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What a weekend

Remember when I was so ridiculously busy the month of March and had something going on every single weekend? It seems like May is about to become like that for me! However, I’m more in control of all the things happening this month, which is always better than just having things scheduled for you.

This past weekend flew by and it was so jam-packed busy, at times I felt like I couldn’t breathe! But it was also a super fun weekend!

On Friday I went over to my friend Amber’s house. Her hubby is in Oregon visiting his family, so she was on her own and wanted some company. I told her we should have a slumber party and that’s exactly what we did.

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Things I learned:

  • Centipedes are absolutely disgusting and can be disposed of by: screaming, using a drumstick, continued screaming, a coaster, heavy objects and wishing a man was there to kill it instead.
  • A spider can be scared off by screaming
  • Bugs are gross. Full stop.
  • The Arbazons are quite possibly the most badass band around.
  • Only Geddy Lee can sing like Geddy Lee
  • Only Alanis Morrisette can sing like Alanis Morrisette
  • Rock Band and 2 1/2 bottles of wine produce some ridiculous Vine videos
  • I have some of the best friends I could ever ask for

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On Saturday Amber made me pancakes. No joke. And they were legit pancakes. It was so very needed after the intoxicated night before and was just the thing I needed before a morning of shopping at Nordstrom Rack.

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I’m officially in love with that store. I found the cutest pair of Enzo Angiolini nude pumps to help dress up my look for REB’s grandfather’s 89th birthday shin dig on Sunday!

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I’m always iffy about pumps because I’m not a big heel person. However, these were not only comfortable but they made my usual chicken legs look kind of decent, which had me excited. The party was fun! I always love seeing REB’s family and catching up with everyone.

Other fun this weekend included photographing a high school senior! I was so glad the weather cooperated with us since we did all the photos outside in a park and then in the city. I was able to provide some accessories for the spunky 18-year-old gal, which she rocked completely. I started editing a few pictures over the weekend and seriously can’t wait to share them with all of you!!

All in all it was a super fun weekend and I’m ready for a busy week ahead! Hoping to get a lot of stuff done at work, clean the house, go on a few runs and bike rides, enjoy the sunshine, doing the Color Run this weekend, and spending Mother’s Day with mi madre!

I hope you all have a fantastic week! <3

What was the highlight of your weekend?

 

 

Shooting my first wedding

I am extremely happy to be able to say I photographed my first wedding over the weekend!

My friend Jackie had booked this gig for us last year when she found out her sister-in-law’s mother was getting remarried. The only info I really had was that we were going to shoot this wedding together, it was a small wedding and it was the second marriage for both. So we knew it was going to be fairly low key. This turned out to be the perfect first job for us!

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I have seriously never had more fun in my life. I could absolutely see myself doing this full time one day down the road. The whole mood of the day was happiness and joy and being able to capture that for this amazing, beautiful couple made me feel so happy and feel so honored! I learned a lot, and hopefully can take some of these lessons or thoughts and use them towards future weddings I may photograph.

In fact, another friend of mine has asked me to assist her in a few of her weddings for 2013 as her second photographer, so I’m really excited to get back to the wedding scene in a few weeks! I am always trying to better myself as a photographer, as this is something I take pretty seriously. I already know I will learn so much from her because she is such a talented photographer in all things.

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So like I said, I did have some takeaways*. Most of these things I already follow or try to follow with any session I do, but weddings are pretty different! I’m sure I’ll be making a mental list of things to always keep in mind when asked to photograph a wedding, but here are some things I wanted to share! :)

