30 December 2014

My Year - 2014

Where did the time go? How has 2014 come and gone so quickly?
This year felt as though it passed in two parts,
Part 1 - High School
Part 2 - After High School
And, actually, that is sort of how my year went.
I started 2014 as a high school senior, completely and utterly terrified of the future, unsure of my destination.
I end 2014 as a college freshmen with her first semester under her belt, ready to get the journey of semester two going.

I thought it would be fun to look up a few "New Year" questions, and I was able to stumble upon a list, picking out a few I thought wouldn't be a complete bore for me to answer and you to read!

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
I think it's pretty hard to narrow it down to the "single" best thing to happen this year. There are a few things that happened this year that I would consider the "best" including my graduation from high school. College follows that immediately. I think that education is amazing and incredible, and the fact that I have the opportunity to continue my education is something I really appreciate and cherish (even if the tests and presentations are a pain).

2. What was the most challenging thing that happened?
I think the most challenging thing that happened to me this year, that I feel comfortable with sharing, was my transition from high school to college. Not so much academically, but socially. I went from a small group of people that I had known for four years, to a HUGE campus that consisted of thousands of students. And those students ranged from teenagers, like me, to elderly students. I entered college with a positive attitude, and I was ready for anything and everything. Although I shook with nerves, my step never faltered.
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
2014 was the year of One Direction's "Where We Are" Tour. A tour that I knew I would not attending. When they began their European leg of the tour, I remember watching vlogs on YouTube of people who went to the concert, pausing, and thinking "Well sucks to know I'll never get to experience this in real life". Little did I know that I'd be attending two shows later that same year (WWA).


4. What were the best books you read this year?
This year left very little time for anything. I was always running here to there, there was alway something I needed to be doing whether it be for school or at work. However, I have recently gotten into reading again, since it is Christmas break. Reading books on Wattpad, and actual books.


I also recently started "Girl Online" so that is definitely exciting!

5. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
This year I would say that I definitely went from an anxious disaster, to a less dramatic version of that same person. I have always had difficulty with doing certain things without shaking like a chihuahua. Sometimes I would just be sitting in class and I would shake uncontrollably at the idea that we might be required to share and speak in class that day. It is horrible. Horrible. As my time in college grew, the more I presented in my classes, the more I was required to speak, I found myself growing more and more comfortable with it. Of course I still shook, nervous as ever, but I became more comfortable. It was the nerves more than the overthinking.
I would like to think that was my biggest personal change this year. Although I was already confident in myself, I grew even more comfortable in my own shoes. I was more easily able to go to class and think "Okay, I might have to speak in class today. But I'll be fine, how many times have I had to do a 8-20 minute presentation this year? And I survived each time." 
6. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?
I became more aware of how fast time passes. Entering 2014 I knew this year would be one to remember, personally. Everything I had grown to know was going to completely change, and I would either sit stubbornly, hating the change or I would embrace it, however terrified I was for it, and I would try my absolute best to stay the person I had always been, constantly improving.
Because meeting new people is terrifyingly exciting, and you never know who you'll meet and what they'll end up meaning to you. You must always be yourself, and I am proud to say I have always been the person I felt most comfortable with.
7. What was the most challenging part of your work?
I was almost positive that I would never get hired anywhere. And don't blame it on a "negative" outlook I might have had, I applied to so many places I don't even remember them all. You name it, I probably applied. I was always either immediately rejected, or never contacted again. It was a low blow on my confidence, but I never doubted my ability to work hard.
I was finally able to find a job, and I am insanely thankful for the opportunity my employer has given me.
I would also like to quickly talk about this blog, I started this blog in 2012 and it was an utter nightmare (HA) it looked really bad, and the consistency of my posts was SO questionable. Although I still have a lot of room for improvement, I would like to pat myself on the back for completely the two goals I set out for myself.
1 - Find a professional looking layout (Check)
2 - Purchase a domain name (Check)
I am so, so, SO excited to see what 2015 holds for Just Blog Along, and myself.
8. What do you hope for in 2015?
I stumbled across a tumblr post today, and it pretty much sums up what I hope for in 2015, and in all the years to follow..
"In 2015 
I hope I meet adventurous, loving souls.
I hope my creativity flourishes and I revel in the moments I live in.
I hope I pursue my dreams fiercely and fearlessly. 
I hope, if given the chance, I fall in love. Hard.
I hope the light inside of me grows."

Feel free to answer a question from above in the comments below! I would love to know how your 2014 played out, and what you are hoping for in 2015?!

Have a happy, happy, happy, safe and FUN New Year's Eve!!!

love, J

28 December 2014

My Favorite Music in 2014

Music is the answer to many things.
It helps lift your spirits, along with dragging them in the dirt (because boy do we love to drown ourselves in self-pity with a good sob song), but don't forget the inspiration it brings us! Boy, does music inspire.

