Good Riddance, 2017

Am I the only one who is extremely happy to be in the new year?

I know the first day of the new year is really like any other day, but I am one of those who believes it to symbolize a new beginning. If you have been keeping up with my blog at all, especially my posts that weren’t about traveling, you could tell I struggled mentally last year. I felt lost, disappointed, and even like a total failure for most of the year. Naturally, these feelings did not suddenly disappear as the new year got closer, but I’m finally at a point where I can recognize (and appreciate) that some great things came out of last year too:

  1. My parents kindly gifted me with a new car
  2. I got a job after eight months of being unemployed
  3. camped for the first time
  4. I purchased a DSLR (Nikon D5600)
  5. I traveled to six new cities, one being international
  6. I went to two concerts and a musical (Ariana Grande, Jingle Ball 2017, Kinky Boots)
  7. I joined the newsletter committee on my team at work
  8. I strengthened my relationship with my mom exponentially
  9. I started video editing
  10. I stopped feeding into unhealthy and one-sided relationships

Those are just the main, compact-version of the highlights of 2017, and while they may be simple, they brought me pure, uninterrupted joy. Continue reading “Good Riddance, 2017”

Reclaiming My Time

Reclaiming My Time

I know this year has been so inconsistent in terms of my writing. I have had a lot of ups and downs and have mostly lost my inspiration, creativity, and zest for blogging. I will write more about that in an upcoming post, but I will still apologize to the few readers I have out there for being MIA. I have had two trips since my last travel post in Chicago, but I used both trips to disconnect and just be somewhere other than home while spending quality time with my closest friends. From my last post, you could probably feel that my mood has been out of whack for a little while now. Still, I am trying to be proactive about working on that by tackling my first and most important obstacle: time.
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In my short 23 years of life, I haven’t fully grasped that feeling of ‘not having enough time.’ Sure, there have been many moments that I wished could last forever or wishing I had an extra day before an event, a test, etc., but I have always been someone who is on top of things. I never adopted procrastination in any of my education levels and never desired feeling that pressure–or rush, for some–of watching the time run out and seeing if I could accomplish the bare minimum. It is honestly something I am proud of. On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, I constantly have issues with time in terms of centering in on the past and the future. Continue reading “Reclaiming My Time”

Staying Afloat

Staying Afloat

It is my favorite time of year. Fall (Autumn if you’re not from the states) is not only a time where I feel my wardrobe truly comes to life, but there are also many events that bring my friends and family together. Not sweating everyday is also a plus. But I too know this time of year is very hard for some people; between the sun going down a lot earlier and holidays not being a happy time for everyone, the colder months often bring on sadness and depressive thoughts.

So far, my fall has been off to a weird start. I have run into some major impasses which have definitely thrown me for a loop, to say the least. They have managed to knock my faith in many things I never previously had issues with. If you know me, I definitely try to be a realist and rationalize or make logical sense of almost everything; however, I also try to see the good in everything, even when I’m anticipating the worst. Unfortunately, finding ‘the good’ has been quite difficult for me these days.

Things I was previously excited about have me wondering when the other shoe is going to drop. I find myself reflecting on everything that has happened between now and last October–a particularly dark time in my life. I fluctuate between tension, nausea, and an overall mental state that I can only describe as melancholy. But that’s why I decided to write this post. Aside from needing an outlet to get these feelings off of my chest, I thought it might help just one person to know they are not alone.

If I had to sum up this past year, it would probably be what most people from the baby-boomer generation consider becoming an adult: all things related to money, paying attention to what is in writing, and deciding what actually deserves your time and energy. While I am definitely still finding a balance, the speed at which things have been happening are teaching me that nothing is set in stone and that you just have to roll with the punches sometimes. Without change–good or bad–we never learn to adapt. I have never wanted to get stuck in my ways, despite what my zodiac sign might say, and in order to stick to that, I have to change my way of thinking.