  • Have your gear prepped! I can not stress this enough. I always make sure my SD card is cleared before any session I have. I charge both my batteries, get my flash situated, have my camera bag packed with the lenses I need, props in order, tripod, etc. It’s so important to be prepared! I get everything packed, lined up and ready to go the night before.
  • Have a backup! Since this wedding was a two-person job, my backup was my partner in crime. On the off chance something did happen to my camera, I knew she would be able to get the shots I couldn’t! Having a second camera body ready to go, though, definitely doesn’t hurt.
  • BE EARLY. I’m always at least 15 minutes early for any session I have booked, but it’s essential for a wedding! This is their day, their time, their money. You definitely don’t want to be late. If they say “Meet us where we’re getting ready at 5.”, you get there at 4:45 or earlier.
  • Remember you’re a vendor. You aren’t there as a guest. You are a vendor providing a service. Try to wear all black or muted colors so you blend in and don’t stand out. Also make sure you eat! You may be shooting for up to 10 hours in one day and you will be on your feet for the majority of the time. Make sure you dress comfortably with comfortable shoes, and eat something. It’s usually customary that the bride and groom offer you a seat and dinner at their wedding reception.
  • Scope out the area beforehand. This was a bit harder for us, since it was such a low key wedding, but we did get to the city where the wedding was a few hours in advance so we scoped out the area then. If at all possible, make sure to check out the wedding venue (if it’s unfamiliar to you), reception area, possible photographing areas outside or down the road, a week or two in advance. It also helps to figure out the route and time to get to said location so you have an idea on that.
  • Communicate. This seems like a no brainer, but it’s so important to communicate with the bride and groom. Make sure you have discussed their wants and needs or what their expectations are beforehand, if possible. It helps keeps flow during the day and also ensures they get the photos they absolutely must have. Keep open communication with the planner or who ever is in charge of making sure the night has good flow. You’ll want to know when the reception begins, when the first dance is, when the cake cutting is, etc. so you don’t miss any moment of it!
  • Be in control. Yes, this is a wedding so it’s going to be somewhat chaotic at times, but you have to keep things rolling. We literally only had 40-45 minutes for photos between the time after the ceremony and the reception starting. So we had to keep things moving and ensure all the photos they wanted to have taken, were done. Family members were prepared to stand in and what not. The bride later thanked us for being in control since she found herself easily distracted by saying hi and hugging friends who would linger back after the ceremony.
  • Don’t forget candids. This seems like a simple enough thing, but some of the most fun pictures I snapped were the ones of people talking during the reception, the bride dancing with her grand daughter, the bride and groom sneaking a kiss here and there, or people taking photos of other people with their smart phones. It definitely helped having a zoom lens where I could stand in the back of a room to be able to capture said moments.
  • Have fun. Easier said than done, but if you’re at all stressed or worried, it will show in the pictures. Remain calm, have fun, keep things light!

I already know some things I want to definitely make sure of with future weddings. I also hope to have a bit more gear before the next one too. While I had rented a pretty awesome lens for the weekend, I definitely know which ones I want to add to my camera bag permanently so I’m starting to save up for those! I hope to get another camera body too.

The bottom line is I had so much fun. I can’t wait to share some of the photos. It will definitely take me a while to get through all these and then edit them, but that’s half the fun. Stay tuned!

*I’m not a professional wedding photographer (…yet ;)…), so these opinions and thoughts are my own! You will undoubtedly have your own routine, procedure or way of handling your photo sessions!

Smartphoneaholic

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Confession: I am a smartphoneaholic.

One of my favorite bloggers, Lindsay, recently posted her 30 favorite apps on her phone and I felt inspired to do the same.

My phone is literally my secretary or my personal assistant. I didn’t think I would come to rely on my smartphone as much as I do, but I literally do everything from my phone these days. So I thought I would share some apps I use regularly and how I use them, both for work and leisure!

The above picture is the first screen on my phone. It’s the screen with the apps I use on a regular basis. So here we go!

