. Then I had the idea to embellish each tree with slightly different designs. Here is what I came up with! 

I couldn't tell you which of these is my favorite- I really loved how all of them turned out. I deliberated a lot over who to give each ornament to and here is what I decided: Top Left: Meagan, Top Right: Danielle, Bottom Left: Alyssa, Bottom Right: Me.

The process was so simple. After coming up with a design you simply draw it out onto the ornament and let it dry completely before adding another color pen or another layer. (follow drying directions on the markers).

After they were all dry and ready to go, I wrapped them up with some bubble wrap, tissue paper, and extrememly glittery ribbon (below left), added a simple homemade Christmas card (below right), and shipped them off to Florida, New York, and Texas!

This project was so much fun, fairly simple, and very cheap. I hope we can keep up with this new tradition for many holidays to come! I loved it so much!

(Here is my 4th ornament on the tree)
Maggie got tired helping and took a nap on the wrapping supplies. Typical cat. :) 

Happy belated Holidays! 

Thanks again to my beautiful friends for starting this exchange! I hope it may have inspired some of you with a few ideas for next Christmas!