Thursday, January 9, 2014

This is the End

Thinking back to this time last year, I was so excited to start this blog. I thought about it a lot when I spent New Year's with my family at Lake Tahoe. As much as I swore to myself I would refuse to go on another vacation with my family, I had so much fun and I loved the simple, silly moments, like when my family would binge-watch the Big Bang Theory after my dad and sister skied all day, and how my mom and I would drink wine and work on a puzzle, how I would lay in my comfy bed and read Brain on Fire, how we would make breakfast and dinner together as a family, and when my mom and I went shopping and drove to the other side of the lake to California. 

Those short, perfect moments stood out to me and I wanted a way to capture it all, to cherish those moments. I had no idea where the Hermit Diaries would evolve, and sometimes I wanted to quit everything, to give up, to stop looking for inspiration, to stop blogging. Writing one post every day is a lot harder than it seems. I was a naive young blogger who thought  my writings would change the world. Doesn't every writer think that?

I learned so much about myself, how I write, and what inspires me through this stupid blog and it's bittersweet having to end it. I find myself wanting to take pictures of something I'm doing or someone I'm with so I can blog about it later.

Like I wrote in this post, I don't care if you are not impressed or intrigued by this blog. It is not for you, it is for me.

If this is your first visit here, welcome. Take a look around, listen to some great music, check out my photography. You can click on specific tags, which are on the right hand side of the blog, such as introversion, travel, or my personal favorite, cats. Get inspired. Get to know me through this. Also, if anyone can find the glitch where I have 366 tags of Day of Happy (I'm only supposed to have 365 tags), I'll give you virtual brownie points.

Thank you to all my great supporters and readers. It's been a wonderful ride.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

365 Days of Happy - Day 365

First of all, I can't believe I've reached my goal. I can't believe this is the last Day of Happy. I'll write more about it in my final blog post, but it's unbelievable how quickly time passed. Go me!

I remember so clearly where I was last New Year's Eve. With my parents and sister. We spent the holiday in Lake Tahoe. Me, being the crazy person I am, decided to kick it up a notch this year and go to someplace even colder! Mackinac Island! And I'm going to tell you ALL about it, because that's what aspiring photojournalists do.

For some crazy reason, I successfully convinced my friend Amanda to come with me. We were originally going to go up to Mackinac over spring break (lets still go, Amanda!) but couldn't wait that long :) We're both thinking of working up there this summer, and I wanted to show her the island.
We hopped on the bus from Milwaukee to St. Ignace, a ride I've taken plenty of times. I used to work on Mackinac a few summers ago and I had to come home a few times on the Indian Trails bus. Both our buses were overnight. I'm so lucky that I can sleep anywhere. Literally anywhere. Amanda slept for most of the ride too, until we stopped in the middle of the night and a crazy man with a possible weapon got escorted off the bus. Serious!

We arrived in St. Ignace this morning and then took a cab to the airport. The lake was too frozen over to take a ferry so we had to take a plane over, even though I was really hoping we would be able to take a snowmobile across. We got to read up on our airplane news while we waited for the plane.

This was the plane we took! This was so exciting for us. The plane held maybe 10 people, including the pilot, and luggage.

It was actually pretty scary.

We made it!!

It was so interesting seeing Mackinac in the winter. The last time I was on the island was two summers ago, when I worked at Seabiscuit and for Andrejka Photography. I wrote a few posts about our vacation three summers ago - check it out here and here.

After we showered and got settled at Bogan Lane Inn, we went exploring!

We met up with my old friend Ian. Get it, because I've been friends with him for a while, and he's old? Ha ha.

We walked up to the Grand Hotel. The yellow umbrellas and American flags were gone, the rocking chairs were waiting inside, and everything was boarded up. The whole island was a ghost town.

It was FREEZING. Absolutely freezing. You can't tell just by looking at the photos, but our half hour adventure was plenty of time being outside.

I was really surprised that Doud's Market was open. There were only two restaurants open on the island - the Mustang and the Village Inn. I guess I assumed everyone was hibernating. We took advantage of it and bought overpriced Poptarts and chips.

Later that night, us three had dinner at the Mustang.

Then we drank and hung out a bit until midnight! Instead of dropping a ball or watching the ball drop at Times Square on TV, a huge crane dropped a makeshift, glittery turtle right in the middle of the street! The turtle is significant to the island, but I forget why. I loved it - turtles are Delta Zeta's mascot! I'm just glad it wasn't a real turtle.

And, honestly, the rest of the night was a blur. Thank god I took pictures!

I saw a lot of people I knew from when I worked on the island, and even ran into my old roommate, Chelsea!

The next day we hung out at the Mustang for a bit while we waited for our taxi. We met some new friends, like the two goofs you see behind Amanda.

And before we knew it, we were taking a taxi to the airport and were on our way home.

I had such a great time this New Year's Eve. Mackinac Island is my favorite place in the whole world. It trumps Dublin, Warsaw, New York City, and Belfast. I have so many good memories of this island, and I'm so fortunate that my family and I got to vacation there a dozen or so times, and I'm so lucky I got the opportunity to work and intern there. I'm also so glad that I had Amanda with me this trip! We braved the cold together and went on a semi-spontaneous trip up north to the best island ever :)

And, when I got back to Whitewater on January 2nd, I got new cabinets in my apartment! DLK workers put in new cabinets and a new sink when I was on vacation. I was SO excited about these pretty new cabinets. They're lighter than my old ones, and they're not as fancy as my parent's new kitchen, but they brighten up my kitchen a lot.