Every day apps:

  • Instagram: no explanation needed. I seem to use my phone for pictures all the time these days over the fancy DSLR and only use that for photo sessions I book, or for food. Because obviously ;)
  • Facebook: Again, no explanation needed
  • Pages: I love using this for both the blog page and the photography page! It’s a great way for me to see at a glance what’s happening on each!
  • Twitter for iPhone: I don’t use any other twitter app than the norm. This has been working fine and I can switch between my personal account and the photography one without any problem!
  • Calendar: I don’t know what I would do without this app. It’s synced with all my email accounts, both personal and work. It’s the best way for me to keep track of what photo sessions I have booked on the weekend, personal/private events, and my meetings at work every. single. day.
  • Soundcloud: Being an electronic music junkie, I love Soundcloud. My brother-in-law first introduced me to the web site where you can listen to essential mixes of your favorite DJ’s and also check out new mixes by new peeps. I didn’t know they had an app, but I should have figured they did. I love it! Can listen to said awesome mixes on the go!
  • Spotify: To use Spotify on your phone, you need to be a premium user and pay a monthly fee, which I do. But I love it. I use this app for every road trip or even out running simple errands, more than I use the music app on my phone.
  • MyFitnessPal: The way I lost all that weight before my wedding was tracking what I eat, how long my workouts were and what I burned. I still use it and love it! Super simple, plus having my friends on there helps us encourage each other!
  • Runkeeper: Essential for keeping track of my runs, walking the dog, or just leisure walks. Plus I can map out routes I want to use for future outdoor runs. I can even use it indoors with the manual setting so it doesn’t use the GPS.
  • Clock: Seems simple enough but I have so many alarms for each day of the week. Three for each work day (yes, I require three alarms to actually wake up. Although lately the first one at 5:51 a.m. has been working just fine!) With all the stuff I have going on each weekend or end of the week, i set alarms for those too!
  • Kindle: I love the Kindle app for iPhone. I read every day during my lunch break because it’s the only real break I get during the work day. I love that it’s synced with Kindle.

Other handy apps I love:

  • PicFrame: Simple, free app I use to create collages.
  • Vine: A video app made by the people who made Twitter, this app is hella fun. You get 6 seconds (min. of 3 seconds) to record a video and it posts. It’s become quite the craze! My friend Amber and I use it for movie reviews after Scary Movie Night. We’re going to be Internet sensations. Just you wait.
  • ESPN Sports Center: REB and I are a sports couple. We love football, Detroit sports teams, and other teams too, of course! So when I can’t watch a game, I rely heavily on the app to keep me up to date on what my teams are doing ;)
  • Fly Delta: Screw paper boarding passes. Paperless is the way to go if you can do it!
  • ShopShop: My favorite app when making lists for grocery lists. I like that it saves previous items I’ve entered and it’s easy to use. With a shake of the phone an item is “crossed off” the list! While I prefer making a list with pen and paper, having this app is a nice alternative.
  • Feedly: With Google Reader going away, I need an easy way to keep up with my favorite blogs daily!

Other fun, random apps:

  • Pocketbooth: It’s not a free app, but it’s a fun one to take photos in a photobooth style with different photo filters.

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  • TinyPlanet: Another fun, random camera app that turns a photo into a circle image. Kind of cool when you get a good shot of a city skyline or something.

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  • Redbox: If REB and I don’t feel like paying $25 to see a movie in a theater, paying $1.50 is a better choice with a quick Redbox movie. I like the app because it’s easy to use, shows all the Redbox machines in our area, and what movies are there.
  • Netflix: Long bus rides can be go by faster if I prefer to watch something on Netflix instead of reading
  • PS Express: The Photoshop Express app for iPhone. It’s not the best app, but it’s sufficient for quick edits
  • Snapseed: I haven’t used this app too much, but from what I have used, I like the editing formats they offer for quickly editing a photo.
  • Voxer: My friend Amber and I used this over the summer last year when she, her hubby, REB and I all rented that house on the lake up north. Since we caravaned up there, it was a cool CB radio/walkie-talkie app to keep in touch without texting while driving.
  • TypoInsta: An easy-to-use app to apply text to your photos. You can save them on your phone or upload them directly to twitter, flickr, instagram or email from the app itself.

So there we have it! I’m sure I’m missing some, but if I am, then I clearly don’t use them enough to warrant a feature on here. I may not have a human being assistant to help run my life, but it’s nice to know I have a pocket size one I can take with me every where!