We live in the time of social media, a.k.a. everyone’s highlight reel. You can easily end up comparing yourself to others and wondering what you are doing with your life while others seem to be living the best version of theirs. Not to mention, the colder months seem to have an underlying focus on being in a romantic relationship. While this time of year can be quite festive, it can also cause people to feel lonely or other versions of sadness. But at some point, we have to remind ourselves that we have some control in the way we perceive things.

While I know what I am feeling won’t go away overnight, I know that eventually I will feel better and I need to focus on that. It can feel like the end of the world when a lot of things are changing at the same time and not in the way you want them to, but it isn’t really. I will have to remind myself daily that I am only 23 and I will have all sorts of things to worry about for the rest of my life. No sense is driving myself up the wall now, is there? So I have decided to just move forward because that is something I have control over.

I’m sure I have written about some of this before, but I think it is important to cross the same paths every now and then. It’s not to say the fall and winter months cause grievance for everyone, but it is simply to say that no matter what age we are, some things that we thought we ‘fixed’ tend to come back around and that that is okay. It is all about what you decide to take away from these moments and choosing not to let it define or consume you. You will be surprised at how resilient you can be when you take things head-on.

xx, AE

Summertime Chi

Summertime Chi

If you ever thought two days is not enough time for a vacation, you are sorely mistaken.

This weekend I went to Chicago for the first time and honestly, this post went through an insane amount of editing to get it down to a . So far, I have left all of the cities I have traveled to making a list of things to do next time; however, my cousin, Tanya, managed to show me every corner and crevice of the city to the point where if I didn’t visit for another year, I would still feel like I had done enough. But I mean this in the best way possible because I got to see the city from a native’s eyes.

Where I stayed: Country Club Hills, Illinois
Fortunately again, I had a place to stay when I visited. I stayed with my aunt, uncle, and cousins about 45 minutes south of the city (without traffic).

What I did:
1. Skydeck Chicago
I went to the infamous Skydeck where you go to the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower and step into the glass box overlooking the city. I am not afraid of heights so I never anticipated feeling scared, but once I stepped in, it was a crazy feeling. I felt pretty nauseated, and it also didn’t help that the person/people in the box next to me were jumping up and down. But once I remembered there is nothing forcing me to look down and that this has obviously been tested for stability, I turned my focus toward getting a good shot with my limited time.
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It is best to get here right when the Skydeck opens at 9:00 a.m., and even better on an off day where tourists aren’t ready to be out early in the morning like a Friday or Saturday. Frankly, you need to have or know someone with good editing skills because if it’s a sunny day, don’t expect to get a good shot of both the city and yourself. Continue reading “Summertime Chi”

Merry Times in Maryland

Merry Times in Maryland

It has only been a week and I am still thinking about the most amazing Labor Day weekend I have ever had. Besides spending a four-day weekend in a city I have never been to before, I shared these days with an incredible group of friends.
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Where I went: Baltimore, Maryland
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Where I stayed:
Fortunately, I have two friends who live in Baltimore so I was able to utilize both of their places during my stay. For first-time visitors looking to stay near ‘the action,’ I would recommend Fells Point or the hip neighborhood of Federal Hill–not just because my friends happen to live there.
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The Latest

The Latest

Some of you may have noticed I have taken some time off of traveling for most of this month. This was entirely intentional, and while these three weeks have flown by, I am excited to hit the road–or should I say the skies–again next weekend. Until then, I thought I would share what I have been doing these last few weeks.

I have been doing absolutely nothing. Well, not nothing, but what has consumed most of my ‘time off’ will be shared at a later time. Other than that, I really have been just sitting around, and for the first time in a long time, it felt great. In the last post with an update on my life, I discussed the new adjustments I had going on and the toll they were taking on me. I have since found that the catalyst for the change, and partly what filled the inexplicable void in my life, was traveling. I have been to four places since that post: Cabo, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Boston. It may sound weird and I am at the risk of sounding like the girl in this video, but since I have introduced travel back into my life, I have seen a shift in the way I have been leading other parts of my life.
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