Here are my favorite albums of 2014, and the albums that I jammed to for a while but not as often as my favorite ones.

My Favorite Albums of 2014

1. FOUR - One Direction
hm. Thoughtful and mature, their voices blending so perfectly not only with each other but with the tune and the melody. What could be one possible reason I wouldn't like this album?! Also, I think this might be my favorite One Direction album of all time, many preferred and still prefer "Midnight Memories" and although I do love that one, "Four" just has something about it that I have not been able to get over.

2. X - Ed Sheeran
Ed has magic in his voice, whenever I hear some of his songs for the first time I can't help but tear up a bit. Emotion overload. Ed is also such a likable person, he is sweet and funny and he genuinely cares about his fans (he obviously isn't the only one like that on this list but hey, I'd like to call him out for it!) You go Ed, can't wait to hear more. I also hope I get the chance to see him live soon, it is one pleasure I've not had the opportunity of.

3. 1989 - Taylor Swift
I just can't bring myself to hate Taylor's impeccable lyrics and rhythm. Even when I think I might not like a song on my first listen, I soon realize that I actually love the song. Perfect jams exist on this album! :)

4. In the Lonely Hour - Sam Smith
Although Sam Smith only broke into America in 2014, I knew his name since August 2013 when one of my good friends suddenly had her own British addiction....Sam Smith. Listening to this album, I was not disappointed, and became even more ecstatic when he started creeping into America. Before I knew it, his face and voice were on the radio and t.v, performing at award shows! Super stoked for Sam Smith in 2015!

5. 5 Seconds of Summer - 5 Seconds of Summer
ha. Loving the whole "self titled" thing going on. What can I say? Their catchy beats are pretty hard to resist. Likable guys and they do put on killer performances.

6. It's About Us - Alex & Sierra
YAY. My favorites (and winners) of Factor USA 2013 released their first album and I feel like a proud momma (even though they are both a few years older than me). The music is what I was expecting and what I wasn't, at the same time. Give them a listen, I'm sure you'll love them.

The Honor Role

(Albums and 1 EP that I jammed to just not hard enough)

1. Gypsy Heart - Colbie Caillat
I found quite some comfort in this album. There were songs that I was able to relate to and it was nice, especially when I was feeling down or nervous for a presentation or something. The music on the album is not only soothing and relatable, it has nice little melodies that aren't overdone.

2. Meet the Vamps - The Vamps
Cute tunes with sweet lyrics, these fellas are quite the band if I must say so. Keep an eye on them, they seem like they are only beginning.

3. My Everything - Ariana Grande
Her beats, and the lyrics are just so...good. Even if you find yourself disagreeing with the meaning of a song, you still find yourself listening and just...enjoying the music.

4. Title - Meghan Trainor
Not an album, an EP. But you better believe I rocked to the four songs...hard. Super stoked to hear more music from Meghan...I have a feeling she won't disappoint.

Of course I had many other albums and songs that I listened to on repeat, but I couldn't list them all here, we'd have an endless list!
What were your favorite albums/songs of 2014? What artists are you excited to hear from in 2015?

love, J

24 December 2014

My Christmas Wish to You

It's Christmas Eve and I just wanted to wish those of you who celebrate and wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
I hope you spend the loveliest day with those you love, and that you have a day in which you feel completely and utterly happy and jolly.

See you soon, enjoy and cherish every moment.

love, J

21 December 2014

The Misfortunes of Lolita ❤

"Holding Lolita was like holding a cloud in your arms, because she was soft and cold and unreachable.
She was so unreachable, but here he was, holding her."
-The Misfortunes of Lolita 

Not my photo.

I must admit that I have an account on Wattpad, however, I am a bit picky on what I read. If I see a story that seems interesting to me, I add it to my library and then, eventually, I'll figure out if I want to read it or not.

I am one of those annoying people that needs the writing to be good.
As in, a believable and realistic plot, no misspellings, correct (or mostly correct) grammar, and flow.

About two or three weeks ago, I stumbled across a story, "The Misfortunes of Lolita" and I read the description of the story.
I was so excited, I added it to my library and I wanted to start reading it immediately but the story was not completed yet. I didn't really feel like reading and reading and reading, reaching the last update and then having to wait for the next.
So this last Friday, I felt like reading, so I went on Wattpad and scrolled through my library, and saw that "The Misfortunes of Lolita" had been completed and you better believe that I wasted absolutely  no time in opening it up and reading it.

I was in love.
Completely and utterly in love.

This story is realistic, believable, inspiring, it is beautiful.
The grammar is impeccable, there are no holes in the plot, everything flows and connects and makes sense.

There are shocking moments, moments that you thought you saw coming but ended completely differently than you thought they would.
There is love, and laughter, tears and sadness.