What are your favorite phone apps?

 

Here’s What’s Happening

Hello lovelies!

Well this has been quite the busy week for both REB and me. So much so, I haven’t done any of the blog posts I’ve been wanting to do, and might need to save them for this weekend.

Here’s what’s been happening!

1). Some good news! REB started his PhD classes this week! I don’t know if I ever mentioned he got accepted into the Information Systems Engineering PhD program at U of M, but he did and I’m so ridiculously proud of him. He’s been wanting to pursue this for a while now and although it will result in a lot of work and probably stress, and a few nights without him while he’s at class, it will be worth it! He’s so intelligent, smart, and he’s driven! He has a passion for learning and teaching, so I know he will rock it.

2). Me Time! As a result of his classes starting this week, for three nights he didn’t come home until 9:30 or 10 since the classes occur after he’s done with his work day. So I had three nights of ample “me-time”. It was good though! I got into a great routine: Come home from work, take care of the animals, work out in beast mode, make dinner, prepare meals for the next day, sleep early!

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Sure, I would only get to see REB for maybe a half hour before I hit the hay, but at least I get to say hi to him!

3). Caffeine-Free Par! I’m on Day 6 of no caffeine and I seriously feel amazing! I can’t believe how easy it was for me. I made the smart decision by starting on a Saturday because I don’t drink coffee or caffeine on weekends typically (unless we go out to eat or something) so I was able to knock out two days without a problem.

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It’s that first work day on Monday without caffeine that kind of killed me. I realized how much I relied on that one cup of coffee I have in the morning each work day, and it was a little hard to just drink caffeine-free tea. But, now the week is almost done and I actually feel great! I wonder if I should go another week and see if it will work. I did cut out soda while I’m on this diet, so maybe it will be easy to just replace my morning cup o joe with a cup of tea instead..?

4). Dawson’s Creek. Just like I went through that whole thing with Felicity, I’m re-living the 90s with those “damn Dawson’s Rivers kids…climbing in and out of each others windows..” (name that movie). OK but seriously, I had really power through season 1. It was so bad. I’m well into Season 2 and now I can kind of see the appeal in why it’s addictive. Everyone dating everyone in the same friend circle…it’s a little weird, but damn it, I need to know more! And Dawson’s hair makes me irrationally angry.

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What also makes me angry? They don’t use Paula Cole’s song in the opening theme on Netflix. Apparently they didn’t get the rights, so it’s some horrible song sung by a woman who doesn’t know how to sing in key.

5). MFP and staying on track! I am seriously so proud of myself for getting back on track and staying on track! I’ve been doing the 30 Day Shred again and also tracking everything I eat on MyFitnessPal. I’ve cut out soda and just drinking water with the occasional protein shake here and there. I will allow myself to indulge every once in a while, but I can’t let myself do that too often. That’s how I got here in the first place. My friend Michelle once told me it takes 21 days to form a habit, so here’s hoping I can stick with it for another week so this habit sinks in.

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 So it has been a crazy, busy week, but I am very much looking forward to the weekend! REB and I plan to spend some quality time together and maybe see The Hobbit (finally!), go to either the DIA (Detroit Institute of Art) or see the Lego exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum tomorrow, enjoy the unusually warm weather we will have in the mitten this weekend (55-60 degrees…?!?!), and my dear friend Amber and I will be treating our friend Sarah to a birthday brunch on Sunday! It should be a great weekend.

I hope the rest of you have an awesome weekend too!

What do you do when you get “me-time”…?

Masterpiece Classic

It’s Monday! Normally, I’d be a grumbler like everyone else in that I hate Mondays. Except, I had a great weekend and I’m ready to tackle the week!

The greatest thing about this past weekend? I’ll be able to cross off a few more things on the 31 Before 30 list!

