Now, my favorite thing about Christmas and the holidays is gift giving. I find the expression on someone’s face to be the best gift you can receive, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love a good present, I mean who doesn't?!
So, here are a few of my favorites:
Best wishes for a super swell 2018!
Christmas is my favorite time of the year…watching the 25 Days of Christmas on TV, decorating the house while singing carols, and spending time with family and friends, I love it all! My absolute favorite part is gift giving. When I go out shopping for my family I try and find gifts that they will actually use, enjoy, and appreciate. I hate giving lame gifts. I will search high and low for something special before I just buy my brother another sweater that will end up sitting in a drawer.
I think the hardest people to buy for are those closest to you. They are the ones that mean the most and deserve the best. For me, one of the hardest people to buy for is my dad. He really is the man who has everything and wants nothing. I mean how many times can you really buy the man a golf shirt? This year, besides giving my immediate family gifts, the rest of my family is doing Secret Santa, and lucky me...I got my dad (insert facepalm emoji). So this year I had to get the man two sets of gifts. Double the gifts meant double the trouble finding something he would really like.
I finally found the perfect gift. It’s unique, personal, and fun. I was searching on the L.L.Bean website, when I stumbled across the “My Hometown Map Puzzle II”. Each puzzle is created differently based upon the address given. I used my dad’s childhood address so that once he puts all the pieces together he will have a map of where he grew up. I’m keeping my fingers crossed he likes it just as much as I do.
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
I was never a big reader. I read for book reports in elementary school, for summer reading tests in high school, and for research papers in college, but that was really it. While reading Shakespeare, Socrates, and Machiavelli I never had the desire to pick up a book in my free time. In part, this had to do with my majors in college, Communications and Political Science. All I ever did was read and read and read and then write a very long paper about what I had read. So reading for “fun” was not something I did.
However, starting in my junior year of college I decided I wanted to make reading a regular part of my life. I love learning, exploring new ideas, and getting lost in a story, so I started reading for “fun”. For a while I would start a book and finish it months later (I’m talking about 150 page book), sad, but hey, at least I was reading! Over that summer, without assigned reading, I knocked out a few good books in a much quicker fashion.
Senior year of college is really when I developed a love for reading. To be totally honest it came from my classes...I know, dorky. I found I actually enjoyed reading about philosophy, history, and classic literature...again, I know, dorky. Of course I didn’t always know what the author was saying, but I loved be able have his ideas fleshed out in class the next day. I began to read in a new way. Always annotating, marking questions, and noting this of importance to me. Simply, I began to dive deeper into books. As much as I have come to appreciate academic literature, I’m not cracking open Socrates everyday.
Since graduating college, reading has become an integral part of my life. I have discovered new books, reread old ones, and carry one with me pretty much everywhere. I’m still annotating, underlining, and circling all over pages. Despite being from the technology loving generation, I choose paperback books over tablets and probably always will. I’ve discovered that there is nothing better than shutting out the world while feeling the weight of a novel in your hands.
Check out my recent reads below!
I highly recommend Sick in the Head, The Opposite of Loneliness, and A Chance in the World.
Stay Swell ~
It is my first time in four years that December hasn’t meant the end of a semester or the struggle of finals. And I know it’s crazy to say, but I think I miss it.
There was something about the end of the semester, especially the end of fall semester that I loved. The final stretch, crunch time, the last mile, whatever you want to call it, I just loved the way campus felt during this time. I know I’m probably the only college student to ever have the opinion, but it’s true.
Out in the suburb of Boston, campus would be covered with some Christmas decor, an ever present aroma of coffee, and that classic winter feel.
Before you think I’m truly out of my mind, I wasn’t jumping for joy when I was writing my 25 page papers or cramming for a three hour test. However, I loved the feeling of finishing that paper and walking out of the test.
During that two week period, everyone was on the same page. Students covered in there most comfortable clothes (I can neither confirm or deny that I wore the same pair of leggings for the majority of the time), backpacks full, and bags under their eyes. It was totally appropriate to fall asleep basically anywhere on campus. No one ever gave a second glance at someone passed out across their desk covered in books. You resonated with every exhausted soul on that campus.
I think it is because everyone was on the same page, everyone had finals, everyone was hard at work. I think it was this energy that I enjoyed. Everyone tackling their to-do lists, working hard, trying to succeed. That’s what it was, oh and it being Christmas time definitely helped.
There was nothing better than finishing your last final, packing your bags, and getting into the car headed home with Christmas carols playing the whole way home.
So yes, I miss finals season, crazy perhaps, but true nonetheless.
Over the past year, I've become more interested in the art world. I've always enjoyed movies and have been fascinated with filmmaking, but I was never one to revel in the paint strokes of an artist. I think my disinterest came from the fact that I’m not very artistic myself. I so want to be someone who can sit down with a pencil and paper and sketch what they see in front of them... but considering I still draw like I did it kindergarten, I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Last fall I took a studio production class and met some amazingly artistic people. For one assignment we had to draw a storyboard. My sad excuse of a storyboard contained stick figures...without faces. A few storyboards were just so detailed and intriguing, making me once again wish for just an ounce of artistic ability.
I gained great friends from this class and many of them are amazing artists (like art majors and minors amazing). I constantly would express my desire to be artistic to them and over and over they would tell me that art is so much more than drawing or painting. I realized that instead of trying to be artistic, I should try to be creative. With this new mindset, not only have I begun to try all different art forms and styles, but I have also grown a greater interest and appreciation for art.
I recently headed into NYC to visit the David Zwirner Gallery. This contemporary art gallery currently has Yayoi Kusama: Festival of Life on exhibition in its Chelsea location and I can’t say enough about it. There are two sections of the exhibition. The first section is broken up into three rooms, two Infinity Mirror Rooms and one polka dotted environment. The first Infinity Mirror Room was my favorite. All the walls are covered in mirrors and standing in the middle is a four walled mirrored piece with holes cut out of the sides. The inside of this piece reflects (no pun intended) the entire room producing an extreme sense of boundlessness.
I don’t know what Kusama intended for her audience to take away, if she intended for her audience to take away anything at all, but I left the exhibition with a burning desire to do something, anything CREATIVE.
For more information regarding Yayoi Kusama: Festival of Life check it out here!
I say swell a lot. My friends think it's weird, but I'm trying to bring it back.
I find that people usually laugh or smile when I use swell. I mean it's a fun word. How can you not smile when you say swell? I once got my entire class to start using swell, even my professor frequently incorporated the word into his emails.
It's different and that's what I like about it. I'm not a big trend follower. I don't really enjoy Today's Top Hits, watch reality television, or read the top grossing book. Just because something is on a Top 25 List doesn't mean it's a Top 25 for everyone.
Sure, people think it's a bit strange to be using a word that died with the end of the 1960s, but I think normal is overrated.