As a kid growing up in South Florida, I didn’t get to experience the seasons in a traditional sense. As far as I knew, they entailed hot, hotter, hottest, and hurricanes. Now that I’ve spent 6 years in the Midwest, I fully understand why people would say that Florida never feels that “festive”. The seasons are beautiful and they remind you of the occasions to come. Even though I’m a pale and bitter grumpasaur buried under 26 layers of North Face apparel during the winter, I really enjoy how peaceful and pure the city looks when it snows. Plus, you can’t fully appreciate a hot apple cider until you have one comfort you during a chilly day.
Fortunately, we had a long and wonderful summer this year. Although we got a taste of the 20′s today, fall has also stuck around for a bit and has been as lovely as ever. Before the trees get naked and Moni gets grumpy, I wanted to capture the fall colors in their glory. The Botanic Gardens are the perfect place to enjoy this season, and it was an ideal day to take some pictures.
I don’t know about you, but I fully intend on revisiting these images over the next few months so I can remind myself why I moved to this arctic city.
Filed under: 2013, Chicago | 1 Comment
Tags: 2013, Botanic Gardens, Chicago, Fall
Halloween is always super fun. I love seeing all the creative costumes (especially subjects of topical interest) and going bar-to-bar for adult trick-or-treating. This year, I decided to try something different and went the DIY (do-it-yourself) route. Gotta be honest, I was pretty proud of the outcome. Here’s how it breaks down:
Clothing from Goodwill: $10
2 cans of bronze spray paint: $12
Vintage football helmet on Amazon.com: $9
Face paint: $0.97
Being able to say that you’re the MVP of Halloween 2013: Priceless
What did you dress up as?
Filed under: 2013, Chicago | Leave a Comment
Tags: 2013, Halloween, Heisman, MVP
I might’ve said this already, but I think fall is the jam. The colors, the fashion, the food, the festivity, the fruits, the alliteration… it’s just sensory overload in the most warm and comforting way. It’s like, if fall were a person, he/she would invite you into their beautiful magazine-worthy home, offer you the world’s best tasting homemade treats, and let you sit by the fire covered up in the world’s softest blanket on the most comfortable couch with a cup of cinnamon tea. And you’d feel like life just hugged you.
I like hugs. So I decided to celebrate the season by doing a festive fall activity. I went to an apple orchard, wore boots, drank hot apple cider, frolicked in fallen leaves, and indulged in a pumpkin spice donut. Then, I relocated to a local craft brewery and satisfied my thirst with an Oktoberfest style beer. It was grand.
By the way, did you know that pumpkins are a fruit? I just learned this. Mind = blown.
Filed under: 2013 | Leave a Comment
Tags: 2013, Apples, Fall, Midwest
So, today actually isn’t a day that I should feel awesome about. 10 years ago on this date, the world lost a handsome, intelligent, philosophical, hilarious, loving, athletic, mischievous, and witty man who was a great friend, caring son… and big brother to a dorky, awkward, goofy and bespectacled little sister named Moni. Although today is a sad day, I know that he wouldn’t want me moping around and feeling depressed. He’d prefer to make faces at me so I’d giggle uncontrollably and would likely tease me about how he’s naturally more gifted at pretty much everything in life, which was annoyingly accurate. Although I miss him more than words can express and I’ve bargained with every higher power to have him back, I’d rather take the time today to feel appreciative, reflective, and positive.
Since I celebrated my 31st birthday on Saturday and today is the 10 year anniversary of my brothers passing, I felt it was appropriate to bring you 31 reasons to feel awesome today, and 10 things you should take the time to do – because clearly, life is way too short and our time is way too precious.
31 Reasons to Feel Awesome Today
- Football season is upon us and UCF is primed for a National Championship
- Dreams exist, and you can dream about anything that makes you happy (see #1)
- Someone, somewhere will adopt a companion animal from a shelter today and will be rewarded with unconditional love and joy
- FaceTime. Skype. Video calling. Seeing our BFF’s no matter where in the world they may be.
- Wine has been invented and mass distributed
- Labor Day is next week, which means a long weekend is coming up!
- You can totally wear white after Labor Day and revel in the rebellion
- Pumpkin inspired treats are popping up everywhere
- Somebody actually wrote an article about THIS
- You’ll learn something new today.