Friday was like any other normal day, except my hubby is the best hubby ever. Case and point:

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I’ve needed a new computer for a while now. When I quit my last job, I purchased my MacbookPro from them for like $150 (not a bad deal!) and they sold it to me “as is”. It’s lasted pretty well for the most part, but it finally started to take a poop last week and the hubs and I realized maybe it was time to find a replacement. Since my hubby works for the university, he gets a sweet discount on Apple products, so…that’s that. I love it! It’s so pretty, shiny and incredibly fast! So “replacing my Mac” can now be crossed off the list!

The rest of the weekend was pretty chill. We went to visit my FIL and return my parents car (they’re overseas) to their house. It was great to see my FIL. We talked about the plans for when he, hubs, my bro-in-law and his wife all go to VT in April to the family time share! I can’t wait!! I hope to cross of learning to ski/snowboard while I’m there!

On Sunday my friend Amber came over with her two dogs and we had a puppy play date in our backyard with all the snow. It was so much fun!

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The three ‘migos had a blast! And I was grateful for the full 1+ hour of play time, because it made Gryff so tired the rest of the day. Sometimes it’s nice having a pup that’s quiet ;)

The weekend ended with the return of Downton Abbey Season 3!!! I was ecstatic and just the sound of the theme song and Laura Linney introducing herself and Masterpiece Classic put me at ease.

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Don’t worry. I won’t give away any spoilers or anything, but I am very excited for this season! I enjoyed the show with a nice hot cup of tea. Another thing I can cross of the list at the end of this week will be going a week without caffeine! I figured, no time like the present, so this entire week will be caffeine-free. It might be kind of hard because I usually have one cup of coffee in the mornings at work, but I hope I can drink enough tea to kind of trick myself ;)

Come back at the end of the week to make sure I haven’t hanged myself from lack of caffeine ;) I’m kidding. Sorta. Hope you all have a great week!

Anyone else a Downton Abbey fan?

Looking Back on 2012

1. What is one thing (or several things) you did this year that you had not done before?

  • Made a list of things to do before I turn 30
  • Bought a house
  • Horseback riding!

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make new ones?

Not really. I read 25/30 books, I didn’t keep with Project 52 with Danbo, I didn’t even do the MCP Project 12 and I didn’t reach my goal weight. However, we did buy a new house and I did maintain stronger friendships with those in my life who matter to me. I also disconnected myself from certain people and haven’t looked back. Overall, this year has been pretty positive. As for new resolutions, I probably won’t make any. My 31 Before 30 list is as good as any resolution list can be.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Nope.

4. Did anyone close to you die? 

Yes. My aunt passed not too long ago and it was devastating news. And recently, many of my friends and family members have lost loved ones. It’s been a rough fall/winter for all of us.

5. What countries did you visit? 

None this year ;) We are planning the next European excursion though!

6. What would you like to have this coming year that you lacked last year? 

Book more portrait sessions, take more bike rides, work out more, DRINK LESS (the wine. it calls to me. need to stop that) and work on the house!

7. What date from this year will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Two things:

May 24, 2012: the day we closed on our house. It was the single most amazing moment of the year for us and I still can’t believe we’re like, adults or something.

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June 11, 2012: Radiohead in Detroit. I’ve been fortunate to attend some amazing concerts in the past (Dave Brubeck in Chicago, Simon and Garfunkel in Chicago, Lilly Allen, Fiona Apple, and Coldplay), but this was a real treat. I always appreciated the music of Radiohead, but wasn’t as big a fan as REB. He’s listened to them since forever and has continued to do so to this day. So when we heard they were coming to Detroit after a 15 year hiatus of coming here, we jumped on the chance to see them. Best $60/ticket paid. Their opening band, Caribou, played for like 45 minutes and were awesome, then Radiohead came on and played for 3 hours. It was an amazing show, amazing lights, set, sound. Just. Wow. Plus, our seats were pretty boss.

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8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? 

Riding a bike again. Before I bought my bike, I hadn’t ridden one since I was 7 years old. The saying is true: it all came back to me like I had been riding for years. So much so that I averaged 20 miles/ride with REB when we’d take rides during the summer and we did the Tour de Troit in Detroit this past September! I can’t wait to try to reach my 500 miles before I turn 30!