I cannot even completely bring myself to explain this book, the love I have for it.
It is one of the few Wattpad stories that I am SO happy to have found.
Lucky to have read.
I will remember this story for as long as I can, it is in my heart.
That may sound cheesy, but it is true. I love books and stories, and when I find one as beautiful as this one, there is no way that I will easily forget it.
It touched my ability to love, my soul, my emotions.
I felt happy when I read a chapter.
I felt sad when I read another.
I was nervous when things grew dark for these characters I grew to love.
And I felt proud when they did something they feared.

If this story does not come off my screen, onto paper, and into my hands as a published work, I will be extremely disappointed.

My love is so great for this story, I might just read it again.

love, J

17 December 2014

Deck the Halls!

Christmas is in 8 days!
Whoa. When did that happen?

When I tell you that I am not ready, I seriously mean I am not ready.
I have yet to purchase a single gift for anyone, I am hoping to get out to the shopping mall this weekend to make a few sneaky little purchases.

One of my favorite aspects of the Christmas season is the decorations.
I just adore the shiny decor and the lights, colored, blue, white.
Driving down the streets at night time I love to watch the houses, who has gone all out with their decorations? Who placed their Christmas tree right by their window?
There is something utterly special and warm about a neighborhood that shows their holiday spirit, it feels almost unifying. 
Everyone is jolly and so many people are happy, excited, maybe a little stressed and with less cash than they started the month with, but the joy is still evident.

I love decorating my own home, the tree and ornaments that I've had for years. Choosing a star or an angel for the tree topping, the advent calendar, my special Christmas mug.
We also have two light up candy canes that we tape on our big window and turn on along with our tree and it looks sweetly comfortable looking from the outside.

I also seriously enjoy wrapping presents, I feel like that's one of the many aspects of gift giving that many people find rather tedious? I enjoy it though, it is just so satisfying to see the package come together, and place the final piece of tape and have this adorable little gift covered in shiny wrapping paper, and then placing it under the tree just adds another bit of excitement.

What are your favorite things about the holiday season?
I also hope you are more advanced in your holiday preparation than I am...

love, J

14 December 2014

Christmas Time in New York City!!

I hope that you are in the holiday spirit because I just cannot seem to bring myself to it.
I have tried endlessly to realize that is is Christmas time, and that yes, my Christmas tree is up and that I am in fact using my Christmas mug for my coffee in the mornings. I just cannot get in the vibe that is is the time to be jolly and Christmassy.

I have been appreciative of the decorations, however, and I do get this moment of realization at times. I'll see a commercial, listen to a song, see a house that is lit up so it looks like a gingerbread house and go "Oh hey! It's Christmas time!" but as fast as I feel that way, it is quickly gone.
It might be the fact that I have had such a hectic schedule, school, work and everything in between.
My semester is over, so I can take a break and really put myself in the mindset that it is Christmas and that I should enjoy this month, one of my favorites.

Yesterday, Saturday the 13th of December, I had the privilege of visiting New York. Not for the first time, but for the first time when it is completely decked out for Christmas.
Let me just say, that it is a beautiful sight.

I really wish I could have taken some more pictures, and nicer ones, but it was nearly impossible.
Just moving from one place to another proved to be a task!
The crowd was insane, and when I tell you that I was actually in shock over the amount of people there yesterday, you better believe me.
There were standstills at moments, causing immobility, there was occasional pushing and you literally had to hold on to the people you were with, ridiculously hard, or else you would lose them in the craziness.
The stores had lines all the way out the doors and on to the streets, the restaurants too!
It was, regardless, very fun, beautiful and magical.

However, something that was upsetting, was the homeless that I came across on the bustling streets.
I cannot tell you the sadness that it caused me to pass by men and women on the street, with a sign and a cup, asking for money, shivering with the cold.
That was a moment in which I was able to humble myself down, and realize that I am endlessly lucky. I was in New York with my family, I was there for the day and I would be taking a train back home. I would shower and get into nice warm clothing, I would have a bed to sleep in that night, a meal.
I think many times we have so much, we feel the normality of it, and do not realize our luck.
Especially during the holiday season, we get so carried away.
We make endless amounts of food, we purchase gift after gift for those we love, we look forward to the get togethers, the special moments that we will remember forever.
We are lucky.
I want you to remember those that are less fortunate, and I really do mean that, I do not say it because others say it. Actually seeing those who are in need, it does something to your mind, to the way you feel and see everything.
Do not take your advantages for granted, even the simplest of things.

I hope you all have a fabulous week before Christmas.
Give lots of love and thanks for what you have, what you will receive, and those who love you and stay by your side, always.

Happy Holidays to all of you!

love, J

(All photos are mine)

01 December 2014

The College Freshman Diaries - The Semester is Almost Over!

I have been finding it extremely difficult to make posts recently, and that is because I am being bombarded with assignments and illness. 