Song of the Day - Covers

This song came up on my Kid Cudi Pandora station. Yes, I sometimes listen to Kid Cudi Pandora. Bite me.
Original is by One Republic.

Jennifer Thomas - Secrets

Monday, December 30, 2013

365 Days of Happy - Day 364

I love life lessons. I might not be one to follow them exactly, to a T, but they're beautiful and poetic. Here are some of my favorites from

88 Important Truths I've Learned About Life
By David Cain

- If you're talking to someone you don't know well, you may be talking to someone who knows you way more about whatever you're talking about than you do.

- Children are remarkably honest creatures until we teach them not to be.

- If everyone in the TV show you're watching is good looking, it's not worth watching.

- Yelling always  makes things worse.

- Nobody has it all figured out.

- Every passing face on the street represents a story every bit as compelling and complicated as yours.

- A person who is unafraid to present a candid version of herself to the world is as rare as diamonds.

- The most common addiction in the world is the draw of comfort. It wrecks people and breaks people.

- Everyone you meet is better than you at something.

- Whoever you are, you will die. To know and understand that means you are alive.

- Getting truly organized can vastly improve anyone's life.

- The world would be a better place if everyone read National Geographic.

- 'Gut feeling' is not just a euphemism. Tension in the abdomen speaks volumes about how you truly feel about something, beyond all arguments and rationales.

- If anything is worth splurging on, it's a high-quality mattress. You'll spend a third of your life using it.

- To write a person off as worthless is an act of great violence.

- Words are immensely powerful. One cruel remark can wound someone for life.

- Most of what children learn from their parents isn't taught on purpose.

- It is worth re-trying foods that you didn't like at first.

- There are not enough women in positions of power. The world has suffered from this deficit for a long time.

- One of the best things you can do for your kids is take them on road trips. I'm not a parent, but I was kid once.

Song of the Day - Music Video Mondays

This might be the funniest music video I've ever seen. 27-year-old Vania Heymann directed this video for a song that came out 48 years ago. The user flips through channels in which everyone seems to be singing Dylan's song. It's pure genius. The History Channel is my favorite.

Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone

Here's a preview, but for the interactive version, click here.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

365 Days of Happy - Day 363

I was in a wedding this weekend! (I'm so good at starting my articles, don't you think? So creative. Wow. Such smart.) I told you I was going to be in a wedding way back in April. My sorority sister Jamie got married yesterday and I can say with complete honesty that it was one of the best nights I've had all year. 
We all got our hair done yesterday morning and relaxed until the ceremony started at 1.

I couldn't get over how simple and pretty our bridesmaid flowers were. I couldn't stop smelling them! I think they're called baby's breath. I loved them.

It was so fun finishing getting ready, putting our dresses on, helping Jamie get into her dress, and snacking on food and Diet Coke (Jamie's favorite).

I was so nervous to walk down as a bridesmaid. That's so silly to say, I know! For 30 seconds, all eyes would be on me and the guy I was walking with - and that was nerve wracking! I couldn't even imagine how Jamie was feeling.

After the ceremony, Jamie, David, and all the bridesmaids and groomsmen piled into a limo, which was pretty sweet because I've never been in a limo before! It was SO much fun. I only knew most of the bridal party by association, but partying in the limo definitely got us loosened up and by the end of the night we were all joking with each other and pouring each other more champagne like we'd been friends for a long time.

We got out at a few locations and took pictures. It was freezing, but I couldn't really tell after three glasses of champagne.

I couldn't really tell you what happened between pictures and dinner, except that it was a blast. It was so fun getting to know everyone in the bridal party. Dinner was amazing. I kept being offered wine, which was nice. I didn't pay for a drink the entire night, which was new to me (honest!). Then there were speeches and we did a 50/50 raffle and then the DJ turned on some music and the lights dimmed and before I knew it I was out on the dance floor.

My little and I! <3

This is my good friend Rachel. We haven't hung out in FOREVER, so it was great to see her at the wedding.

And here I am with Patrick. I look like I'm going to sucker punch him, but I would never. Apparently I was really amused by something he just said.

I don't think of myself as a good dancer. That is, unless I've been drinking. Haha come on, like I'm not the only one?!
I danced with this stud all night and it was SO fun. I was a lean, mean dancing machine.

Here he is taking me on a mission on the dancefloor. If you look closely you can see judgmental looks by sorority women in the background that they give all too well.

Really, Kelsey? Think about your life choices.

Dayummm look at those moves.

HAHAHA this picture makes me crack up. I want to catch the bouquet! I'm so close! Notice the fourth (?) glass of wine in my hand.

I also got a beautiful paddle from my darling little Leah! This was perfect because I gave my big a paddle when she was a bridesmaid to our sister Lauren's wedding. I LOVE my new paddle. It's so perfect. Leah is studying abroad in England soon and I'm going to miss her like mad crazy, but I'm so happy I got to see her at the wedding!

I couldn't be happier for Jamie and David (I stole this picture and all the other professional photographs from Jillian Powers Photography. Check her out - she does great work! Here is Jamie and David's album)

Like I said, I've know Jamie for five years now. We've been through so much together. We've consoled each other on our relationship problems, we've hosted parties at our house last year, we've talked about all the stupid drama with Delta Zeta together. Everything. She's one of my closest DZ sisters. I love you so much Jamie and I'm so happy I could be a part of your wedding! Now for some Throwback Thursday pictures!