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9. What was your biggest failure? 

Not tracking calories nearly enough.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? 

Nope.

11. What was the best thing you bought? 

My new car :)

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12. Whose behavior merited celebration? 

My sister’s! She graduated with her masters from Northwestern in June!

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13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

The idiot who shot 20 little kids in Newton, CT. Sick bastard.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Photo equipment, Kate Spade handbags and accessories, shoes. (wow, materialistic much, Aparna?)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? 
Vacationing up north with our friends and all our dogs!

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16. What songs will always remind you of this past year?

  • M83 – Midnight City
  • Fun. – We Are Young
  • The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition
  • Michael Woods – The Essential Mix from BBC Radio 1 (ah-MAY-zing)
  • Drive Soundtrack

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? 
Happier and smarter. Despite the bad that happened this year, so many good things happened and I feel lucky. And although I didn’t get to that magic number on the scale, and I didn’t track my caloric intake nearly as much as I should have, I didn’t completely revert back to old eating habits. I still maintained a pretty good diet, did work out (just not as much as I would have liked) and REB and I aren’t any where near what we weighed 1 1/2 years ago.

18. Thinner or fatter? 
Flabbier.

19. Richer or poorer? 
I can’t lie – richer. I was smart with my money this year even though I did have some impulse, fun purchases ;)

20. What do you wish you’d done more of?

  • Tracking Calories/working out more
  • Traveled more; visited seester more

21. What do you wish you’d done less of? 
Ha. Tracking calories, feeling guilty :\

22. How will you be spending your birthday? 
I’m turning 30 in 2013. Party at home, trip to NYC with my bestie!

23. How will you be spending the holidays? 
Christmas with REB and pup in our house, New Years in Chicago with seester and bro-in-law (Boozemas XIII!!)

24. Did you fall in love this past year? 
Yes – with my photo studio and my bike!

25. How many one-night stands? 
No.

26. What was your favorite TV program?

  • Game of Thrones (Papapaapa!)
  • Downton Abbey
  • Veep
  • Newsroom
  • Key & Peele

27. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hmm, don’t think so.

28. What was the best book you read? 

  • Game of Thrones
  • Clash of Kings
  • Storm of Swords (currently reading and good so far!)
  • The Happiness Project

29. What was your greatest musical discovery?

  • Fun. (love Nathan’s previous band, The Format)
  • Deadmau5
  • Dragonette (Thanks, Amber!)

30. What did you want and get?

  • A house
  • A photo room/studio in my house
  • A new car
  • Kate Spade everything (lol)
  • A new portrait lens
  • A new bed
  • Heavy bag & weight bench for the basement

31. What did you want and not get?

  • A new camera
  • A new MacBook Pro
  • Treadmill
  • Goal weight (it will happen though! Mark my words!)
  • New pair of fall boots

32. What was your favorite film of this year? 
Dark Knight Rises

33. What did you do on your last birthday, and how old were you? 
I turned 29 this past October. REB took me horseback riding (a first for me!) and we had a nice dinner with a friend downtown.

34. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?

  • Casual/classic
  • Bohem-chic
  • Preppy
  • Tights (lol)

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35. What kept you sane?

  • Reading
  • Taking photos
  • Running

36. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? 
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Classy, eloquent, charismatic and fashion-forward. I admire everything about her.

37. What political issue stirred you the most? 
Everything one man said made my skin crawl: Mitt Romney

38. Who was the best new person(s) you met? 
My now good friends Sarah and Doug! They started coming to Sunday Funday with REB, Amber, Ricardo and me, and I’m so thankful to have friends like them in our lives!

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39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012: 
Be thankful for what you have.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

 ”From the moment of my birth, to the instant of my death, there are patterns I must follow, just as I breathe each breath.” 

 Hope you all have a happy new year and here’s to 2013!