Quite a few things have happened since I last wrote one of these diary entries.
I went back to my high school for their musical performance of "Singing' in the Rain" and it was amazing.


Let me say, that those are some talented groups that put on those shows, and I couldn't be more proud to be part of the legacy.

About two weeks ago I started feeling quite ill, my eyes, nose, and throat were bothering me like if I was going to come down with a cold. Sure enough, the next day I was sniffling and sneezing. I started feeling better by the end of the week, still under the weather, but better. Until Sunday...I was watching the American Music Awards with my family, when my body began to ache, I wrapped myself in a blanket and just could not move. Any thing I did made my body hurt and shake...I was seriously upset. The next day, Monday, I did not go to school. Last week was Thanksgiving week so I only had two days of school. I slept all day Monday, I had a 24 hour stomach bug :(
 Tuesday I was better, well enough to go to my one class of the day.
I started feeling a lot better, I was happy to be regaining my health.
I started waking up with pain in my eyes, temples, and sinus area. And sure enough, yesterday I started with congestion in my nose and sinus, so bad I couldn't even breath in and out in the slightest, my ears would clog up when I swallowed, I felt like I wasn't going to get in the oxygen I needed.
I have been taking medicine and using decongestion spray, today I still feel the same but right after breakfast I drank my medicine and sprayed my nose.
I'm really hoping I'll be better by tomorrow, it will be about 2 weeks now that I have been battling illness, and I just really want to be healthy again.

My first semester at college is closely approaching its end.
That makes me both sad, because I have gotten used to everyone in my classes, my professors, classrooms, and classes. But it also makes be very excited!!! I will finally be done with school responsibilities until January. How nice.
Classes seem to be planning to wrap up in the next two weeks, and although I know it might go painfully slow, I think it will fly by.

I have been working after school, so that has also made it harder for me to do much else but school, eat, work, eat, shower, homework, sleep.
This Thanksgiving week was spent doing homework and being sick...how lovely.
I had a 7 page research paper rough draft to finish for today, math problems to do, some other essays to start, a presentation to prepare. Oh my.

But I would like to say that I did enjoy my Thanksgiving day, I was able to have a nice meal, put up my Christmas tree, and watch Maleficent and Polar Express with my family.

Now I'm thinking how sad I am that I don't have Dancing with the Stars to look forward to tonight...

Not my photo.

I hope all is well! And a Happy December 1st!

love, J

29 November 2014

A Thanksgiving Hello.

I do not even want to look back to the date of my last post, I fear it has been too long.
I promised myself to update weekly, especially my "College Freshman Diaries" but that has proven to be a task for me.
These last couple weeks have been a whirlwind. All I really remember is - wake up, get ready, go to school, go to work, go home, eat, shower, homework, sleep. Repeat.
It has become harder for me to make posts since I was able to (finally) land a job, so I am very thankful for that, just sad that I do not have as much free time anymore. But hey, free time becomes a stranger to hardworking people.

It is Thanksgiving as I write this..
I wanted to post because I miss it terribly, and because I think there are a few things I would like to say.
First off, you may or may not know that I have been watching Dancing with the Stars this season, and if I am being completely honest, now that the show is over, I want to say that I watched because of Bethany Mota.
I have been watching her YouTube videos for quite a few years now and when I learned that she would be on the show, psssshhhh, I was not going to miss that. Her partner was the amazing Derek Hough and their team name was Motough. Sigh. Love them, so sad I won't get my weekly dose of Bethany and Derek:(
I am very very very excited to see where their friendship continues outside the craziness of the show, and of course, to have Bethany back on YouTube making those lovely videos that make me super excited when I see them in my subscription box.

Moving on, I am sitting at my dinner table, and as I look up there is a mess of food everywhere, being cooked. There is turkey in the oven, bread rolls, there is a salad and mashed potatoes, gravy, and for dessert we have little home made pastries with strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.
The tree was put up and it is lit and I find myself falling in and out of the holiday cheer.
This always happens to me, I can't wait for the holidays in October and then they get here and I just cannot fall into the spirit, then when it is all said and done I'm in the spirit and completely upset that the holidays are over.
We might be watching the Polar Express, however, and that film does not fail to make me feel Christmas.

I know we all joke about eating a lot on Thanksgiving, falling into a "food coma" or having a big tummy after all the food. Eating even when we cannot anymore, but let us remember that it is Thanksgiving for a reason, being thankful for what you have. What others are robbed from their entire life, the hungry do not have food to be thankful for, and we must remember that when we sit down with our families and begin our feast.
Them too are people to be thankful for today, because many are left alone, wishing to have at least a kind stranger to give them a helping hand.
There is so much we are lucky to have, and we must remember to always be thankful, because while we have warmth and full stomachs, other's wish to have at least one of the two.

Have a safe weekend.

love, J