- If you’re old enough to read this, you can rest assured that you weren’t born as the result of a late night text message or Snapchat
- You’re not Billy Ray Cyrus and this is not your daughter on national TV
13. You’re never too old for a spontaneous dance party
14. You have at least 8 months to get in shape for next summer
15. Monday is already half over
16. All it takes is a well-done meme and you’ll be inspired to travel, love, forgive, save, or hug it out.
17. 2 minutes on Pinterest and you’ll also be inspired to reorganize your home, try a new recipe, buy a new wardrobe and plan a party
18. It’s socially acceptable to name your pet after your favorite food or drink
19. Whatever it is, there’s an app for that
20. It’s National Dog Day. True story.
21. Even if you’re the only one laughing at your own jokes, at least someone is laughing. Not that I have experience with this, because I’m hilarious. (I do)
22. Your parents didn’t name you North West
23. Someone thinks your butt looks great in those jeans
24. You can make a difference just by smiling
25. You can set any goal for yourself and find a way to attain it
26. That goal can be “learn to say ‘That’s what she said’ in 12 different languages” – because, why not?
27. Every day is a new opportunity to have the best day of your life
28. It takes 2 seconds to take a super rad picture and share it with the world
29. The best things in life are still free
30. Because I said so
31. Moni posted a new Monilogue
I don’t know about you, but I feel way more awesome after reading that list.
10 Things to do Today
- Support a cause. Even if you just donate a dollar or give a minute of your time, you’re helping to make the world a better place. Have you watched the news lately? The world needs all the help it can get.
- I don’t want to sound too much like a guest shrink on Dr. Phil in the ill-fitting skirt suit, but feel your feelings! The Lumineers said it best, “It’s better to feel pain, than nothing at all. The opposite of love is indifference.” If you don’t confront those emotions, they will continue to haunt you. It’s like being Rick Roll’d for the rest of your life, and nobody wants that.
- Set a goal. Achieving stuff is so hot right now.
- Learn something. Education shouldn’t stop after you leave school. Stream a free seminar. Read a book. Keep your brain engaged! It’s possible to let yourself go when it comes to the mind, much like the body. Why else would the “Real Housewives of Wherever” exist?? Keep the mind active. Don’t let Real Housewives or Honey Boo Boo happen to you.
- Subscribe to Monilogues. 5a. Create something, even if it’s just for you. Monilogues happened because I thought it would be fun to write more, share my pictures, and draw my dog as a cartoon in Microsoft Paint. Although I appreciate every person who has read a post or looked at one of my pictures, Monilogues is really just for me. If I had 2 followers, 200 followers, or 2 billion followers, I’d still feel equally as rewarded. I love it because it’s mine.
- Forgive someone that hurt you, even if you still think it would feel really good to punch them in the face. I once read a quote that said, “Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never received” and it’s so true. Also, keep the bigger picture in perspective. 10 years from now, will it really matter that One Direction beat out Daft Punk for Best Summer Song? (But, really, MTV? Really?)
- Try something new. Life is already full of routines and familiarity. Stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing something different is the best way to feel alive!
- Live in the moment. If it’s hot out, don’t rush to the A/C. Stop and feel the sun on your skin. If it’s nighttime, don’t get in a frenzy thinking about everything you need to do tomorrow. Go outside and look at the stars. Like Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves so fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it”
- Give a hug. Someone needs it, and it might be you.
- Seriously… tell your friends and family that you love them. You appreciate them. They’re super important. It really really really sucks to lose someone that you care about. It could happen at any time and the reality is, you can’t get a redo. Doc Brown and his DeLorean only exist in the movies. There’s no better time than now to tell someone that they’re ridiculously rad, and you’re really happy that they’re a part of your life. It’s completely free, and it’s the best investment you’ll ever make. I promise.
Although today marks the anniversary of a great loss, I always gain perspective when I focus on being optimistic, ambitious, and grateful. Although I don’t have any photography to share today, I hope I inspired you with a glimpse of the bigger picture.
9.5.80 – 8.26.03
Miss you infinity
Filed under: 2013 | 5 Comments
Tags: 10 years, 31, Life, Perspective, Steven, to do